Now that we are expecting a little bundle of joy, there are SO.MANY.THINGS.
I am bombarded by ads on facebook and Instagram and Amazon…you need ALL THE THINGS! Paired with that are the opinions, both current and past from moms, friends, family, coworkers, you name it, on all the stuff you NEED.
And, by the way, none of these lists are the same.
What are we to do?
Thankfully, we have some time (babies come with that built in ramp time thank goodness…our house is far from ready for a third person!) to research, talk to people and build a list of what will work best for us.
Before we started looking at individual things, Matt and I talked a lot about our lifestyle and how we envision raising a kiddo. Disclaimer: this is what we envision…and are totally 100% aware that some if not all of this will change when the real thing is happening. Please don’t judge.
We talk extensively about priorities, and filters for choosing “stuff” for our baby:
- Multi-age or purpose. Can it be used for more than just 1 event or age?
- Minimal # of things. We don’t have space to store extra.
- Well made. That will last for 2 kids and then resell or pass on
- Secondhand when appropriate.
- Related to secondhand…safety. This is a big one. Does it meet current guidelines and recommendations.
- Nontoxic (I could write pages on this…) particularly for sleeping surfaces, bedding and clothes.
First thing you do when you have a baby? Bring them home.
We are currently a single vehicle family driving a mini cooper. It has been pretty incredible to build up a farm and do a MAJOR remodel with just this vehicle, and we are enjoying only having one car. I typically commute to work on public transportation, and then take the car to the mainland 1 or 2 days per week for work and combine all our major errands on those trips. What does this mean for us as a family of three? Well, a few things.
First, the mini is tight for us to get out and do big trips just the two of us. This means for visiting family, surfing, hiking we will want a larger vehicle. So we are exploring options to add to our family fleet. Winners at the moment are a Subaru or minivan. We know we eventually want two kids, so that is part of the equation.
Second, I do most of the errands while on the mainland. Matt rarely drives unless we are going somewhere together. Matt, Mr. at-home-Daddy, does not envision that this will change for him much once baby is here, mostly staying at home base unless they are out for fun on the island. Those trips are all pretty short. For our longer haul trips to see family etc, we will have both of us plus baby. This really impacts our need for things like strollers and carseats that easily come in and out of the car.
Like most baby gear, carseats were an abstract concept that I had not given much thought. I knew I would choose a super safe model, but then came the other decisions: toxicity (a theme I am personally really interested in), mobility, and options for infant vs. convertible etc. I did not even know those were considerations!
Then how do carseats mesh with your stroller plan? Oh boy, don’t even get me started on this one. We have been learning a lot about babywearing vs. stroller culture, and based on our travel patterns, access to walkable spaces (living on a rural island is pretty different than a city or neighborhood with sidewalks), errand routines and personal preferences (and after doing lots of reading and talking with others) are very much leaning towards no infant stroller (gasp! I know this causes horror for some to think about) or infant carrying carseat, and opting instead for a convertible car seat and babywearing initially. We will add a stroller later on when baby is heavier (or we decide we need some wheels) when they are past the infant stage and can handle an upright setup.
I am excited to try out our local chapter of the babywearing library where you can check out different carriers/wraps/slings for a month to give them a try! Matt is excited about this option too because it meets one of our other primary goals of reducing demand for new things (and needs…lets be real here, our house is small and we have no garage to store “extra” stuff).
We started building a registry with these ideas in mind so that I can research things, make a decision, and then move on. New products come out all the time (like the new Willow breast pump!? OMG this thing sounds cool and comes out this spring). I am scouring our local secondhand sources for baby gear and already scored some primo things for WAY discounted: primarily a set of cloth diapers, a Bjorn bouncer and Deuter hiking backpack carrier. Win!
Our nursery will be more kid focused than “baby”, with a gender neutral surf/beach theme in teal/orange/white and other bright pops of color. Get some years out of the effort we are going to put into it (not to mention that it will need new flooring and a window before we have a baby in it). It is a huge room, nearly 14×20, and we plan to have it has the kids room for two until one is older and wants their own space upstairs.
For Christmas I got a sewing machine, and I am excited to start sewing simple baby clothes with secondhand fabrics. My best friend sent me some patterns for baby pants that she made out of old mens sweaters! For our little summer baby I am looking at easy 1 piece romper patterns, and have an idea for making them out of secondhand shirts. Stay tuned!
Well those are my current thoughts. I know these are likely to evolve over time, and I will probably look back and laugh at my “pre-mommy” naive vision of how we operate as a family of three. But we really are trying to think through OUR lifestyle, parenting goals, and space limitations before making purchases. Besides, we know that regardless of how much stuff we have, our baby really only needs food, shelter and love to grow. The rest is really just convenience.