A birth announcement is an announcement of a birth. Shocker. The a traditional birth announcement is made on a card or postcard and snail mailed to friends and family. A while back I wrote a post about some cute announcement options, like the one below (here's the original post).
Not everyone sends a traditional birth announcement. There's a reasonable explanation for this - modern technology. Nowadays, parents announce the birth of their new family member with a Facebook post or a text (more inventive ideas here). Especially close family members get a phone call and a visit to the hospital. Still, some choose to double up their announcement by mailing traditional birth announcements even when the recipients already got non-traditional birth announcements. Why? I think there's a couple reasons: it's more formal, and more classy (let's be honest), than a text and it's a photo sharing opportunity (a pic to hang on the fridge is awesome even when you've seen photos online).
All that said, traditional birth announcements are not necessary. Quite frankly, formalities aren't as appreciated these days as they once were. Few people know which side of the plate the fork goes on (versus the spoon and knife) and I'd wager that even less people give a rat's behind whether they get a traditional birth announcement. The joy is the baby's birth, how people are informed isn't all that important.
|Now you know. (source)|
A controversial question: does sending a traditional birth announcement imply that the recipient should send a gift? Hmmm. Well, no, it's not a prompt. But, inevitably, some people may take it that way. Those who were invited to the baby shower and already gave a gift won't think twice about a sweet birth announcement, those who haven't had an official opportunity to give a gift may feel compelled. So, again, it's not a prompt, but it does have that effect on some.
Here is some basic birth announcement etiquette:
Who - Send them to whomever you want. Friends, family, coworkers, neighbors...anyone.
When - Once the baby is born, ASAP.
What - Include the name, birth date, birth length and birth weight. And, in my opinion, go with the photo card so everyone can appreciate the cuteness up close.