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No Gifts for Second Babies!

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Guest blogger Meanest Mom says: I recently received an invitation (registry card included) to a baby shower that made my blood boil. Why? Because it was for a friend's second baby.


Showers for second, third, and fourth babies are becoming increasingly common in our society, yet their prevalence doesn't make them any less tacky. The original purpose of a baby shower was to provide a first-time mother with the basic necessities required to care for a newborn. If you are already a mother, it is assumed that you have these things, or at one point had them. If you gave away your baby gear, or were shortsighted and registered for and received a pink stroller for baby # 1 and baby # 2 is a boy, that's your problem -- not your friends'.

Contrary to popular belief, the act of reproducing for the second time does not entitle you to a party and a gift. I know it can feel downright abusive to put your precious darling in hand-me-downs and (gasp) and ask big sister to share her Diaper Genie, but I assure you that both children will survive, despite their suffering.

"But every baby deserves a celebration," you whine. I couldn't agree more. But tell me, why must the celebration of each new life come with the expectation of a present? I have no problem with second showers whose invitations include the phrase "No gifts please." Such a gesture frees guests from the burden of obligation and allows them to bring gifts because they want to, not because they feel like they have to.  

Every baby is a gift. Just don't expect me to buy one for all of yours.

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39 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anabelle July 29, 2008, 1:13 PM

I agree…a lot of people seem very materialistic and ironically these same people are usually stingy when returning the favor!

Amy July 29, 2008, 1:19 PM

I sort of agree - presents shouldnt’ be expected.

My circle of friends and I have taken to hosting “food showers” for second- and third-time mommies. Instead of gifts for the baby (though admittedly some people can’t resist a onesie!), we shower the expectant mom with homemade frozen meals, ready to pop in the oven, or gift cards & menus for takeout places. That way, once baby arrives, mom and dad can focus on their family, and not on food prep.

I think this is a great way to celebrate a new arrival, and gifts aren’t expected, other than food.

foxymama July 29, 2008, 1:41 PM

Calm down - each kid should be celebrated. Frankly, I WANT to gift my girlfriends and their babies - regardless of whether it’s number 1, 2, 3 or 4. A little something is a great way to remember her and the baby.

Sheralyn July 29, 2008, 1:57 PM

I became a first time mom about a year ago. I had 2 showers, one from my mother and one from my mother in law.I received MORE than enough things for my baby. We are trying for baby number 2, and honestly, I have saved every box, every toy and every gadget I had received, for the next. However, there are always things that 2nd and 3rd time parents need for baby. While I feel that Baby Showers as extreme as the first are absolutely not necessary, I do believe that celebrating baby and gifting parents with pracical gifts that new baby will need is ok. This time around however, I would like to keep the shower more small and intimate and not such an affair.

JL Coburn July 29, 2008, 2:13 PM

We recently had a baby shower for baby number 3 [daughter number 2 also child 2 born in this state] and this time around co-workers bought disposable diapers and wipes which is much fauned over since the two older are in cloth and the disposables will make 2 am changes less of a hassle so we can get some rest.

Suzanne July 29, 2008, 3:32 PM

My second daughter is turning 1 next week and I did not have a shower when I was pregnant with her. My mother-in-law dod throw me a shower for number one so I can’t complain but I’ll admit I wouldn’t have minded being the center of attention again. Its not as important for the stuff you get but it is nice to have such a special event recognized.

birdsfly July 29, 2008, 3:44 PM

I don’t see a problem with 2nd and 3rd showers, especially if it was a long time between children. If your 1st is older then 6 chances are you don’t have a lot of the things you need anymore and it’s nice to have some of the smaller things like clothing given with kind intention to lessen some of the cost for the bigger things like stroller, crib, car seats and a decent pump!

Anonymous July 29, 2008, 3:45 PM

With my first child I received used and slightly broken high chair, changing table, and swing. I used these things because I didn’t have much of a choice. After my daughter grew out of these things I disposed of them cause they weren’t exactly safe. Now five years later with a second child on the way I have none of the big things that are required. I have all her clothes and everything but if it is a boy I am not gonna put him in a pink dress. I don’t live near any of my relatives anymore but if I did I would absolutly have another shower and just explain what happened. I think if you need things you should be able to get help and besides baby showers are fun!

Melissa July 29, 2008, 5:04 PM

I think that if you are having your second child, and your friends would like to give you a gift, fine. But, an organized shower for a 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6th child is greedy. A baby shower should be a fun event for a first time mom. It should not be an expected and necessary part of having a child. If you cannot afford the things that you need for your child, not your friends and families fault. If you can have children you should be able to afford them. My husband and I tried for a long time to have children and we are blessed, but we certainly do not expect our friends and families to pick up the tab.

Anonymous July 29, 2008, 5:12 PM

Every baby deserves a celebration of some sort, gifts or not, each life is special and a miracle!!!

ANON July 29, 2008, 5:51 PM

I didn’t have a shower for my second. my first only had one shower. And I’m not saying that I didn’t want a shower for my second. I just wanted a party for him. I kinda agree with her on some points but on others I don’t. Like if you had a boy and are having a girl…you need different things for them. But if it’s two boys, or girls. Then no you don’t need much. Just my thought.

Kasi July 29, 2008, 6:55 PM

I don’t think you need to register and have large items purchased for 2nd babies…but you could just look at it like a birthday party…you throw EVERY child a 1st birthday party and everyone brings gifts, right? So have a little party and people can bring small gifts like an outfit or toy just so each child can have their own special things:)

calimom 3 July 29, 2008, 7:56 PM

I guess it depends on your family and circle of friends. I’m blessed with generous family and friends: not necessarily wealthy, but generous with time, love,…
Celebrating a birth is a no brainer for us.

Katie July 30, 2008, 1:37 AM

I’m with foxymama. I LOVE going to baby showers and I dont’ care if it’s the 1st, 2nd, 3rd.. 10th baby the mama has. Every baby is special, and it’s not like a shower DEMANDS high-end purchases like cribs, strollers, etc… in fact I did NOT get any such things as shower presents. I received primarily clothing for my daughter’s shower.
What’s the difference between having a birthday party for a child, and having a shower when they are born? NOTHING! And if you don’t wanna get a gift, don’t get one. Come celebrate either way.

Jackie Deion July 30, 2008, 9:36 AM

I object to wedding showers for second marriages but I’m totally fine being invited to baby showers for second babies. They don’t happen that often. I’ve only been to one. When my friends have additional children, I always send a gift or at least a card. When I had our second, people sent us gifts for the baby AND the older child. That should *really* frost your cake, Meanest Mommy. I love the food idea stated above. Very thoughtful!

stefanie July 30, 2008, 10:46 AM

I too think second baby showers are ridiculously tacky as are second bridal showers for divorced people!!! If you choose to have a second baby and don’t have the proper “gear” then that is your responsibility as a parent to purchase these things and it should be considered in your economical decision to have another. I’m a second child and I was in no way emotionally scarred by the fact that my mother didn’t have a second shower. There is nothing tackier than someone asking for gifts a second time!

Tara July 30, 2008, 1:01 PM

I don’t know about registering for gifts, but a shower with items that get used up like diapers, wipes, soap, and the like sure are nice. Plus, I know that I had a girl, then a boy, and then another girl. When I was pregnant with my son, devastating hurricanes hit the area, and I gave my daughter’s clothes to someone in NEED, so when my youngest was born, I no longer had newborn clothes. A few of my husband’s clients (he does computer repair and owns his own business) took it upon themselves to give us presents for our youngest. They did not know him at the time of the birth of the other two, and they wanted to bless us.

arg July 30, 2008, 6:19 PM

I am totally with stefanie. I am reading comments that people didn’t “get” nice stuff the first time and that they “need” stuff this time around. I strongly believe you should attempt to plan for children and that if you cannot afford the basics, maybe you should not have another.

Anonymous July 31, 2008, 8:38 AM

I agree, but I was given a shower for my 2nd pregnancy, but my 2nd pregnancy was with how does that work? I didn’t want one, but was given one anyway. I felt guilty, but every insisted it was fine.?

Jaime August 2, 2008, 12:41 AM

Amen, Sister.

There is a difference between a baby shower and giving gifts for a baby.

oh and did I mention I HATE baby showers with a passion?

I love the commenter who said “That should *really* frost your cake, Meanest Mommy.” That made me laugh, because I’m sure she’s so pissed right now because both your kids got presents!

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