“What do you need?” is what people a going to ask you towards the end of your pregnancy (it’s also a clue that a shower may be in the works so wear a bra every time you go out.)
If it’s your first baby the answer is often, “I don’t know” and/or “everything.”
People often have a love-hate relationship with registries. On one hand, they are fantastic because it lets people know what you need and what you like, which makes you nice and easy to buy for. On the other hand, some people feel that it’s lazy or uncreative to buy off a registry and feel like they have to venture out on their own.*
I still think it’s a great idea to register because it really does help out the people who truly want to get you something you need (yes, they do exist). And here are a few tips on how to put a great registry together so you can get some of the stuff you can really use.
Register for big stuff and little stuff
Some people feel it comes off as greedy to register for a $900 stroller, but many people like to go in on a gift together (your seven cousins around the country might appreciate the easy purchase.) Plus, if you work for a big company they may be willing to throw around some big bucks and the childless, 22-year HR guy would undoubtedly love that one-stop shopping.
Whereas little gifts are nice for people that aren’t as close to you and just want a gesture. They’re also a nice way to round up a $40 gift for the person who wants to spend $50. It also helps balance the big stuff so you don’t look like you’re just expecting the large ticket items too.
If you want to go with cloth diapering, breastfeeding, organic bedding, or an owl theme, a registry is a nice, subtle way to give those cues without sounding like you’re JLo backstage – “Only room temperature water, orange jelly beans and baskets of white kittens.” Sure, you may still end up with a few disposable diapers or hedgehog pillows, but at least you know those people are just ignoring your rather than guessing in anguish.
Keep the Buyer in Mind
By all means, add a breast pump to your registry (see point above) but many people are going to feel icky about getting it for you because it’s not very glamorous and it’s a little intimate for some. So try to add a few things that you need but would be fun to give as well. People love aden+anais swaddlers, (with good reason) which makes them a great addition to a baby registry – plus, you can never have too many and they don’t make ugly ones. Someone may want to get you all the little feeding gear and a cookbook. Someone else may want to get you the carrier because it’s an easy no-brainer that looks like a good gift.
Both fun and practical
There are people that like to buy the car seat and there are people that like to buy the snot sucker so register for both. Stuff that you truly need like a car seat, a carrier or stroller, etc., are always important, but register for the unique fun stuff that will come in just as handy. Cool drying racks, adorable soothers, teething necklaces, aren’t ‘essentials’ but they sure come in handy and they always have a nice wow factor at a shower that many gift-givers dig.
Think outside the box
Just because you’re registering for a baby doesn’t mean it has to be all baby stuff. Meal plans, breastfeeding subscription boxes, or a fantastic charity all make great gifts so don’t just limit yourself to the onesies and facecloths.
At the end of the day, the people that truly want to get you something to celebrate the birth of your child tend to appreciate a registry so they have a road map to follow.
Even if they do end up going off the path… it’s less likely that they’ll end up in the ditch.
* There is always that one person that thinks registries are tacky. They whine about it whenever someone gets married and they whine about it whenever someone has a baby. These people also tend to have a knack for finding the most heinous, un-returnable gifts on the planet so let it go and help out the people that actually want to get you something useful and relevant.