Disclaimer: This is seriously some first world problem nonsense. I am very lucky to be able to afford nice things for my baby which will keep him/her safe and ease my life as a parent. Furthermore, I am lucky to have a choice in these things. Finally, I am the luckiest because other people buy me this stuff, so I don't have to consider cost as a huge factor in deciding which thing to use.
Baby stuff is a racket.
I sent an email to some mommy friends (because I have mommy friends), asking what sort of items I will need to care for a new baby. My frugal heart tried to get out of buying/registering for as much as possible. For example, I wanted to just skip the whole infant car seat. I mean, you have to buy another car seat when they get older, and some of those big kid car seats say they support newborns. It seemed like the whole infant car seat thing was a scam. Of course, pretty much no one recommended doing this, and everyone said you had to get the infant one. For safety reasons, and also so you can carry the sleeping baby from the car without waking it up.
Yeah, well, what if I want to wake my baby up? You know, to teach it about the inherent chaos that is life? What then?
FINE, I'll get an infant car seat. Also, did you know that you're not supposed to buy used car seats? It's because the seat might have been in an accident and therefore compromised. Also, they expire after six years. A scam, I tell ya.
So I started looking at car seats. And as bad as it was when I started adding up the cost of each of these items, when I started trying to figure out which one to buy was when my head started to spin. There are approximately 42 billion different options, and they each have very slight differences. These variations may seem minor, based on personal preferences even, but if you read enough product reviews, you'll find that it makes the difference between life and death. If you buy a car seat that doesn't have good LATCH support, then your baby will die or at least grow up to hate you. Then again, if you buy one without adequate belt connections, then your baby will become maimed and never be able to form meaningful relationships. Either way, most car seats are not installed properly, and it's really a wonder anyone survives the ride home from the hospital.
I was stressing out about all this stuff, venting to my husband first about the expense and then about the choices. After describing various seemingly trivial options in car seats to him, he smiled and said, "See? You're starting to get into this."
I glared at him. "No, but someone has to make this decision, and you'd quit after five minutes." That is true, but I can't even tell whether that might be a better strategy. Go to Amazon and pick the best reviews or just ask a mommy friend. You'd probably end up feeling like you did okay, you'd likely never know if other versions were better, and there is no way you'd tie your child's future emotional instability to a poor car seat choice.
I finally picked a car seat. I was oddly reassured to see a picture of the Duke of Cambridge carrying the baby prince in the same model. Yup, we went with this one because my royal mommy friend recommended it.
And repeat, with each item. We received as gifts two baby carriers. One of them seemed nicer, as it supported a front-facing position, because who doesn't like to see babies bobbing on their dad's chest, smiling at the world? As it turns out, front-facing has a danger of over-stimulation, because babies just aren't ready for the world. Also, the way certain carriers support the baby possibly leads to hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia. I thought that was just something dogs got from being inbred. I yearn for the days before internet reviews, where you just asked your mommy friends what they had and liked and then you bought it and babies had hip dysplasia and liked it. Babies were tougher then.
Last night, when I was explaining the carrier dilemma to Josh, he began to see the insanity that is deciding on anything, ever. He was inclined to choose one model because someone who is more his friend gave it to us, as opposed to the one given to us by someone who is more my friend. But then he found out about the hip thing, and how one was designed with input from baby hip specialist-type people. Whole worlds of frightening possibilities opened up to him with the realization that there are people who study baby hips. Just when you think you can trust your mommy friends, you find out they're trying to give your kid hip dysplasia.