Ultimate Guide to Baby Showers

by Sasha Emmons and Kate Goodin

Ultimate Guide to Baby Showers

Throw the best shower ever with these easy, fun ideas for games, gifts, invitations, favors, themes, and more!


Shower Her With Love


Having a baby is a big deal, and every expectant mama deserves to have a big deal made over her with a fun and creative baby shower. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite shower themes, invitations, games, gifts and favors to help you plan a unique fete that the mom-to-be in your life will love.


Monkey Shower


Celebrate the impending arrival of her little monkey with a monkey-themed shower, which works nicely for a boy, girl or a gender surprise.


Invitations: A quick Google search will give you tons of options (the monkey motif is popular!). We like this cute lil’ monkey invite from Tiny Prints.


Menu: Whip up our easy Monkey cake, made from a boxed mix and canned frosting.


Game: Pick up some old-school Barrels of Monkeys (remember those?). Give 10 monkeys and a cup to each guest. Whenever someone says “baby,” the person who catches her collects her monkey and puts it in her own cup. Whoever has the most monkeys at the end wins a prize.


Favors: Bake a batch of mini banana bread loaves or muffins, wrap in cellophane, and finish off with a pretty ribbon for an easy (and inexpensive) homemade favor.


Storybook Shower


Does your preggo friend have literary leanings? Throw her a shower with a bookish theme.


Invitation: This whimsical invitation evokes an enchanted forest, straight from a classic children’s storybook.


Gifts: Ask the guests to bring their favorite children’s book to build up her baby’s first library. Have everyone inscribe a note in the book to the child; they’ll mean so much later when she reads them to her child later.


Plus: 25 Classic Books for Babies


Décor: Create a garland of literary-inspired baby clothes, which the mom-to-be can keep at the end of the shower. Pick up a Merriam-Webster “cuteness” onesie from Cafepress (the baby is the definition of cuteness), or a few tees featuring classic literature book covers, and string them up on clothespins over the table or fireplace.


Game: Read passages out loud from iconic nursery rhymes or children’s books, and have guests name that book. Whoever gets the most right wins a prize.


Favors: Hand out cute bookmarks or a small journal to the guests as they leave.


Sweet Pea Shower


This is a good go-to theme for a baby shower—aren’t all babes sweet peas? It can also be tweaked to work well for twins, aka two peas in a pod.


Invitations: Search online for sweet pea-themed invitations to find your fave. We like this understated—but still whimsical—pea-in-a-pod invite from Tiny Prints ($1.19 each).


Menu: Think small bites for a sweet pea shower, like baby quiches, mini tarts, and petits fours. A green crudités platter or bowls of wasabi peas will tie in the theme’s color.


Favor: Package mint, apple or green candies in decorative bags for the guests to take home.




An invitation sets the mood for the party, and can kick off the theme. Have them printed for you, or look for options that let you feed them into a printer for a professional look. Some companies will also create a personalized invite, and then send you the file so you can print it up at home.

Plus: 26 Gorgeous Baby Shower Invitations


Photo Invitations


An invitation that incorporates a personal photo gives the shower an intimate feel. This sweet invite incorporates a sonogram photo. Did the guest of honor splurge on a maternity shoot? Let her show off her portrait by incorporating it into a photo invite like this one by Tiny Prints.


Eco-Friendly Invites


If the mom-to-be has a green lifestyle, you can honor her wishes by going paperless. Paperless Post, Pingg, and Sendomatic have chic online invitations that also make managing RSVPs super simple.


Diaper Cakes


“Cake” and “diaper” seem like two words that don’t belong together, yet diaper cakes have become a go-to centerpiece for many baby showers. Start by rolling diapers and fastening them with small rubber bands. Once you have a bunch rolled, stack them to form a 3-layer “cake.” Finish with ribbons and flowers.


Plus: 6 Gorgeous Diaper Cakes


Personalized Gifts


Has your mom-to-be picked out a name already? No matter what the theme of the shower, personalized nursery gifts bring the wow factor when it’s present time. Look for everything to wall art to step stools to pillows.


Plus: 12 Personalized Baby Shower Gift Ideas


Heirloom Gifts


Sure, moms-to-be need practical gifts off the registry. But a special piece of heirloom jewelry is something the baby will keep forever. Try a bauble that will grow with her, like this pearl bracelet with an extended clasp.


Plus: 12 Heirloom Baby Gifts


Handmade Gifts


Looking to give a truly unique baby shower gift? Troll for tons of handmade, one-of-a-kind gifts, like these so-cute-it-hurts baby shark bottle cozies.


Plus: 20 Handmade Baby Shower Gifts




Baby shower games can help break the ice, especially among a group who doesn’t know each other well. Since the options range from sweet to funny to a little out-there, gauge which games your mom-to-be will like best.


Plus: 18 Baby Shower Games



A small token to remember the shower by is a sweet send-off. But we’re not talking pricey presents; a homemade baked good dressed up in pretty packaging does the job without costing a lot of money. 


Baby Shower Games


If it’s a family shower, you might have everyone from young nieces to great-grandmas in the crowd. The right everyone-can-play game, like bingo or diaper race, can get everyone meshing and laughing together