What Not To Do At A Baby Shower: Etiquette Guide

Are you unsure about what not to do at a baby shower? Avoid the common mistakes the host and guests make with this baby shower etiquette guide. 

We’ve also covered who to invite, the best baby shower venues, acceptable gifts, how long you should stay at the party, and ways to avoid accidentally offending the expecting mom. And for comparison, you can check what do you do at a baby shower

what not to do at a baby shower


Exactly What Not To Do At A Baby Shower To Get The Best Guest Award

There are three top things of don’ts you should remember when hosting and attending a baby shower. Remember that this occasion celebrates the mom or both parents, so it’s not about the people attending the event. 


  • Don’t play games that will embarrass the expecting parents

If you’re the baby shower host, you’ll also be responsible for planning the games and activities for the event. It’s easy to come up with hilarious games, but make sure you choose those that won’t embarrass the expecting mom and/or dad. 

For example, some people might be okay with games like guessing the baby bump size or trivia games that are too personal about the pregnancy. But unless you’re sure that the parents-to-be are okay with these games, it’s better to choose those that aren’t personal or mortifying, especially for moms. 

Alternatively, you can omit games and consider other fun activities at the party. Here’s what to do at a baby shower without games for reference. 


  • Do not open potentially uncomfortable subjects

When attending a baby shower, it’s easy to forget that sometimes we’re asking potentially uncomfortable questions or opening touchy subjects in conversations with the expecting parents. Be mindful of what you’re asking, and keep the party conversations light. 

You don’t want to open pregnancy and birth control topics or ask detailed questions about parenting. And similarly, experienced moms and dads should be mindful of unsolicited advice

You should never insinuate anything or sound like you’re telling the expecting parents what they should do. The baby shower is to show support and love to first-time parents and not to force them to take advice from your personal perspective. 


  • Don’t get drunk

And third, a significant don’t for everyone attending the baby shower is never to get drunk. Baby showers are unlike other parties where people are expected to get drunk. 

As the host, you should only serve light cocktails and alcoholic drinks and never strong alcoholic drinks. Being drunk puts you at risk of not having that much control over your behavior and words that you might accidentally say something offensive or inappropriate at the baby shower. 

And even if the drinks at the baby showers are only champagne and mimosas, you should still manage your alcohol intake. If you know you get drunk quickly, you’ll be better off just drinking tea and coffee at the party. 


What Are Some Common Mistakes People Make At Baby Showers?

Other than the top three don’ts at baby showers discussed above, here’s a list of common mistakes people make when they throw or attend someone’s baby shower. 


Things you should not do at a baby shower (for the host)

  • Not running the guest list to the mom-to-be
  • Not checking with the parents about the baby shower schedule and venue
  • Not running the menu with the expecting parents
  • Not consulting the parents about the baby shower theme
  • Not asking the mom-to-be if she wants to open the gifts at the baby shower


Things you should not do at a baby shower (for the guests)

  • Arriving late at the party or overstaying the event
  • Not responding to the invitation
  • Saying you’re not attending but arriving last minute
  • Bringing a plus one or your child without checking if they can be brought at the invitation
  • Open uncomfortable topics and conversations
  • Ask questions that put the expecting mom on the spot
  • Getting drunk
  • Bringing gifts that new parents have no use for
  • Sharing negative and scary stories about pregnancy, birth, and parenting


Who Not To Invite To Your Baby Shower

The baby shower host should know who not to invite to the baby shower. Remember that people have different relationships with their families or those we can easily assume they’re close to. 

Keep these considerations in mind before sending baby shower invitations. And, of course, run the guest list by the mom and/or dad, so they can check who’s attending. 

  • Extended family members: unless the mom or dad-to-be are very close with a cousin, aunt, uncle, or grandparent, baby showers are intimate parties where only the immediate family is expected
  • Some immediate relatives: some people don’t have a close relationship with family members we thought they’d be (e.g., the mom might have a strained relationship with her mom and would rather have the baby shower without her)
  • Coworkers: you can always ask the mom and/or dad to be if they want to invite their coworkers to their baby shower
  • Neighbors: unless the new parents are close to their neighbors, it’s okay not to invite them 

You can check this guide on who to invite to a baby shower to compare the guests. 


Where Are Some Places That Are Not Appropriate For Having A Baby Shower?

Besides knowing who to invite, another piece of information that the host should know is the perfect party venue for the baby shower. These places are potentially inappropriate for intimate celebrations. 



While you can serve light cocktails and drinks at the baby shower, remember that it’s not an event to get everyone wasted. The pregnant mom might feel out of place if everyone around her is drinking alcoholic drinks. 

Additionally, the bar is not a place for intimate celebrations. Not to mention, it gets too loud and distracting, especially for someone pregnant. 


Mom’s place

It’s possible to have the baby shower at the mom’s house, but only if the host is still responsible for everything. The baby shower is close to the mom’s due date, so the expecting parents will likely be stressed and preparing for everything. 

You don’t want to disturb their home while preparing food and decorations. They might also prefer a short party, and having the shower at their home can have guests overstaying. 


Somewhere far from the expecting parents

You don’t want the expecting parents to travel far to attend their baby shower. Pregnant women can get tired quickly, and there are many potential hazards if the couple has to drive or use various modes of transportation.

It will also be a hassle to struggle with all the gifts to take home from the party. And if the venue requires a significant amount of travel, then not all guests can attend. 


Somewhere expensive

You don’t need to book a very expensive venue for the party if your budget is limited. It’s acceptable to shower at affordable places as long as you have space for privacy. 

For example, parks sometimes only require permit fees than booking event spaces. You can even host the shower in a yard or garden. 

If you haven’t planned the event location yet, check this list of where to host a baby shower.


What Should You Not Bring To A Baby Shower?

The gift you bring to the baby shower should be thoughtful and useful for the new mom and dad. You can also check the baby registry for the list of things and items they’ll need, but in the meantime, please refrain from using these as baby shower gifts:

  • Secondhand items: nobody wants stained and broken things, even if you think they can help new parents
  • Fabric items that are potentially irritating to sensitive skin: always check the material of your gifts, especially if the baby will use them 
  • Unknown brands of baby products like creams and baby bottles: some items might be made from dangerous chemicals  
  • Recycled gifts you received yourself: the new parents are likely not to have any use for gifts given to you
  • Baby diapers and clothes for a 12-month-old child: never give things that won’t be used for too long
  • Toddler toys: check the baby registry instead
  • Hand-me-down items from your own kids: even if they are from good intentions, just give new baby items to the parents


How Long Should You Stay At A Baby Shower?

As a guest, it’s only fitting to stay throughout the baby shower. A baby shower typically lasts between two to three hours, so it should be easy to finish the entire event. 

That being said, you don’t need to overstay the welcome, especially if the party is at the mom’s or host’s home. The expecting parents might want to rest early, or the host will need time to clean their place. 

Furthermore, check the baby shower invitation so you can arrive on time. You don’t want to come late or too early that you’ll take the attention at the event. 

And for the host planning the baby shower schedule, here’s how long should a baby shower be


Is It Rude To Drink At A Baby Shower?

It’s encouraged to socialize with everyone at the baby shower, so drinking the punch and cocktails provided by the host is welcomed. However, family and friends must know their limits with alcohol. 

It would be poor etiquette to get drunk at someone’s baby shower, as it’s not even a party meant to get guests wasted. And when drunk, you’re unlikely to be aware of your actions and words. 

You also don’t want to get sick that the attention of everyone at the party goes to you. If you’re not confident with your alcohol tolerance, drink other beverages at the baby shower instead. 


What Is The Best Way To Avoid Offending Someone At A Baby Shower?

Refrain from opening and mentioning these topics, questions, and suggestions at the baby shower. The event should celebrate the couple’s family, but remember to be mindful and practice tact with your words. 

  • Never obligate the parents to reveal their baby’s gender if they don’t want to
  • Never ask about how many kids the parents want to have
  • Do not question the expecting mom’s decision between having a c-section or not
  • Never ask about anybody’s size
  • Never share labor or parenting horror stories that might discourage the new parents
  • Avoid mentioning anything about anyone’s looks (e.g., you look tired)
  • Do not assume the roles the mom and dad will play once the baby arrives (e.g., will you be the stay-at-home parent?)
  • Avoid insinuating advice like how to lose weight fast after pregnancy or mentioning that breastfeeding is the only acceptable way to nurse babies


How Not To Make The Shower About You?

If you’re a parent yourself, you might mean well by giving advice and tips to the new mom and/or dad. However, remember that the baby shower is about them, and you shouldn’t talk about your parenting stories or obligate the expecting mom and dad to follow your advice and tips. 

Some baby showers have a wisdom circle where guests can share suggestions and advice with the new parents. You can always talk about parenting hacks and what to expect after giving birth, but be mindful of talking over the mom or taking most of the time from other guests who may want to speak first.

Remember that parenting differs for everyone, and what works for you may not apply to another household. You should also refrain from sharing horror stories that will make new parents feel overwhelmed about having a baby. 


How Not To Make The Shower All About Gifts?

The baby shower is a way to celebrate the mom and her baby, so it’s also expected to shower them with gifts. But of course, nobody wants their friends and family to think that they’re only invited for gifts. 

Besides serving tasty food, the host must plan activities and games to enjoy at the party. You can also do raffles and prepare gifts for the guests that they can win. Think of gift certificates and goodie baskets as game prizes. 

And finally, take the time to thank all the people who came. You can give them thank you cards and favors before they go home, or you can read what to put in baby shower gift bags for guests.  



Was this etiquette guide helpful? We just covered everything on what not to do at a baby shower.

To highlight the important points, remember to arrive on time, don’t get drunk, and bring a helpful gift. And when talking with the new parents, never insinuate anything or give unsolicited advice that may offend them. 

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