When Should You Plan Your Baby Shower?

First-time moms have a lot to plan for! Baby and Toddler Expert Kristina Spencer is here to make it a little easier by walking you through planning your baby shower!

Photo by Kampus Productions

Photo by Kampus Productions

Life is pretty busy when you are expecting a baby! Between planning a gender reveal party, talking with your Baby Expert on Curated to find the perfect car seat, and watching way too many Hallmark movies, you have plenty on your plate, so how do you know when to have a baby shower? Rest assured, there is no perfect timing for your baby shower—it depends entirely on your unique pregnancy and desires.

There are so many different factors to think about when you are planning a baby shower. Do you have a high-risk pregnancy? Will you be moving? Do you want to make sure an elderly relative is able to attend? Are you adopting or is this a second baby for you? The reasons behind the timing of your baby shower and the details of your baby shower are highly personal and there is no one correct answer.

When to Have Your Baby Shower

All these questions, and others, will influence the timing of your baby shower. One thing to remember is that there is no best time to have a shower, and in the end, you should do what works best for you and your family. If you decide to have the baby shower during the pregnancy or wait until after the baby (or babies) has arrived will entirely depend on what is best for you.

First Trimester

While it might seem odd to have a baby shower during the first trimester when you are still trying to adjust to the idea of being pregnant (and might not even feel that good), there are some good reasons to consider having one during this time period.

If you are going to be moving away from your hometown, close friends, or family before your baby is born, then you might want to consider having an early baby shower. This is a great way to celebrate with those closest to you, and you can always have a second shower later in your pregnancy in your new town.

Do you have an elderly grandma or favorite aunt and want to make sure she is able to join in celebrating with you? An early baby shower is the perfect opportunity to share your excitement with family who may be unable to attend at a later time.

Second Trimester

If you are concerned about going into labor early—as is often the case with twins—or you have a high-risk pregnancy where you might end up on bed rest during your third trimester, then a baby shower during the second trimester would be the perfect timing. The second trimester is also typically when the mom-to-be feels her best and is ready to party.

Third Trimester

This tends to be the most common time to have a baby shower. The guest of honor has an obviously pregnant belly which is the source of a lot of traditional baby shower games. Also, waiting until your due date draws nearer gives you plenty of time to decide what baby gear you would like to have and to create a registry.

If you have learned your baby's gender, then a third-trimester baby shower can be themed towards a boy or girl and your hosts will delight in decorating in blues or pinks. However, if you want to keep it a surprise (or really just don't like pink), gender-neutral colors are adorable for babies.

After the Baby Has Arrived

Most baby showers focus on the guest of honor's baby bump and the joy of becoming a new mother, but there are lots of reasons to wait until after the baby is born to have a baby shower. Adoptions or pregnancy complications are common reasons to have a baby shower after the baby is born.

Waiting until after the baby has arrived is especially important in the case of an adoption. Not only will the arrival date be unpredictable, but it can also be very sudden. The new mother may not have had a traditional pregnancy but that does not take away from the excitement of her new arrival. Watching the joy on the new mom's face as she shows off her long-anticipated bundle is not something you would want to miss!

Babies will come when they are ready, and sometimes this can cause problems for both the mother and the baby. If complications do occur, then waiting until after the baby has arrived will give everyone a chance to recover, and it is a wonderful way to celebrate your little miracle.

Which Type of Baby Shower To Have?

A pregnant woman smiles at a baby bear toy. There is a cake and some presents on the table.

Photo by Kampus Productions

After figuring out when to have your baby shower, the next big question is what kind of shower to have? While most people think of the traditional baby shower as a tea party with games and gifts, that is not the only way to celebrate.

Traditional

The traditional baby shower is a big gift and balloon-filled celebration hosted by close friends where you simply arrive as the guest-of-honor. All of your female guests bring beautifully wrapped gifts for a few hours of games, treats, and laughter. It is a sweet time for the expectant mother and usually falls during the third trimester so everyone can adore her growing belly.

Modern

Not every mother-to-be wishes to spend her baby shower in a traditional tea-party-like atmosphere, and sometimes the father-to-be wants to celebrate with his friends as well. With this in mind, a baby shower that is more like a backyard BBQ is perfectly acceptable and can be quite enjoyable. Also, asking every guest to bring a box of diapers along with a side dish is not over the top—you will be very grateful for them later. Babies really go through a lot of diapers!

Virtual Baby Shower

This type of baby shower can be an addition to an in-person baby shower or the only way to hold your celebration. If you have a large number of relatives or close friends who cannot travel to your town to celebrate with you, then a video call during the shower will be helpful in sharing your joy with the people you love. Also, if you are at risk for complications or concerned about illness so close to your due date, a virtual baby shower will allow you to still celebrate with your friends and family.

Time of Day

The time of day of the shower is dependent on both the type of baby shower you have and on the lifestyle of your guests. If you or your guest list is filled with working professionals, then an evening or weekend party would be best so that more people can attend. If your friends are mostly stay-at-home moms, then the time of day can be matched around nap time or during school hours to give your friends a good opportunity to enjoy the festivities.

Guest List

How do you decide who to invite to your baby shower? Which family members and close friends do you celebrate with? Is there a strict baby shower etiquette that dictates who receives an invite? Thankfully, the answer to all of these questions is entirely dependent on your preferences and not on a rule book.

If you are concerned about offending family or friends who have offered to host a baby shower, then having two baby showers can help alleviate any concerns you might have. If you and your partner would like to have a backyard BBQ-style baby shower with your friends but your mom wants to host a traditional baby shower at her home, then plan for two showers. Not only do you get to celebrate more but both you and your extended family are satisfied.

What Is a Proper Gift?

Five women on a couch. One is pregnant and the others are holding gifts.

Photo by Kampus Productions

A lot of planning has gone into the decorating of your nursery but how do you let your guests know what you need and want for your new bundle of joy? To avoid a house full of baby wipes as gifts (even though you will use them a lot faster than you think you will!), consider using a baby registry. A baby registry is the perfect solution to sharing which strollers, car seats, high chairs, and other baby gear you desire with all of your friends and family.

There is no wrong gift for a baby shower. If you're on your way to a friend's shower and realize that you forgot to buy a gift, then diapers, wipes, adorable tiny outfits, blankets, and coffee shop gift cards are all gifts that won't go wrong. If you have time to shop but are unsure of what to bring, then ask the mom-to-be if she has a registry and all the guesswork will be taken out of finding a gift.

With so many different options and with each family having different circumstances there is no one right answer as to when to have a baby shower. Whether you go the traditional third-trimester classic baby shower route or a more modern couples' party, enjoying yourself is what matters the most.

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Written By
I have been a mom for 15 years. For a time I had three kids aged 3 and younger; then my fourth and youngest child was born when my oldest was still only 5 years old. Life was a slightly controlled, chaotic, busy, loud, and beautiful mess. I have great memories of that period of my life even though a...

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