Creating a dream baby registry is bump-tingling fun. But it can also be overwhelming. What does your baby really need? How much is too much? And what will you actually find useful? These easy steps can help.
Step one: Make a list
You’re itching to wield the registry wand. But before you hit the shelves you should start with a checklist. There are lots of reputable baby gear book or web sites that can help you list out what and how many of everything you’ll need. Always be a little skeptical of any registry list supplied by a store itself.
Step two: Do your research
An alarming number of baby products, including cribs, crib bumpers, quilts, infant slings and bath seats have been associated with serious baby accidents but are still sold anyway. You want to make sure your list is only safe stuff that you really need. The Web site for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (www.cpsc.gov) is a good place to become familiar with baby product risks.
Step three: Field test
Don’t be shy about doing some hands-on field-testing for big-ticket items like your baby’s crib, stroller, high chair and car seat. Go to a store that lets you get hands-on and “test drive” models, buckling the buckles, taking high chair trays off or folding and unfolding the strollers. Remember, if a buckle is annoying or difficult in the store, you’re going to face that same problem a thousand times when you’re using it with your baby.
Step three: Edit down to your essentials
Here’s another money and space-saving tip: don’t register for too much of the fun stuff. Sure, the dress-up outfits, toys and novelty pacifiers are adorable, and if there’s something you’re absolutely dying for, put it on the list. But it’s also fun to let your friends and family surprise you with that cute-and-yet-totally-impractical stuff. Keeping a short and simple list will help your friends and family focused on what you truly need to keep your bases covered when the baby is born.
Step four: Exchange
If you do get a dozen baby monitors, save those gift slips and don’t hesitate to exchange extras for what you’re lacking. You can also get gift cards to use later — they will come in handy as your baby grows older to buy bigger sized baby clothes or even diapers and wipes.
Sandy and Marcie Jones are the authors of Great Expectations: Best Baby Gear. Order your copy from Barnes & Noble.
With positive pregnancy test in hand, my husband and I looked at each other. Now what? It would be another few months before we’d venture into the store to actually start our baby registry. That first trip was overwhelming, for sure! Just what exactly did we really need? As first-time parents-to-be, we were clueless! While we had a great registry, looking back, there are definitely some items we could have used right off the bat that we never registered for.
Now that I’ve got my first full amazing year of motherhood under my belt, with time and experience comes plenty of mommy wisdom. Here are the top 10 essentials I wished I had thought of to add to my baby registry the first go round!
Baby Registry Essentials: My Top 10 Wishes
Without a doubt, this is my number 1 essential I wished we had done more research on when I was pregnant. We have a full travel system stroller that includes a car seat and a very flimsy umbrella stroller that doesn’t offer anything in other than a fabric seat with straps. There have been plenty of times I wish I had the storage capacity and comfort of our huge travel system stroller without all the extra bulk and weight.
Between the trips to grandparents’ homes to the occasional overnight family getaway, baby’s still gotta eat – and we had a few trips where Judah ended up sitting in one of our laps as we fed him. Rookie parenting mistake!
There’s no denying that Judah, like any newborn, loved to be rocked and held. As a new mom, all the rocking and carrying took a toll on my shoulders, back, and arms and besides – it wasn’t realistic to carry him 24/7. I can’t believe that our son was almost three months old before we finally broke down and bought one for ourselves. When Judah developed colic, our gliding swing was a lifesaver.
After a certain point, once baby starts sitting up but isn’t quite yet mobile, the swing just isn’t going to cut it anymore. They want to sit or stand up and look around, but you still need to have them within arm’s reach. We waited until Judah was probably five months before we finally got an activity bouncer for him and once we did, he loved it. Ours was portable enough and took up very little floor space, allowing us to move it from room to room as needed.
Establishing a bedtime routine is a must to help build good sleep habits. We were very lucky that Judah began sleeping through the night by the time he was three months old. Up until that point, we went through a very challenging time where we’d put him down asleep and as soon as his head touched the mattress, he’d wake up. We finally bought a white noise machine to soothe him to sleep as we put him to bed and then turned off after an hour of soft, gentle sounds.
Even when I was breastfeeding, I was shocked at the amount of bottles I went through in a day. We were meticulous about hand-washing them and it wasn’t long before we had a whole line of them across our very limited kitchen counter space. We ended up buying a small bottle rack, but if I had to buy one again, I’d have gone for the vertical, counter space-saving spinning rack, instead.
When we registered for our diaper bag, my husband set a clear ultimatum that if he was out with Judah, he only wanted a diaper bag that wasn’t too feminine. We found a great bag and I still use it to this day – but the one major issue I have with it is that it’s open on top with just a single magnetic button to keep it closed. There is nothing more frustrating when you’re trying to get out the door and you accidentally drop or knock over the diaper bag, with diapers, toys, and wipes tumbling all over your driveway! I would give anything for our diaper bag to have a zipper top closure.
As Judah has grown, we’ve gotten a good sense of when it’s time to size up his diapers. Not so much however, when he made that first transition from newborn to size 1. It took entirely too many blowouts and leak-throughs before we finally figured it out! Sometimes, we’re not sure if he really does need a new size. Registering for the smallest pack available of diaper sizes through the first twelve months would have been the smart thing to do, allowing us to test out the next size up before committing to a bulk-sized box.
This might sound totally lame, but I don’t really know the lyrics to a lot of baby and children’s songs! Sure, I know the melodies, but after a few lines, I just go right back to humming or “la la la.” For now, I just fire up YouTube on my phone to find the songs I’m looking for as I teach Judah words and melodies, but it would be a lot more helpful if I could put on a CD or mp3 album of children’s music just for Judah.
Before you know it, baby goes from tummy time to crawling to cruising and walking – and it seems like you’re always playing catch-up! You can baby-proof your home from top to bottom, but what about visits to the grandparents, or overnight in a hotel? I wished we had registered for a total baby-proofing starter kit that we could just toss into our luggage or overnight bags and not have to worry about curious fingers and uncovered outlets.
|What’s on your baby registry wish list? Register Your Wish here with Huggies – no matter how big or how small – and Huggies just might make your wish come true!|
One of the most daunting things to me about getting pregnant wasn't having a child to care for, it was coming up with a registry.
My relationship with babies has pretty much always ended with me passing them back to their respective owner. I never cared for a newborn before. I don't have an older sibling and all of my friends just started having kids now -- and they all moved to the suburbs while I'm still in the city. Which means, I don't see them all that often. I don't know what they put their children to sleep in, which stroller is best, or the difference between a Miracle Blanket and a swaddling blanket.
So, when it came time to create my own registry, I was clueless. And incredibly stressed out. But I've devised an intricate system of looking at old registries, talking with people, and conducting my own research -- and I'm pretty confident that, right now, I have a kick-ass registry. And you totally can too. Even if you're as clueless as me.
First thing I did -- because, like I said, I had no idea where to even begin -- was go off of a friend's old registry (who went off of another friend's, who went off another friend's, etc. etc.). I knew I wasn't going to want to do everything exactly the same as this friend -- she lives in a house, I have an apartment; I'm a little more 'green' than her -- but it was a basic jumping-off point. Then I started whittling and researching.
I tailored the list to suit my needs. Like I said, I don't have a ton of room, so big, real-estate-sucking items were swapped out for portable versions, or just nixed altogether. (Of course, I researched -- and researched -- write-ups and reviews on each product.) I also swapped out a lot of the blankets and wearable stuff for organic versions, because I'm neurotic like that.
Then, once I had my list, I took it to a friend whose opinion on all things baby I trust. A lovely editor here at The Stir, to be exact. (Yes, I have a bit of an advantage working for a website that caters to moms.) She told me things she loved and pretty much swore by when her babies were itty-bitty, and things that I didn't necessarily need, i.e., a diaper wipe warmer; a bottle warmer; a bottle sterilizer. And so now, I'm left with a list that's perfectly suited for my lifestyle.
To be honest, the hardest part was just getting started. It felt like such a huge undertaking, and I don't know where I would have begun if I didn't have something to initially go off of. I highly recommend it. But, of course, don't copy someone else's registry verbatim. It's for your baby. And definitely pick someone whose opinion you value to help you with everything else.
How did you do your registry?