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Birth Announcement Etiquette

Jan12

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Here’s an etiquette question for you. I noticed on your Amalah blog that you’re just now getting to your second son’s birth announcements…

My son is four months old and I haven’t even ordered his announcements, much less mailed them. In my defense, he’s baby #2 (a) and (b) the card I’d chosen to use for his announcement was suddenly discontinued! I haven’t found anything else I liked as much since.

When is it too late to send birth announcements?

Thanks!
J.M.

tiny_prints_birth_announcementSix months. You have six months. Officially, and all that, according to the General Guiding Etiquette Guidelines.
I have my announcements, and have had them for a good two months now, sitting in a little pile on my kitchen table. They’re a lovely design, complete with a close-cropped photo of both the boys that we took at the hospital. I even ordered extra envelopes in case of spelling mistakes. I just…haven’t taken the time to sit down and actually ADDRESS them and mail them out.

Last time, I made out a list of everyone I planned to send announcements to before my due date. I compiled their addresses — with some help from my mom and mother-in-law — into a Word document so all I had to do was copy them onto envelopes. When Noah was three weeks old my mom came to visit and we spent an afternoon assembling the cards (an overly complicated card/photo/tissue/ribbon design) and mailed them the next morning.

birth_announcements.pngThis time I didn’t do the address list ahead of time, and I realize what a difference that made. Every time I turned on my laptop I saw the saved document sitting on the Desktop, reminding me about the announcements. This time I don’t even know if I have my one brother’s address, my sister’s is only saved in my list of previous order histories at Amazon, so-and-so has moved and Jason promised to get me a couple addresses for his family and hasn’t yet (I’d make him do his own list but after trying that with holiday cards once I know it simply will never happen). And so, instead of making do with the addresses I do have while trying to track down the rest (and once again realizing that this keeping everything on computers and cell phones instead of an old-school address book is NOT WORKING), I simply ignore the task. NOT GOOD.

I have three more months. I gave out a couple in person over the holidays, and am now starting to get into the realm of needing to include an additional, more recent photo of the baby (also considered polite if you have dragged your feet re: mailing the announcements). Who no longer looks like a squishy 7 pound, 7 ounce newborn.

So. You have two more months, if you’re aiming to stick to the official etiquette. If you can’t find a traditional birth announcement that you like, consider just making a generic card up with a photo of the whole family, or go for a holiday card instead and include a couple photos. Most people, I think, are only interested in those scintillating “birth stats” like weight and time of birth early on (although I hold on to announcements so I can be sure to remember birthdays going forward), and by six months (or later) would be more pleased to get a copy of a recent photo. (Again, this electronic world of emailed and blogged photos means I also am terrible about getting people actual, hard-copy photos for framing or just tacking up on the fridge.)

Don’t forget to visit Amalah’s must-read weekly Pregnancy Calendar.


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About the author

Amalah

http://www.amalah.com
Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


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14 Responses to “Birth Announcement Etiquette”

  1. Issa Jan 12 at 12:49 pm Reply Reply

    Amy, Is it six months for all babies, or second ones? I’m on number three and have yet too send any out. He’s three and a half months. Also does sending out a Christmas picture card count? I mean they’ve all seen him now and it had his name.

  2. Heather Jan 12 at 4:53 pm Reply Reply

    My son was born on October 1 and I just barely got the announcements out a week before I sent out our (photo) Christmas card. I felt awful and wanted to hide under my bed covers, but nobody said anything. In fact, I think everyone was just happy to have received an announcement.
    I don’t think it matters how long you wait…it’s important/special! I love receiving announcements.

  3. Hannah Jan 12 at 5:37 pm Reply Reply

    Wow. i must be the most organzied mom on the planet. i’m on babies 4 and 5 and all of my cards are scheduled to be sent out by my sister on the 10Th of march, a week after the babies are scheduled to arrive. my sons are 9 and 6 and my daughter is 3, so i guess i have easy kids . although, i may just have too much time on my hands. lol

  4. Pippi777 Jan 12 at 6:47 pm Reply Reply

    I don’t have any children yet. But Whenever I’ve received birth announcements, it doesn’t matter to me how soon after the baby is actually born that I get it. I just like seeing a picture of the new baby, especially with older siblings if there are any. If they are sent out later, I also like to see a more updated photo, as opposed to a newborn shot. I know that it is difficult to get used to things when you have a new baby, especially if there are other children. I think I speak for most people when I say, I understand if it takes a while to get things together!!

  5. jodifur Jan 12 at 8:29 pm Reply Reply

    I just never did them. I had 3 baby showers, and I’m Jewish so my son had a Bris. A baby announcement felt to me like soliciting another gift.
    I’m not saying there is anything wrong with them, I just never did them. It was easier that way.

  6. Lisa Jan 13 at 11:11 am Reply Reply

    In the Netherlands, where i come from, it is common to send the cards within one week after the baby is born! Sending a birth announcement card a month after the baby is born, that is considerd late!
    My cards werd posted the day after my twin girls were born. So even for family in the Netherlands they were there on time.

  7. Amalah Jan 13 at 11:27 am Reply Reply

    Issa – I couldn’t find anything in my etiquette books that made a distinction between first and second and third babies, so “officially” yes. Six months. But like other people have mentioned — MOST people you send announcements to are friends and family and UNDERSTAND that sometimes it takes awhile. They just wanna see that baaaaybeee.
    Honestly, as long as I get an announcement before the baby’s first birthday I’m happy. I’m TERRIBLE with remembering birthdates so I hold onto announcements FOREVER just for that purpose. (And Jodi, I never ever thought of announcements as soliciting gifts. Eek. I send them to anyone who sent a gift, just so they can “meet” the fetus they sent the blanket to. Huh.)
    But also: yes. A holiday photo card is perfectly acceptable in lieu of an announcement.

  8. jodifur Jan 13 at 2:04 pm Reply Reply

    Oh Amy, I didn’t mean it that way at all. I just meant that’s why I didn’t send them. Had he not had a bris that pretty much everyone and their brother attended, then maybe, but it just seemed like a lot. If I a girl and we had a naming I probably would have sent a formal invitation with a picture that served as both. Make sense? (too many jewish birthing traditions, I know).
    Sorry if that came off rude, I was just explaining one logic for not sending any. Better than I was just being lazy.

  9. Asha Jan 13 at 2:18 pm Reply Reply

    It is great to see these lovely designs. I will use them for my next announcement, whenever we plan. For my first born, it was just an email, with a few of his photos attached.

  10. qwyneth Jan 13 at 5:23 pm Reply Reply

    Oh god, I have to do birth announcements? Aaaaaaah! I’m due at the end of the month and on bedrest for suspicious blood pressure. Crap.

  11. Whozat Jan 18 at 2:32 am Reply Reply

    My daughter was due on 11/25, so I had plans to send a birth announcement / Christmas card. I designed it well ahead of time, and had it all ready to drop in the photos and stats.
    Then she was born four weeks early, on 10/27, and I figured “so much for the Christmas card idea!” and reworked the announcement.
    Which I didn’t end up mailing until the first week of December.
    Ack! Should’ve stuck with the Christmas card!
    I actually did two versions of the announcement.
    We had a “sip and see” shower in my hometown (many states away from where we now live) when we visited over the holidays, so I did one version that was an announcement / invitation, and was technically sent out by one of the hostesses to folks back home who were invited, and a generic announcement that went to everyone else.
    (I printed them myself on using a laser printer on pink postcard stock.)
    Needless to say, there were no Christmas cards mailed, but I did do an email card with a couple of photos of her (caption: “Best. Gift. Ever.”) that I was able to send to pretty much everyone anyway.

  12. Leah Feb 20 at 3:18 pm Reply Reply

    Woo! I was feeling terrible about not having ordered my cards until the kid was two months old (and then putting a one-month-old photo on it), but apparently I’m ahead of the curve!

  13. I think I actually got my Birth Announcements for my second baby, sent out earlier than for my first – after my firstborn, I was so frazzled, it’s amazing I ever got them sent out! I’m not too concerned about the time frame – I own a Photo Birth Announcement company, and I routinely get orders from people months after the birth of their child, so it’s far from uncommon to send them out ‘later’. And anyone who’s had a child certainly understands! If it gets to be too long after baby is born, just wait until the next ‘holiday’ (Valentines, Fourth of July, whatever!), and do a nice family photo card/announcement – people love something different like that.

  14. Gwen Leichty Oct 18 at 6:03 pm Reply Reply

    I received a birth announcement from a friend and I have already given a shower gift and brought food when they brought the baby home. Will it be rude not to give another gift?

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