So far in our family we’ve enjoyed waiting until the baby is born to learn whether it is a boy or a girl. We love the excitement of the surprise and the guessing. It’s kind of special to just love the baby without yet knowing much about him or her, and it adds some extra fun to the beautiful experience of birth.
When I tell people that we are having a “gender surprise,” I get varied reactions. The conversation goes like this:
“Is it a boy or a girl?”
“Oh, it’s a surprise.”
The reactions: “Oh, how fun!” “You’re not going to find out?! How could you do that?” “I could never be that patient,” and “How will you prepare for the baby?!”
Preparing for Baby: A minimalist approach
I’ve actually found it easy to prepare for a gender surprise baby. In fact, that’s the way parents have been preparing for generations before ultrasounds were available. The key is simplicity. We’ve never had the space to go crazy decorating a nursery, or buy a lot of baby gear. In fact, we’ve never had a nursery at all. While there is plenty of gender neutral baby gear and décor on the market, I think the easiest way to prepare for a surprise baby is to eschew all of the extras and only buy what baby really needs.
These basic things are fairly easy to find in gender neutral colors, especially large baby gear such as carseats and strollers. The biggest challenge in preparing for a gender surprise is buying gender neutral baby clothes. I bought/made exclusively gender neutral newborn clothes for my babies except for one dress and bow headband that I made in case the baby was a girl.
Here are three tips that made it easy for me to find (super cute!) gender neutral baby clothes.
Tip #1 Say Yes to Neutral Colors
There are wide range of colors that are considered “appropriate” for any gender of baby. These include orange, yellow, green, and red. With this baby I have also fallen in love with the neutral colored baby clothes: grey, brown, and beige. These colors are so classic, and with the right textures and prints I don’t think they are boring.
I also started buying all of the basics in white. White is the perfect classic, match-everything color (in my opinion) for sheets, swaddles, onesies, tee shirts, burp clothes, etc. Yes, babies stain, but I’ve found that baby stains are easily sun-bleached out of white laundry.
Tip #2 Shop Boys and Girls Sections
There is typically no “gender neutral” baby section in most stores and online shops. I have the most success when I look through both sections. I keep my eye open for neutral colors along with classic and neutral silhouettes. If I’m shopping for gender neutral clothes in the girls section, I avoid clothes with bows and lace. If I’m shopping gender neutral in the boys section, I don’t usually buy extra baggy clothes or things with huge cargo-style pockets. You get the idea.
Tip #3 Shop Small (or Sew Your Own)
While it is possible to find clothes in bigger box stores by shopping both sections, the options are still sometimes limited. My favorite gender neutral finds have been in small shops on Etsy, or other small(er) businesses such as Billie Blooms, Little Cottonwood, or Fawn & Forest. They have GORGEOUS neutral clothes.
However, the price of handmade baby clothes is really high for me to buy much that way. I do splurge on some high-quality baby items that I can’t make myself (like these booties and a sheepskin), but I prefer to sew baby clothes that fit my aesthetic. Sometimes it requires some trial and error (the bloomers above ended up being too small for my cloth-diapered baby) but I love sewing for baby while I’m pregnant! It’s possible to save a lot of money this way since baby clothes require less fabric and it’s easy to use recycled grown-up clothes.
Benefits of Shopping for a Gender Neutral Baby
Since we would love to have a big family, I am all about longevity when I buy baby gear. Even if this baby will only wear something for a few months (or weeks), I try to buy clothes and baby gear that subsequent babies can use.
Enter… gender neutral clothes! It’s so nice to know that there is a whole newborn wardrobe waiting for the next baby whether it be a boy or girl. Other perks of shopping gender neutral are the fun of finding unique baby things and the classic look of baby clothes that are not overly pink or blue. Here are some examples of gender neutral outfits for inspiration (can you tell I’m addicted to baby bloomers?).
What are your thoughts on keeping baby’s gender a surprise? Would you ever do it?