Shopping tips when buying for babies (and beyond)
Advice to help you buy the best for your baby.
There are 2 things happening as I write: the nation (or certainly the media at least) is in the grip of ‘royal baby’ fever and I am storing away the stairgate.
The last bastion of babydom is heading to the great storage cupboard in the sky (my attic).
Combine the 2 things together and it’s making me a bit wistful. I’ve got the rose-tinted glasses firmly on and they’re blocking out the sleepless nights, the seemingly endless exhaustion, the baby vomit, the mountains of dirty nappies…
It’s a very handy type of amnesia…at least for me. My husband on the other hand, has perfected the ‘exasperated eye roll’ whenever talk of babies rears its head.
But, as I slowly pack away a selection of toys and clothes now outgrown by 2 fabulous but fiendishly cheeky young individuals, I am reminded not only of the wonderful memories that we have made as a family, but also of the time consuming and painstaking decisions behind each and every purchase. And I can’t help but smile.
Because every baby purchase is a big deal, the biggest deal in fact. Which cot is the best? Which car seat is safest? Which clothes are the cutest? Which toys will help their development the most? Which pushchair will transport them safely around the shops without getting stuck on public transport?
Yes, sometimes it’ll come down to your budget but most of the time it’s the feeling that you’re not doing right by your child if you make what you think might be the ‘wrong’ purchase. That’s how I felt anyway, perhaps putting a bit too much pressure on myself.
And I’ve discovered that these decisions don’t get easier the older your children get. This started to dawn on me when my husband and I started to look at baby walkers to help our daughter to take her first steps.
We thought it would be an easy purchase but we found that the baby walker range of products is a varied one. And at that stage it’s not just about the practicalities of the product (should the baby sit in the walker or push it?) but also about the aesthetics (will my baby like the look of it?).
Now, with my children getting older, everything we buy for them has to fit in with their developing personalities as well as me being convinced that it’s the best product – the current challenge is finding a good, durable school bag for Olivia for when she starts school in September.
Through my experience I’ve learnt a few ‘shopping tips’ to make this process a little easier. They are:
Take the manufacturer’s claims with a pinch of salt.
Manufacturers want you to buy their product. That’s a given. But remember, there are pros and cons to every product. Just taking a manufacturer’s word that they make the best things may not be the best approach; it won’t necessarily guarantee that you’re happy with what you buy.
Before you commit to a purchase, search out some reviews online. This is where parenting blogs come in very handy. Their reviews tend to be more in-depth than the ones on shopping websites to help give you a real insight into a particular product.
Don’t break your bank balance.
Someone once said to me that ‘you pay for quality’. While that might be true sometimes, it isn’t always the case. This is especially true for small children. Think back to a birthday or Christmas with your child; I bet that one of their most favourite playthings wasn’t the expensive toy but the cardboard box it arrived in. Think about how important brand names are to you; you can find some great bargains if you’re willing to buy non-branded toys instead of getting them from the big names. And don’t forget to compare prices to find the best deal!
Take your time.
If you’re in a shop, don’t feel pressured into making a decision there and then. Take some time to go away and think about things before comitting. That’s where internet shopping can come in useful.
Don’t stress! Remember that all products should have passed national safety standards, which should give you some peace of mind regardless of the purchase you eventually make.
What about you? Did you worry and deliberate over every option before choosing what to buy for your baby or child? Is it something you ever grow out of?