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How Long Do Baby Showers Last

On average, baby showers last about 2-3 hours. However, this can change drastically depending on factors like the mother’s energy level, what activities are going to happen, and the number of people that are there. Below, we’ll break down all the things you should consider regarding how long do baby showers last and give a few helpful tips to keep in mind as you’re planning. 

Deciding Baby Shower Length

The guideline of 2-3 hours for the average baby shower includes games and activities, socializing, opening gifts, and cake. However, you don’t have to include all these things if you don’t want to. Also, the number of people that attend might affect how long everything is going to take. Here are some things that you might want to consider. 

The Overall Plan

Baby showers don’t always follow traditional guidelines. For example, the mother-to-be might prefer to do something like breakfast with a few of her favorite people or a relaxing day at the spa in lieu of a more traditional baby shower. While the traditional baby shower lasts 2-3 hours, there isn’t any guideline if you decide to have a small celebration or get together with friends instead. You could spend a couple of hours at breakfast or all day at the spa — it’s really up to you. 

Mother’s Energy Level

Before you start planning a baby shower, consider how the mother is feeling and how long she’ll be comfortable at the shower. Keeping it around 2-3 hours stops the shower from being especially draining and keeps it a celebration instead of something the mother feels obligated to do. Even if the mom-to-be can stay seated most of the time, it can be tiring to interact with so many people. This is especially true toward the end of the second trimester or beginning of the third trimester, which is around when most baby showers are planned. 

Number of Guests

While there might be a lot of people excited about the upcoming birth of the baby, it’s important that you don’t overwhelm the expectant mother. She will want to spend at least a little time visiting with everyone, and it can be exhausting if there are too many people to interact with. Having too many people also makes it harder to sort out who bought what gifts and might make it awkward (and time-consuming) to open everything. While you could do away with gift opening if there are too many guests, you’ll still want to plan enough time for everything. A larger party will take more time to serve cake or food and more time to socialize, so you may want to plan a longer event if you’re expecting a lot of guests. 

Something you’ll want to avoid is inviting too many guests to the baby shower. If the expectant parents have a lot of people that are supportive, it might be best to have one baby shower organized for family, another for friends, and another for coworkers. This stops the shower from getting so big that it becomes unmanageable or difficult to interact with everyone. Additionally, since mothers do not traditionally throw their own baby showers, different people can throw the showers depending on who is in attendance. 

Gift Opening

Traditionally, gift opening is something that is done before the cake. However, some mothers also save the gift opening until they are at home by themselves. This is especially true if there are a lot of people in attendance. Not only does this leave more time for games or interacting with guests, but it also makes it easier to make a list of who brought which gifts so the thank you notes can be more personalized. 

Planned Games and Activities

A baby shower should be a celebration instead of being stressful. The average baby shower has anywhere from 3-5 games, or it might not have any games at all. Things like onesie decorating are also a common activity. If you plan to have games and activities, try to keep them within 30-45 minutes of activities. This will stop the baby shower games from taking up the entire party. As a host, it’s important to keep an eye on the clock and make sure things keep going according to schedule, so everything else doesn’t end up being rushed through. 


The timing of a baby shower is going to affect what types of foods or hors d’oeuvres are being served. Traditionally, baby showers are held early in the afternoon. This is a good choice if you want to do something themed (for example, you might make tiny tea sandwiches for an afternoon tea theme). Additionally, this prevents you from having to prepare and buy a significant amount of food for guests. If it isn’t around a meal, then guests might expect snacks but not necessarily to get full. 

Type of Food Being Served

If you choose finger foods or other foods guests can serve themselves, then it’s going to give the host and mom-to-be more time for celebrating at the shower. Chances are you will still need to serve cake, but letting guests take care of their own snacks takes one thing off your busy schedule. Additionally, if you are crunched for time, the expectant mother can open gifts while everyone is eating. 

FAQs – Baby Shower Length

What does a typical baby shower schedule look like?

The typical baby shower includes time to socialize, playing games, opening gifts, and cake. In most cases, the actual games don’t start until 30-45 minutes after guests are supposed to arrive. This gives time for everyone to show up (even the people that are usually late). Then, baby shower games and crafts might start. This could involve everything from decorating onesies or a patch for a quilt to fun baby shower games and might take up to an hour. After baby shower games, it’s usually time for a snack or to enjoy whatever has been served. Alternatively, you might open gifts and then have cake. 

Is it rude to leave a baby shower early?

It really depends on your reason for leaving. If you have to go to work or have another obligation, then the expectant mother will likely just be happy that you took time out of your day to stop by. However, if you don’t have any reason for leaving other than you don’t like baby showers, then it would be considered rude to leave early. 

How long does a baby sprinkle last? 

A baby sprinkle is a smaller alternative to a baby shower, often reserved for second, third, or even fourth children if parents don’t need a lot for their new bundle of joy. (Of course, you could have a full-size second baby shower if you want to, especially if it’s been a while since the first child or you’re expecting a child of different sex). It’s a smaller celebration in most cases, so a baby sprinkle might only last two hours. This is especially true if it’s a smaller, more intimate gathering. 

Can I just leave the end time as TBD? 

Some planners decide that the end time should be TBD (to-be-determined) at the shower. While this leaves the end of the party flexible, it also makes it harder to stay on schedule. Additionally, keep in mind that the expectant mother likely doesn’t want to spend more than 3 hours or so with guests. If the shower runs too long, she’ll feel obligated to stay but may not keep up the same energy that she had at the beginning of the shower. 

While you can list the end time of the shower as TBD, it is better to have a set time that things are going to come to a close. This lets you set a schedule for each of the activities and have adequate time for the mother-to-be to socialize with everyone and hand out gift bags as they go. Additionally, having a set time stops the celebration from running too long and being draining. 

Final Word

Deciding how long your baby shower should really depend on the number of guests in attendance, what activities or events you are having, if gifts will be opened, the timing of the shower, and more. As you decide what activities you’ll have and how long it’s going to take, plan the schedule around that. Finally, be sure to leave time for socializing at the beginning and end so the mother-to-be can interact with guests. Hopefully, this article has helped you answer the question of how long do baby showers last so you know what to expect. 

Samantha Davis is a part-time writer and a full-time mommy of two boys, Apollo (age 5) and Adrien (age 7). She has been working as a writer for seven years and loves the freedom it gives her to spend time with her boys and fiance.and do things like camping, swimming, and painting. She is also a parent to three fur babies- two dogs and a cat!

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