How to Nail Your Baby Registry / by Caroline Hagerty

Babies require SO. MUCH. STUFF.  And quite frankly, stuff sort of gives me anxiety.

Don’t get me wrong, I love me some stuff.  I’d say most people do!  But when you live in a  big city like we do, space is for stuff is often in short supply.  If you’re a busy person, time is also in short supply.  Stuff requites time!  Time to do laundry, time to organize, time to clean…ugh.  I feel anxious just thinking about it.  Stuff-anxiety goes hand in hand with stuff-guilt for me.  I hate the sight of stuff all over our apartment knowing it could have gone to someone who needed truly needed it instead of on our floor for weeks on end.

Yesterday was Christmas which is pretty much the official stuff holiday.  Gift giving is wonderful and it really fills my heart with joy to treat the special people in my life!  But after my first holiday season being both the gift giver and gift receiver of baby stuff, I’ve learned a few lessons.  Here’s my tips for how to make an effective wish list or registry along with some suggestions on how to really nail the perfect gift for the young families in your life.

  1. Don’t register for any clothes.  People LOVE buying baby clothes, ESPECIALLY for girls.  I get it, baby girl things really are irresistible!  But whether or not you register for clothes, people WILL give them to you.  Wait to see if you truly need more after your baby shower.  Chances are you’ll have plenty.  Also, resist the urge to buy clothes around the holiday season NO MATTER HOW GOOD THE SALES ARE!  I can guarantee you will be receiving plenty.

  2. Don’t buy too many of any given thing.  Babies are really unpredictable.  For example, everyone swears Pampers are THE very best diapers.  Even Chrissy Teigen is slangin’ their organic line (Pampers Pure) on Instagram.  When I was pregnant I swore only these gold standard diapers would ever touch my baby’s perfect tush!!! But…Pampers suck.  Obviously not for everyone, but they sucked for us.  Lots of leaking.  So, that left me with many giant boxes of diapers to either exchange or to give away.  Even if you find something your baby really loves, avoid buying anything in bulk.  They’ll likely stop loving it or physically outgrow it in a flash.    

  3. 1 SleepSack = an infinite amount of swaddles.  Every registry checklist I encountered recommended 5-8 swaddles.  Did you know babies should only be swaddled for a few weeks after birth?  I hardly think a swaddle per week is necessary.  Also, some babies don’t like it at all, my daughter didn’t.  SleepSack is a user-friendly one and done item that also prevents SIDS.  Truly a no brainer.  

  4. Follow up to #3: one mom’s no-brainer is another mom’s trash.  If an item doesn’t make sense to you, skip it no matter how much the internet loves it.  Or hates it.  Tons of moms online hate diaper pails but I love ours!  

  5. Seek out gift guides from relevant sources.  For me this was asking IRL working moms in urban areas.  I have a cousin who also lives in LA and has a young daughter.  Her tips were way more helpful to me than anything I found online.  A lot of online guides are really there to promote sponsored products which are often not what’s best for you or your baby.  I’m lookin’ at you and your click-baity nonsense, The Bump!!!

  6. If you are going to give your baby a pacifier, pick one as close as possible to your bottles.  My daughter rarely uses pacifiers, but when she does she only likes the Dr. Browns because her bottles are Dr. Browns.  I wish I realized this sooner because now we have approximately 25 pacifiers all over the apartment.

  7. Most parents love gifts that replace screen time.  Nonstop TV is not great for anyone, especially babies and their developing brains.  But the reality is most households- including ours- stream quite a lot of TV!  One of my favorite gifts we received is our baby play gym.  Definitely pick one with a mat to use for tummy time!  My daughter loves the music and stretching and I love knowing she is being mentally stimulated and safely entertained without a screen.  Other great options: Pack ’N Plays and baby swings. 

  8. If you can afford something and it helps your sanity, just buy it.  Don’t let anyone shame you for purchasing “unnecessary” items.  Your family’s budget is your business! One of the perks of being a dual income household is having more money to go around and it’s okay to spend some of that surplus on mommy and daddy.  

  9. Anything that buys new parents time is a winner.  It may seem odd, but the gift of delivered groceries, homemade freezer meals, laundry pickup services, a tank full of gas, or a housekeeper is heavenly.  Why?  Because TIME is the ultimate gift!  

  10. When in doubt, gift cards or cash are NEVER a bad idea.  Like, ever. 

“The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.” Marie Kondo, author of “The Lift Changing Magic of Tidying Up”