Etiquette for a "Welcome Baby Open House"

Updated on September 10, 2008
L.T. asks from Grayslake, IL
7 answers

We are expecting our first child at the end of this month. Rather than entertain a train of well-wishers at the house after the baby is born, I thought it would be a good idea to host an Open House party 4-6 weeks after the delivery. I know I will be tired immediately following the delivery, and as this is our first child we are going to need some time to get adjusted to our new family, so I kind of want to avoid having a lot of visitors at the house immediately after the birth. This party would give us a chance to have everyone over at once, and I think will be a little less exhausting for me, but still give us a chance to introduce our little one and visit with friends and family. I think normally this kind of event would be covered with a baptism or christening party, but we don't attend church and aren't particularly religious so we would not have the opportunity to host such an event. An Open House makes much more sense for us. My question is, I have already had two baby showers, and I don't want people to see this as just another party where they are expected to bring gifts. Do you think it will come off that way? We just want a way to introduce our little guy, without doing a formal christening type thing which would be really hypocritical on our part, but I am afraid this would look like another shower. What are your thoughts mamas?
Any catering suggestions (menu or caterers in the Grayslake area) would also be appreciated! I don't think I will be too inclined to cook at that time either!
Thanks in advance ladies!

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answers from Chicago on

Why not say no gifts on the invite? I would be more worried about all the germs you will be exposing your baby to at once, especially a newborn who can get sick so easily.

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answers from Chicago on

In all honesty, your friends and family aren't going to want to wait that long to meet your new addition. And chances are you'll be more ready for visitors than you think. Between the seemingly endless laundry and nursing and napping, it's actually a relief to have some guests over. Having one or two friends at a time for an hour or so might be just the boost you need to get through that next round. I guess what I'm trying to say is, keep an open mind.

That's not to say you can't also have a party to "formally" introduce your baby to your circle of family and friends.

There's a really wonderful tradition in Native American culture and Jewish culture often called a Blessing Ceremony or Naming Ceremony. Not that you need to keep the name a secret, that would be undesirable and impossible! But instead of a traditional baptism, look into naming ceremonies. Google had a lot of hits when my husband and I were trying to figure out what to do. Ultimately we decided to have a Dedication ceremony at a Unitarian church in the area. It was lovely.

As for food, you can always just order ahead from your local grocery. Ask a couple of family members to pitch in with serving bowls, etc., and order some sweets from a bakery. Much less expensive than a caterer, and just as easy. Don't worry, you'll have lots of help cleaning up. Nobody wants to see new parents clean up after themselves!

Enjoy, and try to keep an open mind about guests. Give yourself a week, and see how you feel. You may be surprised how appealing it sounds to have a couple of friends over.



answers from Chicago on

My name is C., and I just wanted to respond to your question. I think that your Open House party is a good idea. If you inform people in the invite that this is a welcome party for your little one, and that presents are not expected, then people will have a better idea of the event. Keep in mind however that all of the attention on 1 day can be very overwhelming for your little one.

As far as a caterer is concerned, my husband and I own a New Orleans style catering business called, A Taste of New Orleans. If you are interested in seeing our menu, you can e-mail me at

A Little About Me:
Wife, Mom of 2 girls and 1 boy



answers from Chicago on

Honestly......I think good friends and family won't want to wait 4-6 weeks to see your new baby. I don't think you will need that much time before you allow anyone to come over and having everyone over at once might be more stressful than having people come one at a time for short visits.



answers from Chicago on

Hi L. -
Fun to see you here : ) I just had to recommend for catering in Grayslake..
Grinder's Cafe
Address: 82 Center Street, Grayslake, IL 60030
Phone: ###-###-####

They have great food and Dale Dohm (the owner) is a gem. I used to service her store with cute coffee mugs and gifts when I was a sales rep. You can tell her A. sent you her way. : )



answers from Chicago on

I have been to two similar events hosted by the same family for their two sons. They called it a Baby Blessing. You could also call it a Baby Wishing Well. It was basically a party at their house, but at one point every stood or sat in a circle and we went around the circle each in turn telling what our wish or blessing for the baby was. We each held a shallow basket that was passed around as we gave our wish, and then after the basket had been all the way around the circle, the basket was waved over the baby so all the good wishes and blessings would "fall" onto him. I thought it was a great idea. They also had a book at the party in which people were encouraged to write down their wishes and blessings for the baby, so he would have it as a keepsake.



answers from Chicago on

I agree your family and friends will not want to wait, but I would entertain only the immediate family as opportunities arise before the party. I love the idea of a baby blessing party. When my daughter graduated this year we had a good-bye party (2 months after her graduation party). We wrote on her invites "We consider the presence of friends to be the greatest gift of all, so we respectfully request that no other gifts be given". A few people still brought gifts but really only token ones. Good luck with the new baby.

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