Livewire - June 21, 2013

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By Lisa Salmon

More and more British mothers-to-be are throwing baby showers to celebrate their forthcoming arrival. But what are these often extravagant parties are all about?

Once the preserve of pregnant American housewives and celebrities, it seems the trend for baby showers has crossed the Atlantic.

Increasing numbers of ordinary British mums-to-be are hosting the parties to herald the imminent arrival of a new baby – research suggests that 14 per cent of British women have attended a baby shower in the past year, and a number of UK-based baby shower companies selling tableware and gifts for the events have sprung up on the internet.

The parties, which are normally afternoon events held between weeks 25 and 35 of pregnancy, often have a pink or blue theme and involve a mum-to-bes usually female friends showering her with gifts.

This month reality TV star Kim Kardashian became the latest pregnant celebrity to host a baby shower, when she invited 50 guests to a friend’s Beverly Hills Mansion, and mingled with them in garden marquees full of flowers.

While Kardashian, who is expecting her baby in July, asked for donations to charity from her guests, research by VoucherCodes.co.uk found that women in the UK now spend £220 million attending baby showers each year – equating to £50 per woman, per shower.

And one in eight even claim to spend over £100 gearing up for a friend’s baby shower.

Amy Edwards, founder of Bloomingbabyshowers.co.uk, which sells baby shower products such as invitations, bunting, balloons and games, says: “It’s now commonplace to have a celebration for second, third and even fourth babies, and these are called ‘baby sprinkles’, the idea being that all the essentials are usually in place and so a sprinkling of more indulgent gifts or pampering treats are well-received.”

According to the research, more than a quarter of baby shower guests (27 per cent) have bought designer gear for the newborn, 10 per cent have splashed out on engraved baby jewellery, and 15 per cent have bought baby toiletries.