Monday, May 21, 2012

The baby shower. An exercise in futility.

The baby shower.  Pregnant women everywhere spend months pouring over websites, trying to figure out what the "must-haves" are.  It's totally f-ing ridiculous.

Traditionally, you only get a baby shower for the first baby.  This is the one that counts, because you presumably don't own any baby necessities yet.  You also have never had a baby, so you have absolutely no idea what "necessities" even means.  None.

So, you go to the sites and register for the items you are guessing you need.  I registered at a site called  The most awesome thing about this site, was that it shared an almost identical URL to a site that sells sex toys.  Great.  That kind of stuff only happens to me.  My friends know that I have a sick sense of humor, but thankfully none of them had the balls to wrap up a vibrator and present it to me in a box flanked in baby booty wrapping paper, in front of my mother.  But I digress.  Back to why baby showers- and registries-  are ridiculous.

What in the hell is this thing?

You don't know what you need.  You just don't.  And because of this, you end up registering for a bunch of things that you'll never use.  For example, I wish one of my friends with children was able to warn me that Lucien would hate his $800 crib, and end up sleeping in a $60 pack and play.  That would have been awesome.  I would have saved $800, and not had a gigantic piece of furniture that I have no use for crammed into our tiny apartment.  If I had to do it over again I would have started with a co-sleeper and moved to the pack and play.  Oh well.  Hindsight is 20/20, as they say.

Also, I wish someone would have told me that almost everyone ignores your registry anyway, and just buys you whatever the hell they want.  Which is usually some cute little newborn outfit that your child will never wear.  Lucien was born on November first, at the beginning of what would turn out to be a brutal winter in New York.  I didn't take him anywhere for like, three months.  He wore long sleeve onesie pajamas- only.  All of those adorable little newborn outfits that everyone couldn't resist buying went completely to waste.  I ended up giving about $400 worth of brand new clothes to the dishwasher at my job who was expecting his first baby a couple months ago.

This brings me to baby registry tip #1.  Do not register for clothes.   People will buy them anyway, and you will end up with a bunch of stuff you never use.  The only clothing that actually comes in handy those first few months are long sleeve or short sleeve onesies, depending on the season.  Unless you are one of the New Jersey housewives, and you plan on dressing your baby up in ridiculous outfits and parading her around town.  In which case, you're on your own.

Now, what about the gadgets?  Rocker, swing, mobile, bouncer- what's a new mom to choose?  Well, being as I registered at the most bourgeois registry on the planet, all of these gadgets where of minimalist design and uber expensive.  Luckily, I would never ask my friends to buy me that expensive shit- so I just didn't register for any of it.  My genius sister sent me a Fischer Price baby seat- that I probably never would have chosen on my own.  It had jungle animals all over it, vibrated, played music and bounced when baby moved.  Lucien loved this thing more than life itself.  And it actually provided a place for me to put Lucien, when I wasn't holding him.

Baby registry tip #2.  Register for a baby bouncer seat.  Did you know, that you need somewhere to put this baby, when you aren't holding him?  I didn't really even think about it.  You will want some kind of seat.  I'm calling it a seat, but it's actually something you just lay your child on and strap him to that keeps him somewhat upright.  This was an absolute necessity for us- and one that I didn't even register for.  Thanks sis, for being brilliant.

On to the Diaper Genie.  I didn't register for it.  Do I really need an extra garbage can in my house, that isn't even cute?  What is the point of that thing?  Can't I just wrap the diaper in plastic and put it in our own garbage?  What's the big deal?  I hate to break it to you,  but the shit that comes out of your baby is the foulest, most disgusting-smelling substance that you can ever imagine.  Actually, you can't imagine it.  Childless people have no idea what human feces smells like after it sits around in a garbage for a few days (I hope).  It is the foulest, rankest smell on the planet.  The Diaper Genie contains that demonic horror.  It is a simple design, it's not cute- but accept no imitations.  It works.  Just buy it.  You'll thank me later.

Baby registry tip #3.  Buy the aforementioned Diaper Genie.  Do it now.

Toys?  Meh.  Your newborn can't even focus, let alone play with anything.  I opted for playing music for him.  The bouncer seat has little dangly things that he can try to touch, and rattles are pretty cool, too.    Other than that, wait until he gets bigger.  Save yourself some space.

Swaddling blankets.  Lucien hated to be swaddled, and once he was big enough, he just kicked out of them.  Buy a few.  But don't buy 10, like we did.

Bottles.  How many do I need?  I really don't know what the right answer is to this.  But I can tell you that we have four.  And it's worked fine.  I bought the 9oz Avent ones, with the interchangeable nipples.  If you do this, you are able to keep the same bottles and just purchase faster flowing nipples as the baby gets older.

Baby registry tip #4  Don't register for diapers.  If you've never had a child, you will have no idea which ones you prefer.  Every single mom I know uses a different diaper, and swears by hers.  I use Luvs Ultra Leakguards- but you might hate those.  You won't know until you try them.  We started with Pampers, and poop used to just shoot up his back.  Seriously.

Baby registry tip #5 Gift cards rock.  Target gift cards, Amazon gift cards.  The great thing is- it's cash.  And you can spend it on the things you will figure out that you need.

Okay, so that covers some of the basics.  Really, this whole registry thing should change.  What we should do is pick a Mom in our life- who we think is sensible and awesome- and have her manage the registry for us.  Kind of like what I just did, but tailored a little more to your specific tastes.  She would be like a pregnancy Maid of Honor.  Brilliant!  How do I not have a 401k?

Oh and P.S...  the diaper cake?  No.  Just, no.

P.P.S... here are some links to the things you want.

Gerber Newborn 3 Pack Long-Sleeve Onesie Set, White (0-3 Months)

Fisher-Price My Little Snugabunny Bouncer Seat

Playtex Diaper Genie Elite Diaper Disposal Pail Philips 

Gerber Brand 4 Pack Organic Onesies, White, 3-6 Months

AVENT 5 Pack BPA Free Classic Polypropylene Bottles, 9 Ounce

aden + anais 4 Pack Muslin Swaddle Wrap, Jungle Jam


  1. I think you should have a baby shower mo matter how many baby's the mother has 3 ,4 ,5 ,10.
    Its for the BABY not the mother. It helps mom...but it's for the baby. And getting together and celebrating!.
    As for diaper cakes yaaa....those are awful lol. My favorite baby bottles were Born Free they were great!!! Dr browns are pain in the ass...and as baby gets older used Gerber. And as for clothes...i think I put every single onsie pants shirt everything that was given and bought in him. And yes bouncer definate yes! U have to have a bouncer.

  2. We ended up buying pretty much everything (besides a couple that a couple college friends bought me) on our registry because I didn't get a shower. Which I'm kind of glad about. But I wish someone would have told me how useless some things were because I wasted so much money on what I thought were essentials. BTW, that bumbo that I spent $40 on because I needed the tray with it, yea, waste of money. Though my sister was so adamant about I should buy it. I should have known better than to listen to her.

    1. We got a bumbo-like thing, too- that we never used. When I put Lucien in it, he just kinda looked at me like, "Now what?"

  3. Oh the clothes! The only plus side to having an overflow of clothes is not having to do so much laundry. But I always tell my mom friends that babies live in onesies and a blanket for at least the first month. Plus a dress on a baby girl who doesn't stand yet, to me, is pointless! Our diaper genie is in the living room in a corner and we swear by it. Unless you want to be taking out your garbage every 5 hours, get the genie!!!

    1. The amount of clothes we have given away, barely worn, is nuts.

  4. All this is good to know as my baby shower is coming up very soon. I can't believe the prices of some stuff, and admittedly feel a little guilty registering for them in the hopes that some poor sap I know will buy them for me. I've already got a ton of clothes for a little girl from people-we don't even know the sex of the baby...

    1. Sometimes people will go in on some of the bigger items together. If you really need those things register for them. That's another reason why I think gift cards are great. You can put a few gifts together and get something bigger that you normally wouldn't be able to afford. Congrats! When are you due?

    2. Thank you! August 13th is the big day. :D

  5. boo to the diaper genie. seriously! Otis is rank as they come and I put his poopers in the kitchen garbage- bagged in a grocery bag- though- now I wonder if I'm just used to his stank?? It is so true about the clothes and the diapers though! And both my kids lived in the swing and bouncer when they weren't screaming their little heads off to be held... ahhhh newborns.. so teeny and cute- and loud :)

  6. The best gift I got was a sling. Once I figured it out and got over being scared he'd suffocate, my kid lived in the sling for months. I took the dog for walks with the kid in the sling. My kid went to work with me in the sling (I teach horseback riding). I took him grocery shopping in the sling. I know some kids hate slings, but seriously, it was fabulous for us. My husband also used a front carrier which was great (but not as easy to get the kid in and out of). And we got a hand-me-down backpacking backpack which I use all the time now that the kid is bigger (I feed the horses, clean their stalls, mow the lawn, weedeat... all with the kid on my back). Also great to have is a jogging stroller. That's seriously all you need: diapers, onesies, sling/carrier/backpack, pak'n'play, stroller. Oh, and a highchair is nice. And a carseat. And an activity playmat thingy plus a bouncy seat (because you can put that in the bathroom, strap the kid in it and take a shower!!), and maybe a swing (my kid hated it so it was a waste of money for us, but tons of people swear by them). And now I will shut up.

    1. I wish I would have registered for a sling. I registered for a Moby wrap- which was impossible. I was sweating, and crying, and I gave up. Doesn't it freak you out to have the kid in a backpack? Having him on my back scares me. I think I need to get over that.

  7. A sleep consultant friend of mine makes this swaddle: It wasn't available for purchase yet when my kid was little, although he wore a test model of it for the website photo shoot and instantly fell asleep. So if people are into swaddling, this one has some really nice features. (and now I'm really going to shut up)

  8. The other thing I found completely pointless was a receiving blanket. Except I should say that in the plural because we got tons of them! What do people use them for?! Yet they are on every registry (mine included). They are too thin to keep baby warm in winter (mine was December...) and I couldn't swaddle him in them to save my life. And why try --- there's Velcro now! Anyway, he's 17 months old now and I keep one in the car to use in shopping carts (the fancy cart cover made it once and I said forget this!) and I use one on his changing table. So yeah - no receiving blankets (or maybe just one).

  9. My wife recently went to a shower where a diaper cake was presented. The soon-to-be-first-time mom was grateful - ridiculously grateful, by all accounts - until my wife informed her that the diapers in the "cake" would last until maybe noon the day after she brings the baby home...

  10. I do not understand the Diaper Genie. It's a fancy trash can with expensive liners. I never had one and would never buy it for a friend. I don't get the appeal at all.

    I've found in talking about this stuff with other Moms that people just plain have different experiences and you can't really predict if you'll be a Genie lover or hater.

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