Invite fellow friends and family for our twist on the "sip and see," a party held after the baby is born. Guests can come "sip" (drink cocktails or mocktails), "see" (meet the baby), and "be seen" (take photos with the guest of honor).
Opt for simple decor: Decorate with photographs from the first weeks of the baby's life. Cover a bulletin board with fabric and print out a page with her birth date and her stats.
Set up a DIY photo booth for guests to take photos with the newborn. The app Pocketbooth ($1 to $2; ProjectBox.com) recreates the feel of an old-school photo booth on a mobile device -- guests can upload photos to Facebook or print later. For a picture-perfect thank-you, iOS users can order printed photo strips ($3 each, including domestic shipping) from your party, which Pocketbooth can send directly to guests.
Free the hosts from bartending duties with a make-your-own-mimosa bar stocked with fresh juices and cut-up fruits. Expectant or breastfeeding mothers can have a Mom-osa made with sparkling apple cider.
To register or not to register? That is the question second-time-around moms often face. We say go ahead, especially if the siblings will be years apart in age or the second baby is a different sex from the first child.
FUN FACT: 80% of moms surveyed believe in baby-gift registries for experienced moms.
Second-time moms may not need much in the way of baby gear, but a family can always use extra clothing, especially when the second is born in a different season. For a creative and wallet-friendly spin on the usual shower, invite your friend's mom pals for a kid-clothing exchange.
Host a Successful Swap
Invite everyone to bring clean baby and kid clothes or accessories to trade. Ask them to also bring clothes in need of repair for patching -- you'll provide the patches (see below).
Purchase plain, lightweight cotton totes ($3.50 each; muji.us/store) and decorate them as homemade favors. You can find our template for the tote at parents.com/tote-bag, print it onto iron-on fabric transfer paper, and press away. Guests can use the bags to haul home all their loot.
Get in the savings spirit with a baby-centric version of The Price Is Right. Download and print a list of baby items at parents.com/price-is-right and buy the items (give them to the mom-to-be afterward). Partygoers will write down what they think items cost. The one who is closest to the actual prices wins a prize.
Before the party, stock up on iron-on patches ($3 and up; michaels.com) and appliqués (novelty patches, $5 each; mokuyobithreads.com) for guests to use to repair and refresh their kids' clothing (patches can even be used to mask stains). Set up an iron and ironing board for guests to press on their patches.
Give your friend a gift she'll really appreciate with this shower that's designed to fill the mama-to-be's freezer for those first hectic weeks.
When you send the invitations, ask guests to let you know what kind of freezer-friendly entrée each will bring, so you can make sure Mom gets a variety.
Ask all the guests to e-mail the instructions for their dishes in advance, and have the recipes printed as favors. Spiral-bound books cost just a few dollars at office-supply chains; if you want to splurge, Shutterfly.com can help you turn your collection into a soft- or hard-cover book ($13 and up).
Whole-grain muffins and other baked goods freeze well and make an easy breakfast for busy moms. At the party the group can bake a few batches for the mom-to-be (she can enjoy some now and freeze the rest for later). Keep the menu itself simple with store-bought items such as bagels, quiche, and fresh fruit.
Give guests the experience of a fancy coffee shop with a make-your-own-coffee bar. You can pick up a group-size container of hot coffee at many coffee shops, and pair it with milk, sugar, and add-ins like cinnamon, cocoa powder, vanilla, flavored syrups, and whipped cream.
Originally published in the September 2013 issue of Parents magazine.