When you start telling people that you’re pregnant, people will generally ask you 3 questions:
“Do you know what you’re having?”
“When are you due?”
“Where are you registered?”
Did you just find yourself nodding in agreement? Was there a hint of an eye roll?
You’ll answer these so often that you may just start spouting off them when you run into someone you haven’t seen for a while. Hopefully you’ll have your answers to the first two ready to go, but the third question can cause some people anxiety.
As doulas, people ask us all the time if we have any recommendations for how, where, and when to set up a registry. We do, in fact, have lots of suggestions, so here we go!
“When should I set up my registry?”
We recommend starting to add items at the beginning of your second trimester. At first, you’ll want to start thinking about the gender-neutral essentials, like a crib or a rocking chair, or diapers and wipes.
Once you reach 20 weeks, you’ll have your anatomy scan, should you choose to find out the sex of your baby in advance. It is then that we recommend picking your color scheme and adding the remaining products.
“What type of registry should I pick?”
Yes, there are, in fact, different types of registries, single store, universal, and online, and there are pros and cons to both.
Single store registries have the added bonus of retail locations. Some people, especially the older loved ones in your life, want to browse for gifts in person. (Plus, those people are more likely to end up with a few extra items in their carts.) Our top Atlanta recommendations are Target, Buy Buy Baby, or a department store.
Single store baby registries also offer close out discounts! For example, Target offers 15% off items remaining on your registry up 6 months after your due date.
TARGET PRO TIP: This discount can only be used once in-store and once online, so use wisely! Also, you can add items to your registry any time before you check out. So if you notice when the baby is 3 months old that you underestimated your need for bibs and wipes, just add those items to your registry, add them to your cart, and use the discount!
Universal registries, like My Registry and Babylist, allow you to add items from multiple stores, as well as ask for cash gifts. The cash gift option is awesome if you need help affording a doula or for larger ticket items like a stroller.
If you are one of the many transplants in Atlanta, and have a lot of out-of-town family, universal registries are an easy way for them to contribute. We recommend adding a store that’s local to your home state, if there’s a difference.
Unfortunately, there are no closeout discounts for these registries, even if you include items from a store like Target on the site.
Did you know that Amazon also has a baby registry option? This can be a great way to get inexpensive or bulk items on your list. This can also be added to a universal registry.
You can also send out a Paypal link to collect cash for high-ticket items or for a birth doula and/or a postpartum doula. Fair warning: this can be considered tacky. It’s better to simply tell your close loved ones what you’re saving up for, and ask if they’d be willing to help with that expense in lieu of giving a gift.
No matter which route you choose, just make sure you have both in-person and online options!
“What types of items do I really need to put on my registry?”
First, let me start with what not to register for.
DON’T REGISTER FOR CLOTHES.
One more time for the mama in the back?!
DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT REGISTER FOR CLOTHES.
Okay fine, if there are 1 or 2 super cute outfits you want to add, go ahead. I admit that I did register for a 3 pack of Harry Potter onesies, #noshame. But we do advise not to add a whole wardrobe’s worth of clothes. Why?
Because people can’t resist cute baby clothes, especially if they’re shopping inside of a store. You will inevitably get a stack of onesies from the impulse shoppers. If you add clothes too, then you will end up with more clothes than your child can reasonably wear before they size up.
Focus on your day-to-day life, and think about what items will be practical for your lifestyle. If you plan on babywearing, you may not want to register for a sling. If you plan on breastfeeding, you may want to register for nipple cream and a haakaa.
Consider which rooms and floors of your house that you and baby will be spending time in, and create stations for each main area. We suggest including diapers, wipes, diaper cream, hand sanitizer, burp clothes, an extra onesie, and a safe spot (like a bouncer) to put the baby down. If you are breastfeeding, also include a water bottle, snacks, and a book or magazine. Put the items for these down!
Make sure to include a wide range of prices, so no guest at your baby shower has to show up empty handed.
“What about the products I didn’t get?”
Remember, this is the added bonus of having a registry at a place like Target. Those closeout discounts are life! Personally, I saved all of the Target gift cards we received, waited 2 months to see which items we ended up needing that we didn’t anticipate, and used the cards to purchase the items at 15% off.
But first, check consignment stores to see if they have some of them for cheaper. A lot of like-new, or even actually new, products end up in consignment stores. This is a great alternative for some of your staples, like toys, clothes, and swaddles.
Last but not least, accept all the hand-me-downs! Especially when they are growing out of sizes left and right. Apart from having 1-2 cute outfits in each size for pictures, your baby doesn’t need nice, new clothes. In fact, my summer babies hardly wore clothes at all at first! They will simply get spit up and pooped on.
If you have any other questions about registries, or are curious about hiring a doula, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!