The Maternity Glow Guide To Choosing The Best Baby Registry
After finding out that I was pregnant, one of the first things I did was set up my registry.
I couldn’t contain my excitement and started cooing over all of the cute and cuddly baby things on my list.
I had to have it all!
Thankfully, a good friend slowed me down.
She told me to focus more on where I was registering, and not as much what I was registering for.
I had no idea that there are some major do’s and don’ts when setting up a registry, and that I could reap serious deals and get some major steals by registering at certain spots.
So I put more thought into my registry and I ended up really satisfied with everything: from the products, to the discounts, the rewards, and even the returns.
So what are the best baby registries?
Read on to learn everything you need to know about your registry so you can have everything in place before you bring home the baby!
This guide checks in at over 4,000 words, so I've put together this table of contents for you to navigate around:
As a busy mom-to-be, I'm sure you're quite busy though, so if you just want to read my picks for the best registries, click here.
What Is A Baby Registry?
A baby registry is a place for mommies-to-be to make a major wish list of stuff they need for their baby, or would simply like to have.
It also helps friends and family have a sense of direction in regard to the gifts you’d like to receive at your shower, as well as a general idea of your style or nursery theme or colors.
Anything or everything can be placed on a registry, from diapers and wipes, or even a crib and nursery glider.
It’s wise to structure your registry with items that hit a wide range of price points to accommodate your shower guests’ budget, and include many necessities that will help you be fully prepared for your baby’s scheduled (or not so much) arrival.
Once your list is generated from a venue (or two), your friends and family members can access it online or in stores and when an item gets purchased, it gets removed from your master list (it’s tempting, but try not to peek before your shower!)
When Should I Create My Registry?
Most moms-to-be create a registry at the beginning of their second trimester.
At this point, you'll tend to get the green light from your doctor in regard to telling everyone since your risk of miscarriage is lower and you've actually had their pregnancy confirmed.
You have plenty of time to start thinking about your nursery’s theme, you'll find out your baby’s gender during the second trimester, and you'll also have baby on the brain, so you start to really think about all the little odds and ends that are needed in order to take care of a baby everyday.
Baby showers tend to get planned at this point as well, so it’s wise to have everything in order so your guests have time to budget and shop.
Waiting too long to create a registry can result in delays, and also make you feel frazzled or less prepared by the time the third trimester hits, so why wait?
Registering is a fun and exciting time, and it really sets in that you're about to be a mother soon!
What Should I Register For?
Knowing what exactly to register for can be tough. But, you can break items down into these main categories:
- 1Baby safety. Gates, a monitor, cabinet locks, and a thermometer
- 2Baby gear. Strollers, car seats, high chairs, and baby swings
- 3Baby sleep. Crib, mattress, glider, and other nursery items
- 4Baby feeding. Breast pump, bottles, burp cloths, formula, bibs, and a pacifier
- 5Baby clothes. Pajamas, onesies, outfits, socks, and shoes
- 6Baby health. Bath stuff, tub, nail trimmers, and nasal aspirator
- 7Baby diapering. Diapers, cream, and wipes
For a more detailed list, check out our baby registry checklist below, which should help you stock up and prepare everything in your nursery before the arrival of your little one.
The Ultimate Baby Registry Checklist
Once you start to browse the categories above and make your selections, it’s time to make sure you have enough of what you need prior to your baby’s debut.
The last thing you’ll want to do is have to run to the store or shop online! It’s helpful to have everything you need prepped and ready to go.
It’s advised you start off with the following, which are considered “baby registry must haves,” and you can fill other stuff as you go.
These items will make the transition home with your baby a snap, because you’ll have everything you need:
Bathing & Grooming
While some may argue that other items belong on the ultimate checklist, what I've listed above is pretty essential.
You can build up your supply as you go, but be sure to start off motherhood with at least those items to ensure ease and success at home and on the go.
Why I Recommend Registering With Amazon
Hands down, Amazon is the best place to register.
Initially, it was not the first place I had in mind. What a mistake!
Amazon is the best place to register because it is beyond easy.
Easy is the word you most want to associate anything baby related with. Trust me, your life will get complicated enough. Easy is best.
Amazon has everything you can possibly imagine. And, they offer their items at a very competitive rate.
Plus, many of your friends and family members are Prime and/or Amazon Mom members, so they can get free shipping and even apply some of their rewards points toward your purchase (which they can get at the last minute because they offer two-day shipping).
I also had no idea what a universal registry was. Amazon prides itself by boasting a special tool that allows you to add virtually any item you desire to the registry even if you can’t initially find it on their site.
How great is that?
Amazon also has incredible customer service and you can return anything, no questions asked within 90 days.
They even send out thank you cards to everyone who purchases something from your online list. Talk about a time saver!
The only thing Amazon won’t do is set all of your nursery items up (bummer).
Best Baby Registries
So, have I convinced you yet that Amazon is the first place you need to start when registering?
Here are more enticing details that outline the benefits, pros, and features of the registry.
First, Amazon is proud to have the largest selection of baby items on the planet.
There are tons of popular brands and various price points to complement everyone’s budget — the last thing you want to do is make it hard on your friends and family members.
Keeping Track of Your Items
Next, all of your items are on one page so you can keep track of your list with ease — I think I added and deleted items (swaddle blankets, crib mattresses, formula) at least once a week. You can even check your registry on the go, on any mobile device (because we all peek at the purchases).
Registering can be overwhelming, so Amazon has a very helpful jumpstart checklist, where they suggest great gear, and you can search through other registries for some instant inspiration.
Prime Member Benefits
All items can be shipped to your home, and the best part is all the perks of the registry. Expect to get free shipping and free returns on pretty much anything.
You even get a completion discount to ensure you get everything you registered for too. The discount gets bumped from 10% to 15% if you are a Prime or Amazon Mom member.
Another added bonus is that Prime and Amazon Mom members who register are also able to sign up for other promotions like a welcome box, a free parenting book, and other maternity related items for you (don’t forget to treat yourself).
I think the main point that sold me on an Amazon registry was the universal feature.
While the site had a lot of things I needed and wanted, I did end up moving a few items from elsewhere onto my list.
I just didn’t personally want to have more than one registry because I felt it was more efficient for me to just chip away at one list, rather than log in and monitor several.
Ease of Use
I also love that I could compose my list from the comfort of my couch. The site gave plenty of pictures, detailed information, and even videos that explained how the product was used, and in some cases, assembled.
I found it helpful to read reviews from users, and I took the thoughts into serious consideration because they were from parents who already used the items.
A registry should be hassle-free and give you lots of incentives.
Amazon did just that and I still thank my friend to this day for bringing the registry to my attention.
How To Make A Registry On Amazon
- Registering on Amazon couldn't be easier. Just click this link, click the "Get Started" button on the next page, and you're on your way.
A newer player in the baby registry field that’s popular with a lot of younger moms is Babylist.
Babylist works just like Pinterest (how easy is that?)—install their button to your browser to easily add items from numerous vendors (big name or indie) and keep track of them all in one place.
It makes perfect sense to have unlimited options, because who can just narrow down everything they want, from two main vendors?
I did it, but I feel like I missed out on a lot of great opportunities. And, because the registry is fairly new, it actually makes me want to get pregnant again, just so I can say I used it!
I must admit, it’s really easy to get carried away with adding pretty much anything to your registry, but that’s also the fun of it.
All items can be categorized and you and your partner can also have their own section. Your items can also be kept private, which many people prefer instead of having them out for anyone and everyone to see.
It’s neat because you can register for your everyday baby essentials (stroller, bottles, bedding, car seat), but also bigger things, like services or experiences.
You can even add cash requests for things like college, day to day expenses, or a new vehicle (like a minivan if you’re expecting multiples-hey, every last cent counts).
I had a few friends who placed babysitting services on it, as well as Mommy and Me swim classes, and even a baby massage session (how posh!)
Babylist also offers a welcome gift called the Hello Baby Box to new, active, and valid users who created their registry after 12/26/17.
It’s full of rotating goodies valued up to $160, including offers for your baby and yourself. Boxes are available at limited quality, while supplies last, for US residents (check out more details on Babylist.com). Some popular brands include Pampers, FridaBaby, and Boob Ease!
While it shouldn’t be the main reason you register with the site, the possibility of free goodies never hurts!
Just like other registries, Babylist sends you invitation inserts for your guests, and offers a 10% discount on completion, so you have the option to buy up anything that is left over. And, creating your registry is a cinch—you can do it from your desktop, or even on your phone using an app.
An added bonus? The site boasts “Happiness Heroes” which are a registry consultant of sorts, and you get free shipping on every order over $25, so your guests can get instant help and can save money on shipping (because big name brand stores usually only boast free shipping on orders over $50).
They can also get the best buy on the items you register for, because regular price alerts update your items when they get marked down or are on clearance (get it before it’s gone!)
Finally, if you’re overwhelmed with the registry process, the site has you take a lifestyle quiz so they can make appropriate item suggestions for you, based on where you live, the time of year your baby will be born, and your overall personality.
Babylist is easy and efficient to use, and it has nothing but the convenience of all parties involved, in mind.
Why limit yourself when the world is your oyster and you can have so many options at your fingertips!
#3. Target Registry
Target also has some pretty nice benefits if you register with them.
You can create a registry online or in their store if you are feeling adventurous (but I’ve found that by doing it online, you actually have more access to items that aren’t stocked in the store).
Like Amazon, you can check and manage your registry anytime you need, and all items can also be shipped directly to you. There are also registries to browse for inspiration, and the company also has a baby essential items list.
Target gives you a complimentary package filled with coupons and other samples (which you must pick up) once your registry is filed. Once your shower is eight weeks away, you and your guests can get a 15% off registry coupon completion discount off all the items and they will ship for free if they are priced at $25 or over.
A great perk of registering with Target is that you have up to one year for returns or exchanges, no questions asked. You can also get a 5% discount on other baby related items once you sign up for subscription savings (diapers, wipes, detergent) from brands like Target, Huggies, Pampers, and Aveeno.
However, the subscription savings aren’t as good as Amazon’s.
Your friends and family can also take advantage of buying some of your baby registry items (like a baby monitor, baby swing, or baby jumper) that are on sale (they will appear in red to show a discount on the registry).
The main downfall to the registry (and why I really prefer Amazon) is that the company does not honor any kind of completion discount for items that are not purchased.
#4. Babies R' Us Registry
Babies R’ Us registry is one of the most popular choices among mommies to be.
Some benefits of setting one up mainly include the Bonus Cash that you get after your baby is born. You get $5 for every 125 points that you earn (125 is equivalent to $125).
This applies even on the money that your guests spend on you! You have to sign up to become a rewards member, but this takes no time at all.
Also when you sign up to be a rewards member, you get special emails and coupons sent to you, so you can save even more money on the items that you need.
Babies R’ Us also has a partnership with What To Expect, so you will get to view their suggested registry items, as well as sign up for informative emails from their site.
If any of your items are not purchased, you qualify for a 10% completion discount. This will guarantee you can get everything you want (and still reap the bonus cash rewards).
Like Target, you have up to one year to do a return or exchange on all registry items, hassle-free. Often times, you register for something thinking that you’ll love it, but this is not always the case and you will need something different.
So, in this aspect, a hassle-free year return policy is helpful.
Babies R’Us also has a nice selection of items (like baby thermometers) and you can also read reviews from consumers before putting each item on your registry.
Also, like the other registries, you can update and delete items online, and create your entire registry list from the comfort of your home.
Overall, the discounts and promotions are pretty good, but not as good as Amazon’s overall.
#5. Buy Buy Baby Registry
Buy Buy Baby is very similar to Babies R’Us.
The site has a lot of helpful resources available for first time moms. They have a suggested shopping guide, articles about new baby care, and even an adoption checklist for those moms who may need specialized items.
You also get a free gift for signing up (but you have to pick it up in a store).
Buy Buy Baby also has a completion discount (10%), and will even give you a $25 discount off of a $100 purchase (25% registry discount) if you refer friends or family to sign up for a registry too. The company is affiliated with Bed, Bath, and Beyond, so the same referral can be applied to that store as well.
You can do easy exchanges or returns like the other stores, and if you have to bring your baby with you, there are family friendly rooms to nurse or change your baby in.
Register online or in the store, and also gain access to dozens of reviews so you have a better idea of what you are registering for, from moms and dads who have tried the items out.
You also get complimentary cards to send out in your shower invitations so your guests know your info. The store also makes it easy for gifts to be sent directly to you (which are helpful if you get something like a bassinet or jogger stroller).
Prices are competitive, and you can expect a large selection of items (changing tables, etc.) and brands to choose from (but not as large as Amazon’s).
Currently, there isn’t any kind of rewards program set up like Babies R’ Us, and they don’t offer subscription services or discounts like Amazon does.
But, overall, your guests will be able to access your items with ease, and so will you.
#6. Pottery Barn Kids Registry
One benefit of registering on Pottery Barn Kids is that the company truly does have some beautiful items. They are also high quality as well, so they will be durable and timeless.
I also love how bedding and pillows can get embroidered with a name or monogram for a small price. The items are also very personalized and unique.
I think the company does a great job with providing a lot of items to choose from that are unisex for parents who don’t wish to know what they are having, especially when picking out bedding and accessories.
While Pottery Barn does have some toys and baby items, you should mainly expect to register here for large items like nursery gliders, baby towels, bedding, baby carriers, and customized toys and whimsical novelties (rattles, embroidered diaper bags).
While the brand does have some beautiful stuff like high chairs, items are priced at a higher price point, and there aren’t usually many discounts for your friends and family members to take advantage of.
They can sign up to join the email list, but they will only save 10% off the first item they purchase. Every now and then, they will offer free shipping, so it’s wise to sign up to receive emails so you know when certain promotions are taking place.
Pottery Barn also has a completion program, so you get 10% off your left over items, up until six months after the birth of your baby.The brand also does a monthly drawing so if you have a registry set up, your name could be selected and you will win $1,500 toward your registry items.
Many moms to be like to register for gift cards from the site (which is actually a possibility of all the sites I’ve reviewed), and if you are having a design block you can chat with the designer to help you pull your ideas together to create the nursery of your dreams.
If you like the look of their items, but don’t want to set up a registry just for bedding, be sure to take advantage of Amazon’s universal registry feature and move the items onto your Amazon list instead.
The Do's & Dont's Of Registering
Do read reviews before registering for products. Parents have tried these items out and are giving their non-biased opinions to help you make a great choice (or avoid a not so great product).
Do keep it simple. Registering for too many items can leave you overwhelmed. Start with only the basics, and add more along the way (or get what you need as the baby grows).
Do ask questions and read registry guides. These resources are here for a reason. Trained staff can chat with you and help you make great choices, and guides will help steer you in the right direction.
Do have a variety of price points. Don’t feel guilty if you put a few large and expensive items on your list. If you truly need them, someone (or a group of friends or family) will take joy in this and pull their funds together to give you what you need.
Do share! Make sure you place registry cards in your shower invites so everyone knows where to shop for you.
Do register for what you want. A registry is supposed to be fun and useful. Don’t let friends or family members sway your choices.
Do look for items that complement your lifestyle. If you are an avid runner, register for a jogger stroller. If you plan to bottle feed, be sure to spend a lot of time researching the best bottles. If you like to cook, be sure to register for a baby food maker.
Don’t leave off toddler items. I know I said to start small and simple, but once you have the basics down, try to imagine your little one down the road and begin to think about some items that you think you’ll need (bigger car seat, trainer cups, utensils, baby bathtub, a potty, infant life jacket).
Don’t register too late. You want to give your guests time to shop for you! Register early in your second trimester and have your shower early in your third trimester.
Don’t leave your registry idle. Be sure to check in on it from time to time to make sure it’s showing purchases. If you think there may be a problem with it, it’s wise to address it immediately so the issue can be quickly resolved.
Don’t forget about health and safety items (nasal aspirators, swim diapers, baby car mirrors, stroller fans, etc). Lots of new moms get wrapped up in the bedding, baby clothes, toys, and things for themselves. They barely remember to register for baby proof items and grooming necessities.
Don’t stick with only one brand. There are many different brands that boast amazing items, so be open-minded and shop around.
Don’t register for personal items for yourself, like pajamas or new bedding. It’s best to keep things solely about the baby.
So, do you now consider yourself a registry expert?
Hopefully you have learned that Amazon is totally the way to go (though Babylist is making things close!) as the best baby registry place, but there are also other registries available in addition to the online site if you still want to take that route.
After reading my info, you are ready to register and bring home that baby because you have all of the items you could possibly need, thanks to a little planning and a lot of help from family and friends.