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Birth Announcement Etiquette

by Liz O'Byrne - for PhotoAffections™

Birth announcements - does it ever seem to you that it's hard to know "the rules" these days? The whole topic of proper etiquette for preparing and sending photo birth announcements can be a confusing maze. As a soon-to-be new Mom, you're probably already trying to get a handle on lots of new information - especially if this is your first baby. You need to know - quickly and simply - how to deal with the basics! That's why™ has created an overview on the essential aspects of birth announcement etiquette. We're sure you'll find these suggestions and guidelines to be helpful.

First of all, just what are birth announcements?

Simply put, birth announcements are a written way of presenting your newest creation to the world. Types and styles of modern birth announcements vary widely, depending on personal taste. But what's important is that your baby's first introduction is as special as he or she is! In days past, baby birth announcements did not generally include a photo of the newborn. However, photo cards for babies are a very popular trend, since proud new parents are eager to mark this milestone by showing off their pride and joy in a unique and classy manner!

To whom should you send an announcement?

There are no hard rules on this one. In general, though, you should send them to everyone with whom you want to share your happy news! Typically, you'll include your closest relatives and dearest friends. Then you may want to add other relatives and friends you're not in contact with as often, as they will most certainly be pleased to hear from you about this momentous event! You may then want to expand your list to include coworkers, social contacts and business associates.

A word of caution: whatever the size of the "circle" you decide to send birth announcements to, just be sure to be consistent. For example, if you include two of your mother's sisters on your mailing list, be sure to include the third one as well! It could be embarrassing to accidentally leave someone out, and you certainly wouldn't want to hurt anyone's feelings.

Remember, too, that people lead very busy lives these days. In spite of the convenience of e-mail, and unlimited long distance calling plans, we often don't stay in touch with those we love as much as we would like. American society is more mobile than ever before; frequent moves all over the country -- and even the globe -- are commonplace. And people really do enjoy learning about special events in the lives of folks they care about!

When should you send out your announcements?

The etiquette for mailing baby photo announcements has been that they should go out as soon as possible after your baby's birth. However, as a practical matter, new parents' lives go through a major transition once a newborn arrives home from the hospital. It's not out of the ordinary, for months to go by before birth announcements are actually sent. It's generally agreed that you shouldn't wait more than six months. One clever and efficient solution would be to combine your baby's birth information with a holiday card. For example,™ offers a number of attractively personalized holiday photo cards, Valentine or Easter cards that build birth information in.

There's another factor to take into consideration about the timing of your announcements: adorable as your new creation may be, photos taken immediately after birth may not do your little one justice! Many new parents prefer to give themselves a few days or even weeks to capture the perfect images.

Is it necessary to sign each baby announcement, or write a personal note in each one?

No, traditional etiquette says this is not necessary or even expected, as everyone knows how harried new parents can be. Also, trying to personalize each announcement would tend to slow down the project. However, for those you're especially close to, a very brief hand-written note would be a nice touch. Just a sentence or two can work wonders!

What about sending birth announcements for the second, third, fourth baby?

This is perfectly OK - in fact, it's done often. Parents may even word the announcement so that an older sibling is introducing the baby! Example: "Tommy introduces his new little sister." This, especially combined with lighter, more playful designs, can give your baby announcements a whole new feeling!

Will people who receive a birth announcement interpret this as asking for a gift?

People realize that sending announcements is a long-standing social tradition. They won't feel obligated to respond with a gift, although many will - especially if they haven't already participated in a baby shower for you. Others will acknowledge your thoughtfulness with card of their own, or write a note, or call. They'll thank you for sharing your new one with them!

What information should be on a Birth Announcement?

Planning ahead for sending your Birth Announcements.

Click here to view all Photo Baby Announcements!

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