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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
Lena August 2, 2008, 3:14 PM

Meanest Mommy rocks, u are silly for even thinking for a sec she is pissed now, she is just laughing her head off from all the contreversy (I am just a fan of her blog). As for 2nd, 3rd, etc. baby showers, they can certainly have a place depending on a situation. I didn’t have one for my sec baby, but I did want to just go and have fun luch with my friends, no presents, may be a cute pink something (my 1st is a boy). To expect anything huge, or all expenses covered even for a first baby sounds crazy to me.

Rebecca August 4, 2008, 12:38 PM

Most commentors who disagree—who think that 2nd, 3rd, et. al baby showers are fine, keep mentioning two things: that the baby deserves a celebration, and that the parents need new supplies. First, why does the baby deserve a celebration? What did the baby actually do?? Someone compared it to a birthday party. If the baby being celebrated actually had any inkling of something special happening for her, I’d agree, but as it is … this argument folds pretty quickly.
The second is about needing new supplies: I agree, it’s great/fun/nice to have new stuff for each new child. But is that anyone’s problem but yours? Do you have the right to ask for others to pitch in because you conceived and new is fun? Receiving a shower invitation is also to receive an invitation to shower the new mom with a gift. I had plenty of people “celebrate” my 2nd and 3rd children with gifts (and I turned down the generous and kind offers to throw them—or wait, it’s me, right? baby showers): and I had the pleasure of knowing the gifts I received were not required, and not asked for.

No Name August 5, 2008, 5:55 PM

I did not have a baby shower for baby boy one and two, but did recieve one for baby three, who was also girl #1. No one was upset that I was having a shower for my third. Also, I recently gave a shower for a good friend who was having her 6th baby, but 2nd boy. The other son is 8. She need new clothes for this son and we wanted to celebrate with her. I think that if there is someone who wants to give a shower for a good friend or relative then it is appropiate for them to do so. If the Mommy-to-be is asking for the shower, THEN it is wrong.

Kate August 5, 2008, 11:08 PM

I agree with “No Name.” If family and/or friends want to throw a shower for a mom-to-be whether it is her 1st, 2nd or 10th, why not? If the Mommy-to-be is throwing her own shower, that is pretty off. It is only tacky if the celebration is with the intention of getting a gift.

I did want to comment on one thing though…what’s with the “planning your kids” comments? As the mom of a very unplanned 4-month old, I’m amazed at the ignorance of this comment. I was on very effective birth control that was rendered useless by medication despite being told by my DOCTOR it would not be a problem. So no, my husband and I did not really have all of our plans set, financial or otherwise, that we originally wanted to have before children. Not our family’s problem but not really an argument in a shower debate.

Anonymous August 6, 2008, 1:07 PM

I had my first child almost 5 years ago. We were far away from family and friends, so no baby shower. We are trying for our second child and I will probably have a baby shower for that baby. I think though that I would have it just be a baby shower where the only gifts are diapers.

intelwife August 8, 2008, 10:51 AM

It is implied that the pregnant mothers ask for these showers… when generally it is the friends or family who plan and invite her friends. So I really disagree with making the mother out to be all greedy. I never received large items at my shower/s (cribs, carseats, or highchairs, etc…). My husband and I bought all neutral items to prepare for future babies. I didn’t want a second shower, but my friend pulled something together because she WANTED to. What was I to do not show up? I also found it interesting that you felt obligated to get something for your friend. True friendship is never an obligation.

Kelly  August 14, 2008, 1:26 PM

In my old church they did not have baby showers for a subsequent child. However, They did do diaper showers. What new mother doesn’t need diapers, wipes ect.. It is the guests who choose to buy toys or clothing for the new baby. I think that every baby deserves to have something written in shower section their baby book. Lets not make the middle child syndrome any worse than it already is!!

mom22 August 15, 2008, 10:54 PM

I had a baby shower for my SIL. She was on baby#4 and I on my first. Our girls are 8 days apart. Baby#4 was unexpected 5 years apart from her 3rd. She was not happy and scared to be starting over so i did it to get her and BIL excited BUT I only invited her sisters and us b/c I thought it would be rude to invite her friends and expect a gift. It was fun and I like to think created some much needed excitement our sweet Meggydoodle - who will be 4 next month.

Carrie August 25, 2008, 11:00 AM

I had a child with my first husband, she was 11 when I had my second, not only did I not have anything, but, it was like being pregnant for the first time. This case is an exception, I am now pregant with my 3rd child and my second child is 2 and my 1st is 13, I don’t need another shower, also, if you want clothes or things like that, people normally, (in my circle) bring a gift to the hospital, or the first time they see the baby. So you should get plenty of clothes and stuff then espcially if it is a girl as women love to shop for girls! Ha!

Mom of 5 and 1 on the way September 12, 2008, 11:20 PM

I’m a mom of 5 pregnant with #6. I’ve had a shower for all of my pregnancies. I did not throw these showers. I did not ask for them. I only registered for the first one as we had nothing. I feel honored that my friends and family love me enough to have a party . Shoot with my last pregnany (twins) I had two showers that friends had planned for me. BOTH suprises. I can’t help but LMAO at people who are so negative about people having a 2nd shower. Its real simple DON”T GO! Don’t buy a gift for the baby after its born. Don’t buy a gift period. I’m thrilled to death that yet again I know my friends are already plotting another shower and eventhough I have nothing left but a crib I expect nothing. If a friend had a problem with me having a shower thats fine. I seriously wouldn’t care. Just don’t come and don’t buy anything.

Nacho December 23, 2008, 11:48 AM

Here’s a little food for thought. Why not just turn down the invitation. What actually makes you think you have the rihgt to be angry over something so trivial. This type of unwarranted anger is not just a waste of time. So you don’t agree. Big deal, don’t go. You do not have the right to be angry. No one was hurt. It isn’t so bad, unless she killed her first.

Anonymous January 28, 2009, 12:51 PM

I have a friend who had a baby shower for her first and second. The reasoning for the shower for the second child was because it was her husband’s first. So his family threw one for her.

Cassandra March 4, 2009, 7:09 PM

I do not agree with this one at all. A second, third, or however many children it makes has just as many needs as the first child. Me personally, my two boys are four years apart so by the time the second one came along I had already gotten rid of all my baby stuff. Even if I hadn’t gotten rid of that stuff, an expecting mom is still going to need diapers, wipes, hygiene stuff, and clothes for the new baby. I also think it is unfair to shower one baby with gifts and not the other.

anonymous May 19, 2009, 2:49 PM

I didn’t have a baby shower for my first child because I didn’t have time. My husband and I are simple folks and felt that we really didn’t need have have much reasons for things. We just bought things that were necessary: a crib, car seat, onesies since it was summer time, a breast pump for when I have to work and go to school, and went to a fabric outlet store for receiving cloth and blankets. Things like diapers we bought after baby was born and toys are not necessary. There are toys all over the house from my husband’s younger siblings and kids could care less what they play with, whether it be your dishes, a balloon, or just whatever is in the house. We didn’t spend much on our baby and they grow out of everything so fast that you need to continuously buy new things for them anyways.

celia June 25, 2010, 11:59 AM

If you do have a shower for your second or third you should have a baby registry so your friends will know what you need. You don’t want to end up with leather pants or something.

Mackenzie July 14, 2010, 2:57 PM

I don’t see anything wrong with having a shower for each of your kids. Things change each year and you also learn what items are the best for each child.

Angila Figert November 26, 2010, 12:00 AM

I have looked for info of this caliber for the last several days.

Diana April 3, 2011, 3:18 PM

I agree second, third and even fourth baby showers are as tacky as Kids’ Birthday Wish List Registries. However, every life is a celebration. I am currently expecting my fourth child. I cringe at the thought of expecting a shower and creating a new registry for this baby and my husband could not agree more. I have turned down friends’ invitations to their own showers, especially when it’s their third baby, having just had the second one 10 months earlier! That IS selfish, tacky and disrespectful. Having another shower is one thing, but adding a registry is salt to wound. However, I regret not celebrating the anticipated arrival of my second child. It’s a baby entering this world to bring joy and that should be celebrated. For my 3rd baby, my husband and I threw a “Welcome Baby” Diaper Shower. Guests knew that gifts were not required at the time, but that an unwrapped diaper pack would enter them in a raffle. WE paid for the party, no one else. It was fun and none of our guests were expected to bring anything. Our kids, our bill!

Erica May 24, 2011, 8:59 PM

I don’t really care either way - I certainly don’t mind attending and buying gifts for 2nd, 3rd, millionth time parents - there is always something you can give them to make life easier or more pleasant. It’s the throwing showers for yourself that I think is a little bit of a push. Any kind of “shower” be it wedding or baby is a request for gifts and should not be instigated by the receiver. But if your friend or sister in law or whatever does it for you - who are you to argue?

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