Mummy stuff - Organising a baby shower

One of the most fun 'rites of passage' in a pregnancy and impending arrival of a little one is the baby shower! Even second-time mummies can enjoy a 'baby sprinkle.'

I have been to a few now, and as more of my friends and family have babies, I'm sure there'll be plenty more too! 

One of my special friends from high school recently asked me to host hers, and I was honoured to help her organise her special day, which we celebrated last Sunday. 

Here's a few tips in organising a baby shower. 

Firstly, decide on a theme. My friend had found out she was having a boy, and we went for a blue theme (similarly, I found out I was having a girl, and had a pink theme). The benefit in finding out is being able to be super-prepared, and that friends and family can buy you gender-specific items. On the other hand, receiving gender-neutral items means you can use them for subsequent babies, regardless of the gender. I haven't been to any, but I've read blog posts and seen pictures of 'gender-reveal' baby showers - where a host knows the gender, and is able to reveal to the expectant mummy the gender of her baby, often when she cuts the cake to reveal either pink or blue on the inside! 

In saying all that, you definitely do not need to have blue for a boy and pink for a girl. I love dressing Miss M in navy, and I think babies look very cute in greys and soft greens too. 

Other theme ideas might be a certain animal - I have ended up with an accidental owl theme for Miss M's nursery, just because there are lots of owl images/decals/toys around at the moment, and they are super cute! A friend of mine has an elephant theme, which is adorable too. The photo below was taken at her baby shower - 

Next, decide on the date, the time of day, and the venue. Most have their baby showers from about 34 weeks into their pregnancy, but there's no rules on this! It depends how you feel, and how your pregnancy is going. 

The venue needs to be able to fit everyone you are inviting, and make sure you have a wet weather alternative. There was a black out right before mine, and I had to move it inside as it was overcast. My house was not big enough for the amount of people I had! If a house doesn't suit, you can always reserve a large table in a nice cafe or restaurant, and then your food will be easy to organise too. 

Thirdly, design your invitations, or fill out ready-made ones. Vista-print is an easy site to use to design invitations, and can be as cheap or as expensive as you'd like. A friend of mine made mine invitations, which were really cute! Send these out with at least a month's notice, in case some have to travel. 

Next, decide on the style of your baby shower - will it be traditional with games, or a simple meal shared together with friends. This will help you decide what to organise next. 

If you choose to have games, the internet and Pinterest is a wealth of ideas! You could have between 1 and maybe 5 or 6 games, depending on who you invite (some people don't enjoy games as much as others - I love them!) If you have prepared a lot of games, just gauge everyone's interest levels - if they appear to have had enough after 3 games, it's better to just leave it there and let them enjoy the food and each other's company. Always ask the mummy though - she may want to play more games! 

At my friend's shower last Sunday we played 3 games - a 'guess the item' game where you wrap up 20 or so baby items, and guests have to feel and shake the packages to see if they can guess the item - no peeking! I've played this at 3 different showers, and it is always a hit, and is easy to do. Print out a table for guests to record their answers, and make sure to label each package with a number. Open the items at the end to reveal what was inside! 

We also played 'pin the dummy on the baby.' I printed out a baby on A4 paper and then blew it up to A3 at my local library. I also printed off a heap of dummies, which I cut out and stuck blu tack on the back of each. Each dummy had a number, and as each guest stuck their dummy on the baby, I wrote their number in that spot. You can buy cute ready made games like this on ebay. Don't forget the blindfold!

The last game we played was 'guess the nursery rhyme.' This is simple to print out, and guests of all ages seem to enjoy it. Some of the less common nursery rhymes can have people stumped!

Throughout the afternoon, guests were able to leave advice for my friend by writing on 'tickets' and placing in a jar. We also had a 'guess how many lollies in the baby bottle' game, and a guest book in the form of a tree print-out where each guest places their fingerprint on one of the branches. It looks really effective. 

Here's mine from my baby shower - I framed it, but unfortunately the paper has gone a bit crinkly. I still love it though! 

Another fun game is where everyone brings a baby picture of themselves, and you have to guess who each person is. 

At a friend's baby shower, we were able to peg our photos to this beautiful ladder. 

Other games include:

~ the 'handbag' game - each guest gets a certain amount of points for things they might have in their bags

~ guessing the baby's gender, weight, name, hair colour, eye colour etc. 

~ the 'alphabet' game - each guest has to name a baby item (or a boys or girls name) for each letter of the alphabet

~ the 'peg' game - each guest is given a peg (could be blue or pink or neutral to fit with the theme) and if another guest catches them saying the word baby, they have to hand their peg over. The person with the most pegs wins. 

~ designing a onesie or a bib, where each guest can use fabric pens or paints to create a personalised item for the new baby

~ guess the baby food - take the labels off baby food jars, and have each guest taste each with a separate spoon and guess what each is (you can play a version of this with diapers filled with various foods, e.g. nutella in a diaper)

~ provide guests with a paper plate and texta, and have them place the plate on their head and attempt to draw a baby. You can also play use this play dough to create a baby. 

~ guess the belly size, using a piece of string for each guest

~ unscramble the baby words (e.g. piesnap = nappies)

~ baby find-a-word - create your own, or use google to find an existing template

It's important to choose a host (or if you are hosting your own) who feels comfortable explaining and running games with a group of known and unknown guests. When organising games, make sure you keep a list of everything you'll need for each (e.g. print-outs, pens etc.)

Next, you'll need to decide what food to serve. This will depend on what time the shower is (e.g. 10am will be morning tea). You could ask everyone to bring a plate of sweet or savoury food, or get just a few friends to bake for you. You could stick to a theme for the food, or just choose some favourites. Finger foods are handy, but if you were having a BBQ lunch, that can be just as easy. Some ideas for a morning or afternoon tea might be:

~ brownies
~ cookies (you can buy cute cookie cutters in certain shapes (e.g. a baby carriage) from ebay
~ cupcakes
~ muffins
~ cake pops
~ lollies
~ bliss balls
~ mini pavlovas
~ fruit platter

~ mini quiches
~ zucchini slice
~ meatballs
~ mini pies
~ mini sausage rolls
~ frankfurts 
~ biscuits and dips
~ vegetable sticks
~ sandwiches
~ cob loaf

Next thing to do is buy supplies. This includes items you'll need in the games, as well as cutlery, napkins, cups, plates, bowls (depending on what food you serve) and decorations. Some ideas for decorations:

[Image by J. Cook]

~ bunting (we had pink bunting at my baby shower - see above)
~ pom pom balls (can make or buy ready-made)
~ balloons 
~ a poster for a backdrop for the table
~ mini blackboards to let guests know where the present table, food table, drinks table and games are (Kmart has cute ones for $3)
~ a mini clothesline using ribbons with baby clothes hanging up
~ decorations in keeping with the theme, e.g. elephants or owls

You might want to prepare a box of prizes for the games, such as chocolates and mini pamper items. There is also the option of creating party favours for the guests to take home. 

As far as presents for mummy go, some like to have a list of suggested items that guests can ask for when they RSVP, and others just like to be surprised. See my blog post for buying for baby for lots of ideas. I love to put together a hamper or gift bag of useful items for the baby, as well as some cute outfits (who can go past those tiny adorable newborn outfits in shops!)

On the day of the shower, make sure you have a rough timeline of when everything needs to be set-up, and what you need to do on the day. Besides food that needs to be made on the day (e.g. sandwiches), make as much the day before as you can. 

The timeline of the party might go:
~ arrival
~ eat and mingle
~ icebreaker games or introduce yourself (say your name and how you know the mummy)
~ host explains some of the games you might play while you enjoy the food (e.g. guess the lollies in the baby bottle, fingerprint guest book and advice for the new mummy)
~ play games together
~ more food and mingling
~ mummy gets to open her presents! (A good tip - get someone to briefly write down what each guest bought for the mummy on a piece of paper for future reference)

Right before the guests arrive, set the food table. Setting up the table is always a fun job. I love using fancy platters and cupcake and cake stands. 

On Sunday we had a separate table for presents:

And a separate table for drinks and tea and coffee: 

Once everything is organised and ready to go, enjoy the party! Aim for the mummy to be able to relax, and chat to everyone, which is why it's always good to have a host, and leave the games etc. up to someone else!

[Here's a very puffy photo of me at my baby shower :) Image by J. Cook]

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