What did parents do before the Internet??! When I was pregnant, I began researching what I was going to experience and anticipate some of the early days of parenthood. I looked at all sorts of baby supplies and furniture and clothes. I looked up doctors and day care centers. I shopped for maternity clothes. I had lots of time to do this: I had insomnia every night!
Some of the things I found: if you find a favorite brand of clothes, search for it on ebay and amazon.com. Both sites seem to serve as a way for retailers to sell off merchandise at a discount. I always looked for “NWT” (new with tag) and was able to get items from all sorts of stores across the U.S. at a sale price.
Similarly, once I had a recommendation for products for our child, I would look for the manufacturer to locate retailers. In doing this, I found some independent retailers nearby. But, I also found that some of the companies would sell directly to consumers. Vincent shoes is one good example, and so is Boden. The other trick one mom taught me was to check out sales as stores cleared out a season—to stock up on clothes for the next year. Now, this will only work as long as your child is average in size and/or growth rate. So far, so good!
Unfortunately, some sites are already gone just four years later. Babystyle was a cool site that combined maternity clothes with infants and toddlers clothing and toys. I had so much fun there! Babycenter.com was both packed full of information, as well as offering an interesting inventory. Now, it links to diapers.com.
This site was not around when I could have used it: Rookie Moms.
Consumer reviews have been a huge help to me. I did not have to rely on a single writer’s perspective but could see which items had really been tested by other parents and then look for patterns in feedback. I tried to take the time to add mine to the mix, too. I think you’ll find me mostly on www.toysrus.com.
I love sharing and ordering photos via snapfish.com. They have tons of gift items that can be personalized, including photo books.
Well, this is my first chance to offer some tips for new parents. I’m sure I’ll offer up more again in the future. One word of warning: the very thing that makes the web enticing is also a potential problem and we can get information overload. This is especially true in the area of medical advice.
I’ll tie this back to my life and trying to strike a work/life balance. I’m all about finding ways to be more efficient. If spending some time online saves me trips to the mall, I’m all for it. I figure it will maximize my time at home with my son. So please post more tips in the comments so we can all find new sites or ways to save time. In a perfect world it means saving money but ultimately I think time is a more scarce commodity.