Baby shopping. Baby product shopping. Not shopping for actual babies…

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Pic: These signs lead to stores full of baby things

Following some recent conversations with friends (both pregnant and yet-to-be), I had memories flood back to me about those first months of (first time) pregnancy where everything was so overwhelming! I remember thinking, wow there’s going to be a real life human baby in my house at some point – what crazy nonsense is this?! I’m going to have to buy it stuff and I don’t even know what all that “stuff” is!!! Oh, God help me!

OMG! ZOMG! OMFG! (yeah that’s right – I can abbreviate with the best of the cool kids)

I remember going “shopping” for the baby (now known as the Little Mister of course) where all I’d do is stare at everything and realise that having so many “options” meant every decision was 15 times harder. I would go home empty handed with loads of information swimming around in my head after I’d drilled the shop staff for all sorts of facts about prams, cots and car seats! I’d then put it all off for another few weeks while I tried to pretend it wasn’t happening (luckily I started my “shopping” expeditions fairly early in the piece – start of second trimester I believe).

If I could say one thing to those who are in that same boat right now, it would be: Don’t panic. It will actually all come together. You’re a smart woman/man and you want what’s best for your baby. It does all start to click eventually 🙂

It’s so funny how we can conquer so many new skills in life – just see a challenge and go for it. We complete university degrees, buy houses, plan massive holidays in strange places, drive out to old Aunty Whatsit’s place in the middle of nowhere without a decent road map, plan wedding extravaganzas and start small businesses…yet we freak out at the idea of buying a few things for a new baby!

I spent a lot of time asking friends with babies (and my mum) what they found useful in the early days. I asked them what they found irritating and whether I could avoid those irritations/inconveniences myself. I got over my fear of looking stupid in front of baby product shop staff and just asked them whatever I wanted to know. I visited places several times until I could go there without having a mental breakdown and everything started to seem more familiar and not so scary!

While I had a bit of a budget to stick to, I didn’t obsess over getting the very very very best price on everything. If I could save $10 by going to some shop a bajillion miles from home, it wasn’t worth it while I was heavily pregnant and very confused (not to mention you’d spend the $10 “savings” on fuel to get there anyhow). If I found what I liked and it was good value for money, I just went home with it or made a plan to come back for it as soon my funds would let me. Gotta weigh up the stress factor vs everything else. I’d feel great every time I could tick something off the list.

My strategy was also to make sure I had all the “will need it in the hospital or the day we leave hospital” stuff. The stuff you can’t make it without in that first week or so. After that, things can come together at a moment’s notice if need be and the people in your life can be really helpful running about for you (some will even bug you until you let them do something so you may as well let them feel useful) if you have a lovely support network to call on. It helped me focus and not think of forgetting a few little things as the end of the world.

How did I pick the big stuff (you know – the really intimidating stuff)? Mind if I share? (that was rhetorical haha)

All I wanted was for the cot to be attractive enough to match the Little Mister’s nursery colour scheme (which was simply clean with white and blue). It had to be something that would be good enough quality to last for the use of more than one child. I wanted it to have a bassinet level option (for when the baby is little and not as mobile), for the mattress to be able to drop down later when you need to trap a crawling, toddling maniac child who may be learning to climb, and for it to later convert to a toddler bed. It goes without saying that it had to meet national safety standards. As long as a cot was a reasonable price and had all these features, I was stoked. I’m still very happy with my decision. Seriously, just keep it simple.

This one baffled me from day one. I won’t lie. There are so many choices, so many features and so many opinions on the matter you feel like your head will spin off! Not to mention there are so many very very expensive products to stare at in utter disbelief. There are some babies out there just pimpin’ in their tricked out rides. Or whatever the kids are saying these days. Pretty sure I just said something really inappropriate there…moving right along…

My requirements? It had to have a comfy bassinet option for when my Little Mister was very small and spent most of his time sleeping. It had to be good at manouvering in tight spaces. It had to be light enough to lift in and out of the car several times a day. It had to be easy to assemble or fold down because no-one wants to be that person in the carpark taking half an hour just to get their baby out of the car and into the stroller, or out of the stroller and into the car! It had to be good quality so it would last for the use of more than one child, hopefully with the option of being able to even transport two children (a toddler and baby) at once if need be in the future.

Look, I’ll be honest. I also didn’t want it to be butt ugly. You have to wheel that thing about in public all the time, y’all.

Car seat
I wasn’t really too fussed. I didn’t need the top of the range, “only celebrities use it” kind of thing. I didn’t want the cheapest thing either. I wanted a nice, middle of the range product that looked comfortable and of course, safe. As we weren’t going to start with a capsule in our car (they are great for transporting sleeping babies to and from the car but they aren’t great for longevity’s sake – we figured we could hire one if the baby turned up and we wished we had one), we wanted a car seat that could range from birth to a few years old. We got one that went from newborn to 18kg (or roughly an average sized four year old). I figured that if there was a second child entering the equation at some point then we could purchase a car seat that takes a child to 7 years old (the legal age a child has to be in a seat until) and the younger bub could have the smaller one. I have been really happy with the seat we’ve chosen. It’s grown with the Little Mister (or he’s grown with it I should say) very nicely.

Basically, everyone I talked to in the baby product shops was really helpful. There was one lady with a really pretentious name that I cannot remember right now, who bugged the hell out of me at one of my favourite stores, but on the whole these staff members are really used to talking to parents-to-be who have NO IDEA WHAT THEY’RE DOING or WHAT THEY’RE IN FOR! That’s what their business is about, so if they treat you like an idiot…quite plainly, they deserve to lose your business and anyone else’s. You’ve never done this before and should be treated as such (without someone being a condescending a-hole of course). Also, you’re pregnant (or your partner is) and they should know better than to mess with you (or them) haha.

Also, don’t freak out if something doesn’t go too smoothly. I had to wait until I was 8 months pregnant (and very very hugely so) to get my pram delivered to a shop far far away because they’d run out of stock or some crap (my savings did actually make it worth it luckily), and my cot arrived with some damage that I felt could compromise its safety meaning I had to return it and get it replaced. If you let these things wash over you and deal with them calmly (while being sure to assert yourself and get what you deserve), I promise it can actually be fun! 🙂

Have any other advice to share? If you’re a parent, how did your first shopping ventures go?

I thought about including what my product choices were, but I decided it’s not so important to get a certain brand or model. It’s about making sure the product meets your specific budget and has the features you think are important. Also, I didn’t want to seem like I was paid to do this post (I wish haha). If you really do wish to know, please don’t be afraid to email me. Also, while I’m explaining myself, I’d also like to say that I am only describing my personal experience whenever I do one of these “advice” type posts. I am not saying that what was helpful for me will be helpful for everyone – I’m big on the whole “each to their own” adage and will never claim to be an expert on any topic! Just another first time mum figuring stuff out 🙂

2 thoughts on “Baby shopping. Baby product shopping. Not shopping for actual babies…”

  1. I love this! No matter how bad things are, you always look at the good side, acknowledging that sometimes it’s just crap & you’re allowed to feel overwhelmed and petrified at times. Good on you for posting about how you made your decision, and excluding the brand. We don’t need the very best of everything, they grow out of it so fast. Great pick on cots, prams & baby seats that will actually last more than 6 months 🙂


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