Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children.
Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children.

Compassionate & Personalized Care for Women

Baby showers: Six hot trends

The traditional baby shower – with its baby-themed games, deluge of gifts, and banished husbands – remains alive and well. But many expecting families are putting a new spin on things, making the world of baby showers more diverse than ever.

Prefer a shower without a lot of gifts? How about a shower just for hubby? Want to find out your baby's sex at your shower? No problem – it all works. Here's what's hot in baby showers.

The green shower

New moms are going green in all sorts of ways – and baby showers are no exception. "Green is in, and I think green baby showers are a great idea," one mom says.

Requesting "gently used" items as presents will absolutely green up a shower. "My husband and I decided that we would get only what we really needed versus all the extra baby stuff. And I think 99 percent of this can be hand-me-downs," says one environmentally conscious mom. "I begged people to either find something secondhand or get me a gift card to Goodwill," adds another. (Definitely apply caution with some used items. As one reader warns, "Don't get a used car seat, unless it's from someone you can 110 percent trust, and it hasn't been in a crash or recalled.")

Some parents choose a single group gift to avoid the baby-stuff trap. For example, Maureen Smithe enjoyed a "knitting shower." Her guests received knitting instruction and created squares for a baby blanket. "I can't imagine a more thoughtful gift for my newborn son," Smithe says.

Other earth-friendly ideas include giving out flowering plants for favors, serving locally grown food, going paperless for the invites, and wrapping the presents greenly – think newspaper, cloth diapers, or baby blankets instead of store-bought paper.

The man shower

Can't you just picture your partner sitting around with a bunch of his guy friends, cooing over tiny baby clothes and sampling doily-festooned finger foods? Okay, maybe not. But how about a poker/beer party with a diaper drop at the door? Yep, dads are doing it – and enjoying huge diaper scores.

In fact, Kaity Pursino of Invitation Consultants, Inc., an online invitation company, says the man shower is a growing trend and the "Diapers for Dad" theme is particularly popular.

"We had a man shower," says mom Cathy Biermann. "My husband invited his friends to come over for a guys-only party. We provided beer and barbeque, pulled out the poker table, and the guests brought diapers. We ended up with enough diapers to last us nearly eight months!"

And the guys' reactions? "The guys loved the idea," Biermann says. "It gave them a great excuse to party. I mean, how does a woman deny her husband a few hours to drink and hang with the guys when he's doing it for a baby? It's really a win-win, and it made my husband feel like the arriving baby was his to be celebrated too."

The gender reveal shower

Instead of finding out your baby's sex in a darkened ultrasound room, imagine sharing the heart-stopping excitement with all your shower guests!

Expecting moms who go this route simply instruct their doctor not to divulge the baby's gender. Instead, the mom-to-be asks her doctor to write it on a piece of paper and drop it into an envelope which she seals (without looking) and passes along to the shower hostess. The hostess arranges for a cake that's gender neutral on the outside, but has either pink or blue frosting on the inside – thus revealing the baby's sex with the very first slice.

Alternatively, the parents find out the sex ahead of time but wait until the shower to make the information public. "I'm not into baby shower games, so I'm thinking of serving gender-reveal cupcakes," says one  mom. "We're holding the shower at a bowling alley, so after the gender reveal, the guys can play pool or bowl while us girls open gifts."

The sprinkle

Debates rage about whether a second- or third-time mom should have a baby shower. After all, doesn't she already have all the supplies she needs?

On the other hand, shouldn't seconds and thirds (and fourths!) get a little celebration too? The "sprinkle" – generally more casual than a shower, in which gifts are vastly scaled down – is the perfect compromise.

Some sprinkles involve handmade gifts. "I held a sprinkle for my best friend, who was having her second boy," says one mom. "I threw it at a paint-your-own pottery place, and everyone made a ceramic tile for the baby's room."

Others spurn pricey baby extras in favor of the bare necessities, such as diapers. "My sisters are throwing a little sprinkle for me," says one mom. "Basically, it's a diaper shower. We're just going to enjoy food, socialize, and have a good time." Another great option? A stock-the-freezer theme, in which guests bring frozen meals as gifts.

The cash registry shower

These days, many expectant parents want a bit more control over the baby loot that pours into their homes – so instead of registering at a store, they register for cash itself. Online cash registry companies have sprung up to accommodate this trend. The companies provide cash coupons to give as shower gifts.

It's not quite as mercenary as it sounds. For one thing, guests often get creative and wrap the coupon in a cute baby outfit, add a small toy, or include a fun, personalized card. And guests purchase the coupons online, where they can see what the parents are planning to buy with the money.

"The company I used, Deposit a Gift, had me post pictures of what I was planning to buy, much of which wasn't available at the more conventional baby stores," says first-time mom Marie-Angie Vassallo. "So my shower guests got to choose what they wanted to contribute to, and their coupons reflected that."

In this sense, it doesn't sound too different from a traditional registry. The big difference? The parents exchange the coupons for cash – not the item itself. If they change their mind about that lime green changing table, no problem; they simply buy something else.

"It gave me more flexibility and control than a traditional registry," says Vassallo. "I think my guests thought it was a fun idea too."

The grandmother shower

Whoa! Isn't a baby shower for Grandma a bit over the top? Your own grandmother might think so, but many of today's new grandmas sure don't.

"My mother-in-law had one," says one mom. "The ladies she works with threw her a surprise party. They made blankets, bought clothes, and pooled money to buy her a Pack 'n Play."

Even in this brave new world, however, etiquette remains essential – and there are definitely some unwritten rules for grandma showers. "The shower should be hosted by Grandma's friends, not Grandma herself," says Johnson. And Grandma shouldn't register for gifts – no matter how fervently she desires that cute highchair that perfectly matches her kitchen table.

"It would seem a bit gauche for a grandparent, even one who will be regularly caring for a new grandchild, to ask for specific things," says Johnson. "That should be saved for the parents."

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