Is There an Addiction to Buying Baby Clothes?

We typically associate the word “addiction” with things like gambling or alcohol, not something as ‘innocent’ as shopping. But the truth is, some shopping habits can become addictive. According to an article by Money.com, shopping can become addictive when it moves beyond an “occasional shopaholic episode” and becomes an obsession that consumes your energy and time and overtakes your life. Shopping is sometimes known as the “smiled-upon addiction,” so it can become easy to slip into addiction since others see it as socially acceptable.

It makes sense that expectant and new mothers (and fathers) get excited about buying cute clothes for their babies. New parents may overspend here or there or occasionally buy too many clothes or toys, but constant overspending may signal the presence of a more serious problem that needs to be addressed.

There are all sorts of posts online from moms who admit they feel like they have a full blown addiction to buying baby clothes. Here are some reasons these moms give for why they are obsessed with shopping:

  • One common statement in online posts is the designs for baby clothes are cute, especially for girls. It can be difficult to go into stores and see all of the cute baby clothes and not want to buy them.
  • Many women love the ease of shopping for a baby. Unlike women’s clothes and sizes, you know when you buy baby clothes in the right size, they will more than likely fit your baby and look cute. And because online shopping is so accessible, it easier than ever to buy baby clothes online and get them delivered to your home.
  • A third reason women described feeling the impulse to buy clothes for their babies was that they get drawn in by sales and finding good deals.
  • Lastly, some women pointed out that social media is a reason why they love to shop for their babies. The likes and praises for their adorable babies in cute outfits is a motivator to buy more baby clothes and post more photos online.

One possible reason that may explain the development of an addiction may come down to a desire to feel good. Just like an addiction to alcohol or smoking, a shopping addiction can manifest as a way to make a person feel better when other things in their life are not going how they want them to or their life is not fulfilling them. Science has shown some factors may put you at a greater risk for developing a shopping addiction: female gender, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and extroversion.

If you feel like you may be addicted to shopping, the following are some questions to ask yourself:

  1. Is shopping causing conflicts in your life? With a significant other or with friends? Issues with credit card companies? Issues with work?
  2. Do you use shopping to change your mood?
  3. Do you feel like you’ve lost control of your buying and spending habits?
  4. To what degree has shopping taken over your life? Is it something that you spend a lot of time thinking about or obsessing over?
  5. Do you feel a lot of pleasure when you make purchases or do you feel withdrawal when a period of time goes between shopping?

Some tips for addressing your shopping addiction include: understanding feelings that make you want to shop; reflecting on the amount of time you spend shopping; keeping a log of your spending habits; and taking control of your finances by budgeting and cutting up your credit cards.

If you are worried that your shopping habits have become a more serious problem or an addiction, it may be helpful to seek the help of counselors or support groups.

Lauren McMahan
Dr. Lauren McMahan has a Doctor of Pharmacy from Lipscomb University College of Pharmacy in Nashville, TN. She currently works for a large national healthcare company, where she provides her research and writing expertise to support evidence-based initiatives to improve patient care. She enjoys exercising, reading, and thrifting in her spare time.

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