You’ve found out your pregnant and you’re filled with a combination of emotions! The first is excitement; you have a life growing inside of you, which in and of itself is a miracle. As you progress in your pregnancy, you realize that you actually need to buy stuff or add it to your registry for your baby’s pending arrival and anxiety may set it. As you start to scour the internet for what you need, by typing the words best baby anything, you start to feel overwhelmed because there is so much to consider and so many products to choose from. For every article you read that tells you that stroller A is the best, another article tells you that stroller B is the best and yet another tells you that stroller C is the one that you must have! There’s also an unexplainable need that you now have to just buy something for your baby because having things that the baby needs just makes it all feel more real. What’s a mama to do with all of this noise in her head, a fear of making the wrong decision and a desire to make the best decision for your little one?
In a perfect world, everything that you buy for your baby would be a perfect fit but in the real world, you will have many things that you buy that your baby is not even remotely enthusiastic about. So the first piece of advice is to try before you buy! If it’s something like body washes, lotions or wipes, try to get samples of products if the company offers them. If a company doesn’t offer products, opt for buying smaller sized bottles of the item than the larger ones. It's no fun to buy a 32 oz bottle of bottle wash only to discover that your baby has a skin sensitivity and can’t use it! Items like swings, rockers, and jumpers are fun items that you’re excited to buy for your baby but there’s a chance that your baby may not take to them. These items don’t need to be bought right away and a great strategy for buying them is to take your baby into the store after they’re born and see what they take to. No matter how great a review is online or how great a recommendation from a friend, nothing is more effective than whether your baby screams at the top of their lungs when you put them in a swing versus falls asleep.
Be open to used items. I know that used items as not as sexy or appealing as new items but so many baby items are very gently used because babies outgrow everything so quickly. There are certain items that you will use for a long time like the changing table, crib or stroller but many baby items you will use for a few months tops. Clothing is a great example; the first two or three months of your baby’s life, you’ll likely be swapping out clothing sizes every month and from about 3 months until 15 months, you’ll be swapping them out quarterly. Additionally, people love buying clothes for new babies and it's highly likely that you’ll get a ton of cute baby clothing even if you don’t ask for it! This doesn’t mean that you can’t scratch that itch to buy that cute baby romper but try to keep it to a minimum, at least for the first few months.
Before having my daughter, I was complaining to a friend about how unprepared my husband and I were for our daughter because we had almost nothing done two months before she was due. My friend told me that all we really needed was a bed, diapers, and something for the baby to wear, which ended up being absolutely true. We are fortunate to live in a world where everything we need is easily accessible. Don’t buy things until you know you’re going to need or use them. Most items that we need for our babies are a short car ride away or a click of a purchase button on an internet website. In a pinch, that item that you thought you might need but really aren’t sure about is pretty easy to get and can be picked up in store same day or delivered to our doorsteps within a few days.
The biggest flaw with these suggestions made is that you probably plan on registering for a lot of items and don’t plan on buying them yourself. Don't be afraid to ask for as many gift cards as possible and try to avoid registering for the actual items. You’ll have to have some items in your registry and there will be people that buy you things even when you ask for gift cards, but many people (especially those who already have kids and have been through the trial and error of product buying will respect your wishes and buy the gift cards). You may feel that its rude or inappropriate to ask for gift cards, but think of it this way, if you register for products and people buy them and your baby doesn’t use them, you’ve wasted their money. Gift cards aren't exciting items to open at a baby shower, but the point of a registry isn’t to make the gift buyer feel good, its to make the parent's life easier during the difficult time of having a newborn!