if i had known then, what i know now: baby “stuff” edition

A short 14 months ago my husband and I walked in to our local Babies R Us with trembling hands and knots in our stomachs, faced with the task of choosing all the things we needed to have for the arrival of our Little Miss.

How does one pick out a car seat when you can’t try it out? How do you know which diapers to choose to ensure you never ever have a leaky blow-out? Again, in the “you can’t take it for a test drive” category: baby wearing!!!! I love all the pics of mamas carrying their babies like a kangaroo, but is that practical? We knew that we knew nothing, but somehow walking in to that store was a reality check: we truly knew nothing!

I have a friend who is due with her first baby in June. I was on the phone with her this past weekend for a registry consultation. She had gone to Babies R Us and chosen all the stuff she thought she needed. Truly, she did a good job, but after an hour on the phone with her and many text messages back and forth, I felt pretty damn good about myself and all that I had learned over the past year+! I was now an “expert” in baby registry! Maybe I should start charging for my services!

There are 1,000,000 pins on Pinterest with baby registry guides, so this isn’t so much that. It’s more of a practical approach to what to do with all the baby gear that is about to fill up your home!

Wash, Dry, Fold, Repeat

What I Knew Then
All baby clothes must be laundered before wearing and you MUST use Dreft or some other brand of non-anything detergent!

What I Know Now
I have sensitive skin, so I was sure my daughter would as well….and she does! But she has NEVER and I mean NEVER gotten a rash from having her clothes washed with our regular detergent nor has she gotten a rash from wearing clothes that haven’t been washed straight from the department store.

You will get a TON of clothes at your shower! Do not rush home, remove all the tags and wash them! Instead, take the tags off a few of your newborn/0-3 month outfits, wash those and tuck them away for the arrival of your little one. Keep the tags on everything else and save the receipts if you have them. You can take tags off and wash as you need to, once your little arrives and you know what size they are and what types of clothes make sense for you to put them in.

Bonus tip: Don’t be afraid to return items and get larger size clothes! They stay tiny for a very short time and before you know it you will need 6+ months sized clothes!

Large Boxed Items

What I Knew Then
My daughter would sleep in a bassinet by my bedside and would love the Mamaroo!

What I Know Now
My infant had to sleep on an incline and the Mamaroo isn’t for every baby! If I had kept the boxes for my larger items, I could have exchanged them for different versions of what I had registered for. Instead, I had to sell these items on local Facebook groups (at a discount) and then purchase items (at full price) that did end up working for her.

Bonus tip: Keep your cardboard! It will take up space, but it’s worth it when you discover that the perfect bouncer is your kiddo’s nemesis!

Speaking of Facebook Groups

When I Knew Then
My baby deserved nothing but the best and I could afford to purchase pretty much all the new things she needed.

What I Know Now
Yes, I can afford to purchase new items, but there are so many things you use for a very short period of time, that purchasing used goods from Facebook makes perfect sense! We rarely purchase new items now, such as walker, bouncers, play gyms, etc. This is especially satisfying when it turns out she doesn’t like something….like a walker, where she screamed like she was being inserted into a torture chamber! No biggie! It only cost me $10! And I will happily re-post the torture chamber on Facebook for another baby to (hopefully) love!

Bonus tip: I kind of draw the line at used clothes. I’ve done it a couple times, but it still give me the creeps, so don’t beat yourself up and instead capitalize on Old Navy’s sales!

Don’t Register for Swaddlers, Clothes, Burp Cloths or Pacifiers

What I Knew Then
I registered for these items because I NEEDED them and wanted to make sure everyone bought me the “right” ones…the ones that I wanted!

What I Know Now
People are going to buy the versions of these items that THEY want…probably the version that worked for THEM! You will end up getting a ton of different swaddlers, burp cloths and pacifiers. Try the variety and see what works! These items are relatively inexpensive, so people like to buy them as add-ons to whatever their real gift is. I think I probably got 30 swaddlers at my shower….and I never swaddled my daughter – she hated being swaddled from day one! So, I sold some, donated some to new mom friends and kept some to use as light blankies in the summer.

Bonus tip: There are a lot of different pacifiers out there and your baby isn’t likely to enjoy all of them, so try different ones. Or don’t try any at all! Our daughter never took to the pacifier, which we were A-OK with!

Be Practical with Your Space

What I Knew Then
I know myself well enough to know that I need to keep things easy and simple in order for me to keep up with them!

What I Know Now
Have an easy place near your living space to change diapers. We bought an extra changing pad to have downstairs to change diapers so I wasn’t traversing the staircase for every diaper change!

Have an easy place to bathe your baby, including a nearby place to disrobe them and then dry them after the bath! We have a laundry room sink, so I bought a petal bath insert and we bathe her in there. And, I bought another changing pad to have in the laundry room to disrobe and dry her on.

We also had a swing in our living room and upstairs in our room (this is when buying used off Facebook really comes in handy! $$$).

Bonus tip: Your house is going to turn in to baby haven! No need to fight it. Your visitors won’t judge you…and if they do…they’re probably your baby sister who is prime in her 20’s and never spent much time in the presence of babies! In 10 years when her house is saddled with every baby item she could find at Babies R Us, you can just look at her and she will know what’s behind your smirky “I told you so smile”!

In the end, every baby is different, every parent is different and every house is different! You will make bad purchases, accidentally stumble upon the perfect purchase and have many baby gear items that are in the just fine category! Be a smart purchaser, save boxes/receipts and don’t be afraid to buy and sell used goods!

And check back in a week or so for the next edition of ‘If I Had Known Then What I Know Now: Welcoming Baby to the World.’


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