It's such a daunting task to register for baby stuff. It's super fun, of course, to imagine your new little baby wearing those teeny tiny clothes and splashing in the tub with those cute toys!! But, when you're very pregnant, spending hours walking around every aisle in the store can be exhausting.
When I was pregnant my husband and I had been married already for 8 years, long enough for me to know that there was no point in dragging him around the store with me to look at cute wittle baby things. I went to Babies-r-us myself to get started, and then did a lot more tweaking of my list from my computer later. If you do Babies-r-us like I did, and probably most new moms do, you can check out parents' reviews of the products on their site. Reading the reviews on stuff I had scanned was really helpful and made me change my mind on certain items more than once. So, make sure to read up, especially on big purchases, to get the most out of your registry.
Here are a few more things that I learned throughout my past couple years of motherhood that I think would have been helpful to know when I was registering.... (I apologize if you just see links rather than product images below...having some trouble with my Amazon links lately!)
Other than some sleepers (see below) , onesies, and socks, You really don't need to register for clothes. Nobody can resist picking out adorable miniature clothes for your little dolly, and believe me, they won't. You'll get plenty of adorable clothes without having to pick them out yourself. Plus, it's really hard to find a specific listed outfit when shopping on a registry. So, be sure to at least register for a few packs of the essential onesies and socks...let your friends and family have the fun of picking out cute clothes and surprising you! The only socks I've found that stay on, or at least stay on the longest, are the cute Trumpette ones. Baby Gap also has some good socks that are extra long, going up over baby's calves, which also stay on nicely. The others you'll find you're constantly putting back on or losing while out and about.
Don't stock up on every size of pacifier just yet...your baby may not even like them. Register for one or two of the smallest size, and see if baby likes them before buying a bunch.
You of course want to pick out the cutest, snuggliest sleepers for your baby, and if they make him or her look like a little teddy bear with fuzzy ears or paws on the feet, all the better. It's so fun to dress up your baby all cute. However, in the middle of the night when you're getting up again and again to nurse and change diaper after diaper, believe me, you'll really appreciate convenience over looks at this point! So, you definitely will want to register for zippered pajamas rather than snaps. If you want to go SUPER easy for middle-of-the-night diaper changes, the little baby gowns with just an elastic hole in the bottom work great. Absolutely NO hand-eye coordination involved!
When I was first pregnant, I got so many cute sleepers at garage sales and at my baby showers. Don't get me wrong, I LOVED dressing up my little man in every adorable outfit I could during the day. But, in the end, I always found myself first digging through the drawers for the zippered pajamas or the gowns as my first choice for bedtime!
The receiving blankets you typically see in stores are just not big enough to get your baby in a good, snug swaddle. The ones you get at the hospital are the BEST. They seem to be just the perfect size and thickness, and they're all soft and worn in. My big sister, who was one child ahead of me when I was first pregnant, knew better. So, she got me a set of the Amy Coe blankets. These are the only ones I've seen so far that are the same size as the hospital ones, and they also have cool modern patterns.
It really is totally worth the extra money to get one of those instant ear thermometers. Sure, they have underarm thermometers and even thermometers shaped like a pacifier. These are all fine and cute and seem comfortable for baby, but they are not as accurate. Believe me, when your little one is burning up in the middle of the night, you will want to know EXACTLY how high their temperature is. You can purchase the same instant digital ear thermometers that your pediatrician uses.
The "free" hospital-issued thermometers are accurate of course, if you take baby's temperature rectally. But, would you be willing to buy a $20-$30 thermometer vs a $10 one to avoid having a lubricated, pointy metal probe shoved up your rear every time you were sick? Um, yeah, I think I'd pay more than $10 for every time my temperature had to be taken to avoid that. Isn't your baby going through enough already by being sick?! Sure, they give you nice, illustrated instructions of how to hold baby still while taking their temperature for a minute...
Okay, now I know you may be pregnant with your first child and may not have done this before, but I highly doubt you are naive enough to think that both parties involved will look as calm and peaceful as they do in this illustration. I'd say in a realistic illustration, baby would be a blur from wiggling and screaming, while Mommy would be in tears for having to subject her sick baby to a rectal thermometer.
Save yourself and your baby a lot of stress and discomfort and just get a decent instant ear thermometer. It's one of the few items I own that I am so glad I bought every time I use it! With my 2-year old, I call it the "temperature phone." Whenever I get it out, he wants to put it up to his ear and talk on it...and I have his accurate temperature before he can say "hello...blah blah..bye bye!"
Gee...I guess those medical professionals who work with babies all day must know a thing or two after all because, like the receiving blankets, the aspirators in stores (like shown at left) don't work nearly as good as the blue one you'll get from the hospital. I haven't tried the electronic ones so I can't comment on those. But, I can tell you it's not worth buying one unless you want a spare and can find the same kind you get at the hospital.
The Diaper Genie is probably the best one out there for odor control. I use cloth diapers but like to still use disposables for those first couple months when you can barely keep up with all the diaper changes. The only problem with the Diaper Genie is that the cost of refills can really add up. At $5-$6 per refill, you can go through several per month when your baby is little. Then as they get bigger and their diapers get bigger, you can fit less diapers in the bag before it fills up.
What I've been doing now with my 2nd baby is keeping a grocery bag by the changing table, where I toss in wet diapers and using the Genie just for the really stinky ones, mainly from my 2-yr-old. The good thing about babies' diapers when they are little is that the poopy ones don't really stink that bad either, until they start getting into solid foods. So, you could save a lot of money just using a waste basket or grocery bag for the first few months and emptying it often!
Batteries, Batteries, Batteries!
This is one thing that you may not think to register for while roaming the baby aisles, but if you register at Target or a similar store that also sells these items, be sure to register for a LOT of rechargeable batteries and a charger if you don't already have one. You will go through so many batteries in the years ahead with your kid's toys, it boggles the mind. My son's two favorite crib mobiles alone took a whopping 8 D and 2 AA batteries, which ended up needing re-chargeing at least once a week. You will save a LOT of time and money if you stock up on these now! I have these Energizer ones with the big "family charger" (charges all sizes) and I've been happy with them. They also have a 15 minute charger which I'd love to get.
Hopefully some of this info will be helpful to you if you are pregnant with your first...other seasoned mommies, feel free to share your own post-baby revelations with the rest of us too! :-)