Minding Your Modern Manners: All About Today’s Baby Celebration Etiquette

It’s finally happening.

Showers, christenings and more – all these celebrations are special and emotionally-charged, and they have evolved in many ways. If you want to make sure everyone at your event is comfortable and having fun, here are some things to keep in mind.

You Should Wait To Be Invited

Whether or not you send out formal invitations, keep in mind your guests will need to know either way. With social media so popular now, many people set up a Facebook event and invite people that way. You don’t want people dropping in without warning, though, so you might also want to drop invites out in the mail and set up an RSVP for the event.

Even parents and your in-laws have been surprised at the level of involvement required by their children. So, if you expect something special from your parents (or his), then make sure you make the request explicit and talk it over first. Don’t be demanding. Ask, and always give people a way to back out without pressure or hard feelings.

For example, if you expect personalized gifts, you could tell them to get ideas from Zoey’s Personalized Gifts. But, don’t ever demand they buy a specific thing for you or your baby.

Set Ground Rules

Not every parent likes to pass the baby around. Set rules for passing baby before the event starts. If you don’t mind grabbing, then encourage people to take turns holding baby and coddling him or her.

If you don’t really like that sort of thing, you need to make it explicitly before the event — right when it begins. Just make an announcement that baby will be in the crib or whatever and you do not want to disturb him/her by having baby passed around.

Maybe you’re OK with people coming up to the child — it’s natural. Everyone wants to see baby when it’s born. They are cute, after all.

Maybe you’re comfortable having some people hold baby, and others not so much. If there will be young children there, for example, you might not want them holding your infant child. You could either tell the child’s parents they’re too young to hold baby, or you could try just telling the child directly. This may or may not work depending on how well you know them and how old they are.

What About Food?

It’s common for the host to serve food at the shower, but if you’re feeling a potluck style event, then make it clear that you want people to bring a dish to pass. It’s also a nice gesture for people to bring something, but don’t expect it. Lots of times, people simply ignore your suggestions or requests and do their own thing.

As much as you hate it, people don’t really have much of an attention span, and they don’t write things down. “I forgot” is a common excuse.

Just take it all in stride. If it’s important to have food at the christening/shower, then make sure you have “core food.” Core food might be a main meal or dish, or a substantial snack base for people to munch on.

You might set out a bowl of chips and dip for example, if it’s light refreshments. Or, you might cook up some burgers and dogs on the grill and let others bring the sides.

Or, you might do an old-fashioned sit-down with a full 3 course meal.

Set A Visiting Schedule

If you want a visiting schedule, make sure you set it. New parents usually like to have a certain number of visitors per day or week. It’s impossible for them to return everyone’s phone call when they’re first home from the hospital. So, don’t feel bad if you’re not getting back to your friends and family right away. It’s normal.

At the same time, realize they want to see baby, and get a chance to have that newborn baby experience.

Respectfully Recruiting Friends

Make sure you’re not abusing your relationship with friends. If you need help, but always ask, don’t demand. Whether you need a “gatekeeper” or someone to help you organize a list of food deliveries, your BFF can be invaluable. Often times, older kids have sports practice, or other chores that need to be done. If you need help getting your older children around, or if you just need a nice long bath, don’t be afraid to ask a friend to help you out. That’s what they’re there for.

Lucy Gibson enjoys writing helpful and informative articles on every day matters, mostly focused around family life and celebrations, the ups and the downs. Her articles appear mostly on lifestyle type blogs.

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