A traditional baby shower held before a baby is born helps prepare new parents with items they will inevitably need. However, a recent trend shift has some parents waiting until after their baby is born to celebrate, so knowing how to throw a post-baby shower may come in handy if you have any expectant friends. Call it a postpartum party, an after-birth shower, or a post-baby shower, the concept is the same — people bring gifts and provide support for a new mom who has already had her baby.
Whether you keep the party low-key or go all out really has to do with what the new mom feels up for. If she's all about getting dressed up and going out for a fancy meal with the girls, that's what you should do. If she's not feeling quite up to a public outing, hosting the post-baby shower at someone's home where things can be more laid back is ideal. The key here is to do whatever best suits the new mom.
After all, that's the entire idea behind a post-baby shower. You're gathering to provide a hearty congratulations to a woman who has just given birth and is wading through the depths of new motherhood. The shower should be all about how to best support and love on her.
In fact, that support may not even look like a party at all. It could look like a group of people who would be guests rotating shifts helping the new mom with laundry, cooking meals, or babysitting so the parents can go out for the night. You can even create a digital event in lieu of an actual party and have guests sign up for various tasks on a Google calendar. Whatever best supports a new mom is the best way to throw a post-baby shower.
If you do decide to go the physical party route, it works much like a traditional baby shower — food, cake, gifts, decor, games, guests. The new mom of honor may or may not want to use a post-baby shower as a time to show off her new babe, and that's OK, too. Remember, the party is for her. If she would rather have some time away from the baby to feel more like herself, please, please let her. If she'd rather you drop off a stack of casseroles at the door and leave, then do just that.
TBH, the worst part of my actual baby shower was getting dressed for it. It was July, I was super pregnant, and putting on clothes, fixing my hair, and applying makeup were last on the list of things I wanted to do. Do you know what I did like getting dressed for? My first postpartum date with my husband about a month and a half after my youngest was born. He took care of the baby while I took a luxurious shower and took my time getting all gussied up. It felt amazing.
The same concept could be applied to a post-baby shower. If you're helping host, head on over to that new mom's house and hang out with her babe while she takes a long shower and gets herself together. That is the kind of support a new mom deserves, and it can go a long way toward helping her feel human again. Plus, once she feels somewhat like herself, she gets to go be surrounded by all of her friends and loved ones who can dote on her and give her gifts she will actually use. Or you can all pile on the couch and watch Netflix — whatever she wants.
The truth is, you really don't know exactly what you need for your baby until after they're born, so asking people to spend money on items you may or may not even use is as much a disservice to you as it is to them. All babies are different, so when a traditional baby shower loads you up with 2,000 store-brand baby wipes that your baby ends up being allergic to or an entire set of bottles they won't drink from, it can be extremely frustrating. Even returning unused gifts can be a frustrating process that no new mom wants to face. This is where a post-baby shower really shines.
After the first month or two, mom and baby have developed preferences about which diapers work the best, which breast milk storage bags leak the least, and how often they really want to use a jogging stroller. Moms can create an online wish list of items they know they will use that well-wishers can bring to a post-baby shower. This way, mom and baby are stocked with things they will actually use and you haven't wasted your money on something that they can't or won't use.
No matter how you choose to throw a post-baby shower, the main thing to remember is that it's all about showing support to a mom who has just been through one of the most laborious (pun intended) processes of her life. So, party it up with a swanky dinner, sign up for a laundry shift, or get together with a few friends in your backyard — and watch that new mom glow as she realizes how loved she is.