Have you ever wondered for yourself or on behalf of a pregnant friend: Should there be a baby shower for the second (or third, fourth, so on) child? What’s the proper protocol or etiquette? Are friends and family tired of feeling obligated to buy yet another gift for the same family? And based on my 60-second perusal of my Google results for, “baby showers for the second child,” apparently this is not only a very popular question, but also a question that solicits A LOT of opinions. Some people consider it “tacky” or “greedy,” while others think it’s fine when it’s for a different gender than the other child(ren), or when the children are many years apart.
Between our large families and generous workplaces and loving friends, we were graciously given multiple showers for our first child. Yes, the gifts certainly helped as we were beginning our family, but what remains most memorable is the tangible memory of each of those events when friends and loved ones gathered together. I picture the homes we were in or the people who were there, and I am grateful that a host of people wanted to welcome our first child with us.
When I was pregnant with our second child, I was so busy working and chasing around our toddler that the 40 weeks went by in a flash. Additionally, while I was pregnant, two close friends had in-utero tragedies and I wanted to be sensitive to their pain, not to mention the difficulty of other people we knew who struggled with infertility. No one offered a shower for our second child, and I wasn’t going to suggest one. Yet, after he was born, I felt like we had missed an opportunity to celebrate his arrival, even if we did so sans presents. Three months after he was born, we hosted a “Sip and See” at our home and requested that no one bring gifts. We wanted to have a chance to share with friends and family the gift of our son. Looking back, I am so thankful that we chose to do this because it marked a significant moment in our family that was worth recognizing and celebrating.
Are you thinking about one for yourself or a friend and need some ideas? Consider these options:
- Baby sprinkle: Apparently, this new trend is a smaller version of a baby shower, with a more limited guest list and smaller ticket items on the registry, if there is one at all.
- Sip and see: After the child arrives, invites guests to ooh and ahh over those cute baby cheeks and little feet. You request no gifts or choose to have them.
- Charitable shower: Some parents feel so fortunate that they would rather the gifts go to those that may not have baby showers. Choose a charity you love that works with families and children, ask for its wish list for in-kind items, and folks can donate with cash or in-kind gifts (you could even make a registry for this.) Alternately, the expecting parents may choose to donate money to a charity themselves instead of also asking guests to contribute.
- Keepsake shower: Get out the sharpies and hot glue and make something meaningful for the new baby. Guests can write letters to the parents or the baby, or sign a baby book, or frame, or make a square for a quilt. I’m sure Pinterest will have you covered on this one.
- Specific item shower: Choose one item that guests can bring.
- Books for Baby: Invest in the library for the newest child with a favorite book from each guests and have them personalize it with a note in the front cover.
- Stock the diaper caddy or freezer: Less than the newest baby gadget, what parents need are more diapers or food in the freezer.
- Contribute towards a gift card: Have the organizer collect cash (this works great in an office setting) and give the parents a gift card where they can purchase items they need.
- Keep it simple options – Let’s be honest, having children makes for a busy life and the last thing anyone needs is something else to complicate it. Keep it super simple and have a family-friendly get together in the backyard and grill some hot dogs and blow some bubbles, or ask some friends to lunch simply to mark the occasion. This does not need to be complicated in the least.
Remember, the celebration should be about the gift of life, and the joy of the life of that particular child and not about material items that you won’t need in a year. SO, my personal answer to the question of whether or not to celebrate the birth or adoption of a child, I heavily lean towards YES. Find the way to do it that is most authentic to you and your family. (Or, if you’re the one hosting it, the way your friend desires.) Ultimately, marking life’s brief moments are always worth doing.