The baby shower - it's an event that can strike fear into the heart of the calmest of women. What are the best baby shower games? How exactly does one make a nappy cake? And where on this side of the universe do I get those tiny plastic babies?
Fear not - baby showers have evolved. You can go all out with a baby-themed event complete with traditional games, plan a relaxed baby shower afternoon tea, or do whatever feels right for you. And these days you can find whatever you need online - which saves you frantically running around town!
Who do I invite to the baby shower?
Traditionally, a shower has meant having female friends and family around for some girlie goodness. But many choose to have the whole family present. Another option is to have a small celebration dinner with family, and hold an event the next day where friends are invited. Dads are playing a much more involved role in baby care these days, so having men at a baby shower is a natural thing.
What food should I serve?
Generally, light finger-food is fine: club sandwiches, sandwiches, tiny savoury pastries, cupcakes, cheese platter and biscuits. If the event is in the afternoon - cakes, tea, coffee and drinks can be enough.
Take care not to serve foods that should be avoided whilst pregnant - such as soft cheeses, pate, soft-serve icecream, unwashed salads, undercooked meat and any type of sprout. If you have people coming from a long distance, serving a light lunch might be more suitable than simply serving afternoon tea.
Baby shower gifts
The gifts for baby showers are generally small items such as singlets, socks, booties, baby cutlery, bath products, baby towels and growsuits. If you're feeling creative, you can try your hand at making a 'bouquet' out of baby socks, or a 'cake' out of nappies/babywraps. If you've never seen a nappy cake, look here at a discussion about nappy cakes in the Essential Baby forums!
What games should we play?
Baby shower games are not essential - a baby shower can be anything you want it to be. But if the mum-to-be likes the popular games played at baby showers, there are plenty to choose from.
Common games include:
The string game (where guests guess the size of the mum-to-be's belly by cutting pieces of string)
The dirty nappy game (where bars of chocolate are melted into disposable nappies - with guests passing them around and guessing what type of chocolate bar was used for each 'dirty nappy')
Find the nappy pin (Blindfolded guests dig through bowls of rice and tiny nappy pins, trying to fetch all the nappy pins. Apparently difficult to do!)
Birth the baby (Tiny plastic babies are frozen into ice cubes and put into guests' drinks. The first 'baby' that melts out of the ice cube is declared 'born' and the guest owning the drink wins.)
Guess the sex (Similar to the above, pink or blue tiny plastic babies are frozen into ice cubes. The first baby to melt out of the ice cube is declared the sex that the mum-to-be will be having.)
Baby memory game (A tray of baby items - singlets, booties, rattle etc - is shown to guests. The tray is then covered, and guests have to write down as many items as possible that they saw. The winner lists the most items.)
For more game ideas, take a look at our article, Baby Shower Games.
Surviving a baby shower
If the baby shower is for you, be sure to let the ones organising it know what you like - or even help organise it yourself. Have the event that suits you!
Think about the people who will be coming, and what their needs are. Children need somewhere to play. Elderly people and babies especially need lots of shade if it's held outdoors in hot weather. If you're having games, you need an open area where the guests can comfortably sit and participate.
If it is being held in a restaurant or teahouse, it will need to be booked in advance.
If possible, hold the event somewhere other than the mum-to-be's home. That way, she doesn't need to be the one cleaning up before and after the event!
If you have been invited to a baby shower, go along with the expectations of celebrating the new life of a baby, rather than wanting to be entertained. If you've been finding yourself overrun with baby shower invitations, or if baby showers are 'not your thing' it's okay to politely let the organiser know you have something else planned for that day.
Join in discussion on Baby Showers in the Essential Baby forum Christenings & Showers.