As soon as you announce your upcoming arrival to the world it seems like everyone has an opinion on what you should do or buy, especially your family. While this advice can be helpful, in many cases it can be overwhelming, confusing or even downright dangerous.

Even if they have good intentions, mothers and mothers in law in particular often feel they know what’s best for baby. This is especially awkward if the parent or parent in law has offered to pay for a big-ticket item like a cot or a pram and has a very different idea from the parents to be about what style or product is best or safest.

Our own Brooke from Baby and Toddler Town has a great example of this with her own mother in law who was dead set on Amanda using cloth nappies on her baby. “I was happy to look into other options than disposables to save money and the environment but she very generously went ahead and purchased old style cloths and pilchers before I’d even had a chance to express my interest in a more modern option.”

Believe it or not, it is possible to avoid a lifelong family rift without allowing your in-laws to run roughshod all over you. Preparation is the key to a smooth shopping experience, not to mention a proactive approach. Here’s our advice:

  • Set clear boundaries - Before you hit the shops, sit down and have a discussion with your parents/in laws about what you want and need, who is paying and what your priorities are. If you can set clear boundaries from the start there’s less chance of you being pressured into making a decision you’re not happy with in the heat of the moment.
  • Call in reinforcements - If you’re worried about your mother in law pressuring you, bring your partner or a trusted friend along for backup.
  • Choose your items ahead of time - For those big-ticket items, consider packaging a number of things together, creating a gift registry or putting the items you want on lay by. You can create a gift registry right here on our site: This way, you’ve already done the deciding and if anyone wants to make a contribution they can choose something off the registry or put some money towards your layby. As an added bonus you can save money when you package a few products together at Baby and Toddler Town.
  • Let them choose something small - Steer parents and in laws towards smaller items like cot sheets, baby monitors and nappies, which are less contentious as a whole (except in Amanda’s case!).
  • Speak to a staff member - In many cases your in laws might think they know what’s best for you, but it’s not just about having the right information, it’s about personal choice. Choosing the right pram (link to pram article) is not just about the one that passes the most safety standards it’s the one that fits in with your lifestyle, your family size (and future plans for expanding your family), fits comfortably in the boot of your car and suits your personal preferences. The sales staff at Baby and Toddler Town can help you identify what your priorities are so you can make the choice that’s right for you, not your mother in law.

Be particularly wary of friends and family members who try to pass on hand me downs. Many items of baby furniture and equipment come with a use-by date and if they are more than a couple of years old, may not meet current safety standards. This is especially true of car seats – unless you can be absolutely sure they haven’t been involved in an accident and they still meet current safety standards, it’s best to buy new.

We know how easy it is to feel overwhelmed with all the advice and suggestions you get as a new parent. With the right approach, it is possible to assert your own preferences and still be on speaking terms with your in-laws when your baby arrives.