planning a baby shower

Planning a baby shower

Planning a baby shower can be a lovely way of celebrating a mum-to-be’s impending arrival. Anne Reid has some tips for baby shower party hosts.

In Brazil, they call it a chá de bebê (baby tea), in South Africa, it’s referred to as a stork party, Costa Ricans hold a tea party called a té de canastilla (basket tea) and in the USA, you can have a lower-key diaper shower, also known as the baby shower.

Not everyone wants to have a baby shower, but they are certainly a growing trend in Ireland. No matter where you are, a baby shower is a lovely way to organise a get-together for a mum-to-be and her close friends and family.

Hosting the event

Hosting a baby shower towards the end of pregnancy could provide a welcome distraction for the expectant mum. Although the mother-to-be is not the host, it is important to allow them to have control over the guest list.

While hosting a surprise party for the expectant mum is a lovely idea, put the feelers out to make sure your mum-to-be will be pleased before you plan anything. Some people hate the idea of a surprise party and the whole experience could be a little overwhelming for a pregnant mother.

Some mums may prefer the shower after their baby’s arrival. This way people can buy items of clothing specifically suited to the baby’s gender. The party may also serve as a welcome distraction to a new, and possibly frazzled, mum. This could be some new mums biggest nightmare though!


To allow your guests time to get organised, send the invitations a few weeks before the event. Make it clear to your guests how you would like them to RSVP.

If your mum-to-be has registered a wish list with a particular shop, you can include the details of how guests can purchase from this list as soon as they send you their RSVP.

planning a baby shower

The party

Themes are a nice way to pull an event together. A boy or girl themed shower can even be a great way to share the news of the baby’s gender. Make sure to welcome the guests with some refreshments.

Maybe have an afternoon tea-and-cake bash, or another option could be to have a ‘potluck’ feast, where each guest brings a different dish along to the party.

Fun and games

One way to gently start off the games is have your guests personalise a onesie for your baby. Give each guest a plain onesie and a selection of coloured markers, and let them unleash their creative sides!

If the mother is still trying to come up with a name for her baby and is open to suggestions, why not hand around some sheets of paper and some pens to your guests and have them write down their favourite baby name, with an explanation as to why they like it.

Gift ideas

Always remember that new parents prefer practicality. Babies can never have enough of the essentials:

  • nappies
  • bibs
  • muslin burp cloths
  • cotton mittens
  • hats
  • socks
  • babygros
  • vests

So why not get creative and make a ‘baby cake’ using a variety of these items?

Baby blankets are another lovely gift for a newborn. Soft leather booties are often a big hit. Plush toys are always adorable but tend to be the one thing that a baby can have too much of! Always remember to bear in mind the importance of safety when choosing a toy for a very young child.

And whatever you do – don’t forget the cake!

More like this:

Baby budgeting basics
5 things you need to know about pregnancy
20 things I learned while pregnant

Ask Sarah

Q I’ve heard a lot about the Paleo diet and as I am very interested in reducing the amount of processed foods and grain based meals my family eats, we are considering following this diet. From what I read it seems to be a back-to-basics type of eating. Is a Paleo diet safe for children? My kids are aged seven and nine.

A The Paleo diet is one of the most fashionable diets around at the moment. It is also known as the ‘caveman diet’ and is based on cutting out processed foods, starchy foods like bread and potatoes and eating more meat, vegetables and fruit.
As fad diets go, it is not the worst but there are some good and bad sides to it. Reducing the amount of processed foods we eat is always a good idea and by doing that you will usually reduce the amount of fat, salt and sugar you eat, which is a good thing! The problem with the Paleo diet is that it also cuts out dairy (on the basis that cavemen didn’t drink milk) and this means that the diet is very low in calcium. For this reason it is really not suitable for children who do need a lot of calcium for growing bones. How did cavemen manage without dairy? They ate a lot more food than we do (up to 10,000 calories per day compared to the 2,000 most of us eat). By eating that amount of food they were able to pick up just enough calcium from green vegetables and seeds. To put it in perspective, you would need to eat 16 servings of broccoli a day to get all the calcium you need. This is easier to do if you eat 10,000 calories per day rather than 2,000.
The other problem with the paleo diet is that it is not entirely based in science. Many of the Paleo diets out there say you should not eat wheat, even though we know that cavemen did in fact eat wheat and other grains. These diets also don’t recommend that you eat blubber and the big lumps of fat that were also a large part of the caveman diet!
A final problem is that many Paleo diets encourage people to cut out beans and lentils and to get their protein from meat and fish instead. Many studies over the last few years are clear that eating too much animal protein is linked with more cancer and heart disease. Eating some vegetarian meals based on beans and lentils is a great way to get your protein without always going for meat.
Is this a diet we should follow? I think there is a lot we can learn from the Paleo diets. We could all do with eating less salt, sugar and processed foods and adding in more nuts and seeds as well as more vegetables. However, I think following a strict Paleo diet could lead to low levels of calcium and vitamin D and so it is not suitable for children or teens and adults would need to think about a calcium supplement.



Q. I’m would like to start an exercise programme that will benefit my emotional health as much as my physical health, but I don’t know which type of class would be best. Should I consider choosing from yoga, pilates, tai chi, or could you recommend a class, please?

A It’s great that you have decided to get into exercise. The benefits to you are going to be great. You’ll sleep better, have more energy, better skin, reduced stressed, not to mention all the amazing physical benefits of your clothes fitting better, and looking healthy, trim and toned! My advice to you would be to try them all. Even if some don’t offer pay-as-you-go sessions, if you get in touch directly with the instructor, they will almost always let you try it out first to see if it’s for you. All of the above things that you mentioned are great for mental health, so it really will be a personal preference as to which you go for. On top of the classes you mention, all forms of exercise will give you great mental rewards so consider the not so obvious interval training sessions, bootcamp, and circuits too, as you will also feel on top of the world after a class like that.