What is a baby shower?

A baby shower is a way to celebrate the pending or recent birth of a baby or child by presenting gifts at a party. The gifts are usually for the baby, the mother, and or the father. The term "shower" is often assumed to mean that the expectant mother is "showered" with gifts.

Baby showers were usually given only for the family's first child, and only women were invited. The original intent was for women to share wisdom and lessons on the art of becoming a mother. This custom has changed over time.

Baby showers usually center on gift-giving for the pregnant woman and her baby. The baby shower is typically arranged and hosted by a close friend since it is considered rude for families to beg for gifts on behalf of their members.

Occasionally, a baby shower can also be arranged by a family member, and in some cultures, though it is expected and customary for a close female family member to host the baby shower, often the grandmother.

However, while a baby shower was traditionally held for the first-born baby, over time it has eventually become common to hold baby showers for all children, not just the firstborn, including adopted children.

Many people have more than one baby shower, such as one with friends and another with co-workers.

Baby showers are an alternative to other European celebrations of nativity such as Baptisms. However, these can tend to be less materialistic as what is commonly known as a baby shower in the twenty-first century.

Rules for a Baby Shower

There are no specific rules for when or where baby showers are to be held or whom to invite. The host is usually the one who decides on the number of guests and style of entertainment. Oftentimes, only women came to baby showers, although there is no firm rule requiring this. If the shower is held after the baby's birth, then the baby is usually brought, too. Showers typically include food but not a full meal.

The main goal of a baby shower is that guests bring gifts for the expectant mother, and the gifts are usually opened during the baby shower. Typical gifts related to babies include

  • Diapers
  • Baby bottles
  • Clothes
  • Toys
  • Bouncy seat
  • Baby monitor
  • Bedding
  • Baby booties
  • Baby sling or front carrier
  • Bath kit
  • Sleep kit

Check out our recommended Great Baby Shower Gifts.

Some baby showers include baby-themed activities, such as games to taste baby foods or to guess the baby's birth date or gender.

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