When first time moms register for their baby shower I am certain they think it is supposed to be this gloriously exciting wonder-filled experience. If this is you . . . think again. Your registry experience is more likely to go down like this . . .
You walk into a big-name baby store and are handed a scanner gun and nineteen-page-booklet of items your “personal registry consultant” explains are all necessary to own when raising a child. When you look at said nineteen-page-booklet, you find it would have made no difference at all in your understanding of the products if it were written entirely in Hebrew . . . or Japanese . . . or maybe even Swahili. You are left to wander the aisles aimlessly, carelessly scanning barcodes for things you think you might need but are not entirely sure, because if truth be told – you have absolutely no idea what you are doing. Your hormones are racing, you are sweating through your clothes, you *might* have peed your pants, and there is not a single person in the store to answer your questions. Not one. They’re all hiding in the stock room waiting for you to leave, placing bets on how many returns you’ll likely make in the coming months.
Welcome to the most overwhelming part of your first pregnancy.
All that being said, you can make it through this season of pregnancy – with a shred of sanity and a positive balance in your checkbook. Here are a few things I learned from my own baby registry experience that may help you keep smiling through yours:
Remember baby stores are interested in making the sale.
I remember having a loooong conversation with my OB about the need to put a sleep positioner on my registry. She kept trying to nicely tell me it wasn’t necessary and I almost didn’t listen. I’m glad I did. Sleep positioners are no longer recommended for safety reasons, but that doesn’t mean they are off the shelves at your local baby store. Just because a baby store recommends a product does not mean that it will be helpful . . . or safe. Their first priority is the sale – not you and certainly not your baby.
Think practical when it comes to fabric.
You should be thinking spit up, blow out, and vomit whenever fabric is mixed with baby. I have some very lovely cream-colored changing pad covers that are not quite as lovely and not quiet as cream after baby number two. Let me tell you from experience you will not be thinking about treating fabric after you’ve been pooped on from shoulder to ankle (true story). By the time you get around to the stain at hand it will likely be permanent. Don’t even get me started on dry-clean-only . . .
Think twice if an items sole purpose is to be adorable.
I registered for the most adorable baby bath robe – it had a tie front and was blue with little doggy paw prints all over it. I received at least two at my shower and each time I pulled one out of a box everyone at my shower stopped and fawned over it. That was the most excitement my precious baby bath robe ever saw. Babies who are wet and squirmy and cold do not like to be forced into a scratchy bath robe that comes to their knees only to take a picture. The cuteness factor is completely wasted on them.
Do not purchase an item because of ill-placed fear.
First time moms are usually a little leery of germs, but I am also a bit of a self-diagnosed germaphobe. There are lots and lots of baby products that play to that particular fear that also ended up on my baby registry. One in particular was the baby cart protector. Despite it’s bulky inconvenience (who really wants to carry that, a diaper bag, and baby to the store anyway?) I used it faithfully with my first until he was probably 9 months old. It was donated before baby number two arrived. I just didn’t need the hassle . . .
Put high priority on convenience and functionality.
Is a product complicated? Is it heavy? Can you maneuver it with one hand? Is it going to make your life easier or drive you crazy? I had the hardest time finding a diaper bag that could fit what I needed to carry and didn’t create knots in my back every time I used it. We purchased a few. Do you know what I use now? The sample diaper bag I got at the hospital for short runs, and my college Jansport backpack for long ones. Sometimes simple really is better.
For bigger purchases – go with a brand name.
I know this may seem a little silly to some of you, but I knew the pace of my life before a baby would not lend itself to scouring the internet trying to find ever recall for every off-brand item that happened to make it’s way into my home. I was smart enough to know that I would have even less time after baby. I figured if a big brand name like Graco had a problem with their strollers or high chairs . . . Matt Lauer would be all over it on the Today Show.
Stay tuned . . . I’ll be posting about the things I wish had made it on my baby registry, and the ones I wish hadn’t.