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So this may come as no surprise to women who know things (or to the fans of Real Housewives of Atlanta), but Sip and Sees (or Sip ‘n Sees) are an actual thing. Personally, I had no idea what a Sip and See was until a day or so after my daughter’s birth, when my shower hostesses, women of the South who are much posher than me, dropped by to visit me in the hospital following my emergency c-section at 29 weeks. That conversation went like this:

“We thought it best to cancel the baby shower, but what do you think about a Sip and See instead?”

“What’s a Sip and See?”

“It’s like a baby shower, but you’ll get to show off Our Girl. Also, you’ll get to drink champagne.”

“I’m in.”

And that is what a Sip and See is. Whereas a baby shower is a celebration of the baby-to-come, a Sip and See is a celebration of the baby-that-is. It’s a homecoming. And it’s far less presumptuous than a traditional shower where attendees celebrate a baby’s birth with monogrammed linens or engraved trinkets before the baby is actually born.

Unlike religious dedications, which are typically family affairs, Sip and Sees are much more relaxed and are open to family, friends, and neighbors.  Furthermore, Sip and Sees are typically organized by close family friends, as opposed to the new parents themselves (who are tired, so very tired), which allows the parents to concentrate on more important things, like enjoying themselves and showing off the tiny guest(s) of honor.

Our Sip and See was awesome. It was a small affair on the patio of a local Tex-Mex restaurant. I drank a top-shelf margarita on the rocks, and my husband and I floated from one table to the next, smiling, laughing, having a good time. We had family there, as well as friends, and everyone had a chance to hold our daughter (just kidding! there was no way my mom was going to share!) My best friend’s daughter licked a table; my former boss paid for our lunch; the shower hostesses made the whole occasion special with planning and decorations. There were speeches, there were gifts, there were lots and lots of pictures. It was perfect. Our daughter ate most of a bottle, spit up on her dress, which of course was adorable, then drowsed through the rest of her very first party.

I’m a huge fan of Sip and Sees. Yeah, I know, I’m somewhat biased because I had one and it was awesome, and yeah, I know, my perspective as a preemie parent who missed out on a baby shower departs from the usual What-to-Expect story line, but I have to say, the more I think about it, the more I think Sip and Sees are the way to go.

Need some gift ideas? Check out my Top Five Gifts for Preterm Parents.