Are Baby Showers Only for the First Baby?

Today, whether or not a baby shower is appropriate for a second (or third, or fourth, etc) baby is a hot-button topic. Traditionally, only the first born received a shower, but now that is not always the case. Everyone seems to have an opinion, but only the parents-to-be can truly decide what is right for their family. To help with this decision, here are both sides of the argument.

Several reasons exist for having a baby shower for each child in a family. First, of course, could be the belief that each child should be celebrated individually. Often, people feel that second and third children are shortchanged in attention and therefore believe that each new arrival should receive equal celebration.

Also, the child could be a different gender than the first child, or from a different marriage. The father's second child may be the mother's first, or vice versa, and deciding where to draw the line can be a difficult and hurtful process.

In addition, a considerable amount of time may have passed between each child and the parents need to update the nursery. The family may have moved to a different area and the new community wishes to welcome the baby.

An equal number of reasons exist for not having baby showers for later children. Many people believe that the purpose of a baby shower is to help the parents-to-be to prepare their home for the new baby. From that perspective, people may feel that more than one baby shower per family would be greedy. Also, the parents-to-be may fear that they may be perceived as greedy since they already have most items often given as gifts and do not need more.

Also, guests may not be able to afford gifts for each child. Therefore, they may feel that they need to choose between overextending themselves and offending friends and family. An uncomfortable situation like that defeats the entire purpose of the baby shower.

One way to celebrate each child without any of the negatives is to have a no-gift baby shower. Guests either do not bring a gift or only bring a token gift, something purely sentimental. Instead of a traditional shower, the hostess could throw a baby themed dinner party or afternoon tea. The mother-to-be and her guests would still be able to talk and enjoy themselves without any pressure or social discomfort.

Another option would be for the guests to bring a donation to a charity instead of a gift. There are plenty of families in need today, and starting a child's life by giving to others creates a wonderful tone and sense of goodwill.

Whatever the parents-to-be decide, they should keep in mind the capabilities and feelings of their guests. By the same token, the guests should remember the purpose of any baby shower - to celebrate the new arrival and embrace the whole family. With these thoughts kept in mind, the birth will be a truly joyous occasion!