Some expectant moms never feel the urge to decorate the nursery, touch baby sweaters at the department store, or test the mechanics of that bright blue stroller a friend has donated to you. But many women use their 2nd- and early 3rd-trimester energy bursts to start feathering their baby's home with all sorts of new gear and clothing.
Although your baby doesn't need much more than diapers, a safe place to sleep, and you, it's still fun to shop -- but you knew that already, didn't you? Getting your home ready for a baby represents a novel adventure for any first-time mom and a nostalgic wander down memory lane for experienced mothers. Always include your partner in your buying decisions or he'll start worrying all over again about the cost of this baby.
Where to begin? With a list, of course. There may be some items that you'd rather borrow than buy. If you haven't done so already, check your own closets and the attics of your friends to see what you can find for free. Next, look at what's left on the list and decide which items are absolutely necessary. An infant seat, a crib, and a changing table are good places to start. Then cruise the stores and virtual aisles of the Internet to compare prices on the big-ticket items. Don't let zealous salespeople persuade you to buy anything yet; at this stage, focus on comparison shopping and talk to friends and family about the items they found most useful. (For instance, most people will tell you that a Diaper Genie is nice for disposing diapers, but an infant swing is a better investment if your baby is fussy; so if you can buy only one thing, make it that.) And if a friend wants to throw a baby shower, accept the offer! Even if this is your second or third child, it's always nice to start with a few brand-new things to welcome the new family member.
In addition to buying things for your baby, you may feel a different sort of nesting instinct kick in -- namely, the urge to get down on your hands and knees and scrub the floor, repaper the dining room, or clean out every closet. While it's fine to indulge yourself in some of this mania, bear in mind that you can get hurt doing heavier chores now that you're heavier and clumsier yourself; you might be better off investing your energy in a walk. After all, your baby isn't going to care one bit whether you've gotten that last tea stain off the kitchen counter.
Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.
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