The baby gifts have begun to arrive, and with them, a growing sense that yes, indeed, the little one will soon be here (as the size of the belly in this photo from our beach backpacking trip attests)!
Our mothers are graciously throwing us a baby shower in mid-October, and a few months ago, Matt and I set to the task of building a registry for the baby. Our minds were boggled by the world of baby gear! Quickly, we realized that choosing items for the registry was more than a matter of shopping — it was an exercise in deciding how we wanted to parent. (And, we soon learned, every parenting approach seems to involve its own set of specialized equipment!)
For example, did we want to breastfeed exclusively, bottle-feed breastmilk, use formula, or a mix? For nursing, did we want a Boppy, My Brest Friend, or organic nursing pillow? Did we want to use a bassinet, Moses basket, crib, or floor bed? Did we want to have a separate nursery, room-share, co-sleep with a co-sleeper, or co-sleep in a bed? If co-sleeping in a bed, did we want a Tres Tria or a Humanity Family Sleeper? Did we want to swaddle with blankets, or use a sleep sack, or use PJs, or a mix? Did we want to babywear, use a stroller, rely mostly on a carseat/bucket, or a mix? If babywearing, did we want an Ergo, Moby wrap, sling, or a mix? Did we want to try baby signing or elimination communication? Would we use disposable diapers, cloth diapers, or a mix? (And let me tell you — if you have not already had reason to discover this in your own life — cloth diapers have changed dramatically in the last thirty years. They are now an amazing, wonderful, complicated world of styles and materials unto themselves! So much so that they will merit their own blog post later!)
Over time, we made our choices, knowing all the while that when the baby arrives and we put our choices into practice, we very well might be prompted to revise or even completely overhaul them. The process took three months of reading and researching and thinking on both of our parts. As an ecologist and evolutionary biologist, I let human ecology and evolutionary biology be my decision-making guides (as I do in the other areas of my life as well, to very happy result).
A great set of blog posts I discovered as I researched were these in Eco Child’s Play‘s “Baby Essentials That Aren’t” series. They just may make you reconsider the need for some pretty standard-issue baby items, like cribs, infant car seats (note: they advocate using a convertible car seat, so that separate infant and toddler car seats are not needed — they are very pro-car seat!), strollers, diapers (thought-provoking!), baby bathtubs, baby brain boosters, and (this is the one I found most fascinating) baby food.
Also, a note for those of you about to begin compiling registries for your own babies (or, really, registries of any sort — for weddings, bridal showers, Christmas, or just because): there are a number of online sites that allow you to register for items from any store on the internet.
We went with a password-protected registry at myregistry.com and have had a good experience so far. Another popular site is wishpot.com — friends of our have used and liked that site, as well. Check them out if you’re in the market!
[Update 10/25/2010: Amazon.com now has a Universal Registry option, which allows you to add anything on the web to a registry or wish list at amazon.com -- if we'd known about this option when we were building our baby registry, we likely would have chosen it -- it's great!]