Between decorating a nursery, registering for gifts, and actually bringing baby home, the last thing you should fret over is your baby announcement. We consulted some experts and asked them to share their essential etiquette advice, as well as the basic information you should include in your announcement, the proper wording, and what extra details you can include (if there's room!).
Here’s everything you need to know about birth announcement etiquette:
The exact timing for sending announcements depends on your schedule. You've just welcomed a new baby into your home, so friends and family will understand that you're too busy to send them right away. If you're a planner, save your future self some time by prepping and addressing announcements a few weeks or months ahead and then adding in the necessary wording after the baby's birth, says Cindy Post Senning, co-director at the Emily Post Institute..
If you're planning to send an electronic announcement, compile a list of e-mail addresses beforehand so you only need to hit "send" after the baby is born. If you're unable to send an official birth announcement within the first few weeks after the birth, you can always send a short e-mail update or post a short social media message first and then follow up with a more formal, detailed announcement (electronic or paper) when you have time.
There's no official cut-off time to send an announcement, so don't stress if a few months have passed. "This is a happy occasion; it shouldn't be made miserable by feeling obligated to get [announcements] out by a deadline," say Devra S. Renner, M.S.W., and Aviva K. Pflock, M.Ed. Psy, authors of Mommy Guilt. "Your baby arrived on its own timeline, so feel free to send announcements on your own timeline, too."
This is entirely up to you, but consider including anyone you would want to contact personally — family, friends, and those in your immediate circle, Post Senning says.
"You don't have to go through your entire holiday card list; just stick to the people who you feel connected to and who may feel hurt if they don't receive one," she says. "There's no rule that you should or shouldn't send an announcement to someone."
According to Betsy Campbell, national manager of custom print at Paper Source, all birth announcements should provide the following basic information:
Optional info you can include:
Parents of twins or multiples can include the same info on the announcement but modify it for length (to include all the babies' names!). If you've adopted your new baby or child, it's fine to include the adoption date and the baby's birth location, especially if it was an international birth.
If you've adopted a child who is no longer an infant, you can send a personalized adoption announcement that provides a few details about your new addition, such as the child's birthplace and birthdate, plus the adoption date.
If you're feeling stuck on what to include, remember that less is more. "Short and sweet is easy and certainly sufficient," Renner and Pflock say.
Your baby birth announcement doesn't have to be complicated — just a few lines of important information will have everyone cooing about your newborn.
Traditional birth announcements are usually written in the third person and reference the parents first, followed by the baby's name. But lately more parents have been leaning toward less formal announcements with personal language, pictures of the newborn, and mentions of other children in the family, Campbell says.
Of course, how your announcement is worded depends entirely on your preference. "Birth announcements should reflect the personality of the family. When you choose the wording, make it feel natural to you and your family," says Alison Dutton, marketing and product director at PinholePress.com. "A classic sign-off by the parents can include 'With Love,' 'Proud Parents,' and 'Welcomed With Love by.'"
Below are examples of how to word traditional and informal birth announcements, as provided by Campbell and Dutton:
Annie and Jonathan Parker are happy to announce the arrival of Alexis Ray
October 14, 2015
7 pounds, 6 ounces • 19 inches
Our little bundle of joy has arrived!
Annie and Jonathan Parker and big brother Jacob are ecstatic to welcome little Alexis Ray into the world!
Born on the 14th of October, 2014
7 pounds, 6 ounces
If there is additional important information (like a website address where friends and family can see more baby photos or read the birth story), it's best to put it at the end of the announcement.
Campbell offers an example below on how to share links to a personal website or a social media account on your announcement:
Madison Tyler Jackson
Born May 17, 2018
7 pounds • 8 ounces • 20 inches long
Visit our Flickr site to see more beautiful pictures of our happy family:
With love, Josh, Lisa & Maddy Jackson
To make the important details pop, make sure the birth announcement clearly displays both the text of the announcement and the most important part: a good photo of your baby. Make your announcement stand out by choosing a high-contrast, clear photo, and try to avoid busy patterns in the background.
"Birth announcements are best when you keep them simple, to celebrate the beauty of your new baby," Dutton says. "A close-up image of your baby's face is always a classic choice ... close-up images feel intimate, and the recipient will have a chance to see the detail in your baby's expression."
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The type of announcements you choose to send depends on your preference and what you think family and friends will appreciate. Electronic announcements can definitely be more cost-effective, but printed announcements are lovely as keepsakes. Fortunately, both versions are perfectly acceptable.
"No one says you can't do a little of each," Renner and Pflock say. "We all have those friends and relatives who would love to see something in the mail and those who are just as happy to see it online."
Try applying the same rules to your announcements as you would to thank-you cards. If you prefer to send handwritten thank-you notes, you may prefer to send printed announcements. Send a quick, electronic update right after the birth and then mail announcements later to grandparents or family members who may not be online, Post Senning says. Or send paper versions only to people closest to you and electronic announcements to those outside of your immediate circle.
Handing out little gifts, like cigars wrapped with a blue or pink band, is also a traditional way to celebrate your baby's birth, Post Senning says, though it may not be as common as it used to be. If you want to honor this tradition without a cigar, give out celebratory chocolate or candy along with the birth announcement or, if there's room, have the announcement printed on it.
Sharing your special news on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram (either by posting a photo of the announcement or by sharing a photo with announcement details) can help you save time and reach everyone in your network—without the hassle of collecting updated mailing and email addresses or leaving anyone out. But with so many ways to spread the word about your baby, keep these things in mind before you post a birth announcement online:
Show pictures of your newborn after he's been cleaned up and dressed up, Post Senning says. It can be a picture of just the baby or get the new older siblings involved by taking a picture of the whole family.
Share similar details that you would on a paper birth announcement (name, birth date, and gender), but it's okay to be a little more informal with the language.
If you want to be the first and only person to share the news online, remind any family members or friends not to post pictures or status updates about the baby until you've done so, Post Senning says.
Consider making your post (and your social media accounts in general) private so only friends and family members can see and access the announcement.
You can create an official page for your family and close friends on Facebook so you can update them all at once, Renner and Pflock say, or send them information via Facebook through private messages. Or create a Google+ circle to post baby updates and then host a video hangout to introduce everyone face-to-face to your baby.