“OMGGGG you HAVE to buy this!”
How many times have we said or heard this phrase, especially when it comes to baby gear? By the time we purchase everything recommended, a mortgage on The Chartwell Estate might look like a thrift store bargain (“I’ll take two, please.”).
Not to fear though. All of that advice is almost never right (or wrong). So, put down that brown bag, take a few deep breaths, and read on for some baby registry nerve-calming information that does not include sedatives or alcohol.
Why Baby Registry Advice Is Often Wrong
- Everyone’s life is different. This means everyone’s needs will be different. We raised three kids in a small Californian city. You might be raising 15 kids on a dude ranch in rural Montana or one kid in a posh high rise in Manhattan. In other words, your life might look very different than my life or than anyone else’s life. Maybe you need a
car seatLilBuddy seat to bring your babytoddler to the local grocery storeoutpost in a caron a horse. Or maybe you need the fancy pants folding stroller that turns into a briefcase because you have to take your kid up and down high rise and subway stairs a million times a day and want to look like James Bond. Or maybe you want to tap into your inner hunter gatherer eco-spirit and play in the beach waves with your baby in a mesh fabric carrier. All okay. Do what you gotta do and acquire accordingly.
- Everyone’s preferences are different, including your baby’s. I may love coffee ice cream and think that every man, woman, and child should be schooled in its awesomeness, but you know what? It’s not the favorite ice cream in each state (I know, hard to believe right?!). Clearly this means that
everyone else is wrongpeople are different. And that’s okay. Similarly, some babies might love sitting in a high chair while others will refuse to sit anywhere else other than your lap. Many times, we won’t know what a baby likes (or doesn’t like) until he or she is here. And then said baby will let us know, very, very loudly in the most drill sergeant like way. Or maybe the baby will just be a chill, go-with-the-flow-bro surfer baby. Point is, we won’t be able to predict what any given human will like or not like with 100% accuracy. So, you just do you, man and take your cues from baby.
- There is almost always someone who is raising a kid with less than what you have. Like this couple who went backpacking for 6 months with their baby across Asia. I know, Holy Macau is right. Can we just pause here to appreciate how truly awesome this couple is for running around Asia with all their belongings and their baby on their back. For six months. So. Cool.
Now, I’m not going to go all Unicef on you, but we also should take a moment to appreciate how fortunate we are that we are even discussing needs verses wants around baby registry advice online, which means that we are probably on the wealthier, more educated side of the Digital Divide (statistically speaking). If acknowledging this makes you feel emotional or uncomfortable, go out and do some good for others by donating your time, money, or both.
And the next time you feel a twinge of anxiety because your friend is insisting you get a wipe warmer, lest your child have to endure the harsh touch of a room-temperature wipe, rest assured knowing that many people have raised children without a wipe warmer and said children have been totally fine. Stress, be gone!
- No one has ever raised this baby in this time, place, and family before. If you have siblings or know someone who does, you know that two kids born into the same family can be as different as night and day. Now think about all the different relationships people have. Some couples act like Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Some are more like Lucy and Ricky from I Love Lucy. Now, throw in all the changes in technology and politics over the centuries (or even just the last 10 years) and you can see why what works for one family (or child) may not work for another.
- More baby stuff = Less Money and Less Space. Sure, that glider, swing, crib, stroller, tummy time mat, play yard, and baby monitor all seem harmless enough, but did you know that buying just these seven items can set you back five hundred bucks* after taxes and take up over 41 square feet*? Imagine all the other things you could spend said money on (like therapy sessions for your future progeny) or what you could do with all that space instead (like parking two Harley Davidson’s in your living room. Instant conversation starter!). So, no, you don’t need everything.
* The math above is the sum of the prices and dimensions listed on Target.com for the cheapest, four-star version of these items (when I checked earlier this month).
- Baby doesn’t need or want the latest and greatest thing. Well-intentioned friends, family, and salespeople might have you worried that your child will be missing out if they don’t have everything from Buy Buy Baby’s Registry Checklist. As a mom of three, I can tell you that babies really just don’t care about all the retail hype. Give them a box or a set of keys and they can be entertained for a pretty long time. What our kids really want is safety, love, respect, and attention. And those things are not on Aisle 5 at the store.
So, the next time you feel like you have to go out and buy a bluetooth enabled diaper clip to monitor your baby’s movements because your bestie said you needed one, refer back to this list and then decide.
Your Turn: Have you ever felt pressured to buy something for baby that was totally not worth it? What was it?