Making a Baby Registry – aka Do I REALLY One?

You just got the news that you are pregnant with your first child, you are excited! You have been waiting for this for a long time. And you have a need to turn your adult oriented house into one suitable for a baby. Which means shopping! Yay! Except others will want to shop for you too and share in your excitement. And so you will need to create a baby registry. Yes, you should make one. A lot of people will start this as soon as they find out they are pregnant. Some will wait until they know the sex of the baby. Or, if you are me, you will be afraid of jinxing things and wait until well after your first trimester.

Regardless of when you make it, you will be asked if you have one, and unless you want the ire of your relatives and friends, your answer should be “of course!”. But let me share a few things that I learned about registries to try and help your sanity a little bit.

  1. Treat it like a check list for yourself, so you remember what you want to buy. Because the truth is that it is likely that 50% of the people purchasing things for your little one will look at your registry and then decide to buy you something else. In fact, I am very recently guilty of doing this very thing for my cousin’s wife who is expecting her first!  You will save yourself a lot of sanity by just creating it as “my shopping list” in your mind, and anything you receive from it is just a bonus. Plus, you will get your completion discount after your shower for when you enevitably purchase the remaining 75% of the items on your list!
  2. Do not put clothes on it. I mean, you can, since it’s YOUR shopping list. But people will want to go out and buy the clothes they think are cute. Everyone loves shopping for baby clothes! You will be showered in all kinds of clothes! The same with blankets. No need to add blankets, you will receive plenty of flannel receiving blankets along the way.All of that being said – you should still go shopping for baby clothes yourself. Because it’s an amazing experience, and you are entitled to have it!
  3. Managing multiple registries is hard. If you opt to register at more than one place, I recommend not duplicating items. We chose to register only at Amazon, figuring that people could access that registry and buy locally if they didn’t want to shop online. Amazon also has a few great features! It gives the option for someone to indicate they purchased the item elsewhere, so you don’t get a duplicate. It also keeps a “thank you” list for you – showing who purchased what and providing their address to mail a thank you card.  The other perk to Amazon is Prime. When we did our registry completion (and they do have a discount), all my shipping was free!
  4. Make a seperate, private registry for personalized or monogramed items that you might want. I did this a Pottery Barn Kids and I didn’t share it with anyone and didn’t make the registry public.   I used this to buy anything I wanted with Kerrigan’s name on it.
  5. Put your big pieces, like cribs, dressers and changing tables on your registry. While it’s not as likely you will receive these items as gifts – or that you will want to wait for your shower to have them, you can get a registry discount for them. We bought ours at Pottery Barn Kids, and had them on our private registry. When we purchased them, we got a completion discount on them, which saved us quite a bit given the total bill off all of the items. On the topic of baby furniture, I strongly recommend going to the store and picking it out. You will want to FEEL it and SHAKE it and make sure you are comfortable with the quality of the items. This is not an area to cut corners – they will be expensive, and that is okay.
  6. Test out car seats and strollers! And do your research. There are a lot of sets that may be sold as “pairs”, but there are also lots of better items out there and many strollers sell adapters for car seats. Just pick one that is compatable (the car seat lady has a great list!). And don’t limit yourself to Babies R Us – they actually don’t have a really great selection and are laking a lot of the really great higher end brands. Buy Buy Baby has a huge selection of both strollers and car seats, and oddly, Nordstrom’s does as well. Also be on the look out for 20% off coupons that you can use at Buy Buy Baby – they accept their own AND Bed Bath and Beyond coupons, since they are a subsidiary company.
  7. Do not put bottles on your registry! (Wait, what?) You do not know what kind your kid will like! And it would really suck to have 15 bottles that your baby won’t use and have to go buy more. Buy a single (or two pack) of a few different brands of bottles if you intend to bottle feed to see what the baby favors and then buy enough for every day use. And on the topic of bottles – if you plan to breastfeed, you will still want some bottles! Especially if you will be returning to work. I will talk about this more in another post – but if you want to long term breastfeed and your baby will need bottles, we love the Dr. Brown’s with the preemie nipple. We are STILL using the preemie nipple – Kerrigan has to WORK to get her milk from the bottle and still prefers the breast because she’s not getting milk super easily from the bottle. This was a tip from our lactation consultant, and I am ever so grateful that we received it.
  8. Those weird “Lawn” drying racks? They are amazing. Put some on your registy along with a few of the components like the flower and the twigs!
  9. Check to see if your insurance covers a breastpump, and what kind of pump is covered, before adding one to your registry!
  10. It’s okay to buy things off of your own registry for yourself. I did this. Every paycheck I had a certain amount that was earmarked for “baby” – and I started with the most expensive items that were the least likely to be gifted to me, and worked my way down. This worked out really well for us, and allowed us to spread out buying more expensive things over a six month window, while still leaving plenty on the registry for others.
  11. There will inevitibly be things you thought you wanted, bought or were gifted, that your baby hates or doesn’t use as much as you’d have thought. It’s okay! Don’t beat yourself up over it – every baby has a different personality and each will like different things.
  12. Ignore the “you don’t need these” or “you must have this item” lists. I have found things on the “don’t need” list that I bought to be invaluable and things on the “must have” lists to be a waste of money. Just buy what you want. I will say that I found CONVERSATIONS with other moms on what to buy helpful, and did take their opinions into consideration.
  13. Lastly, there will ALWAYS be something you wish you’d had or thought to buy and didn’t. I’m pretty sure our UPS guy is at our house at least three times a week with deliveries. And that’s okay! There is no way to know ahead of time every last thing that you will want.

Just remember, your registry is about you and your family. Make it what you want and where you want. Have fun with it and don’t hesitate to put “dream” items on it! Remember that you will likely be the person purchasing a majority of the items on your registy, so it’s okay to add every last thing you can think of to it!

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