When I see first-time parents schlepping their miraculous bundles of baby joy, I’ll admit to feeling a little… smug. In the, “Oh honey, remember when we didn’t know what we were doing, either?” sense. To which my dear husband would likely respond, “You mean five minutes ago?”

We’re a confident lot, he and I.

But I’m talking about the bewilderment that comes with new baby territory. As if sleep deprivation wasn’t enough, you’re barraged by advice. What you need to buy, what you need to do

I recently read a quip of parenting insight I wish I’d heard in the prime of my baby days. It’s likely more valuable than anything you’d glean from my experience alone. Brett Berk, author of The Gay Uncle’s Guide to Parenting, observed simply:

“The baby business seems to play on your fears that you’re ill-equipped for the job and are going to do it all wrong.”

He also wrote a whole book, I suppose. But I’m so content to mill over this sentence.

Have you created, or at least read, a baby registry lately? You’d be daft not to include coordinating nursery decor, complete with diaper caddy. You’ll need to feed baby, so don’t forget nursing pillows and personalized burp cloths and bottles that do everything but lactate for you. If you plan to leave the house, you’ll need a designer baby carrier that matches your car seat and stroller and diaper bag. As baby grows, his or her intelligence will be permanently stunted if you don’t have the latest and greatest educational toys that instill art appreciation and environmental responsibility.

Seriously, it’s not my goal to suck all the joy out of preparing for baby. I’m just sayin’. You’re contending with corporations trying to sell you crap disguised as necessities. You’re reading product reviews about the newest gear on the market. You’re comparing your list to that of your friends who have kids and therefore must be less clueless than you feel.

Listen to Mr. Berk and me as we steer you away from the strangers with candy-coated promises for perfect parenting. Follow your heart and your head, and buy what you want. But don’t succumb to ploys to make you believe you need stuff. Your baby needs you and diapers. Everything else is negotiable. ;)