Planning a Baby Shower: Nine Ideas for a More Memorable Shower

The time just before a baby is born is a time to celebrate the parents-to-be and honor the miracle that is about to take place. It is a time to gather with loved ones who will support and love the parents as they embark on this life-changing journey.

The best, most memorable, baby showers not only prepare a mom with the things she needs to care for her new baby, but they also create an environment of support and encouragement. They remind her that she has friends she can call upon to help, and they help prepare her emotionally for the momentous event that is about to occur in her life.

Here are nine ideas to help you plan a more memorable baby shower.

1. Plan carefully. Traditionally, a baby shower is held one or two months before the birth of the child. You don't want it too close to the baby's due date because the mother will need time to make sure she has all the things she'll need before the birth of the baby (assuming there are baby essentials that she does not receive as gifts at her shower.)

You don't need to send formal invitations, but there are so many cute baby shower ideas on the Internet today. Do an online search for "baby shower invitations" for easy printable cards or templates, or search for "baby shower poems" for cute rhymes you can type and print. Send your invitations about three weeks before the event, and make sure to write on the invitation where your guest of honor is registered.

2. Make sure your guest list is complete. Baby showers are traditionally times when the female friends and relatives of the pregnant mom get together. But "couples showers" are becoming more popular, to shower both the mother and the father of the new baby. See what the mother's preferences are. Some moms love to have their spouses included; others prefer the idea of being nurtured at a girls-only event.

3. Keep things simple. When you keep your party plan (including decorations invitations, and games) simple, you will be able to better focus on the task at hand: making your friend feel treasured and ready for this life changing event. Host the party at your home, which tends to be the least expensive and the most cozy venue.

4. Help the helpers. Beyond the goal of making sure the mom-to-be has everything she needs when the baby is born, a baby shower is a show of support. Put out a calendar or sign-up sheet on a table at the shower, along with suggestions of ideas the guests can offer to do. A few examples: Bringing dinner, taking siblings to the park for a couple of hours, sitting with the baby so the new mom can take a nap or go to the salon for a little pampering after the baby is born.

5. Equip the mom with diapers. Request on the invitation that each guest bring a pack of diapers, from newborn to size 3. It's amazing what leaving the party with a trunkful of diapers will do in helping a new mom feel prepared.

6. Don't forget the guestbook. Put out a small book so that the guests can write messages to the new family. Suggest that they write their best advice on parenting or a special message to the baby to be. Start the guestbook with a message of your own and circulate it at the party to make sure everyone contributes. This will be a treasured keepsake for the new family.

Another idea: put out cards for the guests to write their messages. Then create a special photo book or memory album featuring the cards alongside photos taken at the party.

7. Give the mom-to-be a disposable camera so she can take photos whenever she would like. Depending on the size of your guest list, you may want to distribute other disposable cameras throughout the party room.

8. Create an Encouragement Jar. Each of the guests can write an encouraging thought or inspiring quote on a slip of paper and then put it into the jar. When the new mom is feeling tired and overwhelmed, she can reach in and pull out a slip of paper to help her once again feel surrounded by the warmth and encouragement of her shower.

9. Ask each guest who is already a mother to bring an item that was indispensable to her in her own parenting journey. It may be a book, a parenting magazine or a small piece of baby equipment. You can request that the guests bring these items as gifts (or just give the mom the names of them) so that the mom has them on hand. Another idea would be to have each guest bring a gift copy of her favorite parenting book, if she has one. From "The Three Martini Playdate" to "Operating Instructions" to "Everyday Blessings," it is fun to see the broad range of parenting philosophies in the group and will help the new mom see that there are lots of different ways to solve parenting challenges.


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