Saturday, November 1, 2008

Preparing for Baby Part 1

As I pass into my 23rd week of pregnancy, the need to actually prepare for Baby MoneyPenny's arrival has become more pressing.  

So far, we've managed to order a glider and ottoman (a must-have according to the many sleep deprived parents I've talked to, who have spent hours pacing with a fussy infant) for the nursery, and order some cloth diapers from  We did custom order the fabric and wood style for the glider, but the total additional cost off the base price was $7, so we figured we did okay.  

We still plan to paint the nursery, and we need some nursery furniture. While Baby Moneypenny will probably sleep in in our room for the first few months, it's my desire to have him or her in the nursery by the time I go back to work after 3 months of maternity leave.  Which means a crib will have to be obtained at some point.  

That, and we created a registry.  I always have mixed feelings about registries, including my own. They seem to have become a symbol of greed - 'buy me stuff!', and yet, true to the mixed relationship Americans have with money, "Where are you registered" is one of the most common questions I've gotten so far, and I often hear complaints about those who don't provide a registry to 'help people choose'.  So I compromise by putting nothing on our registry that we aren't ultimately prepared to buy for ourselves.  

So far, I give us a B+ on not succumbing to tons of marketing.  We have thus far avoided completely a bassinet or co-sleeper - the bassinet top of a pack 'n play will do fine, and only if it doesn't will we then go seek something else out - realistically we could always put a moses basket in the middle of our bed too, although I'm nervous of the baby in the bed with us.  I'm guessing we'll be inundated by cute clothes and toys, so we've skipped buying those, although we will probably pick something soft and cozy out for baby to come home from the hospital in, and a toy to have too.  Books are something we want to eventually accumulate a collection of, but based on my observations of neices and nephews collections, birthdays and holidays will cover a bunch of that, and then we'll add to their collection of things to read over the years.  

As for gear, there are things that are either needed or entirely useful.  A carseat &  stroller, somewhere to sleep, diapers, wipes, and so on.  A place to sleep.  Clothes.   Baby gates.  

What we don't need are items like an $800 stroller.  A decent, well rated travel system and a couple carseat bases will do just fine.  So we won't be the most stylish stroller-toting parents on the block...I'm comfortable with that.  Over the last month, I stopped a few moms to ask how they like their strollers and then Sander and I took a look around together.   We ended up picking a system that is sporty looking and handles well, but relatively inexpensive.   

Same with nursery furniture - there are sites that offer gorgeous cribs that can run into the thousands.  But a nice-looking, functional piece of furniture can be just as good, if not better, seeing as kids often practice teething on their cribs, so they can end up looking like hamster cages after a couple years of use.  

Ditto this philosophy on expensive little baby outfits and other baby accessories.   While they are adorable and tempting, and I don't know that I'll be able to completely avoid temptation after the baby arrives, I'm trying to remain practical.  

And then there's the mom costs.  Nursing-friendly clothes.  A pump, if one should so choose.  And all sorts of other gear, some of which is even a really good idea.  I resisted the idea of a pump, as they cost between $200-$300, until I was offered one free but for the cost of postage.  New hoses, etc to the tune of about $30 will make it good as new.  Some of my maternity clothes are also nursing clothes.  

Our biggest decision left is what to do about a crib and dresser.  We need one of each.  We've been offered a few used cribs, and are considering those as options, and we've seen some new that we like.  We have a tendency to like matched sets, so this is the one area where our frugality and practicality have been challenged.  Our solution has been to defer making a decision for right now - the reality is, we don't need it yet.   

It seems that this is one of the best things that soon-to-be parents can do - defer making decisions.  After all, we don't know yet what will work for this new person entering our lives, and if our child is anything like us, Baby MoneyPenny will have opinions of his/her own.   Sure,  we'll need some stuff up front.  We'll get some ourselves, and we'll register for the rest, and if we don't get what we register for we'll evaluate what we need and want as we go along.  In other words, we'll be fine either way.  

I'll add another update when we're closer - we'll see if the resolve to remain sensible holds.  

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