Holding a Safe Baby Shower
Congratulations on the impending arrival!
This guide is used with permission from the Tiny Footprints Baby Showers Guide created by the Oregon Environmental Council. It was designed to make it easy to organize an eco-healthy baby shower. Starting with an eco-healthy shower is a great way to signal to family, friends and community the intention to raise a child in an environmentally healthy way, and to ask their help and support in doing so. Each piece of the kit is designed to help to create a successful shower.
So how to tell a community about an eco-healthy baby shower?
- Consider making your own invitations using recycled-content paper and your own creativity!
- Of course, you can always let your fingers do the walking and call some of your local stationery stores to see what they have in stock.
- Many of the custom invitation services on the web offer baby shower invitations, but very few offer recycled paper options.
- You can skip the paper altogether and do online invitations at many different sites, including Eventbrite.
Things to include:
About The Party
Be sure to explain a little bit about the eco-healthy aspect of the party. Check out our website for ways to explain.
You can save on paper and postage by creating a postcard invitation, or making a card that is folding “self-mailing”. Check with www.usps.gov for acceptable mailing sizes and postage rates. An envelope is required if you have enclosures.
Don’t forget to include all the important information about the event – who it’s for, who is hosting, when and where, and an RSVP phone number or email address.
You may also want to include a note about the parents’ registry or wish list. If you are using this guide, you may end up with a BabyList registry, which lets you choose items from as many different retailers as you like.
Now for the fun! We’ve put together some ideas on how to include the thoughtful, healthy, and environmentally friendly ideas you’re interested in, in a baby shower.
The home of a family or friends is a great place to host a shower, but if that is not an option, consider holding the shower at an area restaurant with the following features:
- Locally owned and operated
- Offers local, organic, and/or seasonal food
- Has a reputation for treating their employees fairly and being active in the community.
Consider serving local, organic, seasonal food to your guests. There are likely local markets that offer these choices, as well as caterers and even pizza parlors!
Service, Decoration & Flowers
Now’s the time to use those nice dishes! Pull out your cloth napkins and silverware and make this a special event! You could also ask your friends and family to each bring their favorite place setting and see what a colorful table you create.
Think about using re-useable decorations such as colored cloth ribbons, a tablecloth that can be made into a baby blanket or curtains for the nursery, or create decorations from some of you favorite reused items.
Instead of cut flowers, why not decorate with some new plants that can be put in baby’s nursery or pick out some native plants that can grow outside baby’s window. Ask at your local farmers’ market or call your local nursery and inquire about your native plant options.
If you do want to use cut flowers, consider companies that use local, sustainable, and organic flowers.
Here is a collection of ideas for your shower to welcome the child into his or her new home and community.
Baby Book & Journal
- Create a unique baby book or journal for the new parents.
- If you’re really creative, you can make your own book using beautiful rice or recycled papers, and personalize the front cover.
- Or you could buy a blank journal, create sections by theme and then ask every shower attendee to decorate a section, leaving room for the new baby’s pictures and journal entries. Sections could include: Baby’s home, Baby’s family & family tree; special wishes to baby from family & friends; Your baby shower; Baby’s arrival & baby’s first footprints; sections organized by month to track baby’s development; Baby’s first birthday.
A blessingway ceremony honors a mother-to-be and creates a circle of support that will cradle her as she prepares to give birth to her child. A blessingway ceremony is a ritual, created for the mom that helps moms-to-be explore the challenges and joys that lie before her while being supported by her caring community. It is a way of weaving together the community to bless, teach, and support one another. To learn more go to www.blessingwaybook.com
- Ask the guests to bring a “favorite thing” that has been in their home or has special meaning to be hung on a mobile for the new baby.
- You can incorporate a theme, such as “love” or “ocean” to help guide the guests’ choices. You can also create a “friends mobile” with pictures of everyone attending the shower and the new mom and dad.
- Consider using “recycled” material such as ribbons or pieces of foil molded into shapes to provide color and reflect lights.
Who’s That Baby?
·Ask shower attendees to bring a small baby photo of themselves along with a written, special wish for the baby. The mom (parents) then guesses who is pictured.
Baby Quilt or Knitted Blanket
Organize the making of a quilt with friends and family. Invitees can be mailed a quilt square with directions on how to decorate it, and bring with them to the shower, or ask them to knit a square (provide dimensions). Again, you may want to incorporate a theme, such as “love” or “ocean” to help guide guests choices.
Ask each of the shower attendees to bring a bead, choosing one that has a particularly happy, special meaning to them. Then, at the shower put together a necklace or bracelet of simply string them together for mom to rub, hold and/or wear during birth. You can make a bracelet for dad and baby too.
Baby Book Club
In lieu of gifts (or in addition to), you could ask your shower attendees to give their favorite childhood book and inside, on a nice piece of paper, include a story about the book and what it means to them.
For a shower with arts-and-crafts inclined guests, you can decorate “one-sie” baby undershirts using non-toxic fabric paints, rubber stamps, cloth ribbons, etc. You can paint or stamp on images or cute messages.
Poem & a Present
Ask shower attendees to attach a poem to their gift. The mom (parents) then reads the poem aloud before opening the gift and guesses who has given the present. These poems then can be written or glued into the baby book.
Birthday Card Keepsake
Create birthday cards with special messages for each year of the new baby’s life from age 1 to 18. Ask each shower attendee to write a birthday card for a particular year (number envelopes before you pass out blank cards) with a message specific to the child’s age. Your guests can then decorate the front of the card. This is a loving keepsake if older relatives are present, who are then remembered later in the child’s life.
There’s nothing tired, new parents appreciate more than a home-cooked meal! So ask the new parents-to-be about their favorite dishes, and then create a sign-up list for friends and/or family. You may choose to organize meals for their first two weeks or spread it out over the first month. Plus, friends can sneak a peek at the new little one when they drop off the meal.
Choosing Shower Gifts
One of the most daunting things about bringing a new member into the family, is figuring out needs!
In addition a registry based on the Getting Ready for Baby Safe Baby Products Guide, here are ideas for alternative, non-material gifts:
- An evening of free babysitting
- A home-cooked meal after returning from the hospital (there are a number of meal-sharing sites you can find such as Meal Train to keep track of who will bring food when, and what the new family prefers or requires for their diet.
- A quick trip to the grocery store to help restock supplies
- An hour of watching the baby while the new parents take a long walk - or a nap!
- Your best trick for calming an unhappy baby
- A contribution to the new baby's college fund
- Other skills, talents, moral support, and time you have to offer
Don't forget to consider good condition, "pre-loved" gifts from children's resellers.