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Blog Insight & Commentary

Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Ask About the Office Baby Shower

Beth Castle
Managing Editor, InHerSight

Photo courtesy of it's me neosiam

Baby showers at work can be awkward. If your team doesn’t mix much outside the office, the event can feel uncomfortably personal—not to mention, bizarre because, if you’ve invited everyone, you likely have a lot of guys there who’ve never been to a baby shower before. And how is it that an entire group of grown adults has suddenly forgotten how to make casual conversation? 

That’s a problem for another day. What we’re here to do is answer all of your questions about hosting and attending baby showers at work. These are the most frequently asked questions on the topic.

I’m pregnant. Do I have to have a work baby shower?

No! If you don’t want a baby shower, tell your boss during your 1:1 (or whoever usually plans your office baby showers) that you’d prefer not to have one. If your team insists on celebrating you in some way, simply thank them and suggest they do something else—like write sweet notes in the front of a baby book for you to share with your child.

What are some alternatives to the baby shower?

A group gift with a nice card, a signup sheet for coworkers to cook meals after you give birth, an ice cream break at the end of a team meeting—the list goes on. Office baby showers (and baby showers in general) don’t have to be a big to-do where everyone watches the parent-to-be open gifts. If the traditional baby shower is too stuffy for your office, do something casual. What’s important is that you’re celebrating.

Who throws the shower?

The person’s boss, the person’s work BFF, the person who loves planning parties and is friends with everyone, HR. There’s usually some sort of tradition in place. If you’re unsure, the person’s boss is usually the best place to start. Email them if you want to host the shower to see if other plans have been made.

Where do you host the shower?

Anywhere that has a nice group gathering space: in a conference room, at a restaurant, at a brewery (for showers for parents-to-be who aren’t pregnant—otherwise, don’t rub it in). 

Who pays for the shower?

This depends on your company. Team members usually chip in, but if you work for a larger company, there might be a party budget set aside. Ask.

Are men invited to the shower?

In most cases, yes! However, keep your office culture in mind and whether your pregnant coworker would want men there. Whatever she’s most comfortable with is what she should get.

Does everyone have to attend or contribute to the baby shower?

No. This should always be optional—no excuses needed. I’m sorry, I won’t be able to attend. will do. If you’re the host, don’t pry. 

Does everyone have to buy a gift for the shower?

No. Usually a group gift is all that’s necessary, but you can buy something if you want to. 

Do you invite your coworkers’ partner to the shower?

Yes. Extend the offer before the date and time are announced to the rest of the team. If they really want to come, be flexible.

Do you throw baby showers for new dads?

Yep. New parents are new parents.

Do you host a baby shower for adoptive parents?

Yes, indeed. See answer above.

Do you host baby showers for people who are having their second, third, etc., child?

You can. This is charmingly called a baby sprinkle. It’s a wonderful reason for your team to decorate cupcakes together. Seriously.

What do you do during an office baby shower?

Eat, talk, and play a game or two. Most hosts bring something sweet like cupcakes or cake and plan a baby-related game, like “Name That Baby Animal” (prizes for winners are optional). Some even create baby playlists or have coworkers bring in their baby pictures so everyone can guess who is who. The only activity you should opt out of in the office is the one where you measure your pregnant coworker’s belly with toilet paper. That’s too close for comfort.

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