I also wonder if those who are offended would feel the same if it was turned around? If this was the father's 3rd child and the mother's 1st?
Showers are supposed to be to welcome women into motherhood. so if it was mom's first she would not have been "welcomed" - presumably the dad's wife would have been showered at some point ( possibly multiple times)
And they should be absolutely sure that the folks they are inviting are open to it and won't be feeling put on or offended.
I won't reiterate my views completely since already explained upthread, but it seems to me that if my reaction to being invited to a shower is to feel put out or offended, I am not likely close with the person and would have no trouble RSVPing no and not sending a gift. It wouldn't be a realtionship I would care about maintaining. If it were a relationship I cared about maintaining, I would not likely react by feeling put out or offended because I would like the person and be excited for the celebration. I don't understand why it would be the huge issue that it seems to be for many posters.
The same can be said of those who want a shower for every birth. I don't understand why the concept of one per person per transition is such a big deal. Traditional etiquette says one shower per person for babies and one for weddings...not multiple. What's the huge issue with sticking with that?
In my circle people expect gifts for babies for the following occassions
1) shower - and no one better be so crass as to show up to a shower with out a gift, or they be laughed at behind their back for the rest of their lives. a single pack of wipes, like someone suggested....would be little better.
2) hospital visit - gift cards are ok for this
3) baptism - money is expected for this - and usually the amount expected is $50 to $100 +
4) first birthday - and many people think these should be big ticket things that the kid is lacking, new car seat, toddler bed, or money so the parents can pick out what they want the kid to have.
So by the time a kid is a year old there have been several "celebrations of the new life. " and usually the same folks giving.
If this is really the case, then I am very, very glad I am not part of your circle. I don't think I could deal with the negativity, the rigidity, the constant judgmental nature of everything, and the apparent habit of always, always, always assuming the worst about everybody and their motives.
As for myself- I never had a baby shower (and I don't particularly care because I don't believe myself entitled to one. If someone had offered to host one for me, I would have been touched and thankful, but I'm not upset that nobody did because, as I said, I'm not entitled to one and didn't expect it). I did receive many wonderful and generous gifts from family friends during each of my pregnancies, but I never expected or believed myself entitled to anything. I simply considered myself blessed to have caring and loving people in my life, and was grateful and touched by every gift we received. It never even occurred to me to "expect" visits or cards during my hospital stays (actually, when my daughter's godmother showed up to visit me in the hospital after her birth, it took me entirely by surprise- it hadn't even occurred to me that someone would want to come all the way out to sit with a tired mom and sleeping baby in a sterile hospital room). I did invite family and friends to my children's baptisms, but I certainly did not expect gifts or money. I invited people because they were individuals I cared about and I wanted them there to share in an important event in my family's life. I think each time some people did give gifts and some people didn't, but I couldn't tell you who was who, and I don't think anybody gave money (it was mostly small gifts, like a children's bible or a small picture frame or something). As for the first birthday- for each of my kids, the "party" consisted of grandparents and godparents, and I don't think anybody gave "big ticket" items- we certainly didn't get beds, car seats, or large (or small, for that matter) amounts of cash, and I would have been shocked (if extremely touched and grateful) if we had because why on earth would I expect other people to buy my kid a bed? My kids mostly got books, toys, and a few new outfits, and I can't wrap my mind around expecting even those small things, let alone a new car seat.