Your baby shower etiquette questions answered

Everything you've ever wanted to know - from the right gift to who actually organises it...
  • We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.
  • If you know someone who is pregnant - be it a friend, colleague, or family member - or, are pregnant yourself, a baby shower may well be on the horizon.

    Though previously thought to be a more popular tradition in the US, baby showers have boomed in the UK in recent years – with estimates that two thirds of expectant British mums have planned a baby shower.

    The modern baby shower is said to have begun in the late 1940s and 1950s, with post-war women, carrying children who would later be referred to as those born in the ‘Baby Boom’.

    MORE: Our baby shower gift guide edit

    Typically, a baby shower was regarded as a way of both celebrating the upcoming new arrival, and gifting the expectant parents with everything they might need for their new baby. In the past, it has typically been seen as a women-only event, but in recent years, they have opened up to more guests.

    So what do you need to know if you’re attending, or considering throwing a baby shower? We answer all of your need-to-know baby shower etiquette questions…

    What happens at a baby shower?

    Generally, most baby showers entail everything you may have seen in the movies – gift giving, game playing, and eating and drinking.

    The organiser can create special baby-themed food and drink for the event – such as these new baby cupcakes, or these brilliant baby shower food ideas, including some adorable baby vest cookies!

    Recently, a trend which sees people with elaborate photograph backdrops has also emerged, so some events often involve taking lots of memorable pictures that the parents can keep forever.

    Guests may share stories of their own births, pregnancies and children too, as an insight for the new parents.

    When should you have a baby shower?

    Typically, they are held roughly four to six weeks before the due date. This is because, at this point, the pregnancy is far enough along that holding the shower won’t ‘jinx’ anything with the baby’s arrival, but the mother is (hopefully) not due so soon that the baby might arrive at or just before the shower!

    Who organises and pays for a baby shower?

    The traditional idea is that the mother (or father) don’t organise and pay for their own baby shower. The thought behind it is that the parents community ‘shower’ them with gifts and support, and so generally, the shower is organised and paid for by someone other than the expectant parents.

    baby shower

    Credit: Getty Images

    Baby showers can be organised by just about anyone – mums and sisters may take over the planning if their daughter or sibling is having a baby.

    Or, some are organised by work colleagues or friends. In fact, having more than one ‘baby shower’ (read: celebration), with different groups of loved ones is not uncommon at all.

    What do you take to a baby shower?

    It is expected that if you are attending a baby shower, you bring along a gift for either mother or baby.

    Depending on the organiser’s preference too, you could also bring along some food and drink – but perhaps no alcohol, given the circumstances!

    How much should you spend on a baby shower?

    How much to spend on the present depends on your own budget, how much you are comfortable spending, and likely, how well you know the person who is expecting. You may be happy to spend more for a sister or close friend, or keen to spend a little less if you don’t the person as well.

    Jodi Campbell, an event planner and mum-of-two, said that it is normal to spend between £20 – £40 on a baby shower gift. But this is just a guide – you may want/need to spend more or less.

    MORE: Baby name meanings: What does my name mean?

    So what could you buy for a baby shower? You can find a huge range of baby shower gift ideas here. It may depend on whether the person who is pregnant is welcoming their first child or not. Typically, new mums will need more ‘stuff’ to prepare for their baby – a changing table, baby clothes, bibs, etc. But, if your loved one has already had children – and is expected their second or third for example – they may not need all of that, and instead use the things they had from their first child. It’s worth bearing these sorts of things in mind.

    If you’re after baby presents though, this super practical and handy nappy disposal bin could be a godsend. Or, this adorable bunny comforter is a lovely gift for any newborn. A moses basket could also be a brilliantly welcome gift for a new mum too.

    Of course, most guests bring along a present for the baby to a shower. But there’s no reason why you can’t bring along a present for the mother if you want – in fact, it may be exactly what they need.

    Credit: Getty Images

    Any stressed out new mummy would likely welcome this destressing, on-the-go Neom set, which comes with a stress relief pulse point product, and a luxury body oil for a bit of pampering. There’s also this £12 Sanctuary Spa kit specifically for new mums, with everything she might need to take care of herself in the weeks and months after giving birth.

    Some people even register for gifts for their new baby – if they have, it’s a great idea to follow their lead here.

    Should you send a baby shower present if you can’t attend the event?

    There is no obligation to send a gift if you are unable to attend the event. But there’s also no reason you shouldn’t if you feel like you want to.

    If you are sending a present and not attending, it’s a good idea to send it or deliver it ahead of the baby shower, so the expectant parents have it in time.

    You could also send a thoughtful card in your absence, letting the couple know you are thinking of them even though you can’t be at the shower. Here’s what to write in a baby shower card.

    Do fathers go to a baby shower?

    Typically, baby showers are women-only events, with the father traditionally popping in at the end of the event to thank guests. However – there is no reason why yours can’t involve all of your loved ones – male or female. There are no hard and fast rules – if you’re throwing a baby shower, just be sure to check in with the expectant mum about who she wants to attend.

    Should you drink alcohol at a baby shower?

    This depends entirely on the person having the baby. Normally, baby showers are alcohol free, in order to respect the fact that the expectant mother can’t drink. However, if the person who is pregnant is happy for others to enjoy a glass of wine while they go booze-free, then go ahead – just make sure to go easy!

    To help make the occasion fun for the mum-to-be, why not whip up some alcohol-free cocktails too, that everyone can enjoy? We love this elderflower mocktail recipe, great for a sunny day, or this citrus passion cocktail, that can be served with booze or without.

    Are you planning a baby shower soon? Or, are you welcoming a baby soon and looking forward to your own baby shower?