Purchases for a baby shower should include invitations, decorations, menu items, party favors and, possibly, items for games. The first items purchased should be invitations and stamps to send them.
Baby showers often feature a theme, such as Noah's Ark or the French countryside. Once the theme has been chosen, decorations can be purchased. Typically, decorations should include a tablecloth, signage, balloons and tabletop decor. Tableware, napkins and cups usually match the color scheme of the theme. Many hostesses also like to include a guest book or scrapbook to present to the expectant mother afterwards.
Party favors sometimes also reflect the theme. Hostesses usually either present each guest with a parting gift or give gifts as prizes to the winners of games. Items such as soap, candles, bubble bath and lotion are popular party favors. Food gifts, such as cookies and candies, are also appropriate.
Brunch and teatime gatherings are traditional settings for baby showers, so menu items usually reflect these sensibilities. A cake or selection of cupcakes is a traditional dessert. Non-alcoholic punch is usually served.
Some baby-shower games require special material that should be purchased ahead of time, such as clay for games where guests sculpt clay babies. Pencils and paper are always good to have on-hand.