Preparing for an Out-of-State Baby Shower

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It’s common these days for family and friends to be scattered across the country or around the world. And it’s great to keep in touch via the phone and virtual methods of communication, but sometimes—like during a loved one’s baby shower—you just really want to be there in person. If you’re planning or have been invited to a baby shower for an out-of-town friend or you’re traveling to your own baby shower in a place where you don’t typically live, read on for ideas about how to prepare.

Traveling to Your Own Baby Shower 

If someone is throwing you a baby shower away from home, there are several things to keep in mind. Up first: timing. It’s not usually recommended to go too far from home after week 36 or so of pregnancy. If you’re traveling a short distance, it might be okay, but a plane flight later in your third trimester is likely not the best plan. Talk to your doctor or midwife about their recommendations for travel and then let whoever is planning your shower know what timing works for you.

There are likely to be presents at a party for you and your baby-to-be—yay! The trouble with having an out-of-town baby shower is getting all of those presents back home so you and your baby can use them. If you are driving to your baby shower, you might be able to get away with some creative packing, but if you have a small car or are flying, getting everything home may be tricky. This is another point at which to speak with your baby shower’s host. Can this person include a registry link in the invite through which guests can send the gifts directly to your house? Is a registry that includes non-traditional gifts, such as gift cards, an option? If someone else is traveling from where you live to your shower—another relative or friend, for instance—can you share the load of bringing the gifts back?

Finally, how will you travel to the shower and where will you stay? Pregnancy is no time to feel annoyed about logistics or finances when people are trying to celebrate you and your family, so ask for help if you need it with travel and lodging.

Planning an Out-of-Town Baby Shower 

If you have a dear friend or relative who is pregnant, you may want to celebrate this person with a baby shower, but if they live in a different place, it can be challenging to work out the details. First, check in with your pregnant loved one about what would work best for them. If you’re set on throwing a shower, but they’re overwhelmed at the thought of traveling, consider alternatives. Virtual baby showers are a good option, and helping out with a shower that’s local to your pregnant friend might be another option. You can do lots of things to coordinate and plan a shower from far away, including making and sending invitations, making decorations, and planning games. You can also help think through logistics, such as the schedule of the shower, where it will be held, and what sort of activities or food make the most sense. It’s possible to contribute, even if you live far away.

Attending an Out-of-Town Baby Shower 

If you’ve been invited to attend a baby shower that’s not where you live, lovely! You can decide to go or not to—it’s up to you. If you do attend, you’ll want to coordinate travel and lodging, as well as getting a gift for the expectant family. If you do not attend, it might make sense to send a gift, but you don’t have to do that if it doesn’t work for you. Regardless, make sure that you give plenty of notice to the host of whether to expect you or not. If you’re not able to make it, but are close to the expectant parents, it’s generally appreciated to check in with them and offer good wishes and regrets, perhaps with a phone call or by sending a card or email.

A word about COVID-19 

During a pandemic—especially one caused by a virus that’s more likely to cause severe disease in pregnant people—it’s important to be cautious whether you’re attending, hosting, or being honored at an in-person shower. Ways to make in-person baby showers safer include: getting vaccinated, wearing masks, having the shower outside, and making the guest list small. If you’re at all concerned about your risk or the risk of the pregnant person at a shower, don’t go.

Abby Olena
Dr. Abby Olena has a PhD in Biological Sciences from Vanderbilt University. She lives with her husband and children in North Carolina, where she writes about science and parenting, produces a conversational podcast, and teaches prenatal yoga.

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