Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Baby Registry Tips + Tricks

Registering for a baby is a completely different ballgame than registering for a wedding. 

When you get engaged, you saunter into Bed, Bath and Beyond; grab one of those registry guns; and start scanning everything your little heart desires. Towels? Yup, you know you need towels! Onto the registry it goes. Plates? Yup, gonna need those! You pick out a pattern and pray you get all 12 place settings. 

But when you see those two little lines come up on that pregnancy test, your world is rocked. Or at least mine was. What the heck do tiny humans really need? Yes, they need towels. But what kind? Cotton? Bamboo? What in the world does he/she need to sleep in? You're bombarded with about 5,001 different choices from a cradle to a bassinet to co-sleeping to basically nothing because you really don't sleep at all. Bottles? Oh, there are only 200 different brands of those, and about 15 different ounce sizes. 

I don't know about you, but I was overwhelmed. There is so much to register for, because again, I don't know about you, but I don't have a spare baby monitor laying around my house. {And yes, there's about 100 versions of those floating around Babies 'R' Us, too.} 

So here are some tips and tricks for registering for baby. Keep in mind that all of these tips are completely my own opinion and what worked well for us may not work or have not worked for you. So here we go...

1. Do your research. 
Like I said, I knew very little about what babies needed and what I wanted. I did a ton of research: scoured mommy blogs, Googled, asked friends, talked to my mom...you name it, I did it. Through my research, I decided I wanted to swaddle Walker {so I registered for swaddles}; I found that Wubbanubs were good pacifiers {so onto the registry those went to try}; and that swing A had better safety ratings than swing B. 

Yes, it was a process, but it was worth it in the end. Did I have stuff that didn't work at all? Yup. {More on that below}. Did I have stuff I became obsessed with and would recommend a million times over? Yup. 

Also, I registered at Pottery Barn Kids and Babies 'R' Us. Personally, I wasn't too thrilled with Babies 'R' Us and would instead register somewhere like Buy Buy Baby if I had it all to do over again. I also would register on Amazon! Prices there are sometimes much cheaper than at the store and frankly, it's a kind gesture for your shower guests or people who want to buy you a gift. 

2. Wipe warmers are a crock. 
No, but seriously. Yes, they're a nice spa-like experience for your baby. AT HOME. Do you think they use wipe warmers in the hospital? Nope! Welcome to the cold, cold world, baby. {Literally.} But honestly, when that baby gets here, you are going to change it whenever and wherever, and if that means on your bed at 2 a.m. with the travel pack of Huggies Wipes you got at a baby shower, so be it. Also? When we travel, Walker's wipes aren't warm unless the diaper bag has been sitting in the hot car. So, there you go. {More on what didn't work for us below.} 

3. Don't register for clothes. 
This drives me bananas when I see these on registries {sorry, just being honest}. You will get a ton of clothes - that you love and loathe - at your showers...especially if you're having a girl! Tutu skirts are too cute for some people to pass up and they'd rather buy that than the pacifiers you desperately need or want. So, if you don't like the clothing item, take it back and ask for the money to go on a gift card and buy what you need. 

4. Wait until the very end to take everything back. 
I tried to save myself some time - or so I thought - by taking things back to Babies 'R' Us after each shower or as I got them. This just led me to being very confused and I made about 31.5 trips up to Babies 'R' Us before Walker got here. 

My advice? Once your showers are over, have someone go with you and take everything back at once. Once it has all been either exchanged or returned, get the money on a gift card and get what you need. If you already have everything you need, buy extras! You will always, always need extra pacifiers {if you choose to use them}, burp rags, bibs, diapers and wipes. 

I've alluded to it above, but I'll say it again: it is just a fact that you will get things you don't need or want at your showers. Some of those things you'll be able to return and some you won't. Also, if you register at multiple places {and for the same things at multiple places}, be prepared to receive doubles. I know that seems obvious, but I just want you to be prepared. 

5. Diaper showers are your best friend. 
I had two baby showers: one in my hometown and one where we live. My boss wanted to throw me another baby shower, and I kindly requested that it be a diaper shower. As not fun as diapers are to receive {or to write thank you notes for, for that matter}, they are the best gift. Ever. I don't think we bought a box of diapers until right before I returned to work when Walker was three months old. And let me tell you, those things are expensive! In fact, my friend Liz is still using diapers she received at the shower...8.5 months later. 

Of course, if you're cloth diapering, you could ask that the shower be tailored to that and give the guests a heads up on where you're registered for those accessories. My boss made it a point to ask which diapers we were planning to use {Pampers Swaddlers, if you're interested...again, figured that out through research!} and told the guests about that. But, be prepared to receive other brands you didn't request or think you'll use. Say someone gets you a CVS store brand pack of diapers. Guess what? You can take those suckers back - unopened - and use the money for diaper rash cram or heck, even a lip gloss for you!  

At the diaper shower, I also received great, necessary stuff like baby shampoo, baby body wash, baby lotion and diaper rash cream. Personally, I don't even feel it's necessary to put this stuff on your registry because you'll very likely get some of it even if you don't have a diaper shower. And if you don't get it? Stock up on it at bulk stores like Sam's or Costco {along with the baby detergent you'll be using; we personally love Dreft, but you can also use a Free & Clear type}. You'll be using that for a while, so might as well buy in bulk! 

6. Register for bigger-size items. 
Of course, everyone loves to register for the tiny newborn items {which, I admit, are precious!}, but remember to register for a few "big{ger} baby" items, too. For example, the bibs I registered for with Walker got too tight around his neck around three months, so I had to go out and buy bigger bibs specifically made for older babies. Also? They are only bathed in the sink for a short amount of time and you'll want a bigger bathtub sooner than you realize. 

7. Register for big- and small-ticket items. 
Register for things on both ends of the price-point spectrum: from the $5 pack of baby washcloths to the big ol' stroller. Not everyone can afford to buy something expensive for you, and some people just don't want to spend the money. 

Be realistic in things that you register for, and keep the purchasers in mind when you do it. Unless it's a family member or very close friend, I typically spend about $20 on a baby gift for someone. Think about how much you spend on a baby shower gift when you go online to purchase it. Also? People oftentimes go in on big-ticket items like the swing, stroller, highchair or car seat. So, it's okay to keep those things on your registry for that purpose or for people like your mom or grandmother who will almost always fork over the money for those things. :)

8. Write timely thank-you notes. 
I know this isn't exactly a registry tip, but it's one that I think needs to be given. Write timely thank-you notes for your gifts! I will say that one thing that helped me out tremendously was to write the notes after each shower and also if I received a gift in the mail. That way, I didn't have a ton to write at a time. Also? I had Brandon help me! This baby is just as much his as it is mine, so if it was a person he knew better than me {for example, his boss or a family friend of his parents}, I'd have him write the thank-yous. 

If you want a list of things we registered for with Walker, click here. Click the "Favorite Products" button to the left of this blog to see which products we have loved through Walker's almost nine months. And if you want a frank list of stuff to and not to register for, just let me know and I'll be happy to oblige. 

Happy Registering! 


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