Do babies really need all brand new gear? Do babies really need scented tissues or could they be ok with the regular ones? How do you decide what to register for, how many, and when?
A lot of “recommended” items for baby registries are things that parents end up finding unnecessary. While it’s great to register for things in advance – such as a high chair or potty learning potty – keep in mind you’ll have to find a place to store these things. Additionally, what you envision yourself wanting now and what your child really needs when these more distant milestones are crossed might be very different, too.
A search of secondhand stores might be helpful before building a registry, too, in order to see what items are easily available there and to best pool your registry resources. Baby seats, for example, are plentiful in my local resale shop; had I been wise, I would have avoided registering for the $40, registered for something more useful instead, and bought the same chair for $5 at the resale shop. Talk about savings!
Registering for gender neutral basic items is helpful, too. This way they can get used several times and be “genderfied” by additional toys, bows, etc. A neutral carseat will be easily transformed into a distinctly girl-oriented one with pink blankets and, of course, a baby girl. If you plan on selling a lot of your items after baby has outgrown them, this will help in the resale value, too.
Check with other parents and ask them what their favorite baby items were. Some friends of ours recommend to get a Pack and Play with a changing station and it has literally saved us in our two story home. Another recommended holding off on the bottles and nursing supplies. If you’re going to cloth diaper, you may want to register for specific cloth diapers (check our your local store since many offer their own registries, and some bigger chains offer popular cloth diapers online) and products safe for cloth.
Of course, don’t forget to check online sources for their reccomendations. Consumer Reports is an obvious choice, but also check out parenting magazines and online communities for their feedback. Read online reviews at baby store websites and on Amazon. While you’re at it, do some price searching to see if you can find better deals. Even with shipping, sometimes big items are cheaper online than in your local brick and mortar.
Keep in mind that even if you get a gift that isn’t off your registry, someone put a lot of time, thought, and love into selecting that for you for a reason. If you’re not going to use something, don’t hesitate to return it and purchasing something you’re more likely to use. A registery item that sits in your closet doesn’t do anyone any good, and the purpose of these things is to make your life as a new parent easier whenever possible.