Showering a Baby

Have you ever thrown a baby? Me neither, but my cousins do it all the time at family reunions and it freaks me out. I have thrown multiple baby showers so a friend who’s about to throw their first shower recently asked me for help and ideas.

So, here are the basic steps of a shower:

1. Compile a guest list — Invite people you and the mother-to-be will actually enjoy spending time with. I honestly don’t think the promise of more gifts is worth inviting the annoying coworker who spends a good portion of her time making fat jokes behind your pregnant friend’s back and taking bites out of her sandwich in the lunchroom. If the shower is not a surprise, definitely get the list directly from the showeree.

2. Pick a date — Call the most important guests in advance and find a date when you’re sure they’ll be able to come. I’ve had to reschedule showers in the past because we planned everything, invited the guests and NO ONE could make it on that date. Ask around first.

3. Choose a location — Personally if I’m hosting a shower, I like to do it at my home, as long as the guest list is small enough. I don’t believe you should ever have to pay for the location to host a baby shower. If your guest list is truly huge, make friends with a millionaire and host it at their house.

4. Invite guests — I’ve done everything from hand-delivered homemade cards to mailed invitations to e-vites. Personally I like the mailed invitations the best. It’s just fun to get some good mail every once in a while. It’s also a fun keepsake for the baby book. In addition, I like to send out an evite as a reminder and to keep track of RSVPs.

5. Plan some activities — There’s a big debate in the baby shower world over games, activities and favors. You’re not in on this hotbed of violent discussion? Count yourself lucky. I’ve been to showers with no fewer than 10 games, showers where the game-nazi host literally yells at everyone to stop talking every time some spontaneous fun is initiated because it’s time to start the next game. This gets obnoxious. I tend to be of the “less is more” camp when it comes to planning every second of the shower.

A game or two really does help to break the ice, especially when you’ve got a group of people who don’t know each other very well. Have a couple of emergency activities up your sleeve in case the conversation doesn’t seem to be going well, but if people are having fun on their own, let em go and don’t be offended that you didn’t make it through your whole agenda.

As for party favors, I could take them or leave them but I do think there should be little presents for the winners if you have a game. Anyone have any thoughts on this?

6. Organize food — Regardless of what time of day you have the shower, you’re gonna need to feed these ladies. Your choices range anywhere from a bowl of dried prunes thrown out on the table (very good for regularity) to a full catered meal. I tend to opt for small finger foods, something sweet (Mini brownie bites with a dab of whip cream and a raspberry on top are nice.), something salty (I tend to go with a fabulous and easy crustless quiche recipe I have that’s always a hit.), some fruit (A fruit tray can be really spiced up with a nice dip. One of the best dips I know is just a small jar of marshmallow cream whipped with a tub of strawberry cream cheese. Delicious!), and maybe a veggie tray. If you plan to go the luncheon route, croissant sandwiches are always a good option combined with a simple salad and dessert. For drinks I nearly always go all out and add sliced lemon to ice water. (I know. Oooo and Awww!)

7. Get Decorations — Now again, I say go easy. My favorite baby shower decoration is a rope with cute little baby clothes clipped on with clothespins. Place this across the mantle or some other prominent place, put a few bunches of helium balloons in strategic places and a simple tablecloth on the table and you’re good. If you want to go the extra mile, buy a bouquet of brightly colored fresh flowers to put on the food table, along with some white candles. You can use really inexpensive white plates, napkins and cutlery, no need to get all cutesy with the baby-face-engraved Chinette.

8. Party Party Party

Lastly I’d like to share a couple of games that can be fun.

-One of my favorites may be sick and wrong if you think too hard about it but it’s always been a hit. You buy tiny plastic babies from a party supply store and then freeze them in ice cubes. Once everyone’s arrived, explain that whoever’s baby is “born”/unfrozen first, wins the game. This game’s fun because everyone’s getting to know each other while holding their drink and keeping an eye on their baby. Very low maintenance.

-There’s the old standard strip-jars-of-baby-food-naked-and-try-to-guess-what-flavor-they-are game. This has many variations where you can allow the guests to smell, touch or even taste the food. I have found no sanitary or pleasant way to do this last version so I’d advise against it.

-Hand out a quiz as guests are coming in with multiple choice questions about the pregnancy, possible names for the baby and other interesting facts about the mom and baby to be. Whoever gets the most answers right wins. I like to put at least one totally ridiculous answer with each question. People chuckle over it and it gets them talking as they fill in their answers.

Be sure to have someone record the gifts and who they all came from so your guest of honor can write thank you notes.

I’d love your input. What makes a good shower? Do you have any memorable baby shower activities or experiences you’d like to share?

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39 Responses to Showering a Baby

  1. Perfect tips! I am more of a mingle kind of person, but a good game here and there can be a lot of fun. My favorite is the memory Concentration one where you match a candy bar to a pregnancy tidbit and then you win that candy. For example, contractions would match with Whoppers. Amniocentesis would match with a Whatchmacallit.

  2. motomom says:

    Great tips! I’d just like to add… after someone has gone to all the trouble of planning this special event don’t have the baby on the day of your shower. My sistere-in-law did this with her first. We pushed it back a week and it all worked out fine, but come on hold that baby in and have some fun!

  3. Melissa says:

    We did a fun game where we had the mom to be bring in a tray with a bunch of baby items on it… bottles, powder, wipes… all kinds of things. Everyone had 30 seconds to look at the tray then the mom to be took it out. After that we didn’t ask about items on the tray, we asked what color of shirt the mom to be was wearing… was she wearing any jewelry… when’s the due date… it was a great way to throw people off! 🙂

  4. SM says:

    Wonderful post and real helpful.I’ve been to a couple of baby showers and I think they were fun for the mother to be and us.
    Erm..I think the first line of the post should read ‘Have you ever thrown a baby SHOWER’.

  5. Actually, I did mean “throw a baby”. It was an attempt at humor. Tee hee hee.

  6. julie says:

    Themes! I love a theme party. If you know how the mother is decorating the nursery go with it. My girlfriend’s husband is a real baseball freak so everything at the shower revolved around that. Peanuts, Crackerjacks, popcorn, little wiener dogs in that yummy sauce. You get the idea. Everyone loved it and it was fun.

  7. Melessa says:

    My friend brought in a big doll and made everyone guess how long it would take me to dress it, change it’s diaper, and pack a diaper bag. Once the guesses were written, she set a timer and put me to work. The person with the closest guess for each task won a prize and the person with the closest time overall also won. It sounds lame when I type it up, but it was really fun.

  8. Rachelle says:

    A great game for people who can handle it – pass around a baby doll and have people put baby powder somewhere on the doll and to try to remember where other people put it. Then do the game again, but this time they have to put the powder on the person next to them in the same place the person next to them put it on the baby. So if their neighbor put it on the baby’s chest, they put it on their neighbor’s chest. Hilarious!

  9. kittyhox says:

    What a fun post!

    I just wanted to share the cute decoration my cousin created for my baby shower. She hung a cute umbrella over the table, open. Then she tied balloons and ribbons from the open umbrella on short, decorative ribbons. It’s hard to describe. But it was SO cute and perfect for a “shower.”

    My favorite shower menu is: little tea sandwiches, fruit salad, veggie tray, lemonade, fancy water (like you said, w/lemon), petit fours, and chocolate covered strawberries.

    Fun stuff!

  10. Pam in Utah says:

    I went to a baby shower once where they had about 8 baby diapers with various kinds of melted chocolate bars in them, and everyone guessed (by sniffing and looking) what kind of candy bar they were. Winner got a prize. 🙂 Pretty funny, actually. And I’m a fan of a game or two and then visiting as well!

  11. sarah k. says:

    For the baby food tasting, I once went to a shower where they had bought a package of those tiny spoons ice-cream shops use to give samples. They just gave each person about 10, and passed the jar around. Once you use a spoon, you toss it and use a new spoon for the next jar.

    My SIL just had a shower and instead of games, she had little craft stations so people could mill around and choose their activity. She also hand-made cute toothpicks out of sculpey for the hors d’ouvres.

  12. sarah k. says:

    Here’s a link to her preparations, and here’s a link to shower day.

  13. sarah k. says:

    Woo Hooo! I did it right. You should at least go look at the pictures of the food, and then go make yourself some cute tea sandwiches, cause you’ll be hungry.

  14. Angela says:

    So, I’ve been to two showers in the last month, and then had one thrown at me last week. My almost-4 year old said “Why do you have to go THERE for a shower, we have two bathrooms here…”

    None of these showers had games, and I kind of liked it. Not to be a party pooper or anything, but just to say no games isn’t bad either. However, the COOLEST THING EVER that my friend did at my shower, was pass around a basket with envelopes and had everyone there write their address on the envelopes. When I left, she handed me a package of cards and already addressed envelopes. Since this is my 3rd child, saving me a trip to the store to even buy cards, and then having the envelopes addressed was the best gift EVER.

  15. Big Mama says:

    I went to a shower once where we played, “Guess what’s in the diaper”. There were several diapers that had each had a different melted chocolate candy bar in them and you had to try to guess which one was what. It was almost enough to make me give up Snickers forever.

    I wish I were kidding.

  16. Jenelle says:

    I vote no games, and I agree that less is more. Most of the women I know lead busy lives. If I were to ask them to spend time away from their families and other responsibilities to celebrate someone’s new baby, I just feel like I wouldn’t want them to waste their time playing froo-froo games. Most ladies just want a little time to chat and enjoy each others’ company, not play games guessing whether the baby food they are smelling matches the blob on her sleeve leftover from feeding her child before coming to the shower. My friend is throwing a shower for me in a couple of weeks (my first baby), and I specifically asked for no games. She seemed so relieved. Not to mention I have a few coworkers coming after we’ve all put in a long day at the office, who don’t have any kids. I don’t think it would appeal to them much to smell a diaper with fake poo inside.

    One thing I did see at a shower I thought was a good idea if this is your thing is have a table set up with scrapbooking materials and paper. Those who want, while mingling, can sit down and doll up a scrapbook page for baby-to-be. All mom does is add the pictures afterward (once baby is born). For people like me who don’t enjoy scrapbooking but like the finished product, this could be a fun keepsake without all the work. Just an idea.

    Also, as this is my first baby, I may not be in the loop. But I always thought a shower was for only your first baby with the idea that you have nothing and people want to help you out with getting set up. But it seems very common for people to have showers now with *every* baby. This results in receiving multiple invites requiring multiple evenings spent at multiple showers where multiple presents are bestowed. Any ideas on the “why” behind showers for every baby?

  17. Shalee says:

    I went to a shower where the guests wrote down names for the “yet to be born” baby. Obviously this would flop if the baby was already alive and kicking and well… named. That would be like someone saying, “We don’t like the name you picked so here are some others.” Bad idea…

    I also went to a couples baby shower (men invited) where they played an interesting game. The couples wrapped one arm around each other’s waist and with the hands that were free, they tried to pull off a diaper and re-diaper a doll as fast as they can. It’s hilarious and fun.

    And although I’m not throwing any showers anytime soon, I will be having a sleepover soon for my daughter’s 11th birthday. Do you have any suggestions on getting them to sleep before the crack of dawn or better yet how to keep them from giggling so much that I can get to sleep before then? For the rest of it, I’m just going to throw them lots of food and lock the door…

  18. Millie says:

    This isn’t really anything that the hostess can control, but good to remember if you’re a guest: Watch it with the birth stories around the uninitiated. We had some young unmarried and young newlywed women at the last shower I went to and we find ourselves having to stifle ourselves with labor horror stories, alternative methods for bringing on labor, stretch marks, nursing, hemorrhoids, growing body parts, new food allergies, etc. that I think have these women thinking twice before they’ll ever decide to give birth.

    I love the baby-in-ice-cubes idea. That is adorable. Sick, yes. But also adorable.

  19. Millie says:

    I just thought of this too: if you play that game where you give everyone a safety pin and tell them that they can’t cross their legs during the party or someone can take their safety pin away and then the guest with the most safety pins at the end of the party wins a prize…. you could also do this with the “labor” topic. If anyone is caught talking about it, someone else gets to take their safety pin. 🙂

  20. Mary C says:

    I LOVE Angela’s idea about having the envelopes addressed for the mommy to make the thank you notes easier. Very thoughtful!

    And to throw my 2 cents in for Jenelle’s question: typically it IS only 1 shower per mother. With my first child (a girl), I was thrown 3 different showers! One at work, and 2 from different groups of friends- church friends, my friends, my mom’s friends…everyone was invited.

    With my 2nd child-a boy- my best friend wanted to throw me a baby shower just for boy-ish things since I had all pink stuff. Only about 10 people were invited-only my nearest and dearest. So, i don’t know if it’s like that everywhere, but that’s why I was given a shower for each child.

    In the south, almost everyone has a monogrammed silver baby cup. My mom and I threw a shower and used several different silver cups, silver rattles, and silver teething rings to set around the flowers as the centerpiece. We also got baby pictures of the mommy-to-be and scattered them throughout the party rooms.

    I know this is long, but 1 more idea: instead of games, a fun thing we did at my friend’s shower (for her 2nd!) was decorate white onsies. We bought a bunch of onsies in different sizes and lots of iron on letters and appliques and each guest came in at some point during the party and made a onsie. They turned out really cute.

  21. jodijean says:

    well i just had a baby and 4 (yes 4, too many people love me) baby showers.

    i love writing down envelopes with addresses, it makes it soo much easier to write thank-yous especially with a newborn.

    my favorite game was my friend took my husband and asked him 10 questions and video taped it. i know, they usually do this for bridal shwoers. but it was hilarious. questions like “how many diapers will you have to change a day?” and “when does the umbilical cord fall off” (to which my hubby replied never) “what was jodi’s craving?” etc. his answers were hillarious b/c apparently he knew nothing about babies, so it was a fun game for me too.

  22. Erin Marie says:

    I just went to a shower where all of us were so busy talking we didn’t play any of the games that were planned. It was by far the funnest shower I’ve been to. And not cuz there were no games. 🙂 I’m one of those people who enjoy the games.

    I threw a shower for a friend which was fun even though there was only two people besides me and the pregnant lady. We played Baby Pictionary – which everyone enjoyed. Most of the tome however was spent looking through a baby names book. For the prizes, I bought some cute bottles from the dollar store and filled them with candy (although you can fill them with anything).

  23. Farm Wife says:

    I threw my sister’s baby shower last fall. She’s not a “baby shower” kind of gal & her husband is a rocker, so it was a Rock ‘n Roll themed shower. We held it in an antique car show room owned by a friend of the family, served tea sandwiches, sugar cookies, cake, and Cokes. The invites were drawn up by another friend of the family (a duck napping on an amplifier with a guitar leaning against it) and read like a concert poster. We played 2 games- Baby Name Boggle (make as many words as you can out of “baby’s” name- mark off the ones that match up with the mom to be’s- and whoever has the most in the end, wins), and Famous Baby Name or Independant Band Name (a long list of crazy celebrity baby names intermixed with independant band names- everyone guesses baby or band & the person with the most correct, wins).

    As for prizes, I’m one for things the person who wins the games gets to keep. I’ve been to LOTS of showers where if you win, they give you a bottle to unwrap that you then have to give to the mom to be. I hate that. I want the prize! But then I’m self centered like that.

    Good Luck!

  24. Farm Wife says:

    Oh, and I forgot to mention the temporary tatoos we let the guests wear. That was a big hit.

  25. jk2boys says:

    Here’s my novel on baby showers:

    wise words from another comment, don’t push the games, but use as needed. To break the ice or for something to do if talking has died down. Or if people start hinting they want to play…Here’s lots of ideas:
    -unscramble baby words
    -how big around is prego Mom’s tummy (if prego Mom is ok with this) use string or yarn and cut a length. My sister and I had a double shower and we measured back to back. It was fun. Hey, if it’s a co-ed shower, measure her and her hubby!!
    -baby animals (some duh ones [dog=puppy, goat=kid] and some creative ones [deer=fawn, goose=gosling] I’m sure there’s harder ones too. Elephant=calf fox=kit? do some research.
    -safety pins in rice blindfolded with timer
    -guess baby food (we just did it by looking only, just make sure you number them and the label as you take it off.
    -guess the number of jelly beans in the baby bottle
    -the price is right for baby items, then let the mom-to-be keep the items.

    -travel lotions, candles, note pads, grocery lists with magnets (I love these) Put them all in a basket and let winners pick one. My sister won almost every game at my shower, so you might want to make a rule about winning multiple times, or just get lots of prizes and award 1st and 2nds. Or ??? whatever.

    DYM, did you know you were going to start a debate?? Hopefully a friendly debate, but here’s my thoughts on second+ baby showers:
    Try to keep in mind it’s not always the mother-to-be’s idea. Sometimes it’s a well meaning friend.
    I was given a surprise party for my second boy (my friend is from Peru and they have partys ANYTIME you can think of a reason to do so).
    Many people didn’t come. I don’t know what they thought about me…
    After thinking about it, I think typically, only really close friends and family should be invited. BUT this can be hard because if you don’t invite someone because they might not approve of second showers, they might be mad at you for not inviting them too??
    And there are always some people (like me)……who like going to showers, no matter what baby number they are on.
    It’s NOT just for the mom-to-be. I like having an excuse to shop in the baby dept. and buy something extremely cute or useful. I don’t think anyone is begging for gifts. It’s just fun to give. You can always choose not to go, but please don’t get offended for being invited, they just don’t want you to feel left out either. It’s just a party.
    Oh and I love the chicken/grape salad on croissants (I have a recipe if you need one). Cut croissants in half so people don’t have to take a whole one unless they want to. Some fresh fruit and veggies, chips, 7 layer bean dip, ice water with lemon/lime ice wreath (oooohhh). I usually forget the ice wreath, but it’s a fun idea.
    If you have some close friends, ask them if they could help with making the food. They could come to your house and chat while preparing it all (why do it all yourself if you don’t have to, they’d probably love to help).
    And the envelopes you have the guests write their name and address on, brilliant! And so nice for a tired prego or new mom.
    Ok, I’m done for now. whew! Can you tell I get excited about this topic? I think it can be so much fun. Love it!
    Can I come?

  26. Jessica says:

    As for the 1 shower per mother thing, I have heard that often, with the possible exception being if you are having a child of the opposite sex. However, I think it is fun to celebrate every baby. So the best idea for those who are having baby number 2, 3, 4, etc is to have a simple luncheon. We have done this for lots of ladies out here (and I have a had a couple done for me). Usually it is just to meet to go out to eat somewhere and then you could specify no gifts or usually the gifts are pretty simple, no pressure. Also, this would be good if you didn’t like the idea of games, or you could just do one or two quick simple games. It is also really easy on the person organizing it, no decorating or preparing food. You could bring in some balloons, flowers, or favors, if you like though.
    I really like the typical full-blown showers for first-time moms, but like I said, I think this is a fun way to celebrate each baby after. Plus its just a fun excuse to go out to eat with girlfriends (which I love to do!).

  27. In my last neighborhood, everyone got a shower for every baby. Here, only the first one. I’m willing to go either way. I think every baby deserves to have its own special blankies and new clothes. I think if the mom’s willing to have the party and a friend wants to throw it, why not?

  28. Deborah says:

    Last year my friend gave me the best baby shower ever. It was an “open house” type of shower where people could show up anytime during the shower. It was great because people could spend as much or as little time at the shower as they wanted.

    I have never really enjoyed the games at baby showers, so the other great thing was that there were NO STUPID GAMES!. However there were fun activities for people to do while they were at the shower (and of course, good food). For example, we had white onesies of various sizes for people to decorate with stamps, paint, and markers. They were so cute, and I got to keep all the onesies, and remember who gave them to me.

    It was nice to have a less-stressful, less-structured shower because I actually got to visit with most of my guests one-on-one. Plus, no one felt like they were required to hang around for the entire time. I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone!

  29. KYouell says:

    Fave game (because it’s the only one I ever won?):
    Pass around scissors and a ball of cotton twine and try to cut a length that goes around the mom without any excess. Everyone laughed at me because they thought I was flattering my friend, but I only overlapped by 1/2 inch. So there! Of course, when it was my turn to be the showeree my aunt cut one that wrapped around me 3 times. Anyway, it’s simple, funny, and gets people talking. I suppose you could use something cute like ribbon too, but the cotton twine was nice and soft. I think the safety pin game Millie was talking about was fun too. We did it with the word “baby” but as a first-time pregger I would have rather that it was done around the topic of breastfeeding (as in you lose all your pins and can’t play anymore if you say “cracked ni**les” — shudder!).

    Like Jenelle I also thought that showers were only for the 1st baby, so was surprised when I found out the grandmas were planning on surprising me with one during my second pregnancy. Let me just say this clearly: DO NOT SURPRISE THE PREGNANT WOMAN! Do you know for sure the last time she was able to get her hair cut and buy some cute clothes that actually fit and are comfy so she’ll like looking back at the photos? And do you know what’s giving her heartburn this week? Surprise parties during pregnancy are bad, bad, bad if you ask me. Also, if the first child is going to have surgery 2 months before the new baby is due, DO NOT SCHEDULE THE SHOWER FOR THE “EMPTY” MONTH IN BETWEEN THE TWO EVENTS. You would think that his grandmas would have a clue, but apparently they were blinded by the fun of shopping for pink items.

    Our compromise (so that people could still have an excuse to buy pink things, because that is apparently what motivated this whole shower) was to agree to a “welcome baby” bbq after things have quieted down (May? June?). This means that the 1st kid and the men won’t be excluded either. Heck, it would be more fun to make the guys sniff candy bars melted into diapers anyway. 😉

    Of course it does not mean that the grandmas have not casually dropped of enough pink clothing to do a full-sized load already.

  30. Nancy says:

    A couple of games that I haven’t seen mentioned…

    – the string cutting game w/a twist – you have the guests guess & cut how much string will go around the mom-to-be and then after they’ve all got their pieces you tell them it’s to go around the mom’s chest.

    – put small, new baby items (nail clippers, pacifier, bottle brush, etc) into socks (one item per sock) and lay them out on the floor. Guests have to take off their shoes and go around feeling the filled socks with their stocking feet and try to guess what’s in each sock. When it’s over the mom-to-be gets to keep all the items.

    – Ask for 3 volunteers and then give them each a baby bottle filled with water. The first one to drink all the water in their bottle is the winner!

  31. Poppa2B says:

    WOW! I’ve never been to a shower but after reading all this I get the idea that it’s almost anything goes just as long as the mother to be has a good time and the guests don’t get board. I like DYM’s idea of less is more (K.I.S.S.) sounds like the way to go.
    I haven’t read anything about what the father to be is suppose to do during the party, especially if there aren’t any other guys that show up. If I had to spend a few hours at a party where I’m the only guy I’d end up wearing a diaper, drooling and using words like, “Ma-pallow” and “Wook.”
    The BBQ idea sounds pretty good.

  32. Poppa2B says:

    Just had an idea for a game. Have a game where the mother to be reads the baby word and the guests guess (ouch) what the word is. Ma-pallow means marshmellow, Wook means Look, Dare means there…

  33. SM says:

    oops! My bad! i am kinda dense these days.Sorry!

  34. Katherine says:

    I guess this is more of an activity, but it can be fun like a game — at my shower the host had everyone write a piece of advice for the baby. As in “this is what you need to know to survive / live / thrive in the Daring family”. So, people could be sentimental, sarcastic or just down right silly! Lots of fun, and she used cute paper so they were ready to go in a scrapbook. To make it more like a game – I got to pick my favorite piece of advice, and that person won a prize.

  35. Candace says:

    How about a diaper cake? It is for decoration and is way to cute. I have a picture I will post on my blog if you want to look at it.

    As for the debate about showers I think every baby should be celebrated so even if you don’t have a “shower” have a party!!!

  36. The thing that makes a baby shower for me is NO GAMES! Please don’t make me work beyond properly alternating my oooh! with my aaah!

  37. jane says:

    I like the decorate diapers with Sharpies activity– with funny things to make the mom or dad laugh when they are changing diapers. I’ve also heard of nursery rhyme pictionary, I think that could be a fun one too, depending on the crowd.

  38. Amy says:

    I second the diaper cake. My BF gave me one at my shower – something like 196 size 2 diapers. A God send…

  39. Deborah Godfrey says:

    At my daughter’s first baby shower, we also played the game where we paired up; the person on the right could only use her right hand; the person on the left could only use the left hand. we had to diaper and fully dress the baby doll. We laughed until we cried! I think it was more fun than any shower game I have ever played. I believe a shower should be a total exhilarating experience! Laughter is so good for the soul!

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