08/18/2014 03:18 pm ET | Updated Oct 18, 2014

Should You Have a Baby Shower for a Second or Even Third Child?

AskCheryl is an etiquette blog from the website where readers can submit their questions to be answered. The following is a question from some readers.

Dear Cheryl,

Should people expecting their second or third child have baby showers? Specifically, if the second child is of the same gender, should that family have a baby shower and expect gifts? Is there basic baby shower etiquette for families with multiple children?

-- Office Co-workers

Dear Co-workers,

It is now acceptable to have a baby shower for a second or even third child, even if they are the same gender. Every baby can be celebrated, and it's a great opportunity to get together with family and friends.

However, the family having the baby should not be the initiator. No one should ever host a baby shower for themselves or ask anyone else to, for that matter. If a friend offers to host a baby shower for you, regardless of how many children you have, you have the choice of accepting or declining. Most people enjoy having a shower for a second baby because there are always new and improved products and gadgets to make the parent's life a bit easier or more fun. Also, if the babies are more than a few years far apart in age, parents don't always have all the necessary equipment.

If you truly feel you have everything you need, simply tell the friend offering to host how much you appreciate the thought, but you feel uncomfortable having a baby shower when you don't need anything. Of course, some like to throw surprise showers, so in that case you don't really get a choice.

Should the family expect gifts when having a second child?
Like a wedding invitation, a baby shower invitation does carry the obligation of a gift. After all, that is the purpose of the event, to shower the mother-to-be with gifts. So if a baby shower is held, it's safe to say gifts will be expected. Unlike a wedding invitation, if you don't attend the shower, there is no obligation to send a gift.

As for general baby gifts after the baby is born, no one should ever expect gifts, but when babies arrive, most people like to welcome them with a gift. Whether you choose to give a baby gift for the second child or not really depends on your relationship with the parents. If you are very close, a baby gift is usually a good idea, but never mandatory.

If you are planning a shower for a friend or colleague that already has a child you may want to consider inviting guests that did not attend a previous shower or making the celebration a bit less traditional.
  1. Make it a family event and invite spouses and kids.
  2. Host a "Sip & See" after the baby is born, inviting friends over to see the baby.
Baby shower etiquette is basically the same for each child.
  1. The expectant parents do not host.
  2. It's fine to have more than one shower with different groups of friends, e.g. co-workers and personal friends.
  3. Registry information should not be printed on the invitation, but can be enclosed in a separate card.
  4. If you attend a baby shower, you should bring a gift.
  5. If you don't attend you do not need to send a gift, but may if you wish.
  6. Hand-written thank you notes should be sent as soon as possible, even if the gift-giver was thanked at the shower.

For more details and an expanded list, see our blog posts Baby Shower Etiquette and Who Traditionally Throws a Baby Shower?

Do you have questions or comments about gift giving etiquette? Please email me at is an online search engine that helps gift givers quickly and easily find online registries for weddings, baby showers, graduations and more.