Thursday, July 5, 2012

I am admitting I know nothing about baby gear.

I know I missed my What I Wore Wednesday post yesterday, but--the holiday. Post vacation catch-up at work and home. Excuses excuses. I'll treat you to Vacation Edition next week.

In the meantime: We have actually begun the long-delayed process of figuring out what baby stuff we want to buy or register for.

I am so, so sick of reading reviews for baby stuff. It all blurs together. People love and hate the same product, vehemently. They complain about the same feature over and over again in all the different models--so where's the one that gets the feature right? Apparently the whole thing is just a crapshoot.

Maybe we picked out a crib, maybe a car seat. I thought a stroller, too, but now we're thinking maybe we don't need a stroller right away so are looking at other, non-newborn or travel-system options.

It's so hard to decide what is useful and what is junk and what is absolutely necessary and what will never be used. Obviously it's not like either of us have any idea what life with a baby will be like, so how can we decide what items will help make this life more efficient and pleasant? Everyone has contradicting opinions on the matter, too.

How can you be a good steward of your money--and the money of all the people buying stuff off your baby registry--when you have no freaking idea what you're doing?

(Registries could be a whole 'nother rant, I suppose. Asking for things you want but (often) can't afford but that you somehow expect other people to buy for you. And people get so judgey about the things you ask for on registries. Could everyone who feels obligated to get me a gift just send me a wad of cash instead? I promise I'll set it aside in a special fund and will use it to buy baby things without dealing with the guilt of wondering what you think about the things I want to buy. But asking for money is so terribly tacky. Argh.)

Happily, the DDH and I tend to have similar ideas about the process: try to keep the list of stuff to a minimum, and try to find good quality items of the things you decide to get. To that end, on our Epic Baby Gear Reconnaissance last night, we happily skipped right past mountains of clothing, fluffy blankets, and gaudy, noisy plastic gewgaws, and spent way too much time looking at cribs, car seats, and bassinet-thingies.

Much simpler to buy for.
Things we're looking for:

1. Car seat. A safe one. That can be carried around so that we have that option, not because we necessarily see ourselves leaving T-Rex in it all the time. But let sleeping babies lie, y'know? Anyway, I've heard they won't let you take a baby home from the hospital without one, so I figure it's pretty much The Most Important item to have.

2. Crib. Not so much for the newborn phase but the corraling-a-mobile-baby-who-sleeps-mostly-through-the-night stage. Or whatever else you might need to have a handy baby/toddler cage around for.

3. Something for T-Rex to sleep in in our room for the first several months to a year. We're looking at pack'n'play bassinet things, just bassinet things, side-along sleeper things.

In-bed co-sleeping is simply Not An Option for us for a variety of reasons. Which, considering that I sleep violently and the dogs love sneaking into bed in the middle of the night (though I guess we could lock out of the room), is probably wise.

But I'm also not sticking the Critter in a crib in a room downstairs on the other side of the house. We want him in the room and nearby, convenient to deal with in the middle of the night.

4. Maybe another one of those pack'n'play/bassinet thingies for confining T-Rex in the living areas of the house. I'm certainly not toting the same one up and down those tiny enclosed stairs every day.

Note that as much of the concern is keeping him from getting run over by the dogs (or having Jayne drop his balls on the baby's head) as anything else. Something with a raised changing area would be nice, too, but mostly I want to be able to set him down without him getting trampled by a jealous Beagle or slobbered on by a Lab who doesn't understand why he won't throw the ball.

5. Moby-wrap/ring-sling/fabric carrier and a more structured one that the DDH would be willing to wear. I need to find some somewhere that I can try on, but this seems the most sensible (and cozy and adorable) solution for taking T-Rex out and about in the early months as well as for carting him about the house while I try to do other things. The DDH said he can't be bothered with the weird complicated cloth ones, but he'd wear one that buckles. Especially if it's camo-print. He tried a camo print one on in the store and gave it his stamp of husbandly approval.

6. Breast pump and paraphernalia (bottles, bottle-cleaning brushes, storage bags...I don't even know how these things work). I'll need a good one if I'm going back to work.

7. Cloth diapers and paraphernalia. THERE ARE TOO MANY CHOICES. But I'm determined to at least attempt cloth diapering. The DDH says he doesn't care and the day care we're looking at will use them if we provide them. So. Need a stash of those.

8. Mini high-chair thingy. We found some that will strap to a kitchen chair, including ones that recline for a newborn. I would rather bother with that than a full high chair, and it occurred to us we'll need to set the kid somewhere while we eat.

9. We're debating about a stroller. We don't think we'd use it much until he's a tad older, but if we're going to want one eventually we might as well ask for one now, yes?

10. Oh! A diaper bag. That will round out this list to ten. I don't have any particular requirements for a diaper bag, since it seems they're like purses--you'll collect new ones as they catch your eye or your needs change. I may or may not have a slight obsession with bags--backpacks, purses, tote bags...I just want a diaper bag that's reasonably sized, reasonably attractive, and doesn't cost $180 freaking dollars. Or more.

I sort of feel like other than clothes (and it will be winter so I guess we can't leave him naked all the time) and outlet/cabinet baby-proof locks and blankets and toys and books (all things, other than the baby-proofing stuff, that we're going to be given in spades and/or can buy used), that's mostly it? Oh, also clothes for me, I guess, by which I mean nursing bras/camis/nipple pads or whatever.

Am I crazy? What are we forgetting? Do you have any recommendations for any of this stuff--or for other stuff? What did you find most useful when your kiddos were babies?


  1. I know nothing about baby gear either, and I'm sure that everyone you talk to will have some sort of opinion, so I'm just going to go with "I dunno"! But I did pin a super fun and easy looking high chair thingy that you can just make yourself and it attaches to any chair. It doesn't have any extra "height" to it, but you could just stick a firm pillow underneath it while he's super short and stuff :-)

    Check it out, if you like it I'll make you one! And if you don't, you have to let me know what else you want so I can make/we can get you something.!!!!

    1. Those are adorable! They're for much older babies, but how cute!

  2. LOVE my Moby. It's horrible for hot summer days because the last thing you want is a little baby furnace attached to you with a blanket, but it's awesome for the rest of the time. I also loved the Baby Bjorn after age 4 months (but don't pay $80, hit ebay).

    1. Everybody I know who has one loves their Moby. And since he'll be born in November, I might actually be happy to have a portable baby furnace strapped to me! ;-)

      I just have to figure out how to get the darn thing on....

  3. Ugh. Baby gear drives me crazy, too. You're not crazy -- the world of baby stuff is crazy.

    The only advice I have for you is to remember that (a) you don't have to have everything before the baby is born and (b) you can't REALLY screw it up, unless you drop a ton of cash on something you ultimately find useless. So no $1000 cribs or $180 diaper bags. Otherwise, you can buy/sell/exchange things as you discover your real needs and learn as you go.

    Also, try to borrow and buy used as much as possible. That way you don't have to suffer major regret when you find out something isn't as great as you had hoped.

    And I know the cloth diapering thing is mega-overwhelming. My advice there is to buy just one or two of a variety of kinds of diapers and find out what you like best, and THEN invest in a good stash of your favourites. A pack of disposables here and there while you figure it out won't kill your baby or the planet.

    I don't know if that's helpful. You'll figure it out. You're going to do a wonderful job!

    1. I loved your minimalist baby list posts, btw. Obviously we need slightly different things, but I was so glad that I'm not the only one thinks that market's gone crazy!

      Thank you for the advice. I suppose the only things we need before he's born are something for him to wear, somewhere for him to sleep--and that car seat. ;-) But I like to be prepared! Should've been a Boy Scout, I guess.

      I am all for buying used and Craigslisting or whatever as much as possible. I just don't have many friends with young children whose stashes I can raid, alas.

      I plan to start with disposables for the first week or so anyway, just because that seems to be the advice of most cloth diaperers I've read. But I know if I don't have some sort of small stash in place before he's born, I'll just never "get around to" starting, and I'll be kicking myself every time I have to run out and drop thirty bucks on something that's going to get thrown away. :-(

      Thank you, Kathleen! I really appreciate it. ^_^