Not into Shopping for Maternity or Baby Stuff

Archived Q&A and Reviews

August 2004

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! Happy delivery! Ellen
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. lc
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. Nicole
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! Anon.
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 distributed it.

Baby clothes are pretty easy -- we got along fine with hand-me- downs, gifts and supplemental stuff purched on sale online at 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 good mommy! Berkeley Mom

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.... Sara

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. another mom
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 you comfortable.

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.

Happy nesting! jen

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. anon
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. been there

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! anonymous
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. anon

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 over! Elizabeth
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, has-to-be-perfect, research-and-pay-a-lot-of-money-for-stuff 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 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. Ginger
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 actually happens. 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 it. Don't worry about buying anything ahead of time. Good luck. been there
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! anon
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 shopping experience.

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 into her. Good luck! liz

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. rachel
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! anon
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 thighs.

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? karen s.

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 really important. Non-shopper too
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. annie

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, Julia