Upon finding out that they are pregnant, one of the first things many couples think about is the list of items they will need to care for their new baby. Since this list can quickly become a long one, it’s only natural to think that you’d better get started immediately.
While the thought of shopping for your baby can seem exciting, you may also feel some fear or uncertainty about buying baby items too soon. Are you just asking for trouble by picking out pieces for your baby right away?
Here is some information that can help set your mind at ease and a few shopping suggestions that seem to work well for many parents.
Consider Your Specific Situation
There is no “right” time to start buying things for your baby. Getting an early start on buying necessities gives you more time to spread out your costs, but waiting can also give you the chance to save up and shop around for the best prices.
Talk over your thoughts and concerns with your partner, and go with the plan that feels like the best fit for your situation. No matter what you decide, you are making the right choice if it works for your family.
Fear of Pregnancy Loss
One of the most common reasons parents might hesitate to start buying baby supplies is the fear of miscarriage, especially if they have suffered through the pain of losing a baby in the past.
Getting too excited or gathering too many baby items right away often has the reputation of being a bad omen.
However, you can rest assured that your excitement or preparation for your baby cannot cause a miscarriage. Pregnancy loss is almost always due to a physical problem with the baby, and there is usually nothing a mother can do to prevent it.
The chances of miscarrying drop as your pregnancy progresses. The majority of pregnancy losses happen before a mother even realizes she is pregnant or before her pregnancy is officially confirmed by her healthcare provider. After your provider can detect your baby’s healthy heartbeat, the risk of losing the pregnancy decreases to about four percent.
Many providers schedule the first prenatal appointment sometime between six and nine weeks after your last period. If you feel a great deal of fear about the possibility of miscarrying, you may want to wait until after this visit to start gathering your baby items.
However, don’t let fear stand in the way if you find a truly special piece. Even if the worst happens and you never get the opportunity to hold your child in your arms, you will be able to hold them in your heart for the rest of your life. Some parents may find that a physical object they specifically picked out for their child becomes a treasured item that brings great comfort.
Other Reasons Why Delaying Your Shopping Might Make Sense
While you probably don’t want to wait until your final weeks of pregnancy to start getting the necessities, taking your time over the earlier months can bring some additional benefits.
You may receive some items as gifts
Many people love to shop for a new baby, and you may be surprised by the generosity of the people in your life.
Especially if your friends or family want to throw you a baby shower, you may end up with fewer doubles of the same item and fewer trips to the store to make returns if you delay your shopping.
You may be able to find several items for less if you monitor sales
Particularly with large items like a crib, you may be able to save a considerable amount of money if you are able to find a style you like on sale or clearance.
Your friends or family may be able to give or loan you their child’s items
Since babies grow so rapidly, many of their clothes can still be in great shape or even brand-new after they have outgrown them.
Piles of outgrown clothing can accumulate quickly, and parents you know may jump at the chance to pass along some of their child’s gently used items.
While You Wait
Although delaying your baby shopping for at least a few weeks might end up being the best choice for your family, it’s never too early to begin thinking about your maternity and baby needs, developing a list of the essentials and starting a savings fund.
There are several ways you can capitalize on the weeks before you begin shopping:
- Decide whether you want to use cloth or disposable diapers.
- Determine whether a bassinet, crib or cradle would work best in your house.
- Read reviews on car seats, baby carriers or other gear.
- Learn about the amount of clothing and diapers the typical newborn needs so you can plan your shopping accordingly.
One shopping trip you should make right away is to the grocery store. Stock up on healthy foods that can help nourish you and your growing baby.
Since your body’s blood volume increases by up to 50% during pregnancy, adequate hydration is more important now than ever. If drinking enough water is a struggle for you, purchasing a large water bottle that is easy to clean and take along with you could help you reach your daily goal.
Additionally, if you haven’t already started taking a prenatal vitamin, this is the perfect time to choose a high-quality brand.
Tips for Early Purchases
If starting your shopping right away works well for your situation, you may still want to develop a list first and stick to smaller purchases.
Look for gender-neutral pieces
Even if you are totally convinced of your baby’s gender throughout pregnancy, you could get a surprise from an ultrasound image or in the delivery room.
Keep your receipts
You may find that the cute or trendy item you picked up early on doesn’t fit well with the rest of your nursery decor or turns out to be impractical.
Consider buying diapers or wipes
These are usually a safe investment that you will be glad you made.
Between your excitement about being pregnant and all the stylish outfits often shown in ads and online, it may be tempting to dash out and buy enough maternity outfits to last you the entire nine months. However, holding off on making the bulk of your maternity purchases is probably the wisest choice.
Although some mothers will need maternity clothes sooner than others, many women find that they start needing some extra belly room about five months into their pregnancy. Waiting until you are able to see how you carry your baby and how your body responds to pregnancy can help you pick the clothing that is most flattering, useful and comfortable for your unique shape.
If you happen to see a maternity piece that you love, go ahead and buy it even if you won’t be able to use it for a while. A specific item may not be available in a few months, and looking forward to the day when it will fit may help you endure the wait patiently.
New babies can require a surprisingly large number of items, and you will probably need to invest a fair amount of time into researching and purchasing these items.
Only you and your partner can determine when you should start shopping for baby supplies. Whether that means you get an early start or you choose to wait for a while, don’t let the opinions of others deter you from making the choice that works best for you.
When did you start shopping for your baby? Do you have any other suggestions that can make shopping easier? Share your experience in the comments!