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Baby Registry: The Good, the Bad, and, 'Why Didn't I Think of That?'

By Charlene O'Hanlon

One of the nifty benefits of having a baby is the baby registry-achance to receive as gifts all the things you probably would never buyif you had to pay for them yourself. Just like the wedding registryoffers the opportunity to ask for-and receive-items you probably don'tuse daily (sterling silver soup tureen, anyone?), the baby registry maybe the only time you can ask your closest friends to pony up top dollarfor something you'll use for maybe a year, maybe a little longer.

With great power comes great responsibility, however, andregistering for your baby gifts is not a task to be taken lightly.Otherwise, you'll end up with a closet full of unnecessary items, askingyourself, "Just what the heck was I thinking when I asked for this?"

When determining what to include in the registry, it's important tokeep it in perspective. If you're a new parent, or if you're sufferingfrom pregnancy brain and need a level head, ask a friend or relative tohelp you with your registry (it is super-helpful to have help fromsomeone who is a parent and can tell you what's necessary and what'snot).

I had a few doozies on my gift registry, but for the most part myselections were helpful in some way. In hindsight, there are a fewthings I wish I had included on my registry, and they have since becomemy go-to gifts for other moms-to-be. Restaurant gift cards (especiallythose that have a takeout menu), memberships to warehouse stores (forstocking up on diapers and wipes) and gift certificates to grocerystores that deliver are some of my favorites.

The Good

The best baby registry items are those that are obvious: diapers,wipes, bottles (even if you're nursing), strollers, portable crib, etc.Some of the less obvious but absolutely worthwhile registry items on mylist included:

Car window shade: I lived in a desert state when I hadmy first child, where summer temperatures were, on average, 105degrees. The window shade kept my baby out of the sun and his skinprotected. But a window shade is useful for any climate for keeping thesun out of baby's eyes.

Washcloths: Packs and packs of washcloths. Theirversatility is amazing. They're easy to pack and can serve as awashcloth, a burping cloth, a bib (in dire situations) or drool cloth.Plus, they soak up spills easily.

Diapers: I asked for one pack of each size diapers, so we were never caught without a diaper when the time came to move up in size.

Diaper wipe warmer: At first I was skeptical, so Ididn't ask for a warmer for my first child. It didn't take long after hewas born to realize the benefits of a diaper wipe warmer-the look onhis face every time a cold wipe hit his bottom said it all. A warmer wasat the top of my list for my second one.

The Bad

What constitutes a bad registry item? It's subjective, butgenerally anything that's not going to be used regularly is simply awaste of money and space.

Onesies: Don't get me wrong-onesies are indispensable.But I don't think your baby needs 40 of them. Which is what you'regoing to get if you put them on your registry.

Multiple strollers: We were hedging our bets, andended up with a trifecta. None were really expensive, but I can't thinkof any situation where we'd need three strollers. My husband and I eachhad a stroller in our trunk, but the third ended up collecting dust inthe garage.

A cradle: This was useful for about five minutes. Iended up using a portable bouncy chair to keep the little guy with mewhen I couldn't hold him.

Everyone has her own idea of what they consider to be useful. Butwhen it comes to the baby registry, it's easy to choose things that mayseem helpful but end up being wasteful. When I was unsure, I simplyasked my mother. If she replied with, "What's that for?" then it didn'tmake the list.

Read More by Charlene O'Hanlon

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