Monday, March 02, 2009

Baby Shower Etiquette

Dear Miss Manners and Gentle Readers of this Blog,

My mom is, understandably, very excited about her new grandbaby and has gone completely crazy buying baby clothes. She has been so generous that our drawers are already full and we have started resorting to packing away larger clothes in the closet. And between her, my sister, and a very generous friend at church, we now have nearly all the essentials we need for this baby (crib, car seat, swing, bouncer, bath, high chair, boppy...). The only essentials we are lacking are cloth diapers.

I would love to have a devoted cloth diaper shower, but my friends are likely to want to buy a gift in person rather than online. Almost all cloth diapers must be purchased online, early enough to ship to the buyer before the shower. How can I politely encourage my friends to buy what I need and refrain from buying cute baby clothes and disposable diapers ("just in case you decide you don't like cloth") without making them feel inconvenienced by a cloth diaper shower?

And if they do buy me disposable diapers that I do not plan to use and clothing that couldn't possibly fit into our drawers, is it too impolite to return those items to the store provided I send the gift giver a nice thank-you card?

Sincerely Yours,

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10 have poured out their souls in electronic text:

  • Ginny

    Send all your friends to your blog to read this post.

    And, no it is not impolite to return gifts. That is what the first part of January is usually dedicated to, isn't it?

    It is really too bad that more people don't ask others what they really need or want for a gift.

    Also, you can make diapers (not the fancy schmancy ones) very easily. Just buy flannel, cut it the right size, zigzag or serge the edges, put a double layer down the middle and voila! Just like the prefolds in K-mart.
    A friend of mine makes tons of those for an orphanage in Honduras.

  • alice

    inside the baby shower invite, you can include a wish list or link to things you are registered for. i believe there are sites that you can register for cloth diapers. another cute idea is childhood books...that is a fast way to build her a library...we did a book shower for a friend's 2nd baby. friends/family bought books that meant something special to them growing up.

  • Alan

    Ask and you shall receive!

    I don't think there is any taboo against returning gifts to the store if you don't need the item. You might just get in-store credit however. Maybe it would be good to register at stores that sell other things you can use.

  • Anonymous

    I second what Alice said, including a link to your gift registries in the invitations. Also, echoing what Alice said, a few weeks ago I went to my friend's baby shower, and on the invitation a suggested gift item was a children's book. :)

  • Sherry

    I like the idea of diapers and books. They should be able to get you one or the other. Including the websites in the shower invitations would be very helpful.

  • Anne Marie@Married to the Empire

    I would think that if whoever is throwing the shower for you specifies on the invitation that it's a cloth-diaper shower, there really shouldn't be an issue. Yes, you're still likely to get other items, but your friends who really know you and your lifestyle should understand what it is you want/need.

    As for disposables, if you receive some, you might consider keeping a few. Will your church nursery be okay with using cloth diapers, for example? I've heard that a lot of places request the babies wear disposables for the caretakers' ease. (But I don't have kids, so take what I say with a grain of salt, of course! Just repeating what I've read/heard.)

    And no, I don't think it's bad to return/exchange gifts if they're not what you need. Telling the giver you did that is bad form, but quietly doing so is okay, IMO.

  • Smockity Frocks

    I think returning items is fine, but when a 90 yr. old lady asks "WHERE are the shoes I gave that baby? YOU DIDN'T TAKE THEM BACK, DID YOU?!" and you can't lie, because, well, that would be lying, and you tell her that they sure were cute, but you already had some exactly like them, just be prepared for a shocked and appalled 90 yr. old lady to give you The Stink Eye.


  • JunkMale

    Anne Marie,

    Our church nursery consists of an empty room connected to the sanctuary, aside from whoever needs to be in there at the time. In our church, all age groups are in the service at the same time. If a child or baby is disruptive, a parent will take him into the nursery room. So we will not need to worry about church nursey issues. (we would not put our baby in the nursery for the whole service anyways, even if we did have a staffed nursery)

  • Headmistress, zookeeper

    It is not rude to return gifts, especially impersonal gifts like disposable diapers. So maybe you want the disposable diapers to use as cash (at least one larger package should go in your preparedness stash).
    I was going to suggest a book shower, too.

  • Anonymous

    Hello Harmony,

    I do hope you get some cloth diapers. Our experience of cloth-diapering our kiddo for her entire pre-potty life: it really is a matter of personal preference as far as what diapers work when. So, well, it was easier for us to simply get what types we felt we needed, and therefore didn't take others' advice on "this is the best diaper ever." We used Chinese prefolds with a waterproof-lined plastic cover: the cover could go for a few changings before it too needed to be washed. We put in liners as needed, etc. It all worked very well and looking at those diapers drying on the line was so very pretty!

    You could suggest cloth wipes and liners too on your wish-list. We ended up getting white washcloths from Target by the dozen, and they've since had a second life as kitchen clean-up rags. Some of the diapers ended up lining a quilt made from cut-up pieces of her first swaddling blankets. Recycle, you know?

    We didn't use many disposable diapers, but when on trips they were our go-to diaper. I always was amazed how skinny she was and how her clothes didn't fit her when she was in disposable diapers :)