There are many thoughts that run through your mind as a pregnant parent. And you may find that one of the big themes of those thoughts is: “What do I need to buy for the baby?”
From Moses baskets, to breast pumps. From buggies (or should I say ‘travel systems’), to baby monitors… the list is ENDLESS. It can feel so overwhelming. Plus, it’s not just that you want to buy ALL the thing but you also want to buy the best that you can afford. So, you spend hours and hours researching precisely which products you want and where you can get them at the best price.
It can easily leave you feeling frazzled, bewildered and downright unprepared.
So, I wanted to write a few little truths to help any first-time mums out there struggling with any of this.
Newborn babies were made to survive newborn parents.
You will make mistakes, you will buy the wrong things, you’ll forget to buy something you need… and it doesn’t matter. Despite fragile appearances, newborns are actually pretty robust little things. They were built to survive and just because you don’t end up with the same, bespoke, all-natural cot mattress as the Joneses, it’s ok. Your baby won’t mind one little bit.
Babies don’t need ALL the things.
I worked in central London throughout my entire midwifery career. It meant that I met families that really did have it all, but I also met families that had basically nothing. And do you know what? The babies really didn’t care. This simply comes down to the fact that babies only need a loving caregiver for the vast majority of the first weeks of their lives. Sure, they need clothes and nappies but aside from that they really don’t need much. Baby monitors aren’t necessary because you probably won’t leave them in a room by themselves (night or day) for at least a few weeks or months. If you don’t have have a cot, then you can always co-sleep (see here for safe guidelines on how to do so). If you’re breastfeeding then you don’t need any bottles or feeding equipment. You really are all they need- and at the end of the day… any essentials can easily be bought. There’s often a 24 hour supermarket open somewhere nearby or you can order something online for it to arrive the next day.
Until your baby is here, you don’t really know what you need.
Babies have a funny way of teaching us valuable life lessons. You see, they are driven purely by instinct- they have no logic or reason- they just do what their bodies are telling them to do. This means that if a baby is hungry he or she will cry until they get food- it doesn’t matter if they only fed an hour ago or four hours ago. It means that if a baby feels unsafe, they will cry until they feel safe again (normally when they find themselves in the arms of a loving caregiver or latched on to a breast). So, whilst you may have grand plans… your baby is sure to scupper them in some way, shape or form. For instance- my baby cried every time I put in her in the expensive pram for the first five months of her life, but she was always happy snuggled in a the cheap sling. It was a perfect demonstration of just how the things that seem ‘vital’ and ‘important’ can actually be the things that you find yourself needing the least once the baby is here.
In a few months time there will be a far better product on the market.
When we are buying things for our babies, we really do try to get the best of the best, or at least the best that we can afford. But we live in an ever-changing world and technology moves so fast these days that what you think is the best today, could well be old news by next month. This doesn’t mean that we need to be constantly upgrading every time something new comes out, it’s simply a lesson in not sweating the small stuff.
And finally… ignore what everyone tells you.
Being pregnant seems to be a time when people feel that they can simply bombard you with advice- even when they haven’t had children themselves. It is, of course, all well-meaning but it simply adds to the overwhelm. If you feel compelled to splash out on something and people are scoffing at the very idea or if you feel no need to buy something that other people tell you is essential… go with your instinct. It may be that the expensive thing becomes an essential part of your family life, or it may sit there gathering dust but if YOU think YOU need it, then go for it. You can always sell it on if it doesn’t get used. If you decide not to buy something , perhaps it’s the right thing too, and if it turns out you do need it, well, like I said, most big supermarkets are open 24 hours a day and you can always get next day delivery online if needed.
I really hope that those 5 truths have helped you to let go of some of the stress and overwhelm that comes from baby shopping. Having all of the rights things ready for baby’s arrival can help you to feel like a worthy parent, but please remember you are the perfect parent for your baby, just as you are. Material things are nice to have but your baby really won’t care about any of them, all they truly need is you… cuddles and snuggles with your baby will reap benefits that no piece of technology could ever even come close to.