parenting

Buying Guide: Buy Whatever You’re Going to Buy

Buying Guide: Buy Whatever You're Going to Buy

I resisted doing any research about infant/baby products my first trimester for two reasons: I was too ill/tired to lift my weakly fingers to my keyboard, and because I was terrified of investing too much in a pregnancy so early, especially when I had so many medical concerns.

Thankfully my first trimester came and went, so halfway through my second trimester I glanced quickly through Lucie’s List and my copy of Baby Bargains to get an idea of what I might need right away. I set up a private Amazon registry and shared it with my husband. And then I didn’t think much about it.

Until I did.

Money is tight in our house — I recently left a well-paying job for a terrible-paying job for quality of life reasons. Student loans are still coming in, and the insurance we were on while I was in between jobs didn’t like covering unnecessary things like medical care or prescriptions. Since we didn’t have plans for a baby shower, I began to consult our baby registry to see what we could buy used. I found a few good buys on Craigslist, but it became obvious what items we’d have to shell out of pocket for. And I got nervous.

$400 for a car seat/stroller combo I’m not even sure will fit our car well? I pictured trying to return the item to Amazon in my third trimester and got tired. I started scrolling through reviews of other cheaper systems to find–SURPRISE–some people liked them and some people didn’t like them. I was told by reviewers to consider how I’d use the item, which is impossible when you’re a first time mom who doesn’t even know what kind of snack food she’ll want in two hours. I had no idea what kind of lifestyle my husband or I would aspire to after the baby, unless “keeping a baby alive” counts as a lifestyle.

So I bought the cheaper car seat/stroller combo, assembled it when it arrived, then promptly put it in the closet of the nursery so I wouldn’t have to think about it again.

But people want you to think about this stuff, don’t they? Or maybe I just inherently want to concern myself will all the options and am fooling myself? I began to doubt my purchases. I started reading reviews of items, discussions on forums, and looked at sample registries and recommendations on blogs around the internet. I even analyzed pictures of my friends’ kids just to figure out what brand stroller they used. I got crazy.

I am still crazy. Just today I discovered The Nightlight, a new blog on Kinja for recommending baby products. Within two minutes of reading about car seats and not seeing mine on their list I felt like a bad mother. Browser closed! At that moment I would have scampered off to have a drink, but since I’m pregnant I settled for a La Croix instead. (Note: not the same thing).

So here’s my public announcement, digitally shouted from the rooftops to make it more real: I bought a carseat and maybe it’s okay and maybe it’s not but it’s staying. I’m buying some things and hopefully they’ll be okay but if they’re not my baby will still be alive so it’s okay. Unless they’re hiding daggers in my Arm’s Reach Mini-Arc. Arm’s Reach, you better not be doing that.

This got dark.

We all want to be the best parents we can be, and that’s an admirable thing. I think the constant waiting to actually parent leaves a void for me which I am sadly filling with researching items and shopping. Buying what’s best for your baby is a good thing for parents to do, but it’s just one of many things parents do. So I’m banning myself from researching baby items for the next week, and plan on curling up with a good book instead. If you’re finding yourself falling down a baby shopping spiral, feel free to join me.

(Now. . . what book to read? OH NO.)

 

Image credit: Raffaele Esposito on Flickr
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