My son is getting married next year, and he and his fiancé have decided not to register for gifts. They have all the things they need for their apartment and don’t want to register for stuff just to have “new things.” They have decided instead to “register” for a honeymoon. While there is no expectation they’ll receive gifts (as having friends and family present is gift enough) they do know that people may want to give them something as they start this next chapter together. So they have set up a website where guests can contribute to their Honeymoon Fund. They know the importance of spending time together and investing in their relationship. They also want to begin to explore the world together, creating shared memories along the way. They would love to plan a trip to the Grand Canyon and I know that family and friends will be thrilled to help them achieve that.
What if we looked at baby registries the same way?
Now if you are expecting your first, you likely don’t have a thing for your new little one. You may however have friends or family that could pass along some gently used items you’ll need.
Just a quick note about safety — used cribs may not meet current safety standards and car seats have an expiration date. Used car seats should also not be bought as you may not know if it’s been in a car accident and has been compromised.
Your baby will not need many toys for the first couple of months and will likely grow quickly out of the newborn clothes. And toys and newborn clothes are often gently worn (or practically new) and most parents have plenty they can hand down to you. We’re learning a lot about Container Baby Syndrome, so it’s also not necessarily a good idea to have lots of “seats” for your baby — they’re going to like being held all the time anyway!
So what if, in addition to registering only for the few things we need, we thought about “registering for some time” to invest in getting to know our new family member.
How can we “register” for the postpartum period?
Start by thinking about some of the things you do now that you will want to (or have to) take a break from. For example, cooking, cleaning, mowing the lawn, shoveling the snow, walking the dog, etc. Wouldn’t it be a gift if you could spend time cuddling your baby instead of taking care of those household tasks?
- Meal Delivery Service
- House Cleaning
- Lawn Service/Snow Plowing Service
- Dog Walker
If you’re planning on breastfeeding, especially if this is your first, one of the best investments you can make is an appointment with an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant). It’s very possible you’re getting ready to attempt something that you’ve never actually seen done before in real life. Having an initial visit with a lactation consultant (even while you’re still in the hospital) can start you off on the right track and you may be able to avoid some of the problems that often face new parents. It’s a lot easier to have this first appointment than to wait until there is a problem as you may then need to spend several more appointments figuring things out — all while trying to recover from birth and settle into parenting.
- Consultations with an IBCLC
- New Parent Programs
- Breastfeeding Support Groups (these are often free but maybe you could use the money to pay for a sitter for your other children so you can just take your new baby)
We actually have a lot of parenting instincts, but we also have social media! What do we do when we doubt ourselves? What do we do when everyone is telling us their opinion and their ideas are all different from each other (and not what we want to do anyway?) A postpartum doula is someone who knows a lot about new babies, but doesn’t have an opinion on how you should parent! They are there to help you figure out the logistics of having a new baby as well as instill confidence that “you’ve got this!”
- Postpartum Doula Hours
It can be really hard not to choose everything on the “must have” list when you’re filling out the baby registry. It’s kind of like Christmas right? And welcoming your new baby is one of the most exciting days of your life. Remember though that your baby’s birth day is one day — and then parenting begins. What will you do to invest in that relationship?