I’ve talked before about what my registry checklist of baby essentials would be, but one thing I didn’t mention was how, in hindsight, I would have handled building the baby registry differently. I registered with an online site where you could pull in items from various stores, which seems nice in theory but ultimately made things more challenging overall. It’s really valuable to find a store with both a wide online selection and wide physical selection; a place where you can go see things in person—and your guests, many of whom would prefer to walk into a store and out with a gift and a card for the shower—can go. And some guests with less online experience are likely to find a purely web-shopping process confusing. I’d suggest finding someplace with locations in most cities, inexpensive shipping, flexible and friendly return policies, and which carries plenty of things you’d like to spend store credit on, should you make any returns (highly likely), after the baby arrives.
Target didn’t have a Manhattan location when I was registering for Hudson (now they do), or it would have been the obvious choice.
In fact, Target asked me to make a sample registry with all of my favorite baby essentials (as well as some additional items I’d love for a nursery). Every single one of the items pictured here is from Target.
Here are ten suggestions for registering for all things baby…
- Choose someplace people can shop in person as well as online, especially if you’re keen on everyone making purchases from the registry. (But don’t expect everyone to—surprises can be nice!)
- Give guests a wide selection, with a wide range of prices.
- But don’t be afraid to include big-ticket items, too. People may opt to go in on items together.
- Include some apparel basics (like white onesies and a pair of stretchy pants) but in general, don’t bother registering for clothes unless you’re dead-set on something. People love buying tiny baby clothes, and you’ll likely get more than you need. And besides, I doubt you’ll be able to resist a few impulse purchases during those nine months.
- At the same time, people look to your registry to get a sense of your taste. Try to choose a few items that you think convey it well (whether it be a clear theme, muted colors, or a patterned motif).
- Think ahead. Maybe it’s warm right now, but you need a stroller bundle bag for the winter? What weight should their sleep sack be after you swaddle them for 4-6 months?
- You don’t actually need everything at once (think roughly six months out at most), but it’s not a bad idea to think broadly before the baby arrives—it’s much more pleasant to research which thermometer or baby bottles or carrier you’d like to use (for example), before the baby arrives than in rushed shopping panic after.
- Then again, you’ll learn that some things you thought you needed aren’t necessary (and that the baby actually hates some others), so be sure you understand the exchange/return policy. (This is another reason you want to make it easy for people to shop your registry at a single store. The registry even acts as the receipt.) Note: This doesn’t mean you should just list all of the options. I’ve gone onto a registry before to find three different brands of infant carseats. I think you have to make a definitive choice—you can always change your mind and exchange later.
- Ask friends for advice: what are their gosh-I-wish-they-had-these-when-I-registered items? We parents love to hand out advice—especially when it’s actually solicited! But often, annoyingly, when it’s not. Sidenote: if you’re ever trying to make friends and start conversation with another parent on the playground, try asking how they like their stroller. You’d be amazed at how quickly you can get to know someone that way (they love to walk, they live in a tiny walk-up apartment, they travel often, their husband is tall/short/superdad, they’re pregnant with #2…). Seriously, try it.
- Be gracious.
All opinions expressed are my own. I also think Target has especially good suggestions and inspiration in their online buying guides and registry catalog. (And while I wouldn’t necessarily put them on my registry, I love Target’s nursing bras/tanks for after the baby arrives.)
P.S. Find my entire registry checklist here.