We might not like to admit it, but being pregnant has its ups and downs. Morning sickness, aching legs, weight gain… None of this is much fun. On the other hand, there are some aspects of that magical nine months that are worth looking forward to, one of which is the baby shower.

Baby showers are now pretty much a tradition in New Zealand. They allow the expecting mother’s friends and family to share in the impending birth and they also provide a small highlight in what can sometimes be a stressful period in a woman’s life.

There are really no rules when it comes to throwing a baby shower. All that really matters is that friends and family gather to celebrate and show support for the mother. However, there are certain common areas which most baby showers address and to help you plan yours we’ve listed them below.

Who’s Throwing the Shower?

Often a baby shower will be thrown by a friend of the expecting mother. A baby shower can be arranged as a surprise party, or in consultation with the mother. The latter course of action ensures that a possibly heavily pregnant woman will be prepared for a houseful of guests.

When

The last trimester is usually the right time for a baby shower. The big event is looming, the woman is often tired and in need of some cheering up, and all those presents the guests will bring make more sense when the baby is not far off.

Choosing a Place

Baby showers can be held at the mother’s house – this is a nice way for the mother to play host and “give something back” to the guests who have come to support her. Alternatively, holding the baby shower at a friend’s house or a hired venue relieves the mother of the stress of preparation and the tedium of cleaning up after the party is over.

The Guests

Many baby showers are girls-only affairs and along with female relatives like sisters, mothers, aunts and grandmothers, female workmates, close friends, friends from exercise and ante-natal classes can be invited. These days, though, it is not unusual for the father of the baby and a few close male friends to be invited too.

Theme

A great way to give some cohesion to a baby shower is to give it a theme. This theme can be expressed in the decoration of the home or venue, in the food served and even in the gifts the guests give. Here are a few baby shower theme suggestions:

  • A common baby-related colour – e.g. fill the venue with pink balloons, cushions, lighting and wall hangings etc.
  • A teddy bear’s tea party – everyone brings a teddy bear, set out teddy bear books and a teddy tea service if you have on.
  • Nursery rhymes – pick visual icons from one nursery rhyme or from many and place them around the venue.
  • Fairies – fairy decorations, fairy cup cakes, and, if you really want to go crazy, fairy costumes for the guests.

Food

Food can range from a sit-down meal to plates of finger-food. Often, at baby showers, many of the guests will bring their own young children – this can make a full-scale meal difficult and an informal alternative of snack and finger food is often easier to deal with and also creates more of a relaxed atmosphere – don’t forget, some of the people at a baby shower may not know each other.

A pot-luck meal is a great way save money and to reduce the burden on the person who is arranging the shower. Just ask each of your guests to bring a plate.

Games

Having a few party games arranged for guests to play gives structure to the party and helps everyone integrate and get to know each other. Games are excellent, too, to add a spark of life when the party seems to be flagging.

Games should be simple, easy to understand and should involve all guests. Giving prizes to the winners adds extra excitement.

Gifts

One of the highlights of a baby shower is the giving of gifts to the expecting mother. As with most things about a baby shower, these gifts don’t need to be elaborate or expensive – they just need to show you care. The most appropriate gifts are those that will either pamper the mother or be useful when the baby arrives.

A Successful Baby Shower

By paying attention the areas listed above, by keeping things relaxed, friendly and informal the baby shower you throw will be a cherished memory for the mother to be and a shared celebration of a new life for all her guests.

To see an American take on baby showers check out this video.

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