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Second Baby Shower Blues

Oct18

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Advice Smackdown ArchivesHi Amy,

So I know you have posted before on second baby showers, and I remember the vibe being: It’s okay these days. But I kinda want to ask again, because you know, my situation might be different and stuff. I’m expecting my second child in December this year. It’s a girl, my firstborn is a boy and has just turned two. So while there sex differences, the time period isn’t that big. So we should have all the stuff we need right? Or maybe not if you are in the thick of the nesting instinct and also a second child who doesn’t want her second child to only have hand me downs from an older sibling. If that makes any sense.

So now that I have done my inventory I have realized that there is a whole lot of stuff that I don’t have or want to buy over for the second kid, and surely she deserves the fanfair and spoiling that is a baby shower too? Sure I have a pram, cot, car seat (that I want to upgrade). But I have very little in the way of unisex clothing. And of course a new baby means a whole new theme for the nursery which means new linen and blankies etc. And must replace bottles with BPA free ones. And then there are just the things that I’d like to do better this time round, like get an ear thermometer, and maybe get an electric swing chair instead of the bouncer we had last time… And by the time I am done I can replace just about everything because a new baby NEEDS new stuff? right? and I must do this better the second time around. Or something.

But the OCD issues aside. Is it inappropriate to have another baby shower? I’m thinking of combining/disguising it with a house warming, because that was another thing that the baby NEEDED. A new house. But then does it look like I am throwing myself a shower? I didn’t feel I could expect my sister to throw me another shower, so when she offered I said no. And if I do combine it with the house warming (Kinda like: welcome to our home and help us welcome our new baby?), is it okay to set up a registry, so I don’t get 25 pink outfits in 0-3 months size and nothing practical?

From a nesting second time mommy

Okay, once more, a summary with feeling: Second baby showers are definitely becoming more “okay” and accepted…in areas other than the South, where second (and third, and fourth) baby showers were ALWAYS okay and accepted. There is definitely a regional factor at play here, probably because (if I may make some sweeping generalizations) Southerners know how to throw showers the right way. They stick to the proper etiquette and the focus is NOT a big giant gift grab, as I see more often in other areas of the country. Showers are just…parties, meant to “shower” the mother-to-be with love and attention and an afternoon of fun. Why shouldn’t every new baby get their own party? That’s just silly to think otherwise! .

Compare that to the mistaken idea — just seen in the comments of a recent column about asking guests to pay shipping costs — that showers are specifically meant to “shower” the mom with gifts. NO. NOT REALLY. Gifts are a plus, a perk and a bonus. They are not to be expected or required or otherwise specifically asked for. I admit that I am very old-school about this — I’m probably one of the last hold-outs who believe that registry info does not belong in the invitation envelopes, but should be asked for by guests who are interested in using the registry OPTION, because THAT’S WHAT IT IS, AN OPTION — but I do think if we could all dial back our thinking about baby and wedding showers, we’d all be less confused about what’s okay and what’s not, and get fewer invitations that make our jaws drop with the transparently open, bossy gift grab vibe to them.

Anyway. Sorry. That manifesto was not really directed at you, Nesting Second-Time Mommy. Just needed to give everybody a frame of my shower-belief reference.

You’re pregnant, you’re nesting, thus I’ll give you a pass on the one-track mind you’ve developed about BABY THINGIES!!!11!! you need and want and seeing a shower as little more than a means to an end to get them. Hell, you’re just being honest, and I personally don’t see anything wrong with having a second shower, PARTICULARLY if you’re dealing with a different sex and do honestly need some different clothing and supply options. (Though please don’t say things like “I don’t want to get 25 pink 0-3 month outfits and nothing practical” out loud. If that happens, you return the outfits that came with a gift receipt and send very nice thank-you notes to the gift-givers anyway. It’s really not the end of the world.)

That said, since second showers aren’t always an automatic given, it helps to proceed a bit extra cautiously on the etiquette side: I do think the housewarming/shower combo DOES come across as throwing yourself a shower. Which is — and I think this is something we can ALL agree on — something you just. Do. Not. Do. Seriously. If you want a second baby shower, re-enlist your sister and have her throw you a second baby shower. There’s really no other way to do it tactfully — you’re not disguising ANYTHING if you throw a party and then try to sneakily include a second baby registry.

I don’t mind the thought of combining a housewarming and a baby shower on its own, however — you just simply cannot be the one who throws it, if you’re adding any indication that gifts are to be involved. If your sister was the one, for example, to send out the invites and worded them like, “Nesting Sister cordially invites you to join in the celebration of Nesting Second-Time Mommy and Daddy’s new home and new baby!“, I think that would be just fine. Basically hand over all the typical shower-hosting duties, but have it in your home. It can be done…you just have to set the right tone.

If you really do want to throw the party on your own, that’s fine, but NO registry, and NO expectations of any specific kind of gift. Or any gifts at all. Your guests’ attendance and company is a gift in and of itself. Yes, you’ll probably get some itty-bitty baby clothes and not the battery-powered swing. C’est la vie. We bought a LOT of baby stuff ourselves the second time around, and we lived.

But. Here’s the thing, even if your sister “hosts” the combo party: Guests are probably going to bring you one gift, either from the household item category or the baby category. Not both. You may very well end up with a bunch of kitchen utensil sets tied to pink stuffed animals and not any of the practical stuff your nesting instinct is telling you that you NEED, because guest might not be super-clear on the concept. Perhaps you could do an Open House party in the afternoon and then have a more traditional shower with your sister and girlfriends afterwards in the evening? Skip the registries and have your sister suggest gift cards to either Home Depot and/or Babies R Us to guests who inquire?

Honestly, it’s probably simpler to go back to your sister and say, “Hey, I was wrong. I think I would like a shower, and would really appreciate your offer to host it again.” This whole “how to get gifts without looking like I’m out to get gifts” subterfuge thing just isn’t worth the hassle.

__________________________________________________________________
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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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53 Responses to “Second Baby Shower Blues”

  1. Erin Oct 18 at 12:56 pm Reply Reply

    To be perfectly honest…baby showers are not for the babies. They never are, because by the time the babies are old enough to notice what they’re wearing or what they’re swinging in, they’ve outgrown the stuff from the shower. If you want a shower, then have one! FOR YOU. FOR FUN. I have no issues with someone wanting celebrate and make room for a new baby with NEW things. Plan to reuse what you can, ask someone or allow someone to throw a shower for you…have a good time. I probably wouldn’t combine it with a housewarming…because as a guest I’d be confused by that…but again. If you’re not all “SWAGSWAGSWAG” I think your close friends and acquaintances would be open to partying with you in celebration of all things new in your life.

  2. andrea Oct 18 at 1:02 pm Reply Reply

    I love the idea of a second shower. Once you have a child you tend to lose contact with friends. A shower is a nice way to reconnect with them again!

  3. Ally Oct 18 at 1:08 pm Reply Reply

    I moved to the south a few years ago and was shocked about how baby showers are done here. I am pregnant with my third and there are already two showers being planned. It is such an honor and I love the fact that everything wants to celebrate every baby that comes along. 

  4. Olivia Oct 18 at 1:27 pm Reply Reply

    Not being from the South, I tend to think second baby showers are a no go. But, that’s probably because I think of them as being gift-centered. And, except for the clothes and a second car seat, the rest of the stuff isn’t really necessary if the children are close in age and the parents kept the baby gear. So, if you want to decorate a new nursery, it’s on your dime, not your friends.*

    *I admit to being a bit of a curmungeon on the subject because my line of thinking for babies is all they really need is diapers and a boob.

  5. Carrie Oct 18 at 1:56 pm Reply Reply

    Maybe it’s because I’m from New England and we’re apparently not all that friendly around here, but a second shower leaves me feeling more than a bit irritated. I had four kids in six years so they obviously weren’t far apart and thus I did not have, nor did I ever dream of or expect to have, a second or third or fourth shower (even when I finally had my first girl who was #4) However, what did happen was that many of my friends and family members were as thrilled as we were with EACH addition to our family and they GRACIOUSLY and GENEROUSLY brought gifts when they came to visit or sent them at some point following each baby. I have NO QUALMS about bringing or sending a gift for my friends’ subsequent babies, but it chafes me that you’d expect me to go check your REGISTRY. I was happy that people chose things off my registry when I had NOTHING prior to my first baby, but it strikes me as very control freak-ish to expect that with subsequent children. Didn’t you already get all the pick-ticket items? You can’t just let someone pick out a baby outfit or blanket on their own? Better yet, let your friends spoil your OLDER child, your baby won’t care a bit whether she has hand me downs. None of mine ever have.

  6. txmama Oct 18 at 2:19 pm Reply Reply

    Amy, you are definitely not the last hold out on shower etiquette/registry etiquette — I totally agree with you! In fact, I’m so Old School that I think it’s tacky when a close relative (e.g. mother or sister) throws a shower for a mom to be. Of course, most people do not agree with me. I’m constantly horrified by the things I see on invitations, but I guess I’m mostly by myself on that one!

    I, however, see no problem at all with a second shower (but believe it should be thrown by friends or a more distant relative). I am from the South, for context on all this.

  7. Keri Oct 18 at 2:38 pm Reply Reply

    I think it sounds greedy. You want new stuff and don’t want to pay for it. I am also in the boat, after having 3 kids that less is more when it comes to baby gear. Without having a shower for my 2nd who was a different gender from the 1st I got plenty of “Welcome Baby” gifts of clothes that we were pretty set.

  8. Alissa Oct 18 at 3:11 pm Reply Reply

    We tend to throw the girlfriends in our little circle a second baby shower.  But we’re FRIENDS.  And we only invite US.  And the mom-to-be never really knows about it – we do it as a surprise during our monthly gatherings.  And we tend to give nice things for MOM, assuming that she already has all the big things she needs for a kid.  You know, as she already HAS one.

    I find it ridiculously tacky that you’d have a registry and want to throw yourself a shower for a second baby.

    Get ye to a consignment shop for some clothing and swings and such.  And let your nice friends bring over gifts after baby is born if they WANT to.  Not because they feel obligated because you’ve invited them to a party.

  9. JCF Oct 18 at 3:21 pm Reply Reply

    A few friends threw me a shower for my second baby (a girl, 1.5 years after my boy was born), but it was a very casual evening (dessert and punch) gathering to welcome the new baby. I got a lot of clothing, since that was the main thing we needed, since we only had boy clothing from the first time around. It was much smaller than my first shower (just close friends, not friends of my mom, etc.)

    As for the larger items that we wanted the second time around, we bought most of them–definitely no registry. We bought a double stroller, new/better swaddling blankets, more cloth diapers. My in-laws kindly purchased a new carseat for my son so that his sister could use the old one. That was about it.

    I have no issue with a small shower for a second baby (especially for a new gender), but I think a registry for a second baby is soooooo tacky.

  10. ALP Oct 18 at 3:28 pm Reply Reply

    My brother-in-law called their second shower a “Baby Sprinkle,” since it wasn’t quite a shower.

  11. Bethany Oct 18 at 3:41 pm Reply Reply

    On non-first child baby showers…I’m the youngest of three and apparently my mom’s friends threw a baby shower for her for me. I still cherish a stuffed panda bear that her parents sent her for the shower. One of my all-time favorite stuffed animals ever. There are photos of me with the bear from noncrawling age, through Disney World, girl scout camp, move-in day at college, and now she’s in a place of honor in my adult apartment. Sometimes the gifts from a baby shower really do stay with the kid. I have no idea whether she had a registry, but knowing my mom, I doubt it.

  12. J Oct 18 at 3:46 pm Reply Reply

    I’m with Carrie! I too am from New England and that’s just how we do it up here. You had a shower for your first baby where you had absolutely nothing baby related before hand and any children after (espcially close in age) used whatever big ticket items you got the first time around. I understand the regret of “gah, I should’ve gotten a gender neutral highchair/bouncer/whatever because my children aren’t the same sex” but the blue highchair/bouncer/whatever is going to work just as effectivly, and guess what, you’re child won’t know the difference. You’re just going to have to live with it for the few short years you’ll be using it or bite the bullet and buy it yourself. Be grateful that you got help your first time around. It’s the same way with the house warming party, and that’s assuming that you had a house warming with your first home. Expecting people to help redecorate and refurnish your new place is a little bit off putting. I’m all for wanting to have a get together with those who are near and dear to your heart for these new (but not first time) happenings. If people are kind enough to bring you a little something then that’s a bonus. Requesting that you’d like both a new something for the house AND the baby, in my opinion, is just plain tasteless. Be an adult and buy your own upgrades.

  13. Patricia Oct 18 at 4:23 pm Reply Reply

    I’m with Carrie on this one (and from New England as well), but I would def think it’s rude (and greedy) to have a registry for a second baby. We did a “sprinkle” for my friend’s 2nd baby which was close friends and family with no info on the invite about gifts. I of course wanted to bring her a gift and picked out something for the new baby, the older brother & my friend herself- because I figured they could all use a little treat. But I stayed in the range of $50-$60 versus the $150 I spent on her first shower (2 years earlier). And when I met the new baby I brought over a small gift & some yummy food items. I bring the boys birthday & xmas gifts as well, so I am constantly thinking of them throughout the year. I certainly don’t mind giving a nice gift the first time, but after that I feel like the responsibility is on the parents & while I am excited to show my support I really don’t think I should be stocking your house for the baby. On the same note, my mother thought it was absolutely crazy that we were doing a second shower for my friend.

  14. Patricia Oct 18 at 4:24 pm Reply Reply

    (and from New England as well), but I would def think it’s rude (and greedy) to have a registry for a second baby. We did a “sprinkle” for my friend’s 2nd baby which was close friends and family with no info on the invite about gifts. I of course wanted to bring her a gift and picked out something for the new baby, the older brother & my friend herself- because I figured they could all use a little treat. But I stayed in the range of $50-$60 versus the $150 I spent on her first shower (2 years earlier). And when I met the new baby I brought over a small gift & some yummy food items. I bring the boys birthday & xmas gifts as well, so I am constantly thinking of them throughout the year. I certainly don’t mind giving a nice gift the first time, but after that I feel like the responsibility is on the parents & while I am excited to show my support I really don’t think I should be stocking your house for the baby. On the same note, my mother thought it was absolutely crazy that we were doing a second shower for my friend.

  15. Jay Oct 18 at 4:34 pm Reply Reply

    I think the “I need all new things even though most things I have are still perfectly usable, and I expect my friends to buy these things for me from my registry” attitude is rather tacky. (I’m also with pp who thinks that it’s tacky for a close relative to host a shower.) Having a party to celebrate is nice and I like the idea of combining it with a housewarming. But my eyebrows would definitely go way up if I got a second shower invitation, especially if I had just given you a shower gift two years ago. I would certainly bring a gift when I went over to meet the baby, but…..this is gift-grabby of the nth degree.

  16. Therese Oct 18 at 4:45 pm Reply Reply

    Being from the South (well, KY is technically a border state but we do a lot of things, especially in this arena like most truly Southern states) it’s not a huge deal to have some sort of special event for a 2nd, 3rd… whatever baby. However, as Amy pointed out, these events are usually very much about the BABY and the family, NOT centered on gifts. I can only think of 1 time that I was invited to a true (at least by the original poster’s definition) baby shower for a 2nd child. This was a party clearly designed for the mother to get more gifts with a registry and everything. I found the concept to be quite tacky in that regard. An example of a very non-tacky (in my opinion) celebration event was as follows: good friends had baby #3 (a boy after previously having 2 girls). Other good friends hosted a “Come Welcome Baby A___ to the L____ family party.” This was about 6 weeks post birth at the family’s home. The hosts prepared the food and made sure the house was ready and it was a casual drop by during [time frame] event. There was no mention of gifts at all but most people brought something along. I specifically purchased clothing knowing that Baby A didn’t have a huge hand-me-down wardrobe waiting on him. We all were able to visit the family in their own comfortable environment, dote on the new baby boy AND his big sisters. It was great! I guess the point of that big long story is to say although it’s not unheard of to have showers for baby #2, they are usually done a bit differently (more casual, less “big” gifts…)than for baby #1. The only real exception is when there’s been a very large gap between children (i.e., my cousin has two teenage boys and after years of trying with no success has a surprise pregnancy. Since there is a 15+ year age gap at this point, she has had showers just like it was a first pregnancy.) I guess, just carefully consider the cultural norms where you live as well as measure your true needs vs. wants. Good luck with this pregnancy, your new home and all the changes happening in your life.

  17. camille Oct 18 at 4:52 pm Reply Reply

    I’m with Olivia and many other posters here. Baby needs diapers and a boob, and maybe a carseat. If you want a new nursery and theme, then you should be prepared to pay for that yourself. I have a 19 month old daughter and am 20 weeks pregnant with my second (sex unknown until birth), and we’ll be reusing all the gear we had with her (most of which were hand-medowns anyway). It may be because we lived in such a tiny house when we had our daughter, or maybe I’m just cheap, but I couldn’t justify accumulating a ton of stuff and theme-based paraphenalia for such a short period in a child’s life. We have a bigger house now, and we’ll still keep things to a minimum.

    That said, I think second babies should be celebrated (bring on the cake!) but in a non-gift focussed or expected way.

  18. baltimoregal Oct 18 at 5:20 pm Reply Reply

    Here’s when a second shower goes awry- when it’s a work shower, and/or people are asked to contribute to a gift card. 

    The last one I attended (the whole floor was invited) had BOTH elements and I was sincerely irritated. I barely know this woman. Why am I contributing to a cash supply for her second daughter? Or looking stingy if I don’t?

    Second/third/tenth showers are fine, in my opinion- if the children are far apart in age, or if the first shower was very limited (sex, etc) and the second one is going to be very different, or if the second one is going to involve different people, or if the second one will be more of a party and less of a gift event. After all, it’s not like you can only get gifts at a shower!

  19. tasterspoon Oct 18 at 5:30 pm Reply Reply

    West Coast represent.

    I attended a housewarming party thrown by an expectant couple called “Babies and Beer.” It was a great BBQ, but it didn’t have a shower vibe at all: the point was to show off a backyard remodel and hang out, an e-vite with no registry info anywhere. Some people brought baby presents, lots didn’t, nothing was opened. It was more like, I could have brought a bottle of wine but opted to go to Babies R Us, see whether they were registered (they were) and spent a similar amount. Not remotely grabby – but as a way to get high ticket stuff, forget it.

    I am due with my first soon and have felt weird about a shower even for this one because a) it seems like our friends just GAVE us wedding presents, do they really have to cough up every time we have a life change? and b) our friends have been INCREDIBLY generous with hand me downs. I feel like, for the ‘upgrades’ we might prefer – digital thermometer, fresh clothing etc. – that’s really on us to lay down the $$ for or go without.

    If all the questioner really wants are upgrades, there’s no big hurry so I’d vote for the post-baby “Welcome Baby #2!” party, without registry info, and trust that good friends have already heard you complaining about how much you hate your current wipes warmer or whatever. I’m mostly aligned with Olivia, but appreciate that I’m probably an outlier, so: grain of salt.
    If I were invited to your second shower and were your friend of course I would go but I wouldn’t spend much…so you may still not get the high ticket items you’re angling for unless a bunch of friends went in together. If that’s what you really want, maybe your sister could get some of your friends together and everybody pitch in to ‘surprise’ you with just the couple of nicer things you truly want.

  20. tasterspoon Oct 18 at 5:31 pm Reply Reply

    And hey – congratulations!!

  21. Aimee Oct 18 at 6:08 pm Reply Reply

    I’m originally from the north, and living in NorCal now, and my thoughts are kind of in-between everyone elses here.

    A few weekends ago we just had a second baby shower for my friend (her kids will end up being about 22 months apart, and the same sex so not a lot of new stuff will be needed). A small group of us, friends-coworkers-family went out to a very leisurely lunch, and then sent my friend to a spa for a super fancy pedicure (since she can no longer reach her feet). It was very nice, a few people brought gifts, but mostly we just all chipped in to pay the spa bill. It turned out to be a great way to celebrate in a way that was truly appreciated by the mom-to-be without being overwhelming for anyone.

  22. EB Oct 18 at 7:15 pm Reply Reply

    I’ll chime in from Colorado. Judging by what I’ve seen and what I’ve read here, things are even more relaxed here in CO, but I still don’t think anyone would ever throw/have thrown (?) for themselves a second baby shower. I’ve seen in done rarely, and it really sets a negative tone in the ‘friends’ who start to feel like cash machines.

    I guess I’m really on the band wagon of.. if you can’t afford it, don’t do it, and don’t expect everyone else to pick up the tab. I feel this way about weddings. If you are both in grad. school, barely making it on sudent loans in student housing, why throw a wedding with 300 people? If you answer, “The gifts!” you deserve to go into crazy debt for it. Don’t expect your whole family and all your friends to finance your baby, your wedding, or your house redecorating.
    Plus, your kids will remember stuff starting at 3 or 4 years.. Maybe save up the really special, just-for-you stuff until then?

  23. Emily Oct 18 at 7:49 pm Reply Reply

    I live in the south, and my experience with second baby showers is similar to others who have commented. It is a smaller, more intimate group of close friends and family. The focus is more on pampering the mother than on gifts. Unless the other kid(s) are significantly older, there is no registry. In fact, guests usually do fun, frivolous things (like little pink outfits) or gift cards.

    I absolutely would not combine a shower with a housewarming party, nor would I throw my own shower. Maybe this is harsh, but I don’t think it is appropriate to expect more than a bottle of wine or a nice candle for housewarming. If someone wants to upgrade when they move, they should (1) buy a less expensive house so they can afford to redecorate or (2) save for a few months to buy what they want.

  24. Trish Oct 18 at 8:42 pm Reply Reply

    I totally see where you want different stuff for a second babe. Especially one of a different sex. So find a swap or swap online.

  25. Kari Weber Oct 18 at 9:00 pm Reply Reply

    I am confused… Some of you are saying that a Baby Shower isn’t about the gifts… that it should be about the baby.  So, we shower the mother in celebration of a baby coming. Fine.  I get on board with that.  BUT then some of the same people say that they think a second, third, fourth (whatever) baby shower is unnecessary and even… selfish.  SO, are you saying that the subsequent babies are not deserving of being celebrated? That the mother doesn’t deserve attention when bringing MORE babies into the world.  I think that with the economy the way it is right now, it is a bit hard to assume that you are going to get the big ticket items just because you want them… but as long as you are not putting the registry IN the invitation, I don’t see a problem with HAVING one.  If I am going through the trouble of checking to see if you even have a registry, I am clearly OK with the idea of you having one.  

    It seems like because some of us may not have been thrown a second or third, etc. shower, we feel the need to judge others that may have that opportunity.  I say: have all the showers that you want! Celebrate EVERY baby that comes in to this world.  You know why? Raising a child is a hard, challenging and LOOOOOOONNNNGGGG job.  Why shouldn’t we get a little help to start off on?  If someone buys a big ticket item… gasp! They probably WANTED to!!

  26. Mary Oct 19 at 12:16 am Reply Reply

    I’m much older than most of you, my kids are in their late teens. I would have died (and my mother would have killed me) before I’d have thrown a shower for myself. But I did have really fun parties for all of them.

    For the first, a boy, I had the usual showers. For the second, another boy three years later, it was a fun group of friends who got together for an afternoon party. We ate and drank and chatted, and one of them had made me a quilt for the baby. I loved it.

    For my third, a desperately wanted girl four years later, my friends threw another party after she was born. It was special because she was the first girl born in my family in 38 years. I never asked for the party, and all I got was pink girl clothes, but it was perfect. We had the best time.

    Another shower idea that I have used for my friends is to ask everyone to bring a frozen dinner. We stash them in the freezer and send them home in a cooler after the party, and then new mom has one less thing to worry about. Any excuse for a party, right?

  27. Serendipity Oct 19 at 1:20 am Reply Reply

    California here! ;) My supervisor/friend was pregnant with her second and not planning on a second shower because her mom thought it was tacky. I got a few other coworkers/friends together and we surprised her one day with a visit, some presents, food, and laughs. I liked it. :)

    On the other hand, one of my friends got pregnant and had a shotgun wedding. We had a wedding shower,a bachelorette party, a wedding, and a baby shower within months of each other. I feel like I spent waaaay too much on her and that it was seriously tacky of them to squish it all in. Every time I saw her I was spending forty bucks. And the baby shower? Most of it was spent opening and admiring present after present after present. It was ridiculous, the amount of time spent.

    I’m with the people who say by all means have as many shower-the-mom-with-love showers as you want, but don’t make your guests feel like they have to spend tons of money on you. I feel like putting the registry info on there is like asking for them to buy you something, which really is just amazingly presumptuous.

    Anyhoo. Congratulations to Second-Mama-to-be and Amy both!

  28. Rachel Oct 19 at 3:06 am Reply Reply

    I’m kind of bothered by registries in general , so I’m probably kind of on the fringe here. However– some friends of ours threw us a (co-ed) “meet the baby” shower after our son was born, scheduled for a month after his due date. They wanted to throw a shower beforehand, but it seemed gift-grabby to us, so we deferred. We asked that the invites make it clear that the gathering was social in nature and that we didn’t want gifts, but everyone brought them anyway (just as they did to his “no gifts, please” first birthday party). People like giving babies presents. It’s a fact of nature, and it should be allowed to happen organically.

    I think this type of gathering would be perfectly appropriate for a second, third, or thirteenth child, too. It gives you the opportunity to emerge from your baby bubble, and opens the door for visits from friends who are worried about giving you adequate space and privacy during those first few weeks. They get to pass your brand new snuffly little bundle of love around the room like a hot potato, and you get a chance to practice talking to adults again.

    If I ever throw another baby shower for a friend, I’m stealing Mary’s frozen dinner idea. What a sweet gesture!

  29. Jenny Oct 19 at 7:51 am Reply Reply

    I’m not sure if I am in the minority, but I always get baby gifts (after the baby is born) in additional to baby shower gifts. So I don’t react well to 2nd baby showers. Sometimes I mentally add up the amount of money I’ve spent on someones bachlorette party, wedding shower, wedding gift, baby shower, baby gift and really cringe :)

  30. LBH Oct 19 at 9:05 am Reply Reply

    I am due with my second son in less than 2 years and I don’t expect a shower–nor do I need one, but some friends have very (VERY) sweetly suggested having a group pitch-in for a postpartum doula for day (or more) or a diaper drive. I love both of those ideas.

  31. S Oct 19 at 9:45 am Reply Reply

    Hmmm, I dunno. I’m from NY, FWIW. Second showers seem kinda greedy, unless you’re just going to invite your VERY close circle of friends and family. Maybe you could have a “meet the baby” party after the baby is born, and if folks want to bring gifts, great! If not, then just have fun celebrating the baby. A registry for a second baby seems pushy to me, so I’d buy the must-haves myself and predict that anyone who buys a baby gift is going to get something gender-specific for your little girl.

  32. Kailee Oct 19 at 10:24 am Reply Reply

    I am originally from Texas, but not live in DC, so I think I have a few perspectives on the second baby shower. I’ve been invited to showers for a second baby, and they were totally different than that of the first. The guest list is much smaller, and there was no registry. It wasn’t so much a shower as a get together. The gifts were not as extravagant, and the vibe was much more “Let’s sit and chat” than “Let’s play games and open gifts.”

    And, I think you have to be very careful when putting together an invite list. Your family and closest friends are going to be happy to have an excuse to get together and celebrate. The not-as-close friends? Feathers might be ruffled.

    I agree with Amy, skip the registry for a second baby all together. Inquiring minds can be directed toward gift cards for you to purchase some big ticket items. I think that prevailing rationale will be that you should have most of the big ticket items already, and your guests should be able to spoil the baby with a sweet outfit or toy.

  33. Melissa Oct 19 at 10:27 am Reply Reply

    Congratulations on your new baby!
    I’m from the midwest.
    This writer seems really greedy to me. Unhappy with perfectly nice thermometer someone generously gave you the first time? Buy a new one. Want to redecorate? That’s on you. Thrifting, hand me downs, eBay are all great ways to get inexpensive items for your baby. If someone wants to bring you a gift after the babyis born, that is generous and sweet of them. Just because you are pregnant does not entitle you to brand new everything. Time to pay for what you really need and graciously thank anyone for their generosity.

  34. Becky Oct 19 at 11:01 am Reply Reply

    I’m from the Midwest. Keep in mind that I don’t have kids – but most of my friends do. I haven’t been to a shower yet (wedding or baby) that wasn’t at least 75% focused on the gifts, as in most of the time was spent opening and oohing, ahhing over them. When it comes to my close friends, whether it’s the 1st, 2nd or 8th child, I almost always give some sort of gift shortly before or after the baby is born (and often one to the older siblings.) So in my mind, this is something your close friends and family are going to do regardless of whether you throw a shower. If you truly want to have a get-together, I tend to lean toward after the baby is born so there’s the opportunity to see him/her and welcome them!

  35. Kim Oct 19 at 12:18 pm Reply Reply

    Wow, folks – judge much? Ok, look, OP, you are sounding a little flustered and a wee bit grabby, but I suspect you know that and maybe were even poking fun at yourself with the OCD stuff. So. Your baby definitely does not need new stuff. You might, if you absolutely hated some of your baby gear. But you probably are not going to get it, and you should be ok with that. I’m from California, and my girls are 3 years apart. I had two separate friends offer/insist on throwing me a shower, and they ended up doing it together. It was very low key, but I did have a registry at their insistence, because there are a lot of people who asked for one. I did feel a bit awkward because it was filled with stuff like closet organizers this go-round, instead of cutesy stuff. Oh, and I had a cloth diaper registry because I certain blogger had convinced me to try them. Everyone had fun, my 3yo most of all. Recap: Have the party. Make it easy for those who want to give you gifts to do so, but do not expect them from anyone and be grateful for all of them. Those who grumble need not attend. If you feel grumbly about getting a gift, do not give one. That way everyone can be a grownup.

  36. Bonnie Oct 19 at 12:20 pm Reply Reply

    I’m from So Cal (directly in-between LA and Palm Springs, so it’s a pretty liberal area) but my family on both sides are from the South. So I’ve been to second baby showers (within a few years of the first-born) with registries (shock and horror!) They were always for different genders, as well though. I’ve been to a shower thrown by the mom-to-be herself, and even though it was hosted at her in-laws house and I know her MIL had a lot to do with the shower, she specifically mentioned throwing it for herself on multiple occasions. I’ve also been to showers where the registry info was hand-written on the invite itself. My point is that, sure, I tend to give these things the side-eye, but I think that’s mostly due to my upbringing and where my up-bringers were from. I really think OP is from somewhere around here, because she honestly sounds like any other mom-to-be you’d hear talking in my neck of the woods. So be nice, commenters. Sure it’s tacky in your context, but obviously it never struck her as being so because she’s obviously used to different things.
    That being said, Amy gave the perfect advice as always :D
    LOVE the “gift cards if anyone asks” idea.

  37. angie Oct 19 at 1:34 pm Reply Reply

    No need to “disguise” the baby shower as part of the housewarming. Your real friends will bring gifts no matter, and you won’t need to mention it for fear of sounding like you’re fishing for gifts. I have 2 daughters and for my second baby people tended to give us very practical things. Most people know that practical gifts are what you give for second babies.

  38. Megan @ Mama Bub Oct 19 at 1:41 pm Reply Reply

    I have no problem with second showers. I had a “sprinkle” for my second, but didn’t register and got mostly girly things. We have a boy and already had the big stuff, so I was happy to get a bunch of frilly things. I agree with Amy – I don’t like registry information on the invite. People will ask and in this day and age, most people know to just check Babies R Us. Even though most people WILL bring gifts, I didn’t like the idea that a gift was necessary for admission to the shower.

  39. Melissa Oct 19 at 2:40 pm Reply Reply

    My friends are throwing a “sprinkle” for my second baby. It’s a smaller gathering that’s not so frou-frou as the shower they held for the first.

  40. Allison Oct 19 at 3:55 pm Reply Reply

    I’m with Megan. I call second showers sprinkles b/c every baby needs some pomp and circumstance that they are coming into the world. New binkies and blankies and loving on the baby and the mama. However, I do have issue with people wanting second showers to, as OP says, “upgrade” espeically when they are close in age. My friends have been BEYOND gracious, but it’s in no way their responsibility to fill up my baby’s closet. My husband and I (who are due with our first in a month) have had this discussion when he HAD to go with the pink linen. Fine I said, but if we have a boy next time we have to pay for new linen (that stuff’s pricey!) Bottom line, second or third or whatever shower’s are fine to celebrate but not to redecorate.

  41. Stephanie Oct 19 at 5:51 pm Reply Reply

    Texas here! I have no problems with second, third or fourth baby showers because, as you said, down here it’s about the gathering and celebrating with friends and family. An opportunity to laugh, eat good food and truly celebrate the mom and her baby – it is NOT about gifts. I’m sorry but when I read that advice request, it struck me as greedy and entitled. A second baby shower so she can cash in? Oh I don’t think so Honey. That’s rude, no matter where you’re from.

  42. Christen Oct 19 at 8:57 pm Reply Reply

    I love the theme of announcing our locations. NorCal represent! Woot! OK, Nesting Second Time Mommy, if you celebrate Christmas and your baby is due in December…you’re going to end up with a lot of stuff, so I wouldn’t worry about this baby not being celebrated and loved. Regardless: People are going to be happy and excited for your baby. And if you follow everyone’s anti-registry advice, you’re going to have to relinquish some of the OCD tendencies since you likely won’t be able to control exactly what you receive. But it’s the thought that counts, right?

  43. Wallydraiglw Oct 20 at 10:03 am Reply Reply

    I, personally, am totally okay with second baby showers. BUT! As far as I know, they’re still not considered okay by etiquette. A baby shower is a party thrown to welcome a new mother and/or father into parenthood, which is why a second baby shower isn’t done. Again, I myself think second (and third! and fourth! and on!) showers are great, since I like to give gifts and eat little sandwiches and have cake.

    If you do go with the second shower, I would keep it to family only or to family and very, very close friends.

  44. JenVegas Oct 20 at 5:43 pm Reply Reply

    Chicago (by way of NY) here! I don’t really get what the big hubbub is about registries. Frankly I think we should all register for EVERYTHING. How many hours of hemming and hawing over random goods would this have saved me when shopping for someone’s birthday gifts? As it is, I am a firm believer in checking Amazon for a wish list before heading out to the stores.
    So I don’t really think it’s a big deal to put registry info on an invite. It’s not a demand, it’s a suggestion. And, if you’re the type of person who can’t buy a gift for someone without mentally keeping track of how many gifts you’ve bought them in the past year or what the monetary value of your gift is (ahem, my mom) then maybe you should just not buy presents for people. Presents are something you give out of the kindness of your heart. If you are going to get present-giving all caught up in etiquette then you are doing it wrong. On the flip side of that coin, if you are throwing a party specifically to get gifts you are doing that wrong too.
    I am expecting my first child in about 6 weeks and my mom and aunt threw me a baby shower back home in NY and my friends here in Chicago threw me a surprise shower last week. I didn’t expect gifts from everyone who attended or was invited nor did I receive gifts from everyone and that didn’t bother me. I was happy to share my day with my friends and family. The folks who brought gifts get thank you cards and the folks who didn’t got hugs and kisses and cake at the party. Everyone happy.

  45. Yar Oct 21 at 8:37 am Reply Reply

    I think this is a great example of where “etiquette” can fail — it’s great to have rules governing social interaction, and it’s especially great to know what to do in certain situations, but I think what the original post is really about is this: “…and surely she deserves the fanfair and spoiling that is a baby shower too?”
    I’m pretty sure that, in utero, a baby isn’t going to appreciate the fan fare and spoiling, but Mom certainly is. And I get that — wow, it really is nice to be pampered and appreciated when, by God, you’re making a person! But I don’t think shanking
    down your friends for gifts and attention is the best way to go.

    Wouldn’t it be awesome if, without asking, all your good friends got together and simply made a day all about you? I’d LOVE that, it would make me feel on top of the world and totally ready to march into parenting as the empowered member of a tribe of awesome women. But, for whatever reason, we just don’t DO that for each other. Instead, we throw showers and confuse the situation with gifts that represent, without BEING, real encouragement and appreciation and respect.

    So, I guess I fall on the side of the fence that says indulge your nesting instinct by buying what you actually need and then gracefully accepting the 25 pink outfits that your friends give you. And if you really want to have a fan fare for your baby, throw a nice, big, open house/meet the new baby/see our new home party when you’re ready for it after you deliver. Enlist your sister and some friends to do ther real hosting duties and then sit back and enjoy all of the attention, the oohs and ahhs and revel in your fabulous second motherhood

  46. Nerwal Oct 21 at 4:24 pm Reply Reply

    From Texas here and of the unpopular opinion that second showers are a no and are kinda tacky and pretty gift-grabby. Because showers with “fanfair and spoiling” for babies are about the mother to be. Not the baby. However, having a “Meet the Baby” party after the baby is born is perfectly acceptable. People will bring gifts, and if you have a registry (which I don’t see why you wouldn’t if just because at the end you get a completion coupon) and they ask you (I share Amy’s opinion of no registry info on the invite), then share that info. But I wouldn’t expect large, expensive stroller/car seat type gifts, because most people would expect you already own them. And, really, do you NEED all this new stuff, or do you just really, really want it? I wouldn’t expect my friends and family to shell out $$ for crib sheets just because I want to redo the nursery – that’s not a need.

  47. Bridget Oct 21 at 4:49 pm Reply Reply

    I feel like this is a scenario where either a precedent has already been set, or is being set.
    So either this is a common thing amongst your friends, to have a big shower thrown by whomever (expecting mother included), or you are going to make it a common thing. If you are making it a common thing, then are you willing to shell out big bucks for your friends/family’s second, third, fourth children? If you have no problem with reciprocating, or you already have, then go for it. But if you wouldn’t want to drop $100 per kid for each of your friends/family, then don’t expect them to do the same.

  48. christina Oct 21 at 7:19 pm Reply Reply

    Ugh. I’m sorry, but you seem really greedy to me. Please don’t throw yourself a shower. If you “need” new things (other than the 0-3 pink outfits, that is), please start a baby fund and buy them yourself. Otherwise, be gracious and grateful when close friends buy you gifts when she arrives.

  49. Karen Oct 22 at 1:07 pm Reply Reply

    My sis-in-law’s family does sprinkles and they invite a small group of women and all design and create a craft-type item they either give to the baby/mommy or take home for themselves. The most recent was a beading/necklace thing and the ladies made one for the mom and took their own with them. It was social and no one opened gifts there. Previous events included gift opening at the end.
    I am having my second and am very similar to the woman who posted. I would love a pack-n-play (something we didn’t need the first time), a bumbo thing, new carseat..but since we moved 3 years ago, I do not have a close group of friends and would have to do an online shower which is 3x as tacky because it is clearly about gifts! Instead, I have asked for gift certificates from family for Christmas and my birthday and we’ll gladly accept any baby items we are gifted. Other than that…time to fork out the dough!

  50. Eva Oct 24 at 9:06 pm Reply Reply

    Or maybe not if you are in the thick of the nesting instinct and also a second child who doesn’t want her second child to only have hand me downs from an older sibling. If that makes any sense.

    So now that I have done my inventory I have realized that there is a whole lot of stuff that I don’t have or want to buy over for the second kid, and surely she deserves the fanfair and spoiling that is a baby shower too? Sure I have a pram, cot, car seat (that I want to upgrade). But I have very little in the way of unisex clothing. And of course a new baby means a whole new theme for the nursery which means new linen and blankies etc. And must replace bottles with BPA free ones. And then there are just the things that I’d like to do better this time round, like get an ear thermometer, and maybe get an electric swing chair instead of the bouncer we had last time…
    You sound like Becky from Sophie Kinsella’s novels.

    Good grief. If you want to ‘upgrade,’ buy your own stuff or put it in a registry that you hope people will shop from. Please don’t dictate your demands to your friends and family. You can suggest, but let them give you gifts, and be gracious.

    I don’t see how decorating a new nursery means ‘new linen and blankies.’ The baby won’t care – if you did it in a boy theme, you can afford to do a girl theme, or keep it neutral.

  51. Brittany Oct 25 at 12:29 am Reply Reply

    I usually get friends a gift for any baby, but I object to 2nd baby showers. I’ve lived in the west and midwest. Unless there is a many-year time gap between baby 1 and 2, or you are super-broke grad students, I just think that people should make do. I get tired of being treated like an ATM.

    You make the decision to have multiple children- so you also have to figure out how to afford the equipment you want for the new baby. It is not the job of your friends to fund the lifestyle you want.

  52. NYCMom Nov 04 at 11:20 am Reply Reply

    A second shower should be SMALLER in scale than the first, a few friends and close family. Although the baby is no less important, the shower isn’t really for the baby now is it? It’s totally gross to expect family and friends to rebuy gifts they gave you just a few short years ago (chances are, once they hear you’re having a girl they’ll send you lots of cute little outfits anyway). If you need major items, like a new swing and car seat, tell your mother and mother-in-law that their granddaughter sure could use those things – and let them buy it for you.

  53. Chris Feb 26 at 1:38 pm Reply Reply

    The latest thing I’ve been hearing is that baby showers are “a celebration of life” and “every [unborn] baby deserves one.” However, baby showers are more about the couple/mother approaching a new phase in life or parental experience. Family and friends gather to congratulate them and bring gifts that will help them get started.

    So, I’ve always found/known second baby shower etiquette to be thus:
    1) If there’s a significant age gap between children (6+ years).
    2) If the gender of the second baby is different from the first.
    Or
    3) If it’s the couple’s first child together.

    Other than that you can have a small pre-baby pot-luck luncheon, where the only thing people bring is a dish or beverage. Or you can wait until after the baby is born to have a “welcome to the world” party. Loved ones may ask what you need more of for your child, then bring that as a gift or a sentimental present.

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