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Home > A Brief History of the Baby Shower

A Brief History of the Baby Shower

by: Michael Kabel


Would you believe the baby shower is an ancient practice?


The event known as the bridal shower in the United States is really only the latest incarnation of traditions and communal practices that have lasted for thousands of years. In fact, the friends and relatives of expecting mothers come together in all the world's cultures.


And while the traditional American baby shower may be the most elegant and possibly the most elaborate version of this perennial get-together, it's still just part of a larger global heritage of helping new mothers get their start.


The baby shower tradition is as old as civilization.


Even during the earliest eras of history, it was not uncommon for people in small cities and towns to donate goods and foods to families expecting children. This was done out of a sense of communal responsibility and also simple human kindness. Often times, women would donate clothing that their own children had outgrown.


In the United States, such practices were especially common on the American frontier, where fresh goods and clothes were sometimes hundreds of miles away.


The baby boom brought the baby shower to American awareness.


The years following the end of World War II saw American men and women starting families in unprecedented numbers. As more and more babies flooded American society, the arrival of a new child into the community (especially affluent suburbs) became a time for neighbors, friends, and relatives to congregate and toast the new mother. Very similar in style and structure to a birthday party, the baby shower planning was often handled by a friend or someone unrelated to the guest of honor.


Baby shower planning changed with the times.


As years passed, the baby shower idea went through its own kinds of changes. Baby showers often became less formal, hosted by a family member or close friend. The baby shower decorations often became more elaborate as well.


Baby shower invitations and centerpieces call the tune


Among the most recent yet stylish innovations are the baby shower invitations and the baby shower centerpieces. The innovations are very similar to upscale bridal invitations, but coordinate with the baby shower themes and color schemes instead.

Baby shower centerpieces range from original design elements to functional yet sizeable gifts such as baby shower diaper cakes and layette sets. The other gifts given are sometimes coordinated into a baby shower registry by the hostess, making sure that the new mother gets as many different gifts as possible to help her get ready for baby.

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