If you are planning on registering for your new baby any time soon, first, CONGRATULATIONS! And second, you are not alone...many expectant parents these days register at one or more stores in preparation for their new baby. When I'm purchasing a baby gift off a registry, I love knowing exactly what they need for their new addition. But, for some, the process of registering can be a little overwhelming. Here are some tips that will help even first-time parents register like a pro.
1. REGISTER IN PERSON, NOT ONLINE
When you are pregnant, anything you can do that doesn't require you to leave the house (or the sofa, for that matter) can be extremely appealing, but if possible, try to register in person. Not only do you get a first-hand perspective on the customer service of the stores you selected, but you also get to physically touch/handle/see what you are registering for. Remember, things can look very different online and may not be exactly what you thought you were getting. Plus, it's a fun experience for new parents to have together.
For big ticket items like car seats and strollers, it can’t hurt to do a little online research ahead of time, to make the shopping experience less overwhelming. BabiesRUs.com and Babycenter.com offer some simple buying guidelines on understanding the basics.
2. AVOID SELECTING DUPLICATE ITEMS ON MULTIPLE REGISTRIES
It may be tempting to register for your favorite diaper pail or bouncer seat at multiple locations, but it's best to avoid this. You may reason that you can always return duplicate gifts, but don’t create more work for yourself during those last few weeks. Towards the end, you should be putting your feet up and getting lots of rest! Lastly, there are great sites like myregistry.com and zola.com that can aggregate your registries from multiple retailers, making it easier for friends and family to peruse your wish list.
3. SELECT ITEMS FROM A VARIETY OF PRICE POINTS
Some new moms shy away from registering for "big ticket" items such as strollers, cribs or bedding, but go ahead and put them on your registry! Either a group of friends/family can pool their funds together for a group gift or you can use your completion discount to save some money on it, yourself. At the same time, some people love buying a bunch of small items from your registry to create a cute basket, diaper cake or a decoration for the top of their gift. Register for everything you really need and want - big or small! The only items I would advise against are items that have nothing to do with your new baby...such as a big screen TV...that's just silly and an abuse of a perfectly good baby registry!
4. AVOID REGISTERING FOR PRODUCTS YOU DON’T REALLY NEED
If you have all your must-have items covered, then feel free to register away, but otherwise it's best to prioritize what you really need for baby. For example, you don't want to be gifted 20 picture frames and not one package of diapers. Use your registry as a way of really prioritizing what you need, before your baby arrives. Many retailers have registry checklists and guides that are handy. Giggle.com has one of my favorite ones. Also, if you don’t really love the item (pattern, color, etc.), DON’T put it on your registry. You probably won’t end up using it and there are way too many other “must-have” items you will need, anyway.
5. THINK AHEAD
When I was registering for my first baby, I made the mistake of not thinking past the infant phase. I only registered for items that she would need immediately...after all, my baby was going to stay a baby forever, right? Wrong! She, like all babies, grew like a weed and less than a year into it, I already had a lot of shopping to do. I recommend going ahead and registering for that high chair, those toddler-feeding supplies, for clothing up to 18-24 months (or even 2T-3T!) and even that toddler convertible car seat.
Another mistake I made was not "thinking ahead" to her future siblings. I bought a fancy stroller that only worked for one kid...less than three years later I had to purchase another fancy stroller that accommodated both kids. Many top strollers have extra seats or accessories to convert it into a double stroller...be sure to really review all your options if you plan on having more than one kiddo.
6. KEEP IT GENDER NEUTRAL?
Here's another issue if you plan on having more than one child: Sometimes the practical side of me wishes I hadn't registered for SO much sweet, pink stuff with my first, but honestly, I loved all the girly-girl stuff...especially since I had three boys after her! I don't regret registering for that pink play yard or the cute pink bathtub, but if you are more of a pragmatic mommy AND you plan on having more that one child, it may be wise to select gender neutral items on your registry for items that can be handed down.
7. DON’T FORGET TO USE YOUR COMPLETION DISCOUNT!
When you create a registry, you are asked for your “event date” - presumably your baby shower date or due date. Most retailers offer their registrants a 10-20% completion discount that can be used after this event expires, so be sure you set your event for BEFORE your due date...you want to be able to enjoy this perk before baby arrives!
So, now the question is "what items do I really need to register for?!?" Relax; we’ve got you covered. Check back next week for first-hand “been-there-registered-for-that” tips on what you really need...and what you can scratch off the list.
Stephanie is the voice behind the blog “The Inspired Mommy” where she shares (sometimes too much) what life with four children under the age of seven is really like...the good, the bad and the ugly....and how she loves every second of it.