A Baby Shower Vs. a Birthday Party (Spinoff)

Updated on June 20, 2012
☼.S. asks from Chula Vista, CA
19 answers

So a mom on here posted in regards to having a baby shower for her 2nd child ... should she accept the offer from her grandmother? It's my opinion that every new child should be celebrated if the parents want to. Initially, I didn't feel this way, but when someone framed it that way to me, I now totally agree with this line of thinking.

So my question is this ... if you think it's so tacky to celebrate a new baby because you already have a child or children, do you also feel that it's tacky to throw a birthday party for your child every year? I mean, isn't that also a 'present grab,' too? My feeling is that a baby is born ONCE, why wouldn't you celebrate that? And how does that differ from celebrating birthdays every year?

I'm just curious what your thoughts are on this because I found a few of the responses to be very uncharitable, with one poster even saying that they would laugh in the face of the pregnant mom if they received such an invitation.

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So What Happened?

ETA: My daughter is 7 and so far, my husband and I have thrown a party for her every year. Just want to clarify that I'm not down on birthday parties by any means. :)

One ... you know I love ya and we agree on many things, but part ways on this one. How is it tacky if someone ELSE wants to throw a shower for you and baby? I could see if you threw yourself one, but not if someone else is offering and it would bring joy to them to do so.

Part deux: One, the original poster said 'need' not 'want' -- just want to point that out.
Hmmm .. Jo, I did get a black negligee at my baby shower ... so that gift was definitely about me. Try as I might, I just couldn't fit a leg into those onesies, though! And I'd rather drink my margarita out of a glass than a baby bottle lol

Megan ... I couldn't agree with you more on the uber expensive registries. And that also goes for wedding registries. YUCK.

LET ME MAKE IT PERFECTLY CLEAR: I love birthday parties and throw one for my child each year. I don't do it so that my child receives presents, I do it to celebrate her day and make her feel special. This is also why I would go to a baby shower, to celebrate the impending arrival of a new baby. It's my personal feeling that if you are attending a shower that you don't want to be a part of, then don't go. And certainly if you and the other guests are commenting behind the pregnant mom's back that such a shower is 'tacky' -- my word, I find that tacky in itself. Not to mention disingenuous. That's my opinion.

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answers from Sacramento on

I think if people have time to get angry about people holding baby showers, they must lead pretty sad lives. Definitely bigger issues in life to worry about than whether someone wants to celebrate the joyous news of another child.

I never approached my baby showers as a gift grab and simply enjoyed the company of my friends and family as we got ready for a child's arrival.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I don't have a problem with baby showers. I have a problem with parents registering for the uber expensive stuff for their registries....

That said for my kids birthday's I host non-present events and at the end bring out a cake and say 'by the way...' My daughter was born in late Oct. so we always host a Halloween party for the neighborhood. My son was born around Easter so we host an Egg Hunt followed by cake and ice cream.

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answers from Jacksonville on

Well some people have very high horses you see. :) I don't see a problem with it, if I can I make birthday's and baby showers. Every one is entitled to their opinions, and the rest of us are allowed to roll our eyes and move on. ;)

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Evansville on

I like baby showers and birthday parties. And I think it's great if people want celebrate every time either event occurs. :)

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Honestly, I see no problem with having a shower or meet the baby party. I have never received an invite stating I MUST bring a gift. Of course, I usually do, and have even bought an outfit or something later because I happened to be shopping and saw something I thought they would like. I think the only time it really is a gift grab is when you are invited to your neighbor's cousin's brother's niece's shower. I don't understand why some people get mad about it, or don't like it when people have birthday parties months after the actual birthday (which was in a post a couple weeks ago).

I registered for gifts for my daughter who is now 4 as I was told I better do by people I work with since they were going to throw a shower for me. For my son, I registered because the stores do send out special discounts. Call me greedy but saving 10% on anything on my register that i did not get helps one heck of a lot.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I just don't buy into the idea that material objects are needed to make each baby feel special. They tend not to remember that first year anyway.

I know I don't give anyone birthday gifts because I want them to feel special. I give gifts because it will make the person happy, they will enjoy the use of the gift.

The big difference is a birthday party is for the birthday person. A baby shower is about the mom. At least in my opinion you are no more special a mom if you have one kid or twenty.

Perhaps it is just the experience of seeing the few baby showers for second kids around here. The ones I have seen they pretty much want all new stuff for the second kid down to all new bedding in the nursery. Then the hock the first child's stuff at a second hand store and re do the older kids room so that they can have a theme room. I will admit my personal experience is probably what makes this seem very entitlement to me. The only children I know that are that "special" have a different s word used to describe them, ya know, spoiled. :(

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

Some people are just rude,must have very sad lives, I think baby showers and birthday parties are fine! Just because you are invited to either does not mean you have to go and spend a fortunethe . For baby showers there are little things that parents always need that can be picked up for cheap or you can always go in with another person for a better gift. As for the birthday parties the kids have fun with these and I have seen many parents put gifts not neccesasry although we all know kids like something to open, and it can be just about anything and they are happy!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

in my family you dont have a second shower unless its over 5 years apart or a new husband/wife. Showers are expensive to throw and attend to. My parents both have 9 brothers and sisters each and I have TONS of cousins so if they had a shower for every baby we'd all be broke.
Also showers are meant to prepare the new parents for the babies arrival by providing essentials. its not a celebration of the baby, its a congrats we want to start you off right party. You dont need all new gifts the 2nd time around. in the question asked she had a valid reason for needing one, in my famiyl that would be considered and everyone would be happy to attend, it has happened before for those circumstances....but someone who is having a 2nd 2 yearslater and planned they dont need new everything, they can reuse most!

Birtday parties are diferent. that is celebrating that kids birthday for them! Also its not as expensive to get a cheap toy then baby gear. Also birthday parties in our family aside from the first are for only grandparents uncles and aunts and the cousins who have kids. they are a lot smaller than the showers and are more a chancefor the cousins to all play together

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Meh..I don't think you can compare a baby shower and a birthday party.
Usually when you know someone well, you get them a shower gift AND something when the baby is born.
And, no, I don't see a child's birthday party as a "present grab" at all.
Especially considering that so many kids' birthday parties are now asking for no gifts, food bank donations, books for a library, etc.
There's a really thin line between a "grab for gifts" (O. poster was excited to get stocked up on diapers for her 2nd baby!Really? Buy your own diapers!) and "showering" new parents with some things they don't have for a first baby. It's about the leap into parenthood. It's not about my financial responsibility to pay for things you want for subsequent children.
People close to the family are going to get gifts for EVERY baby born into it.
The "every baby deserves to be celebrated" defense is just lame. Celebrate does not equal "pay for"! So, celebrate away! Just not at your SIL's cousin's aunt's expense!
Or how about the expectant family bears some expense for feeding, trinketing the gift bringers? Seems ofd for Grandma or Aunt Bea to invite, feed, entertain and provide favors to attendees at a shower for every baby, doesn't it?

Bueller? Bueller? ((Crickets)) ((Crickets))

ETA: LeeLee--It's not so much the actual "throwing" of the shower--it's about inviting people (who then feel obligated to attend with gift) when they JUST, several years prior, did this for you.
It's just poor taste! And poor judgement. The polite response to an offer would be "Oh! What a generous offer, but I wouldn't feel right a sing for gifts again so soon!"
That said, I have attended showers for non-first babies, but it most definitely perceived as a grab-for-gifts by most attendees.
My niece recently had her 2nd child.
No shower.
Did she get gifts? You betcha!
Because we LOVE her and her new baby--not because we needed a baby shower venue and registry to "shower" her.
Is her 2nd baby any less celebrated than her first? Not O. bit.
Is he going to complain someday that there are no pictures of his baby shower? I doubt it.
The concern by O. woman was "How will 'they" KNOW what I want if I don't register?" THAT is the point, my dear. After O., it's all about what you WANT, not NEED. At some point it becomes an entitlement thing.
Personally, I think that people old enough and mature enough to conceive a child are probably financially responsible enough to provide for said child. Any gifts received are a BONUS!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Orlando on

I love this question! I personally think the moms should get presents on the kids birthdays! After all we are the ones who carried them and gave birth! Where's my celebration for that!? But I do think some people are rude for saying they would laugh at a 2nd shower invite..like I said there's 6 years between my kids. I guess some moms expect everyone to be hoarders and save all the baby stuff.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Isn't splitting hairs, so irritating?
Not you, just the way some friends or relatives may regard the Mom or kid.

I had a baby shower with my 1st child. Given to me by co-workers.
I also had a baby shower for my 2nd child, given to us by my Husband's company. For him, and I. It was very thoughtful.
My Mom, was on the fence... didn't know if she felt it was needed/tacky or not. Because as you said, some don't feel a baby shower for each baby (in the same family or for the same woman) is needed. No one in my family, hosted the baby shower. It was our employers, that did. And it was very nice.
In both instances, it was a total surprise, that they wanted to throw us a baby shower. We did not expect it at all.

And in some regions/cultures, it varies... and/or, it can be taken as an "insult" if you turn down an invitation to a Host who is willing to throw a baby shower for you.

To each his/her own.
There is no absolute rule on it.

To me: it is not a present grab. Nor did any of our friends/family/co-workers, think that either.

We celebrate our kids' birthdays. With a party or not. It is not a present grab.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Reno on

Wow. It's common for women in my religion to have large families, and someone ALWAYS throws the new mom a shower. For my 4 kids, someone also hand made each of them a quilt. I very much believe that every birth should be celebrated! Even if you have 7 kids, this particular child is just arriving; it shouldn't be that big a deal to buy some diapers or lotion.

I know that some families don't have birthday parties every year because they can't afford the kind of party that they want. My opinion is that there should be a celebration EVERY year, but that doesn't mean spending a ton of money. Letting the birthday boy/girl choose dinner on their day and having a few friends come to the park for cake and ice cream on the weekend is a perfectly acceptable way to celebrate!

I also think that anyone who would be rude to their friends and family over differences in opinion (of any kind!) is extremely tacky. Be supportive or stay quiet (and at home.)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

I agree, every life should be celebrated. And, for that matter, all of life's little moments should be celebrated if the person wants to throw a party. I find it funny when someone says it's a present grabber for most parties. If I were to take the money I spend on the parties I throw and spend it instead on gifts, I'd come out ahead with the gifts. I throw parties, not for presents, but because I like to get friends and family together and to spend a fun time with people whom I love and care about sharing life's moments.

Milestones are meant to be celebrated. That was my slogan when I was a professional party planner and it's truly how I believe life should be lived. It should be celebrated - as often as possible.

If someone doesn't want to come to a party because they think I'm asking for a gift, then they don't know me as well as I thought and they're welcome to decline the invite. Those that do know me and have been to my parties, know that is not the intent and in fact, the party will be one heck of a great time.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I don't agree with ANY event designed to solicit gifts. Well, maybe a fundraiser.... I give a gift when I want to give a gift, period. For my baby shower, I received gifts, and I appreciate that, but I did not ask for anything. I did not register. I wanted people to come and "shower" me with love and well wishes. I wanted them to spend time with me. That's all I look for at birthday time, too, and I plan to teach that to my son.

Yes, all children are to be celebrated, but that doesn't mean to give stuff. I feel the same way about weddings and house-warmings. I see asking for gifts in these cases as asking someone else to fund a life decision.

Also, the poster who asked that question said that she is considering a second shower because she got rid of her stuff. I think that that falls under the category of TOO FRIGGIN' BAD. It's unfortunate that she got rid of everything, but...oh, well.... It's not the responsibility of others to refresh her stock.

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answers from Missoula on

In my family and circle of friends, EVERY child birth gets a baby shower.

Of course, for us it's more about the celebration and games than presents... Who cares what it's "meant to be"... we celebrate how we see fit! Usually, the hosts (or the close friends of the shower recipient) will chip in and buy a diaper cake, and everyone else brings a small gift (like some clothes, a blanket, etc.) It is VERY rare for a gift at one of our showers to exceed $10-20.

I LOVE going to baby showers!

Also... I would hate to get laughed at or people refuse to come to my shower just because it's my second baby... I didn't get a shower for my first, (My own fault, because I moved too far away...) and I am DEFINITELY having a shower next time!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Well, all I can think is if people are going to be offended at being invited to a party, then I don't want them there anyway.

Honestly, I can think of no one on my invite list (for showers, b-days, what have you) that would look at it as a "tacky" way to "present grab". The poeple who think that probably don't get invited to many things... which probably just furthers their thinking that such events are tacky because people must not do them very often. The reality is, people have 2nd showers, multiple showers for the same baby/wedding, sprinkles, annual birthday parties and even 1/2 birthday party celebrations ALL THE TIME. So the ones who frown upon them, are probably not being invited to them (due to their perceptions of parties and special events being about attention grabbing and present solicitation)

My SIL is having a 1/2 B-day party for her son (hand-crafted invites and all) she is one of those moms who thinks their kids hung the moon, so my first reaction was "half birthday? Please!" (eye roll)... but the I decided, know what? Who cares? His Birthday is right after New Years, she just wants a chance to get some people together and celebrate outdoors instead of crammed into some Pizza restaurant like she usually has to. I know she doesn't expect presents or cards. So what's the big deal? I'll go, and I actually probably will get him a little something cuz Why Not?

Party on people! I think it's great.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

We usually throw birthday parties every year for all 3 kids. Two have summer birthdays, so sometimes we're out of town and don't have a "friends" party. IMO, the worst part about birthday parties is the gift! My oldest is 6 and I don't always know what the birthday child likes. Lately, I've been giving a book and a gift card to Barnes and Noble.

We decided a few years ago that we would do gifts for charity instead of gifts for the kids at our parties. Our kids get gifts from us, grandparents, aunts/uncles/cousins, etc., which is enough! So, we ask the "friends" to bring items for the charity we collect for--we usually do Ronald McDonald House and collect toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies, etc. Every time almost every parent tells me it is a GREAT idea!

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answers from New York on

I'm not sure what I think about the 2nd baby shower thing as I don't like any kind of shower - bridal, baby etc for myself. But for kids' bday parties, I see some differences. Kids are uber excited about their bdays so it's for them. I don't see how a baby shower is for the baby who isn't even born there so can't possibly know the difference. And pictures after? Huh. I never even asked if my mom had a baby shower for me. Who cares? It's no reflection on how she feels about me. Anyway, bday parties are so much fun for the bday child. It's his/her special day. It's just part of being a kid. I do think adults who expect a big fuss on their bdays need to get over it so it's an age thing. And you only turn 5 once. Second, there's no way the bday gifts my children have received have come close to covering the cost of their parties. Where we live, cake at someone's house is highly unusual. There's usually a place rented out or entertainment or the mother set up a big arts and crafts thing herself which took boatloads of time and some money. Nevermind the goodie bags! In both cases, no one HAS to accept an invitation... And I always buy a baby gift for a 2nd child anyway so not a big deal but like I said, I refused any showers in general bc overall I do think they're mainly about getting the gifts.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I will always have a celebration for my kids for their birthday. Whether it is a big event at the park with friends and family, a build a bear event, taking friends to Disneyland, a casual family dinner, or family over for cupcakes. It is the ONE special day that my kids have that they do not have to share with anyone else. I have 2 kids and the list of parties i provide I have done. The kind of party is different every year. Sometimes bigger sometimes smaller. I know that the grandparents will do a gift whether there is a party or not but having some kind of party gives them an opportunity to gift it. I ALWAYS get my nieces and nephew a gift whether there is a party or not. But usually there is a minimum of family/dessert party. I don't have a party so my kids can get gifts. If that were the case it would be a huge blowout everytime.

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