Attending a drop-in baby shower can be tricky. No one wants to spend three to four hours at the event, or wait around to see if or when the presents will be opened. Have a plan before you go and allow yourself a measure of flexibility that allows you to enjoy the experience but still honor the mom and her baby.
Buy a gift
You must purchase a gift for the newborn or the new mom. The whole point of a shower is to help the family along in their new life. Most shower organizers register the guest of honor. Larger stores will have registry kiosks and private boutiques will have a registry that you can ask to see. When in doubt, ask the person who invited you to the shower where the mom is registered. Stick to the registry unless the mom has specifically mentioned something she needs that isn't registered but is still in your price range. Remember to always gift wrap the present for a shower.
Decide how long to stay
Set your boundaries before you go. Most drop-in showers are relaxed and allow guests to come and go as they please. Since drop-in showers generally occur after the baby is born, it is a good idea to plan to stay between 60 and 90 minutes. Anything less tends to disrupt the laid back nature of the drop-in shower as holding the baby and chatting with the mom and her family can become rushed and forced.
Plan a timely arrival
Avoid any awkwardness and arrive no more than an hour into the party to allow yourself time to mingle, hold the baby, and chat with the mom. Some drop-in showers last only a couple of hours or end early depending on family dynamics and the baby's demeanor.
Notice the ebb and flow
Try and see how many people are coming and going as you near the end of your planned exit time. If everyone seems to be leaving early, watch the mom and see if she is happy with people leaving or if she'd prefer guests to stay. Try to be sensitive to both her and her newborn's needs, and be sure not to overstay your welcome.
Where to place the gift
Handing your gift directly to the mom can be awkward especially if her hands are full or she's talking to someone when you walk in. If you can't find the table with the gifts, ask the hostess where to put your gift. Be sure to attach a card and sign your name to the gift, because sometimes the presents won't be opened at the shower.
Duck out without making a scene. You don't have to say goodbye to everyone in the room. Remember the mom and her baby are the guests of honor. Let it be about them.