Etiquette for Baby Showers

It is important to feel confident with your etiquette for baby showers. Even if you do not have children you will still want to enjoy these occasions and be sure that the mum-to-be is left in no doubt that you are a supportive friend.

The following tips tell you when, where and how a baby shower should be organised along with what to wear and how to buy a thoughtful, appropriate gift.

What is a Baby Shower?

A baby shower is a celebration of the imminent birth of a child, whereby friends come together for a few hours to present gifts to the mum-to-be; it is usually organised by a close friend.

Traditionally etiquette for baby showers states that a lady only receives a baby shower with her first child, but times have changed and it is now quite normal for a mum-to-be to receive a baby shower for each baby, especially if she knows the new addition is of a different gender.

What about Adopted Babies/Children?

It is quite normal and lovely for an adopted child to receive the same welcome into the family, although it is wise to ensure the adoption has been fully completed before arranging the shower.

If the child is a little older it can be nice to include them and hold a welcoming party which is similar to a birthday party, but you should let them settle in for a few weeks first before holding this so that they do not feel overwhelmed.

Where should the baby shower be held?

A baby shower can be held in a variety of places and usually lasts for about two hours. Typical venues include:

Host's Home


Tea Room

Community Room

Church Social Hall

When should the baby shower be held?

It is good etiquette for baby showers to hold the party about two to three months before the mother's due date. Any closer than this can be risky if the baby decides to put in an early appearance!

Holding the party a few months before means the mum-to-be has the opportunity to assess what gifts she has received and purchase any further items well in advance of the birth, as well as send out her thank you notes. It also means she should have more energy to enjoy the party before she is too exhausted in the final weeks.

You may also want to bear in mind the timing of the baby shower if the mum is experiencing a difficult pregnancy. It may be more appropriate to wait until after the birth to ensure everything goes smoothly and to throw a welcome home baby shower party instead. 

What Gift's should be Bought?

It is the host’s responsibility to demonstrate good etiquette for baby showers by co-ordinating the gifts so that mum does not get two of the same item. Much like a wedding, baby shower gift lists are often made by the mum-to-be and registered at a local baby store.

Whether the mum-to-be knows the gender of the baby will determine how easy this task is, but even if she has chosen not to find out, she will know the style of the nursery, whether she plans to breast feed and the types of nappies/diapers she will use.

Sometimes the baby shower will have a theme i.e. nursery items and this should be stated on the invite. However, do not feel obliged to purchase something from the gift registry, you can take any creative gift that you desire; the more thought you put into it the better.

If the mum-to-be already has a child then she may have everything she needs, in which case the gathering can be a less formal get together in her honor. In this situation it is a nice touch to take a personal pampering gift for the mum.

When should Baby Shower Invitations be sent?

The baby shower invitations should be sent about a month prior to the shower, six weeks if there are guests travelling some distance. The RSVP should be sent two weeks before.

It is perfectly acceptable etiquette for baby showers to send your invites via email or just by phone.

If you do decide to send formal invites then these can be as expensive or inexpensive as you wish ranging from personalised stationery to buying pre-designed “fill in the blank” invitations from a card shop.

Whichever invite method you choose, it should contain the following information:

  • Mum-To-Be's Name
  • Date & Time
  • Host's Name & Contact Details
  • Address of the Venue & a Map
  • RSVP preference
  • Any theme for the Baby Shower
  • Gift Registry Information
  • Sex of the Baby, if known

Example Baby Shower Invitation Wording

Graham and Julia’s baby is on the way!

Let’s get them prepared for the big day!

You’re invited to a Baby Shower!

18 June @ 3 pm

48 Grove Lane London SW3 8HJ

RSVP to Emma Jones 09996 789899

Julia is registered at Mothercare 

You’re invited to a Baby Shower


Julia Jones

Saturday April 14th 3pm

Tea and Cake

48 Grove Lane London SW3 8HJ

RSVP to Emma Jones 09996 789899

Julia is registered at John Lewis 

You could also include a poem on your invite: 

A bundle of joy

is on its way

So please reserve

this special day!

Be it a boy or a girl,

we simply can’t say....

But let’s shower mommy

before her delivery day!

We are tickled pink & happy to say ...

And finally, what should you wear?

There is no formal dress code for a baby shower but traditionally ladies should wear something relaxed but smart e.g. a linen trouser suit, a day dress or a skirt and top. If you are in any doubt then check with the host.

Other Special Event Etiquette to learn on this site:

Funeral Service Etiquette

Engagement Party Etiquette

Entertaining Etiquette

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The Author, Emma Dupont, runs various courses in London during the year.

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