Having a baby shower is a great way to celebrate your upcoming birth and welcome a new member to the family. Traditionally, these are women-only gatherings held for first-time mothers, where guests bring gifts and share advice for the mom-to-be. But, traditional showers may not be what every family wants when it comes to celebrating their new arrival.
If you're looking for a way to break from old-school traditions or if you're the last one of your friends having a baby and want to mix things up, here are 5 alternative baby shower ideas to celebrate your pregnancy.
A blessingway is typically held near the end of pregnancy to help calm and support the mother as she draws closer to bringing her baby into the world. It's partly about the birthing experience, but mostly about "helping [the mom] feel the strength of herself," explains Kayce from southern Utah, whose best friend threw her a blessingway when she was pregnant with her latest baby.
Kayce was nervous about giving birth again, so appreciated a get-together that would give her the encouragement she needed and in the end it was one of the best experiences of her life.
"My best friend contacted a lot of my online friends to add their quotes to a flag banner she made for me," Kayce remembers. Other activities she did at her blessingway included henna tattoos, belly casting, a semi-nude maternity photo shoot, and making bead wind chimes. "I felt loved, supported, and empowered," she says, of the day. "I left feeling calm about my birth, calm and prepared to deal with whatever came."
A godh bharai, or an Indian Hindu baby shower, is traditionally a women-only gathering with varying activities depending on the culture, but mostly it's a celebration of the mother. Activities can include giving the mom bangles to wear, and putting out a feast of fruits and candy for her to eat. There is a lot of singing, dancing and celebrating the mother as well as games like guessing the baby's sex and giving name suggestions. It's typically held in the seventh month of pregnancy onward.
Co-ed Open House
When blogger Jen Hajer of Naperville, Ill. was 33 weeks pregnant a couple of her friends planned a co-ed open house party, inviting folks of both sexes to drop by and celebrate the baby-to-be. For Hajer, the mixer was ideal: "I was 30 years old with my first child and had many coupled friends—to leave out the men seemed unnecessary."
Having her celebration as a casual open house was great for guests because the couples could come and go as they wanted and Hajer felt like she could visit more with each of them. Having her shower at home also had some great perks. "What made it ideal for me was that it was in the comforts of my own house, no shoes, no problem," Hajer says. "Also, I didn't have to haul gifts from a remote location, they were already home!"
Traditional baby showers are technically only held for first-time mothers, so more people are turning to "baby sprinkles" to celebrate subsequent births.
As the name implies, a sprinkle tends to be on a smaller scale than a shower. It's similar to a traditional shower in that it's held near the end of pregnancy, but only close family and friends are invited. Sprinkles don't usually include gifts, since parents probably have most of what they need for their new baby, but some guests choose to bring food, diapers or just well-wishes. It's an excellent alternative to a baby shower for parents who already have children but still want a celebration for the new baby.
Sip & See
If you'd rather hold off the celebrations until the baby is born, you can. A 'sip & see' is an informal celebration that is held at the new parent's house and is really more about the baby than the decorations, games, or gifts.
Cassie, from Stratford, Ontario, chose to have a meet and greet like this after her son was born because it felt like the right solution for her buzzing family. "Everyone is so busy these days and I wanted to make sure that our families were introduced to our newest addition before the next big family event," she says.
The best time for a sip & see is a few weeks after the child's birth when they're still relatively new to the world, but after mom is feeling better and up to the company.