Etiquette calls for a ‘sprinkle’ over a ‘shower’ for baby number two, three or four
Most moms-to-be are not keeping up with the Kardashians.
Kim Kardashian’s lavish baby shower over the weekend celebrating her third child (whom she and Kanye West are welcoming via surrogate) transformed her Bel-Air mansion into a cherry blossom forest, and served drinks with rose ice cubes.
She’s not the only one going overboard with her third baby on board. Kevin and Eniko Hart’s $118,000 “Lion King-themed” shower for their third child last month included a live chimpanzee in a diaper that cost $1,500.
But baby industry insiders say that while the rest of us going gaga over these celebrity galas — and yes, some parents are dropping thousands of dollars on their children’s birthday parties — the average person’s baby shower is more of a sprinkle.
In fact, a 2015 BabyCenter community survey pegged the average shower to cost less than $200. They also found that while the average baby registry totals $1,250, only half of items get purchased – and the less expensive presents, at that.
Julia Wang from TheBump.com told Moneyish that showers can be thrown for as little as $200 to $1,000 because it’s a much more casual celebration than a wedding.
“The biggest price of a baby shower is the venue and the food, so if a friend or family member hosts at someone’s home, and you’re taking care of the food, the price goes down significantly,” she said.
And while the average middle-income family will spend $12,980 a year on each kid, and $233,610 in a lifetime, not including college, we’re actually dropping less on baby gifts. Nielsen data reports that sales of baby accessory gifts plummeted 14.9% to $36 million in the year ending Oct. 28, not counting department stores or specialty baby stores.
But considering it costs $750 to $1,450 to stock the nursery, and baby gear like strollers and car seats can run $350 to $900, a shower can be a great way for first-time parents to save money while celebrating the new arrival with your nearest and dearest. Which is perhaps why about 8 in 10 moms throw a baby shower for the first baby, according to both BabyCenter and The Bump.
But what about baby number two – or, in the case of the Kardashians, baby number three? Or four?
Sorry little brothers and sisters: BabyCenter reports just 54% of moms with two or more children have showers for their next bundles of joy. That’s partly because the long-running golden rule stated that you only threw a shower for your first child, and then reused the baby gear for your second and third (unless your next baby was a different gender, when you might call for more traditionally girly or boyish clothes and bedding).
But it’s now perfectly acceptable to throw subsequent showers on a smaller scale – often called “sprinkles” – to mark the pending arrival. Or some host “sip and sees” after the baby is born, when a few guests (often women) come over for brunch to “ooh” and “ahh” over your little one once you and the baby are settled at home again.
“Whereas the first baby shower is more about your registry and what you need to set yourself up so that you’re not buying as much, the second and third showers – or sprinkles – are more of an intimate celebration that you’re having another baby,” said Wang.
BabyCenter reports that 10% of “experienced moms” with more than one kid say they will have a baby sprinkle party for their next pregnancy. And The Bump found the number of “sprinkles” experienced moms are having jumped from 5% in 2011 to 9% in 2016.
The invitation usually notes that no gifts are expected, especially if the next baby is within a couple years of the first. But Wang suggested that daily essentials moms can never get enough of, like diapers (which can run $700 a year or more) and wipes, or blankets and onesies, make great, inexpensive gifts for a sprinkle. Or you can treat the mom to little goodies to make her feel better, like skincare products, comfy loungewear or soothing tea. You can also suggest that guests make donations to a selected charity in your little one’s name.
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