Creating a successful baby registry can drive you a little crazy. You need the hindsight of a veteran mom to know what you really need—but you’re a rookie! To make the process a little easier, we spoke to moms who have learned the hard way about how to get the job done right.
Here are some secrets to creating a great baby registry.
There Is No Ultimate Authority on What You Will Need
While your best friend, who has a 1-year-old, might swear by the latest and greatest bottle warmer, “essential” is a highly subjective concept when it comes to baby gear. For example, fancy diaper pails and front carriers or slings are hated as much as they are loved. Better to tap the wisdom of all your new mom friends, then compare their lists to look for commonalities.
Cast a Wide Net
Instead of registering at one store, set up a Pinterest board with images that link back to the respective shops. You can pin anything, including cleaning and spa services, meal deliveries, and handmade goodies on Etsy. Consider throwing in things like new-mom yoga pants, wall art for baby’s room, or a new laundry basket. Ask that your shower invite include the link to your board.
Divide and Conquer
Creating a registry is an exhausting process—a solid 4 hours is not uncommon. Consider splitting the job into two sessions, with one devoted to the two items that most demand a clear head: the stroller and car seat.
Include Different Price Ranges
Those who aren’t invited to your shower—say a co-worker or your parents’ neighbor—will need under-$15 ideas, so check out board books, baby hats, bath toys, and those fun stickers (1-month, 2-month, etc.) that go on a baby’s shirt for photos throughout the first year.
Entice Friends and Family to Buy the Functional Items
Most shower guests don’t want to give a nasal aspirator or a vaporizer, which, while necessary, don’t make the gift-giver feel warm and fuzzy. Take advantage of the “add a note” option that many registries let you attach to individual items and say something like: “I’d feel so much better if I had this on hand, knowing I could do everything possible to comfort my little one when he gets sick.”
Some Items in the Store Aren’t Online, and Vice Versa
If you’re in a brick-and-mortar and can’t find an item, check the website for it and add it online.
Don’t Bother Registering for Outfits and Blankets
If there is a particular swaddle or coming-home outfit you have your eye on, go for it. But beyond that, rest assured that you will receive plenty of teeny clothes and impossibly soft, pastel blankets—both before and after baby arrives.
After this windfall, you’re on your own paying for all the accoutrements this kid will need. There’s no shame in adding a snowsuit or swimsuit sized a year (or two!) ahead, a toddler bed, or even a big kid booster car seat to your list.
The Scanning Gun Is Addictive
To avoid registering for stuff that will lure gift-givers away from what you really need and/or want, make a list before you go, and stick to it. If you’re tempted to make an exception, sleep on it. You can always add it later online.
You Will Be Able to Shop after the Baby Comes
Despite the horror stories you’ve heard about life as a new mom, you will leave the house. So please, don’t obsess over whether or not you’ve ticked off every single little thing you might possibly need.
Registering for gift cards (or diapers, for that matter) is not tacky.
It’s smart and will probably be a relief to a handful of your nearest and dearest. And you can use gift cards to acquire those necessary items that nobody will buy, no matter how gamely you talk them up in the “notes” section. Nursing pads, anyone?
Christina Vercelletto is a former editor at NYMetroParents, Parenting, Scholastic Parent & Child, and Woman’s Day. She lives on Long Island with her kids, a chiweenie, Pickles, and a 20-pound calico, Chub-Chub.
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