Baby showers offer a fun way to celebrate parents-to-be and help them prepare for the new addition to their family.
While these events often involve lots of laughter and excitement, it’s still important to keep manners in mind. Whether you’re a guest or a host, there are certain faux pas you won’t want to commit.
HuffPost asked etiquette experts to share some common rude baby shower behaviors — and tips for avoiding them.
Embarrassing The Honoree
“Don’t touch or squeeze the belly and tell mom it’s as big as a house,” said etiquette expert Juliet Mitchell, aka Ms. J.
Remember it’s a baby shower, not a roast, so keep the comfort and enjoyment of the parents-to-be in mind.
“Don’t shame the mom-to-be,” said Diane Gottsman, author of Modern Etiquette for a Better Life and founder of the Texas Protocol School. “Playing games like measuring mom’s belly or guessing the baby’s gender can be uncomfortable for the new mom. It’s always best to approve games in advance.”
When serving food the guest of honor prefers not to eat
Along with keeping in mind the enjoyment of the parents-to-be, don’t plan a menu of sushi and soft cheeses.
“Ask mom about her food preferences and any non-negotiable foods that she either dislikes or needs to stay away from,” Gottsman said. “Don’t forget to ask guests about their food allergies, too.”
Although pregnant women are advised to avoid alcohol, they are often fine with their guests enjoying a few libations. But that doesn’t mean you have to get wasted.
“Guests should refrain from overdrinking cocktails,” Gottsman said. “The mom-to-be will skip the signature cocktails, and her guests should enjoy the conversation more than the free-flowing mimosas.”
Sharing Birth Nightmare Stories
A baby shower is not the place to share your horrific birth story or your friends’ traumatic experiences.
“Avoid stories about difficult traditions and tough labor issues,” Gottsman said. “Everyone has a personal story and many of them should keep to themselves at a baby shower.”
Commenting on the fertility of other visitors
Avoid asking other guests questions like, “When are you having a baby?” or trying to convince them to become parents.
“Don’t make comments about other guests’ fertility,” said Jodi RR Smith, president of Massachusetts-based Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting. “There could be a friend there who has been trying to get pregnant for years or who recently had a miscarriage.”
Pressuring the couple to reveal the gender
The decision to learn and share the gender of your unborn child is personal and should be respected.
“If the baby shower is before the birth and the couple hasn’t revealed, don’t pressure the couple to reveal the gender,” Mitchell said. “Allow them that privacy and that special moment, if that’s what they want.”
“Look at the register,” Gottsman said. “The new mom has asked for details she will need to prepare for the baby.”
Be especially attentive to the needs of adoptive parents who also shower.
“When attending a pre-adoption shower, make sure your gift and card are appropriate,” Smith said. “While newborn clothes are always appropriate for birth, some adopted children are a little older, so check with the shower host about the child’s age and gender.”
You may also be wondering what to do about the gifts if you can’t attend the shower.
“If this situation applies to you and you are very close to the honoree, you should send a small gift to open at the event,” Smith said. “Other friends and family who cannot attend have the option of waiting until after the baby is born to send a gift.”
Bringing uninvited guests
It is rude to bring uninvited guests to most occasions, including a baby shower.
“No surprises from family members or friends,” Gottsman advised. “If the invitation doesn’t have someone else’s name on it, you’re the only one they’re waiting for. If you answered for one, show yourself.”
Show up late and overstay your welcome
“Don’t overstay your welcome,” Mitchell said. “Whether the shower is before or after the birth, the expectant or new parent is likely to be tired. New parents may need to breastfeed. Babies become tired and irritable.”
Also respect the start time as the showers often have scheduled activities.
“Be on time and don’t be the last one to leave,” Gotchman said. “You can loosely follow the parameters of the invitation. Sometimes people have so much fun they don’t want to leave, but when it starts to get too late, give the mom-to-be time to relax and go home.”
Showering without consulting the parent-to-be
“Not all cultures and religions welcome prenatal celebrations, nor do all individuals,” Smith said. “Some see celebrations before the healthy birth of the baby as premature at best and tempting fate at worst. Before organizing any celebrations, make sure that the event will be welcome.’
A surprise shower may seem like a fun idea, but think about how it will be received by the guest of honor, who would probably prefer to prepare for such an event. Consider their personality and preferences as you figure out the shower vibe.
Failure to satisfy social media requests
Sometimes people don’t want photos of their private events shared on social media, so if they express that desire, respect that.
“If parents request no social media posts or wait up to 24 hours after the shower, please honor their request,” Mitchell said. “Speaking of posting on social media, don’t post flattering photos at all. If in doubt, don’t post.”