Traditionally, baby showers were given only for the family's first child, and only women were invited.  The original intent was for women to share wisdom and lessons on the art of becoming a mother. Over time, it has become common to hold them for subsequent children. It is not uncommon for a parent to have more than one baby shower, such as one with friends and another with co-workers.

There is no set rule for when or where showers are to be held. The number of guests and style of entertainment are determined by the host. Most hosts invite only women to baby showers, although there is no firm rule requiring this.

Some hosts arrange baby-themed activities, such as games to taste baby foods or to guess the baby's birth date or sex.

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