by Caitlyn Stace
Pretty much everything about being pregnant is intimidating the first time out, but nothing is quite so intimidating, in quite the same way, as the baby stuff. Strollers, car seats, slings, carriers, bottles, nipples, blankets, bears, lotions, and, dare we mention rectal thermometers!
The rounder a newly-pregnant woman gets, the more she starts observing the Stuff other mothers have, and the seemingly impossible tasks she performs with her stuff.
Just what exactly do new mothers really need? And here's the mercenary question we all asked when we saw the price tags -- how much can we expect other people to buy for us?
When first pregnant, the very idea of a baby registry seems like the worst sort of commercialized greed. It's one thing for a wedding when you're choosing china and linens. It's something else to register for bottles, lotions and -- oh the gluttony! -- car seats and travel systems.
But once you're in the baby scene, you can learn to love the baby registry. They're indispensable. In today's culture, product choice reflects personal parenting choices. For instance, a mother who is committed to nursing will pick a bottle system that will present the least risk to her nursing efforts while still providing a backup. This is the bottle she wants to use, and she probably only wants a few of them. Buying her bottles of other varieties is a waste. If her registry shows only four of one type of bottle, and all have been purchased, then bottles are not something this new mother needs.
National baby registries are also great in this disparate culture where it is possible that some of your closest family and friends don't live near enough to you to attend a shower or to come and see you in person. This allows them to pick something they know you would like and to have the shop's help in shipping it to you.
There are two modes of thinking regarding the shower invitations. One compromise is to not include the information in the invitation, but to be sure to mention it on the phone when guests RSVP'd. If you know your friends and family won't mind, no harm in mentioning where you're registered. It really depends on your situation.
The most important thing to remember about your baby registry is that it's a wish list whose purpose is to help out people who want to help you. No one is obligated to buy you anything, and certainly not off the registry.
Frequently, people ignore the registry all together and select things for you that they themselves liked. Gifts of books loved by others' children, gizmos and gadgets one mother found indispensable, or the umpteenth teddy bear are all gifts of love and generosity to your child and should be appreciated. Remember to write your thank you notes!
It's fun and intensely overwhelming to wander around the baby superstore planning the perfect, dreamy nursery and assembling the right arsenal of baby gear to get you through any situation. But most mothers are on a budget, and it's smart to plan out what you really do need and how to maximize your dollar.
Certain gizmos like car seats are worth investing some real money into. Other gizmos like wipes-warmers, changing tables, fancy bassinets are not. Here is a list of basic items you need, and tips on how to maximize your dollars:
One of the things that makes it hard to plan for a baby is that so much of your gear depends on personal parenting choices. For instance not getting a crib and borrowing a cradle from a family member. This can be the smart choice when you don't know how the sleeping arrangements will turn out.
Keep your options open, borrow what gear you can, and don't spend money on fancy items you might not use. Most babies do need a crib at some point, so that's a good investment. A new crib mattress is necessary and should be firm and fitted exactly to the crib you're purchasing.