3 Things To Know Before You Attend Your First Sip And See

Southerners sure know how to welcome a new baby in style.

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Photo: Jose Luis Pelaez Inc

If your friend or family member recently welcomed a new addition, they may invite you to a sip and see to celebrate. This party is meant to welcome that new family member, and the tradition behind it is decidedly Southern. We like to think that the baby shower is for the mom-to-be, while the sip and see is literally baby's casual coming out party.

Keep in mind that in this case "sip" refers to our love of tea, and that originally, this was the beverage of choice for this particular occasion. But who says baby doesn't deserve a signature cocktail or mocktail? This event is flexible to your own tastes and sense of celebration. The sip and see has caught on outside of the South. Let's review to get you ready for this baby jubilee.

Mushroom-Stuffed Phyllo Cups
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

What Is A Sip And See?

A sip and see is a small, informal gathering to introduce friends and family to a new baby. At the open house style celebration, guests can expect light refreshments and to "see" the parents' little bundle of joy. Sip and sees originated here in the South (who but the Southern hostess could have coined such a catchy name for the feté, after all?), but folks all over the country have since adopted the tradition.

baby in crib with baby monitor
Baby monitor cords that baby can reach pose a danger and could result in injury or death. Getty / Photo Alto / Ale Ventura

What's The Difference Between A Baby Shower And A Sip and See?

A baby shower (typically reserved for a couple's first child) or sprinkle (a nice gesture for any children after that) happens before the baby is born, while a sip and see happens after. Beyond the difference in timing, there's another differentiating factor between a shower or sprinkle and a sip and see: who hosts the event. While close friends, siblings, aunts or cousins, or coworkers typically throw parents-to-be a baby shower or sprinkle, the new parents themselves often host the sip and see. If the new parents live far from home, the grandparents may also host hometown celebrations so that friends and family there can meet the baby too.

baby gifts for twins
Baby Gifts for Twins. Agnieszka Kirinicjanow / E+ / Getty Images

Should I Bring a Gift to a Sip and See?

While new parents will not expect a gift (especially if they've already been the recipients of a sprinkle and shower), it's up to guests to decide if they would like to bring one. A small token of congratulations, like a personalized rattle or a meaningful children's book, is always a thoughtful gesture. Of course, if the parents were never given a shower or sprinkle, it's more customary to bring a gift, though it still wouldn't be expected.

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Antonis Achilleos; Prop Stylist: Christine Keely; Food Stylist: Ruth Blackburn

What About The Sipping?

As we've mentioned, the "sip" part of this event has its origins in tea, and that makes sense. But as this tradition has evolved, the field has opened to other options. We love the idea of concocting a special drink for baby, whether it contains spirits or not. There are so many ways to make this event your own, but don't forget to keep it casual and fun.

bottle of hand sanitizer with pump
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can work against many bacteria and some viruses. Singkham/Shutterstock

There Is Still Etiquette At A Sip And See

The baby is the focal point at a sip and see. Guests will want a chance hold the baby, so keep in mind that hand sanitizer may be required, or you may be asked to wash your hands. This is to ensure the baby doesn’t catch unwanted germs, and you should not take it personally.

The hosts will decide how to handle photos and social media. Just because the baby is being shown off to friends and family doesn't mean that it's okay to share away. If the family would like to keep their baby off the "socials," be respectful of that request.

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