Baby shower for second baby etiquette Emily Post

By Anna Post5 Min ReadBurlington, Vermont (Reuters) - Baby showers bring to mind much oohing and awing (obligatory or genuine) as piles of pink- or blue-themed gifts are opened.A p

Baby shower for second baby etiquette Emily Post

By Anna Post

5 Min Read

Burlington, Vermont (Reuters) - Baby showers bring to mind much oohing and awing (obligatory or genuine) as piles of pink- or blue-themed gifts are opened.A pregnant woman touches her stomach as people practice yoga on the morning of the summer solstice in New York's Times Square June 20, 2012. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

While its true that the point of a baby shower is to give new parents gifts that will help them be prepared for their new bundle of joy, they are also about sharing the excitement a new baby brings with family and friends.

Whenever guests are expected to bring a gift, those expectations can start to become the center of attention, instead of the event the gifts are celebrating.

Here are a few ways to help keep the focus where it belongs: on the thrill and anticipation of a wonderful new baby.

While new parents dont throw their own shower (its too much of a direct ask for presents), anyone else can host.

And though many people might associate baby showers with a group of women seated in a circle around a mom-to-be, its fine to throw a shower for any expecting or new parentsingle mom or dad, or gay or straight couples togetherand the guest list can be co-ed.

This is also the case for parents who adopt, though if the adoption is for an older child, dont use baby-themed invitations. Its also a good idea to include the childs name and age on the invitation.

Keep shower guests to close friends and family.

Though a gift is expected if a guest attends, guests should only be invited to help celebrate the upcoming arrival, not for the gift they bring. If a guest is invited to a shower but cant attend, there is no obligation to send a gift, though they certainly may if they want to.

Include registry information on a separate slip of paper with the invitation, or better yet, provide it to guests who reply they will be coming. It is splitting hairs, but it keeps the focus on the guest being invited to celebrate and not just on their gift.

Its okay to have a shower for a second or third child. Originally this was frowned on, the idea being that parents would have what they need from their first child.

But in some cases its been many years since the last child was born, or the first child was a girl and now the parents are expecting a boy.

For parents who are relatively well equipped, shower hosts might consider themes that focus on restocking basic items, or treats for mom and dad, such as a night of babysitting, coupons for take-out, massages, or movie tickets.

Office showers are a nice way for colleagues to help celebrate and acknowledge parents-to-be. Usually there is cake and a card signed by the group, often accompanied by a group present.

Employee guests to an office shower arent expected to bring gifts; instead, the group gets together for a group gift, usually funded by an office collection.

Its important that no one be excluded from or pressured into participating. Instead, the person in charge should inform everyone that theres an envelope at his or her desk, and to make contributions there anonymously. Never go desk-to-desk asking colleagues to pony up on the spot.

The person in charge might check in with the parent-to-be to discover what they need, and to see if their partner might be available to join the party.

Traditional etiquette says that if you thanked someone for a gift in person, there is no need to send a handwritten note. This is still true, but shower gifts have always been and continue to be an exception.

Be sure to send a prompt handwritten thank-you note to each guest who gave you a gift. Its never okay for the shower host to ask guests to write their address on blank envelopes to save the parent-to-be the effort.

Notes, including the envelopes, should be personal start to finish. Some hosts will excuse the practice by using them to draw door prizes or as a way to gather mailing addresses for the expectant parent in an age of email.

Door prizes dont make up for laziness, and an address book would work just as well to collect mailing addresses, so these excuses dont make up for the tackiness of outsourcing the task of thanking guests to the guests themselves.

And a final grace note for parents: After your newborn arrives, be sure to share the news personally with anyone who attended a baby shower for you.

(Anna Post is a spokeswoman for The Emily Post Institute, a U.S.-based organization founded in 1946 that addresses societal concerns including business and wedding etiquette and raising polite children. Her latest book Emily Postss Etiquette, 18th edition is out now. The opinions expressed are her own. The Emily Post Institutes website is

Editing by Paul Casciato

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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