Baby Shower Etiquette

Oh baby. Let's talk manners.

Baby cupcakes
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As with many milestones in the South, the arrival of a baby is an occasion for celebration. And as with any big Southern celebration, there are plenty of p's and q's to mind. Here, we've wrangled answers to your thorniest shower etiquette questions.

Who Hosts the Baby Shower?

Once upon a time, it was considered an absolute no-no for the grandmother-to-be to host a shower for her daughter or daughter-in-law. While baby showers are typically hosted by close friends, coworkers, or non-immediate family members, like aunts, cousins, or sisters-in-law, certain circumstances allow for the grandmother-to-be to host the baby shower.

Is It Appropriate to Have a Shower for a Second … Third … Fourth Baby?

While traditional Southern etiquette once deemed baby showers appropriate only for the firstborn child, the rules have flexed a little in recent years, notes etiquette expert Erika Preval. It's only natural to want to celebrate your friend's new family addition. The trick with celebrations for second, third, fourth, etc. babies is to shift the focus of the celebration from gift-giving to simply acknowledging that it is a happy, joyous time for the family. Rather than hosting a full-blown shower, throw a smaller sprinkle before the baby comes instead, or host a sip-and-see a few months after the baby has arrived.

Is It Acceptable to Set Up a Baby Registry?

Absolutely. Baby showers are a means of preparing the parents-to-be for their new arrival—at least on the gear and diapers front—and having a list of the couple's most-needed items is helpful for friends and family who wish to acknowledge the occasion with a gift. That said, the registry information should not be listed on the shower invitation itself. Rather, the information can be passed along through word-of-mouth or listed on a simple, separate enclosure that is included with the invitation.

Can You Serve Alcohol at a Baby Shower?

With the mother-to-be's permission, yes. Of course, should you choose to serve alcohol, make sure that there are plenty of equally festive drinks, like a non-alcoholic punch, for the mother-to-be to enjoy as well.

How Do I Choose a Gift If I Don't Know the Baby's Gender?

If the invitation does not reference the baby's gender, it's likely because the couple does not wish for anyone to know yet, or perhaps do not know themselves. But not knowing the gender shouldn't hamper your gift-giving: Baby girls look sweet in blue, and baby boys look precious in pink. Of course, practical gifts like bottles, burp cloths, and diapers will always be appreciated.

Do I Have to Have a Baby Shower?

Of course not! There are dozens of other ways to celebrate your little bundle, from a fun brunch with friends to the latest trend, a "hatchelorette party."

WATCH: How Long Should You Wait Before Visiting A New Mom?

Join our favorite etiquette experts, Gayden Metcalfe and Charlotte Hays, authors of Being Dead Is No Excuse and Somebody Is Going To Die If Lilly Beth Doesn't Catch That Bouquet, as they discuss everything you need to know about baby etiquette.

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