Books have always been an integral part of my relationship with my husband. We are both avid readers and writers, our wedding was book-themed — including table settings and even our vows — and it was fitting that my baby shower be centered around books, too. Because my Aunt Kitty is super hip and always in the know, back in 2018 at my baby shower, she had everyone bring signed children’s books instead of cards.
Genius. Let’s be real, nobody wants to read a card at a baby shower out loud to everyone else while they watch, and nobody attending really cares or wants to hear it. Plus, there’s the hell and torture of reading the card silently while everyone waits. This is my worst nightmare as an introvert and an anxious person. Was I reading fast enough? Does everyone hate me right now? Am I looking like I’m taking enough time reading this person’s message in the card so they don’t feel offended? Whew.
This awkward sh*t show, among many other reasons, are why replacing cards at baby showers with books is the best idea ever.
What Do You Do With Baby Shower Cards Anyway?
After the big day when the baby is born, I can tell you with 100% certainty that you’re not going to be working on that baby book anymore — unless you’re some sort of superhuman. My baby book pages are barely filled, because my time was spent trying to keep a new human alive, and keep myself alive through severe sleep deprivation and PPA/PPD. And if you have cards from people from your baby shower, they’re probably not going to make it into a baby book. They’re most likely going to be stuck in that top drawer with all of the other sentimental knick knacks you have no idea what to do with, but feel awkward and guilty about throwing out.
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Why Books Are Better Than Cards
New mom Kathy Hackett tells Romper that she decided to ask for signed books instead of cards for her upcoming baby shower. “We found the idea on Etsy when we were looking for the invitations,” she says.
“Cards you keep for a little and then toss or maybe a few make it into a baby book. But the books will hang around for a long time, and not only does it grow your baby’s library, but it will also diversify it because people will bring their own favorite book,” Hackett says. “We have also been trying to be really practical and purposeful when planning for the nursery and we thought the book idea fit really well into that as well.”
Plus, you can write in the gifted books and sign it so that your message will be one that keeps on giving, every time the baby picks up that book in their childhood. I’m sure they won’t keep looking at a card, no matter how sweet the card may be.
It’s Never Too Early To Build Your Child’s Library & To Start Reading
Like Hackett says, books will be around for a long time, long after cards. And they definitely hold their value more. Reading books to newborns and infants is crucial for their development. It encourages them to hear you use many different emotions and expressive sounds, which supports their social and emotional development, according to kidshealth.org.
Pediatrician Dr. Gina Posner tells Romper, “Reading and talking and singing to babies is very important for their brain development, and reading books is a soothing and incredible bonding experience for any age, so it helps with the bond that a baby forms with their parent.”
In fact, as early as 4 months old, your baby may even begin to show an actual interest in books. “Your little one will grab and hold books, but will mouth, chew, and drop them as well. Choose sturdy vinyl or cloth books with bright colors and familiar, repetitive, or rhyming text,” the website noted. And between 6 and 12 months old, “your baby starts to understand that pictures represent objects, and may start to show that they like certain pictures, pages, or even entire stories better than others.”
Plus, parents can start reading these book gifts immediately after the shower to their unborn baby and they’ll still benefit. “It is always important to talk and sing to your unborn baby. They can start to hear around 18 weeks and the hearing starts to improve every day after that, so the more communication you have, the better and more soothed they are. Reading is a good and soothing activity,” Posner says.
Book Ideas To Give At The Baby Shower
For me, I wanted to have my son’s bookshelf be pretty diverse and symbolize our many different friends. It was important for me to have AAPI books, books featuring Black characters, books about inspiring women, and more. And obviously, board books and books to help with their development were awesome choices, too, and I loved when people brought books that were their favorites when they were children or favorites of their children.
Dr. Gina Posner, pediatrician at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California.