Is Having a Baby Shower for a Second Child Greedy?

Baby shower cookiesIf you have more than one child, did you have a baby shower for the second one?  I’m mom to three kids, and I only had showers for my first child.  Yet, there is a new trend to throw showers for a woman’s second child.

While some women are given full showers for each child, others are given a shower that is called a “sprinkle.”  With a sprinkle, the party is usually smaller than the first one and guests bring essentials like diapers and wipes for the new baby.

Some moms are uncomfortable with showers (or even sprinkles) for second children, but other women expect it.  Melissa Gerstein, a mom of three, was not given showers for her last two children.  She says, “‘I was disappointed.  I think every birth should be celebrated.  You wouldn’t give your first child a bar or bat mitzvah and not your second or third, so why is a shower any different?'” (The New York Times).

I would argue to Ms. Gerstein that a shower is essentially for the mother.  The baby is not even born yet and has no concept after he or she is born of the benefits or existence of a baby shower.  I have no idea what my mom received for my baby shower, and I don’t care, honestly.  The party was for my mom to help her prepare for having a child for the first time.  To compare a baby shower to something as significant as a bar or bat mitzvah is ludicrus.

When Is a Second Shower Acceptable?

Lest you think I’m uncompromising, I can see one instance when a second baby shower would be acceptable–when a mother has another child years and years after she had the last one.  For instance, my aunt had her last child when her second to last child was 13 years old.  She had long ago given away all of her baby gear.

In this case, a second baby shower makes sense.  However, most second baby showers don’t happen for this reason.

Is the Gender Craze to Blame?

Blame sonograms or baby gear marketers, but the trend is to buy items specific to your baby’s gender.  If you’re expecting a boy, you’re going to receive bibs and clothes with sports themes.  Everything will be blue.  While that might be cute for your first child, what will happen if your second child is a girl?  You’ll need to start all over acquiring pink/feminine baby gear.

When my mom threw my baby shower, we didn’t know the baby’s gender yet.  (My son stubbornly kept his legs crossed during the ultrasound, so the technician could not determine the sex.)  The gifts I received from that party were gender neutral.  I was able to use all those items with my next two children who were girls.

However, by the time my coworkers threw me a shower, I had learned that I was expecting a boy.  Everything I received had a boy theme.  While every gift was adorable, I ended up returning many of the items for gender neutral items knowing I planned to reuse them with my next child.

Of course, baby companies are happy to push gender specific items because you’ll need to buy replacements if the next baby is a different sex.

This Trend Is Bad for the Environment and for the Pocketbook

The bottom line is that this trend of choosing gender specific items for newborns is bad for the environment and the pocketbook.  Years ago, when I was a child, all newborn clothes and equipment was available in neutral colors.  People kept their baby gear to reuse until their family was complete.  This sensible way of approaching the birth of a child was better for the environment and also conserved the family’s money.  It was a practical approach.

Now, the sheer amount of waste when people toss out still reliable equipment that is gender specific because they are having a baby of the opposite sex is simply mind boggling.

What is your take?  Do you think it’s acceptable to have a baby shower or sprinkle for the second child or do you find it excessive?


Is Having a Baby Shower for a Second Child Greedy? — 8 Comments

  1. Honestly I’m not even sure that I’d have a shower for the first child.

    We won’t want a lot of things to start with, and I’m very happy to dress Child in whatever hand me downs we get from cousins. After all, til a certain age, what does a baby care what it’s wearing? Then too, I actually grew up in hand me downs and was disappointed when I stopped being able to wear my cousins’ clothes as a teen because I didn’t grow into anything they had anymore. I wouldn’t mind passing along a bit of that “whatever works” attitude about clothing and possessions as I agree, there’s far too much excess stuff and waste as it it.

  2. We don’t have any kids yet, but we’re thinking about it, so your article was very interesting for me. I really like the idea of getting gender neutral stuff (even if you do know the gender) with the plan to use it for the next child. Thanks for the great idea!

  3. I felt a little pang when the second wasn’t celebrated. But it wasn’t just the shower… people seem to get less excited for you the second and every subsequent time around.

    We just reused everything from the first time, even when gender colors didn’t match. Other than clothes, I think the color thing is mostly for the parents anyways up to a certain age. And clothes are mostly what I and all my friends got at baby showers anyways. Hand me downs and re sell shops all the way!

  4. I wouldn’t have a shower, because I feel bad asking people for things. I would ask a few close friends for hand me downs if they are done having babies and that’s it.

  5. I’m from the old school and I guess my Mum is rubbing off on me. I was taught that only a distant family member should host a shower, so I felt awkward when my daughters wanted to host a shower for my other daughter at our house (first child). It turned out really well, and overall I was happy but still am not a big fan. If either of my daughters’ had a bigger place and could host it, I would have been happier. So having said that, I’m not a fan of second showers either, unless a big time between two kids has passed. My kids tell me I’m old fashioned though! 😉

  6. Why would it be greedy? I am all for it as long as it is among friends. I would probably ask for smaller things though since you probably have a lot of the other things from your first child. There is nothing wrong with having a celebration for your unborn child.

  7. I don’t think it should be considered as greedy. Baby shower should be seen as a way to see your friends and celebrate about the soon-to-be addition to the family. It shouldn’t be about gifts and/or money. If you truly need something for your 2nd or 3rd kid, then maybe you could politely wish for them.

  8. I think it’s reasonable; however, we only had one for our first child. It does get expensive when people are having babies all the time, like my friends. lol. But my wife will always go to them and she loves buying people baby stuff, so I guess it works out for everyone.

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