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Not Cinderella's Stepmom

with Samantha

I'm a dreamer, writer and actor obsessed with classic television, lace, baking and quoting Ace Ventura (one of these things is not like the other). I like to believe that my life is just like a Disney movie with an Alan Menken soundtrack except the stepmom's not so evil. When I married my husband, David, in October of 2012, I fell madly, deeply in love with my two stepchildren, Chloe and Trey. It's incredibly hard to balance being a stepmom every other weekend with the rest of my life, but it is 100% worth it. You can find more stories about my family at my personal blog, fairytangles!

How To Not Get Overwhelmed With Baby Gear

Categories: baby gear, new baby, new mom

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A few weeks ago, I wrote about the early stages of baby planning, and how I was learning to chill out about picking the absolute perfect swing, highchair, play mat, etc. I realized that I had plenty of time to pick these items out and then Amazon reviews were not the answer to everything.

And then I decided to make a list of the baby gear I would eventually need… and I got overwhelmed all over again.

If you check out any registry “checklist”, your eyes might blur together like mine did in a fit of panic. There are the categories, which seem simple enough at first, like strollers, diapering, bathing, feeding, etc. But then you realize that each category has a sub-category. So strollers aren’t just strollers anymore. You can’t just put “stroller” at the top of your wish list. You need to decide if you want one with an accompanying car seat, one that rear-faces or forward-faces, one that comes with an entire travel system, one that’s just lightweight, one that’s nothing but a frame, and then there are stroller accessories.

Oh you guys. I think I’m going to be sick. And that’s just ONE category.

So instead of spending the next five (FIVE!) months breathing into a paper bag and ending up with some stroller I found in the dumpster at my local McDonald’s, I’ve decided to take this whole “shopping for baby gear” one step at a time.

Be honest: Will you use this?

It’s easy for me to fall into a dream-like world where I will definitely need a jogging stroller (Although I don’t jog) and a bouncy seat to carry across my mansion so the baby is always with me (Even though I can hear everything in my house from the living room). I try and convince myself that these are things I’ll need, but I know they aren’t. So I start looking at items on the checklist and scratching them off because I have no use/need for them. And who wants more things to clutter their house?

Ask yourself: Do you want it because you want it or because the baby books say you do?

Look, I don’t begrudge anyone who wants their baby to sleep in their room. Do whatever your family needs! But for me? It’s a no-brainer. I want the baby in his/her room the very first night we’re home. I know myself and I know I’ll fall into a habit of bringing the baby to bed with me when he/she needs feeding or calming down, instead of rocking in the nursery and laying back down in the crib. So a bassinet? Not on my wish list, despite the fact that nearly every registry checklist has it in big, bold letters. This is a solid way to whittle down your baby gear list: Do I even want this? No? Then let’s not get it. It reminds me of making a registry for our wedding. Sure, if we had fancy dinner parties every Friday, we might need an electric wine opener and a 24 piece set of fine china, but we’ll just take the can opener and margarita glasses instead.

Talk to your friends.

This has been a big help on deciding what baby gear is necessary, but remember to take their opinions with a grain of salt. Every family is different. The mom that commutes three hours to work and has her baby in daycare may insist that you need a double electric breast-pump while the mom that stays at home will tell you that all she needed was a sling to tote her baby from room-to-room. Find a friend who has a similar lifestyle to you. Do you do a lot of traveling? Then talk to your friend that’s always out-of-town about the type of stroller she uses for the airport. Do you work from home? Talk to the friend that does the same thing to find out which swing gave her baby the longest nap time and her the longest conference call freedom. Each friend might have something different to tell you, sure, but their insight might be one you hadn’t considered before. Also, unlike some salespeople or store ads, your friends have nothing to gain from you buying the same brand of play mat as them. They just want to help!

How did you simplify your baby gear shopping list? Do you have any tips to make the task seem less daunting?

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