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Baby showers are such a special event for an expectant mum. It’s a time when friends and family openly express their excitement about and love for the baby on the way.

Are traditional baby showers a thing of the past? It seems that this special occasion for mums-to-be is being reinvented.

The food and drinks table decor is pink and white. So are the food and drinks. My friend balances gifts on what little is left of her lap, opening each to a chorus of “oohs” and “aahs”. At my own baby shower – a fun but anxious event – I was terrible at guessing who gave what. Why do we need to guess, anyway? And do we really need all those clothes, gadgets and toys? Traditionally, baby showers were an opportunity to give advice and help new parents prepare, but with today’s parents often waiting until they can afford everything, is it still necessary?

Taking account

Baby showers can be expensive. Tarryn Livsey, an event and party organiser from Durban, says that showers can cost between R3 000 and R10 000. That price tag is for everything from invitations and favours to food and drinks, and the event planner, but baby shower presents can be valuable. One mom, Adele, says she received baby things that others had found useful. “I got goodies that lasted pretty much throughout my daughter’s first year,” adds Adele, commenting that her surprise shower made her feel special at a time when she felt uncomfortable. Knowing that your baby is loved and supported by friends and family is an invaluable gift for a new mom.

Top trends

As social circles expand, baby showers are getting bigger and being reinvented. “Themes are a big focus,” says Livsey, with novelty cakes and other decorative touches being added. Occasionally fathers-to-be have man-showers, a braai or drinks where mates bring nappies. An international trend is the sip-and-see, held after a baby is born, where friends and family meet the baby and drink champagne. For those who don’t believe in throwing baby showers before a child is born, this is one way to celebrate.

Gender reveal parties are also popular. Instead of telling you the gender, your doctor writes it on a piece of paper, which you give to your baker, who bakes a pink or blue cake accordingly, covered with neutral icing. The couple, close family and friends find out the gender together when they cut into the cake. Alys, a mom who found out this way, said she wanted it to be a surprise, and the gender reveal party became a special memory.  If you do have your heart set on a particular gender, however, you may want to find out privately.

Showers for second or third children are on the rise, especially if you’re expecting a different gender, says Livsey. Fay, mom to a son and daughter, says it’s normal among her friends to have a meal and presents for second children. Most of her presents were clothes and all included something for her older child. If second- or third-time moms do have everything they need, but still want to celebrate, host a sprinkle – a smaller shower where guests aren’t expected to give as much.

You can tailor a baby shower to suit any budget and the mom-to-be. Regardless of how you celebrate, the most value comes from celebrating the new arrival and in offering support.

Celebrating during COVID-19

You can still throw and enjoy a baby shower for the expectant mom despite lockdown restrictions due to COVID-19. Simply, keep the guest list small, make sure everyone social distances and that masks are worn. And, hold the shower outdoors if possible.

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Tamlyn Vincent