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    Baby expenses...wife and I disagree

    My wife is 5 months pregnant. She has started to register for the baby shower, which IMHO has started to highlight the rampant consumerism associated with child-rearing. I am amazed by the number and cost of products she deems "necessary" when 90% of those products didn't exist 20-30 years ago. It has started to cause fights but I refuse to spend $50 on slip-covers for "baby pillows" that seem completely unnecessary - am I out of line? Are all these products really necessary?

    #2
    You're trying to argue with a pregnant woman? Are you nuts?

    Seriously, you're absolutely right. Fortunately my wife and I were on the same page with this stuff. Our daughter is 18 and so much of what we saw around the time we had her seemed ridiculous to us. Today, it is far worse.

    Babies need very little. There are absolutely some things that make mom and dad's life easier, though, and if you can afford those or get them as gifts, go for it, but most of the other stuff is total nonsense that will suck up space in your home and car faster than you can imagine.

    One specific category that I would urge you to avoid is all of the items designed to essentially put your baby in a sterile bubble and keep them from coming in contact with the outside world. There are numerous medical studies and experts who feel that the whole mania about sanitizing everything is actually responsible for the rise in allergies, resistant organisms, asthma, etc. Our bodies need to be exposed to stuff in order to build a strong immune system.

    Not for the shower list, of course, but for things you will purchase yourself, keep in mind that virtually everything you need can be purchased used for a fraction of the new prices. We bought a lot of stuff at yard sales and consignments shops and saved hundreds. The best part was after our daughter outgrew the items, we were able to resell them for about as much as we had paid, and sometimes even more. Good quality stuff lasts and holds its value well.
    Steve

    * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
    * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
    * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

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      #3
      Yes, you're out of line.

      When I was pregnant with my daughter 22 years ago, I wanted a diaper stacker for the nursery. My husband thought it was totally unnecessary. Did I need a diaper stacker? No. Would she have known the difference? No. BUT I wanted it. She was my first baby. It was special, and I wanted all those silly, unnecessary things for my baby.

      Now she's a 21-year old college student. I turn her down all the time for things she doesn't need. There's plenty of time to be practical and ruminate about consumerism. Not now. If your wife wants it, let her have it. (except for the baby pillows, make sure those don't go in the crib, SIDS risk)

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        #4
        As a Mom of 2 I would say that 95% of the crap they try to sell you for your first child is wholly unnecessary. But that doesn't stop people from wanting it, specifically because they have no idea what they are in for and they want anything that might help fight the chaos.

        But I am an anomaly, I know. I did not have a shower because I hate them, and I kept a severe minimum to the amount of baby stuff because I did not want it to take over my house.

        For us, the necessities were: Car seat, stroller (we walk a lot) baby carrier (Beco), and eventually crib. I had a long paid maternity leave and was able to breastfeed, which meant very little expenditure outside of diapers for the first 6 months.

        The hard part about shopping for a baby is that you don't KNOW what they will like. With our second kid someone gave us their old used swing, which I thought might come in handy since everyone said kids sleep great in a swing, my first was a terrible sleeper and we did not have a swing. Oh my God I hated that thing, and my kid never wanted to be in it for more than 15 minutes anyway, and it took up so much space we ended up tripping over it all the time. We just gave it to someone else.

        You definitely do not need expensive pillow covers. You do not need a ton of sheets and fancy bedding for the crib. You will not use it very much and it is not good for the kid. Just a few extra sheets you can throw in the laundry. Do you really think you are going to have time to make the crib when the kid is not in it? No, chances are you are going to be throwing all of that stuff on floor and cursing under your breath trying not to wake up the baby so you can get them down without waking them up.

        But in the end, it doesn't really matter. If you want the stuff and you get it for the shower, it is not a big deal. You will figure out what you and your family like and try to give away your stuff to the next 'new parents' who demand to have everything new and spectacular for their little bundle before hiding it all away in the attic or selling it on ebay to second time parents who think they know better ! Good luck and enjoy! Also, don't fight a pregnant woman.

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          #5
          First of all congratulations

          We're also deciding what to buy for our baby (am also 5 months pregnant) and we're trying to keep a level head and not waste too much money. We have a stroller and a car seat from a fried of ours, another will give us the crib she used for her baby, so we're covered with these. There's a lot of other stuff to be bought though, but we're making a list and seeing what we really need.
          Personal Finance Blog | Dojo's PF Musings

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            #6
            Please understand your wife's hormones are raging! You might try asking if desired items are 'good for baby.' I suggest you start looking for a gently used 'Baby Bjorn' contraption to get in the game in a helpful way and incidentally get a small understand of this new experience. Just add a couple of bricks to practice

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              #7
              Originally posted by Mjenn View Post
              The hard part about shopping for a baby is that you don't KNOW what they will like.
              This is a point really worth emphasizing. All babies are different. Your best friend's baby might have loved her swing and played in it for hours. Your baby might scream uncontrollably as soon as you put him into it. It would suck to go spend a ton of money on things that end up never getting used because your baby can't tolerate it.
              Steve

              * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
              * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
              * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

              Comment


                #8
                My opinion? It's not worth the fight. Let your wife have these things if she feels like they are needed. She is "nesting" right now in preparation for the baby. Even though it's influenced by commericalism in this case, it is still a primal urge. Over time, I think most new parents ease up and realize that babies don't appreciate fancy things and in fact spit up on them as freely as they would thrift store items. I think if you can bite your tongue and, in your mind, treat these expenses as a gift to your pregnant wife, this will resolve itself. You can probably eventually sell the stuff to a consignment shop and recoup some of the cost.

                Congrats and good luck.

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                  #9
                  I've watched my sister raise two kids and I have the same feelings as the OP. My sister was one of those moms that had to have everything for her first (and second) child. They also had to have everything new. New cribs, new strollers, new clothes, new toys. I found it to be unnecessary overkill, but what do I know--I don't have kids.

                  I love my sister and maybe I'm sounding negative, but I think there was a point where she got caught up in believing that if she didn't provide all that "junk" for her children that she wasn't being a good parent, or at least not as good as those that did. Parenting looks shockingly competitive from an outsider's perspective.

                  I do know that she and I weren't raised with all that "junk", and while old ways aren't ALWAYS best and there's always room for innovation and invention, so much of that "stuff" just seems completely unnecessary to me. The one that always got me was the plug-in baby-wipe warmer. Just leave the box on the dryer, or better yet, get the kid used to wiping cold. They usually cry when they have their diapers changed anyway.

                  Maybe the middle ground is that you two agree to put the value of whatever those kinds of purchases are in a savings account for the kid. If that expense is still wanted/"worth it" in a month, she can withdraw the funds to make the purchase. I have to imagine watching the value of a savings account grow for your kid might feel more valuable than purchasing a set of $50 shams for baby pillows.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by humandraydel View Post
                    Are all these products really necessary?
                    No, they aren't.

                    Question - what is your wife's general attitude toward spending on "wants"? Is her current behavior consistent, or is it different because these things "are for the baby"?
                    seek knowledge, not answers
                    personal finance

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                      #11
                      This reminds me, I read some frugal baby book when newly pregnant. I found it pretty useless. Buy used goods and you don't need most materialistic baby crap. Well, duh. Just that basic financial sense can be applied in all areas.

                      I would work on communicating this to her. It would worry me that it would just get worse with time. It doesn't end with nursery decorating. That is just the start of a ling road filled with materialism and keeping up tendencies. & I agree that it is silly to buy much at all until baby arrives and you get a sense what you truly find useful.

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                        #12
                        Originally posted by feh View Post
                        No, they aren't.

                        Question - what is your wife's general attitude toward spending on "wants"? Is her current behavior consistent, or is it different because these things "are for the baby"?
                        She is frugal and doesn't have a lot of wants. It is definitely because she is excited about the baby.

                        She will be a SAHM so we need to be frugal. Of course, she could go back to work if she wants to spoil the baby, but we both agree that she should spoil with love, not money. I think she just needs to be reminded of that.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by humandraydel View Post
                          She is frugal and doesn't have a lot of wants. It is definitely because she is excited about the baby.

                          She will be a SAHM so we need to be frugal. Of course, she could go back to work if she wants to spoil the baby, but we both agree that she should spoil with love, not money. I think she just needs to be reminded of that.
                          If I were in your shoes, I'd indulge her a bit. However, I'd also want to have a conversation about spending on the child going forward. Come to an agreement so it's not a constant source of conflict.
                          seek knowledge, not answers
                          personal finance

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                            #14
                            Congratulations! I am a new parent he is 6 months. It was all overwhelming there is so much stuff out there trying to figure it out while pregnant is very confusing. It can't hurt to ask for stuff for the shower she will just have to decide what she is willing to buy after the shower. Do you live anywhere near MD wish I could send you some stuff and I didn't buy much it just lasts a couple months before they grow out of it. But the boppy which is expensive with the slipcovers was worth it allthough don't use it anymore.

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                              #15
                              Originally posted by humandraydel View Post
                              She is frugal and doesn't have a lot of wants. It is definitely because she is excited about the baby.

                              She will be a SAHM so we need to be frugal. Of course, she could go back to work if she wants to spoil the baby, but we both agree that she should spoil with love, not money. I think she just needs to be reminded of that.
                              Then let her have it. In our case my husband seems to be the hormonal one who's nesting, I'm the one to keep him on his toes 'we don't need this (yet)'

                              It's an exciting moment in your lives and she is clearly trying her best to prepare for the little one. As frustrating as this sounds, she's just a normal woman who's expecting
                              Personal Finance Blog | Dojo's PF Musings

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