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Second Baby Shower: OK or No Way?

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Guest blogger Jessica Katz: Having a shower for your second baby appears to be one of the bigger baby taboos out there. People have very firm opinions on this topic, and the majority of them say baby showers are for first babies only. Some people soften, though, and say that having a shower for a first baby with a new partner or a baby of a different sex is acceptable. Only a small group of optimists say that every baby should get a celebration. I have found that most people feel that a second shower is greedy and tacky.

baby shower
Why am I so interested, you ask? Well ... I am pregnant with my second child. And while I am not yet sure of the sex, if it is a boy, I will need new stuff -- blue stuff. This is because I have a girl who was adorned in very feminine products and clothing. However, my kids will only be 18 months apart, and therefore, having a baby shower yet again just to score these boy items feels a bit excessive.

My mom had her fourth child at 43, and I threw her a baby shower. People were delighted to come. First off, she hadn't had a child in ten years, and she had never had a shower before. She'd also had me 20 years earlier, when she presumably had a different social circle. She loved the party, and I loved throwing it.

According to etiquette, it is never truly improper to have a baby shower, because the party is supposed to be about a lot more than gifts. It is to celebrate the new addition to the world. And you can have themed showers to incorporate that (i.e., an "It's a Boy!" shower or a "Pamper Mom" shower where the gifts are for the mom).

Party planner Jaime Geffen of the Los Angeles-based company YourBASH! thinks that you should have a second shower if you are having a baby of a different sex -- and that the mommy deserves a party, too. "You need new things," she says. "You don't necessarily have to fully register, but you can get a few new baby items. And if you don't feel comfortable getting gifts, people can donate to a charity. It is more about the idea of gathering for a baby shower to celebrate the baby. Every new mom should have a party; it makes you feel good to have your friends around you. If I have a second baby, I will have one!"

I'm undecided on the issue as of yet, but I still have some time. I tend to be superstitious about having too many baby things in the house, and truth be told, I already have most of it. But in my opinion, any excuse to get all the people you love into one room to celebrate is a good idea!

Moms, what do you think?

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28 comments so far | Post a comment now
Heather December 27, 2010, 7:07 AM

My opinion, people are making showers about gifts. I feel a shower is perfectly acceptable for any new expected baby. If people are worried about the gift issue, noting on the invite that the attendee’s gift is the gift of their presence to celebrate the anticipated new life that will enter this world is something I would consider doing. If anyone asks what you might want or need, they can gift that to you in private. This is also one reason I believe in having gender neutral things, especially when it comes to the big ticket items.

Kirsten December 27, 2010, 9:25 AM

Second baby showers are totally fine! Especially if it’s a different gender. I didn’t need any of the “baby essentials” since I had them from my first, but I did need clothes, and all babies need diapers and wipes. And, usually it isn’t the mom asking for a shower, but a friend or family member offering to throw one, so that’s not greedy at all!

ashley December 27, 2010, 9:29 AM

If you are uncomfortable asking for too many baby items then ask everyone to bring a package of diapers. You’ll need those no matter what the gender.

Sarah B December 27, 2010, 10:50 AM

I think they are perfectly fine. My children will be 2 years apart, and everyone is asking me WHEN my shower is going to be, not if I am having one. All my friends and family expect me to have one! I say throw one and enjoy it! Maybe even wait until after the baby is born, so people may not feel so bad about gift giving (once people see a baby they just HAVE to give something) and maybe you could do cocktails! Everyone loves cocktails!

Heather December 27, 2010, 11:49 AM

I think if it’s been more than 7 years since your last baby, then a shower is a great idea … less time than that seems tacky.

felecia December 27, 2010, 12:27 PM

I have 2 kids that are 18 months apart.A boy then a girl.I did not have a shower for my 2nd child becuase they were so close together.I think that it is tacky and greedy to keep asking people to come out and buy you more gifts for another baby.What I do think is appropriate is to do a MEET IN GREET. what that involves is a get together after the baby is born . no baby regis. and no baby invitations.all of your friends and family come over at 1 time to meet the new can have decorations,food etc. if they want to bring gifts they can and if they don’t that’s fine also.Afterwards you will be able to get sleep without worrying about people coming to see the baby at so many different times. Good Luck!

Shanon December 27, 2010, 12:32 PM

Second baby showers are usually called “sprinkles”. The idea is that you most likely have all the basics from the first baby so you don’t need a “shower” of gifts. Most of the time it’s gifts of clothing (if it’s a different ginder than the first) or basic baby supplies like baby wash and diapers. If both of the children are really little then you may need a second car seat or a new stroller that can carry two kids instead of just one. People can always give a small cash gift towards these large items or go in together as a group. Since you have the basics it might be fun to wait until after the baby comes to have the party. Then everyone can see the new baby at once and maybe you’ll have less unexpected visitors when you don’t want them. ;)

Anon December 27, 2010, 1:47 PM

I’m sorry, but I don’t think anyone is being greedy by having a shower for every baby. It is supposed to be a get together to celebrate mom and baby. I had one for my first son, my second son (new husband), my third son (new job & new coworkers) and now I can’t wait for one for my first daughter. I was not expecting this pregnancy and I donated EVERYTHING I had kept from the boys. I now have nothing on hand for my daughter. Also since my last baby the economy has gotten us, we’re both out of work atm, so it’s not like we have extra money to buy everything we need by ourselves, even on Craigslist. And even if I did still have all the gear, I really don’t think I should be expected to use BOY gear from 10 YEARS ago for my first girl. I didn’t register anywhere and when I’m asked what I need, I say What can I borrow? I’m making it abundantly clear that I am not above using their preowned items, as most everyone in my circle has had girls. If they say they don’t have anything I can use, my answer is I don’t need anything but diapers. I’m not asking for handouts, if someone is in a worse position than us I’m totally happy with their company. I don’t think I’m being greedy, I think I’m being realistic.

Anita December 27, 2010, 2:16 PM

I have to agree with Felecia. A second shower seems greedy. If it’s been around 6 years since the birth of your last child, then that would be acceptable. Another acceptable scenario may be if something unfortunate has happened, such as a fire or the death of the first child.
A celebration of the birth of any child is appropriate after the baby is born. Gifts are optional. An alternative to a shower could be a diaper party. It’s a little more low key and people don’t feel pressured to buy big ticket items.

Kitty December 27, 2010, 2:38 PM

My first child was stillborn in March and I’m currently expecting my second. The births will be 14 months apart and while we have stuff from my son’s shower I would like to celebrate this child once it arrives alive.

If people want to bring something for this baby or me, that’s their prerogative - we just want to celebrate the arrival of our living child.

I think it becomes easy to judge what’s ‘tacky’ or not, but let’s face it, no one is holding a gun to your face telling you to get someone a new carrier or any other gift. If you don’t want to spend any money, don’t. And if you do, go ahead.

Sheesh - so much judging.

C L A December 27, 2010, 3:02 PM

Since showers are supposed to be thrown by someone outside of your family, I dont see how it can be looked at as tacky by you. People dont have to come. I personally love all baby showers, babies should be celebrated. Whats more tacky to me is someone throwing a shower for themselves.

Sandra December 27, 2010, 8:38 PM

I believe every baby deserves a shower. Its all about blessing the new child with gifts, how do you find this greedy or tacky?

Cynthia B December 27, 2010, 9:55 PM

I think 2nd (and even 3rd) showers are completely ok, even a little awesome. Emily Post can complain all she likes. Carrying and raising a small person is a miraculous and difficult endeavor and every mom deserves a party. Wouldn’t even think twice about buying a gift for a friend’s 3rd shower.

Michele December 27, 2010, 10:17 PM

For my third child, my friend threw me a shower at Dream Dinners, where we all hung out and had hors d’oeuvres and those attending who wanted to, made me a meal. The meals costed around $15 and I had a fantastically stocked freezer when I came home from the hospital.

Jennie December 28, 2010, 9:31 AM

I would never think a baby shower is tacky or greedy. Even if you choose to attend, you do not have to bring a gift. It is about celebrating your friend/family member, and the new life about to be born. Not everyone who throws a baby shower is only in it for the gifts. They want to spend time with their family & friends. Quit complaining, if you don’t like it, don’t go. It’s really that simple.

Christine December 28, 2010, 11:33 AM

If the author had suggested that her second shower be a no-gift affair, then that would have been one thing… Celebrations with friends and family are always great, especially when celebrating such a wonderful event. But, instead the writer leads the whole article with the insistence that “I NEED NEW STUFF.”

Tacky, yes. People need to stop being such extreme consumers when it comes to their infants. I’m sorry if this is not a popular opinion, but it’s my opinion… We’re due for our second baby later this year, and we’re not finding out the gender partly because we can avoid the steady stream of gender-stereotyped crap that inevitably comes in.

Alison December 28, 2010, 1:41 PM

I tend to lean toward it being tacky to have additional showers in a short span of time. However, I understand if there is a large gap between kids, you’ve moved or your circle of friends has changed, etc.

I have a sister in law who just had her second child. I was invited to several showers for the first child and several showers for the second child. I had to go and had to buy multiple gifts because I was related to her. I felt like I was being hit up for gifts with no gracious way to opt out.

Bottom line, etiquette is about thinking of others first. If people will feel like you are hitting them up for a gift, skip the shower. If not, go for it and/or make gifts optional.

lena December 28, 2010, 6:31 PM

We had a family friend who had a second shower (planned and put on by one of her friends) and we brought a gift for the big-brother-to-be to celebrate the milestone. most of the other gifts were baby essentials- diapers, wipes, burp cloths, diaper cream, etc.

Tabatha December 29, 2010, 11:53 AM

I’ve always been told that if it’s another sex, been 5 years or more or it’s out of your hands, it’s fine. Out of your hands means someone surprises you with one, or people at your work throw a small party for you.

I had my son 8 years after I had my two daughters. I had a second shower and more people came to that one than the first. I got a lot of great stuff for my little guy and no one thought it was weird or tacky. :)

Anonymous December 30, 2010, 3:09 AM

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m certainly surprised that a company that makes it’s money from planning parties is recommending that this lady have another party. I mean seriously, wow, she did well in finding somebody who could offer such an objective opinion and not just say the words she wanted to hear. Oh, wait…

I’m also confused about Jessica’s use of the word need. America is a country with a current unemployment rate of around ten percent. There are children living in cars because parents have been unable to keep/find jobs. People die every day of treatable conditions such as diabetes simply because socialised healthcare is viewed as evil. It’s a country that houses five percent of the world’s population but twenty-five percent of its prison population. Yet, in Jessica’s eyes, her son NEEDS blue clothes.

I need air because without it I will die.
I need food because without it I will die.
I need water because without it I will die.
Baby Jessica needs blue clothes because without them he will die.

Jessica is lucky, quite frankly, to only have to worry about whether it’s the ‘done’ thing to have more than one shower. My opinion is that it all depends on the reason. If a woman wants to have a shower in order to celebrate the new life she is bringing into the world, then that’s great. The words ‘no gifts’ could be printed on the invitations, that way, everyone would know that it was their company that was wanted. If the reason, however, is simply so that people will by her stuff, then that demonstrates an entirely different aspect of her personality. This is a person I would not be thrilled to have in my life.

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