Bouncy seats, strollers and car seats, oh my!

We never wanted to plan when we became parents. From the very beginning of our marriage, we wanted the timing and circumstance to be out of our control so that, when it came, it would come as a surprise: as God reaching down, touching us on the nose and saying, “Go.”

Would we be ready? Probably not. Almost certainly not. We aren’t now, but we are closer than we would have been a few years ago – just as, in a few more years, we might be more ready than we are now.

But you have to jump in some time, right?

We’ve never lived in large places, my husband and I. From studios to borrowed rooms to attics above houses shared with strangers, we’ve never had much space and it’s suited us just fine. Even now, in the biggest apartment we’ve ever rented, our kitchen is still the size of a large closet and the bathroom the size of a small closet (and the closet? Well, it’s just small).

So, when those moments of uncertainty have come up, when we’ve glanced at each other nervously and recognized a very real possibility of pregnancy, we’ve always looked around at whatever small space we were in at the time and said, “Well, we’ll make it work.”

As this particular moment of uncertainty grew certain – and more and more certain, with the help of a handful of pregnancy tests – we said the exact same thing: “We’ll make it work.”

And now we find ourselves trying to figure out how exactly we’ll make it work.

I mentioned a bigger apartment. While it is much bigger and better-appointed than ours now (the bathroom is not through the bedroom, thereby keeping both the cats and ourselves, if necessary, out of the bedroom when we’re not wanted), it is still a one-bedroom. The kitchen is quite small, by possibly any other standards than mine – it is roughly twice the size of the one I have now, with more cabinets and counters and shelving – and the word “cozy” would absolutely still apply to the size of the rooms, though there is a closet roughly the size of the kitchen we have now that should definitely come in handy.

Still, it wasn’t until I started actually researching baby things that it occurred to me that more space might be, well, nice, because all those check lists of things you must have before the baby is born? They’re enormous. And ridiculous, I’m pretty sure. But shopping and registering for baby stuff is a lot different than registering for a wedding, because, by the time you get married, one can pretty safely assume that you’ve spent some time in a kitchen before – you’re familiar with the purpose of, say, a spatula. You’ve got a pretty good idea what dishes are for, and what sort would be good for you.

With baby stuff, it’s a little different: you’ve never met the little person you’re shopping for, so you have no idea if they’d rather be in a front carrier or a sling. You don’t know if they’ll actually enjoy wearing socks, or if they’ll work them right off their tiny feet in no time. Bouncy chairs? Cribs? Car seats? These are words that I was only vaguely familiar with a few months ago, but that I’m now surrounded by as I research and shoot emails back and forth with people who might know a thing or two more than I do, and I seem to find most of these people in one of two camps:

a) You don’t need most of that stuff, just a bassinet and some blankets, or
b) You need to move! You need to have a whole separate wing to contain all the baby’s things!

Surely, there’s a middle ground. Any thoughts?

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9 thoughts on “Bouncy seats, strollers and car seats, oh my!

  1. Rebecca

    Those lists are kind of crap. We got buy with a basket bassinet and a sling with our first one. You WILL need a car seat, but we’ve never even OWNED a bouncy seat and we’re on our third kid now, so you’ll be fine.
    And we did the same thing, letting God surprise us with a baby. He really surprised us by having us get pregnant on our honeymoon. Surprise!

    Reply
  2. Théa Post author

    Good to know! Especially about the bouncy seat. I’ve heard both that they’re ESSENTIAL and that they’re completely superfluous, depending on who I ask.

    The lists make me suspicious, because they’re either available on a flyer for some baby supply store, or on some website that provides you with links for every single item. Hmmm.

    I figured the car seat would be a necessity…

    Reply
  3. jamy58

    I am overwhelmed by all the baby things out there and where in the heck will we put them all? But I’m thinking we will stick with the essentials at first and then go from there after the tike is here. At least that’s what I’m thinking at this very early point.

    Reply
  4. Théa Post author

    That’s roughly where we’re at too – there are only so many things you can buy at once anyway, right? I figure we’ll have a better feel for what sorts of things will actually be useful then. I hope.

    Reply
  5. Veronica Mitchell

    Personally, i wouldn’t bother with a bassinet. They outgrow them too quickly. Just stick with a crib.

    Forget baby socks. They never stay on. Footed sleepers are way better.

    We have a bouncy seat but have never used it, even with three kids. Our old walls are too thick for the pincher thing that holds them up. In fact, if you want ours, email me and I’ll mail it to you.

    We had neighbors who stayed in a one bedroom apartment until their second daughter was born. People do it – it just depends on some lifestyle choices. Kids in a tiny apartment will make you miserable if you like lots of stuff (your own or theirs), but if you keep things spartan, it’s not so bad.

    Reply
  6. Théa Post author

    Dang. The socks are so cute, though. But footed sleepers are pretty cute too.

    Thanks for the bouncy seat offer – I’m not sure about our walls yet, since we’ll be moving soon, but I will absolutely keep that in mind. Thanks as well for the excellent advice! This has been quite helpful.

    Reply
  7. Barb

    I have 5 kids, and I would say the only required things are crib, stroller, and a swing. Our first child slept in the laundry room. I was really proud of how cute we made it. I was taken aback when I found people voicing either disapproval or pity. I actually thought it was quite clever.

    Reply
  8. maylynn

    Hi Thea. I’m a friend of Morgan’s, and found your blog through hers. Congratulations! I fall in the “you don’t need much, and it’s best to wait until you actually find you need it before you buy it” camp when it comes to baby stuff.

    After three kids, I have a my own stuff recommendations and advice for new parents:
    Robeez booties or similar will keep those socks on!
    We’ve never used a bouncy seat, but I love this playmat and ones like it.
    Mobiles are great for little babies too. Our Symphony in Motion mobile has lasted well through 3 babies, even with the abuse of older siblings.
    You may not even need a bassinet or a crib, depending on you and your baby. Our babies sleep in the bed with us, then move to a mattress on the floor, then to their own bed when they are old enough to not fall out too much.
    If you get an infant car seat, you can use it occasionally in place of a bassinet or bouncy seat and skip the extra stuff. Alternatively, you can get a convertible seat that stays in the car and turns around when the baby is older, and skip the infant seat.
    If you use disposable diapers, get Huggies from Costco. Skip the Costco brand diapers, but get their wipes. At home, we use washcloths instead of wipes.

    You will almost certainly end up with more stuff than you think you will, despite your best efforts, but that will be okay. Good luck!

    Reply

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