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A Look-see at a Sip and See

Y'all, let's add the Sip and See to the list of things to thank the South for, along with sweet tea, biscuits, music and hospitality. If you've never heard of a Sip and See, or if you've gotten an invitation to one and aren't sure what the etiquette is, we're here to help—and to share why we love these parties where the new baby is the star.

What is it?

Let's start with what a Sip and See is, shall we? A Southern tradition that's now making its way north, a Sip and See is a low-key party or open house to give your family and friends the chance to meet—or "see"—your new baby. Refreshments are usually light, and it's fun to have a few drinks on hand for the "sip" part, of course. Family and friends come to ooh and aah over baby; you get the chance to put on makeup for the first time since baby was born; and everyone gets some sparkling lemonade and a few cookies.

When do we have one?

A Sip and See is usually held at the new parents' house about two to eight weeks after baby comes home.

Who should we invite?

While baby shower invite lists can get quite lengthy, Sip and Sees are more intimate and meant for close family and friends. And while baby showers are usually for ladies only, Sip and Sees are often family affairs, so inviting couples and kids is OK. Keep your invite list short enough that preparing for the event isn't overwhelming, but long enough that it seems like a celebration.

Who throws it?

The new parents throw the shindig, but you can certainly recruit your mom or bestie to help you out with details. It's probably wise to select your Sip and See theme and menu while you're still pregnant and not in the zombie-like haze of newborn parenting. Remember, these events are casual because everyone remembers what it was like to survive on one-hour sleep increments for three months. No one is expecting over-the-top decorations or a food buffet. Invitations can be mailed, or you can send e-vites. If you bother with decorations, they can be as simple as a few vases filled with fresh flowers. Having a midmorning affair makes menu planning simple with, say, coffee, mimosas, fruit salad and croissants. If you prefer a midafternoon party, try some sparkling lemonade, cold beer, small sandwiches and cookies. When it comes down to it, no one really cares about the drinks or the pastries; they're there to see the baby.

What about gifts?

It's likely that guests will bring gifts to welcome baby, but it's not necessary to resend your registry information. Some of your guests might look up your registry, but most people bring anything from outfits to gift cards. If your guests ask you what you would like, be honest. Don't feel ashamed to ask for more diapers or even gift cards for your favorite takeout restaurant, since you haven't had time to cook lately.

Why do we love it?

While we love traditional baby showers, we also love that a Sip and See lets you corral everyone all at once. Between feeding schedules and caring for the new mom, you don't want to have to worry about keeping the house clean for unexpected visitors coming to see your new addition at random times. Instead, everyone can see your pride and joy when you're ready for visitors—and your hair is combed. And for parents who have adopted, especially if the child is a little older, the Sip and See is a perfect option. Best of all, you get to talk to other adults, have a drink and relax while others hold the baby.

If you'd like to include baby shower games at your Sip and See, download these for free!

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