A baby shower registry is really a win-win – you get to choose what you need ahead of time,
and your loved ones can pick a gift that matches their budget, with the knowledge that it’s something you really need.
But not all baby registries are the same. Some are better for essentials, and others for specialty items. Some may offer big-box brands while others focus on eco-friendly, boutique, or high-end items.
Luckily, the proliferation of online baby shower registries means you can choose exactly what types of gifts you’ll be receiving. Here’s a quick guide to choosing a baby shower registry and 10 registries that will ensure that all your needs are met in advance of the happy day.
Deciding what to put on your wish list can be a bit tricky, but luckily, it’s all up to you what’s most important. There are certain essentials that expecting parents need, including bottles, a stroller, changing station, infant clothes, and a car seat. Exhaustive baby registry checklists are easily found online, and make a good reference point.
When creating your list, make sure to include the essentials first, which should free you up to add fun stuff like wall decorations, stuffed animals, and those adorable onesies that are almost impossible to pass up. Typically, people start planning their gift registry several months before the birth, though some choose to wait until they know the baby’s gender.
If this isn’t your first baby, a gift registry is still a solid way to re-up on essentials like bottles and diaper bag supplies, and to replace items from the first baby. You also may need a second infant car seat and stroller, depending on the age of your first child. And if you have gotten a lot of essentials out of the way with the first baby registry, a second one can be a chance to register for more creative items like cute decor.
Selection, affordability, and flexibility are key when deciding where to set up a baby shower registry.
When it comes to selection, you’re going to want to find a store that has a very large inventory of its own, or which can include items from other retailers as part of a “universal gift registry.”
Features that count:
Another handy feature to look out for is a “completion discount.” Chances are your loved ones might not make it through everything on your list. If there are items left unpurchased, then with a completion discount, you can buy whatever’s left on your list at a discount.
Though not everybody feels comfortable asking for cash as a gift, it’s really an ideal way for you to have a little extra money, especially if you’re going on maternity leave or want to put some money away for your child. Some of the top registries offer cash gift options that you shouldn’t feel shy about putting on your list.
Convenience is no small factor when you’re expecting. All of the major online baby registries have mobile apps that are easy to use and available for iOS and Android systems. These apps will let you adjust your registry on a rolling basis with a quick flick of the finger, without you even having to get up off the couch. Most major suppliers also offer extensive customer service which can be reached by phone, email, or online form even outside normal business hours.
A generous return policy is also worth prioritizing. Not only that, but you’re also going to want a long-term one. You’ll be busy after the birth and probably not in the mood to run to the store and return gifts anytime soon.
Some of the more creative and unique gift options can really help you take a load off. With Babylist, you can put a diaper service or homemade meals on your registry, and can even add classes with a doula or a couple visits from a dog walker. Babylist also offers a green baby registry with everything from sustainable baby cribs to 100% organic swaddles, all-natural pacifiers, and chemical-free diapers.
Any gift you receive from an Amazon gift registry comes with free returns for up to 365 days after purchase. This, combined with Amazon’s easy shipping and seemingly endless selection of baby products, home essentials, bed sets, baby clothing, health and beauty products, books, toys, and more, makes it one of the more convenient registries for stressed-out parents.
Target isn’t known for luxury brands or specialty products, but it does excel when it comes to essentials. If you’re looking to check diapers, wipes, clothing, bedding, basics, and other immediate needs off your list, Target is an affordable and sufficient option.
As evidenced by its name, Buy Buy Baby specializes in baby needs. So unlike the more general stores and sites on this list such as Amazon and Target, Buy Buy Baby has experts, checklists, planning resources, and tips dedicated solely to helping parents make the best buying decisions. To that end, this registry offers appointments with experts who will help you create a registry that covers all of your needs. You can also take advantage of its numerous checklists, workshops, and perks.
My Registry’s universal registry policy means that you can add products and brands from any store across the country. This means that you can add essentials from Target, books from Amazon, and still include boutique and specialty items from local baby stores. If you don’t want to limit yourself to the inventory of one store, My Registry’s universal registry is a great way to pick and choose your products from a wide variety of big-box and specialty stores.
Don’t expect to find many essentials on Etsy. This registry may be best for parents who already have children or have already stocked up on essentials such as diapers, bottles, car-seats, and furniture. If that’s the case, then Etsy can be a fun place to shop for personalized baby items and the more artisanal gifts that you’re unlikely to find at Target. These may include personalized baby clothes, stylish nursery art, handmade baby carriers, and custom invitations and baby announcements..
Pottery Barn Kids has a huge selection of high chairs, changing tables, nursing pillows, and accessories, all bound by the store’s well-known commitment to quality and aesthetic. Those looking to create a well-designed nursery could do worse than this registry, which will give them access to Pottery Barn products as well as gifts from brands like Nuna, BabyBjorn, and UPPAbaby.
Zola began primarily as a wedding registry, and though it recently expanded to include baby showers, the baby-shower inventory may be limited compared to registries dedicated exclusively to children. Still, it offers a sizable collection of nursery furniture, car seats, and essentials. And because of its experience with wedding registries, Zola has the process down to a science. What’s also appealing is that it offers cash gift options, allowing you to request money in lieu of a gift that you can use to cover maternity leave or put into a college fund or other savings accounts for the child.
SoKind breaks the gift-registry mold by putting less emphasis on “things” and more focus on activities, events, and charities. This unique service allows parents to register for a wide range of creative gifts that range from massages to cooking and art classes to cleaning, babysitting, pet care services. Users can also register for donations to their favorite charities and nonprofits, though if you are looking to stock up for the family home, don’t fret--SoKind does offer a nice selection of handmade gifts and supplies.
Crate & Barrel’s kids items share the modern aesthetic and high-end quality that have made the brand a fixture in homes around the world. Though Crate & Barrel’s products are more expensive than Target or Amazon, it’s registry offers group gifting that lets your guests pool their resources and buy you something nice. So if you’re dead-set on that luscious Milo feeding chair but know that no single relative is willing to pony up, you don’t have to settle for something less.
Baby gift registries take care of the hassle and give you an extra hand in making sure that you have the supplies (and extras) you need when the baby arrives. You get to customize it, ensuring that you won’t be re-gifting anything or leaving a toaster to collect dust in the attic. With online gift registries, you also make it easier for your loved ones, who don’t have to worry that they’ll drop the ball and waste their money on a gift you don’t need. Best of all, leading online gift registries have wide selections and are easy for anyone to use. There’s really no reason not to give it a shot.