Upon becoming pregnant with our first child my mind raced with lists of what I would need to care for our baby. I agonized over our baby registry. I researched products, talked to people about what they liked, and spent hours on the Internet googling. I found various checklists, that were largely created by retails stores, listing all of the many things that would be essential to care for my child. Now that I am two babies in I have a different opinion about these lists.
I have learned that many of the must-have items on my baby registry were completely unnecessary. When it comes down to it all a newborn baby does is sleep, eat and poop, they really don’t need much.
Looking back, I feel duped. Stores and their checklists manipulated a first-time mom and her desire to do right for her child. They marketed to me at a both joyful, yet vulnerable time in my life. It seems, much like the wedding industry, if you put the word “baby” if front of it for some reason the price is double what it would normally be, even though it’s often half the size.
There were a lot of things after having a baby that I did need though. Things that couldn’t be purchased in a store.
I compiled a new list for an “Alternative Baby Registry”. What I would have asked for knowing what I know now. There are some baby registry sites out there that let you include non-material items, like acts of service or experience type gifts.
Here is what would be on my Alternative Baby Registry. I could also see the list working for people who are going through other difficult transitions in their life… maybe a sudden illness, maybe a death in the family, maybe an aging relative… times when we all could use a little more help.
1. House cleaning gift certificate, either for a professional company or the friend or family member themselves.
This would have been AMAZING to have as I feel so much better when the house is clean but did not have the time or energy to do it myself.
2. Take out meals gift cards
3. Meal train coordinator volunteer. (an amazing free online tool that allows people to sign up to bring a meal on a calendar that everyone can see)
This way people do not end up with 10 lasagnas on a Wednesday. We were lucky enough to have one of these coordinated for us by a parent group we belong to after our second child was born and it was amazing. So helpful to not have to worry about cooking dinner during that transition in our life.
4. Baby photography gift certificate or even just the offer to take a couple of family photos.
Every mom would love this but not every mom can afford it.
5. Laundry service gift card.
Either friend or family member offers to do this or pays to have it taken to a service company.
6. Video streaming subscription.
To give you something to do for the 17 hours of feeding you will do a day, especially when you are trying to stay awake at 2 AM.
7. Books you can read with one hand (for the 17 hours of feeding you will do a day).
8. Grocery Delivery Service Gift Certificate or just offering to pick up groceries.
9. College savings account contribution (529 plan) for baby.
Because the 10 dollars spent on that tiny baby outfit might serve a newborn better this way.
10. Naps. (come over to my house and tell me, don’t ask, just tell me, to go take a nap while you watch the baby)
A baby needs a lot less stuff than we initially might think, but the new parents can use all the help they can get.
About the Author: Nikki Cox is a mommy of two striving to clear away the clutter both physical and emotional so she can live life with intention and clarity. Find her at Lovelylucidlife.com.