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Baby #2: No Cake For You? 


In this week's MommyBeta Podcast, we discuss whether or not it is vulgar to have a baby shower for your second (or third or fourth...) babies. This is something that I may be a little too opinionated about so allow me to pontificate and feel free to pontificate back in the comments. 

I had never heard that it was uncouth to have a shower for a second baby until I became pregnant with Baby #2. My dad's wife was the one who brought it up, informing me that it was considered rude. Rude??  

I asked my mother-in-law and sister-in-law and they both agreed that this is tradition. They thought that a second shower would reflect poorly on them as if they were trying to get more stuff out of people. My mother-in-law said she would feel uncomfortable throwing my sister-in-law another shower. 


What kind of people would judge my sweet mother-in-law for wanting to throw her only daughter a shower if/when she is pregnant again? They don't have to attend! But would they judge for wanting to celebrate a new child? Are those the kind of people we call friends? 

The first baby shower was certainly not to "get stuff out of people." It was to celebrate our newest addition, wasn't it? The stuff is a bonus. 

Why would anyone begrudge someone the right to celebrate a new baby? Babies are brand new people! They need a few things in this world. Given, second-time-moms don't need swings, swaddles, bottles, etc. But they need a few new things. Must Baby #2 be forever relegated to hand-me-downs from the get-go? And no cake? No games? No festivities AT ALL for Baby #2?? 

One point I especially appreciated in The Girlfriends' Guide To Pregnancy was that every baby should be celebrated equally. Why should Baby #2 receive zero fanfare just because Baby #1 fertilized the egg first? 

In my family, we have showers for every baby that joins our ranks - from 1 to 5. We never expect huge extravagant presents. We just expect that everyone will want to ooh and aah over baby stuff and celebrate motherhood together. What is so vulgar about that?  

I was speaking to a friend of Colombian decent recently about this topic. She seemed to think this was a cultural issue. 

"Hispanics have showers for every baby," she said. "I think not having them is an American thing." 

But Americans register for wedding gifts even when they have been cohabiting and don't need "stuff" like flatware and toasters. And they throw extravagant weddings for Marriage #2. So why does the second child get so short changed? 

My Colombian friend said that she had recently attended a "Sprinkle" for a friend who was pregnant with Baby #2. It is a play on the word "shower." You don't need to be "showered" in gifts but you can ask for a sprinkling of them. Kind of a cute semantical solution if you're worried about being offensive - which in the end, I am not. My mom wants to throw me another shower and I may do a small registry as well. Is that so rude?

I am not one for tradition so it would stand to reason that I break with convention with this no-second-baby-shower rule. But I would like to say on behalf of second-time mommies everywhere that I think the no-second-shower rule is total crap and should be thrown in the diaper genie. We should be able to celebrate the brand new person growing inside of us! And if you find that offensive, you can tell him/her that they don't deserve a party because they are the youngest and it is considered vulgar. Go ahead. Say it to this little face! 


Reader Comments (20)

Personally I think a shower for any baby is very nice and thoughtful. I mean it is happy event so why not celebrate. I have thrown a few for friends for second or third babies. Once we did a "disposable" shower for things that you may need new for the second baby. Diapers, wipes, bibs, etc. Things that may be worn or disposable. Also, we did a frozen meal shower, where everyone would bring a frozen meal to stock the Mommies freezer for after they come home from hospital. I know those first few days are overwhelming with one baby, I can only imagine already having a child at home too. Just my thoughts.

November 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmber

My personal opinion is that it's okay if you (as the momma) aren't the one asking for it. If it's offered, great. But that's the case for the first shower too, huh?

I have two girls (two and 8 months) and I was thrown one for each. I was surprised and thankful when a friend offered to throw me the second.

So I say, just don't expect it.

On another note, I was always taught that a family member shouldn't be the one to throw a shower. What do y'all say about that?

November 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShannon Carollo

I've also heard that some people only have another shower if the gender is different.

I'm pretty sure it's cultural. Filipinos also celebrate each baby (though we also share Hispanic ancestry, which may explain it).

Personally, I like the disposable shower idea. We didn't get enough diapers and way too many clothes that our daughter didn't end up wearing for one reason or another.

November 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterOliver Ortega Chua

I'm with you; I definitely think baby #2 deserves to be celebrated -- and, really, mama deserves to be celebrated for going through pregnancy and childbirth a second time. :o)

November 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaurie

I celebrated baby #1, #2, & #3 with showers. I dont find it rude at all.. i have some great memories from each shower & pictures that i can share with my babies when they are older. I would much rather have those people who think its rude to not be there.

November 17, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterheidi

I think it's crap! I agree, Natali. All babies should be celebrated. I don't care if you have 1 or 50! I have several friends with multiple children so I'm going to poll them. I'll let you know what I found out.

November 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew Star

In Chinese culture we have "red egg and ginger" parties after eac baby is born to celebrate. Gifts are not required but accepted (usually just money). Traditionally it's just a large banquet so people can meet the new baby.

November 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKevin

I disagree. I was always told that baby showers were for first timers who didn't have anything - not celebrating the baby, but celebrating first time parenthood. By saying that baby #2 is not "celebrated" because there is no shower is a bit dramatic, in my opinion. Unless you have the type of family and friends that would show up at the hospital with no gift for the kid, or ignore the newborn all together because that kid wasn't "first". Baby #2 will be celebrated plenty each birthday - and it's not like your oldest remembers the shower and will rub it in all of thei lives. I'm also big on hand me downs as it makes economic sense. Just because baby #2 will have to use the same crib, etc. as baby #1 doesn't mean that the second child will never get anything new in its life.

November 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnnie

When my wife and I had our second child 9 years and 3 miscarriages after our first, our family and friends threw us (him?) a baby shower. It meant so much to us!

November 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAndre

FYI it's not considered culturally "rude", just not considered culturally "proper etiquette" for the simple reason, as someone else said, the shower is for the first time parents, not the baby. That being said, the tradition of only having one baby shower seems to becoming passé. Having a celebration to welcome a new little one is a great way to remember that each child is special. I like the idea of a "sprinkle" instead of a full blown shower.

November 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDeb

As I was reading, I was going to suggest have a party anyway, but say on the invites no presents. Some would most likely bring some anyway.

Then I got to the part about the sprinkle. Love it! It's so cute! Seems like the perfect solution, it makes it comfortable for attendees to bring a small or no gift, so it's no longer "rude."

November 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShanna (fan from cnet)

We had twins for our second/third, and needed all the help we could get.

Second baby, fine. Once you get to professional littering like "20 kids and counting", not so much.

November 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPaul C

Who cares about prop baby etiquette? I mean, as long as Natali isn't hosting it herself in order to get gifts, then who really has a problem with it? Like she said, if you care that much, don't come! Everybody's family is so different, and after I had my daughter last June (out of wedlock, gasp!!!!), I stopped caring what other people thought as much. You want to be nice, respectful, and conscientious... But at the end of the day, you have to live your own life. You want a second shower, have at it!!! I really like the casserole shower and other ideas that make it a little more unique! Food is always great! And Nat, make sure you register for more cloth diapers!!! ;) Congrats on your little bundle to be!!!

November 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJamie Lynn Kohut

I'm totally with you on this one, Natali! I do think every baby is a blessing and should be celebrated. That said, I only had one baby shower for my second baby instead of four. =) People weren't coming out of the woodwork to host showers for the second baby, and while my side of the family wanted to have a shower for our son, they live out of town and the perfect "shower time" seemed to coincide with Thanksgiving and Christmas (I was due in February).

In our town in Texas, plenty of people have showers for the second baby (or eleventh--nope, I'm not kidding on that one!). Sometimes, when people have big families, the sixth baby needs more things than the third because hand-me-downs are wearing out.

My first child was a girl, so when I was expecting a second, I'd already decided that I didn't want to receive more things if the second was a girl too. We had way too much from our first and enough clothes to outfit twins. When the ladies at church insisted on a baby shower even if it was another girl, I asked that we have a shower for the local crisis pregnancy center instead, and they tossed around the idea of a casserole shower or a diaper shower (which I nixed because I do cloth). Anyway, baby #2 was a boy, so it was a moot point. We had a nice, huge shower for him. All we needed was clothes, but again, they insisted that I register. If people want to get excited over your little one, then enjoy it. The real rudeness would be if you rejected their kindness.

November 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGabrielle

Well my family is also originally from Colombia and having grown up in a Hispanic household with lots of extended family around us, it is not cultural to have a shower for every baby. I think there are ways to celebrate each baby (and each baby should be celebrated!), *without* throwing a shower or sprinkle. Folks can send/drop by gifts if they decide once the second/third/etc baby is born.

In the end, it's up to the individual, but I have yet to speak to a friend (Hispanic or not) that doesn't say it's in poor taste to be invited to a second baby shower....especially if the babies are close together!

November 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

A second registry is not rude, but tacky!!!! Sorry, but it's true.

November 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLorena

When I was expecting my second child I had people tell me they thought it was inappropriate as well! But maybe it's on older generation thing. I agree..why does the second or 3rd child not get celebrated. I did have two wonderful showers with my second. Now that I'm expecting mmy third and the baby is actually a different sex than the first two...who knows what will happen. If someone offered I'd graciously accept. To be honest..most of my "closer" friends have been really weird/unexcited about this 3rd baby. Who knows why. My husband and I are very excited and I"m going to register anyway just so I can get 10% off of my registry after the birth date has passed. I think people should keep their opinions to themselves.

November 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJessie

What's tacky are the gifts that people give when they have no idea what to get someone. I love it when people register. It saves them time bc I know they will most likely not be inconvenienced by returning/exchanging my gift, especially if where she registers has a completion program... That's just smart. Do you not get gifts for someone who is getting remarried... Is it tacky if she registers? And whoever said the shower is for the couple is not exactly correct: out of all the gifts i received at my shower, only one was for me to go to the spa. All the others were for my daughter, and they should have been. So why shouldn't my future children be celebrated, especially because they will be with my husband, who is not the father of my first? Whose rules are these anyway? Martha Stewart's? Oh wait, she's been in jail... Like THAT'S not tacky? Emily Post? Well, she isn't alive anymore. So, I think we are left with opinion. In that case, if you think it's tacky, rude, whatever... Then don't YOU have a shower, registry, cake for your subsequent children. The rest of us will continue to live our lives the way we see fit.

November 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJamie Lynn Kohut

Damn straight, Jamie Lynn! Well said! And everyone else too!

November 18, 2011 | Registered CommenterNatali

I know I will be hated for this, especially by the western women but since we are all about our opinions hidden behind the keyboard in these modern times I will give mine. As a woman and mother coming from a poor worn ravaged country I understand that we need all the help we can get when it comes to our children which is why I love giving gifts to expecting mothers. But i believe that throwing an official " Baby Shower " might as well be a " Hey, Come Bring Me A Gift party." A real friend and true family member will bring you a gift and show their support if they can regardless if you ask for it or not. But no one should pressure anyone to bring them a gift because they chose to bring a child into this world. When you send out the invitation to the Baby Shower that is exactly what your doing. If getting help is what you want and I know as a mother we all do, you should throw a kind of " Welcoming the New Baby" celebration and I'm sure people will bring gifts of their own free will and it will mean that much more.

November 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterVye

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