Unpacking The Baby Registry: A Mom's Guide

By Mary Mayor
·  4 min read
Baby Registry

If you're an expecting mother, there's so much to prepare before a baby arrives. Maybe it’s your first pregnancy, or perhaps it’s your fifth, but no matter what number child you are having, there's so much baby gear on the market that it can be overwhelming.

Here are some tips to help debunk the baby registry and manage expectations for it:

Don't Feel Like You Need the Latest Gadgets

The newest fancy apps out there that track the size of your baby as he or she grows may have ads that suggest you buy the most intricate, newest baby product out there. Chances are, you probably don't need it.

My husband and I purchased the Owlet Baby Care Baby Monitor for our daughter because we thought it was a safe, obvious purchase to make for our daughter after seeing it advertised on television, and we thought what responsible parent wouldn't want to buy it for their child to monitor their heart rate as he or she sleeps? After one night, we returned it (thank you, Target, for your excellent return policy) because the monitor wouldn't stay on our daughter’s foot. She hated it. To this day, she will take off anything on her feet. It’s impossible for her to wear socks for more than 10 seconds, which brings me to my next point:

Your Registry Is Unique, Just Like Your Baby

Your baby has preferences. I selected the cutest socks on my registry with ruffles and lace and everything nice. My daughter refuses to wear socks. And headbands. Your child is a little human being that has his or her own likes and dislikes. What some fancy department store registry may recommend for your child will not necessarily work for yours, and it's okay! Not buying so much clears up the likelihood of over-cluttering your household and also allows you to save money. Do you want a bunch of stuff that you won't even use?

Not only do babies have preferences, but they physically react to different things.

Not only do babies have preferences, but they physically react to different things. Some babies may be sensitive to the special baby laundry detergent and fabric softener while others can only handle a specific type of diaper before breaking out into a rash. As a parent, you also can develop your own preferences, as in which diaper is least likely to blow out on you. You don't learn these things until you try them.

Try the Big Ticket Items before You Register for Them

You have read all the product reviews about your ideal jogging stroller on Amazon, but have you actually gone into a BuyBuy Baby or Target and tried it out? Go and do it, but obviously before it gets too uncomfortable! What's durable and adjustable for one person might be too heavy and difficult to deal with for another person. If you get to go and take a test jog and actually see the products, you will have a much better idea of what you actually need for your unique family.

Worried about getting overwhelmed in that giant baby department store? Understandable. Having a goal in mind of a few items meeting specific requirements can help with getting in and out of the store quickly.

Consider How Quickly Your Baby Grows

First of all, you won't know the size of your baby until he or she is born, so what if all you put on your registry is 0-3 month clothing and your child comes out fitting into 6-month clothing? It happens!

Make sure to buy things that your baby will grow into.

While you can absolutely return items, make sure to buy things that your baby will grow into. Having a variety of sizes helps you prepare for when your baby outgrows his or her outfits. Also, your baby only needs so much tummy time equipment, so many rock-and-plays, and bouncers, before he or she outgrows them within a few months.


If you're not super particular about what you want for your baby and about what to use, have a sister-in-law, friend, mom, or sister who absolutely loves shopping compile your registry. Outsourcing the responsibility of making and keeping up with a registry so that you don't have to worry about this task on your to-do list allows you more time to balance your own job, doctor appointments, and other preparation before your baby’s arrival. It even allows you to spend more quality time with your spouse before both of you become parents. People truly do want to help you transition into motherhood and do things for you while you're pregnant, so don't be afraid to ask for help.

Closing Thoughts

Keep it in perspective that no matter how prepared you are, you will never be truly prepared for the adventure that your next baby brings. Finally, include at least one self-care item on your registry because you will need to take care of yourself postpartum.

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