Braxton Hicks Contractions, Minimalist Parenthood, and the Siren Call of the (Dumb) Baby Registry List -- Stuff on My Mind Lately!

Stuff on my Mind Lately -- Braxton Hicks Contractions, Minimalist Parenthood, and the Siren Call of the Baby Registry!

YES! Those Baby Registry Lists are DUMB! - Minimalist Parenthood and the Siren Call of the Baby Registry -- Stuff on My Mind Lately! How to be minimalist with a baby on the way... minimalism and parenting, via Devastate Boredom

A quick note -- if you tried to email me in the last couple of weeks, dear friends, I tragically did not receive your messages.  Why?  Because technology hates me, and a perfectly functional email / server configuration suddenly decided it wasn't properly set up after all... and it took me a minute to realize that my lack of email correspondence was a tech problem and that I wasn't actually getting the Silent Treatment from the universe as I feared.  SO relieved that the universe and I are still on speaking terms after all!!  Moral of the story... if you had tried to get in touch with me, please email again.  It should reach me now!

Stuff on My Mind Lately -- Braxton Hicks contractions!  

My pregnancy app informed me a few days ago that "some women will begin experiencing Braxton Hicks around now" but sheesh, I've been having those bad boys for a couple of months at least.  Not that they're really bad, and there's honestly no reason to think they're male either -- but I was having one as I started typing about it, so they definitely qualify as "on my mind".  ğŸ˜œ  

The app also said that the more Braxton Hicks contractions you have ahead of time, the fewer you will have to have during actual labor, presumably because your uterus is so freakin' Jillian-Michaels-style RIPPED after all that practicing / exercising.  Sounds totally scientific, right?  *nods hard to convince both of us*

Stuff on My Mind Lately -- Minimalist Parenthood and the Siren Call of the Baby Registry

The main thing I've been pondering lately, however, is what minimalism looks like in the context of babyhood and parenthood... and how cleverly baby registries are set up to UTTERLY THWART minimalism entirely!  

If you've been around my blog very long you know that I like to cultivate simplicity in my surroundings. This is partly because I have ADHD, and if I'm not careful with my things they end up stored in disheveled piles that make it hard for me to think clearly.  It's also partly because I prefer to collect and decorate with things that hold stories and memories, whether that's ceramics that decorated my grandmother's home when she was a child or carved Buddha statues that my dad purchased while he was stationed in Vietnam.  Long before I read (and loved!) the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I had my own philosophy of minimalism, which declared that all my things had to pay rent to stay in my home, whether that was in the form of utility or aesthetics.  If it wasn't useful, wasn't beautiful, and didn't make me happy, I should evict it.

Enter baby-to-debut-soon... and BABY REGISTRIES!  Let me tell you, there is some super devious psychology behind baby registries!  (Behind any kind of registry, honestly, but we'll just focus on baby registries right now...)  The first part of that psychology starts with the incentives and the completion discounts.  A free box of baby stuff for opening a registry?  Okay, I'm hooked, thanks for the cute stuff!  Now what?  A completion discount to buy anything left on my registry once baby comes? Yes please!  Oh wait, that means I better list everything I POSSIBLY could need on the registry, so it will be eligible for the discount at the end... I wonder what I will need?

And that's where the whole thing really gets devious.

Because that's when the baby registry starts throwing the lists at you.

Those DUMB lists.  

Here you have an adorably clueless new parent-to-be, wide-eyed and wanting to be prepared for this crazy new life adventure that has hijacked her body, and the registry goes, "now honey, these are the things you have GOT to have."  And, scared of inadequacy and wanting the best for her baby, the new parent nods obediently and goes cross-eyed reading reviews and checking things off The Big Bad List.

And look at how dumb these lists are!  

YES! Those Baby Registry Lists are DUMB! - Minimalist Parenthood and the Siren Call of the Baby Registry -- Stuff on My Mind Lately! How to be minimalist with a baby on the way... minimalism and parenting, via Devastate Boredom

That's right, you MUST have a crib-bedding set.  Even though a crib-bedding set serves no purpose beyond being cute, and in fact putting ANYTHING in the baby's crib (including "breathable" crib bumpers, quilts, security blankets etc) is listed by the NIH as a risk factor for SIDS.  And the Mayo Clinic says to "keep the crib as bare as possible." Suddenly the "must-have" crib bedding set and crib blankets, and the "good-to-have" security blankets, all appear in quite a different light, don't they?  A very minimalist-friendly light, I might point out...

But poor hormonal, anxious mama-to-be might not know any of that, and keeps clicking, determined to provide her baby with a cozy night's sleep.  

In addition, do you see how much clever repetition happens on these lists?  Receiving blankets and swaddle blankets are pretty much EXACTLY the same thing, and then there's crib blankets and wearable blankets...  All adding up to 21+ separate pieces all designed to serve the exact same function, of simply keeping your baby warm.  Whaaaat? 

You don't have to be an avowed minimalist to think that's crazy!  

Basically, of that list up there, the only things that seem like compelling NEEDS to me are crib sheets, swaddle blankets, and waterproof pads that are going to double as baby-changing pads.  And I feel no pressure about whether or not my assessment of that is 100% accurate or only 80%, because I can always adjust it once the baby arrives.  

Deep breaths, fellow Minimalist Mamas!  ğŸ˜¤  Join me in repeating one of my favorite mantras...  I'm totally allowed to figure this out as I go.

And, as further reassurance, take note that I have been informed by several awesome Minimalist Mamas (who have a lot more experience than me) that all you REALLY need for baby is diapers and something to feed him / her.  Funny how the companies behind baby registries don't popularize that viewpoint, huh?  ğŸ˜œ

To conclude, I'm not saying that there is no place for blankets in baby's life... in fact, we've already been gifted a perfectly lovely baby blanket that I know we will treasure... but it's going to serve as a soft and comfy base for tummy time, or maybe a cozy layer for stroller and carseat outings, until baby is big enough to be past the scary possibility of SIDS.  Because minimalism is all about multitasking with our possessions... and owning 21 difference pieces of cloth all designed to keep baby warm doesn't qualify. 
YES! Those Baby Registry Lists are DUMB! - Minimalist Parenthood and the Siren Call of the Baby Registry -- Stuff on My Mind Lately! How to be minimalist with a baby on the way... minimalism and parenting, via Devastate Boredom

Unless, that is, you live in Alaska or somewhere with a similar climate.  In which case, I readily conceded that keeping baby warm might look a little different for you!  

PS -- if there were any specific baby items that made life as a new parent a little easier for you, please do let me know in the comments... I'm a minimalist, not a masochist! 😉 

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  1. You've got it right with the baby minimalism! I had TWO cribs and two (not 6!) sets of fitted crib sheets. Only to discover that baby was completely unable to sleep in a crib. Not even for 10 minutes. Ever. (She DID contentedly sleep in her car seat in the house, tho) And, yeah, a car seat is a must have. And we really liked a binky (they prevent SIDS, as well as pacifying baby). Hope the new baby's arrival goes great! : )

    1. THANK YOU Anna!! ;P Haha poor crib-hating baby! Did you end up co-sleeping then? I've heard that some babies will sleep in one of those rock-and-play things too... at least until they outgrow it I guess.

  2. Did you hear the new trend hitting America from Finland? Baby boxes? They replace the crib until the kids can sit up.

    1. YES I'm obsessed with that! Such a cool program their government does. :) So far I think only one county in NJ is actually giving them away here though... otherwise, you can buy one for $80 on Amazon.


      For a box. (with a mattress in it, I'll grant you...)

      I have a hard time justifying that expense for a box... I can't imagine what my husband would say! rofl

  3. OhMyGoodness, you already know how I feel about all of this, but first of all, it seems a lot of crib mattresses (which we used on the floor beside our bed, just in case there was a roll-out frenzy, because even though we were given an old crib from the cousins, you know we never used it or even set it up) are covered in waterproof stuff anyway, so all you have to do is wipe them off! But since what Gv slept on was OUR bed (and we do not own rubber sheets, thankyouverymuch!), I did realize early on (but not early enough) that I needed something under the sheets to catch what could sneak out of a diaper at times - so you know I totally used my $ store shower curtain liner, which was just an old one that looked too gross for the shower, but was still way useful to throw away... Honestly, it's just a car seat and diapers that's needed (although the EC crowd would disagree even with that one), because really I'm sure you have fifty bazillion blankets and towels and things already that you can use to wrap the baby up in and you're making the food and guess what? You're just going to be laying around with this baby attached to you for a couple of weeks anyway, so might as well just see what you think you want once you get to know him/her a bit... (unless you're given all sorts of free stuff, then hey, just leave it wrapped for a bit so you can pass it along/exchange it after you figure things out...) ;)

    1. Clever about the shower curtain!! Also clever to use the crib mattress as a "landing pad"...! You're brilliant, Lisa, as always. ;) And yes, I think it totally makes sense to get to know the baby and her individual needs before buying out half the store!

  4. Co-sleeping is the best, in my opinion. So relaxing for feeding!! And, the non-co-sleepers try to scare you that you're gonna roll over on your baby. Let me tell you, unless u r drugged out of your mind, I doubt you will roll over on baby!! At some level, even asleep, you're still aware of baby!! I always held them in the crook of my arm.
    Do be careful about how high you pull up your blanket, tho.
    Yep, all essentials are breast, or bottle, diapers, and car seat! Lisa told the whole story. And you don't need all the special baby food, and stuff either.
    Oh yeah, a rocker!!!

  5. LOL Sarah, I had such a good laugh now. Thank goodness those days are over for me, but I still remember the new momma panic and buying things we never ever used just in case. You will be fine and you'll find your own beautiful way. Food, warmth and love is all your little one will need

  6. So excited for you Sarah Eliza, and you are totally right - people see expectant parents as an huge opportunity to sell all sorts too! Since you asked, the one item that I used for both my kids and think are genius are baby sleeping bags - they are called grobags over here in the UK. All you need then is a bottom sheet and your grobag, a much simpler list! Sending lots of love to you all :)

  7. Yes, the registry guides are a bit outrageous! I actually have a post going up tomorrow that speaks to that a little bit. So much of it is trial and error. If you just get the basics, you can always add to it if something is not working out. Just get what you think will work best for you, and the baby will let you know if that's not the right choice. :)

  8. OMG. I have a feeling I might this is a couple of years or so. Good think I saw this post. Bookmarking! haha.

  9. I agree so hard. Because of space issues, one of my kids never even had a crib. He slept in a perfectly serviceable Pack n Play that cost $50. And none of my 6 ever had a nursery. Whatever you do, don't look at those online calculators that tell you how much it supposedly costs to raise a child. They are ridiculous.

  10. Diapers and a car seat are all you need until you figure out what is giong to work best for the three of you.

    But, I will recommend one product you might want to look into, but not immediately. Or just add it to your registry for those people that "want to buy you something instead of just a gift card". Sophie the Giraffe. 8-9 years ago she was difficult to find and pricey because she wasn't available in the big retailers. Now you can get her anywhere. Yes, I am rambling on about a teething toy. Made of all natural materials shaped perfectly for little hands with soft gum soothing nubs on her head and an adorable squeak. I kid you not, when we would bring Sophie with us to play group all of the kids wanted her. Yes, I am talking 6-16 month olds here. I ended up buying quite a few for 1st birthday presents.


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