January 12, 2009

Buying for Baby

I don’t know how we will possibly be ready for this baby in three months. Did you know that babies need A LOT of stuff? All kinds of stuff – big and small. Where is all of this stuff supposed to come from?

I have over the past months picked up some things for the baby on a very haphazard basis. Dad-to-be has been picking things up also. For the major purchases I have been doing a lot research – reading reviews, talking to other parents, trying out items in the story before committing, asking random strangers in the street – knowing in the back of my mind that with these things you never really can tell how something functions until you’re holding a screaming baby or mischievous toddler while trying to operate said item, AND every baby/ household/ family/ situation is different. But there’s something about the research that makes me feel like I have things in “control”. I have a pretty good strategy for the big baby things.

On the other baby stuff, not so much. And we all know that as much as we think that things are in control, they are never in control.

Just the other day, I wanted to take advantage of the great post-Christmas sales and stock up on the baby’s layette. Nothing beats going shopping for cute little baby clothes. This was one area that I hadn’t put too much thought into. Apart from some advice from moms on sizes and special items that work well, etc I was hoping to just wing this one.

After a day at the mall I came home tired and frustrated with a lousy couple of items to show for all of my work. The reason – it’s freaking hard to find neutrals. EVERYTHING is either completely girlish or completely boyish. Why didn’t anyone tell me I was going to have a hard time? I would have planned for this!!

I understand that more and more people are finding out the sex of their baby. That’s totally cool. As a result there are more parents than 20, 10 even 5 years ago that are looking for gender specific things. But what about us expectant parents who don’t know? There clearly aren’t enough yellow jumpers to go around – if they are even designed at all.

To illustrate my point, I pulled a few website screen grabs from the Gap, Old Navy and Roots – very popular retailers. I’d like you to observe the sub-sections that I am highlighting with my mouse in these images. Please note that the headers have some variation of “baby boy” and “baby girl”. No general baby category to encompass the “unknown” “TBD” “not yet defined” baby.

Exhibit A

Exhibit B
Exhibit C

Frustrating, no? I was at a busy retailer on a Saturday, browsing (no, hunting) through the baby section. After dismissing pretty much all of the items for being too gender specific, I was holding in my hand 3 outfits that were still questionable. So I asked someone beside me for their opinion. After the conversation I was left holding one outfit. I now had to line up in what was the worst line ever to pay for one baby outfit, which would probably be worn for a total of 10 minutes before being puked on.

This is not going to be pretty.

Now I know better. Now I know that shopping for neutrals won’t be a walk in the green and yellow park.

Week 26,


Anonymous said...

A friend who chose not to know the gender of her baby ended up sending me a few boxes of baby clothing. Almost everything 'gender neutral' is hand-knit. That's gotta be a pain to shop for :\

Then again, you don't have 17000 pink onesies ... I wish I had something that's purple or anything other than just PINK PINK PINK PINK!

Ms. Core on 3:36:00 PM said...

I know I post this on everyone's blog but if you have a craigslist in CA try them! I am guessing there are at least a few other people in your shoes and people often sell all the baby clothes they used for super cheap. Otherwise garage sales or hand-me downs. I know it's fun to buy cute baby stuff but don't get too upset if they aren't perfect. You will have lots of other things to worry about, the baby will grow fast and the baby doesn't care about the color, etc.

Or you can wait until after birth for the majority of stuff. Have an after baby shower instead...my friend did that since she didn't know the sex either.

Tara on 9:52:00 PM said...

I didn't find out the sex of my second and I just bought enough "neutral" clothes to get me through the newborn period. Then, once the baby was here, I could go crazy with the boy/girl stuff. Besides, if you end up with a chunky-chunk baby like me, they'll be outgrowing the stuff you buy so fast, you might as well buy it when you need it. :)


MBB Founder and Editor Denene Millner on 9:05:00 AM said...

Oooh, sorry girl. Sucks. Just to let you know, dressing your little girl in pink ALL DAY ALL THE TIME is no walk in the park either--these companies need to get a clue. Where's the blue for girls? Where's the orange and red? Something beautiful to pop against gorgeous brown skin? Nothin', nada, zip.

I'm not bitter.

Execumama on 10:36:00 AM said...

Humps, you are refreshingly funny! It's a light humor that really gets in there and tickles hard! The Frustration Nation is just beginning! This is not bad news, just foreshadowing. Think of the bright side: about 14 weeks from now, you won't give 2 shakes about outfits or colors or anything else for that matter, but your beautiful bundle.

Oh, and thanks for posting on youngmommylife about my tips!

FireMom on 8:57:00 PM said...

I learned the hard way: babies need love, a place to sleep and a mama's breast.

The rest? Is nice. But not necessary. Not a need. Trust me.

humpsNbump on 4:39:00 PM said...

Thanks everyone for your comments. As a few of you pointed out, it's no fun having all pink for girls and all blue for boys, either.

I was hoping that not knowing the sex of the baby would force me to buy as many neutrals as possible - and potentially save some money with baby #2 if that ever happens. But it looks like I'll just have to get the essentials and wait until after the big day for the rest.

If only I was skilled enough to make my own baby clothes. :)

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