Down with the traditional Baby Shower!
Buy things for your baby after you get to know them
It starts off innocently enough. The baby shower. You’re pregnant, it’s your first baby, you don’t know any better, plus we live in America — land of plenty. You are told you need so much when the baby comes. You let everyone go crazy. You ask for things because Target told you so. You don’t understand how most of the shit on your registry works or what it’s for but you’ll figure it out later. The more stuff, the more prepared you’ll be.
Then the baby comes and nothing else matters. Things you actually need come to light: nipple shields and a breast pump (because nursing isn’t working out), sanitary napkins (because you bleed from birth for like a month), a white noise machine (cause it might be the only thing your baby will fall asleep to), formula (since you aren’t producing enough milk yet), pacifiers (that don’t say cute shit on them) and the list goes on.
Everything you have the baby hates. The $150 Graco swing & rocker contraption that your friend swears by and takes up half the living room — goes unused. The baby sleeps on you instead of in his crib. Everything you bought, set up, and planned for blows up in your pretty, little pre-parenthood face.
Then after a couple months, your spawn teaches you that every baby is vastly different (all the veteran parents that sat at your baby shower and bought you all the cute, useless shit forgot to tell you). This goes for babies using products of all kinds but especially clothing. My baby was 9 pounds when he was born. Now 4 months old, his size is equivalent to the average 9 month old. Before he was born people bought you more clothing than you will ever put on your kid. As predicted, the new grandma’s went nuts. They bought you all the clothing starting at size: Newborn. That’s right, you own clothing that won’t fit them starting at birth. He was 9 pounds! He wears 3-month-old clothing off-the-bat.
My hubby and I are people with a small house in downtown Atlanta. We purposely live small and not collect junk we don’t need. But it’s hard to maintain this lifestyle when you announce you’re pregnant. I guess it’s an open invitation to purchase the cheesiest (onesies with sayings on them), most useless (baby shoes? I mean come on!), tackiest (most monogrammed stuff I’ve seen), and creepy (I just got a sound machine that sounds like a narrator in a horror movie) baby stuff ever. People don’t ask, instead boxes just arrive on your doorstep addressed to your unborn child. I guess it’s the thought that counts but what good is that when it gets automatically tossed into a Goodwill pile? I would rather have so many other things than most of the shit that I got. Now my baby has so much clothing I have anxiety over getting him dressed in the morning. He is outgrowing piles of clothing before I can even get him into it a first time let alone a second.
My baby doesn’t need a better wardrobe than me. He isn’t going to school and gettin’ made fun of for wearing the same outfit twice. Some days we don’t leave the house and he stays in his pajamas. When people don’t ask first you get: repeats (3 identical shirts that all say “Mommy’s Little Helper”), end up with 20 pairs of pants (but have no socks), or have lots of pieces that you hate (stuff you would have to dislocate their shoulder to get them into). Then there’s the problem with seasons matching up with the clothing pre-bought. I can’t tell you how many shorts, short-sleeved shirts and summer rompers I have that would fit him perfectly except it’s 30 degrees outside.
The moral of this story is to stop buying things before your baby needs them! Wait till your bundle is here before you get most of it! We spent $400 on a Thule jogging stroller that is sitting, folded up, in the corner of my living room. My baby screams bloody-blue murder when I put him in it, since, forever (and I don’t see it changing). We recently got a second (yes, you read that right) stroller that he is tolerating better. The seat turns around so he can see me and the canopy drops lower to keep the sun out of his eyes. It solves two major problems that were making the jogging stroller so terrible for him. We also had a $125 side sleeper bassinet-type thing. I tripped over it for 2 months, getting outta bed in the middle of the night, before we sold it (for a $25 credit) to the consignment store.
So get to know your baby human before buying stuff. It’s really the same as buying stuff for a couple getting married, who you were invited to their wedding by a mutual friend — you are doing it blindly. The person you are buying for isn’t alive yet. You haven’t heard their opinions, preferences, personality (yeah, babies are definitely are born with personality), or what they like. Babies grow into needing things eventually. Just get some diapers, have a sleeping arrangement all made set and call it a day. All your baby needs is you right now — so try that on for size.
Thanks for reading.