A fun, daunting, stressful, and exciting activity to do while pregnant is prepare for the arrival of your little one by picking up everything they'll need once they're evicted from your uterus (or whoever's uterus they've been camping out in). It's fun and exciting because OMG baby things are so tiny and cute. It's daunting and stressful because why are those tiny things so expensive? Such conflicting emotions (plus pregnancy hormones) can lead to some... well... poor choices. So let me tell you about some of the bad decisions I made in Buy Buy Baby when I was pregnant.
To be clear, the bad decisions have nothing to do with Buy Buy Baby as an entity. I actually like shopping there. My bad decisions had pretty much everything to do with the fact that I was pregnant with my first child and didn't know half as much as I thought I did. And, like a lot of pregnant women, I often fancied myself an expert with an unshakable confidence in my "set in stone" plans for motherhood which, you know, ha. Silly, hilarious past-pregnant me.
None of the following mistakes were egregious or keep me up at night burning in regret, though. I mean, even the worst decision you can possibly make while buying something adorable-yet-ultimately-useless for your baby-to-be isn't the worst decision you could ever make. But, if sharing them can help even one pregnant mother make better choices... well, I'm here to serve.
Not Spending More Time Basking In Employee Wisdom
A huge reason my husband and I decided to do the majority of our registry at Buy Buy Baby was the reputation the store had for knowledgeable employees. We literally thought to ourselves, "OK, well, we don't know what we're looking for or what to even begin to research, so it'll be helpful to have someone there to generally point us in the right direction."
There was nothing "general" about the information we received that day. I don't remember the gentleman's name, but he was a damn baby product god. He accompanied us through the entire store and knew everything. He told us the weight and height limits of every car seat in the store. He let us know which stroller systems would be compatible with those seats and which adapters we would need. He let us know which items weren't worth our time and which ones might be better to wait to buy until after the baby was born. He knew the dimensions of every single pack-and-play without even looking at the box.
As much as we learned from him, I wanted to know more. I should have asked if he was willing to take on an apprentice. And while this guy was incontrovertibly incredible in his own right and demonstrated excellent customer service, I have come to find, in subsequent visits, that every employee I've interacted with has demonstrated a similar level of knowledge and courtesy.
So I don't know what sort of crazy elite training camp Buy Buy Baby sends its employees to, but I'm all about it.
Giving My Partner A Scanner
On a positive note, it was a good preview for how to parent a 5-year-old boy. On a negative note, like, everything else (but in a cute, annoying way). For one, he thought he was in Star Trek and did not-so-stealth-like ninja moves around the store, scanning everything in sight just because he could (completely with "pew pew" sound effects, obviously). For another thing, he abused his scanning power. How do I mean? Here are some things he added to our baby registry, in no particular order of course:
- Several boxes of Annie's Organic Macaroni & Cheese
- Goldfish crackers
- A few packs of AA batteries
None of these things were for the baby. These were all things he wanted. When I told him he was missing the point of a baby shower he batted his eyelashes and said, "But they want to buy us things because they love us... and I love mac and cheese!"
Maybe then my child-husband wouldn't have scanned so many boxes of non-infant food.
Also, we were there at the store for way longer than we thought we would be, so by the end of it all I was famished. We wound up at a falafel place afterwards and I ate so much so quickly I'm not sure I really tasted my food. Fast eating and pregnant women prone to unexpected nausea do not mix. Lesson learned: go to Buy Buy Baby well-nourished, because you're going to be there. Bring a snack, maybe?
Choosing Style Over Functionality
Classic new mom error, my friends. Yes, that infant-sized suit is absolutely adorable, but your child will wear that maybe once and then you're going to have to either put it away for your next baby or donate it. Same with those mini jeans... yeah, and the tiny baby sneakers... and the itty bitty button down shirts.
As such, chill out on those items. You know what babies need? Onesies and a bunch of soft cotton pants. If your baby is born in the summer they won't even need pants for a while, if we're being honest. And if your baby is anything like my oldest they will crap over absolutely everything and you will need to change them at least three times a day, so stock up.
Forgetting That Babies Get Bigger
Shockingly, infants do not stay in infant sizes their whole lives. They get bigger. Some infants get bigger quickly. Neither of my children ever really fit in newborn sizes and had moved up to six month items by the time they were 3-months-old. Yes, I produce great big monster babies who will conquer the world.
So I shouldn't have focused as much on the teeny-tiny sizes. I should have divided my clothing registry more evenly among multiple sizes, maybe even getting up into 18 and 24 months.
Forgetting That Apartments Do Not Get Bigger
So, yeah, all that stuff you're picking up? Maybe figure out where it's going to be placed. If your bedroom is crowded as it is, I suggest you pay attention to the dimensions of the crib to see if it's actually going to leave you any room to, you know, walk. If your sink is a foot across, maybe don't get a sink bathtub that's 18 inches. Basically you're going to want to take some measurements before you head on over.
Buying Infant Toys
Your infant DGAF about toys. They don't know they have toes, you guys, so they don't need elaborate activity centers or an army of teddy bears and "brain stimulating" plastic bric-a-brac. You know what they like? Plastic measuring cups. Wooden spoons. Go shopping in that drawer of (not sharp!) cooking utensils you never use and let them have it. If you're feeling really generous, give them a box. They'll be delighted.
Eventually they will want toys and it's fun to buy them, but don't load up the toy box too early. Pick a couple cute items and hold onto your money for when they will actually notice and care.
Not Comparison Shopping
Honestly, because of the excellent customer service I was happy to buy big ticket items at Buy Buy Baby, even if it was a little bit more. Having the peace of mind of seeing it in person and having someone familiar with the items was worth not having to bop around from store to store. But other items, like the smaller items that easily could have been ordered or picked up elsewhere? Yeah, I probably could have slowed my roll and enthusiasm for the store) to save a little bit of money.
Not Considering More Second-Hand/Borrowed Stuff
We got most of our items new because we knew we wanted to have more children and so whatever we got would (with any luck) have a second life for our future baby's future sibling.
That said, the few hand-me-downs I received are now being used by a third, fourth, or even fifth baby, six years later. So, clearly, they stay in pretty good shape for a while. Not only can one get awesome baby items on the cheap at consignment stores (or online marketplaces) but it's better for the environment.
Not Asking Actual Moms What I Needed
I relied on checklists put out by corporate interests and a cadre of other pregnant women who had no idea WTF they were doing either. Yet they spoke with such authority (the authority only someone with no experience but a ton of confidence can), so I listened to them. I really should have reached out (and listened) to more actual moms, specifically moms who had had a baby within the past few years (since, after all, things do change).
Not Realizing I Could Use Bed Bath & Beyond Coupons At Buy Buy Baby
It's the same company, you guys! I should have known based on the fact that they're frequently found next to one another and they use the same colors and the stores are set up similarly, and they both have the initials BBB! I could have saved 20 percent so much that first pregnant trip. Never again!
Watching A Breast Pump Demo
Like, breast pump lady: I'm glad you're here. I'm interested in breast pumps, but showing me what that machine is going to do to my nipple is a great way to scar a mama for life #justsaying