Alternative Ideas for Baby Showers

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Verywell / Bailey Mariner 

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Expecting a baby when COVID-19 is still circulating adds a new set of stressors to pregnancy. You might be feeling disappointed about how some of the traditional events of pregnancy, such as a baby shower, might look given certain health guidelines. If you are feeling sadness over the loss of a more traditional baby shower, you are not alone.

Although baby showers are not essential to your health, they can serve as an important emotional rite of passage as you become a parent for the first time or expand your family.

Baby showers are a time for you to receive support from your friends and relatives, get wisdom from parents who have been there before—and most importantly, be showered with love and gifts!

As vaccination rates increase and life begins to return to normal, baby showers will likely follow suit. But during the pandemic, lots of creative baby shower options popped up. And these alternative baby showers are likely here to stay. They work whether you're looking for safer options because you live in a high-risk area, want to include people from different geographical locations in your celebration, or just don't love some of the classic baby shower elements.

The Risks of Baby Showers During COVID-19

Even as restrictions begin to ease up, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains, there are still risks involved in gathering people together from different family units. This is especially true if guests are not vaccinated and safety measures such as wearing masks and social distancing aren’t followed, or when larger crowds gather together.

Different Rules for Fully Vaccinated People

Since those who are fully vaccinated are at reduced risk for contracting or transmitting COVID-19, people who are more than two weeks past their final COVID-19 vaccine dose can resume normal activities, including indoor and outdoor gatherings, without wearing a mask or social distancing.

Unvaccinated people, however, are still at risk of contracting COVID-19 in social situations. The lowest-risk way to connect with others in a group is via virtual or online options. After that, the CDC explains that small group activities that take place outdoors, or indoors with proper ventilation, are the safest option.

Should You Still Have a Baby Shower?

In most instances, there is a way to do a baby shower with as much fanfare and fun as baby showers are meant to be. It’s just a matter of thinking outside the box, doing a little extra preparation, and making sure that all invited loved ones are on board with the plan.

Socializing in limited ways and with proper precautions can be safe, even during a pandemic. But keep in mind this may vary depending on whether you and your guests are vaccinated, the community transmission in your particular area, what state and local laws are being enforced about gatherings, and your own comfort level.

The greatest way to reduce the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19 is to get vaccinated. The CDC recommends that pregnant people talk to their doctors about the risks and benefits of the various COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy.

Alternative Baby Shower Ideas

In a way, there is something exciting about reinventing the way baby showers happen. Coming up with new, creative ideas can be fun and thrilling. Who needs those tired old baby shower traditions anyway? Whether you are hosting a shower, or helping to plan one for yourself, here are some simple ideas to get you started.

Drive-By Baby Shower

Early on in the pandemic, people were doing drive-by birthday parties and graduations. Drive-by baby showers can be fun too!

Set up a comfortable space for yourself outside your home (you're pregnant—you deserve a cushy seat!). If possible, decorate your area or have a friend or loved one do this for you. Then, simply pick a time for your guests to drive by.

They can stop and chat with you as they pass (with face coverings if you get too close), or simply honk and wave as they go. Doing a drive-by shower is a short and sweet way to honor your pregnancy and upcoming birth.

Outside “Sprinkle” Shower

The idea of a “sprinkle shower” is to spread out the gathering so that not so many people are gathering at once. What you do is set yourself up to meet and greet your guests, then you have each guest come and say hello and exchange a gift with you one by one.

Depending on your comfort level, community transmission, and vaccination status, you may choose to hold a "sprinkle shower" outside if the weather allows; or inside, if ventilation is good, and guests are vaccinated or masks are worn.

Virtual Baby Shower

Just because it’s online doesn’t mean you can't do a baby shower with all the familiar trappings. You can send out paper or online invites, register for gifts online, and even play a few traditional baby shower games during a virtual shower.

Maybe the best part is that you can connect with people all over the country or the world that wouldn’t likely be able to make it to an in-person shower. If you are hosting a baby shower for someone, you can send them decorations, or come to their home to decorate for them (if you can do so safely).

Virtual Gift Opening Party

Opening gifts is one of the biggest highlights of a baby shower. But that can easily be replicated online. Have guests send gifts to the expectant parents’ home, and then schedule a virtual gift opening party when all of the gifts are expected to arrive. There are still many opportunities to “oooo” and “ahhh” at those itty-bitty booties and onesies.

Virtual Baby Shower Game Night

There are so many online platforms that allow you to make custom games and trivia games for party guests, and many can be adapted to a baby shower. Websites like Kahoot require all guests to have smartphones to participate, but that’s about it.

You can gather on Zoom while you play, smartphone in hand. Other options for customizable games include Google Form quizzes and Jackbox.tv.

Combo Virtual and In-Person Shower

Maybe you really want to gather with a few loved ones, but are concerned about having too large a crowd. You can do a combination of virtual and in-person.

Have a few friends or family members over (who are all vaccinated or who follow proper safety precautions), but have the rest of the party meet up virtually. Like an all-virtual option, this allows faraway friends and family to participate.

Outside Baby Shower

Outdoor gatherings are considered a safer in-person gathering option during the pandemic. So consider having a baby shower outside. Make sure proper distancing is maintained while guests eat (unless everyone is vaccinated).

You can increase outdoor safety even further by:

  • Setting up chairs at a safe distance from one another
  • Using disposable utensils and cups
  • Serving prepackaged food or pre-plated food

Virtual Baking or Crafting Party

If you want to bake or do a craft with your guests, you can still accomplish that virtually. Either send supplies or a supply list beforehand. Yes, this may take some planning, but it can be really fun to share a hands-on activity together.

'Meet the Baby' Party

You can also opt for a “meet the baby” gathering rather than a baby shower. This allows time for more people to be vaccinated and case numbers to fall. Pandemic aside, some families prefer to hold off on showers for practical or religious reasons. A meet-the-baby gathering can be a good substitute that celebrates both you and your baby. (But let's face it, the focus will be on the baby!)

If your baby is brand-new, a virtual gathering may be best for their immature immune system. Once they reach two to three months old, it's a little safer for them to interact with a larger group of people.

A Word from Verywell

Of course, if none of these ideas sound appealing to you, or if you just can’t wrap your mind around a baby shower given the stresses of pregnancy, that’s OK too. You can skip a baby shower altogether.

That doesn’t mean that your pregnancy can’t be special or memorable. More introverted types might appreciate a virtual or in-person meeting with just close friends and family rather than a full-fledged baby shower, anyway.

Even if you are able to adapt your baby shower, you may still feel disappointed about what you are missing. This feeling is normal and understandable. But you will likely find that even a reimagined shower can still provide the support and love that you need and deserve on your journey toward parenthood.

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  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People. Updated July 16, 2021.

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