Celebrating Birth: Unique Ways to Celebrate Without a Baby Shower

Celebrating Birth: Unique Ways to Celebrate Without a Baby Shower

We get it, baby showers are not everybody’s jam. Sitting around a room making small talk with both sides of your family, alongside your coworkers and your college roommates playing awkward games surrounding how big your belly has gotten or what day the baby’s going to arrive. To top it off, you’re the guest of honor and you can’t even drink! Not everyone’s idea of a good time. We frequently get asked about alternative options to a baby shower, and don’t worry one bit – we’ve got you covered!

Becoming a parent is a momentous occasion, regardless of whether it’s the first, second, or fifth child (or more!). I always say that every time a child is born, so are their parents. Because truly, with each new life that enters the world, we become new, too. There are new things this baby will teach us about ourselves and the world around us. There are things they will hate that their siblings loved and things they will adore that their siblings loathe. Recognizing this big shift in your family only seems appropriate, but having another baby shower might not be quite what you’re looking for. Good news! We have plenty of other options for celebrating the arrival of your little one.

Nesting or “Honey Do” Party 

This celebration is exactly what it sounds like. A dedicated day for getting all the things done that are on your never-ending list floating around your brain. (Or whatever place more organized people keep theirs in!) Invite all of your most handy friends, with the best power tools and tackle all your projects that will make your mind clutter-free so you can lounge around your house postpartum without staring at the paint samples on your wall that you never got around to choosing one of. I have seen people use a nesting party to stockpile a freezer with several weeks worth of frozen meals, get clothing washed and sorted and organized, put together nursery furniture, paint the nursery walls, put up shelving and closet organization, stockpile a nursing essentials cart and grab and go diaper changing station, etc., etc. The possibilities are endless! 

You will find that most of your friends and family are more than willing to help in this way and enjoy feeling useful to your growing family. You can absolutely still have food and drinks and of course there will be plenty of good conversation and catching up as you check off the projects on your list. One of my favorite things about this kind of celebration is it really helps highlight the differing strengths of those that surround us. If your mother-in-law makes the BEST chilis and soups, she’s on kitchen duty. If you’ve got an aunt that’s a wizard at mating socks, you’ve got just the job waiting for her in your laundry room. Invariably, you’ll come upon a few things to add to the list as the day unfolds, and someone in attendance will know just the person to pop on over and get that handled! This is also a great opportunity to talk to your friends and family about setting up expectations for your postpartum time such as when you will be accepting visitors, what kind of help you might need during labor and delivery, or finding out who has a lead on a dependable dog walker. 

Sip and See

This is the perfect solution for you if being pregnant is totally not your favorite thing, and you’d rather catch up with your friends in a few months with cocktails and a cute baby in tow when you can see your own feet again. At a sip and see, you set a couple hours for people to come see your adorable newest member, share a celebratory drink together that Mom and Baby have made it here safely, and bid farewell. Afterall, you will be postpartum so an all day affair is not in the cards. 

This tradition was derived from a long standing Hindu tradition, called a cradle ceremony, where a baby is placed in their cradle for the first time on the 16th day of life. At that time, friends and relatives are invited to come and see the baby and the baby’s name is announced for the first time. In certain practices, only women come to the cradling ceremony while in others both men and women attend. The women of the family traditionally say some blessings, sing songs, and a pooja, or prayer ceremony, is performed to bless the house and allow mother and baby to safely leave the house. After the blessings have been performed, a luncheon or meal is typically shared among guests. Depending on the family’s beliefs and traditions, the baby might be adorned in jewels and beautiful clothing, given a small statue of the god Krishna, or a rock may be placed in the cradle to represent strength. 

Mother Blessing

While a baby shower and similar traditions are all about focusing on the baby, a Mother Blessing is all about the mother-to-be. Typically held in the third trimester leading up to childbirth, the mother-to-be invites maternal figures in her life, and other women important to her to share wisdom with her for her upcoming birth. Sometimes everyone brings a special bead that they share a blessing or whisper a prayer onto and they are strung onto a necklace for the mother to wear during her labor. At some Mother Blessings, everyone makes a candle and when they are contacted and informed that the mother is in labor, the candle gets lit and burns until the birth of the baby. Some mothers ask that all of the powerful women in her life help make birth affirmations for her to read while in labor. Some other traditions sometimes done at Mother Blessings include washing the hands and feet of the expectant mother, performing henna art on the belly or body of the pregnant woman, belly casting, painting nails or toenails, and other pampering. Sometimes attendees also help prepare the home for postpartum recovery, making padsicles and a postpartum recovery cart to have nearby after childbirth. 

***It is important to note that Mother Blessing is the appropriate term for any person choosing to participate in a ceremony like this who is not part of the Navajo tribe. A blessingway is a traditional Navajo ritual to mark the woman’s rite of passage into motherhood and the Navajo people have asked that people outside the tribe not use this language to describe their own traditions. At HFA, we respect and honor all belief systems and traditions and we ask that our audience do the same.

Sprinkle Party

So maybe you had a baby shower with your first child and you don’t need the whole kit and kaboodle this time but you like the idea of having a handful of people over to celebrate the newest addition, with or without gifts. So last time you were showered with gifts, this time just a sprinkle would do it; have yourself a sprinkle party! The sprinkle came about as a play on words for this very scenario, where a family has already had a baby shower for a previous pregnancy but a smaller shower, a “sprinkle” is planned to honor the newest member and sprinkle a few gifts in there too. This is also a perfect party theme for a second or third baby because second and third babies have older siblings and what kiddos don’t LOVE sprinkles?!?! There are so many fun ways to play with that word play and as a lifelong lover of a good pun, I’m so down with the sprinkle trend. 

Diaper Keg/Huggies and Chuggies

This is another popular option for a child that’s joining a family that already has all the baby gear they need, but want to have a little celebration and let their friends help stockpile their diaper stash. It’s just the way it sounds, you get a keg of beer, or whatever the beverage of your choosing might be, and invite all your friends to bring a pack of diapers by and celebrate your upcoming addition. There are tons of cute ideas on Pinterest for making it your own style. If you prefer a laid-back backyard barbecue, catch up with family and friends style get together over the party games or formal luncheon type of celebration, or if your closets are already filled to the brim with everything you could possibly need for a baby, then this might be a great option for you. 

What type of get together are you planning to prepare for the upcoming arrival of your family’s newest member? We’d love to hear more of your ideas too! The most important thing to remember is that this celebration is about your family welcoming its newest member into the fold and however that looks and feels right for you is what you should do. Don’t be afraid to reinvent the wheel and come up with your own style party, set the boundaries that make sense for you, or say no to a party altogether if you don’t feel comfortable with doing one. Whatever you decide, just don’t forget to book yourself plenty of nonjudgmental support for your postpartum period. That’s the gift that will keep on giving.