The first thing that I noticed is that there are a million choices to make. There are tons of products to choose from. Some products look like really great ideas and some it is hard to grasp why they are needed. Since I hate to spend money I don't need to spend I found that I needed the time to research the products and see what other Mama's had to say about them.
I found that it is recommended that you have your baby registry completed at least 2 weeks before your baby shower or by the time that your invites go out. Another thing that came to me when I was contemplating my baby registry was that by starting one it would give me and my husband a better understanding of what things were going to cost and just how much we were going to need. It became very helpful to put things into perspective.
What exactly do I need?
There are many lists out there of items that you will need and some of them contain a sales agenda. I have kept this advice, offered to me by a wonderful Grandma (Gloria) at our church when we announced that were pregnant; in mind "Remember, with babies, less is more!" The best list I found to help me get started was ironically at Bright Starts a Fisher-Price baby collection. I originally went to this website because I was interested in their InGenuity Collection. The list is organized into two sections: Must-Haves and Recommended. To me everything on the list made sense so I decided to use the list as a starting point.
How do I know which item to choose?
For me, I did the basic google search for a baby item and then read the reviews listed of the item. I love it that people take the time to review products. This can be very insightful and helpful to a new mommy like me. A note of caution: some reviews are full of emotion and don't state facts. It is important to read the good reviews and the bad and too read at them objectively. I found that after reading reviews I decided I didn't like certain items anymore, which led me to items that looked like they would work better.
Do I really need to register at more then one store and how will I keep that straight?
The obvious choice for a baby registry seemed to be Babies R' Us and Target but this seemed to eliminate family and friends who live in other states. For example in my Grandmother's (and several cousins) home town they don't have either of these stores. I also didn't want to get all mixed up and double register for things (I have a feeling that I won't have time to make a bunch of returns). I also noticed that these stores don't always have product or brand that I want. This led me to an amazing website called My Registry (http://www.myregistry.com/). At this site you can find items anywhere on the web and add them to your list. You can also sync registries from other stores. When your friends and family log into your registry they can see all the items you want and they are all in one place. One this registry site you can also leave notes about the items (example: The color does not matter it is the product that matters, this item is non-refundable, or toys are recommended to entertain baby, you don't have to buy this toy). Best of all they can order the item online and price compare.
Anything else I should know?
Be sure to consider the season your baby is going to be born in before you register for clothes. Many clothing items and even things like swaddling blankets are seasonal. Also, if you don't know the gender of your baby you may want to delay registering for some things until you do know.
So here is how I decided to do things:
- start my registry around week 16-17 for the things that are not seasonal
- Set your due date on the registries for 2 weeks earlier than you are due. The companies will send you coupons and promotions that will be helpful for the purchases that you will need to make right before or right after the baby arrives. This was helpful for the items I didn't get on my registry and still needed.
- recheck the items again to make sure they haven't disappeared, been discontinued, or replaced with a new model in a couple of months
- register for clothes and seasonal items two weeks before baby shower invites go out
- When you get items don't take the tags off right away. Keep all receipts because you may get things that don't have tags that you can't return and might end up with too many of one kind of item.