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Is It Polite to Have a Baby Shower for a Second Child?

Tricia Christensen
Updated Jan 26, 2024
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Having a baby shower for a first baby is a standard event, and it’s often a delight for new moms and a significant help when she's trying to gather all the things that she needs to prepare for the coming of baby. There’s significant debate on whether it is polite to have one for a second baby, and certainly, etiquette dictates that the woman or her close family members should not throw the shower. Most often, unless only family is invited to the shower, a friend should be in charge of hosting so that the “family” does not seem necessitous or greedy. Some people balk at the throwing of a shower for a second baby, or third or fourth, and claim that it is really for new moms only.

Many people suggest that throwing a baby shower for a second baby is fine under any circumstances. Others say that a second baby of a different gender than the first baby deserves a shower. Another argument for a second shower can be made when considerable time has lapsed between baby #1 and baby #2.

Some people advocate throwing a “mommy” shower for a woman expecting a second child. Instead of bringing gifts to the baby, gifts are given to the mother because it’s recognized that carrying and giving birth to a child may entitle a woman to a certain amount of pampering and relaxation. Additionally, a woman may already have most of the things she needs for a second baby but could really benefit from something pretty to wear or a gift certificate for a massage.

For those completely opposed to a second shower, there are several polite ways to respond. The individual can decline the invitation to attend, and/or send a small token gift. Someone who does not attend should not feel obligated to send a gift, though most moms will still require things for a second baby.

Many baby clothes and things can be hand-me-downs from the first child, but safety regulations may have changed and new items like cribs or car seats may be needed. Moms with a second baby on the way may be out of the basics, like socks, blankets, t-shirts, or need things like diaper service. No one is obligated to attend or give gifts to the woman with a second child on the way, however; it’s merely a nice thing to do.

If a person is still unsure whether to hold a shower for a second baby, or to gently press her friends to hold one for her, she might want to get a feel for how her friends or family relate to this issue. If most of them have had baby showers for second babies, then she can be pretty sure few will be offended if she have one. Many family members, too, are happy to gain new members to their family and want the opportunity to celebrate the coming of the new baby, be it first, second, or even third or fourth.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By anon944163 — On Apr 06, 2014

My daughter is in a new relationship and she has two children from her past relationship. There was a shower for the first child but not the second. There is an eight year difference with the second child. Now that she is having her first child with someone else I, feel it is appropriate to give her a baby shower for her third child. She is starting over in that this is his first biological child. It should be celebrated!

By anon350429 — On Oct 04, 2013

The original intent of a baby shower was to "shower" a new mother with helpful items to care for their baby, and for experienced mothers to share knowledge and tips with her as she begins this new journey. Typically new mothers were young and the husband and wife had not been married long and didn't have a lot of material possessions, so this was helpful to get them started.

Once you are considered an "experienced" mother (you have one child) it is not considered appropriate to have a shower. If you are a close friend and want to provide a gift to the couple, it is appropriate. And if the couple wants others to welcome their subsequent babies into the world with an informal celebration (*after* the baby is born), they can invite friends to their home and offer refreshments (making it clear gifts are not expected). It does not make the second or third child less special because there was no shower. The shower is *not* for the baby (the baby does not care). The shower is for the parents. So, I think it's tacky -- and a sign of our times -- when people throw baby showers after the firstborn.

By anon316447 — On Jan 28, 2013

I just learned that one of my good friends is planning to host her own baby shower for a second child. She just had another child (same gender) less than 1.5 years ago and I thought that was crazy. First, because they already have all the things from the first child that they can use for the second child, and whatever is missing it is their responsibility to get.

I love her and I will be giving her a gift whether there's a shower or not, but I find it inappropriate. It is not about the gift. There are preparations for the shower, the invitations, the location, the food, the party favors, etc., etc., so whoever decides to throw the baby shower ends up paying so much more than a gift, that the baby is not even going to enjoy.

Am I crazy? The worst part is since I organized the first baby shower, I now feel obligated to throw the second one, and I refuse to do so. Again, it's not about the gift, they will get a good gift from me either way. It's the principle of it all. People help me here. I need to get some perspective.

By anon311260 — On Dec 31, 2012

Apply the first-born rule? That is, according to personality birth order types - firstborn is shorthand for "The first child of that gender born within the last five years" in that scenario.

By anon304764 — On Nov 21, 2012

I hope some people realize that unplanned pregnancies are not always due to irresponsibility. I was told I would never have children. I have been on the pill since the age of 17. Guess what? At 34, I was pregnant with my first child and am pregnant again, while on the pill with a second. Doctors will not perform tubal litigation on women who have never had children, even if they do not want them (a reverse imposition on our reproductive rights), nor would they perform one after my first because, and I quote "You might change your mind." Well, now the house that I bought had to go, because it's not big enough, and I will have to utilize short term disability from work because have not been here long enough to get FMLA.

You know, not every female who accidentally gets pregnant is getting high with her legs spread in the back of her high school boyfriend's car. I certainly have never expected anything in the form of a present from anyone. Further, God help you if you end up a single mother and need financial assistance.

By anon265257 — On May 01, 2012

I'm in the process for planning a baby shower for my cousin's second wife- his second little boy and her first (biological child).

I think this is a perfect example of the exception to the rule. Although they have most things they need, she deserves a celebration too, to know that her family is excited for them. Plus, I think it's always fine to have a book shower or a pampers party for a second, third, or however many children you may decide to have. I don't think a parent can ever have too many story books, or diapers and wipes.

Like some others have posted, it's supposed to be a celebration and gifts are just a physical expression of our excitement for the expectant parents.

By anon263312 — On Apr 23, 2012

I think it depends on circumstances, for sure. It's definitely okay if there was a significant time lapse between children, because after a couple years or so you just get rid of your baby stuff thinking you're not going to need it again. It's also okay if the baby is a different gender.

Also remember seasonality! If your first baby was born in the winter, and baby number two is a summer baby, none of your hand me downs will work for the second baby because of how fast they grow! You'll need newborn shorts and shirts and all you'll have is long sleeved onesies and flannel jammies! And it will just continue as they grow. Not until they are a few years old will you be able to overcome the "seasonality" problem.

Also remember how hard babies are on their things. Most of the newborn and infant things will be all stained from spit up and baby poo and baby food and really need to just get trashed. You wouldn't hand it down to a friend in that state would you?

The only tacky thing is doing it yourself. If someone wants to throw one, it's pretty much always needed. Shame on you for calling foul on women who need showers for baby three, four, or five. Those babies need stuff just as much as baby one.

By anon253214 — On Mar 08, 2012

My sister in law is having a shower for her fifth child, and she just had a kid two years ago. I had my third child last year, six years apart. I did not have a shower. They did not give me anything for my child. They sold all their things, but now they want my crib, which my daughter still uses, the swing, all the clothes, and won't stop asking for stuff.

She has stair stepper children 7, 5, 4, 2and one on the way. They should have thought twice before they sold all their stuff.

By anon247551 — On Feb 14, 2012

Where I grew up, the baby shower wasn't a focus on the mother -- it was on the baby. You never had a shower until the baby was born and the point in going was to see the baby and pass them and all the gifts around. I have never even heard of stopping after the first until seeing this.

Some take it too far, though. I know a woman who got rid of everything from her first child on purpose because she wanted new stuff and then bought everything new and picked out a big, expensive present everyone could chip in for which was horrible and tacky. But either way, a baby shower in my community is a celebration for the baby and always has been. Very few people have them before they are born and if they do, it is so boring no one wants to go.

By anon241882 — On Jan 20, 2012

I was thrown a baby shower for all three of my kids. My first one was the biggest, and the first two were only a few years apart so some things were obviously not needed. Baby showers are not ways to get freebies. It's a celebration! It is so sad that people even think that way. It is meant to celebrate the new blessing that is about to come into your life whether its the first one or the second.

If anyone doesn't want to celebrate such a blessing, then don't attend. People forget, that baby showers also cost money to throw. You are fed and entertained when you attend the party, are you not? If we can celebrate birthdays, why not celebrate the actual birth year, regardless of which child it is. It's also a nice get together for the mom to be, with friends and relatives to celebrate the baby to be. Who cares what other people think anyway?

By anon230150 — On Nov 17, 2011

I was raised on the belief that a second baby shower is tacky. I understand all the exceptions and believe that sometimes a second baby shower is necessary.

I understand the celebration of a baby completely. Every baby should be celebrated, but that can happen after the baby is born, possibly a couple months after the baby is born as a sort of coming out to the world party.

The only thing that bothers me is no one saves for these things anymore. Why is it so normal and accepted to have an unexpected pregnancy? I am in my early twenties and just got married. My new husband and I have been thinking about having children for the past couple of years and feel like now that we are married, we are more stable. Also, we have been saving for a baby as well.

I realize that no matter how much you save, there will never be enough money saved for a baby, but come on? So many people just say oops! I had unprotected sex out of wedlock, so now buy me baby stuff because I am too poor to afford it on my own and too dumb to use birth control. I feel like people need to grow up and start taking control of their own lives.

And for God's sake, if you do receive a gift, write a thank you card. I hate when people don't write thank you cards when you went out of your way to spend time, money and effort on something you did not have to do. What is the world coming to?

By anon217258 — On Sep 24, 2011

I am in mid thirties and have two children, one boy and one girl. I did not have showers thrown for either of them. Whoever wanted to give a gift gave one.

I think that people are greedy and out of control today. The parents are ultimately responsible for providing for their children, and whoever wants to give a gift will give one regardless of whether or not a shower is held. In fact, without having a shower, you will see who truly cares enough to give a gift without the benefit of going to a party.

By anon206155 — On Aug 15, 2011

I honestly think that people have misunderstood what a baby shower really means. First thing, a baby is a miracle, and to have a shower should be a blessing. That way, the family can participate and all give a beautiful blessing for when the baby comes, as in giving a gift for the baby. Second of all, it is not merely that people are asking for you to give what they want. If it's not what you can afford, even your presence should be enough or bringing a plate of food for the mom to be. Besides, I'm sure when you arrive at a baby shower, there are food and drinks for the invitees so truly it's a give and take.

People these days are so full of themselves. What's a $20 gift anyway? We all know whatever we purchase for a baby shower, parents will have to buy it twice more anyway. See it as a good cost and not in a negative way!

By anon199296 — On Jul 23, 2011

I look at it this way: if you are having a baby, then if somebody wants to give you a gift out of the goodness of their hearts then they will. Why make people feel obligated to give you gifts by having a shower for any baby, first, second, third, etc.?

Our society has gotten to the point where they feel a sense of "entitlement." People get married and they expect showers and gifts, they have babies they expect everyone to fall over backward and give them showers and gifts. Go buy your own crap for your wedding and your kids.

By anon192139 — On Jun 30, 2011

I am expecting my third child after years of infertility. We, of course, planned this child and then my husband got laid off recently. There will be seven years between this child and my second and my first two were girls.

Besides the fact that I hardly have anything left from the first two (car seats expired, crib recalled) we mostly need clothes and basics. And in our current situation I could really use a shower.

However, I mentioned to my mom that my friends would like an invite if there was a second shower (didn't have one with my second!). She was outraged, and informed me there wouldn't be a second shower. So, I am hoping that one of my friends who keeps asking offers, but I will not ask.

I think second baby showers are great in certain situations-or if they are more of a welcoming party.

First, if there has been a long break between children.

Second, if it's the first child of the opposite gender.

Third, if the family is in financial distress.

I have been to a few second showers myself and I thought they were great.

By anon160053 — On Mar 14, 2011

My sis in law is having her third daughter. She had a shower with the second because she had remarried and there was a significant gap in ages, and she had no baby things saved. She had assumed she wasn't having a shower since it's her third but I really feel like each baby should be celebrated.

So, I am throwing her a "Sprinkle" (lighter form of a shower) mostly to gather with friends and family to celebrate the new addition to the family, and if people ask, I am suggesting gifts of diapers/wipes to help them out.

I agree, if someone doesn't want to come, please don't. I don't see it as about getting gifts, I see it as celebrating!

By anon155360 — On Feb 23, 2011

My fiancee and I are expecting a new baby in November. I have a four year old little girl from my first marriage and her father just recently donated almost all her stuff. So not only is this a new baby for a new family, but I am starting over as if this were my first child. Is it inappropriate if my girlfriend wants to throw my fiancee and I are a coed shower?

By anon152098 — On Feb 12, 2011

I think a shower for subsequent babies is appropriate if there are conditions being met, such as stated in the article. My husband and I are expecting our second child in May and because I am a teacher that is unemployed, we are financially in a tight spot. We need a few necessary things for our growing family in order to provide for the second baby.

Did we know when we conceived this child that I was going to be unemployed? If you think we did, you're insane. Honestly, this child was completely unplanned as our first is nearly 18 months now. He is still in the crib and using the crib set. We don't have another option available.

We aren't asking for much, just those things we really need to help us care for this child.

By anon149956 — On Feb 06, 2011

What's tacky is people acting like its a mortal sin to have a second baby shower. Come on, people. Get a grip. If you want to be stingy and crabby, stay home.

Considering it "greedy" to have a party that celebrates the coming of child is pathetic. If anything is "greedy" its refusing to buy a onesie (or even bringing gently used clothes) for a baby.

By anon147751 — On Jan 30, 2011

I think every baby should have a celebration of their life, as long as the parents or a willing someone who wants to expense it does so. For subsequent babies, the get together should be noted as a celebration only.

With that, I think that showers (getting free stuff) are acceptable for a first baby or subsequent children where there is at least a five year gap or other exceptional circumstances (miscarriage, dire financial need, etc). To put it bluntly, parents throwing themselves an "event" to acquire free things is crass and is a misuse of friendship.

No one except the parents had involvement with the procreation. Hence, the responsibility of expense of the child's needs fall on them solely, not on their community. The spirit of giving and charity should be self-initiated, not demanded of people by a shower invitation. Ultimately, if it is demanded, one can always graciously decline and send a card.

By anon146140 — On Jan 25, 2011

My sister had her first baby when she was 18 so she didn't have much for a baby shower. Five years later she got pregnant with their second child. I threw her a surprise shower with her friends a few family members.

By anon142680 — On Jan 13, 2011

This is just all unreal. Has anyone thought of this: there are other people out there having their first babies and these moms on their second third fourth think their supposed to get one?

My sister is pregnant with her fifth! She has had four boys, (the youngest is two) and she is convinced she's having a girl. She is due June 26. I am pregnant with my first child, due August 14.

She is telling me i cannot have my shower in all of june, (which would be two months before) because she is having another shower.

Absolutely uncalled for. Not to mention she is broke, and expects my mom to pay for it. Really?

And her best friend of 17 years is due with her first July 4 and she also told her the same.

There comes a moment when enough is a enough. If you have someone close to you having their first baby, lay off and allow them their moment. if you still want a shower, fine, but you plan around them!

By anon142594 — On Jan 13, 2011

I think that it is strange that people would find themselves offended at being invited to a party. No one is holding a gun to your head to bring a registered present. I have a feeling that the people that become so offended are the same people who probably find many things in life offensive, maladjusted types, full of angst and anxiety. Relax.

Do you realize that many of the items that come from a first child's shower have become trashed after a couple of years. Clothes become stained and faded. Should the new child have to wear these and play with broken, dirty toys?

By the time you have a second child, you are probably more poor than when you had your first. If you know wonderful people who want to help, then your new baby deserves it. Stay home, grouchy people!

By anon141535 — On Jan 10, 2011

I'm pregnant with my second child, who is going to be the same gender as my first and I'm going to have something in my home to welcome my child.

A family member threw us a shower for our first and didn't tell us until the day of the shower and I was very grateful. But I strongly believe that all children need to be celebrated, no matter what order they were born in or what gender they are.

I've made it clear that we need nothing and I don't want anything, except for our family to be there to see and visit our new, beautiful baby and since everyone will want to visit anyway, it's much nicer to have everyone be able to do it at once.

I think it's acceptable to have a shower for every baby and celebrate every little life that is brought into the world. why would welcoming babies into the world be tacky and wrong. If you don't agree with it just don't show up.

By anon139696 — On Jan 05, 2011

I plan to have a shower for my third due this summer. My oldest is 13 and the youngest is 10. I did not have a shower for my second because that was just not done 10 years ago. My friends all realize that for this oops baby we have nothing. The cribs were handed down years ago. For me it's starting all over.

By anon138801 — On Jan 02, 2011

1. It's tacky to throw a baby shower for the second baby.

2. It's incredibly tacky to register for a second shower.

3. It's even more tacky to throw it for yourself.

If you want people to get together to celebrate the new baby, make it about the baby and not the gifts. And when it is everyone else's responsibility to supply our/your baby with the necessities it needs? Isn't that the parents' job?

By anon127808 — On Nov 17, 2010

There are times for a second baby, like if it is the first baby in a new relationship, if a lot of years have lapsed in between (like 10 years), etc. However, if you have a two year old boy and you are now pregnant with your second boy, forget it. I think it is just plain greedy.

We have been having baby showers at work like crazy. One lady is in her 40s and daughter is 16. She remarried and is pregnant with a boy and it is his first child. The baby shower given at work was appropriate.

However, there is another lady who is in her mid 20s and has a two year old boy. We gave her a shower for that baby. Now it has been announced that they are giving her another shower. I don't work on the same floor with this lady and I don't talk to her, but I was invited to her second shower. I'm not going and not getting a gift.

A second shower in this instance should not be at work. By the way, the person throwing the shower is her co-worker, supervisor and aunt. The should keep it outside of the office.

I hate feeling obligated to buy gifts for people I don't even socialize with, but feel guilty if I don't.

By anon125419 — On Nov 09, 2010

Whenever I read stuff like this it makes me sad. I have a four month old son that I had a baby shower for.

At the time of doing my shower my sister-in-law said we could borrow all her stuff and when she went with me to register for my shower she wouldn't let me register for nearly half the things I wanted because 'you can borrow it'.

She's pregnant already and asking for all the stuff back. I've been in tears because I won't have anything for my next child, and I think I would deserve to have a second baby shower because I didn't get the benefits from the initial one.

It's one thing to have a second shower when you have everything, its another when your family-in-law ruined your first one.

By anon121890 — On Oct 25, 2010

My sister threw a baby shower for her daughter's second baby. Some debated the appropriateness of doing this but my attitude was I was going to get the new baby a gift anyway and if my sister wants to have us all over for a party where I can deliver my gift, then terrific.

My gift to the second baby shower wasn't as expensive because I too think the first shower is intended to help the new parents along.

Now my mother on the other hand spent the same amount on the second baby as the first because they are both her great grandchildren and she wants to treat them equally. The second baby shower wasn't as big as the first and included only family and close friends.

By anon117156 — On Oct 09, 2010

A baby shower is to help the new parents get ready for their first baby, period. It is tacky to have showers for any babies thereafter. The point is that you reuse the stuff for any subsequent children.

Having a 'mommy' shower is just plain stupid. You don't get gifts to 'pamper' yourself because you made the decision to get pregnant.

By anon116311 — On Oct 06, 2010

I think it is perfectly fine to have a second baby shower. My oldest child is almost 9 and my ex-husband took all of baby items and would not return them during our divorce.

My current husband and I are having a child so we are having to replace a lot of the things that were "lost". Plus this is our first child together and is a special time for our blended family.

By anon115174 — On Sep 30, 2010

My daughter is having her second child, and we’re having a baby shower. Because she saved everything from her first child she doesn’t really need anything and has indicated this on her invitations. And she’s provided the option to donate to March for Babies if her guests feel like they still want to do something.

A baby shower isn’t just about receiving gifts; it’s about spending time with friends and family and celebrating the miracle of a new life.

What's tacky and rude is attending a happy and joyous event with resentment in your heart. If a person doesn't feel like going to a party, then they should stay home. It's as simple as that!

By anon114649 — On Sep 29, 2010

If you don't want to attend a second baby shower, then don't, but don't judge others. Personally I think every baby deserves a celebration of their arrival. Would you only celebrate your friend's first child's birthdays? How dare they have more than one child with a birthday? And I have to believe that for most people, it's just nice to get together with friends and celebrate a new life. And real friends will understand that, and I wouldn't want fake friends there anyway.

By Toni Webster — On Sep 19, 2010

I am pregnant with my second child and am planning to have a baby shower. My daughter was born two months premature and I wasn't able to have a shower. By the time she came home, my husband and I, and some close family and friends, had purchased the necessary items.

I definitely was disappointed I didn't have one and am excited to have one being planned. Does this still make me tacky or greedy?

By anon110398 — On Sep 11, 2010

I'm planning on having a second baby shower for just family and a few friends. With my first shower i had a boy who is two now, but when i had his shower it was when we had that huge flood in june so only like four people showed up.

But this one I'm having a girl and i don't have anything for a girl and family members didn't save items or didn't have a girl so i have nothing. i think it's OK if it's a different sex but if it were the same i wouldn't be having one. Do you think I'm wrong for this?

By anon108801 — On Sep 04, 2010

Wow, I was actually in shock when a friend wasn't being thrown a second shower.

I see it as it's a shower for the baby, new baby, new shower. I would think it may be a little hurtful to the second, etc. children if the first was important enough to have a shower, but no one cared about their birth?

If it were me, and someone threw my second child a baby shower then I would be for it, and for those who felt it was tacky or greedy well, then they are more than welcome to stay home. I think its a little tacky, sad and paranoid to be offended over being invited to a celebration for a new baby.

By anon107970 — On Sep 01, 2010

A friend had a shower for her soon to be fourth child and she was registered at two stores and it was held at her house. It was hosted by two of her good friends. I didn't attend.

When I received the invitation, it just reminded me of greed and that they expected everyone to financially support this unplanned birth. To say the least, it just irked me. I've had five children and a good friend offered to throw me a shower for my fifth, but I declined. I was just mortified to even think of sending out invitations that basically tell people to buy things for my fifth baby! It's just real tacky!

By anon100242 — On Jul 29, 2010

I couldn't believe it when I received an invitation from my friend (yes, she sent her own invitations) for a baby shower for her second baby (the first baby is not even teo years old yet and is the same sex). I spoke with mutual friends and they too were disgusted!

I will not be attending and apparently others aren't either, because I got a text from my friend stating she was sorry so many people wouldn't be able to attend.

I think it's very tacky, greedy, and just plain rude to throw yourself a party, let alone a baby shower for your second baby!

By anon99669 — On Jul 27, 2010

I have a family member throwing her own baby BBQ (a.k.a. shower). This is her second baby, a girl. The first is a two year old girl. A guest list of 70-plus people and she registered! I'm sorry, but I find it tacky and greedy.

By latte31 — On Jul 06, 2010

Sunny27- I agree. The thought of a second baby shower sounds a little greedy, but like you said if someone volunteers to do it for you then it is okay.

Remember some people love throwing parties and they would get quite offended if you declined their offer of giving you a shower. I think the polite thing is to accept, but only when offered.

You definitely don’t want to be dropping hints either, that would be really tacky. I know you did not do that Sunny27, but I am sure some people do.

By Sunny27 — On Jul 06, 2010

Excellent article. I would like to add that it really depends on the situation. For example, I did not like the idea of a second baby shower, but my husband’s co-workers insisted on holding one for me and my husband.

It was really touching, but it came from them not me. I would never suggest a second baby shower, but if someone volunteers than I think that it is acceptable.

While it is true that there could be a significant time lapse between children, or as in my case the baby might be a different gender, I still feel that it is only acceptable if someone volunteers to do it.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
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