Nov 11 2010

Buying more baby gear this time to make my life easier

So with  five weeks until I hit 40w pregnant, I’ve been reflecting on what I felt went well with the newborn time with my son, and what I think I’ll do differently this time.

I now realize that I made things way too hard on myself. In the name of saving money and keeping things simple, I think I made my life harder than it needed to be. Maybe it was out of pride. Maybe it was out of just plain, “I have no idea what I’m doing, so I’m gunna try it this way and hope for the best.” I don’t really know.

But here are just a few things that I’m planning on doing differently:

Infant car seat. I opted to skip the infant seat and went straight to a convertible seat that goes 5-65 lbs. or something. I didn’t want to spend money on a seat that would only get a few months of use. I knew that I would have probably nowhere to store the seat once it was out of use. I knew that lugging it around would be a huge pain.

And yet. The day we brought my son home from the hospital, the wind chill was -11F. That is NOT a normal temperature for Pittsburgh. Getting his little newborn body in the seat in the cold wasn’t so fun. We had the heat cranked up in the car, and I could sit in the backseat with the door closed to buckle him in, but come on!

On the rare occasion I went to a restaurant before he could sit up on his own, I had nowhere to set him. So I wore him in a sling and that was mostly fine except I got food all over him.

With this new December baby, I went ahead and got an infant seat. For one thing, I won’t be able to sit back there and buckle her in — the other seat will be occupied by my son. And for two, I don’t know how I can quickly get both kids in and out of the car without all of us freezing, unless I have that seat for her.

Swing. My son didn’t have a swing until he was 2 weeks old. We wanted to take a “wait and see” approach to determine if we wanted one. Turns out, we did! Getting out of the house was good for me, but again, it was cold! And we didn’t have the luxury of shopping around and comparing lots of models because we were pressed for time. We found a decent swing for a decent price anyway.

That swing has since conked out, but I have a new-to-me swing and batteries ready to go. If the girl doesn’t use it, fine. But if she does…yay that I already have it.

Bouncy seat. I didn’t have a bouncy seat until Johnny was about three months old. It turned into a pretty handy place for him to sit while I ate or cleaned up or whatnot. Pre-seat, he might have been in the swing or a sling or on a blanket. Can’t really remember. Do all kids need a swing and a bouncy seat? No. Not all kids need either. But I still think they are handy to have — a bouncy seat is a lot more portable than a swing.

Boppy pillow. I just didn’t really want one the first time, and didn’t think I really needed it. But I borrowed one from a friend recently, and saw the potential use and decided to get one myself. It’ll help while I’m sitting and nursing (I think), and could be another place I could set the baby if I wanted. Plus I can sit on it.

No bottles. I haven’t fully made up my mind on this one. Instead, I’ve decided we’ll just evaluate things as they happen. But with Johnny, I didn’t give him a bottle. He nursed for pretty much all of his feedings except for when I had surgery at 6 months of his age. I had expressed milk for him and he sorta took it, but not really (probably because he was like…what is this and where is my mom?). But anyway, most of the time it was perfectly fine with me that he didn’t take a bottle.

For one thing, I was the on-call parent during the night — Shane’s work schedule just would make it really hard for him to get up in the night and I didn’t want that for him. So just grabbing Johnny to nurse in the night was a lot easier than making a bottle for him or grabbing something out of the fridge. And pumping milk is work in itself, and there’s prep involved that initially would take more time.

But I think it would have been nice for him to have a bottle on occasion if I really needed more sleep, or the like. I’m kind of intimidated by bottles and pumping and dealing with that whole bit and like I said, I haven’t decided how I’ll do things this time. But I want to be easier on myself.

Those are the big ones that I can think of right now. I still don’t regret getting a big stroller for him. We have an umbrella stroller and it rarely gets used. We’re just sling people (or walk if you’re big enough!). So if I do get a stroller, it might be one of those sit n’ stand ones that work for two kids. But I’m not planning on getting one right now.

My advice to pregnant women? Choosing baby gear is tricky. Of course manufacturers want you to think you absolutely need their product. And you might. But it’s hard to say at first. I say talk with trusted mom friends and get their take, and see if you can borrow some things instead of buying your own at first. Or just go ahead and get what you want and hope for the best. If something doesn’t get much use, you can most likely resell it and recoup most of your costs.

Just be sure to try and make things easy on yourself. The newborn period is hard. Don’t make it harder than it needs to be!

Can you relate at all?



7 Responses to “Buying more baby gear this time to make my life easier”

  1. Our strategy? We got most of this stuff (swing, bouncy seat, infant car seat) as hand-me-downs, so if Baby likes it, great, if not, we didn’t spend any money on it, so no loss (except for the storage space). We have a few hand-me-down bottles, but I expect we’ll get more new, since ours will get a decent amount of use when I’m pumping. I have a Boppy on my registry, and already have a couple covers, so, if I’m not gifted one, we’ll probably buy one used.

    I’m thankful for the generosity & wisdom of friends who have already done this Baby thing!
    joanna´s last post ..Be the Church

  2. That is a VERY good strategy, Joanna! I was one of the mom pioneers in my peer group so I didn’t really have anyone to borrow from, but now I do. And now I can do some of the lending and that’s nice. :)

  3. I love the bouncy seat! You’re right, it’s very handy because it’s portable.
    Becky´s last post ..Judes First Halloween

  4. Oh my gosh, I have a very similar post sitting in my drafts. I should finish it and publish it.

    I agree, I think some moms take the “I’m keeping things simple” too far. If you have the money and the space, and it makes your life easier, then by all means go for it!
    ashley @ twentysixcats´s last post ..our new church

  5. I agree, every baby is different, every mom is different and I think what you need with each child is different as well! Our lists of ‘needs’ or wants has completely changed between Lexi and this one. Things we used regularly with Lexi weren’t used at all with Caylee and now we don’t even have for Josiah.
    I’m completely on board with Joanna though, if you have someone willing to give you something and you have the space- GO FOR IT!!!

    One of the things we were gifted with used with Lexi was an exersaucer. We didn’t register for one because I thought they were a huge waste of space, i mean kids can’t even move in them! Turns out Lexi LOVED the thing, Caylee LOVED it too. Since then we ran out of space to store things and got rid of it. My reasoning was that you can buy them so cheap on craigslist, I figured giving it away and spending $15 on another one 2 years later was WAY worth it. They are huge!
    Jes´s last post ..It’s FRIDAY!!!

  6. I’d go for the infant carrier too in weather like that! Especially having a winter baby. I am from SC and can’t even imagine what -11 would feel like. Brr.

    I can relate to going a little too far in the name of simplicity/frugality and then realizing it wasn’t worth it. For our younger daughter’s homebirth (our first homebirth) we wanted a waterbirth but decided to use our whirlpool tub instead of buying a nice inflatable one. We thought we’d save about $125. We did have a beautiful birth but I didn’t feel like I could get into the position I would have preferred because the water was a few inches too shallow. Also, the bottom of the tub was hard on my legs. This time we’re investing in a nice deep La Bassine tub with inflatable bottom, handles to hold onto, soft sides I can lean over, a liner… It’s not that big of a splurge for the comfort it’ll offer.

    Also, we have one of those Sit and Stand strollers (a Joovy) and they’re really neat. Our 3-year-old loves to choose whether she sits or stands on the back. You can even hook an infant car seat onto the Joovy, so it works for little babies as well as ones who are older and can sit up. We got ours at a consignment sale. We don’t use it a ton but it’ll probably get used more when we have the new baby to carry, too.

  7. I have a spare Boppy, I already inherited two of them! Let me know if you want me to mail it to you!

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

I hope I can inspire and encourage you to improve your situation. See disclosure.

I'm adopting a much slower-paced posting schedule, and treating this as a hobby blog now.

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