Sunday, March 7, 2010

Chime In: Baby Registries, the Right Stuff

Friends of ours are due with a baby in five weeks. Last night I was pondering what to get them off their registry.

This morning I was sitting in my baby's room with him after he woke up, remembering the time in which I was planning for him. That room smelled different, felt different, meant something different.

I remember the feeling of trying to make sure I had all the right stuff. Turns out you don't need that much stuff- actually, I have loved my stuff, it's just hard to know what the best stuff is going to be for your baby or your lifestyle. I'll clarify: I love stuff. Lately, I love our Phil and Ted's metoo chair because we go out to eat a lot. I'm also on the hunt for a mei tai, because although the ERGO baby carrier has been one of our very best purchases, I don't like the ERGO for back carry, and he's getting too heavy to wear on my front.

Anyway. That was such a fun time in life, getting ready for the baby. It's weird that I'll never feel that feeling again. Even if I have another baby, that preparation time will never quite feel the same. That's not necessarily a bad thing. If second babies felt that momentous, adding a second one might feel overwhelming! Fortunately after the first one gets to be oh, 7 months or so, ya feel like a pro.

It is so fun to look at other people's registries. It's a window onto their life, or planned life. You can see if it looks they are planning to breastfeed. You can see if they chose a superfancy stroller or a practical one. You can see what some of their ideas and plans are by what books they ask for. You can see that they know about swaddling, and you're happy about that. When looking at someone else's registry, you can't help but think, "I remember I thought I needed that!" or "Dear God, why haven't they registered for an ERGO?" Seeing some of the items brings you back to a time when you also had no idea what to expect.

I'm glad I enjoyed that time in my life. I really immersed myself in that time- researching online, talking to friends, going to baby stores, reading baby blogs... it was awesome. I had such a blast getting ready for my baby. My BFF and I picked out paint colors and painted the nursery walls with the help of another friend and my husband (I supervised). I found a cool print on eBay and got it professionally framed.

What's awesome is that our baby far exceeded my expectations of what my baby was going to be like! He was easier, more fun, and cuter. Some of the stuff really came in handy- the towels, the butt cream, the thermometers, the blankets, the clothes, the toys, the swaddles- but the focus very quickly goes off the stuff and onto the baby, who mostly just needs to be fed, clothed, and kept warm those first few weeks- oh- and safely carried around to all those doctor appointments.

I guess the stuff is how we make ourselves feel ready for the baby. I don't mean that in a judgy way. It's fun to spend the last few weeks getting ready. But sometimes baby gear feels like an arsenal against THE BABY- a disruptive creature who you have to use tools to contain. I think I'm going to view my stuff a little differently next time- more as a way to have fun with my baby rather than as methods to deal with a mysterious, difficult creature.

Although maybe it went so well with him because I had all the right stuff because I researched so much? Who knows. Maybe I was, am, and always will be clueless, playing it all by ear. Maybe I know nothing. It's possible! What I do know is that every baby is different, every parent different, every life different, so people will always need or want different things for their babies. Before you are a parent yourself, and the parent of your particular baby, you can never know what you'll need. Once you are a parent, you realize how much is out of your control. It's so much easier once you accept that and just go with the flow. At least that's my philosophy. I'm not sure how else a working parent could survive.

Note: I'm not bashing my friends' registry- theirs is quite sensible and actually makes them look like they know what they are doing. And my girlfriend who just had a baby a month ago- well, her registry had all the cool gear that it took me months to realize I wanted. She was smart enough to put the metoo chair and the ERGO on her registry, whereas I bought mine myself!


Janey said...

I'm in the process of making a baby registry on for my first right now and even though I've done a ton of research, I can't help but feeling very uncertain about everything I add. I can just imagine a more experienced version of myself a few months from now rolling her eyes at everything I choose! At least now I know to add an Ergo and a metoo chair, so thanks for those tips!

KOR said...

You can never really know what you need. Just keep the receipts so you can return! I posted some of my must haves at:
But you might use different things.
It's hard to go wrong with baby gear!
We didn't ever get a swing, wish I had.
Also, pack and play which was useless when he was under 6 mo is now my goto place to put him while I shower!
Needs change.
Have fun planning!

Always Home and Uncool said...

You obviously didn't have a PnP with a bassinet. Priceless.

Ergo Baby Carrier said...

Once you are a parent, you realize how much is out of your control. It's so much easier once you accept that and just go with the flow.