When I don’t know something I tend to obsess over it until I feel I have a good understanding of whatever knowledge it is I’m lacking. I have lots of experiece taking care of kids, but since I don’t have any of my own, I don’t really know much about the art of being pregnant. One of the things I found myself obessing over along this journey has been the baby registry. I spent a lot of time researching everything from the best baby bottles to best all around baby gear. I also read a ton of advice columns online about how to put a decent registry together.
I started my registry early and used it as a space to save everything I made decisions about during my research. This worked out great because I could read a ton of reviews online, put everything I liked on the registry then go to the store and print out the list to easily find things in the store to test out and see in person. This way I already had narrowed my choices before I even set foot in the store – which my husband liked because it meant we spent as little time in the aisles at the toy store as possible. Then I just deleted what we didn’t like and kept what we did. Early on I had two registries, one at Target and one at Babies R Us. Later I deleted my Target registry and went with Babies R Us because the later had more of the things I wanted and I didn’t feel I needed two. Plus, Babies R Us sends out a ton of coupons when you register – I get 20% off coupons almost weekly – and they give you 10% off all the items left on your registry after your due date. It pays to create a registry just for the deals, even if you don’t plan to share it with anyone.
I had over a hundred items on the list and narrowed it down to 78 before it was publicized on my shower invitations. A lot of the items were multiples, for instance 10 packs of size 2 diapers, 2 cases of formula, etc. Most of the things were practical but I also had several fun items like books and toys for later stages. I decided not to put anything that I considered “intimate” on there, which included breast pumps, lotions, and other comfort items for my pregnancy. I kept a seperate list of those items at Amazon and purchased a few a month on my own until I had everything I wanted/needed.
I followed most of the basic advice online
- don’t register for blankets or clothes because people will purchase them for you anyway.
- don’t register for medicine and first aid supplies.
- include several items that are under $20, and a few under $10 for people who don’t want to spend a lot.
- register for toys and other items the baby will need in 12 to 18 months too
- ask for gift cards – I put this in the notes section and I requested cards from Baby Gap and Borders as well as Babies R Us.
Advice I didn’t follow:
- “don’t register for expensive items” – I put a stroller, car seat, and swing on the list. People pitched in for the stroller and I’m so glad I gave them the option.
- “people won’t buy the practical stuff like diaper pails and bottles so don’t bother.” – I did anyway because I was stubborn and didn’t want to end up with plastic bottles and a diaper genie when I wanted a Born Free glass bottles and the Diaper Dekor Plus with biodegradable liners.
My main baby shower was at work, and for the most part all of our gifts came from the registry with the exception of a few hand-made items.
Where the advice was right:
- we received several gift cards – enough to pick up the items that we didn’t get from the registry
- we didn’t receive the diaper pail or bottles just like the authors said would happen.
Where the advice was wrong:
- people pitched in for our big gift – the stroller and they gave us a gift card from the remaining pool of collected money (very nice)
- We received one blanket, and two clothing items. I have already purchased several pieces of clothing, but I purpousfully haven’t bought much 0-3 clothes because I was anticipating getting a lot at the shower. I also don’t have any receiving or swaddling blankets. Now I have to fill in on my own.
- We received one pack of diapers in the form of a diaper cake. This isn’t such a big deal because I have been stocking up since I found out I was pregnant. Amazon’s Subscribe & Save is great for this.
- people bought what they wanted and often put two or three small items from the registry together into a higher priced gift ($50) because I didn’t have a lot in the $20-$50 range. I don’t think I needed so many things under $10 for the sake of being humble or gracious.
I will also have a second baby shower in a few weeks where the hosts have asked guests to bring a children’s book as a gift. I consider this a nice gesture since I already received most of the items I asked for and several of the guests were in attendance at my first shower and have already purchased or pitched in on a gift.
Overall I’m happy with the way it turned out. We received most of the things we wanted and needed and saved a ton of money in the process. I used the gift cards to buy the rest of our needed items off the registry like the diaper pail, pack-n-play crib, swaddle blankets and bottles. We now have everything that I think we need for the baby’s first few months and only ended up paying about $200 out of pocket.
My best registry advice is do whatever you think is best – afterall, it’s your baby, your life, and your list. Every mom-to-be and her circle of family and friends are different. In the end, the shower is about people coming together to share their love for you and your baby. And, if you get several things you don’t want you can always exchange them for the things you do.