By Ann Douglas
Image : Getty
If you’re having a baby, you’re going to be receiving a lot of baby gifts. It’s one of the perks of becoming a parent, after all. And as much as you’re going to appreciate the kind thoughts and good intentions that inspired each and every one of those gifts, you could find yourself receiving items you neither want nor need.
The good news is that there’s a simple solution for sidestepping the problem: signing up with a baby registry.
And here are five things you absolutely need to know before you sign on the baby registry dotted line.
1. Baby registries are designed to sell products. Lots and lots of products.
Did you know that registries are designed to help a baby products manufacturer or retailer move truckloads of baby gear? This can leave you feeling pressured to sign up for items you might never use, simply because they’re listed in the registry. So do your homework. Ask other parents to help you distinguish between the must-have essentials and the nice-to-have frills so you’ll know what you actually need.
2. A baby registry is a wish list, not an order form.
In other words, you can’t force people to stick to your baby gear picks, simply because you’ve listed them in your registry. That said, you can make it easier for people to choose items from your registry if you make a point of including a mix of budget-friendly items like onesies and pricier items, like strollers. Don’t feel guilty about including those bigger ticket items, by the way. They’re a great option for a group of friends or coworkers who want to go in on a gift together.
3. It’s okay to register with more than one baby registry.
Your mother-in-law wants you to register with a high-end baby store so that her friends can buy you the latest (and priciest!) baby gear. Make the grandma-to-be happy by saying yes to her registry request while also signing up with a baby registry that features items your cash-strapped friends can actually afford. Just make sure you’re clear upfront about return and exchange policies, in case you end up with some unexpected duplicates.
4. Your newborn isn’t going to be a newborn forever.
This means you’re only going to need a limited quantity of newborn-sized anything—and, depending on the size of your newborn, you might not need any items in this size range at all. So round out your registry picks with items that will be useful to an older baby or toddler as opposed to limiting yourself to item that can only be used by a newborn.
5. It’s important to keep an eye on the calendar when you’re making your picks.
A baby who makes his grand entrance on the hottest day of summer isn’t going to have much use for a newborn-sized snowsuit—nor is a January baby going to be able to make use of that too-cute baby bikini (unless, of course, you’ve just booked her a Caribbean cruise). The bigger challenge, of course, comes from trying to predict just how big your baby will be next year or even next season—which is why you may want to steer clear of registering for clothing items that can only be enjoyed at a particular time of year until you know for sure what size your baby or toddler is likely to be wearing.