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Baby Shower Planning and Baby Announcements
Being pregnant is a happy, joyous time, but it isn’t without its stresses. You may be working the entire time up to your due date, or taking time off to prepare. Whatever your situation, you still have to accomplish an enormous list of tasks in anticipation of Baby’s arrival. The first thing you will want to do is purchase a book to assist you in remembering all of these tasks, as well as informing you of how your body will change and what you need to expect. If you are already a mother, you will know most of the information, and much of it will seem like second-nature, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to brush up.
The most important thing you can do for yourself, is to choose an obstetrician that makes you (and your partner) feel comfortable. Research the options you have in your community and visit professionals to get a feel for different styles of practice. Once you have your doctor to assist you with the carrying of your child, you can begin the fun preparations that come with adding a little one to your family, like decorating the nursery, baby showers, and creating birth announcement cards.
The Baby Shower
(On the receiving end)
There are no rules to say who can and will throw you and your baby a shower. Some women never have one, and some prefer not to, but the majority of mommies-to-be love this part of being pregnant. It’s the one time you sit back, relax, and let your friends and family cater to you. While you’re opening your piles of baby gifts, don’t forget to assign someone to make a list of who gave you what. You will absolutely need to send baby thank you cards after your shower, and if you think you will remember everything, you’ll be sorely disappointed! They need not be formal thank you notes, but just a little card that shares how grateful you are for the giver’s support and what they chose:
I know we haven’t seen much of each other in recent months, but I appreciate you coming out to be a part of this time of my life. It’s wonderful to have your support! Thank you so much for the bottle warmer – I know I will get much use out of it in the coming year.
You will most likely receive much of what you need, but be prepared that even if you have registered somewhere (and you should) that some people will only give you something less than useful. They still deserve a thank you, just stick to the basics.
(On the giving end)
When you receive baby invitations in the mail, you know what’s coming: the gifts. You may not have a big budget, or maybe you and the mother-to-be aren’t too close, but that doesn’t mean you can’t give a meaningful, usable gift that will be appreciated. First, note whether she is registered anywhere. If nothing is included in the invitation consider calling the host to find out more information. If you are able to shop from a gift registry, your task will be much easier. You can sort through the list at you leisure, and often from home, choosing a gift that matches your budget. Regardless of what she’s registered for, the best gifts are functional gifts. Look through to see what is most necessary, and compare that with what is already purchased. If you’re dying to get her those lovely candles you saw, consider getting one thing off her registry and adding a candle to the gift. Remember, the point of the shower is not only to celebrate the upcoming birth, but to ‘shower’ the mommy-to-be with things that she will need in the coming months.
Unfortunately, if you don’t have a registry to work from, your job becomes a little harder. You will want to shop at a store with a good return policy that can print you a gift receipt. If they wrap, that’s a solid plus. If you know the sex of the baby, that will aid you in the choosing process. Not knowing the sex adds an element of difficulty, but not by much. There are many baby necessities that are not gender specific, and it’s easy enough to overcome anyhow by buying things that are green, yellow, or cream. If you have children, try to remember what you couldn’t live without when you became a mother. Was it a helpful book? A car seat? A baby sling? If you don’t have children, you’ll have to be a little creative. Consider a bath-time gift including a baby bathtub, baby shampoo, and baby towels and/or washcloths. You could also stock your friend up on diapers! You know they’ll need those…
Expect to receive a verbal ‘thank you’ at the shower, but don’t hold your breath waiting for a card. Most women will send written thank you notes, but considering they are pregnant, and typically overwhelmed with so many preparations, they may forget to send them. While it is in good taste, it’s not a necessity to write a card, and you can rest assured that even if you don’t receive one, that your gift was much appreciated.
Announcing your little one to the world
One of the most important things you will do once your baby is born, is announce his arrival to the world! Or at least to everyone you know… It may seem like something to take care of once the baby is born, but you will be so busy and overcome with motherhood, but the baby announcement will get pushed by the wayside. It is best to get everything in order, pre-birth, so when Baby makes his appearance you can quickly submit name, weight, and length.
You will want to begin this process a few months before your due date, in order to be sure of exactly what you want before everything gets too hectic. Some companies take up to a month to customize your baby card order, so prepare yourself for that. Don’t stress yourself about getting the announcements out immediately, especially if you choose to create photo announcements. It’s not imperative for friends & family to receive them right away, but it is ideal to send your announcements within the first couple of months to keep the news fresh.
Look online and in your local stationery store for announcement ideas. When you’ve decided on the specific piece you want to order, discuss moving forward with a sales associate. She should be able to assist you in placing the order, and letting it hang in limbo while you await your baby’s arrival. Taking care of this prior to delivery will ease your mind and give you one less thing to worry about.
Something else you will want to do, is pre-order you envelopes. Often there is a fee associated with doing so, but it will be worth it in the long run. Address and stamp all of your envelopes before the baby is born, so that once you submit the baby’s information, and receive your announcements, all is ready to go!
But how to choose?!
There is an endless variety of announcements to choose from, and that range of choices can be overwhelming. Start by examining the different components of the announcement such as paper, ink color, and layout to discover your preferences. Paper can awaken your sense of touch and bring an added dimension to the announcement. Do you prefer a smooth texture, or a thick and nubby paper? Consider the type of printing you like before completely deciding on a paper weight.
Letterpress has come to the forefront in the last decade, but as a method it’s one of the oldest forms of printing. It has a tendency to be pricier than other styles of printing, but it’s well worth the extra expense to arrive at a tasteful, custom announcement that recipients will remember for years to come. Letterpress will lend itself to many types of paper and need not be too recessed, if you prefer. It’s impact is undeniable when you see, and feel, the results.
There are many other styles of printing that will give you a flat, or even raised feel, but ask your local stationery store to show you examples of the options. Consider also looking up companies online, and requesting samples.
One thing you will need to decide is whether or not to choose photo birth announcements. These baby cards are highly personal, and are worth the extra effort if you have the time or help to take the photo and adhere it to your cards. Consider going this route if you intend on sending announcements to many people who live outside of your general area. It can be especially appreciated by family living too far to see the baby soon after being born. If you go a more traditional route, consider including a photo in the envelope for close friends or family living out-of-town.
What to include
Traditionally a baby announcement would consist only of the parents’ names and the newborn’s birth information (date, time, weight, length), but feel free to personalize it in a way that fits you and your family. You may want to include a favorite quote, or a poem. Google quotes about children or life to get some ideas. It is also a good idea to include any big sisters or brothers on the card so that they feel included. The arrival of a new sibling is a big deal to children and should be acknowledged.
Saying ‘Thank You’
It is customary for mothers to place a baby stationary order when they submit their baby card order. After you mail your birth announcement cards, many people will send you gifts and you’ll want to thank them with a handwritten note on children’s stationery. Typically baby thank you cards include only the child’s name, and possibly a small motif. Consult your stationery store for visual examples to get the ball rolling. Remember to keep your favorite printing company in mind as the child ages, as you will need updated kids stationery.
You may also want to consider pre-ordering baby thank you cards if you are having a shower. If your last name is ‘Smith’, you need only print ‘Baby Smith’ on the note card, or however you refer to the baby before its arrival.
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