So much stuff for one tiny human! How is it possible? No parent-to-be wants to max out their credit card or overburden their gift-givers, so you may be wondering, “How do I know what I really need?” and “What’s the best way to set up my baby registry?” We’ve heard from loads of parents before you, so let us share some tips to make the process less complicated.
Here are a few things to consider before you get started:
What’s Your Family Status?
- Is this your firstborn? If so, you’ll be starting from scratch.
- Is this first, and you know you’ll be one and done? Are you having multiples? Or is this the first of what you hope will be a few?
- Is this your second, third, or fourth? … Then, depending on the amount of time since your last one was born, you may already have some of the important stuff, but need a second set, updated items, or different decor.
Asking yourself these questions will help you narrow down your list of must-haves. Think of things like, do you want a crib that will be passed on to baby number two, or one that converts to a toddler bed?
Where Do You Live?
That may sound like a strange question at first, but your living environment does factor into the type of gear you’ll need. City dwellers may not have a car, so can scratch a convertible car seat off their list. But a stroller that is easy to maneuver through foot traffic and will hold up to daily use is a must-have. If you live in the country, you may only use a stroller for quick trips to town, so finding one you can easily stash in the trunk of your car is more important, and that car seat is a gotta-have.
How Big Is Your Home?
How much space do you have in your home? And how full do you want to make it? Your new housemate may be compact, but all their new belongings can cramp your style. Try to map out how the new items will fit in or get stored when not in use. Then, you won’t be overwhelmed later.
Building The Baby Registry:
Having a baby registry helps you stay organized. Not only do you take stock of what you want and need at the moment, but you can also come back to your list later and keep track of what you’ll need in the near future. And, it helps you remember who gifts are from, which makes sending out thank yous easier.
To help you organize your list, break it down into categories and tackle one at a time. Here are six typical baby registry categories and some essentials within them to get you started:
- The Nursery - crib, mattress, bedding, changing table, diaper pail, room decor, glider, humidifier, white noise machine, baby monitor
- Feeding - bottles, high chair, burp cloths, bibs, baby spoon, pacifiers, teething ring, breast pump, nursing bras, nipple cream (yes, it’s a thing, and you can thank us later)
- Health and Safety - first aid kit, thermometer, otoscope, medicine dispenser, nasal aspirator, grooming kit, nail trimmers, bathtime accessories, babyproofing supplies for room-by-room, safety gates
- On-the-Go - infant car seat, convertible car seat, stroller, travel system, baby carrier, diaper bag, portable bassinet, playpen
- Entertainment - play mat, activity center, bouncer, swing, toys, books
- Fashion - onesies, pajamas, booties, no scratch mittens, fabric caps, sleep sacks, hooded bath towel
If it’s tough for you to understand the scale of the bigger items like nursery furniture, travel gear, and high chairs, find the most convenient retail store that caters to baby things or one with a large baby section. They often keep these products on display, so you can get up close. You can also search the internet for videos that unbox and demonstrate the items you’re looking for.
Pro-Parent Tip: Share your preferences with gift-givers, such as the theme for your baby’s room, favorite colors, and decor style.
When Should You Set Up Your Registry?
There’s no right time. It’s mostly a personal preference and based on your needs.
- Some want to start as soon as they get a positive pregnancy test.
- Others wait until around the 18-20-week mark after the ultrasound scan shows the baby’s development and gender.
- And some choose to wait closer to the due date or baby shower.
If you want to get started sooner than later, but hesitate going public with it, many registries allow a private mode. You can keep your wish list for your eyes only until you’re ready to share it. Of course, if you’re going to have a baby shower, you’ll want your registry accessible by the time the invitations go out.
If you’re skipping a shower, you can share your list whenever it works best for you, but generally, the beginning of the third trimester allows enough time for friends and family to buy and ship the gifts to you before you welcome your bundle of joy.
Does Size Matter?
- Some parents hesitate to put the big-ticket items on their registry, but it’s okay to splurge a little too. Friends or relatives may want to go in on something together and get you one of the “wow” items on your list, so you don’t have to purchase it for yourself later.
- Also, it’s okay if your list is long. There’s no perfect number you should be striving for. If this is your first little one, you’ll need more stuff. A variety of items provides options for your shoppers too.
- You can have more than one registry, too, because it’s likely not every store or baby registry site will have everything you’re looking for. One tip is to check out the shipping and return policies and choose shops that offer free or discounted shipping. (Your friends and family will appreciate it.) An easy return policy makes life easier on you in case you get duplicates, a damaged item, or find out you don’t need something you received.