Birth Announcements: Your Etiquette Questions Answered

Filed under: Babies

Mark your baby's birth with an announcement for family and friends. Credit: Getty

After waiting nine long months for that little bundle of joy to arrive, parents are naturally eager to share the news with everyone. Birth announcements are a wonderful way to introduce your precious newborn to the world, yet parents often have questions about proper birth announcement etiquette.

To help you navigate your way, here are answers to some of the most common birth announcement etiquette questions for new parents:

When should I pick out a birth announcement?

It's advisable to pick out your birth announcement a few weeks before your baby's arrival, since new parents can be quite overwhelmed once the newborn arrives home. Birth announcements can be ordered online or at a local stationery or baby store; either way, choose the style of the card and the message to go with it.

Then, after your baby's birth, simply contact the stationer with your baby's name, date of birth, weight and length. If you don't already know the gender, you can choose a card with neutral colors, such as greens or yellows, or you can pick a birth announcement geared toward both a boy and a girl and then choose the appropriate one after your baby is born.

Who should receive a birth announcement?

In the case of birth announcements, new parents are advised to send one to all of their friends, family members, co-workers and neighbors -- you may even choose to send them to friends from high school or former work colleagues, as your baby's birth is a great way to reconnect with people you haven't spoken with in a while. Informal e-mails are fine for quick announcements, but etiquette dictates that e-mails should be followed up with formal printed or handwritten cards.

Be sure to put your mailing list together and purchase stamps before your baby is born, so that you're ready to get your birth announcements out as soon as possible.

When should I send out the birth announcements?

Ideally, your birth announcements should be sent as soon as possible after your baby's birth, preferably within the first three months. But, if you're like most new parents, feedings, diaper changes and sleep deprivation may get the best of you at first. In that case, birth announcement etiquette dictates that you may wait as long as six months after your baby's arrival. However, if you do send them out that late, it's a good practice to include a more recent photo of your baby, as well as a quick handwritten update on your baby at six months.

Should I expect everyone on the birth announcement list to send a gift?

Birth announcement etiquette does not require that recipients send a gift -- especially if someone has already given a baby shower present. However, it is proper for those who have received birth announcements to respond with a congratulatory note or phone call. If you do receive gifts for your baby, don't forget to send a thank you note as soon as possible, though it is acceptable to take up to three months.

Having a baby can be an overwhelming experience for new parents, so no one will blame you if you fall a bit behind on the social niceties and get your birth announcements out a bit late -- but planning ahead can save you time and help things go more smoothly.


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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.