Real talk- being pregnant is not always fun. Unless you are one of the lucky few blessed with the coveted "unicorn pregnancy," this ten-month period is full of things you're going to find less than enjoyable. And yes, it's 40 weeks y'all not 36 if you go to full term, nine months is, sort of a lie.
Amidst morning sickness that doesn't know how to stay in its lane, exhaustion like you've never known and a flurry of outdated advice from well-meaning women, you get the task of registering for your new baby.
With a little consideration and planning, registering for the birth of your little one can actually be really fun.
If this is your first baby, it can feel more overwhelming than exciting as there are so many options for baby products and you will undeniably want to register for pretty much everything. No judge, I have been there right along with you. Me holding every overboard baby registry checklist list Pinterest had to offer, is right there with you.
Fear not, this is where a few realistic pro tips from some parents who have been there and done that are going to be worth their weight in diapers, and just wait until you see how much those babies cost!
Here is the surprising list of what not to put on your baby registry, and what to register for instead. But first-
Yes, You Have to Register
The resistance to this is kind of surprising. Yes, you really should do a baby registry, even for your second kid. Hell, even for your third kid.
Hear me out on this.
There is no way you are not getting gifts for this new little person. Besides giving specific gift ideas, a registry will let eager present buyers know your style preferences and any particular decor themes or colors you will be incorporating.
Plan on using cloth diapers? Disposable all the way? Only using products for sensitive skin? Registering for products for your specific diapering style communicates your choices without printing it on the baby shower or sprinkle invitation.
These are essential details to communicate regardless if this is your first baby or your third baby. Of course, when you are preparing a baby registry for your first baby, you will need all the baby basics, essentials and anything to support your new parenting lifestyle choices. But, be open to the idea that you may start one parenting path and change courses entirely with your second child.
And remember I said this was the fun part? Shopping for your new baby involves some part of your brain, as subconscious as it may be, dreaming and imagining what your little one is going to be like wearing/using/holding/ whatever it is you are looking at. The daydreaming about what might be is totally part of the fun part.
Plus, hello, online shopping.
What NOT to Put on Your Baby Registry and What to Consider Instead
Disclaimer: Take this list with a grain of salt. Every baby is going to have unique needs. Every parent and family will find different products and baby gear that works for them, and their situation. Babies are funny that way, just like adults.
A Giant Set of One Type Of Bottle
Resist the urge over research bottles, make a selection and put the most extensive set possible on your registry as one of your big-ticket items. Sound very specific? This is a mistake I personally made. While the bottle we initially selected worked for a while, we pretty quickly realized we needed another type.
Every baby is going to have a bottle preference, and this cannot be researched in advance.
What you should register for instead: Small sets, or singles, of multiple bottle types. Use your registry an opportunity to have different kinds of bottles on hand as this will make finding one your baby tolerates much easier.
The Kitschy Baby Must-Haves
Things like a bottle warmer, wipe warmer, Nose Frida, Peepee Teepee, etc. You know those gimmicky things parents rave about, but you can't be sure babies actually use or need? Spoiler alert - Usually, they don't. Resist the urge to register for anything you don't honestly think you are going to use, or have first-hand knowledge of its usefulness.
What you should register for instead: This is totally a mixed message but, all the Kitschy Baby Must-Haves.
When else are you going to get to try all this kind of weird baby stuff? Especially if this is your first baby, your registry is your golden opportunity to try things out and find what works for you.
The Bitty Bundle of Joy kit from makers of the Nose Frida, a baby snot sucking tool with an almost cult following, is a nice combination of needful baby supplies and "do people really use this" items for experimentation. This set includes a Nose Frida with 20 filters, Windi, nail clippers, file and Fridet Mom Washer with a waterproof case.
While your attempt at preparedness is to be applauded, baby-proofing supplies should be left off your registry for two reasons. First, resist the urge to baby proof before necessary for your own sanity. While many new baby-proofing items are super functional and easy to work with, many can be a total pain. Obviously, make spaces safe, plug covers are a must and lock all doors with hazardous or dangerous items, but don't go crazy yet.
Second, you have no idea what kind of kid you are going to have; you may need safety items you can't even dream of yet. It's better to wait and see what you need before investing in products that are going to do nothing other than frustrate you.
What you should register for instead: receiving blankets, swaddles, burp cloths and bibs. This recommendation goes against what most other resources are going to tell you, but there is a reason for this.
A little TMI here, but I was blessed with a chronic spit-upper. No, honestly, we had an epic puker.
We tried everything to help it; he just went through a period where he vomited a lot. Everything fabric within arms reach became a towel, and we went through blankets, burp cloths and swaddles at an impressive pace. When you find yourself knee-deep in dirty laundry you can't keep up with, I assure you, you will be thankful for all those cloth items you didn't think you'd need so many of. If you don't use them, they make great fabric for quilts later, and our old burp cloths are the best rags for cleaning windows we have.
You do not need to register for a Breast Pump. Pumps and usually breastfeeding support services are covered or provided by your insurance. Call the number on your insurance card to get more information.
There are also some websites that can help you navigate getting breast pumps like Edgepark. They make it simple to see your options by providing them your state and type of insurance. When you order, they work with your insurance to provide your pump when you are eligible.
What you should register for instead: Meal delivery, snack delivery, basically food, of any kind.
Baby's food needs are covered. You, on the other hand, are going to be starving. If you are breastfeeding, you are going to be hungry all the time, and if you're not, no longer remembering to eat is a strange side effect of having a newborn in the house. A gift certificate for food delivery services like Grubhub or Doordash is a great option to add to your registry. Many people like to give gifts for the new parents, not necessarily the new baby.
Baby clothes are so cute. And, the smaller they are, the sweeter they are. That's just science. It is so tempting to add every gush-worthy outfit to your registry. But resist. We promise you will get so many baby clothes as gifts and, most likely small sizes; you do not need to worry about your baby having clothes to wear.
Something no one talks about, your newborn will spend a lot of time in just a diaper or wrapped in a swaddle anyway. You will not need three 10 packs of white organic newborn onesies. No matter what hormonal fantasy of washing loads of all white laundry, you may be currently having.
What you should register for instead: Register for just a couple of items you totally love, across a couple of sizes, to help people get an idea of your style, but then just sit back and enjoy all the adorable outfits your friends and family are going to pick for this new little person.
The Big-Ticket Items
This is another mixed message section, but we'll explain why. Big-ticket items are things like your crib, crib mattress, bassinet, stroller, car seat, changing table and high chair. Registering for these essential, yet high dollar items and expecting friends and family to shell out for them is not recommended and honestly is kind of rude.
What you should register for instead: The same items, but change the mindset.
Adding big-ticket items to your registry can simply be a way to keep track of the fruits of your product research. A registry is, after all, a tool for keeping track of all the items you need and want for the new baby and is an easy way for loved ones to shop for those specific products.
Having higher-priced registry items included is fine as long as you are prepared to purchase them yourself and are pleasantly surprised when your favorite aunt shells out for that $500 stroller.
Pro Tip: Many registry services offer discounts on unpurchased items for some time after the baby is born or after your shower date. So while you may not get the high chair you had your eye on as a gift, you'll get 10% - 25% off when you do buy it.
Make sure you also include accessories like crib sheets and changing pads for your selected style and model of baby furniture.
Only Choosing Items for the Baby
This is, after all, a baby registry, so it's easy to get caught up in the idea that everything should be for the baby, right?
What you should register for instead: Include items to make life as new parents easier and include items specifically to care for the new mama. We covered food delivery, so these are creature comforts or items that make you feel good. Think of things like a new coffee maker and your favorite coffee, nipple cream, a nursing pillow, a diaper bag that makes you feel like cool parents, and a nursing cover if you choose to breastfeed.
These comfort items make life much easier, and during that first year as a new parent, it is all about ways to make life easier.
This should be obvious. But under no circumstances are you to ask for money for you or your baby as part of your registry. Ever. Not even in a "saving for education" kind of way.
What you should register for instead: Gift cards are entirely acceptable and available from every registry service. Pooling gift cards can be a great way to purchase some bigger ticket items at a discount after your baby is born.
Where & When to Register
While there is no hard and fast rule, assume that as soon as you start telling people that you are pregnant, they will begin asking about where you are registered. So you might want to get started sooner rather than later to give the early present planners a place to start. At minimum, you will need to register in time for people to shop for your baby shower and usually start anywhere from 12-22 weeks along in your pregnancy.
Where should you register? Most everything can be completed online, which is great in the days of COVID. It is also an excellent idea to throw a little business to a local baby boutique if you have one, so make a few calls and get the scoop on registry options available online or scheduled store openings. A mix of both an online superstore and a local boutique is totally common practice.
The most popular picks include:
- Target - perks include a welcome kit valued at $100, group gifting for larger items, and a 15% coupon on items left on your registry
- Amazon - perks include a welcome kit valued at $35, universal registry options, and a 10% discount on unpurchased items
- Buy Buy Baby - perks include welcome kit, quick picks curated lists to get started, and a 15% discount on unpurchased registry items
- Babylist - perks include an inclusive intro survey tailored to however you started your family, seamless universal registry for any store and include options for things like help with chores and favors.
Welcome kits can include anything from coupons and discounts to samples of baby wipes, nursing pads, laundry detergent, baby lotion and formula.
And just how many items should you have on your registry? It's recommended to include two items for every guest attending your shower; if you have one, other then that, do what feels right to you.
The best baby advice I ever received was from a lactation consultant who told my wife and I to trust our instincts and make choices for our kid based on his specific needs. She gave me permission to feel empowered as a new mom and not like I knew nothing (thanks again, Casey).
Have fun planning for your little one's arrival, but know when it's time to put down the smartphone and stop researching pacifiers and nursing bras.
Monster congratulations to the new parents and welcome to the party! It really is a party, just the guest of honor acts drunk all the time, you're not allowed to drink the bottles and waking up with two other people in your bed is so not what it sounds like.
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