A timeless, elegant and mindful approach to a traditional Baby Shower. Giving you the freedom and affordability to celebrate your impending arrival.
I attended my first Baby Shower back in 2009 which feels like a lifetime ago now. I have been to 15 more since. Each time I attended I was not in the slightest bit interested in being all goo-ey and ga-ga for babies. Reflecting on my 20s, my attitude at the time was generally that babies are screaming, pooping, time consuming little people. I was more focused around building my career and travelling. Nonetheless I attended each Baby Shower because 1. My best friend was an expectant first-time mother. I appreciated that it’s a very big deal, and I was VERY excited to see her transition into a new stage of her life. And 2. I was curious to see what the ‘hype’ of a Baby Shower was all about.
First things first: What is a Baby Shower?
If you have never been to a Baby Shower, or are perhaps looking to plan one of your own and are a little unsure of where to start… In short, a Baby Shower is similar to a wedding or an engagement party, only on a much smaller scale. A lot of time can go into planning the event, it brings family and friends together for a celebration and there’s usually a *bit of money* that is spent. These are on food, drinks, decorations, a new outfit to wear, and venue (if not hosted at your home or a friend/family members’ home).
It’s a blessing to have been invited to so many baby showers to celebrate all those expectant beautiful babies! I have been able to pick up a trick or two to make some *mental notes* for what I would like to do for my own Baby Shower when the time came.
Etiquette: What is the reason for a Baby Shower?
Traditionally, a Baby Shower is a family’s first opportunity to gather people together as they will play a part in their child’s life when the baby is born. The parents-to-be have the opportunity to call on people to assist them in the upbringing of their child and this is the first stage of that journey.
A Baby Shower helps the first-time parents take stock of what they need to set up for life with a newborn. Similar to weddings where gifts are traditionally received to help the new couple establish their first home together. Nowadays new parents-to-be are able to ask their guests for key items. This can be done through a Baby Shower Registry or by writing your wish list as an insert with your Baby Shower Invitation.
For Penelope’s Baby Shower, I was 8 months pregnant (in my 34th week), and her nursery was mostly setup. I mentioned to my guests ahead of time ‘gifts were optional.’ On the day we were thrilled that all of our guests showered Penelope with some wonderful and special gifts anyway!
Etiquette: Should I have a Baby Shower?
Views on having a Baby Shower may be influenced by where you live, or by the generation you grew up in. In the USA they are practically mandatory; driven by celebrities and our access to their everyday life via social media, it therefore comes with the territory one must be ‘keeping up the Jones’. Or Kardasians. In the UK and Australia (where I live), a Baby Shower is fast becoming a popular new mother’s choice for ‘things to do before the baby arrives’.
There is no obligation to have a Baby Shower of your own and these can be for an array of personal reasons. This could be that your family and/or close friends live too far away and logistics would make it ‘too hard’, or you could be juggling a tight budget at the time of your pregnancy and would rather prioritise those funds elsewhere. You may think your due date is a long way off only to deliver early and miss the opportunity to have your own Baby Shower! The choice to have one is yours one way or the other.
Baby Showers in my family
In my family, between 2 generations, my Grandmother didn’t have a Baby Shower in the 1940s for my Mother or Uncle, and my own Mother didn’t have a Baby Shower in the 1980s for her twins (yes, I have a twin brother). For both of them it came down to 2 factors; 1. A Baby Shower wasn’t the ‘done thing’ back then and 2. Money was tight – and the pregnancies were all unexpected. Family history aside, during my pregnancy with Penelope in 2018, I always wanted to have a Baby Shower for her. For me this was purely down to celebrating life – especially our first baby. I had previously miscarried. I was also newly married and saw it as a wonderful opportunity to bring our close friends and family together to celebrate. After all, it beats only catching up at Christmas time, at weddings or at funerals!
Here are my 10 reasons to have a Minimalist Baby Shower:
1. To CELEBRATE life.
The journey to motherhood is a magical time. Whether you’ve fallen pregnant unexpectedly, have been planning it for years, it’s taken a long time with IVF, or you’ve planned your pregnancy down to the day – a Baby Shower celebrates all your trials and tribulations, your ups and downs, and the very precious cargo you’re carrying and are about to bring into the world. Your very own little human to cherish forever. Can you tell I’m a hopeless romantic? Haha.
This isn’t just about you, there is a whole gaggle of people who are just desperate to welcome your baby into the world. These friends and family members who are important to you will want to be just as important to your baby.
Give them a head start by letting them get in on the celebrations early! Seeing the love and excitement your friends and family already feel for your unborn child will make your heart swell. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to celebrate that.
When you’re pregnant you also want simple, fuss-free and stress-free moments that you ENJOY. The answer: a minimalist Baby Shower to celebrate in the later stage of your pregnancy!
2. To get you prepared for your arrival.
Soon enough just about everything in your life is going to revolve around your baby. A Baby Shower – especially a minimalist one – can really help you feel less overwhelmed by equipping you with a lot of what you’ll need when the baby arrives. Your family and friends will have an endless supply of advice for you that is only relevant when you’re pregnant. Anything that helps relieve new-parent stress is a very good thing.
My cousin bought me a Love To Dream sleep suit, explained she had bought them for her 2 daughters (now 8 and 5) and they helped immensely with sleep routines. That moment alone was worth hosting my own Baby Shower; Penelope slept through the night from 5 weeks with her Love To Dream sleep suit. I have since bought the entire range as she has grown too!
3. To be more efficient.
You’re busy enough when pregnant. Working your usual job, maintaining your home, all whilst growing a tiny human and preparing for life to dramatically change when she/he arrives. At the best of times, even the most organised of mothers can feel overwhelmed, perhaps even anxious, about the thought of organising or attending their own Baby Shower.
With a “less is more” mindset, applying a minimalist style to your Baby Shower has the advantage of being less work-intensive than organising a more traditional shower with all the frills. It still offers the opportunity to express your creative side, though overall, its Zen-like nature invites a sense of peace and calm.
A minimalist style generally calls for neutral tones, where you can add pops of colour or patterns to make it more personal, and in itself will incorporate timeless, clean and spacious elegance. Minimalism values quality over quantity, and naturally leans towards sustainability than plastic or throw away ‘of-the-moment’ accents.
4. To keep costs down.
A minimalist Baby Shower is fun and fancy-free. You can nest and decorate until your bump is content though a three course sit down meal or the high end hotel with all-frills High Tea isn’t necessary. There is very little planning involved with a minimalist Baby Shower. A quaint invite list, some balloons or simple decorations, some baked goods and a game or two. It is a very low-maintenance party from the planning perspective.
Like all big life events; graduations, milestone birthdays, engagement parties, weddings, even funerals, they all come with a price tag and one you have to budget for. As the term ‘minimalism’ implies, you have what you need, and don’t need to spend the time or money wasting it on things you don’t. Not having the most expensive or exclusive venue, decorations, entertainment, etc will help you get back to basics.
You’re celebrating a little human, and you can have a beautiful celebration for a fraction of the price if you’re strategic about what you spend your money on.
5. You’ll get information.
A Baby Shower is like a gathering of mothers, from all generations and walks of life, right from the bottom of the parenting trenches. The mothers who’ll tell you about – without any filters – stretch marks, birthing, feeding, settling, toddler years, how your relationship and body will change, and beyond.
Once your baby arrives you won’t want any pearls of wisdom from anyone. You will want to be left alone to do what works for you and your little family. While you’re pregnant you’re most likely happy to take in all the help, tips, advice and pearls of wisdom you can soak up.
6. It’ll be fun!
Today’s baby showers are less traditional and more focused on fun – for you and your guests.
You could go around seeing everybody individually during your pregnancy, though if you’re like me (I worked 10 hour days until I was 8.5 months pregnant), you’re not going to have the time or the energy to do that. Get everyone to come to you for your Baby Shower instead.
A Baby Shower is the perfect way to catch up with all your favourite people without having to put too much pressure on your sore back and swollen ankles. You can also play a couple of fun games, which by themselves can be hilariously entertaining.
7. The photos.
These will look timeless in your family album for years to come. Cherished moments captured forever.
Your pregnancy may feel like a lifetime of aches and pains, especially if you’ve experienced Hyperemesis Gravidarum (aka HG) or morning sickness, though it’s only 9 months and when you’ve delivered your little one the time will have flown by and you won’t be able to ‘go back’ and take the progress photos. Unless your partner is a professional photographer, or handy with a smartphone to know all the ‘good angles’, you’ll find it’s not easy to get good pregnancy photos.
At your baby shower you’ll be wearing a nice dress, may even have a spray tan for an added summerly glow, and have spent time styling your hair and makeup.
It’s the time for some beautiful ‘bump pics’ to add to your family album for prosperity.
I had very few opportunities to capture my ‘bump’ while pregnant with Penelope, so I budgeted for and enlisted the help of a professional photographer through the international photographer booking website Snappr. I set the budget, making it very affordable, and we received some ah-mazing images!
8. The gifts.
Women are very thoughtful and generous when it comes to gifts for first-time parents. It’s a humbling experience when you are surrounded by people who care and it also means less money for you to spend to set up your nursery.
Whether you are gifted huge things or token gifts, accept all with gratitude, and make the time to send personalised ‘thank you’s’ to each of your guests.
9. Food, glorious food.
Before you’re propelled back to the harsh reality of postnatal / postpartum exercises and watching your intake if you’re fixated on achieving your ‘pre-baby body’ once again, a Baby Shower is your opportunity to nibble your way through the delicious treats on the menu. Did someone say cake? How often do you have High Tea nibbles? Sign me up for something special.
10. You deserve it.
Hey mamma! You have been carrying around a little human, feeling all the kicks, battled all kinds of body ailments, and have mostly likely been falling asleep on the couch at 7pm every night.
Nows’ the time to sit back because you deserve to be made a fuss of. You will not regret having a party in your honour where you will be pampered, treated and celebrated all day long.
The best part, you will go home feeling ah-mazing. You’re now ready for the next chapter – motherhood!
Hey YOU! Do you have any Baby Shower tips? Did you have one of your own or did you decide not to? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Let me know on my Instagram!
Header image of The Heussler Family:
Lachlan, Kate & Penelope by Captar Photo.