Oh Baby!

I am happy to report that my close friend had her sweet baby girl today!  I have not yet had a chance to snuggle her in my arms…but that time will be here in a day or two.  Speaking of babies…let’s talk about baby showers.  And sprinkles.  And diaper dumps.  And sip-and-sees.  Please comment – someone is looking for some advice.

I find it so interesting that we generally follow our “regional” norm or family traditions, etc. when it comes to celebrating the announcement/birth/arrival of a new baby.  Here are some definitions based upon my personal experiences.

Baby Shower = 1) Generally a great reason for a gaggle of women to get together and ogle over an emotional and fat and clueless woman (who can’t drink) while saying “aaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwwww” while teeny-tiny pastel items are passed around the room and every gift is accompanied by a receiving blanket (which is why you NEVER register for receiving blankets).  Ok, so that might be an exaggeration.  Or might not.  2) How about…a gathering celebrating the arrival of a couple’s first child.  Typically thrown by a family member or close friend.  The couple often has 3-4 of these (mom-to-be side of family, dad-to-be side of family, co-workers luncheons, close friends, etc.).  Can be extremely overwhelming to the parents-to-be…”WTF do we do with this stuff?  And what the heck is (insert odd baby gadget here)?  Google it!”  Can be EXTREMELY awkward/sad/emotional for that one person invited that is trying to get pregnant but not having any luck.  Can be boring for younger women who are years away from considering babies.  Can be a comedy show for moms who already have 1+ children or older women…”hahaha…I remember when I was pregnant with my first and CLUELESS.  We didn’t need (insert newly invented contraption) when I had a baby.  These girls have it easy now-a-days.”  Can involve RIDICULOUS baby “games”…guess the jarred baby food, drink out of the baby bottle, guess circumference of the pregnant belly, guess which candy bar was melted in the diaper and now looks like poo (but smells awesomely like chocolate and peanut butter), etc.  However, all of this is often much appreciated by the expecting mom. 3) That event at work that sucks $5-20 from your wallet or your spouse’s wallet over and over and over again to contribute to a department gift.  Especially fun when it’s for a male co-worker who then has to open gifts and try to hide the puzzled look over and over and over again.

Sprinkle = Typically held for a pregnant woman having her 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc. baby.  It’s a down-scaled “shower”.  Meaning guest lists and gifts are often down-scaled…instead of swings, strollers, high chairs, etc. (already received for baby #1) the gifts are more focused on new clothes, blankets, burp cloths, books, toys, etc.  Not too common here (that I’m aware of) unless there is a big gap between the expected baby and the last child born OR if gender is different this time around.

Diaper Dump = Held for a pregnant woman where specifically diapers and wipes are requested.  Again, common for 2nd, 3rd, 4th baby where the assumption is that the necessities are already covered.  Often thrown as a SURPRISE event here.

Sip and See = I only discovered this concept when living in Birmingham.  Apparently this is the norm in the south.  Once the baby has been born there is a party to meet the new arrival.  People sit around and “sip” some drink while they “see” the new baby.  And I believe this is common for every child born…not just the first.

Here in Cincinnati and in my circle of friends I’ve mostly been to Baby Showers as defined above.  I’ve been to very few Sprinkles and I’ve thrown a Diaper Dump for someone having her third child.  Personally, I had one Baby Shower for Stella (photos above).  It was LARGE because I included both sides of the family and friends and I opted to have it at my own house (because I didn’t want to have to tote the gifts back home…why not just open them at home and show everyone the nursery??  No worries, I was not involved in any planning or preparing.).  I really enjoyed it and I LOVED the fact that everyone (unknown to me) was asked to contribute a book for the baby’s library and sign it instead of buying a greeting card.  I will say that I received a TON of gifts when Charlotte was born and I was shocked.  Especially since she came so soon after Stella and was, yet again, a girl.  There were even LOTS of gifts for Big Sister Stella.  And meals delivered.  However, when Henry was born the gift-receiving and meals dropped off tremendously.  We did get a lot of cute boy-focused items, but not as many as with baby #1 and baby #2.  And nothing was even expected so it was still all appreciated…particularly the blue items!

So, what have you experienced?  Is it ok to have some sort of party (call it whatever) for EVERY new baby?  Or is the 1st born “traditional” baby shower enough?

I find it odd that often it’s considered “rude” or so abnormal/taboo to have an event for babies 2, 3, 4, etc.  (First of all, don’t we shower a bride-to-be with a shower gift and then turn around and purchase a wedding gift?  And sometimes a bachelorette party gift and housewarming gift?)  Ok, so back to kids.  Don’t we celebrate a child’s birthday every year…over and over and over?  And generally ask the same people to buy gifts for said birthday over and over and over?  So shouldn’t every baby be celebrated before/after his/her birth?  Is it taboo because generally gifts are tied to the event and there are already kids in the picture?  Is it because of baby registeries?  Did some repeat mommies out there re-register for EVERYTHING and ruin it for everyone?  And therefore, the pregnant mommy looks selfish?  Someone explain this to me.

I’ll admit I didn’t have any event for Charlotte or Henry because I didn’t want people to see it as a call for more gifts.  So how do you overcome the stigma?  And just celebrate this awesome occasion?  I always make it a point to at least send a gift to all new babies of friends and family.  (Now, if I missed your 2, 3, or 4th child…FORGIVE me.  I meant to…but if you had that child during some chaos point at my house…the action might have slipped through the cracks.  And if you just had a baby within the last 6 months…I’ve still got time and you’re on my list!)

This topic was specifically requested from someone who wants to see others’ opinions, so please comment.  She’s trying to decide on how to handle her own situation with baby #3 due to arrive in the coming months.  I say CELEBRATE! 

6 Responses to Oh Baby!

  1. I didn’t expect a shower for the second baby, but my co-workers organized one anyway. I think if we have a third, we will throw our own reveal the gender party and note that gifts are not necessary. We did that for our littles’ birthday party though and still received a ton of gifts.

  2. CELEBRATE!!! I live in a neighborhood where all of us women have been having our children all at the same time. We treat the Mom-to-be to a dinner out and gifts for EVERY baby. Such a great night out for all the moms! So sad at this point there is probably only one more baby to go on the block!!!!

  3. I try to get a gift for every new baby ( and siblings) and also do a meal if I get the chance!!!! I also got a ton of stuff with baby #2, which was a complete surprise to me. The funniest was thou my co-workers scheduled a baby shower lunch for me for # 2, and forgot to invite me! Lol. When they asked me that day if I was excited for lunch, I could not figure out what they were talking about!

  4. Ugh, first of all, I hate hate hate baby shower games, especially that baby poo guessing one. I cannot believe that a woman created that; I swear a man thought that up.

    Anyway…I had 3 small showers for my first baby, one by my mom, one by my mother in law’s friend (apparently it’s supposedly taboo for direct family members to throw a shower??) and one by my close friends. Oh, yeah and another by my work friends. For my second baby, my friends just did diapers and wipes and since I had another boy in the same season, not many people brought gifts, not that I needed anything anyway. I think it’s maybe ok to have a full-blown shower for the 2nd, 3rd baby if it’s a different sex because you do need some different things sometimes. Otherwise, I’m not sure what exactly I would have registered for the 2nd time around. And yes, for me, some people have ruined the 2nd time around shower thing by deciding that everything they had the first time around wasn’t good enough and re-registered for everything. And I’m talking strollers, carseats, etc. Like, why wasn’t the old one good enough 2 years later??

  5. Here’s a situation that I would REALLY appreciate your thoughts and feedback on: What if you had 2 children 2 years and 2 months apart and decided to NOT have any more kiddoes? You give ALL of your ‘baby’ items away once your youngest turns 1 year. 6 months later, SURPRISE despite your best efforts, you find out that baby#3 is in progress. Is it ok to repurchase all the big baby items yourself and just register for new bibs, bottles, and some other stuff that would be very useful when adding a third child? #3 will be a different gender from baby#2, making it almost 4.5 years for us since having baby girl items in the house.

  6. Great ideas and comments! @Kara – 3rd talk??? @Julie – Sounds fun. @Meg – As a recipient, your gifts are too cute! @Elizabeth – I think you are right, sometimes the mom looks greedy and ruins it for the rest…especially if you know something about her behavior already. @Perplexed…Reposted your question! Interesting…I think a celebration is ok!

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