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Ideas for Simple & Alternative Baby Showers

Continuing our series during this final year of AoS of the top 12 published posts of all time (measured in simple traffic numbers), here’s number 8. It’s a little strange to read about things like this, when most of us can’t physically gather. I suppose these days “alternative” takes on a whole new meaning, eh?.

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I have such fond memories of each shower thrown for me as an expectant mama, but one event stands out as a favorite. When I was hugely pregnant with our twin sons, my friends in our neighborhood put together a lovely and low-key shower that was wonderful without cheesy games or extravagant decor.

Glasses of wine for them, sparkling juice for me. Platters of cheese and fruit and sinking back with laughter into the couches in my next-door neighbor’s living room while music played softly in the background. It was far more Girls’ Night In than traditional shower.

I weathered those last days carrying my third and fourth children, it was exactly what I needed.

I loved the bigger, traditional showers thrown for me when I was expecting my older girls, but this particular shower helped me understand why there are so many mamas-to-be who much prefer a simple celebration to anything planned by Pinterest.

If you find yourself hosting a shower for a friend or family member who has specifically stated that she prefers simple over elaborate, you might be at a loss for what that could look like—especially if you’re a Big Party person yourself.

baby shower gifts
Photo by lmnop88a

1. Instead of a shower, throw a “sprinkle.”

A “sprinkle” is the lite version of the traditional shower. Usually given for women who already have at least one older child, a sprinkle is low-key and laid-back: casual invitations, no games, light fare. For the mom who doesn’t want a big fuss, a sprinkle is the perfect fit.

2. Plan a Sip & See.

Depending on the culture where you live, a Sip & See is hosted by either friends or the happy parents themselves. It’s held after the baby arrives, and like a sprinkle, there are rarely games (baby will probably be sleeping, eating, or fussing!)—it’s more about eating and talking than focusing on the parents opening gifts.

A Sip & See is a particularly fitting choice when a baby joins the family through adoption.

3. Make it practical.

It’s hard to turn down the opportunity to buy darling newborn outfits for the mother-to-be—I’m a repeat offender of this practice! But some moms prefer an emphasis on the practical for a simple celebration.

This might be a diaper shower, where guests bring boxes of disposable diapers and wipes, or selected cloth diapers from a registry. Other moms might prefer a meal shower, to stock her freezer with healthy homemade meals from friends for those first few weeks.

And in this Facebook thread about shower ideas, one mama shared how her shower guests helped make homemade baby products during the shower.

4. Do a “blessingway.”

Some women might eschew a shower altogether, preferring a spiritual approach. A “blessingway” honors and blesses the mother-to-be but without the pressure of opening gifts while being watched.

example of a blessingway
Photo by Erin Vest

This might include pampering the mother with a massage or pedicure, speaking words of blessing over her, and giving gifts that would encourage and support her during labor, such as candles, music, or beads strung into a necklace that remind her of the supportive women dear to her.

5. Help other moms, locally or worldwide.

Women who truly don’t want any more gifts for herself or the baby may like a shower that blesses other women. Guests could bring gifts to be donated to a local women’s shelter, pregnancy center, or foster family resource room.

For a globally-minded mom, turn the shower into a gathering to create clean birth kits for women in remote, underdeveloped areas. (Adriel Booker shares details on this and other ideas in her Love A Mama Community).

Celebrating a woman as she brings her new baby into the world can be a beautiful part of life in community. A shower doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing—ideas abound for creative ways to celebrate a new life.

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  1. HokieKate

    I had a calm ladies’ lunch at a friend’s house for my second baby, and it was wonderful. I didn’t want a big fuss, especially with a second girl just two years after her big sister (even the seasons for baby clothes lined up nearly perfectly!). Just like you said, we had about six women total. We spent two lovely hours chatting and enjoying each other’s company.

    • Megan Tietz

      These are the best events! I love that kind of gathering!

  2. Katie

    I love these ideas – especially the meal shower and the ideas for helping other women. I’m pregnant with my third, and I’d love it if someone did a fill the freezer type party instead of baby clothes. I also think it is so nice when the hostess asks the mom to be what type of gathering she would like. I’ve had several traditional showers over the years, which I certainly appreciate, but I would have prefered something lower key and nontraditional, if asked. I honestly find it kind of uncomfortable being the guest of honor, particularly when it’s the traditional games and presents set up. I’ll definitely keep these ideas in mind for others – thank you!

    • Megan Tietz

      I think it’s always a good idea to get a good read on what the mama-to-be would prefer. For people who are into big parties, it might be hard to go low-key, but I know that would make it even more meaningful to know her wishes were honored.

  3. Kat

    I have been to several Mother’s Blessing celebrations, and loved the gentle mom-centered focus. Great for a second+ baby, a way to get a break from the kids, get some nurturing time with friends, get in touch with your support network before a newborn leaves you sometimes feeling stuck at home. Usually there is something like a bead necklace made from beads that all the attendees have brought for the mom to wear, maybe candles for friends to light when she is in labor or a yarn bracelet made from one skein wound around all wrists to connect them, then cut and worn until the baby is born. It’s a nice time! Can be emotional, especially if there are worries or concerns about the baby or pregnancy.

    I just want to point out that Blessingway can be considered a culturally appropriate term, mother’s blessing is a bit less offensive! It took me a while to get used to the terminology change.

    • Megan Tietz

      Thank you for your response, Kat! I have heard people of all cultural backgrounds talking about Blessingways so I was not aware of the cultural sensitivity there. Thank you for making me aware of that – I will definitely keep it in mind in future references!

  4. Steph

    These are great ideas. I hate having to open gifts in front of people! I had one shower where I did that but for my second shower I got out of it by being on bed rest – it was probably the only perk to being stuck at home. 🙂 I’m planning my sister-in-law’s upcoming baby shower and since it’s her first it will be somewhat traditional but I’ve also been looking for some alternatives to games…

  5. Rebecca C

    Cool ideas! I’m 38 weeks pregnant with our first, and my shower was pretty low-key. After having my sister get married in July, then my brother in August (and their respective wedding showers), my whole family was ready for something quieter and easy to put together. 🙂

    We decorated with stacks of children’s books, which we had tons of already from my childhood (my family are all book hoarders…). Then we ate a few finger foods, including leftovers from the weddings that we’d put in the freezer- LOL. No games, just visiting with old friends and opening presents. I even convinced my mom friends to bring their own littles, so everyone could enjoy them, and to take a little attention off me.

    My only issue with this list, and it is a silly personal thing, is that whenever someone hands me an invite to a Baby Sprinkle, it makes me think of pee. 😉 I suppose it would be appropriate for a diaper shower. /giggle

  6. Michelle Luck

    I love the idea of clean birth kits, I wish I’d heard of that before. I turned down offers of a shower for my first two babies, feeling that attention and gifts and silly games weren’t really for me (although of course no judgement on ladies that love those sort of fun parties!), and since I didn’t find out what we were having, I already expected most people to buy gifts after the baby was born, if they wanted. I’m currently pregnant with our next bub, though, and might throw myself a ‘global’ baby shower, as we are bursting with more baby stuff than we will ever use, and it fits much better with my current stand point of down sizing and simplifying. Thankyou for this wonderful idea!

  7. Lisa Michelle

    Oh my goodness, brilliant! Thanks so much for posting this. Some family members want to throw me a baby shower for my 3rd boy. I was torn because I love get-togethers, but really, really didn’t not want any more gifts/stuff since I really don’t need anything. I hadn’t even thought of doing a donation drive! I instantly though of a great cause/shelter (it’s a family supportive housing shelter) and will make their needs my baby shower “wish list.” Such a perfectly awesome, win-win-win solution, but I wouldn’t have thought of it without your site. So thank you!

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