I’ve been to quite a few baby showers in the past ten years. For the majority of those parties the mother-to-be already knew the baby’s gender. In the case of baby boys light blue invitations with sailboats and puppy dogs were mailed, for baby girls sparkly images of pink ribbons and sprinkled cupcakes.
As a guest at these events I’ve noticed an interesting trend. When the gender is known and revealed prior to the shower the number of baby outfits and clothes provided as gifts increases exponentially.
From my experience knowing the gender seems to increase the odds that guests will avoid more functional presents in favor of cute little clothes that make women oh and ah.
As I mentioned in my last post my husband and I chose not to find out the gender of our first born child in advance and will do the same this time around. At our baby shower we received a plethora of practical items from our registry and very few clothing related items.
In comparison I attended a baby shower last February where the mother-to-be was inundated with gift bags full of clothes. Other than a box or two of diapers and practical items from one or two family members she received very little from her registry.
It was a HUGE shower with a room full of guests and almost each and every one of them opted for something cute over something practical. As someone who is ridiculously prudent it pained my heart to see so much money wasted on teeny tiny baby clothes that would be outgrown within a matter of weeks.
I’ve witnessed similar scenarios time and time again particularly from moms expecting baby girls. When the mom is finished opening the gifts the room is overflowing with pink dresses, dainty shoes for a baby who won’t be old enough to walk in them and barrettes for a child who may not have hair.
From my personal experience it seems that the temptation to buy cute outfits is avoided when the gender is unknown. I’m not sure why that happens, perhaps it’s just harder to find clothes in gender neutral colors.
Of course, gender isn’t the only predictor of what types of gifts moms-to-be might receive. Some moms don’t take price into consideration when registering. If you choose too many high end items or too many inexpensive ones you won’t get what you want either. I wrote a post back in February explaining this in more detail. If you really want friends and family to buy what you want it’s important to consider price points and store locations carefully.
In our case we received play mats, strollers, nursery items and bath toys in neutral colors. Even the guests who chose to avoid the registry picked gender neutral items like sheets with jungle themed prints and sorting toys. Not a single gift was wasted and each one can be used the second time around regardless of whether baby two turns out to be a boy or a girl.
My son currently sleeps in a yellow room with green sheets. The next baby can easily move into that same room without changing a single thing in it. In fact, even at age three, with the exception of his Thomas trains, most of his toys are gender neutral.
I think having a boy first gives us an overall advantage in the clothing department. A little girl can wear blue much more easily than a little boy can wear pink. In general I find that the girls clothing is quite girly, while the boy’s clothing is much more gender neutral.
Most moms I know that had a daughter before a son agree with me. They said the majority of their little girls clothing was donated or sold and that whole new wardrobes had to be purchased or borrowed for their second child.
While we didn’t receive many clothes at our shower I did purchase quite a few in the span of that first year. I took a peek in the box today and found that the majority of clothing in 0 to 9 months can be worn by either gender. If my children were born at the same time of year I don’t think we would need to buy anything new for the first six to nine months. Of course that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t want to buy a few feminine outfits, but more importantly that the need wouldn’t exist.
I’d love to hear your opinions on this topic. If you knew the gender in advance of your baby shower did you receive a lot of clothing? If you waited did you find the majority of guests purchased practical items directly from your registry? Also, since girls can wear boys clothes do you think there is an economic advantage to having a boy before a girl?