Courtesy of Kari LeClair

Why I Didn't Waste My Money On Baby Gear Before My Baby Was Born

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Most mothers-to-be spend countless hours agonizing over every aspect of their little one’s nursery and all the accoutrements they've been told their son or daughter will need to feel happy, loved, and secure. That perfect shade of pink or blue for the nursery walls; the cute little mobile that will delicately hang from the crib, gently lulling your little one to dreamland; the latest high-tech gadget built to monitor and comfort both you and your infant; and all that fancy clothing trimmed in lace or printed with trains — without it, who are you? Who is your baby? These items make their way onto almost every expectant moms’ list. Not mine though. I just didn’t see the need to buy anything before the baby was born, which isn’t to say that I didn’t care or that I wasn’t excited about my impending bundle of joy. Rather, I was being practical. Exercising good judgment, if I do say so myself.

To be honest, I was over-the-moon excited as I nervously peed on that stick when I first realized I was officially late. As those two lines began to appear indicating with the faintest certainty that I was going to be a mom, my heart raced with anticipation for all the pregnancy milestones that now stretched out in front of me.

But practicality just made sense. At least that’s what I told myself.

Courtesy of Kari LeClair

I had made the difficult decision to quit my job and embark on a new adventure: stay-at-home mom. I had more hesitation when it came to quitting than I thought I would because it was difficult choosing to give up a good job and a steady income knowing that I may never have it again. Because of this choice, I wanted to make decisions that would support mine and my partner's goal of living on one income and I wanted to be thrifty and cautious with the nest egg that my husband and I had worked so hard to build. Instead of surrounding myself in boxes from every online purveyor of baby-related items, I chose to be very calculated with my buying habits. Looking back now, the fear of the unknown was a big factor in our decision making. Not knowing if one income would be sufficient on a long-term basis or if raising a baby was actually more expensive than we’d planned for.

Instead of scrambling to purchase everything on a subjective list in an attempt to be prepared for someone whose only requirements were sleeping, eating, and getting constant diaper changes, we knew what our son needed and more importantly, what we absolutely wanted to give him, the more we got to know him.

We’d opted to keep the gender a surprise until the Big Day so the decision not to purchase tons of gear was a relatively effortless one. I mean, there are only so many yellow onesies you can buy before you start to hate all versions of that color. And since I’d planned on breastfeeding, we decided the baby would be our roommate for the first several months. This made the task of planning, buying for, and decorating a nursery seem like an unnecessary hassle. Especially when my every move was constantly plagued by exhaustion and debilitating morning sickness. It just seemed more prudent to wait, meet our baby, and then determine what we would actually need. I also enjoyed the thought of seeing his or her personality emerge and then decorating a nursery that was more personalized.

Courtesy of Kari LeClair

Our friends, family, and even strangers couldn’t understand our decision to wait to find out the sex, which was interesting given that the technology to determine baby's sex didn’t exist when our parents were having kids and somehow they coped. Regardless of the judgment, we remained steadfast in our commitment to wait and everyone survived the nine months. We even had a baby shower with everything decked out in yellow and green. My mother bought outfits for a little girl because she just couldn’t resist and they were promptly returned upon the delivery of a bouncing baby boy.

I never felt the urge to provide my son with more, which was a relief because it gave me more time to focus on learning how to be a mom and conquering the seemingly insurmountable task of breastfeeding. I found that he didn’t actually need anything besides the essentials. Having a nursery to sit in wouldn’t have enhanced the experience for either of us and gadgets and gizmos built to entertain a barely awake newborn simply weren’t needed.

In the end, we decided to purchase the bare necessities to comfortably welcome this tiny creature into our home. Those items included a crib in a gender-neutral shade of white, a car seat decorated in geometric prints that would please both boys and girls, several yellow and green articles of apparel to clothe this baby who surely had zero interest in what it was wearing, a stroller, and lots of diapers. So. Many. Diapers. These items just seemed logical to us because it allowed us to get through the first several weeks and we ultimately knew we could scour Amazon at any moment that we discovered we just couldn’t live without a bouncer or a diaper wipe warmer.

On that fateful day that my first born came into this world, I did not want for anything. We strapped that sweet boy into his geometric-printed car seat and slowly made our way home as a newly formed family of three. Upon reaching our destination, my slumbering child lay in my arms for the rest of the day as I soaked up every ounce of his sweetness. When he wasn’t sleeping, he was breastfeeding, and then breastfeeding some more.

Courtesy of Kari LeClair

During those first few months, I never felt the urge to provide my son with more, which was a relief because it gave me more time to focus on learning how to be a mom and conquering the seemingly insurmountable task of breastfeeding. I found that he didn’t actually need anything besides the essentials. Having a nursery to sit in wouldn’t have enhanced the experience for either of us, and gadgets and gizmos built to entertain a barely awake newborn simply weren’t needed. Of course, I’ll never know with complete certainty if more stuff would have in some way made life easier, but I feel resolute in my experience.

Did we eventually go out and indulge in all things baby? Absolutely. But the decisions we made after he was born were based on our experience. Instead of scrambling to purchase everything on a subjective list in an attempt to be prepared for someone whose only requirements were sleeping, eating, and getting constant diaper changes, we knew what our son needed and more importantly, what we absolutely wanted to give him, the more we got to know him.

Three very short years later my husband and I found out we were expecting once again. Without hesitation, we made the exact same decision to wait until after our daughter was born to create her nursery. This time around, we were taking much less of a gamble and felt secure because of what we’d learned the first time around. We knew what worked for us and felt confident about that. And after two experiences, I can honestly say my decision to favor utility over wanton spending is something I don’t regret and highly recommend.