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Baby Shower Q&A: Timing


When is the normal time during pregnancy that you should organise a baby shower? -Billy Archer

There really isn’t a normal time to organize a baby shower.  We do recommend that you give yourself about 10 weeks to plan the shower, but it can be done in less time.  In terms of the pregnancy itself, give yourself until the third trimester or about a month before baby arrives so that you are sure that the health of the baby is good and that the pregnancy is progressing without too many problems.  You can also wait until after baby arrives and make it a “Welcome Baby” Baby Shower.  Basically, it comes down to when you want to have the shower and the type of shower you want, but again, any time after the third trimester begins is the best time to do so.


I am planning a baby shower and I was wondering how much time I should plan for the actual party?

The actual amount of time for a shower really depends on each individual shower.  On average, a baby shower will usually last about 3 hours although some people recommend only 2 hours.  I generally like to say three since guests don’t always arrive on time and there might be a problem with the meal that causes a delay.  Give yourself a little extra time so that you aren’t rushing around during the shower. For more about this, click here.


I had a baby shower planned for my sister but she went into preterm labor and has delivered a baby at 29 weeks gestation.  Now the shower is next weekend and everyone is concerned about the health of the baby. Should I cancel the shower or have it without my sister, who is up at the hospital with her baby?

I’m sorry that your family and your sister are going through such a difficult time.  My thoughts and prayers will be with your sister and her baby at this difficult time.

In regards to your question, I think it would be best to postpone the baby shower since everyone’s worry will keep them from truly enjoying the shower.  Try to cancel what you can and the items that will keep can be boxed up and saved for after the baby comes home.  If you still want to have something, why not have everyone come to offer support to your sister, her spouse and their child.   Keep it low key and ask guests to wait to give their gifts for after baby is able to go home and then you can change the shower into a “Welcome Baby, we are so thankful that you are here.”


Please tell me how many hours long should a shower be??  There will be @ 45 guests with gifts to open, and a meal to eat.  Thank you so much for the answer.

Thank you for contacting us about your question. Generally, when you are looking at a shower, you should plan for it to be about three hours long.  I find that two hours is too short and that four hours can seem a bit long.  For more information on a shower timeline, please read our article on the Good Hostess Guide to Surviving a Baby Shower.  It is a series of pages that starts with a timeline for a sample shower.  You can find it at 

Another great resource for throwing a shower is our 8 Steps to a Perfect Shower Guide.

We hope that this has helped answer your question and please feel free to let us know how your shower went.


At a baby shower, should you feed your guests cake and punch first or have mom-to-be open gifts first and then feed guests? -Danya

Generally, when you look at the sequence of the baby shower, I would recommend having some type of food out before you open the presents but you don't need to if you prefer to have everything after.

If you read Your Day in Review on hosting a baby shower, you will see that the meal comes before the presents but you can offer dessert after the presents. 

If you are just having desserts, what I would suggest that you do is offer the punch and other beverages throughout the baby shower and then when you are ready to open up the presents, you can bring out the desserts to be eaten as the mother is opening presents or immediately after she is done.


My daughter is 3 months pregnant.  I'm a proud grandma-to-be! I have 2 questions:

First, when is the best time during the pregnancy to have the shower? I don't want to have it too early, in case of complications, but again, not too close to birth date?  

Second, my daughter and her husband have decided to have the "surprise of a lifetime" by not learning the sex of the baby prior to birth. How do you  gently word an invitation to convey that objects and clothes for both sexes are welcomed, but may have to be exchanged after baby is born - depending on the sex of the baby?

Congratulations on becoming a grandmother. It must be such an exciting time for you.  In regards to your questions:

1.  The best time is usually in the last trimester since you don't have as many complications to worry about as in the first two.  However, that being said, I would recommend having a shower in the seventh or beginning of the eighth month of pregnancy.  If you would like more planning advice, I would recommend reading 8 Steps to a Perfect Baby Shower.

2.  Don't feel that you have to mention that gifts will be returned if the item doesn't fit the sex of the baby.  Simply state on the invitations that baby will be a surprise to all so items are welcomed, both boy, girl and unisex.  Everyone will assume that you will exchange a pink dress if baby turns out to be a boy.


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