Everything You Need To Know Before You Start A Baby Registry
How To Choose The Best Baby Registry
You’re Pregnant. Congratulations! A brand new person will be born soon and that little person will need a lot of new things, which is why you’ll need to set up a baby registry.
This is your one-stop shop, to get the answers to all your questions before you start your Baby Shower Registry.
For a little extra help, use the filter below to skip directly to the answers you need.
What is A Baby Registry and How Does A Baby Registry Work?
When you create a baby registry, you are creating a list of gifts that you would like to receive for the new baby, from friends and family. By creating a registry, you will get the gifts that you want for your new baby.
There are various companies or stores where you can register for baby, but the idea is that you select things from that store that you’d like. Friends and family then buy those things for the baby.
The store manages the registry for you. This is extremely helpful because everyone can go to one (or two places if you decide to have more than one registry), and buy exactly what you want. Registries take the thinking work out of gift buying. Baby registries are also helpful in ensuring that there aren’t duplicate purchase.
As the mom, you can see the list of purchases and you are able to send thank you notes to those who have made purchases.
Many, but not all stores offer a “completion” discount where you can buy everything left un-purchased in one go at a discount. Completion discounts are REALLY helpful.
Many people feel uncomfortable about telling others what gifts they want. However, baby registries are extremely common and they are expected. They are helpful to you as the new mom, and to the gift giver. By telling people what you want for the new baby, you take the thinking work out of gift giving. No one needs to figure out or guess what you would like. By having a baby registry, you take the risk of receiving duplicate gifts as well.
By having a baby registry, you don’t get, what you don’t want. Imagine the feeling of getting something that you really, really dislike. By having a baby registry, you eliminate all that. There is no awkward feelings for either the mom or the gift giver.
When to Start A Baby Registry
Short answer – around the start of your second trimester, (to be completed at the end of your second trimester – the 6th month of your pregnancy.) Yes, this may seem early but unless you’re copying someone else’s baby registry, (which is absolutely possible and many moms do this), doing it right takes time. If you want to wait till you find out the gender, which can happen around the 5th month of pregnancy, that’s okay too. That will still leave you enough time.
Long answer… Way sooner than you thought. Here’s why…
This is your approximate timeline:
|Your Pregnancy Timeline||Your Activity|
|6th month of pregnancy||Create Your Baby Registry|
|6.5 month of pregnancy||Send out the Baby Shower Invitations|
|7.5 month of pregnancy||Celebrate – Baby Shower|
|9th month of pregnancy||Celebrate again – Baby’s Here!|
The ideal time for a baby shower is around 6-8 weeks before you give birth. (You don’t have to follow that timeline but this is traditionally when it happens.) Baby shower invitations are ideally sent out 6 weeks before your shower date, to give the host and attendees enough time to make arrangements. This may seem far in advance but baby shower planning is a job on its own, and sending out invitations 6 weeks in advance, follows traditional guidelines and it relieves stress.
Before you can send out those invitations, you have to have your baby registry done because you will need to let people know where you are registered. In other words, get your registry done sooner than you would have thought. Your 6th month of pregnancy is the latest time to do it – if you want to follow the traditional timeline. Some recommend that you start your registry at the beginning of your second trimester – so month 4. If you do that, it will give you 3 months to create and tweak the registry, before you have to let people know about it.
Starting it early makes it stress-free.
How To Let Friends & Family Know About Your Baby Registry?
There are three methods of letting people know about your baby registry. You can use:
- Email – email everyone who is invited to your baby shower, and let them know where you are registered.
- Tell people – let people know when you talk to them.
- Announcement cards – This is the easiest way. When you create your baby shower invitation, let people know. That way, they are informed of your registry when they receive the baby shower invitations.
- You could have it ON the invitation. Or,
- Some baby registries give you complimentary announcement cards, which you can include in your baby shower invitations. Or,
- Print your own announcement cards that match your theme, and include it with the baby shower invitation.
Baby Registry Must Haves – in other words – What To Put On Your Baby Registry?
This is a tough question, especially if you’re a first-time mom.
Below is a FREE downloadable PDF of a baby registry checklist. This baby checklist is comprehensive and includes all baby essentials. There are no “luxuries” on the list but it does include items that are considered by some as “non-essentials but you can’t live without… as a mom”. This baby essentials checklist is color-coded to help you stay organized while you’re creating your baby registry.
What Not To Put On Your Registry?
Everyone has their opinions on what to put and what not to put on your registry. Some people are of the opinion that some things you are better off buying yourself. Here’s our 5 cents – add all your newborn to 6-month-old essentials because you will need it. But, do not add baby clothes beyond 6 months because you don’t know how your baby will grow. Most babies are average but you can’t know if your baby will be average, big or small until they’re born.
Some people strongly say that you should not add diapers to your baby registry because you cannot know if the baby will have sensitivities to certain diapers or wipes, while others strongly encourage it, and even have diaper raffles at their baby showers because diapers will most likely be your largest expense until baby is potty trained. The same goes for baby formula. What if you get a lot of a specific formula, but find out early that your baby is sensitive to it.
Some people also say it’s impolite to add an expensive dresser or stroller onto your registry because it makes you seem greedy and somehow puts pressure on your friends and family to buy it for you. Others say you should put EVERYTHING on your baby registry. Both are valid points, but at Tulamama, we agree with the latter. Put everything you will need on there. Here’s why…
Most people DO expect you to put everything on your baby registry. If someone was only going to spend $15 on your gift, seeing a $900 stroller on your baby registry will mean nothing to them. They were not going to buy it for you anyway. BUT, by having those expensive items (that you actually want) on your registry, you will be able to get a completion discount and buy it yourself! If the item was never placed on your registry, you will not be able to add it later and expect the completion discount. So, it is absolutely in your benefit to add it all to your baby registry.
If you are a minimalist mom or a frugal mom, some other things you may not want to put on your baby registry, are the following:
Baby shoes – Baby will not walk until much later. Baby shoes are adorable but they are not a necessary expense.
Baby wipe warmer – Wipe warmers are a luxury and if you’re a frugal mom, you can certainly do without it. Cold wipes do not necessarily feel good to a warm baby but if your baby really hates it, you can warm the wipe between your hands just before you wipe baby’s bottom.
A crib bumper and comforter set – Crib bumpers and frilly crib accessories are adorable but definitely not recommended by the AAP – American Academy of Pediatrics. They are considered dangerous because they can lead to strangulation and suffocation. According to the AAP – “Avoid use of soft bedding, including crib bumpers, blankets, pillows and soft toys. The crib should be bare.”
Helpful Tips For Choosing & Creating Your Baby Registry
Choosing A Baby Registry
Make it Easy For Everyone
Some people prefer shopping online. Some people prefer going to a physical store and buying gifts. Accommodate them. If you are going to have multiple registries, including one that is widely accessible for everyone, like the Target Baby Registry or the Walmart Baby Registry.
Consider a Universal Baby Registry
A universal baby registry allows you to add virtually any item you want to your registry. The Amazon Baby Registry and Target Baby Registry have universal registries, so they allow you to add items to your registries, even if it’s not necessarily from Amazon or Target. For example – you’ve been browsing Macy’s maternity collection and there’s a cute maternity dress that you love. With a universal registry, you can add it! This makes life super easy because you’ll be able to have everything in one place, instead of managing several registries.
The Universal Baby Registry is a wonderful feature. All you have to do is install Amazon’s free 1 Button App. It’s an extension that’s super easy to install. Then, when you see something online that you’d like to add to your baby registry, you click the button (which lives at the top of your browser), and it gets added to your wish list.
If you did shop at other sites, people who are browsing your baby registry will be able to see non-Amazon items listed on your registry. If they want to get it for you, they’ll be given the option to “reserve” the item for purchase, before they are taken to the website where the item is sold. When someone reserves an item on your baby registry, it indicates their intent to buy it.
Kindly keep in mind that items which are added to your registry via the universal registry takes places outside of Amazon. That means, no Amazon payments or free prime shipping, returns, customer service, Amazon’s A-Z guarantee, etc. Everything takes place entirely outside of Amazon. Also important – anything you add from a universal registry, will not be eligible for Amazon’s baby registry discount.
Multiple Baby Registries Can Be Helpful, But…
The Amazon Baby Registry is the elephant in the room. Most people believe it’s the best and few registries come close to all the perks they offer. If you can have only one registry, the Amazon registry would probably be it because it has a large variety of products and you can register for almost everything. BUT, at the time of this writing, Amazon doesn’t offer services. You might want to consider multiple registries and try to include a few services in there, like a maid, a doula, food delivery, etc. When you haven’t slept for days and chronic fatigue sets in, someone helping with laundry or bringing dinner is invaluable. Keep in mind, however, that managing multiple registries is stressful and time-consuming. If at all possible, try to include “services” into your Amazon Registry, as part the universal baby registry.
Here’s an obvious tip (but I mention it nonetheless because “pregnant brain” makes us forget obvious things.) – if you are going to have multiple registries do not add the same things to both registries. This will decrease the chances of you getting multiples.
When we register, we often do not consider the shipping part but that could be a big deal for some gift givers. The Target Baby Registry offers free shipping for purchases over $29, for Walmart, it is $50, and for Amazon, it’s $49 or FREE if you have Amazon Prime. Consider these variations carefully before you decide on the right Baby Registry.
Consider Their Return Policy
Registering for exactly what you need can help decrease the likelihood of returns, but you never know. Choose a registry that makes returns easy.
Discounts and Coupons Are Great But Read The Fine Print
Some sites offer completion discounts for items in your registry that have not been purchased by a certain date. This is wonderful because you’ll be able to save money when you buy the items that were not purchased from your registry. But, be sure to read the fine print. There will be date limitations and possibly other restrictions.
Don’t Delay – Register Early!
You will want to give gift-givers enough time to buy the gifts. Consider starting your registry in your second trimester. In case you missed it, scroll up to view “when to start a baby registry.”
If You’re Buying Online, Read Reviews & Registry Guides
Read reviews before registering for products. Other parents have tried these items and are giving their unbiased opinions. The registry guides are also helpful to steer you in the right direction.
Creating A Baby Registry
Start With The Basics & Use A Checklist
There are TONS of baby items available. It is easy to get overwhelmed. Use a checklist and prioritize the necessities – like a baby crib, swaddle blankets, baby sleep sack, baby bottles if you’re formula feeding, a breast pump if you’re nursing, a car seat, a stroller, onesies, diapers, and wipes. Once you have the basics, move on to other items like baby monitors and baby bouncers.
Put Everything A Newborn Needs, On Your List – Even the Big-Ticket Items.
Having a baby costs a small fortune, particularly if it’s your first baby. This is why you need to add everything your baby will need when they are born, to your registry. If you are fortunate, you may have enough friends and family to buy everything you need. If you don’t, that’s okay too because you may be able to buy whatever is left over, with your completion discount. But, if it’s not on your registry, you won’t be able to buy it with that completion discount. If your registry is on Amazon and you have Amazon Prime, that’s 15% off, which is nice!
Add Personal Notes to Your Registry.
If the registry allows you to add a personal message to potential gift givers, consider leaving personal notes on select registry items. This can be particularly helpful for those big-ticket items. If you are feeling guilty about adding those things to your registry in the first place, perhaps leave a note to potential gift givers, to say that you realize this is pricey and you do not expect them to buy it, but you’re adding it to our registry nonetheless so that you could buy it later with your completion discount.
Add Gift Certificates to Your Registry.
This is extremely helpful, particularly to uncertain gift givers. You could then shop off your own registry, and get the completion discount. You could also save them for later because YOU WILL DEFINITELY need things later that were not on your baby registry.
Add items to your registry at various price ranges to accommodate everyone budget.
If everything on your baby registry is “expensive”, people may decide to buy items that are not on your list, or not buy anything at all. Accommodate everyone budget and add things at all price levels. The bulk of your items should be in the middle price range. $30 -$70 is the norm but your friends and family may be different. Gift givers could also collaborate with one another and chip in on one big-ticket gift.
Consider Yourself, Too.
Once baby arrives, you will likely not be able to get out much. Think about what you will need
Make Your Preferences Clear
If you prefer a specific nursery color or theme, make it known early on. Keep in mind that your gift givers want to get you what you want, so don’t hesitate in politely guiding them. Holding back for the sake of politeness can result in you getting things you don’t really want or need.
Encourage Gift Baskets
A bottle of saline spray, a snot sucker, a thermometer, some infant Tylenol, nail trimmers, alcohol swabs and cotton swabs may seem super boring, but these are things you will definitely need. You could encourage gift givers to create a themed gift basket with these items. Other examples of gift baskets could be a could be a bath and skin care basket, a nursing supplies basket, a board book library basket, or a gift basket with pampering goodies for mom.
Try To Keep Things Simple & Register For What YOU want
Registering for too many items can leave you overwhelmed. Start with the basics, and add more along the way, which is why it’s a great idea to start early. Register for what you believe is necessary, and what you like. Don’t let friends or family try to sway your choices – you will be the one who has to live with the purchases.
Register For Items That Complement Your Lifestyle
This goes to the point above where it’s recommended that you register for what YOU want. Don’t buy a baby food maker if you hate cooking. If you plan on formula feeding your baby, do not look for breast pumps because everyone says how great it is. If you’re a runner, register for a jogger stroller that you’d actually use.
Do Not Stick to One Brand
There are several great brands, some better than others. What better way to test them out, and figure out for yourself which you prefer.
Double Up, If Necessary
Do you have two cars? You’ll need two car seats.
Think about your lifestyle. Will you always change your baby on their changing table, in the nursery? What if you have two or more floors in your house? The first few months of baby’s life will be exhausting and you may need to set up two stations in your house to do diaper changes. Or, you could have a very handy diaper caddy that holds diapers and wipes and everything else you need.
Check Your Registry – Do Not Leave It Hanging
Even after you’ve created your registry, go back to check the status periodically. Add or update things as you think about it. Be sure to check if there are any purchases made from your registry. If there is a problem, it’s best that you know about it earlier, rather than later.
Share, Share, Share!
You could email people or simply tell them where you are registered. The easiest way is to make sure you place registry announcement cards in your shower invites so everyone knows where to shop for you.
Send Thank-You Notes
You will be really busy, but sending thank you cards is polite, it’s expected, and it’s part of gift giving and baby shower etiquette. But, you can make it easy for yourself.
- Amazon’s baby registry allows you to send thank you notes, automatically. Once someone buys something from your registry, you can set it up so that they get their thank you note as well.
- If you want to follow a more traditional way, send thank-you cards as you open gifts.
- If you’re receiving gifts at your baby shower, have someone write down who brought what, so that you can send thank you cards later. An easy way to set this up is to have a gift table set up at your baby shower, with the envelopes (to your thank you cards.) Gift-givers can leave their addresses on the envelopes – saving you time and effort. Find this and other tips on planning a baby shower.
A Final Note – That Has Nothing To Do With Registries, but…
Don’t Squirm Away From Hand-Me-Downs.
When it’s your first baby, you want the best for that baby and you cannot imagine giving your brand new baby someone elses “old stuff”. Sure, that’s true but it’s also unwise. Your baby will outgrow their clothes quickly. You will hardly notice the “new stuff” because those first few months will be a daze of sleepless nights and chronic fatigue.
Which Is The Best Baby Registry?
Picking products to add to your baby registry is daunting on its own, but finding the perfect registry, is just as daunting. Each has many different advantages and bells and whistles. There are plenty of great baby registries out there and they all claim that they’re the best registry stores. These companies are falling all over themselves to get your business. That means, they try to make creating a baby registry easy, and they try to keep you happy.
I have spent a ton of time researching “the best baby registries.” For a thorough and in-depth analysis, check that out here. But in case you have not done so, also check out the heading above: Helpful Tips For Choosing & Creating Your Baby Registry, because just picking out the perfect baby registry, is not enough. When comparing sites, the amenities and perks are important but there are a lot of other factors to consider.
Here are the Best Registry Stores:
Other Helpful Baby Registry Resources:
All You Need To Know To Find The Best Baby Registry – this post offers a comparison of the top baby registries. It compares everything in detail: perks, benefits, completion discounts, shipping, etc.
New Baby Essentials Checklist: If you’re unsure of what to put on your baby registry, this post shows you exactly what you need. It also has a handy free baby registry checklist to download, to help you stay organized.
I trust you have found this post about creating a baby registry, very helpful. As always, feel free to leave your questions and comments below.