A few weekends ago Blake and I headed to our local BuyBuy Baby to register for our baby girl. We were so excited to finally be shopping and choosing the gear that would help us raise our baby. Once we got our hands on a scanner and got some recommendations from a store associate, my excitement quickly faded into anxiety. What was all of this stuff for, and did we really need it? I hadn’t even heard of half of the store associates recommendations before, let alone know what I was supposed to use them for. My mind flashed back to that episode of Friends where Rachel has no clue what any of her baby shower gifts are for. My husband, on the other hand, was acting like a kid in a candy store, scanning items at random.
I think part of my panic stemmed from the reality of what we were doing. Yes, shopping is fun, especially when it’s for something as life changing as your first baby, but this was making it all the more real for me. Emotionally, I am ready for this baby; but what about being ready in a practical way? Reading the back of product labels, mulling over different brands, and comparing similar items was enough to make me feel very unprepared. Am I choosing the best for my baby? Am I covering all the bases? It was all a bit overwhelming. Luckily, I have an amazing husband who refused to let me suck the joy out of the moment. He did his best to brush my worries aside and restore my confidence so that I could actually enjoy the experience. He grabbed the checklist I had previously printed, handed it to me, and told me to focus. We checked off the boxes and headed out for a nice lunch to celebrate the successful completion of our registry.
As a first time mom, I think the panic and overwhelm that I felt was normal. I haven’t spent a significant amount of time with babies to know what all the little details are and what they are used for. The feeding section of BuyBuy Baby alone was enough to make me feel in over my head. It’s a crappy feeling. With hormonal emotions running high, it’s hard not to feel like you’re already failing your baby. I had researched and prepared a little bit before our registry shopping trip, but there is more I could have done to really get my bearings. So, to help out my fellow first time pregnant mamas out there, I’ve outlined three basic things you can do before you register for baby to make the whole process less stressful, and more exciting!
Do Your Research
With my mom just itching to order the shower invites, I had to make a decision on where I was going to register. The first thing I did was google “best places to register for baby”. Of course, I got all kinds of suggestions but there were a few consistencies among all the recommendations. The trick is to choose a couple of places that will work for you and what you’re looking for. I knew I wanted one baby superstore where we could pick and choose all the necessities, and did some research before choosing. Based on the reviews and opinions of moms on various forums, I decided to go with BuyBuy Baby instead of Babies”R”Us.
My second selection was more for the cute, novelty stuff rather than the necessities. My mom had recommended I check out Land of Nod and Pottery Barn Kids, and although they have some beautiful baby stuff, I decided they just weren’t for me. There wasn’t enough items that I actually wanted from either of those places, thus not worth registering. Instead, I went a little more unconventional and registered on Etsy. Most people don’t even know that you can register on Etsy. You can, but no matter what you’re registering for, it’s called a “wedding registry”. This can be a bit confusing for your friends and family, but I figured the majority of people would flock to my BuyBuy Baby registry and for the few that would be interested in my Etsy registry, I could just explain it to them.
I decided to go with Etsy because you can choose a lot of custom items. The bulk of my registry is at BuyBuy Baby, but the cute, fashionable, and just-for-fun stuff is on my Etsy registry. For example, you can find functional shopping cart covers and breast feeding cover-ups at places like BuyBuy Baby and Babies”R”Us, but they aren’t the cutest. On Etsy, you can find similar items that are just as functional but a lot prettier to look at. I also found some adorable clothing items, such as a bodysuit that says “My big sister is a boxer”. How could I not register for that!?! I also registered for matching crib sheets, changing pad cover, and boppy pillow made from a fabric I love. I included gorgeous prints for the nursery and an adorable milestone chalkboard on my Etsy registry.
I’m happy with my registry choices, but I would have done things a little differently in hindsight. After the invitations had been mailed, I found out about BabyList. BabyList is a registry in which you can include any item from any store, including Etsy. So, if Land of Nod has one or two items you just have to have, you can include those single items on your registry. I haven’t used BabyList, so I can’t speak for it’s functionality or ease of use for family, friends, and other shower guests, but the concept is genius.
Have A Checklist Handy
The one thing that saved me during that whirlwind of a trip to BuyBuy Baby was a checklist. With checklist in hand, I was able to focus on which essentials we actually needed and had a concrete way to check them off, literally. A simple google search will turn up dozens of checklist options, but some of my favorites include the different category lists from The Bump and the comprehensive registry checklist from Baby Center. BuyBuy Baby also provided us with a checklist when we went to register in person.
After you’ve printed a checklist, go through the big ticket items and read up on product reviews. When you’re spending $300 plus on a stroller, it’s best to know what you’re getting for your money. Jot down a few of your favorites and check them out in person at the store before settling on a decision. Remember, what may work for one mom, might not work as well for you. For example, there are plenty of highly rated strollers, but they all have different strengths, weaknesses, and functions. If you’re active and enjoy running on the regular, you may want to invest in a jogging stroller. If you live in a bustling metropolitan area, a compact on-the-go design might be better for you.
Consult With Experienced Mamas
A few weeks before Blake and I went to register, I spent a weekend at my bestie’s bachelorette party in Palm Springs. Surprisingly, I spent a good amount of the time talking babies with the experienced mamas who took the weekend off to celebrate our bride-to-be. These ladies had a hoard of information to throw at me and I did my best to soak it all up. They were quick to tell me what I didn’t really need and what I wouldn’t be able to live without (hello, nipple cream). I also consulted my mom and sister, who has two little minions of her own, after I registered to get their opinions on my selections.
If you happen to be the first of your girl tribe to get pregnant and your family members haven’t been pregnant in ages, try looking into various pregnancy and mom forums and blogs. The forums at The Bump and Baby Center have been helpful for me, and of course, you can check out me out on Pregnancy & Newborn Magazine’s Knocked Up Blog.