Common Questions on Baby Shower Protocol

Like with many other traditions that have to do with marriage and new babies, baby showers have a list of do's and don'ts to follow. This baby shower protocol may seem old-fashioned, but it will definitely help keep some people from being offended.

One popular question is who gives the shower? Definitely, the mother-to-be doesn't host the shower herself. That would make it seem that she's soliciting gifts. To a certain extent, the family doesn't host a shower, either. The immediate family usually doesn't do this, unless they invite only family members and close friends to the shower.

It's better, though, if the parents-to-be are consulted on the baby shower. They may want to invite certain people and not others, or may just want to be surprised about the whole thing. If you are considering a couples shower, it's best to ask the father-to-be if he is willing to be part of it and if there are any friends he would like to be included to keep him company.

Another question rises up when a gift registry is involved. Certainly, during these times, a gift registry is not rude, or inappropriate for a new mother. It actually solves a lot of problems for busy guests who may not have the luxury of time to shop. It also cuts down on duplicates, especially if she'd already been gifted with some items or already has some from a previous pregnancy.

What is rude, however, is when the mother goes around telling people to buy at such-and-such a store since she's chosen gifts there. If she's asked, then that's a different situation, however. She just shouldn't go around volunteering such information. It is best when the store's name is printed on the invitations to the baby shower so invited guests can choose from there.

Two stores are considered the most you should register at, and a national chain would make purchasing gifts easier for friends or family that don't live in the immediate area. Don't just register for expensive gifts, have a selection of inexpensive but practical gifts as well. You can find ideas on the internet, as there are quite a few lists of items that babies need.

If, despite having a registry, you still receive duplicate gifts, it is protocol to send out a detailed thank-you card to the giver and keep the duplicates until after the baby has arrived and everyone has stopped sending gifts. Stores that have gift registries are used to this sort of problem and will usually help you exchange the gifts (that are still in the original packaging) for something you may need but hadn't received.

When it comes to the baby shower itself, protocol would center on whether or not the parents-to-be enjoy active or silly things or not. A baby shower does not need to have any games and there are some expecting moms that are actually happy to just have a quiet meal and a chat together with friends before opening her presents.

When the shower is to be held is another matter for protocol. Traditionally, baby showers were held near the time of expected birth. However, there is now a trend to hold the shower after the baby is born, sometimes because the pregnancy may be difficult, at other times to make it a baby viewing as well as a baby shower and to allow the parents to cut down on the amount of times well-wishers arrive at the home.

So, as long as the protocol of not soliciting for gifts is strictly followed, just about anything goes when hosting a baby shower. What's most important is that the wishes of the parents-to-be are considered and followed.