Baby showers and gender reveal parties are now the norm rather than the exception. If you are a mum or have married or mum friends, expect that you’ll be invited to at least one baby shower in your lifetime.
A baby shower is a great way to celebrate the new parents and help them prepare for the newest addition to their family.
But while there’s usually no room for rules at a party, you also need to remember that in a baby shower, your guest of honour is a mum-to-be. An emotional, self-conscious mum-to-be, especially if it’s their first time being pregnant.
So whether you’re the host or a guest, here are some baby shower etiquette you need to remember.
Refrain from Embarrassing the Honouree
Despite there having a certain comfort level between friends, take note that there are still some things that the new mum and dad might not be comfortable with.
For starters, if you don’t know exactly how the couple met or how the pregnancy came about, that’s one conversation topic that you may need to save for another day.
Also refrain from playing games that would put the parents in the spotlight, or rather, in a bad light.
“Don’t embarrass the mom-to-be,” according to Diane Gottsman, the author of Modern Etiquette for a Better Life and founder of The Protocol School of Texas.
Do not touch the pregnant mum’s tummy or announce how big she has gotten since you last saw her. If they’re growing their family, don’t make a snarky comment on how they are turning into a babymaking factory.
“Playing games, such as measure mom’s belly or guess the baby’s gender may be uncomfortable for the new mom. It’s always best to have the games approved in advance,” she added.
Consider Their Diet
One of the things that some mums-to-be are touchy about is their diet. I remember crying over a bag of chips and cream-based pasta – two things that my doctor told me to stay away from when I had gestational diabetes during my pregnancy.
If you’re hosting the baby shower, this is one thing you need to keep in mind. Don’t add to the new mum’s agony of not being able to eat food that will be served at the party. So while charcuteries are a thing nowadays, maybe do away with the raw meat and soft cheeses for the menu.
“Ask mom her preference on food items and any non-negotiable foods she either dislikes or needs to stay away from,” advised Gottsman. “Don’t forget to ask guests about their food allergies as well.”
Don’t be shy to ask the mum-to-be (or dad if it’s a surprise). Chances are she won’t mind if you’re serving coffee, alcohol or other prohibited food at the party, but it’s always best to double-check. If you want to keep the party vibe going, you can also make some mocktails for everyone to enjoy.
Spreading Bad Omen
Refrain from dampening the mood by sharing scary or tragic childbirth stories. I’m sure your pregnancy journey was exciting and challenging. But think about it: your guest of honour already probably has a lot on her mind right now. Do you really need to tell her about how you spent 12 hours in labour and how painful it is?
“Avoid stories about difficult deliveries and hard labor issues,” reminded Gottsman. “Everyone has a personal story, and many of them should be kept to themselves at a baby shower.”
Commenting on Other People’s Fertility
As someone very wise said, “We’re not all on the same boat.” So while you are congratulating the new parents on their pregnancy journey, remember that some of the guests may be struggling with having a baby or recently had a miscarriage or abortion, and it would be rude to talk to them about it at the party.
So avoid these awkward conversations and instead, focus on putting the spotlight on the new mum and dad.
Bringing Uninvited Guests
There’s a lot going on in the mind of your new parents, and you wouldn’t want to add to that the pressure of meeting and impressing other people they just met, right? Always consider their comfort level, given that hormones must be taking a toll on the new mum’s emotions at this point.
As a baby shower etiquette (or general etiquette, really), do not bring uninvited guests to the baby shower, or to any occasion for that matter. It would be polite to RSVP to the host as well.
Showing Up Late or Overstaying Your Welcome
Another faux pas at every party is arriving late or staying too long after the programme has concluded. You have to be sensitive to the hosts or the guests of honour.
“Do not overstay your welcome,” said etiquette expert Juliet Mitchell. “Whether the shower is before or after birth, the expectant or new parent is likely to be tired. New parents may need to nurse. Babies become tired and irritable.”
It’s okay to have too much fun at the party, but when it starts getting too late, give the mum and dad-to-be some time to relax and go home. We all know how precious sleep is for new parents.
Disregarding Social Media Requests
“Share it on social media or it didn’t happen,” seems to be the mentality going around lately. However, some people may prefer to keep their moments private, so it’s best to respect their wishes.
“If the parents request no social media post or a wait up to 24 hours after the shower, please honor their request,” Mitchell advised. “Speaking of posting on social media, please do not post any unflattering pictures. If in doubt, don’t post it.”
You do not want unflattering pictures of your belly or you being too emotional going around, right? So give the same respect to the mum-to-be.
Following these simple baby shower etiquette tips can help ensure a fun and stress-free celebration for everyone involved. By avoiding common faux pas like forgetting to RSVP or bringing uninvited guests, you can show your support for the parents-to-be and help make their special day memorable. Remember to be considerate, respectful, and above all, have fun!
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