Not into Shopping for Maternity or Baby Stuff
Berkeley Parents Network >
Pregnancy & Childbirth >
Not into Shopping for Maternity or Baby Stuff
I'm about 5 months pregnant and I have almost no interest in
all the things I thought I would have interest in. Shopping for
cute baby clothes, cribs, and other baby stuff is not only
boring to me, it is just plain unpleasant. I've never been
into shopping as a hobby or sport. I've tried a couple times
already to do it, but I leave almost immediately.
In addition, I'm not the kind of person that gets excited about
scrap books, crafts or even wedding stuff. (My husband and I
were married in City Hall. I wore a black cocktail dress and he
wore shorts. It was perfect.) My co-workers and friends are
all talking about a baby shower, but the concept seems
completely uncomfortable to me. (No I didn't have a bridal
shower either.) I really, truly don't want one.
I thought I would be more 'into' all this since we had been
trying to have a baby for 4 years. My husband is doing all the
room decorating, crib buying and other related stuff.
Am I just strange or does this mean I won't be a good mommy?
Will I get more 'into' it as the due date approaches? Anyone
out there have similar feelings?
Not 'into' it in Oakland.
Naw, don't worry about it. All the frou-frou and cutsieness has very little
to do with the real thing - the true highs and lows of motherhood.
Attribute it all to Westernized consumerism and the need to tap into that
subconscious that the majority of people have.
Children don't care either, after all, how ''cute'' things are. Just think
comfort, ease, and safety.
Showers are nice just to save you the hassle of stocking up - and helps
even more if you register at somewhere practical such as Target. Ask
nicely that people stick to the list (and if they don't, you can always
return, exchange, re-gift, donate). Or just ask for one or two big things -
car seat, stroller, diaper service. Or gift certificates for take-out and pizza!
You are not the only one! I did not attend my high school or UC
graduations, or have a wedding, or have a 16, 21, 30 or 40th
birthday party. I am just so not into it. My mother and sister
convinced me to have a baby shower, and it was fun, but any
lunch with friends would have been fun. I throw birthday
parties and put up holiday decorations for my daughter, though,
so she does not end up warped. And I work really hard to be
into it for her, because I did love this stuff when I was her
age. Don't worry, you'll buy baby clothes when the baby has
nothing to wear.
You may just be one of those people who don't like kids or kid stuff until
you have your own. My mom was like that. She's still like that! It's pretty
darn rare not to have feelings for your own offspring, even if it takes until
they can smile at you to get there. (I'm not into the maternity thing either--
got all of my clothes from pals--but am starting to warm to the kid part.)
I'm 5 months along too, and I've definitely experienced how, as soon as
you start to show, you're expected to be happy about everything. I had a
low key wedding and basically don't like to be the center of attention;
that may be part of what's getting to you as well. If your friends want to
throw you a shower, this can be about and for them as much as it's for
you--maybe more so. I went to a great shower once...If you change your
mind about having one, perhaps you can suggest something like this to
your friend. No games at all (of course!), and the theme of the gifts
should be children's books (or even classic children's books). Books are
something every kid needs, they're pricey, and it's wonderful to start a
library. Plus, they don't come in pink and blue! Whatever you decide to
do, I don't think you're weird, if that helps at all.
You do not have to enjoy consuming in order to be a great
parent!! Living lighter on the earth is the best thing you can
do for your child. If you've got people in your support system
that enjoy shopping, give them a list of the things that you
need. Congratulations to you!
I wasn't into shopping for maternity clothes at all. I finally
had to do it when I wasn't fitting into my clothes. I went with
my Mom to one place and just bought like 4 pairs of pants, 5 t-
shirts, 5 blouses and a sweater. Got it all out of the way
quickly with basic stuff. Ended up getting a few more things
later on, but still it was a chore. Never really figured out a
solution other than just getting it over with.
As for the shower, UGH! No interest. Some friends of ours ended
up throwing a little potluck party for both my husband and me.
Not a girlie thing with games and party favors. Just a plain
old BBQ potluck with pals -- Moms and Dads, friends without
kids, everyone. Some people did bring gifts, but it was mostly
just a party to celebrate the fact that we were excited about
the imepnding arrival of our little guy and wanted to party
with our pals. It was really fun.
One thing I would say, if you do something like that its good
to have a list of things you need. People really like to buy
gifts and it's a good way to get what you need without having
to shop yourself. The friends who threw the party for us
Baby clothes are pretty easy -- we got along fine with hand-me-
downs, gifts and supplemental stuff purched on sale online at
gap.com and the like.
It really doesn't have to be a big production. The special
thing about being pregnant and having a baby is being pregnant
and having a baby -- not the stuff. Don't worry about not
wanting to shop. You might also find you get more into it
later. Or not. It has nothing to do with whether you'll be a
Ha ha! No, you're not nuts -- the baby-shopping culture is.
Of course, this is coming from a woman who refers to ''Babies 'R'
Us'' as ''Giant Evil Baby Thing....''
I think you'll be fine. Actually, I think you'll be great.
Babies don't need a lot of crap, they need a lot of love, and
believe me, when they hand you that little bundle, you'll have
lots of that.
And even I find (with an 18-mo-old) that sometimes, now that I
have the kid, that there are occasional decadent cutesy things I
just can't resist. Just you wait GRIN....
I've never been much of a shopper either, especially for clothes, and at
five months pregnant I also found I wasn't yet into it. What I suggest is
this: 1) get a shopping-buddy who really loves to shop and can guide
and inspire you on what you 'really need' before baby arrives, and 2)
buy a few onesie pajamas, put them in the dresser or hang in the closet
and frequently look at them. Imagine very soon your precious little one
will be wearing them and that you'll be cuddling him/her! It worked like a
charm for me. At 7 months when my ''nesting instincts'' kicked in but
good, I became a power baby-supplies shopper! (it has since waned)
Give it time Mom, you'll do just fine.
I wouldn't worry about not being all ''hyped'' up over this. I am one who gets
particularly ''hyped'' up, and I get into throwing showers for friends, and buying
baby gifts etc.. And in my experience, mothers who weren't all ''into'' showers and
decorating nurseries, have been just as great parents as the parents who were all
wound up about it.
I'm sure that once your baby is born, you'll be ''into'' that. Don't be afraid to tell
your friends or colleages that you don't want a shower or whatever. I have been
turned down pleanty of times, and have never taken offense. If they are good
friends, they will be supportive, and allow you to ''nest'' in which ever way makes
Besides, it's what's on the inside that counts. Love and appreciations is a much
better asset than having the hottest maternity clothes, the hippest baby or the latest
in nursery design. Enjoy yourself, and do what's comfortable for you.
I don't think it will make you a bad mother per se if you don't
care about all that stuff you describe, but you might want to
consider developing some traditions and rituals for your family,
even if they're not the ones everyone else celebrates. I grew
up in a family that barely recognized birthdays, holidays and
other life events (we once had Swanson turkey pot pies for
Thanksgiving dinner when I was a kid, and did that much only
because I insisted we do something), and I've always felt a
little cheated by it - felt like I didn't really connect with my
parents and my family the way others did. You don't have to
suddenly start enjoying baby shower games (many of which I think
are stupid, too), but you should think about ways you can
cultivate a sense of belonging and worth for your child. You
might want to start by examining why you don't like the
traditional showers and wedding trappings and all, and maybe
that will help you devise celebrations that are meaningful and
not distasteful to you.
I think the main thing to pay attention to is how you are feeling
about having the baby. if you are excited (including the normal
anxieties and grief about life as you know it ending) and looking
forward to the new being coming into your life, and connecting
with the growing creature inside of you, i think you're good to
go. after all, you said you had a no-frills wedding and it was
great-- sounds like you feel good about your marriage, right?
half of all the stuff you're supposed to buy is unneccessary
anyhow, so i really wouldn't worry about it unless you are pretty
sure there are underlying issues. also, motherhood's one of those
scary yet amazingly beautiful things you figure out as you go
along and everyone's got moments of detachment/anger/fear/
disbelief,etc. not to say that not shopping is connected with
that, but even if it is you can work with it. i'm sure when your
baby comes you won't deprive him/her of whatever is really
needed. good luck and enjoy!
I also wasn't very interested in shopping for the arrival our
new baby. We didn't have a seperate room for him so I figured
what was the big deal? The idea of a baby shower was also
overwhelming to me because I really don't like to be the center
of attention. Plus everyone kept asking me what I needed and
being a new mom, I had no idea. They were all moms, why did
they need to ask me what I needed/wanted/should have? The
thought of going to register was ridiculous because I had
absolutely no idea. I didn't spend any time with babies prior
to my own. So with that said, I agreed to a small shower with 6
close friends (when I was 32 weeks). Taking home those gifts is
what got me excited. My co-workers surprised me with another
shower when I was 36 weeks and that added most of the little
things. I got the large ticket items (stroller, bassinet) all
at once at the Babies R Us store in Hayward when I was 37
weeks. It really didn't take that long and was nice to have it
done in one place. We delivered at 38 weeks and was good for us
to have the essentials because I ended up having a c-section and
didn't have any energy to go shopping. I would not recommend
waiting as long as I did and I would also not recommend getting
every single gadget that they ''recommend''. We bought stuff that
our baby never used.
You might post another message for new advice from parents about
the top essentials and go from there. Our top 2 baby items used
from the get go and that we could not have done without was our
vibrating bouncy chair and our stroller.
Good luck with your new baby. It is such a special time that you
don't want to spend your first few weeks/months shopping for
things that you could get before they get here.
I, too, am pregnant and have felt similarly. I dislike shopping
immensely. It stresses me out! I have found that most of the
baby items we have now arrived at our house as gifts or as hand-
me-downs. Put the word out with friends and co-workers that you
need baby items and would be interested in borrowing, buying or
accepting anything anyone is getting rid of. This is where a
ton of our items have come from. I also enjoy stopping at
garage sales (totally different kind of shopping to me), so
easily found some great bargains at several of those. As for
the baby shower, I am not at all a fan of these! When my best
friends said they wanted to throw one, I conceded on the
condition that it be a BBQ with my husband and all our friends
(both genders) and there be no games! It was like one of our
regular/any-weekend BBQs, except that everyone brought gifts
based on our massive ''needs'' list (reducing our need to shop).
My final suggestion is to make sure your partner is involved.
It isn't solely your resopnsibility to come up with everything
you need! Have him/her do some shopping too!
Just because you are not into shopping doesn't mean that you
won't be a good mom. I'm not a shopper and I'm not into
ceremonies and such ... graduations, baby/bridal showers,
weddings. I'm not the greatest mom, but I try. It helps to have
a very supportive husband.
You still have a few months, just relax, and shop occasionally on
the days that you want to accomplish some shopping. At least,
start with the ''necessities'' such as diapers, wash clothes; they
are not personal and easier to decide.
I don't think that your lack of interest is at all indicitive of
what kind of mom you will be. I have two kids and was never
terribly interested in all the baby stuff. In my case,
consumption makes me uncomfortable and I had so much guilt about
the natural resources wasted and labor exploited in the making
of baby products that it made it slightly painful. Sure I think
baby clothes are cute but I never got all excited by them.
Maternity clothes I bought used and can't say I savored the
experience. I know other moms who feel the same way so you are
not alone--and I think we are all good moms! Luckily for me, my
best friend was pregnant at the same time so we did the baby
prep together. But if your husband is into it, let him take
Hi there, future normal mom,
You are not strange. At least, I don't think so. In fact, you
sound like someone I would like to be friends with.
You say you have been trying to have a baby for 4 years.
That's a long time! (And maybe a lot of stress, too?) We too
tried for many years before we had our baby. My theory is
that the more time you spend trying to have a baby, the less
all the other ''stuff'' becomes important. I really didn't care
about anything but a healthy baby! After it became clear that
things really were going to work out, I did relax and got more
excited about some baby preparations...but still, compared
to a lot of people, I didn't really do much. I did have very fun
baby shower--not because of gifts, but because people I
cared about were there and were really happy for me--but for
a long time didn't know if I wanted one.
I also do not like to shop. I HATED going to BabiesRUs and
felt like it was sucking the soul right out of me. All of frenzy
around the baby stuff--especially the super-competitive,
just left a bad taste in my mouth. I still remember people
telling me that ''of course'' I would get a certain car seat or
that it was ''so worth it'' to buy $100 maternity pants, and
thinking, oh my god, what weird club have I just joined?
Nor do I have any interest in scrapbooking. My kid's photos
are all in shoeboxes. I look at them and think, well, that's a
couple more trips to the zoo that we were able to take,
instead of me cutting and pasting all afternoon. Maybe
someday his dad will put them in an album, but I have
already made peace with the fact that I am not going to do it.
So, I don't think you are strange at all. I loved my kid so
much from the moment he arrived (although I was prepared
for the possibility that it might take a while, too)--and it really
didn't matter what his room looked like, what clothes we had
ready for him, etc. Now that he's older we have great fun and
he has no clue that he doesn't have all the toys that other
kids have, or that his mom is not a real ''mommy'' kind of
mom. I actually think my lack of interest in all that stuff has
just made me more creative as a parent. From my point of
view, I think you will be just fine!
Also Not Into Shopping
I understand exactly what you mean. For some people, pregnancy is
a lot of fun buying stuff. For others like me, not. Plus, I hate
shopping of all kinds. The way I avoid the kind of annoyance you
are talking about is 1) I don't buy it till I have to and 2) I buy
it online. At some point you will be forced to buy yourself some
maternity clothes, so I recommend Lands End or Gap - there are
others too. As to baby stuff, you only need a few little things
at first - what about one of the so-called layette sets that you
can get online at gap.com. That will cover you for the first few
weeks. Pick up a pack of diapers next time you're in the grocery
store. You'll need a carseat. That's about it. Once the baby
comes, you'll know better what you need. As to cribs, changing
tables, strollers, and all that other stuff - don't buy it now -
just buy it as you need it. Longs is a quick drive away if it
turns out you need something. For my first child, I adapted a wicker
laundry basket for him to sleep in and used it for his few few
weeks. Later someone lent me a basinette. Gradually I added on
all the other stuff. Don't worry! It will all come together.
Hi non-shopper. There is a vast difference between being
intersted in shopping and being interested in your child.
Especially if you've never been interested in shopping. Shopping
and raising children are separate activities. My advice, have
the baby shower. It will save you shopping and other people who
do enjoy it will get to do it for you. Have a friend, relative,
husband get the stuff you need or go with you. Put together a
list of what you need and make sure one way or another you have
it all. Put the word out that you are open to hand-me downs. I
never had to shop, I wasn't interested. Fortunately I got so
many hand me downs it wasn't necessary. Not shopping left me
lots of time to create activities and otherwise play with my
kids. Do pay attention to how your baby is dressed and his/her
general appearance though. I always kept my babies (tots,
children) cute and clean. People react very differently to a
cute clean baby than they do to a raggedy one and kids
perceptions of themselves are affected by the way people react
to them. My kids had no idea why people smiled at them, but they
sure liked being smiled at.
Also, after 4 years of trying to get pregnant, I can imagine it
would be hard to get into being a parent emotionally until it
not a much of a comsumer either
I was exactly the same 5 years ago when I was pregnant. And I am
still that way now as a mom of two. I still hate shopping for
baby/kid stuff (or adult stuff), I never bought maternity
stuff, and I hate showers of any kind (for myself or others).
I still think I make a pretty good mom, though!
I get by with a lot of hand-me-downs (and presents). You really
don't need a fraction of the baby stuff that ads and magazines
and other parents tell you you need. Wait until the baby is
born, and then if you really think you need something to make
your life easier, you'll suddenly feel motivated to go and get
Don't worry about buying anything ahead of time.
You are NOT AT ALL a bad pre-mother, and you are going to be a great
mother because you aren't going to be all obsessed with the materialism
of childhood. I remember feeling equally overwhelmed before I had my
son by all the STUFF that goes along with mothering, and I couldn't and
still can't understand why the whole baby-shower-you've-got-to-have-
the-best-stroller kind of mentality is so interesting to the well-educated
and for the most part liberal moms of the Bay Area. Motherhood has
completely been commodified in our culture, and it is hard to get away
from it. Unfortunately, it doesn't end once you have the baby. Now that
my son is a toddler and attending lots of birthday parties, I am frequently
grossed out by the consumeristic frenzies of everyone watching while
the child tears open one present after another. For our son's birthday
parties we request that no gifts be brought, but I'm worried about how
ostracized and angry he'll feel when he gets older and goes through the
''it's not fair'' stage.
Stay strong! Being a good mother is about everything but the stuff!
Naaaaah, you sound pretty normal to me. Not spending every
waking moment trying to figure out what sort of throw pillows
to use on the rocking chair to tie the bumper pad and the area
rug together is not any reflection of your potential for
parenting. I think that it just means that you are probably
going to end up as a reasonable and grounded parent (horrors).
My only word of advice is not to wait for the last minute to do
your shopping as you could end up spending those last weeks of
your pregnancy on bed-rest rather than assembling a crib and
buying a stash of newborn size diapers.
forgot to get the interior designer for the baby's room , too
I felt/feel pretty much the same way (just had my baby 3 weeks ago). I
think it was partly an anxiety about not being able to get everything I
would ''need'' for the baby. There's also the general lack of interest in the
I think your attitude is healthy. Often it's the people who plan out these
''big events'' like weddings and births to every detail who are then
disappointed when things aren't all they thought they would be. It seems
like you're more into actually living the experience of life rather than
either preparing for it (shopping) or commemorating it (scrap books).
Don't worry (yet) about not being into it enough. All through my
pregnancy I was almost not convinced that there would actually be a
real baby coming out of all this. But indeed here she is, and I am very
It sounds to me like your lack of desire to shop for the baby is
completely in keeping with your pre-pregnancy persona, and
therefore not *about* the baby and not a reflection of lack of
love. Pregnancy and parenting, like everything else in American
life these days, has been transformed into a consumer
experience. It can be pretty revolting to anyone with an anti-
consumerist bent. (On the other hand, if you enjoy shopping it
can be huge fun.) The dominant marketing message definitely
equates love for your child with the amount of money you are
willing to spend on them. But if you don't buy into it I don't
see why you should feel guilty about that. It may be that you
are overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff being marketed to
you. Or perhaps you just aren't ready for the pregnancy to be a
worldly (vs. interior) experience. Maybe you will never get joy
out of shopping for the baby. But as long as you are happy
about the pregnancy and connecting to the experience on some
level, I don't see anything to be concerned about. Let your
husband do the shopping if he likes.
I also don't like shopping for stuff like clothes and have never
gotten ''into'' baby stuff. Sounds like you may be somewhat like
me in not being a very ''gushy'' person. Nevertheless, I have
been amazed at how much I love and am attached to my daughter
(now 2). I could not have imagined myself capable of it
before. You will certainly give your child your love and
attention, which is what he/she needs and wants. Kids don't
care about things like clothes and furniture. You unfortunately
do have to get a few things but if your husband enjoys or will
do the shopping, that sounds great for you!
chill. you'll be fine. I bought my maternity clothes on eBay, and didn't
manage a crib until the baby was born. I still hate the goofy electronic
toys and have relied on the good graces of friends to give me hand-me-
downs. My son (now 8 months) seems happy, well-adjusted, has a
great appetite, sleeps 12 hours a night (straight), and well, all is pretty
cool around the house, except for that last 12 pounds attached to my
The only thing your kid is going to pick up on is when you are not
mellow, so don't stress out. If you want the baby, and you follow your
rhythm, you'll be fine. Despite what advice you're given (including this),
there are as many ways to raise a happy, healthy child as there are
ways to make chicken soup.
Only time will tell how good a mom you will be, but no one can judge
that until it happens. Don't let people get up in your kool-aid and
convince you otherwise.
-- mellow mom
Not wanting to become a crazed consumer just because you're pregnant?
This is a problem? You'll be a great mom as you'll have some time for your
kids instead of cruising the malls! The only thing you need is underwear in
bigger sizes (buy'em as needed), and a few items that fit (I found hubby's
closet useful for this), then later nursing bras. I actually bought a crib, a
purchase I later regreted as I it way easier to nurse my kids to sleep on a futon
on the floor. The only items we have bought for babycare that have been
really indispensible are good strollers and carriers (slings and backpacks).
We also skipped the fancy wedding (and bridal shower Ugh!) and refused an
offer of a baby shower. (However, I did tell all my friends to hand down all the
baby clothes and toys they were done with.)
With 3 kids, I've bought very little stuff and I'm glad for it. I can't imagine why
you feel you are somehow delinquent for not wanting to engage in all that gross
consumerism just because you're about to become a parent! Maybe
you've been reading too many parenting magazines?
If you don't feel like shopping, don't shop!!!! It's not about the stuff, it's about the
baby. Babies really don't need that much stuff, and you'll get lots of gifts, whether
you like it or not. If there's something you desperately need after the baby is born,
you can send your husband out to get it! There is so much pressure
to ''consume'' when you have a kid -- so trust your instincts and focus on what's
I wasn't into shopping for baby stuff either. I suspect I was a little more
into it than you are but not much. We also didn't shop for much until the
last two months. Luckily my partner loves to shop and she handled most
of the purchasing. We didn't buy any clothes though and because we
were given so many clothes from friends and family that worked out fine.
I wouldn't knock the baby shower though - it will mean that there will be
that much less to buy.
At any rate, I love my son more than I can say - an aversion to shopping
does not have any bearing on how much you will love your child in my
opinion. It also could be that it doesn't feel quite real to you, especially
since you spent so much time trying to get pregnant and, I suspect,
trying to temper your disappointment when it didn't work. You just might
still be in a self protecting mode even though you don't need to be
anymore. Congratulations! you will love your baby even though you
don't want to shop for him/her right now.
Your are doing fine. I never got into shopping for anything.
I used normal clothes until is was impossible. Without supplies from a baby shower
and relatives we'd have had almost no baby stuff. Out of duty, I bought a craddle
(which we then never used as we shared a bed with the baby).
You really don't need a whole lot, by the way. The conversations I overheard in baby
supply stores made me sad. Shop assistents lecturing to-be-parents in a warning
intimidating tone about all the stuff they need to buy to be good parents. It's
obvious to whose benefit that is. And having a child really is not about having a big
house or lots of stuff or toys. It's about being there with the child, sharing whatever
is there. You are living in the present doing whatever you want to do before the
child is there, that's just perfect.
Your relation to your child will come bit by bit and getting less abstract. There's the
kicking, which already make the pregancy a little less abstract. However, I wasn't
even crying over the heartbeat towards the end of pregnancy. The birth didn't
suddently establish a relationsship with my child either, and I've heard just the same
thing from other women. At labor and birth I was so involved in doing my job,
enjoying the success and recovering, that I could even totally mentally focus on my
baby when she was there. I just hold her and cared for her, and not until 2 days
after I totally fall in love with her. It's supposed to happen when baby come out, or
even before conception, is what you heard. It's a process for that happens on
different timescales for everyone. The fact someone started earlier doesn't make
her a better mother.
You are already on the right track for parenting because you are honest with your
feelings and with living and enjoying the present rather than planning abstract
future. For every missed hours of shopping, I probably spent 3 hours making infant
mobilees, dolls, blankets. The bride's nice dress doesn't make a good marriage.
Maybe, at some point, you'll be interested in getting ready for your transitioning
into being a mother, but that doensn't have to be via shopping. Obviously, you are
interested already, otherwise, what are you doing on this list? Maybe you are a
person who'll read advice books and stories about birth and motherhood. Maybe
you just want to chat to people. Or you want to be around other pregnant women
at all these classes. Or you go to a baby massage workshop. Or just enjoy lots of
sleep at night. Or you just need to do Mt. Witney or go to the movies every night
before you'll have to pause with this for a while.
All the best,
this page was last updated: Feb 19, 2005
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are transitioning to a new website during
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network