First of all, Congratulations! Nothing inspires quite the same mix of joy, anticipation, and gnawing worry as expecting a baby. A baby shower is a wonderful opportunity to focus on the fun and celebrate your growing family. But, planning a baby shower can be a challenge. It all starts with the seemingly simple question of when to have a baby shower. It turns out that there is a lot to consider before you make your decision.
What Do You Want From Your Baby Shower?
It might sound a little backward, but before you can pick a date for your baby shower, you need to think about what sort of party it’s going to be. Knowing what you want your shower to be can go a long way to narrowing the timings.
The first thing to think about is, who do you want at the party? If your family is scattered about the world, you may need to give them more time to sort their travel arrangements. If your guests have to book flights, they’ll get the best deals if they book around 70 days in advance. So, depending on when you start planning, this might mean your party will be happening nearer to your due date.
It would help if you also decided on who your most important guests are. If there is anyone who’s absence might ruin the event, then you need to talk to them before picking a date. There is nothing worse than sending our invites and then finding out that your favorite person is already booked on that date.
If this is your first baby, then you might be expecting a lot of gifts at your baby shower. People love to give gifts for your first. It would be best if you decided how you want to handle this. Are you going to make a registry? Are you happy with whatever people bring? Do you want to buy everything for yourself?
If you decide to go for a registry, then you’ll need to have time to set it up in advance. But, you will also have to give yourself time after the shower to buy anything that you need before the baby comes that is still on the registry. Trust me when I say that you don’t want to be shopping for essentials in your last few weeks. You don’t need that stress.
There are a lot of strong feelings surrounding gender reveals, and you may already know what you want to do. But, here are some things to consider.
If you want to reveal the gender of your child at the baby shower, then your party will need to be after your 20-week anatomy scan.
If you don’t want to receive gender-specific clothing as a gift, then you have two options. Don’t disclose the gender of your child, or have an early shower. I didn’t want a closet full of blue clothes for my son. So, I asked folks to buy us things in bright primary colors, if they wanted to get us something—the more colorful, the better. As you might have guessed, more than half of the items we received were baby blue. It seems that asking isn’t enough in these cases.
What Point In Your Pregnancy
Even if you’re not the one planning your shower directly, you should still be the one to make the call about the timing. That’s for one big reason. Being pregnant can be challenging, and it messes with the way you feel about everything. Every pregnancy is different, so the person who can make the best call about timing is you. Here are a few things to think about that can help you organize your thoughts.
If you’re having a rough time with morning sickness, you may want to put off a party until you are well into your second trimester. Being nauseous can suck the fun out of any activity. For most women, morning sickness clears up by the start of the second trimester. So give yourself a little buffer, that way you’re more likely to be feeling good on the day.
Another factor is tiredness. My experience was that the first and third trimesters were the worst for feeling exhausted. Many women find that the second trimester and the beginning of the third are when they have the most energy.
There will be photos taken at your baby shower. So, take a moment to consider how you want to look in those pictures. If you don’t have any strong feelings, then that’s great. However, many women begin to feel uncomfortable in their own skin during pregnancy. If this is you, then you might want to have your shower while your baby bump isn’t too big.
My first son was huge, and so was I by the end. I’m not a big fan of photos at the best of times, but the nearer I got to the big day, the more anxious I would get when someone wanted a picture. This isn’t everyone’s experience. Only you know how you’ll feel about it.
There is, of course, a flip side to this. You might want to be visibly pregnant at your baby shower. It’s nice to have pictures of your baby bump to show your child when they’re older.
Time of Year
I have two September babies. So when I tell you that it is rough being heavily pregnant in the middle of summer, you can trust that I have the experience to back me up on this. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have a baby shower in the summer. I’m just suggesting that you think about how pregnant you’ll be and if there will be air conditioning!
There are times of the year you might want to avoid. Big holidays, for example, as well as family birthdays. People are often booked up around these times, and it can be harder to coordinate schedules. Also, venues might be more expensive around the holidays.
When Early Is Good
There are a few instances where it might be a good idea to have your shower a little earlier in your pregnancy. The biggest one to consider is if there is any possibility that you might go into early labor. While you can turn a baby shower into a ‘welcome to the world party,’ you might not feel up to that if you just gave birth the day before.
If this isn’t your first child, then you might already know if early labor is a possibility for you. If it’s your first, you can try talking to your mother. There is a good chance that your experience might be similar to hers.
If you’re carrying multiples, then I strongly advise an earlier shower. The average twin pregnancy only lasts 36 weeks. You are also more likely to be put on bed rest as you get closer to the big day.
Another reason you might want an earlier baby shower is if you have some mixed feelings about getting pregnant. Not every pregnancy is planned, and sometimes the worry and the stress can crowd out the joy. Having a baby shower can be a great way to feel more excited about your pregnancy and to help you connect with your child. After your shower, you’ll have some happy memories and mementos to give you a little boost if you find yourself struggling later down the line.
When Later Is Better
There are three big reasons you might feel more like having your baby shower as late as possible. It’s not uncommon for some women to have their party in the last month for one or more of these reasons.
The first reason is to stretch out the excitement. If you are excited about the party and the planning as well, then the later your party is, the more enjoyment you can get out of it. Being involved in the planning is also a great distraction towards the end of your pregnancy. If you reach the point of being ‘done’ with pregnancy, then a baby shower can be a good pick-me-up.
Some mothers decide to delay their baby shower because of health concerns. If early scans indicated a problem or the possibility of a problem with your baby, then it is entirely reasonable to wait to have a celebration. If you decide that the right time is after the baby has arrived, then that is completely fine. It’s all about what you need and what’s best for you. If this situation sounds familiar, then know you are not alone and that the only right decision here is the one that works for you and your family.
If you are currently pregnant with a rainbow baby, you probably have many strong and mixed feelings about being pregnant. So if you need to wait until you feel confident about your pregnancy, then that is precisely what you should do. Every parent reacts differently, and this is a time when you must look after yourself. Pick a time that works best for you and forget everything else.
What Are The Expectations?
If you really don’t have any strong feelings about your baby shower’s timing, then looking around at what other people are doing can be helpful. Most baby showers happen between 24 and 32 weeks.
Day of the Week
Weekends are a popular choice for baby showers. It means that you can have guests from further away. The most popular option is Saturday. That gives you the Sunday to rest and recover before you have to get back to work.
If you decide to go for a midweek party, make sure that you give your guests plenty of notice. And be prepared for a slightly lower turn out as a result. Sometimes scheduling can be a nightmare for everyone. Unfortunately, there is no perfect answer.
Time of Day
Baby showers are most often planned for lunchtime. It’s good to have a meal to base your party around, as everyone loves an excuse to eat good food.
If you have children in attendance, then a daytime party will be easiest to organize around sleep schedules.
By planning your event for the middle of the day, it also gives your guests time to travel to and from the venue on the day of the party.
A Couple Of Don’ts
I have two pieces of advice, and you can take them or leave them.
First, be careful about choosing a date for your baby shower solely based on someone else’s opinion. For some reason getting pregnant can bring out the crazy in other people. So, sometimes you have to advocate for yourself and what you want. It’s supposed to be about you, so make it work for you.
Secondly, if you need to, have more than one shower. You might not be able to bring everyone you want together on the same day. It is not greedy or extravagant to have more than one baby shower. So don’t let anyone make you feel bad if you have more than one party.
What matters most is your comfort. The right time for your baby shower is at a point when you can enjoy it. It is a balancing act, and you might not get everything you want, so prioritize. A good guide is to plan for a time when you feel confident enough to celebrate your pregnancy, but not so late that the baby’s arrival might cut the party short.