Finalizing my baby registry and hitting send on the email blast felt like a major life accomplishment. Most parents consider it to be a rite of passage, so I worked tirelessly for months to ensure that every mommy blog was read, every category was covered, and every fabric choice was considered. And when I was finally finished, I got my husband’s “approval” and celebrated with a big glass of red wine.
Now that the gifts have started flowing in, I’m finally able to sit back and marvel at my work. But it wasn’t always this enjoyable. Honestly, the process was long and hard. I spent most of the time asking myself, “How the hell do parents get all of this done?”
The answer isn’t very simple, but I did pick up some “best practices” along the way that I’m excited to share with you. If you’re starting to build your baby registry, here are some useful tips that should make the process a little less stressful and a whole lot more fun:
1. Pick a universal registry.
If you only take one thing away from this list, let it be this…
As soon as you start shopping, you’ll quickly learn that you can’t find everything in your style or price range at just one store. Lots of parents simply choose a popular registry, and then are forced to select items from that one big-box shop. There’s nothing wrong with that approach, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll want a registry that is uniquely yours!
Some of the most exciting items I found were from indie shops and Etsy Makers. If I had chosen just one specific registry, I would have been forced to buy that item myself. And what’s the point of having a registry if you can’t put everything you actually want on it?
I’d suggest you go with BabyList. It’s beautifully designed, easy to setup and use, has an app that was very useful when walking through stores, has cash funds that can get directly transferred to your bank account, and has an extremely helpful blog that I quickly became obsessed with. Give it a shot!
2. Start with a manageable list of must-haves.
If your baby came tomorrow, there’s only a few things you’d need to survive the first few nights. So instead of stressing about making it through an insanely long list of potential items for your registry, just focus on vetting and selecting the perfect crib, bedding, diapers, car seat and feeding necessities.
Once you get those things out of the way, the task of completing your registry will feel a lot less daunting. Plus, you’ll already know the best mommy blogs!
3. Visit an actual store.
Remember stores? Yeah, those things. They still exist!
While online blogs are helpful, you should try holding things in your hands before committing to owning them for a year. One of the most helpful (and funniest) parts of this journey so far was watching my husband and my mother try to get a car seat out of a stroller. Having to deal with that at the hospital would have been humiliating, so I’d suggest you go to a store and see some of the items you’re considering in real life.
4. Think long-term.
All new parents get excited about adorable newborn clothes, but quickly realize that their children grow out of them much faster than they expected. And because most parents forget to add sizes to their registry, they end up with 50 newborn onesies and nothing for their kids to grow into.
Luckily, this is a very common mistake, so I knew to avoid it. And now you do to!
Map out your baby’s first year and then divide all your chosen clothes in 0-3, 3-6, 6-9 and 9-12 months. By asking for clothes from each size group, and telling your guests to pay attention to the recommendations, you’ll ensure that you have a few items hanging in your closet for when the newborn clothes don’t fit anymore.
Smart strategy, right?
5. Trust parents, not brands.
In my experience, most of the lists that rank and rate baby accessories are sponsored by a brand. Even mommy bloggers are paid to favor a certain item, so it’s important that you scan each list for a “sponsored” callout.
If I were you, I’d go to friends and family first. Word-of-mouth is a powerful tool that can and should be trusted. Any mom or dad who made it through the first six months will have a strong opinion that should not be ignored.
And because it’s (too) easy to get new parents talking about things they recommend, try a more unique approach and ask them what items they wish they hadn’t purchased.
6. Consider variety of prices.
It’s really important to consider prices when designing your baby registry, especially if you have expensive taste!
Much like with a wedding registry, best practice is to divide your items into three price ranges (Under $50, $50-$100, and $100+), and ensure that you have equal amounts of items in each bucket. Ideally, you’ll be bottom heavy, with lots of inexpensive (but adorable) items for people to choose from.
Remember, most people aren’t dropping $500 on a baby shower gift!
7. Make the list for you, not for them.
One of the best tips I received before starting this process was to treat the baby registry like your final shopping list. That way, when the shower is over and you know what items are missing, you can pop onto the registry and purchase all the missing pieces.
8. New isn’t always better.
It seems that every new parents is obsessed with buying brand new things for their baby. But then they all quickly realize that babies grow out of their clothes and toys much faster than originally anticipated. I’m not saying that you should borrow everything, but I do suggest that you ask your friends and family what they have lying around their house. Saving money is 100% about to become your new best friends, so why not start now!
Well that’s it. Hope you find this Big Gay List helpful! If you think I’ve missed something, let me know. I’ll update the list to ensure it encompasses all of our collective best practices!
And until next time, stay crafty.
Credit where credit is due: If you’re a fan of the onesies featured in the cover photo, visit Urban Smalls to find a store near you.