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Babies Royal and Otherwise

Posted by Peter Post  July 23, 2013 07:00 AM

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Congratulations Kate and William on the arrival of your baby boy!

That’s what you say to a couple who have just enjoyed the birth of a new baby.

But what other baby arrival etiquette is there? Surprisingly, there are several things you should be aware of.

Pre-arrival, a relative or close friend of the parent(s)-to-be may arrange a baby shower. Here’s what to remember about showers and gift-giving:

  • The mother-to-be shouldn’t host or plan her own shower. That’s like asking friends to give you a gift. Very tacky.
  • If you are invited to a baby shower and plan to attend, you should definitely bring a gift. If you’re not sure what to bring, ask the hostess for some suggestions. She should be primed and ready with several possibilities in a variety of price ranges. Remember, the gift should be within your budget, not something you really can’t afford.
  • If you don’t plan to attend then you are off the hook for giving a gift, unless you would like to anyway.
  • If you’re not invited to a shower but want to give a gift, that’s okay, but it may be better to present your gift when you first visit with the parents and new arrival. Giving it at or near the time of the shower may appear that you are miffed you weren’t invited.
  • People always ask us; so, yes, it’s okay to have a shower for subsequent babies.

Post arrival, what other issues should you consider as you arrive for the first visit or call to offer your best wishes?

  • Call first to schedule your visit at a convenient time.
  • Don’t ask questions about the details of the delivery. Focus your questions instead on the baby and how the parents are doing.
  • Don’t relate the story of your horrendous experience at any time. This isn’t about you; it’s about the new parents and their baby.
  • Regardless of your opinion of the name of the child, be complimentary.
  • Keep your visit or phone call short.
This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Since 2004, Peter Post has tackled readers' questions in The Boston Sunday Globe's weekly business etiquette advice column, Etiquette at Work. Post is the co-author of "The Etiquette Advantage in Business" and conducts business etiquette seminars across the country. In October 2003 his book "Essential Manners For Men" was released and quickly became a New York Times best seller. He is also the author of "Essential Manners for Couples," "Playing Through–A Guide to the Unwritten Rules of Golf," and co-author of "A Wedding Like No Other." Post is Emily Post's great-grandson. His media appearances include "CBS Sunday Morning," CBS's "The Early Show," NBC's "Today," ABC's "Good Morning America," and "Fox News."

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