Where has time flown by? It feels like only yesterday I was throwing up crawfish in New Orleans, seeing our baby squirm in my belly for the first time, and BAM just like that, it's been 16 weeks and we're preparing for our first shower in Florida at the end of the month.
So, if you're a first time Momma looking for a little guidance like I was and starting a registry is both exciting and terrifying: pour yourself a mocktail, grab a pen and take some notes because I'm about to share our experiences and what I wished I knew before diving head first.
1.) Think of the people who will be buying your baby gifts.
This seems like the easiest place to start. Justin and I are obviously younger than the "traditional" baby-expecting couple (25 and 22 years young respectively) and therefore we have a wide variety of people in our lives at different stages of financial security.
As much as we would have loved registering at the trendy baby store in The Square, we knew we would have several friends and family who would not be able to get us anything.
Since we are a low-budget couple to say the least, we wanted to ensure that our registries yielded as many gifts as possible, creating gift options to suit the budgets of our poor college student friends, post-graduation career starter siblings, and established financially family members.
Additionally, our family is spread out all over the country so it was important to us that they could easily access our registry information in-store or online.
For us the solution meant doing several registries. Justin and I did three registries at a variety of stores to suit the budgets and locations of the people we love. We chose Babies R Us
, and Walmart
2.) Hit the "heavy stuff" first.
When we entered Babies R Us they gave us this wonderful little guide of how they suggested we move through the store to register, starting with Furniture then moving to Bedding, Clothing, Diapers, Baby Gear (strollers, car seats, etc), and finally ending at Infant Care.
By the time we reached the Infant Care part of the store, which was definitely the most overwhelming of the entire store, I was exhausted: my feet were swelling, I was ready for my mid-afternoon nap, and I was not prepared to concentrate on the important things we would use daily after Baby Pippin was born.
Have you ever been so tired of doing something that you just rush through it to be done? Try doing that when the task is high stress. Bottles, breast pumps, monitors, pacifiers: after looking through my registry later that night I had registered for some CRAZY stuff that I really didn't want, and plenty of things we did not need.
The next day when we went to Target, we started with the "heavy stuff" and our registry moved faster and smoother, with no Mommy tantrums.
Start with the most important things first. It's easy to breeze through cribs and clothing and toys when the stress of debating between bottles and pumps is behind you. (Especially if you're like me and the thought of attaching something to your body to be virtually milked like a cow makes you shake with fear)
3.) Follow any "Must Have" lists as starting points, NOT checklists.
Supercenters are designed to make you spend more money than you need, and you make you think you need more things than you need.
On our lists from Babies R Us and Target were 5 different strollers. Hello, we live in an apartment. Where are we going to store 5 separate strollers? Additionally, it included a travel system stroller and an infant car seat. We are typically a one car family: what use would we have for two infant car seats?
Do a little research before hand: What To Expect In The First Year
by Heidi Murkoff has a great comprehensive list of things they recommend you needing for your baby. Read through it before you get any list from your registry store.
Know your terms before you go so reading through those lists is a breeze and you can easily identify what you truly need to register for. If you plan on bottle feeding exclusively, you will need fewer bottles than someone who plans to rely on formula.
That being said, it's okay to go "off the grid" a bit and register outside of the list. Consider adding things for organizing, additional furniture for the baby's room, or bath time. We added everything from a kneeling pad for the tub, to baskets for closets.
4.) Remember your baby is entitled to its own opinions.
I'm sure by now you're being swamped with information from mothers telling you the "best" bottle brand, pacifiers, etc.
Remember that all stores have a return policy and that just because one brand worked well for one baby does not mean your kiddo will love it all the same.
There is nothing wrong with registering for a few different brands of pacifiers or bottles to get a feel for what will work best for you and baby.
There is absolutely no hurt in trying a brand, it's certainly better than buying a brand your baby just does not like.
5.) Ask your consultant about benefit or rewards programs.
This was one that blew us out of the water.
When we started our registry for Babies R Us we signed up for the FREE rewards program
that ensured we would get rewarded for anything we buy in the store or someone else buys off our registry. For every certain amount of money spent in the store, we receive a gift card.
Babies R Us also had a FREE VIB, or Very Important Baby
, card that friends and family can add money to that will help us pay for diapers, wipes, and formula. The best thing about the VIB card? Any time someone adds money to our card, Babies R Us will add 10% of each contribution within 48 hours up to $200 a year.
So if we have 100 people add 10 dollars, Babies R Us will add an extra 100 dollars to our card. That's a lot of diapers.
Ask at the stores you're registering at and take advantage of any FREE Rewards programs: the benefits are there for you!
6.) Take into consideration your (and your partner's) needs before going to register.
I'm not just taking about needs after the baby comes, I mean your immediate needs. I barely functioned without food before I got pregnant. Now, if I'm hungry I become a MONSTER.
That being said we had a big lunch before heading in to register. It kept both me and Justin happy and focused.
Additionally, I was expecting my usual 2pm migraine and post-lunch heartburn so I planned accordingly.
Grab your big purse and fill it up with the following things to help you out while wondering aimlessly around supercenters. Here's some suggestions:
- Bottle of Water
- Granola Bar
- Tylenol, Tums, and any other Medi-must-haves
- A Pen
Wear comfortable shoes and clothing for maximum comfort.
Good luck registering. Relax and have fun, it's really a wonderful experience to do together.
I'd love to hear from you, leave me a comment below.
Thanks for looking!