Getting The Most Out Of Your Baby Registry

Unless you want to feign a smile as you open yet another yellow knit onesie from Great Aunt Hilda, creating an organized and focused registry will help you get everything you do need for the arrival of your baby, and less of the things you don’t. While no two families are alike, there is no set registry list that should be used for everyone, and a good registry requires research. From strollers and car seats to swings and swaddle blankets, the choices in baby gear are endless. Creating an organized and focused registry will help expectant parents get everything they do need, and less of the things they don’t. Whether you go in-store to create your registry or set up directly through the store’s website, the tips below will help you get the most of your registry.

The Big Five: If all else fails, and you manage to get just five things on your registry, make it these:

1) Infant Car Seat - You will not be able to leave the hospital without a proper safety seat for your babe.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car seat until they are 2 years of age. Infant car seats are made up of two pieces; a seat that can be removed from the car and toted around and a base that remains strapped in the backseat. If your family has multiple cars or if a caregiver or grandparent will be driving the little tot around, consider registering for multiple bases. Additionally, it is highly recommended to only use car seats with true side impact protection.  For more information on car seat safety, check out Healthy Children (http://www.healthychildren.org/).

2) Stroller - Typically this is your baby’s #1 mode of transportation. Strollers can range from $100-$1000, so make sure you do your research here. Will you be carrying it up and down stairs in an apartment? Taking it on the subway? Navigating wide urban side walks or crowded city streets? If you would like to travel with your stroller, make sure the infant car seat that you choose is compatible with your stroller as well. Some strollers require an additional infant car seat adaptor, but this is another great thing to add to your registry.

3) Somewhere to Rest the Babe’s Head – You’ll find that you and your infant may be quite attached during the first week or two (or more)! In addition to a traditional crib in the nursery, you might consider a portable crib (aka Pack N’ Play), co-sleeper, or bassinet that will live in your bedroom to cut down on the midnight/2am/4am/6am shuffle between rooms. Wherever the baby snoozes, you should choose products that are PVC and fire-retardant free.  To learn more about safe sleeping habits, check out First Candle (http://www.firstcandle.org).

4) Infant Bath Tub – They may be tiny beings, but those diaper explosions can be lethal! You’ll want a nice comfy spot to bathe your little one. Infant tubs which sit inside your own bathtub work great, but you could also use a soft foam insert that fits right into your kitchen sink.

5) Baby Monitor - Depending on the set up of your home, a monitor is a fantastic way to check in during nap-time without waking the baby. Monitors come with many different feature sets, so be sure to give some thought as to your exact needs. A breathing-sensor monitor is highly recommended for families with preemies or twins, and a video monitor is encouraged if you want to keep the nursery door shut tight during nap-time and sleep-time.

Focus on Months 0-3. You don’t need everything at birth! There are many items that your baby (and you) just won’t use for the first few months. You may prefer to hold off on items such as a high chair and convertible car seat to ensure that when your child is ready, you are buying the most up-to-date items in terms of safety features. Safety requirements change and recalls do happen, so you’ll be happy you waited. You will receive a lot of gift cards at your shower, so tuck them away for months 3-6! The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website (http://www.cpsc.gov/) is the best resource for all product recalls. They even have an easy-to-use RSS feed so you are made aware of these as they happen.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff. Appearing excited as you open a jumbo box of diaper wipes would take a most Oscar-worthy performance. In order to encourage people to gift some of “big ticket” items like your car seat, stroller and carrier (these items can always be gifted by a group), leave the small stuff off of your registry. Pacifiers, ointment, diapers and wipes are all really easy to pick up in one trip to the store, and don’t look as cute all wrapped up at your shower anyway.

Doubling Up? While it may seem like you’re seeing double, when you’re expecting multiples you don’t need to register for two of everything. For example, you will only need one infant tub, one swing, infant seat and jumper (you can rotate them through each), and one monitor that has multiple cameras. With two babies rolling around, you’ll appreciate less clutter!

Still overwhelmed? We understand! Enlisting the help of a baby planner in your area will help guide you through the registry process and make the most informed decisions for the right baby gear for your family.

Meredith Johnston is the founder of Elly Belly Baby Planners, Long Island’s Premier Baby Planning Service. Contact her at meredith@ellybellybaby.com, or visit www.ellybellybaby.com. You rock the baby, we’ll rock everything else!

by Meredith Johnston, Elly Belly Baby Planners