I was recently asked by SheKnows to share my etiquette expertise on the popularity of baby showers; you can read the article here. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of showers, which have now been joined by gender reveal parties and countless other (oftentimes expensive) celebrations surrounding the birth of a child. It seems like there is too much pressure these days to have the most creative pregnancy announcement or most lavish party, when really baby showers were originally intended to supply a new mother with basic staples like diapers and bottles. It was about support, not fanfare.
Time was, showers were only to be hosted by non-family members, and were women-only events. Those rules have relaxed, though I know many folks who object to attending a shower for a mother who already has children. I think it depends on the situation.
There are many cultures that see pre-birth celebrations as unlucky, or a way of tempting fate. Instead, they wait until after the child’s birth before inviting loved ones over for a party or ritual. I think it’s important to honor that. Some mothers may prefer to not have a baby shower, and you have to respect those wishes.
If you are invited to a shower, treat it as you would any other party: RSVP, bring a gift that’s off the registry, and enjoy the day. If there’s no shower, but you’ve been invited over to visit the baby, you can always bring flowers, a toy, or some essentials like diapers. A friend of mine makes it a habit when visiting friends who have newborns to bring over some food (as Mom and Dad are typically too exhausted to cook) and a toy for the older siblings, if there are any. I think that’s perfect.