What is a Baby Shower Gift Registry?

So, you are expecting a brand-new bundle of joy. All that little one needs is your deep and eternal love. Right?

Get real. That kid is going to need stuff. The cost of baby essentials can cost new parents anywhere from $2,500 to $7,500. And that’s before the cost of the hospital and taking time off work.

This is where family and friends can help. But how will they know exactly what you need? Walk into your local baby super store and you will find whole aisles devoted to pacifiers, bottles and sippy cups. Then there are cribs, car seats and strollers. Just leaving every decision up to the gift givers can leave them deeply confused. It can leave you with tough decisions as well. No one wants to go to a baby shower when the Mom opens three strollers and six swings but no clothes, diapers or books.

Because, let’s face it, there’s nothing a woman wants to do more than schlep a 40-pound stroller back to the store when she’s eight months pregnant. Then there are the questions. Did you keep aunt Mary’s stroller, or aunt Pat’s? Decisions. Decisions.

That’s where a Baby Gift Registry can help. It’s really just a list of things that you need to prepare for baby. How Does a Baby Gift Registry Work?

Once upon a time, that list was kept in a brick and mortar store. Your guests had to go to the store you chose and look at the list. When they purchased the gift, the clerk would cross that off your list. Then computers enabled family and friends to shop at stores across the country, as long as they were all part of the same chain.

But in a digital world, more and more independent gift registries have emerged. These registries allow you to link to virtually any item you wish for your child. It allows guests from around the world to choose, purchase and ship items that you need for your baby, encircling your family in love and support.

They work very simply. You simply fill out the online form with your name and information for the shower. Then you find the items you want online. Depending on the website, you either link the page with your desired item to the form, or you copy and paste the URL to the requested space. In almost every case, a picture will pop up to ensure that you have linked the correct item. After you complete the list, you hit send and will receive a unique link to the online list. You include the link with your invitation so that they can find your list. It’s also a good idea to include the website name so that your guest can search for you if they mislay the link. When your guests see your list, they can follow each link to your desired item. When they order the item through the list, the website automatically updates the list so that the next guest can see what you have already received.

Some new parents worry that a gift registry might make guests feel uncomfortable, or place unnecessary stress on a guest’s pocketbook. Nothing could be further from the truth. By filling out a registry, your making the lives of every guest easier. Not only that, but gift registries aren’t just for big-ticket items. There are lots of less expensive items you can list such as pacifiers, bottles and sippy cups. While these items are only a couple of bucks each, your baby will go through dozens of these things in the first years, and that adds up. These are wonderful items to stockpile. So, what do you need to add to your gift registry? Well, that depends. Let’s take a look at several common items you will need and are great to add to your gift registry.

Baby Registry Checklist

  1. Car Seat

    While it may seem tempting to use a hand-me-down, don’t do it! Infant car seats have a limited life span. The plastic gets brittle with age and could actually hurt a child in the event of a car accident. Additionally, the straps will stretch and weaken over time, no longer holding your child securely in the seat. Finally, car seats are notorious for being the site of spilled milk and exploding diapers. While many parts can be washed, it is difficult, if not impossible to get a used seat clean enough for your newborn. Make this a priority whether you purchase it or ask for it on your list. When looking at car seats, remember that it will need to change with your baby. Newborns need to be secured in a rear-facing seat. As they grow, older babies and toddlers need taller seats that protect their neck and shoulders. Consider getting a convertible car seat that grows with your child. But that’s not the only type of car seat combo on the market. There are also seats that pair with a stroller. The seat easily unlocks form the car and locks into a stroller that grows with your child. That takes us to the second most important thing for your gift registry.
  2. Stroller

    While you may want to carry your newborn, that baby is going to put on weight fast! Eventually, it will just be easier to push your child in a stroller. There are a variety of strollers on the market today that fit every lifestyle. Like to run? There’s a stroller for that. Prefer hiking? No problem. Have a tiny apartment? There are a variety of strollers that fold up. So, do your research. For many new parents, one of the most versatile choices is a car seat/stroller combo. While others opt for car seats that actually have wheels, making them easy to push sleeping children through airports and malls without disturbing them. Before you decide on any stroller, make sure that both you and your partner can push it comfortably, without stooping or bending over. This will protect your back when using the stroller.
  3. Monitor

    This is something every parent needs. It can be as simple as a microphone that allows you to hear the baby to a high-tech wrap that monitors the baby’s movement and oxygen levels and everything in between. More and more, parents opt to get video monitors that allow them to peek in on baby without disruption. Many models today not only send information to a base station, but also your cell phone. This makes it easy to keep an eye on your child even when they are with the sitter.
  4. Crib

    Like the car seat, many young parents find themselves fielding offers of old cribs. This is just as problematic as used car seats. Many older cribs had sides that dropped. These are strangulation risks. In addition, many cribs built before 2011 have rails that can allow a baby’s head to slip through the slats, another choking hazard. Along with the crib, be sure to ask for a mattress and crib sheets. Mattresses are often sold separately from the actual crib, so, choose a good one for your baby. In addition, when babies spit up or have diaper accidents, it isn’t uncommon to go through four or five sheets a week. So, stock up on your favorite colors.
  5. Bottles

    Even if you choose to breast feed, there will probably be times when your baby will need to use a bottle. Babysitters, and partners will both need to feed the child in your absence. So, bottles are a necessity. Some parents believe that it is important to let the newborn “choose” the type of bottle he or she likes. But, lets face it, She’s a baby. She probably doesn’t know what she likes. Instead, see which bottle fits best in your hands. Talk to your pediatrician and other parents you know. What is important is that you are comfortable, because you will communicate that peace to your baby.
  6. Breast Pump

    If you are breastfeeding, a breast pump is a must. As a newborn, your baby may not eat as much as you produce. Pumping allows you to relieve your breast tissue and freeze any unused milk for later use. Pumping also allows you to be away from your baby for extended periods of time. This means that you can go back to work, go out with friends, or even have a weekend with your partner while you are still nursing.
  7. Books

    Studies have shown that the single greatest activity to ensure success in school is reading to your child. A child who reads with a parent or caregiver every day will do better in every aspect of education all the way through college. Reading to your baby teaches him to associate happiness and satisfaction with the written word. So, adding books to your list is a great way to let family and friends play a part in your child’s success.
  8. Blankets

    You will need a variety of blankets in different shapes and weights. However, you won’t use them to cover your baby while sleeping. Blankets in a crib are a serious choking hazard. Instead, lightweight blankets are great for swaddling newborns. You can also use blankets to cover your breast if you are uncomfortable breastfeeding in public. Blankets are also a great way to create a clean space wherever you might go. You can spread a blanket on the floor for “tummy time,” play time, or even an impromptu changing table.
  9. Pack and Play

    Like car seats and strollers, many modern pack and play designs incorporate more than just a play pen. Most have a bassinette component that allows you to put a newborn in your room safely. Some also have a changing table area making diaper time a breeze. If you choose to add this to your list, be sure to add a couple of pack and play sheets. This makes it easy to keep the item clean and fresh.
  10. Baby Carrier

    There are a wide range of baby carriers on the market today. Some have a variety of snaps, buckles and straps to hold your child securely to your chest. Others are simpler, little more than a large swath of fabric. These have the advantage of being easier to use and launder. Both allow you to keep your child close to you, encouraging bonding, while leaving your hands free.
  11. Bouncy Seat/Swing

    Eventually, every mom needs to go to the bathroom, take a shower, or answer the phone. Having a bouncy seat or swing gives you the chance to set your baby down while keeping him both safe and happy. These seats move slightly, mimicking the movement in the womb or the sensation of being carried, so the child has a familiar feel.
  12. Diaper Pail

    Into every life a little stinker must fall. A high-quality diaper pail or diaper system is vital to keep the odor down. There are many on the market that range from high-tech diaper containment systems to simple covered trash cans with your average kitchen trash liners. If you go with the higher end systems, be sure to add refills to the list.
  13. Feeding Time

    It’s hard to imagine, but before you know it, that tiny baby in your tummy will be eating at the table. Your baby gift registry is a good time to think about whether you want to use a high chair or a booster seat. Both work well. Many booster seats can be removed easily and fold up, using minimal space in a small kitchen. But high chairs have the advantage of keeping a wiggly toddler contained. While you are thinking about chairs, consider what type of food you will feed baby. There are a wide range of gadgets to help you make your own, homemade baby food. Don’t forget BPA-free baby spoons, bowls and sippy cups along with bottles and nipples. You may also want to consider a bottle warmer for baby’s room, making middle of the night feedings just that much easier.
  14. Baby Bathtub

    Having a soft and secure place to bathe your baby is another major safety feature. There are many different types that are designed to fit in the kitchen sink, on the counter, or in an existing bathtub. Choose the type that works best for your living conditions.
  15. Pictures

    Sure, you can add those designer prints that will make your baby’s wall pop, but you can also hang pictures of the people that mean so much to you and your baby. Toward that end, be sure to ask your guests for pictures and frames that you can hang on baby’s wall so that she becomes familiar with their faces, even if they live far away.
  16. Toys

    Whether you put them on the list or not, people are going to give you toys. So, unless that sock monkey has deep sentimental value, don’t add it to your list. Instead, add larger toys such a play mats, or baby gyms. Also, think ahead. Your baby will grow quickly. Look at toys designed to help your baby strengthen growing legs such as walkers and riding toys. Don’t forget to look at seasonal toys like sprinklers or baby sleds.
  17. Personal Items

    Is everyone in your family an avid skier? Then ask for an infant snow suit and extra puffy mittens. You and your partner Green Bay fans? Ask for that baby cheese head hat. Did you meet your partner in college? Almost every college in the country make “future alumni” onesies. So, don’t be afraid to ask for those fun little items that you can put on your baby. Never forget, they grow up so fast. And those embarrassing pictures you took of your baby make great blackmail items when he’s a teenager.

Other Considerations

Beyond these specific items, there are other things to think about when making your gift registry. It is easy for any parent to be to get lost among all the cute items just begging to be part of your child’s life. But, you want to add gifts to your registry that your friends and family will see you use and value.

  1. Gender Neutrality

    There are more and more studies emerging that talk about the benefits of gender neutral baby items. It makes a lot of sense, if you think about it, especially for a first child. For example, if you have a little girl, you could deck out the nursery in pink, Disney princesses, complete with a princess crib and a bright pink ruffled stroller. But what happens if your next child is a boy? You could put him in a bright pink princess bed. He probably wouldn’t know the difference, but you would. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep larger items on your gift registry gender neutral. You can always add accent touches to your list that can easily move to a regular bedroom as your baby matures into a child.
  2. Religious Items

    When you have a child, you are initiating that child in the faith you share. So, don’t be afraid to add gifts to your list that reflect your family’s beliefs. They might be as large or expensive as a christening dress, silver child’s Kiddush cup or as simple as a picture of angels or a child’s cross. Plaques or medals with prayers of protection are also lovely additions to any gift registry list.
  3. Thinking Ahead

    Don’t just think about the items you will need the day you come home from the hospital. Your baby is going to grow and grow fast. So those adorable little newborn outfits will hardly get any wear before they’re too small. Instead, add clothes in a variety of sizes, especially for those super cute “fancy” clothes such as smocked dresses and little suits. Additionally, don’t forget about the change in seasons. If you have a winter baby, be sure to add that cute bathing cover-up in a six- to eight-month size. The same holds true for winter garb.
  4. Peripherals

    So, you have all the big items, clothes, and toys. But what about the little things? There are hundreds of small items that you will need for your baby in the first year that are just the kind of thing that a friendly co-worker or strapped pal can give individually or as part of a gift basket. Add things such as baby thermometers, pacifiers, nail clippers, baby sunscreen, teething cream, fever reducer and ice packs. Don’t neglect household items such as baby laundry detergent, body wash, shampoo and lotion. You might also consider adding toxin-free cleaners for highchairs and food prep.

Special Gift Registry Situations

Families come in lots of different shapes and sizes. They also come together in different ways. There are many different situations that require special handling. Here we will look at a few.

  1. Twins

    They are double the love, but not really double the trouble. You will need two of many items for a twin gift registry, but not everything. You will probably only use one bathtub at a time. In a similar way, you can only carry one child at a time in a baby carrier, so don’t purchase more than one for each adult in the family. But each child will need her own car seat and crib. However, look for a good double stroller, there are a wide range of great strollers designed for twins on the market today.
  2. Adoption

    Sometimes your new child isn’t a newborn. Adopting an older child should still be celebrated, and you will still need things. You will need a car seat. Add one to the list that fits our new child’s weight. If you are adopting a baby, a toddler or a preschooler, you will certainly find a stroller useful. In addition, give a lot of thought to asking shower guests to bring pictures of themselves so that your new addition can get to know the people that already love her.
  3. Special Needs

    With more prenatal testing available than ever before, sometimes parents know that their newborn will have some challenges. Other times the child makes an appearance before the baby shower. Preemies and Specials deserve the same celebration as any other child. Talk to your pediatrician to learn what your child might need. Some children need special nipples for feeding. Others might benefit from toys designed to encourage motor skills. Don’t hesitate to add these suggestions to your gift registry.
  4. Blended families

    A new baby in a blended family can be a special time of both joy and stress. Older siblings can have a variety of feelings that need to be dealt with. Siblings that are just a little bit older may have a hard time understanding why the baby gets so many presents. Even pre-teens and teens may feel a little left out. Making a gift registry together is a great way to include the whole family in the new birth. And, it doesn’t hurt to add a book or small gift for big sis or bro.

Baby Shower Gift Registry Invitation Wording

You want your guests to feel special and let them know where you are registered to make their participation as easy as possible. When wording your invitation, just have fun. Make sure to include the details such as time and date and where you are registered. If you know the gender or name of the baby, and feel like sharing, go ahead, but don’t feel as though you must. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

  1. General

    Here’s the date [details] and here’s the hour. [details] Come celebrate our baby shower!
  2. Seasonal

    Come one come all! There’s a brand-new person coming this fall!
  3. Girl

    Forget sugar and spice, this baby needs everything nice. Join us for a Baby Shower for [name] at [time and location] we are registered at [link to website].
  4. Boy

    We’re pleased as punch and filled with joy, come celebrate our baby boy! [details]
  5. Christmas Theme

    Our Silent nights are almost over! Join us to celebrate before our greatest gift gets here! [details]
  6. Cooking Theme

    We have a bun in the oven, so “bake” our day by celebrating with us! [details]
  7. Co-ed Theme

    It may take two to Tango, but we’ll soon be three with glee! Come celebrate with both of us! [details]
  8. Religious

    A true gift from God above, come welcome our baby with gifts of love. [details]
  9. Gender Reveal Shower

    Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, how we wonder what you are! Come find out who will rule our world! [details]
  10. Nursery Rhyme

    Hickory Dickory Dock, there’s about to be a new baby on our block!

Gift Registry List

Baby Registry List

7. Pack & Play

The Graco portable nap and play changer grows with your child. It has a bassinette and changing table for your newborn that are easily removable. When your child is older, you can use it as a safe play yard. The thin mattress makes it a soft place for your baby to explore. Don’t forget the sheets!

12. High Chair

This high chair converts from an infant chair with a slight recline, to a toddler high chair. As your child grows, it becomes a toddler, then a youth booster seat at the family table.