In my experience, pregnancy means presents. Friends and family are quick to purchase you larger bags, wider clothes, onesies for your baby-to-be, toys, and even the "big" items like cribs, bassinets, strollers, and wraps. For the most part, these gifts are helpful, and you'll thank your lucky stars you have a support system that wants to buy you all the things. There are other presents, however, that will leave you scratching your head. Make no mistake about it, there are things people buy pregnant people that are useless. So useless, in fact, you won't have a damn clue what you're going to do with them.
I’ll admit, I wanted to go on a shopping frenzy when I found out I was going to be growing another human being inside my body. I researched every product on the market and, before I knew it, I was knee-deep in "best things to buy for baby" lists and "what every pregnant woman needs" articles. My baby shower registry must have been at least a dozen pages long (well, I wouldn’t actually know since it was electronic, but still).
Turns out, a lot of those products were basically pointless. Despite my plans I barely breastfed, so I didn’t need lanolin for my nipples. I was bummed I didn't need pads for my lactating nipples, either, but I found that some well-placed tissue paper worked just as well (probably because I had low supply, though, but that's neither here nor there). So while every woman and every pregnancy is different, so different moms-to-be will need different things, here's what I found to be pretty damn useless in the gift department. My advice? Save your money. Trust me when I say that once your baby arrives, you're going to need it.
Expensive Stretch Mark Cream
Look, I know some folks don’t want to get stretch marks, but there's much you can do to avoid them. I know I used cocoa butter on my belly religiously, but this was mostly because I was so damn itchy. Did it prevent stretch marks? Nope. So buying that $60.00 bottle of fancy cream was pretty silly and pointless.
If you want to know whether you’ll have stretch marks, find out if your mom has any. That tends to be a better indicator of your odds.
Fancy Perineal Oils
Perineal massage can be good for reducing tearing (at least, that’s what I hear. I tore anyway). That said, you can easily use straight up, inexpensive vitamin E oil for this purpose. Apparently, some folks try and sell high-priced oils with the promise of keeping your hooha intact. Well, guess what? Your vag and your baby don’t care how much you spent. If they’re fairly big and come out too fast or in certain positions, you’re probably gonna have some tearing. Sorry!
Prenatal Learning Products
Apparently “prenatal learning products” are a thing, and you can strap them onto your belly with the hope that listening to opera or the pythagorean theorem in the womb will make your fetus-turned-baby a genius upon exit. Or, you know, you could just not.
Headphones For Your Vagina
Apparently, some folks believe that the best way to have your fetus listen to music and other “educational” sounds is through the vagina. Yes, this is real. No, I am not joking. These Baby Pod headphones are inserted down under through a tampon looking thing and, well, you get the idea. Plus they’re expensive! Do you have any idea how many diapers you could buy instead?!
"Stylish" Morning Sickness Bags
You're pregnant, which means you need to vomit, so here’s a bag with a fancy swirly pattern. Is that pattern supposed to make it easier for you to puke? I have no idea, but it would probably work for me. All I'm saying is it's probably better to just stick to the toilet and save your money for something more practical.
C’mon, by the end of your pregnancy the last thing you care about is shaving your legs. Not only would it be exhausting, but it’s probably impossible to do a good job. I mean, you know, buy it if you want I suppose. You'er a grown-ass woman, but I wouldn’t trust myself not to cut my legs a million times with one of these things. I’m cool being hairy by the end of my third trimester.
A Super Cute Childbirth Outfit
I remember buying a cute nightie that would serve as my “outfit” for childbirth. This was before I had ever given birth to another human being and experienced the worst vaginal tearing imaginable. First off, while in labor I was basically naked in a tub. Then, when I went to the hospital in my gown, it wound up covered in blood and god knows what else. Suffice to say, that "special outfit" got thrown in the dumpster immediately.
A Fancy Postpartum Robe
I was so, so, so in love with the idea of a perfect home birth and looking perfect during the process. I don’t know why, but maybe Pinterest and mom blogs had something to do with it. Anyway, I found this gorgeous, silk, floral robe and was so heartbroken no one got it for me.
Then I realized that had I worn it during labor, delivery, and postpartum, it would have gotten bloody from all the bleeding. My advice? Save your pretty garments for a few months out when that bleeding is under control.
Anything Not On A Registry
In general, it’s best to stick to a mama’s registry. If the mom is asking for some pretty wild things, just give her diapers. You’ll never, ever go wrong with diapers (especially one size higher than you think they need—cause babies grow in the blink of an eye).