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Shower Ettiquette - The Baby Kind

Do you give a mama-to-be-again a shower?  Is it a "must" or in poor taste?  Courtney sent us this question to be discussed amongst the urbanMamas:

I read some posts on BabyBulletin and they ranged from of course to how tacky, and were very passionate on both sides. Many said "do what is the norm in your town" and/or "circle of friends", but I don't know what that is here in P-town. So here is my question: I have a friend with a 4-year old boy (will be almost 5 when baby is born), having a girl. She gave many of her baby things to me and others when we had kids (and we are still using them.) Would it be appropriate to host a shower? Maybe a "reused/recycled" shower? Something just for mama? Has anyone been to one? What is the norm in Portland? What do urbanMamas think?

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I believe that each baby deserves a welcome into the world, or a pre-birthday party. I think that if you feel that you would like to throw a party for your friend, you should. You don't need to buy big ticket items; maybe you could have a theme, like "girl clothes only" or a big gift certificate for mom to Target, where she can just get what she needs. Even if it was a boy, if it was a different season, the clothes wouldn't fit anyway. Your friend sounds like someone who deserves to be celebrated. Maybe you could do a gift for dad party, or a "bring your favorite hand-me-down clothes or toys for the new baby" party. BTW, don't feel obligated to listen to people who criticize things like being nice and giving a party for a friend. They sound like they are not too sure of how to be a good friend. I'm not sure where "tacky" fits into throwing a shower!

I say absolutely! When I was pregnant with my second, the urbanMamas threw me a really low-key shower. It was a psuedo-blessingway. We spent most of the time chatting, and making cute onsies for the baby in-utero. It was much more meaningful and special than the four baby showers I had for my first one. It was more meaningful because the second time around, I was able to enjoy the shower with others who completely understood the meaning of motherhood, and the journey you take during pregnancy.

I had no idea that ANY baby shower could be considered socially inappropriate. (Who spends time thinking up these judgmental rules, anyway?) I'm all in favor of any event that involves loving generosity toward an expectant mama, especially one whose own kindnesses merit reciprocation.

Oh, absolutely she should have a second shower. Especially since her second one is a girl, and the fact that it's been five years since her last one. I wouldn't even think that a reuse/recycled theme would be necessary. Even a second baby should get new things-if the mama wants to get her own used stuff, then that's cool too.

I agree fully that she deserves a shower. I heard about a cute theme for a second-time mom..."Pamper Party". Guests were encouraged to bring items for mom to pamper herself and diapers for baby. Just a thought!

another idea, regardless of whether you have a shower for her (which i think would be a very nice thing to do), is to organize meals from friends and neighbors. having some nights where i didn't have to deal with preparing dinner while dealing with the baby and the toddler was key!

I wouldn't think twice about attending a second, third, fourth, x^n, shower for the same person. So long as she's having a baby, I think it's fully appropriate. It's not called a "First Baby Shower."

It's whatever you think the mama to be would feel comfortable with. I was offered a shower and said no thank you. Jack and Ella are only 21 months apart and everything I used for little missy was still up to date and good for Jack. I being the clothes whooore that I am had bought a bunch of clothes for him so we where set. Shower or not, JJ's idea is great, food AND services... I have a friend who received coupons from friends for dog walks or grocery shops, things of this nature.

I get this question a lot in my line of business, and even though some crazy person several decades ago deemed it inappropriate according to traditional etiquette to throw a baby shower for any baby other than the first, I say party away! I fully believe moms and EVERY new baby deserve to be honored in some way, whether it's the second, third or fourth child. There are a lot of great ideas posted here by the mamas. Speak with your friend and see what she would feel comfortable with in terms of the type of celebration. Have fun and just do what would make your friend happy and make her feel loved, honored and excited about the new addition to her family.

What about a blessingway? It comes from an old Navaho tradition of honoring the MOTHER and her rite of passage, hers being becoming a mother of two. Mamas having a second child need blessing and support in abundance.
There are two really great books out on Blessingways, and there is tons of info out there on the internet.
Here's the thing; it doesn't have to be all woo-woo crystal spiritual. It can be a big pampering session for the mama. Give her a pedicure, each friend doing a different part (foot bath, massage, nail painting), or a manicure if the foot thing is too weird. Arrange child care so it is just adults, and indulge in the mama's favorite sweets. Everyone can bring her their favorite novel, or a candle, or a body lotion, or something that is just for HER. Gift certificates for child care so she can enjoy her baby-moon will be welcome, as will gift certificates for her favorite take-out.
Have everyone write her a letter and maybe read it aloud expressing their feelings for her.
Light candles and say a wish for her birth, her baby, her family.
There are many wonderful things you can do that don't involve the same old baby shower routine.
:-)

What is babybulletin?

Ms T

I agree with everyone here - no reason not to host a shower for baby number two, especially since she is having a girl. If the invitations indicate that you are welcoming a baby girl into the world, just about everyone will buy clothes, since they should know her well enough to know that she already has a son.

The only thing I think is tacky is when an invitation flat out states where she is registered. I know that most stores now give you pre-printed inserts for your invitations, but I still think it is telling the guests that they need to bring a gift purchased from a particular store. If one of the guests wants to know if and/or where the mommy has a registry, then they should ask the hostess when they RSVP. Just my opinion.

i would like to be on the record as *firmly* supporting second, third, fourth, fifth showers! if people don't like it, they can stay home and write letters to emily post or something.

i second the idea of a blessing way, which my sister-in-law threw for me when truman was on the way (and many lovely urbanmamas attended and "blessed"). i think the presents are not so important as the support for the birth, and showers, blessing ways, parties, whatever -- help engender that feeling of community support.

and yay for meals! i can't tell you how wonderful meals are. babysitting for older kids is also huge. my sister-in-law picked up everett several times during my first few weeks with truman and it was fantastic.

Thank you all for the great ideas and thoughts. I knew I would get good feedback and ideas from urbanMamas. I will talk to my friend and see what she wants to do. BabyBulletin is part of the BabyCenter website. I signed up when I was pregnant -- you get an email each week of pregnancy and also for the first year. After that there are periodic emails with parenting tidbits and “typical development milestones”, and there are forums, links to sales, a couple of blogs, etc. Pretty mainstream and I don't always agree with the info/advice (esp. from the forums of random web mamas), but I swear just as I think of a parenting topic/dilemma, I get an email about it.

http://www.babycenter.com/?scid=momstodd:20060710:2877:18724:8510

For the second baby, do something different! I put together a Spa Party for my friend having her second child. I had massages by a professional friend in one room, all set up peaceful and quiet. I had another friend doing facials. Then I had all the equiptment for us to give each other pedicures. There was also the activity in the kitchen, making those heat tubes, with some premade soft fabric tubes (one end left open to fill) rice and dried lavender and other dried herbs and needle and tread to close it up. It turned out really fun, and of course the friends brought gifts. (And people still tell me 4 years later how much fun they had!)

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