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Mothering › Groups › March 2013 Due Date Club › Discussions › Talk to me about registries... (Sorry, long as usual!)

Talk to me about registries... (Sorry, long as usual!)

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 

So, I am a first-time mom, and I have nothing.  Well-- not nothing.  See the "Have you bought anything for baby yet?" thread...  lol.gif


But I've started from scratch. 


Over time, I've put together a really comprehensive (yet well-edited) Amazon wish list that I plan on translating into a baby registry, and I visited a local cloth diaper/babywearing shop with a great online presence, and plan to register there as well.


It... seems like a lot. 


I mean, even though I won't be registering for a stroller, a crib, swing, infant car seat, exersaucer, etc., even many clothes...  I estimated, and the total is going to be $2000-3000 (not that I think I'll get more than half that as gifts), depending on how I decide to edit it further.  I don't feel like I am registering for anything unnecessary*, but I am trying to figure out what makes the most sense in terms of how I approach this...

FINE PRINT DISCLAIMER: I want to state for the record that DH and I are not super-comfy, but also not hurting financially, and I really could not care less if all I get gifted for this baby are lovely homemade cards.  To get an idea of my gift-receiving mindset, I was like... seriously delighted and surprised to get any gifts for my wedding at all, even though, duh!  People are going to give you gifts!  We have a lot of friends and family who want to buy us things, but they run the gamut-- I have aunts and uncles living in trailers on disability, and another aunt who is a successful doctor with an office in Upper East Side Manhattan.  Etc.  I don't really expect anything, but I also know we'll get some things, so a (diverse) registry makes sense for us, I think.  I've also used the wish list just to gather my own thoughts about what I need/"need." 


Okay, a couple of questions:


-Is there a "strategy" for this?  Should I only register for the stuff that's absolutely most critical, so I'm not disappointed when I get some very-nice-to-have-but-not-strictly-necessary things but my woven wrap or my diapers are still unbought?  OTOH, for example, is it a good idea to register for the few crunchy toys I'm interested in (even though they're not critical), since maybe... people like to buy toys and if I don't do that, I'll get even MORE MIC plastic cr@p?  (BTW, I am not banning all of that from my home, just plan on limiting it and not buying any myself.)  You know what I'm asking?  Strategic types?  Thoughts?


-How about a diversity of prices?  I feel like most of the things on the list are $10-25, with a few cheaper, and some in the $30-60 range, and just a couple things over $100 (car seat, one carrier that I MIGHT register for).  Any strategy there?


-Will it be okay if I don't register at a B&M store?  Pros and cons?  My BFF said B&M registries are for the old folks who like to go in and touch and feel things, and I have to say... There's exactly ONE person like that in our circle that DH or I could think of-- my Bubbe (paternal grandmother).  She still drives, likes to shop, but is stymied by the Internet (though she would give us cash or get someone to help her place an order).  But my other grandmother, even all the older folks we know, even the people who have to use a prepaid VISA gift card to shop online...  They actually prefer the Internet.  Per above, I'm thinking of A) the local diaper shop (B&M location not super-convenient for most people, though), as they are mostly an online operation-- they have free shipping on all orders. And B) Amazon.  I know I could register for a bunch of the Amazon stuff at a BRU or BuyBuyBaby, but it would almost all be more expensive, and I want a lot of stuff BRU and its ilk don't carry (like EC-related stuff, or unusual wraps or whatever).  If I did BRU too, I'd have like 3 registries...  Seems like too much.  Insight?


-Is this all a colossal joke, and I'll end up with 432 receiving blankets (I am registering for zero, figuring I'll get a few anyway), 63 frilly girly and/or uber-boy outfits (even though sex will be a surprise) and 15 packs of sposies (even though I am CDing/ECing)?  Not to mention, 5 copies of BabyWise?  orngtongue.gif


-What (generally) did you or will you register for, especially for your first?  And did you get much on your registry, or did people ignore it?  Were you happy with the store you registered with?  How did that work out for you?






*Really!  Because I've been reading MDC, etc., and honing for months!

post #2 of 36

I'm the last person in the world to be advising on this stuff (I'm clueless), but I love talking/reading    about it on MDC winky.gif. Seems like the expectations regarding baby showers and gift giving vary widely. Maybe it's a cultural thing? Maybe regional? At any rate, as I read  your post I was feeling like the answer for you will depend largely on how this stuff works among your friend and family group, you know??? When other people in your IRL group celebrate a wedding or a birth, what do they do? Do the guests abide by the registries or do they do their own thing? I feel like this will give you more info about what to expect in your own situation than anything that any of us could tell you...


Of course I'm not trying to tell you that you should have the same type of celebration as everyone else in your family group, or that you should register for the same types of things. I'm just working from the assumption that people tend to stay pretty stuck in their ways with stuff like this, so if they've gifted hand made knitted baby sweaters to the last 5 pregnant women they knew, they will likely gift you one as well, no matter what you've registered for. Unless you butter them up in advance and request that they knit you a wool diaper soaker instead, winkey wink.


Looking forward to hearing about everyone else's more direct experiences!

post #3 of 36
Thread Starter 

No, that's great thinking, LF!  It really varies a bit, as DH and I have such wildly diverse groups of friends and family.  Some more crafty, some would probably like to buy different things or give hand-me-downs.... I think.  (Which would be fine by me!)  A number of people have been asking us what they can buy/if we're registered or will be registered, though.  Plus we have a fair number of folks overseas who would be more likely to "send" something by ordering off of an online registry or whatever, than by paying $$$$$$ to actually ship anything from Asia. 


I'm admittedly a bit at a loss when thinking about it, though... I haven't been able to attend any of my cousins' relatively recent showers (3 in the past 6 years), so I don't know how those turned out.  I actually threw my BFF's shower ~1.5 years ago, and I think she got a lot off her registry, but her group of friends and family is more uniformly (like 80-90%) middle-to-upper class east coast white people, and I get the feeling they tend to do the registry thing more often than not.  That's pretty much my entire recent experience with showers, though-- and I was married 14 years ago, so...!  I did get mostly registry gifts then, but I also get the feeling that people are more likely to make things or get what they think you need for babies vs. weddings...  Can anyone confirm/deny?


This is so weird, LOL...  I feel all greedy even discussing it-- I seriously have no expectations that I'll actually get anything, even though I'm sure I will.  It's just that since I went to that consignment sale with my BFF, she kinda planted a bug in my ear about it.

post #4 of 36
the advice i got the last time around was to register for what you what/need, and only what you want/need, but make sure there are items available at all price points. and it really worked!

in terms of the need/want divide, always lean toward the need.

there are always going to be people who go rogue and go off-registry, but, hey. it's the though that counts, right! there's always goodwill for the bizarre, intricate plastic dish set from grant aunt thelma.

i'm in the same situation as you with relatives on disability and others that can afford all the best things in life.

register for those wooden european toys, baby carriers, and a car seat, but be sure to include small items that are affordable and that you will also need: cloth or sposi nursing pads, Lansinoh for tender and cracker nipples, a Sophie, a photo frame you like.

and, also, i just read a fun article about having kids on the huff po. the author reminded us that pioneer women had children,too. if we find ourselves getting caught up in what we NEED to have and do for the babe, ask ourselves, did a pioneer woman need to do this. she was exaggerating, but i think she really gets the point across. really all you need are clothes/blankets, diapers, a place for babe to sleep, and food for babe. and a car seat if you have a car. the rest is gravy!

post #5 of 36
Thread Starter 

Great advice, Writinglove!  Looking over my list, I think it's more like $1000-1500 worth of stuff I "need" for the first year or so (and I'm not doing a lot of the pricey "must-haves" like stroller, infant car seat, changing table, blah blah blah-- and no nursery at all for us!)  But $1000-1500 is the Brand New in Package price-- if I were paying (or do pay) for all of it myself, I could do it for maybe $400-600 (in addition to what I've already spent).  


ETA: Oh, and I am def going to register for things like Lanisoh and cloth wipes, etc.-- lots under $15!  Only a few toys, books, music.

post #6 of 36

I never added up the total for my registry first time around, so I have no idea how much it was. I do think people liked having a variety of stuff to choose from... I know when I'm buying from a registry, it's fun if there are a few different types of items in my price range to choose from. I think a few toys or books are absolutely fun and fine.


I think most of my gifts last time were off the registry, more than I actually expected. I had some clothes on there just to say - give me clothes if you want, and it seems like I got ALL the clothes I registered for... It's also nice to get a few clothes in larger sizes, because those newborn days go so fast!


I think it also can also be nice to put a comment of sorts at the top of the registry, like say something about your openness to off-registry, hand-me-down, or hand-crafted things?

post #7 of 36
Thread Starter 

Good idea, madelaine!  I can also make sure my BFF (who will probably throw the shower) puts that in the invitations.


The clothes I'm registering for are the most basic (and the ones I want most)--


-A bunch of basic white shirts to dye (since we want to stick mostly to gender neutral, we're doing EC, will be WAHP, and we'll have warm weather by the time Buko is 2 months... I foresee a lot of "diaper (maybe) + shirt + nothing else" "outfits").


-Babylegs knockoffs (see above)


-A couple of sun hats


I think that's almost all of it!  I don't want to register for loads of clothes... with the thinking that I have already shopped/will shop for a lot of those at yard sales and whatnot-- for like $1-3 apiece.  I wouldn't turn down some cute Hanna Andersson or anything!  But even though I'm a bit fashion-conscious personally, I don't feel we need pricey clothes.  Or, rather... I don't want anyone buying clothing over $10 rather than a cloth diaper or a Sophie, and I figure some people will buy clothes even if I don't register for them.  Is that sound reasoning, or no?

post #8 of 36

Ah... registries, registries.  I only had a baby shower for my first baby, and registered for everything I *thought* I needed. hahaha! (Stroller, crib, bassinet, pack-n-play... all hardly used!) I laugh at my pre-kid self sometimes.  Although, buko, it does seem like you have a good handle on what you will actually be needing.  


Most people, in my experience, bought off the registry.  Examples of things that we got that were not on the registry are clothes (lots of them!), books, a few crafted items, and only one or two oddball things (like a ceramic tea set??).  


When I have the opportunity to buy for someone, I typically will buy a "set" of things that are indicative of my beliefs as a parent, but I usually do not go too far off registry.  An example.  My cousin had a baby and planned to breastfeed.  I got her a nursing bra, a pump, and milk storage bags (all on registry).  But I also went off registry and got related items like lansinoh cream, breast pads, etc) and included a little note with breastfeeding tips and how she can call any time with questions/frustrations/etc.  So I stick to the registry as a guide but will go off registry if I think something essential has been overlooked.  (I couldn't have gotten through nursing #1 w/o nipple cream!!! lol)  I went off registry for SIL and she returned what I bought her... :(  Only to re-buy it later because she found it was something she needed.  lol.


That being said, I think that keeping the prices mostly on the low end is good with only a few "more expensive" options and one or two "big ticket" items. 

post #9 of 36
Thread Starter 

Jodie, you buy the way I buy...  Even though I've never had kids before and don't come from experience, at the very least, I like to add a little personal touch to my registry gifts.  Like I will tie on a copy of Brown Bear, Brown Bear to the top of the bundle (DH's favorite baby book) or add something related, like you said. 


I am SO totally trying to procrastinate with work today, so I just did my favorite thing (besides making lists!)-- I did a little statistical analysis "for fun." 


<--- total dork


As I have narrowed things down even more since this morning, it looks like my potential registry breaks down approximately like this:


-1/3 of the items are under $10

-1/3 of the items are $11-15

-1/10 $16-25

-1/10 $26-40

-4 items from $40-60

-Exactly 2 items over $60-- the $150-200 convertible car seat and a $79 woven wrap


I was actually pleased and surprised that 2/3 of my stuff is $15 and under, and almost nothing over $60.  I also realized that my registry is so long (or it looks so long to me) because of the number of cloth diapers, which most people don't use/register for.  Diapers/EC stuff make up probably 1/3 of the cost and 1/2 of the number of items, so that explains that. 


I am definitely not creating/finalizing/publicizing any registry for at least a couple more months, since I figured I will have time to attend some more consignment sales and buy a lot of stuff super-cheap and used.


Overall, I am not depending on getting anything from my registry, and if I do, getting a good percentage of stuff I can't use/can't return... or at least don't need too badly.  I'll probably do much better than that, but I don't want to expect too much, YK?

post #10 of 36

buko! I am a cumpulsive list-maker, too!  :)

post #11 of 36

Can I make a suggestion?  Ask for books.  Children's books of all kinds, preferably those that have significance to the giver.  Some of the books my DD has loved the best have been because they came from someone special, with a story attached to them.  And you can make it clear, too, that they don't have to be new - my mom has scoured used bookstores and online sites for titles that I loved as a child (and found some of them, but sadly not the late lamented Fuzzy Wuzzy's Rainbow).  We've always had a great library for DD and we talk about who gave her what book every time we read one - a lot of them came from my baby shower - I specified that ALL I wanted was books and it worked great.  There's a vast range of money you can spend on books and people really seemed to like the specificity of the request.


Here's my take on it, and I'm trying not to be preachy judgey here but it's probably going to come across like that anyway... being born where they are, when they are and who they are, our children are being saddled with a huge environmental footprint before they're even out of the womb.  I'm certainly not immune to that and just being pregnant I'm doing all kinds of eco-bad things like ordering takeout food more and driving sometimes when I would otherwise walk, not to mention the extra five minutes under hot water in the shower in the mornings and whatnot.  Even if it's not YOU buying things, everything new that's bought for a child kind of adds to their karmic load, if you know what I mean.  When they're teenagers they'll have a moment of realization of all the plastic and oil and textiles they've consumed and all the food they've wasted and they'll compare themselves to some kid in sub-Saharan Africa or even a First Nations reserve on this continent and feel overwhelmingly guilty about how much of the stuff that's killing the planet they're personally responsible for and they'll feel awful.  At least, I kind of hope so.  My DD isn't there yet, but she does understand - sort of - that we don't buy new things generally because there's enough new stuff made that consumes a lot of resources and we don't need to encourage that.  Letting other people buy the stuff doesn't really change anything.  Books are still a major use of resources, but they ARE at least very pass-on-able, used for much longer than clothes or toys usually, and there's less stigma attached to used books than other used things, for some reason.


EVERYTHING you need for a baby can be purchased second-hand, and given that babies are not particularly dirty or destructive creatures (at least for the first year), even second-hand stuff is usually in really good condition, diapers included.  And buying things second-hand means keeping stuff out of landfills and more importantly, NOT giving manufacturers the idea that they need to make more stuff. 


It's also a good idea to buy things AS you need them, not to stock up in advance, because until you get to know your baby and your own parenting personality, you don't know what you'll really need.  Some babies need 10-14 of whatever they wear on a daily basis and you still end up doing laundry every other day because they're spitty, but other babies can happily wear the same onesie for three days in a row before YOU drop spaghetti on it.  EC works really well for some folks and they don't end up needing more than a half-dozen diapers past 3 months OR it might not work at all and your newborn might get big fast and you'll need fewer newborn cloth dipes and more larger-size ones... play it by ear, don't end up with piles of stuff you don't need.  Those piles are SO demoralizing when it's all you can do to keep your normally stocked house clutter-free and tidy.  With DD we got tons of stuff - and that was mostly hand-me-downs, but I wasn't yet wise enough to turn away batch donations - and walking into our room and seeing the piles of *things* I had to sort through almost made me cry.  Right now, you can't see your life in 7 or 8 months, but trust me - being able to tidy quickly and see the surfaces of your dresser or other furniture will far, far, far, far outweigh any benefit to getting piles of baby stuff ahead of time. 


So rather than buying (or requesting) tons of clothes in advance, wait to see what the kiddo is like.  You can ALWAYS send someone to a consignment store for a pile of onesies.  They're almost literally a dime a dozen and every kids' consignment/thrift store has them.  Same goes for bouncy seats, swings, carriers, even car seats.  Don't buy 'em til you need 'em and try before you buy if you can.


So, my take on registries is just say no.  Be the pain-in-the-ass difficult parent - I certainly got some complaints about it even from my relatively fiscally conservative family - but just say no.  Even if you think you need it, chances are you actually don't, and 90% of the stuff you get you will not use and end up giving away or selling on craigslist or just tossing in the garbage.


Edit to add: I'm sorry, I know I'm a real curmudgeon about this.  I know how fun it is to buy baby stuff and I don't like being all scroogey but the fun really doesn't make up for the subsequent clutter problems or the enviro-karma.  But I'm sorry anyway for being scroogey on your thread.

post #12 of 36

I haven't read through the replies, so I apologize if I repeat something that someone has already said. 
First off, if there is a spot to write a message to the people viewing the registry, definitely put in something like "no disposable diapers, please!" People will think that they are being super helpful, but they'd just be wasting their money. 
I would add a few more higher priced items to the list. Just because MIL was going to a baby shower and was complaining that there wasn't expensive things on the list. I guess if people are planning on spending a lot of money anyway, they want to get a big item out of the way so the parents don't have to get it (just my guess). 

Some people really like to go out and shop (especially for babies). So maybe make an alternate registry at a place where someone could go and physically shop? Or else you might end up with a bunch of stuff that you didn't really want, just because someone wanted to shop at a store.

On topic question: If you make more than one registry, do you repeat items? Right now we have registries at Babies R Us and Target. DP's family likes to shop in store. Do I want to include the some of the same items on both in case someone only looks at 1 of the registries? 

post #13 of 36
Thread Starter 
Spughy, I don't think you're being a downer at all-- in fact, I agree quite a bit. Not sure if you saw the part where I mentioned... I plan on buying a lot of this second hand-- most especially clothes-- and actually have already. So I hope by the time I actually "need" a registry, it will be much smaller. And anythIng I get new, I hope to use and reuse for a long time.

I do appreciate the reminder not to pre-plan too much... I have to balance that with the fact that, with my (actual) ADD, I find it a lifesaver to pre-plan a bit... Because otherwise I can end up in trouble quick (anxiety/depression)
post #14 of 36
Thread Starter 
I should add (sorry, on my phone tonight) that I shop for a living, so I do find I need to keep my consumerism in check at times.
post #15 of 36
Buko- I just wanted to weigh in and say I think you have the right idea and are doing a great job!
I am a planner, lister and love to analyze the numbers!
What do you do for a living?
post #16 of 36
Thread Starter 

Clothing resale...  so I'm pretty proud I haven't been stocking up on all kinds of crazy clothes, LOL.  In particular, I think I'm doing well by not even trying to buy any cold weather clothes for the latter half of 2013 (though it was tempting at the big consignment sale!)  Who knows what size my kid will fit into by the time he/she is 8-12 months old?  I will definitely wait and see on that. 


And thanks!  I think I can come off as a bit OCD, when the truth is that I have ADD/ADHD and I need extra structure to happily function.  It's been a little challenging off my meds for so long (since before my first pregnancy-- January)-- but amphetamines aren't exactly awesome for pregnancy!


I know there's tons I can't really prepare for, which I meditate to accept, LOL...  But the mundane ducks, I figure I can get more-or-less in a row before baby gets here.  Plus it's fun to think about.  winky.gif

post #17 of 36

I am also a first time mother - figuring out the baby registry stuff. 

I have recently discovered babyli.st - I have just set it up and am interested in if anyone has used it and has feedback.

What I like about it at first blush is this registry, compared to registering at a store, allows you to register anything you find online - including linking to services.  For instance I linked to my postpartum yoga class, or you could link to your calendar of meal delivery, or a site on how to do laundry in order to make virtual come over and do my laundry coupons.  The other lovely thing about it is that you can request that things come second hand.  People can 'reserve' an item without purchasing it.  Thus my friend who is going to give me her baby sling can reserve that and others know that is taken care of. 

We have prefaced the page with a note that we prefer re-used items rather than new.  Since we are in a situation where, while we are having our first baby, our friends have many babies and much stuff to be pass on.  This site seems like a nice way of organizing this.  We will see how it unfolds.

post #18 of 36

SamSarah- That looks really cool!  I am gonna pass that site along to my sister and her partner as they are expecting their first 2 days before me!!! (This is my 3rd, so I have all I need. lol.)  


Buko- My friend has a daughter who was in size 12 months at 12 months.  My children, however, were HUGE.  One was is 12 months clothing at 6 mos and the other was in 12 months clothing at 4 months!!!!  Crazy how many different sizes of healthy there are! :D

post #19 of 36

I've already registered at Amazon, Babies R Us, and Target.  The reason is that most of our relatives and friends are out-of-town, and even out-of-state, so everyone has different stores near them, and with Amazon it's easy for them to ship stuff (sometimes for free) if needed.  

I've done duplicates of things since I know some people will only look at once site or another.  If I get multiple things, I can always return or at least exchange them.  I felt that when I registered for baby #1, I didn't register for enough things, so people bought me stuff that wasn't very useful b/c they didn't know what I wanted.  The only thing I'm worried about is that I hope nobody sends or gives us anything big until much later, b/c we are now going to be moving across the country in a few months.

post #20 of 36
Thread Starter 

Jodie, I feel like I have NO idea how big our kid will be-- not to mention the breastfeeding weight gain curve being so different from the formula-fed steady curve.  DH and his sibs were all 6# and change at birth and grew differently after that, and in my family, we're anywhere from 7 to 10.5.

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