Baby Showers in the UK

What do you think about baby showers? It’s a subject that gets a very mixed reaction in the UK. To baby shower or not to baby shower? British mums are divided.

American Baby Shower

Baby showers are a particularly American event. Traditionally, a shower would only be held for a couple’s first baby and it was a female-only gathering. The expectant mum (or mom) would not have to lift a finger as the party would be thrown by a friend or family member – most often on a Sunday.

Invites to the baby shower include information about the theme if there is to be one, the baby’s gender if the parents know and wish to share, and where to find the baby shower gift registry.

Nowadays in the US, the baby shower rulebook has been thrown out the window and anything goes as far as the gender of guests and day of the event. Guests play baby-themed games like Guess the Baby’s Weight or Guess What’s in the Diaper. (Don’t even ask!)

Baby Showers in the UK

Although becoming more popular with modern British mums-to-be, baby showers have not really taken the UK by storm just yet. It’s not because the Brits do not like giving baby gifts.  We just tend to prefer to give the gift after the baby is born and on a more personal basis than in the middle of a party. The idea of a Baby Shower Gift Registry grates on the Uk psyche. Besides, what better chance is there going to be to meet the little newcomer?

One young mum took to the internet to complain that she felt unpopular after only a few people confirmed they would attend the baby shower her sister had planned for her.  Sadly, she did not find a sympathetic audience on Mumsnet. One respondent said:

I hate baby showers I hate bringing a gift before the baby is born I hate having to ooh and aah over a baby that isn’t here yet I hate playing the silly “guess the name/weight/gender games” So rather than your friends “not liking you” maybe they just hate “baby showers”.

Ouch. Stop sitting on the fence there, girl. Say what you mean. Its probably just as well she hadn’t heard of the Guess Whats in the Diaper game.

So, okay.  In the UK Baby showers might not be everyone’s cup of tea. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have one.  Or that if you are invited to a baby shower in the UK that it is guaranteed to be a cringe-fest.  There is no rule cast in stone that says you even have to have the baby shower before the baby is born.

Some things to bear in mind. 

Any kind of gathering results in a clean-up being required. It’s not a good idea to leave that for the expectant or new mother so throw the shower at a willing friend’s house or other venue.

Pick a date that suits the main guests. Your mother-in-law will never talk to you again if she gets left out. (On the other hand – your mother in law will never talk to you again if she gets left out!)

Having a baby costs a mint. While in the UK we may resist the idea of having a baby registry, giving baby gifts can make an enormous financial difference to first-time parents. Big fluffy bears and cute toys are fabulous but practical gifts are also much appreciated.