Reddit Thread Sparks Debate About 'Diaper Cakes' at Baby Showers: Thoughtful Gift or Just Too Big?

An expectant mom's sister-in-law flipped out when she politely declined her own diaper cake.

From Pinterest to Instagram, you'll find any and every kind of baby shower decor you can imagine. For some parents-to-be, a diaper cake—a faux tiered cake made up of disposable diapers—is a must-have item. For others, either due to a desire to use cloth diapers or space and storage concerns, it's incredibly unnecessarily. But not everyone in an expectant parent's inner circle will understand that. A Redditor who falls in the latter category recently shared how voicing her disinterest got her in hot water with her sister-in-law.

The 30-year-old original poster (OP), writing under the handle r/AITA-diapercake, said she's pregnant with her first and most likely only child who's due in September. Her husband's sister is "very excited" and told her that she would be making a diaper cake for the baby shower. The OP initially thought this would be a cake shaped like a diaper but then learned the true definition.

An image of diapers on top of a pink and blue background.
Getty Images.

"She showed me Pinterest pictures of several tall, awkwardly shaped towers of diapers, sometimes with decorations pinned or glued to the outside which I'm pretty sure would make some of the outside diapers unusable," noted the OP.

The mom-to-be then told her SIL that while she appreciates the sentiment and she loves that she already wants to do something for a baby shower that's months away, she and her husband are "undecided on the disposable vs. cloth question," and if she is going to use disposable ones, she'd rather keep them in a box where they'll be "easier to store and move."

In response, her SIL apparently got angry, yelled that diaper cakes are traditional, called the OP ungrateful, and said the OP will be sorry when she "has a baby and no baby stuff" because she "rejected" all her shower gifts. "Obviously that last part was just her going over the top because she was mad, but what about the rest of it?" asked the Redditor.

She then turned it over to the community asking if she's an ass**** for turning down a gift for its presentation. "I would be happy with a gift of diapers, but this cake thing just seems like a lot of effort to take something practical and turn it into something completely impractical," noted the OP.

Fellow Redditors tried to bring pragmatic perspectives to the situation. For instance, r/Gypsy_spirit_12 wrote that she got five at her shower and "just took them with a smile, because they are a gift made with love." While she thinks they're dumb, she pointed out that diapers are still usable. "After shower, put them away in a storage container or a diaper holder," she suggested. "Honestly, those diaper cakes saved me in the middle night when I thought I ran out of diapers but remembered the box downstairs. If you don't like it, you can always donate it to a woman's shelter."

Still, r/Gaylectric acknowledged that it is wrong for the SIL to refuse to acknowledge the OP's preferences. "The gift giver insisting on the type of diaper used—well, that's just plain old rude and unhelpful and goes against the spirit of baby shower traditions," they noted.

A commenter writing under the handle r/Maximum_Vermicelli88 thought the SIL "definitely overreacted, and the yelling was rude and unnecessary" but found it "extremely rude to be so ungrateful when someone loves you and your child enough to go through the effort to buy materials and make a handcrafted gift for you."

The Redditor also pointed out that "there are babies with diaper rash because their parents can't afford to change their diaper often enough." She added, "If it's not something you want, it can always be donated. There is always a need for diapers. Some places like shelters and food banks may not be able to accept them open, but I'm willing to bet you have a pay it forward or pay nothing Facebook group in your area."

The OP didn't chime in again following her initial post, but here's hoping she took note of these on-point suggestions to think about the big picture and, should she decide against using disposables, to donate them to parents in need.

If you're looking for a spot to drop unwanted diapers, check out the National Diaper Bank Network (NDBN), which connects and supports more than 200 community-based diaper banks that collect, store and distribute free diapers to struggling families nationwide. The NDBN serves nearly 280,000 children throughout the country each month.

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