I just had my baby shower this past weekend (I had a great time! I promise to post all about it) – but I also had to do a lot of the planning. I’ve planned baby showers for some of my friends, but it was interesting to see it from both sides. I learned a lot of lessons and I thought I would share those with the internet in case anyone out there is looking for some tips.
Why did I do a lot of the planning for my own baby shower? Well, because my friend and my mother wanted to hold the shower a week or two before my due date and that stressed me out! So I jumped up and started arranging things myself.
After finding out it was slated to be so late, I immediately sat down with my mother, created some invitations, and we picked the closest possible date that would allow the invitations to arrive, be addressed, mailed out, and then give people a little time to consider their schedules. Had anyone asked me ahead of time, I would have requested the baby shower be held a month earlier (I’m due at the end of May, the shower was at the end of April, and I would have preferred the shower in March).
The first thing I learned is that some people think of a due date similarly to a wedding date – the shower just has to be before that date. But due dates for babies aren’t really the same at all because babies can come whenever they feel like it.
The “due date” is really just the date of the 40th week. An average, healthy baby will typically arrive anytime between the 38th week and the 42nd week. Also, as informed by my doctor, if a baby reaches 34 weeks of gestation and decides it’s time, the medical staff isn’t going to stop labor. If the baby wants to show up at week 34, it’s showing up at week 34!
The baby shower was on my 35th week so I was having all sorts of stress dreams that the baby would show up before the shower (or in some of the dreams, AT the shower) and I would be completely unprepared.
My friend wanted the party so late because “everyone wants to see you as big as possible.” I get the reasoning, I do. However, the bigger the pregnant lady, the more uncomfortable she is and the easier she gets tired.
There is also an entire list of things that the pregnant lady will have to do after the party. I imagine all of these things are easier to do pregnant than with a baby:
- Write thank you cards to everyone
- Figure out where all of these lovely gifts will live (aka set up the nursery)
- Wash the baby clothes
- Assemble anything that needs assembling (cribs, swings, pack and plays, etc) – yes, this might be done by the father or any other handy friends and/or family, but they still need some time
- Assess the gifts: are there any duplicates that she needs to return? Did she receive a lot of “nice to have” items but none of the “need to have” items? (For example, you can’t take a baby home from the hospital without a car seat…) Were the majority of her gifts gift cards that she’ll need to go spend on the “need to have” items? (Wandering around a store while your core muscles are carrying around something as big as a large piece of fruit can be exhausting)
So for those reasons and others, I would recommend having the baby shower at least 2 months before the due date.
Good luck and happy planning!