Tips for Hosting a Baby ShowerAnn E. Butenas
One of the most enjoyable times of pregnancy is that moment when all of your friends and family gather around for the customary baby shower. You are queen for a day and are generally pampered with praises and gifts. You feel special, and rightfully so, as you will soon be bringing another baby into this world and traveling through that rite of passage called Motherhood.
However, as many women will attest, when you gather a group of women together in a baby shower setting, you will hear stories of "been there, done that;" to the "absolute horror of 36 hours of labor." While it may be interesting to some to hear your tales, the last person who wants to be showered with commentary like that is the mom-to-be!
I spoke with many moms and grandmas about what they believed to be proper behavior for a baby shower. So, before you head off to that next baby shower full of good intentions and words of wisdom for the new mom, bear in mind certain baby shower decoré the new mom will greatly appreciate:
"I see nothing wrong with having the shower at the expectant mother's house. In fact, I think it is better because she won't have to haul all the gifts home. However, be sure to have someone available to clean up after the shower!" - Holly, owner of Fetal Greetings. "Don't buy newborn size clothing or even 3-6 months sizes", notes Karen of The Story Teller. "The baby will outgrow these so quickly. New moms really appreciate receiving clothing in larger sizes for their baby so they do not have to buy clothes for awhile. Also, while stuffed animals are cute, try to avoid buying them. They tend to overfill a bedroom.
When in doubt as to what to give as a gift, check the local gift registries or give a gift certificate to a popular nearby store. Alternatively, be creative and make up a coupon book for her. Include such redeemable treats as "One Free Home-cooked Meal", "One Free Night of Babysitting", "One Free Day of Errands", etc. Think of her schedule and what she would appreciate. It will make a nice gift and one she truly will enjoy! Some of the best gifts arrive after the baby is born!
If you find at the last minute you are unable to attend the shower, despite having sent your RSVP earlier, be sure to advise the hostess as soon as possible. "Be sure you still send a gift to the new mom!",says Kim of Kim's Garden.
"Many moms-to-be may be on special diets", notes Jen of My Mommy Biz. "I had gestational diabetes, and there was not much of anything I was allowed to eat. Therefore, you might want to mention to the hostess to be respectful of any medical conditions the expectant mom has."
While it may be tempting to tell stories of labor, especially the rough ones, try to avoid doing that unless the mom-to-be specifically asks about it. I think it would be a fun activity to have the new mom write down several questions about childbirth, baby care, etc., and then have this sheet passed around the room for each guest to answer individually. It would be interesting to see the commentary from each one from those who have "been there, done that" to those that may not even have any experience in that area! It could turn out to be quite amusing!
Be sure to keep the baby shower to a reasonable amount of time. The expectant mom will most likely get tired and will need to rest. When planning the shower, be sure to ask her what day and time would be best for her. Allow her input into some of the planning.
Above all, NEVER EVER pat a mom-to-be on her expanding belly and comment on how big she is or that "you are definitely carrying a boy!" By this point in the pregnancy, most women feel quite uncomfortable and just ready to get the whole ordeal of childbirth out of the way!
If the mom-to-be goes into labor at the shower (which HAS happened before!), remain calm, have someone call her doctor and/or hospital for her and her spouse. Ask if there is anyone else she needs to get hold of and offer to go get her bag or other essentials for her to take to the hospital. Be sure someone stays with her at all times to keep her calm and get the necessary medical assistance to transport her to the hospital if necessary!
The best thing of all is to just shower the new mom with attention! This will be one of the last times in a long time she will be at the center of it all! Let her enjoy it at her own pace! In addition, don not make it a mandate that the she has to send out thank you notes right away, if at all. If she thanked you at the shower, that is sufficient. We all know how busy she is and how busy she will be in the coming months (okay, YEARS!).
Have a good time at the shower!
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