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Getting the Baby Shower You Want

If your hostess's idea of a great party clashes with yours, with a little tact you can still get the shower and gifts you want.

Baby Shower Etiquette: Ways to Say What You Want

Fortunately, many modern baby showers are hosted by close friends of the mother-  or parents-to-be, which usually makes it easier to be upfront (or drop hints) about any issues you have strong feelings about. Close friends are also likely to have a pretty good sense of your taste.

But what if your hostess is planning a traditional pink-and-white girl shower and you hate pink? What if she's got her heart set on games that involve chocolate pudding in a diaper, but the thought of that turns your stomach?

Here are four tips to keep in mind when making your feelings known.

•    Bring it up in the beginning. You may be tempted to put it off and see what the hostess has in mind, but the best time to talk is before she's made many plans or put down money on shower items. "Don't wait until she's already ordered a baby game online," says Tina Haller. "Release your wishes with love and let it be out of your hands." 

•    Be tactful. This is not the time for power-talking. Spencer suggests trying phrases such as: "Wouldn't it be fun if…," "What I really need is…," or even "Didn't you hate it at that other baby shower when …?" 

•    Ask someone else talk to the hostess. In some situations, it can be more effective -- and less awkward -- if a good friend or family member conveys your feelings to the hostess. 

•    Try to get your wishes known in other ways. "If it's really not clicking when you talk to the hostess or if you're too uncomfortable talking about it, involve her when you go shopping or show her the colors you're planning for your nursery," suggests McKinley.

Coed Baby Showers and Games

One area of baby shower planning that can be sensitive is whether to include men.

In ancient times, baby celebrations included both parents. After World War II, when they really came into vogue in the U.S., fathers got short shrift in baby showers, as they did with their baby's birth. Today, some parents feel it's important to correct that.

"The person who threw us a shower asked what we wanted," says Crimmins. "To us it was important that it not be traditional because I wasn't the only one having the baby -- my husband, Bob, was too. We wanted to say that to us, giving birth was a 'team event.'" 

If the prospect of men at a baby shower shocks the elderly aunt who wants to throw yours, what should you do? This may be a good time to bring in your mother or a favorite niece to explain to her that coed showers are very acceptable today. Or ask for a semi-coed shower, where men and women gather together in the beginning and then split up for separate events.

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