When to Have a Baby Shower: Guide to Choosing the Right Time

Published June 10, 2021
Baby shower. Decoration for party

The nine months of pregnancy prove to be an exciting time for expectant parents, and one of the events they look most forward to during this time is their baby shower. The question of when to have a baby shower often depends on several factors.

No Right or Wrong Time to Have a Baby Shower

It is most common to hold baby showers one to two months before a mother's due date, but while this is a traditional timeline, it isn't set in stone. The perfect time to hold your baby shower largely depends on the mother's and the baby's overall wellness, cultural practices, and personal preference. Some parents-to-be might decide that an earlier shower works for them, while others push it out until after the baby is born. Early on, traditional or late in the game, all baby shower timelines have particular pros and cons.

Traditional Baby Shower Timelines

When you decide to have a baby shower often depends on the parents' preferences to be as well as the trajectory of the pregnancy itself. Traditionally speaking, baby showers have been known to get their time in the sun roughly 4-6 weeks before the mother's due date. This timeline often ensures that the mother is far enough along in her gestation to assume all will be well with the baby but isn't dangerously close to the big day. A surprise labor will quickly cancel baby shower plans. For typical pregnancies that have not encountered certain roadblocks, the traditional timeline works out well.

Having a Late-in-Pregnancy Baby Shower

If you have a pregnancy that hasn't included medical setbacks, you can choose to hold your baby shower closer to your due date. Some women prefer to do this as they view the baby shower as a last hurrah before the big day arrives. They like to use the baby shower as a culminating event to the nine long months of awaiting their bundle of joy.

As a woman advances in her pregnancy, even textbook pregnancies can fall victim to particular health woes that could potentially thwart late-in-gestation baby showers. Certain conditions, like pre-eclampsia or early contractions, can land a mama on bedrest and destroy baby shower dreams real fast.

Baby showers are also an event where parents score much of what they will need in those early baby days. When you are 38 or 39 weeks pregnant, getting loads of gifts leaves little time to wash clothing, put everything away, and assemble large items such as strollers, cribs, and bassinets.

Friends talking at baby shower party

Having a Shower Early On

Some particular pregnancies might result in babies coming earlier than usual, and parents of these little early birds may choose to get in on the baby shower action ASAP. If parents expect multiples, who often make their debut earlier than singletons, showers before the seventh month can certainly be considered. Mothers of multiples end up on bedrest more often than their pregnant counterparts who are waiting for one baby, and having a day of celebration before they go lateral is always a pro.

There are some drawbacks to celebrating too early in the game. Showers held too early on might not give parents enough time to think through what they might need to put on their baby registry. Creating a registry that checks all of those baby boxes is key, so if you are going early with shower plans, be confident in knowing what to request from guests. While the overwhelming number of pregnancies make it to the finish line, sadly, a few do not progress. Having a shower and then suffering a pregnancy loss can be incredibly distressing for parents.

Holding a Baby Shower After the Baby Is Born

A newer, fast-growing tradition in showering babies and mamas with some love is called a sip and see. This fun event, which originated in the South, was created so that close friends and family can meet the little one and spend some quality time with the new mama. Sip and sees differ from baby showers, primarily because of gift-giving. A small token of love might be given at a sip and see, but larger or requested baby gifts are reserved for showers.

You can have a baby shower after your little one is born if that is your preference. In some cultures, such as the Chinese culture, baby showers post-labor are the norm. If you had a complicated pregnancy and found yourself unable to gather with friends and family due to particular conditions, then a post-labor shower might be the right choice for you. If you hold it six weeks after your little one arrives, you'll be getting over those hazy newborn days and more readily able to enjoy the shower festivities.

Waiting to hold your baby shower until your little lady or fellow arrives has some drawbacks. Some mothers think that they will bounce right back to their pre-pregnancy selves, only to discover that recovery is more challenging than they anticipated. Physical ailments and postpartum depression can leave new moms in anything but a partying mood.

Baby showers are used to gather up all the baby items you'll need to hit the ground running...and feeding...and burping...and bathing. If you hold your shower after the baby is born, prepare to purchase many of the items normally reserved for a registry yourself. If people still want to contribute a gift for a post-baby baby shower, diapers and wipes will never NOT be needed. Consider asking guests for clothing intended for babies six months and older or items you discovered you are still in need of or will need later on in your parenting journey.

Mother and baby with friends at baby shower

Choose a Shower Time Frame That Works For You!

This is your pregnancy and your baby, so you do what feels right for YOU! If you want to go the traditional route, there is nothing wrong with that. If your pregnancy dictates a shower earlier on or after the baby is born, that is completely fine as well. Showers are meant to be a time to relax and enjoy this magical part of your life, so work them in when you feel that you can. This way, you will get the most out of the big day.

When to Have a Baby Shower: Guide to Choosing the Right Time