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Cutesy-Wutesy Baby Bedding Sets

May10

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Hi Amy,

I am having twins (a boy and a girl) in August and am starting to feel the pressure to register. My question is, do you think it is okay to just get multiple sets of crib sheets and a crib skirt instead of the whole cutesy themed baby bedding sets? They are so expensive (especially for 2), the quilts that come with those seem so heavy, and I cannot imagine ever actually using it for my babies. I have never seen any of my friends use theirs except to hang them over the side of the crib.  I figure we will get 434 recieving blankets (as you said in the Ultimate Baby Registry Checklist) and they can probably use those, after we stop swaddling them.

I just feel pressure to register for things we don’t need to make our babies’ room cute cute cute. Our families are so excited and are just ready to shop and I feel like I will get a lot of flack for not having a “themed” room – like it is some rite of passage or something. I wanted to know if you have ever heard of people actually using those bedding sets and do you think they are worth it?

Thanks,
Jen

For anyone looking to scale back on the ridiculousness of baby gift registries and extraneous “stuff,” I don’t think anything ranks higher for deletion than cutesy matching bedding sets.

You are absolutely right about the “crib quilts” or blankets that come with the sets. They’re…pretty useless. You obviously DO NOT put loose blankets in a crib with a newborn or small baby, and you can’t swaddle with them. Our bedding set came with a  super-soft fleecy blanket, and I think I maybe wrapped it around the boys once or twice while I rocked them. Or maybe I’m thinking of one of the THREE DOZEN OTHER super-soft fleecy blankets we received separately as gifts. Crib quilts seem to be a relic of another age, from before Sleep Sacks and Miracle Blankets and the Back To Sleep campaign, when parents actually did use heavy blankets at night to cover up a tummy-sleeping infant. None of us today would ever DREAM of doing that, and yet the quilts simply won’t vanish from the three- and four-piece bedding sets for some reason.

(My guess? DOLLAH BILLZ. Also: pregnant women like MATCHY!!1!)

And then there’s the endless debate over crib bumpers. On the one hand, without bumpers, you can absolutely expect to walk in on a screaming, furious baby who managed to get his foot wedged between the crib slats AGAIN. On the other hand, a young baby who rolls around in his crib could potentially smother himself, particularly if the bumper comes untied or loose. And once your baby can pull to a stand, the bumpers absolutely MUST come out, because even a squishy soft bumper can give them a few crucial extra inches on their way up and over the crib rail. (Noah did a crib-bumper-to-crib-aquarium climbing expedition once. We were very proud, once we recovered from hearing that awful, terrible THUMP sound when he hit the floor, oh my God.)

So that’s two major elements of a crib bedding set that you are probably better off without. That leaves…sheets. A crib skirt, if you want one. And really, unless you plan to store crap under the crib (we do), the crib skirt basically saves you from having to dust or vacuum the floor underneath quite so regularly. But then again, it’s one more thing you have to remember to remove and wash and it’s SUCH a pain to put back on, especially when the mattress is on the lowest setting. Or maybe just mine is, because not ONLY did I go for the pretty matchy-matchy set, I went with one that includes TWO crib skirts. TWO. That you layer on top of each other: one solid and one sheer. It’s ridiculous. And yet I use them both, because they were expensive. (And they are PRETTY, DAMMIT.)

We went all out for Noah’s room — not so much of a “theme” as just making sure everything was color-coordinated and my mother-in-law spent MONTHS on custom paintings and stencils and big huge wall mural. It wasn’t as costly as it could have been, as we resisted the designer furniture and my MIL obviously didn’t charge us for the artwork. It was a gorgeous, wonderful nursery. That we left a year later, when we moved. I cried. So hard. The existing paint in Ezra’s room here matched the hand-me-down bedding set, so I left it and picked up some matching window valances on sale because the design had been discontinued. My mother-in-law talked about doing another huge ambitious Thing but I talked her down to a few black-and-white butterflies.

Because before you know it, the crib is a thing of the past and your kids start going on playdates and see that so-and-so’s Big Boy bed is a RACE CAR, Mommy, and so-and-so has a PIRATE ROOM or I don’t LIKE pink, I want a yellow room or a mermaid room and you’re trying to figure out a cost-effective room makeover that will allow your child to express his personality…but will also hopefully not be too babyish again in a year or two. Noah wants a Star Wars/outer space room. (Meaning we now have to break it to my mother-in-law that the huge mural she painted of mountains and a train and a forest will probably go away soon.) Ezra still doesn’t care one way or another, but I know the transition to a Big Boy Room is coming.

I’m not saying that nurseries in general are a waste — if it’s important to you to create a beautiful perfect space for your baby, it’s important. (I had moments of pregnancy-induced guilt over whether I was short-changing Ezra by NOT setting up some amazing custom room for him.) But it can CERTAINLY be done without spending $500 on a quilted jungle animal bedding set. If your family asks for your “theme” just tell them the color scheme and leave it at that.

(Oh. And be realistic about the furniture that “grows” with your kid. It’s a nice idea, but you don’t always get that return on your investment. After two boys, NONE of our nursery furniture is in any kind of shape for much future use. It wasn’t uber-expensive, but we did pay a bit more because everything “converted” to something else. The boys teethed all over the edges of the crib, various baby hygiene products have spilled and stripped the finish off our changing table/dresser thing, and several overstuffed drawers have resulted in the backs of the dresser and wardrobe separating from the frame. The crib-as-bed doesn’t work in the smaller bedrooms in our current house, and all of it would require extensive refinishing and repair work if we really wanted one of the boys to keep it, so I’m planning to donate it all and start fresh with some Ikea kid furniture that the boys can beat on without stressing me out.)

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About the author

Amalah

http://www.amalah.com
Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


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3 Responses to “Cutesy-Wutesy Baby Bedding Sets”

  1. Kathleen May 19 at 7:33 pm Reply Reply

    You’re the one spending time in the room – the kid has no clue what the decor is. So.. make yourself happy!

    The quilt thing makes me angry- how many unwitting parents are bamboozled into a ton of crib stuff they can never use?

  2. landry Mar 11 at 10:07 am Reply Reply

    i am so not doing the patterned stuff. Im doing some fun colors of crib sheets and a solid bumper. Done and done. 
    Partially its because i realized fairly quickly that if I didnt register for something, someone else will decide on it for me and I’ll end up with some awful choo-choo design.
     

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  1. Affording Our Baby. - Our Little Apartment - Jul 15

    […] are completely unnecessary but totally adorable, like a 12-piece bedding set. Again, Amalah did a great piece on the pressure to have a cutesy nursery (my favorite line: “My guess? DOLLAH BILLZ. Also: […]

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