Baby registries are convenient - for the giver and the receiver. I think they're quite a handy invention.
That said, I also think the baby registry industry is a big, booming business that is non-personal, non-"green," and completely consumer. Baby registries encourage excessive purchasing and are not based on the reality of life with a baby. You really need very little - and many of the things you do need are not even available on typical registries.
I urge you to approach registering with a clear mind...and don't be persuaded by the glossy baby registry guides that you are handed when you sign up.
What to know before you register:
- Don't believe the baby registry checklists. In fact, you can just throw them away. Especially the "must-have" checklists. They're not even close to being accurate and they're designed to get you to spend lots of money. If you follow the list, you'll end up with tons of unneeded baby supplies and a very cluttered home. For example, Babies R Us lists a walker and a door jumper as "must-haves." Giggle lists a changing table, a bottle warmer, and baby powder as "the basics." Pottery Barn Kids lists a mobile and silver keepsakes as "what you need." Target lists a lamp with a low-watt bulb, a swing, and an activity mat as must-haves. Seriously. Throw that checklist away.
- Think beyond baby gear. Register for items that will make your life easier post-baby that don't necessarily fall into the baby category. This is one huge advantage of registering at a super store or online. Consider a Crock-Pot, a handheld vacuum, a camera, etc.
- If in doubt, don't register for it. Instead, wait until baby arrives to see what works for you. Or, better yet, borrow items from friends - especially gear that is only used in the first 6 months (bassinet, swing, etc.).
- Ask for intangibles. Hot meals after the baby's birth. A newborn photography session with a local photographer. A one-time "floor-to-ceiling" cleaning by a local maid service. These gifts will be ones that you truly appreciate...and they won't go unused or unnoticed.
YOUR TURN: What items did you register for that were unneeded? What do you wish you would have registered for?