Baby registries are a lot of fun… well… they’re supposed to be. It doesn’t take much for them to quickly turn into a horrible drag. Yep. We’re going there. We’re going to talk about the ugly side… the ugly truth about baby registries.
Your pregnancy is a journey of excitement, changes and a boatload of planning. You spend months preparing your home.
All of a sudden, you realize that your baby shower isn’t far off and you need to complete your baby registry.
You hop (figuratively… very few of us pregnant mamas are literally hopping anywhere) online and start filling out forms and clicking through baby gear and products.
Excitedly, you settle in and prepare for the fun. Then the hours start ticking by. You’ve made 475,356 trips to the bathroom, because that’s what pregnancy does to your bladder. Your back is now aching.
What’s more, you feel like you should thoroughly research each product you add to your registry to make sure your baby is getting the best items.
You don’t want to miss anything, so you click through every category, every item, read reviews, open 5000 tabs to check online sources.
The amount of products on the registry site feels like it’s growing–the more you click and research, the more products appear.
Where’s The End?
Baby’s kicking now, doing gymnastics on your bladder and using your back muscles as a trampoline. The amount of products is overwhelming and still growing faster than your headache.
What seemed like an exciting time at first is now frustratingly complicated. It’s tempting to just start clicking on items and adding things to your registry.
“That’s cute. Sure, I’ll take that. Why not? That’s fine. Okay, and that. I think I added this item by the other brand, but who cares?”
All that time and energy, all that frustration and work.
The day of your baby shower finally arrives and you unwrap box after box and bag after bag of all sorts of things… a good portion of them being baby clothing you’ve never seen before, let alone put on your registry.
They’re super cute and you’re loving opening them and showing them around, but where’s that baby grooming kit you wanted so badly? What about the humidifier, the bottle warmer, the curtains you added?
The Ugly Truth About Baby Registries
This article isn’t slamming the generosity of others. It’s incredible that we have the opportunity to add baby items to an online registry, have a party and then open gifts–things that belong to us that are brand new, for our baby, paid for by someone else.
It’s amazing and humbling. We should be grateful to have that kind of support.
The reality, however, is that when people are buying your baby shower gift, they aren’t really interested in that set of cute blackout curtains when compared to that adorable little dress or that cute bear hat with the ears. It’s just too tempting to buy those itty bitty socks rather than those nail clippers.
As a mama, you’re hoping you get that boon grass or the outlet safety covers. It may happen, but it’s also likely that the “not-as-cute” items will remain on the registry list, long forgotten.
You are so grateful for all the gifts. But you’re frustrated that you got only about 15% of your actual items on your registry and now you’re feeling guilty for feeling frustrated.
The other reality is that when someone is buying from your registry, they’re actually supposed to take the registry bar code up to the cashier to scan it, informing the system that particular item has been purchased.
This whole process is to avoid duplicates and it rarely happens. Which means duplicates galore.
Those duplicates, however, are your best friend. More on that in a bit.
Tips to Avoid the Registry Frustration
The Ugly Truth About Baby Registries
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Take heart. It’s alright. You’re going through a lot, so cut yourself some slack. Here are some tips to help you manage that frustration.
#1: Set Realistic Expectations
When you’re creating your registry, keep in mind that this is not a guarantee that you’re going to receive every item. This is just telling everyone, “Hey! I love this! I’d love to have this for my baby!”
When your baby shower arrives, remember that a good amount of your guests probably didn’t go off of your registry and expect to open other cute things.
It’s probably best to not start opening gifts hoping and waiting for a particular item. Just open each gift and appreciate it for what it is–an act of love and support from the giver.
#2: Have A Backup Plan
Not all items on your baby registry are of the same importance. There will be some you absolutely cannot live without.
If you feel that strongly about those items, make plans to purchase them yourself if you don’t get it from your baby shower.
You’ll probably get a lot of gift cards. Some may view it as less personal, while others view it as the most personal as it gives mama the freedom to buy whatever she wants.
Whether or not you agree, designate a place for those gift cards to go. If you have a premium baby carrier in mind, have a plan for how you’ll use your gift cards and set aside some cash to buy it. Be ready in case you don’t get that item from your registry.
Don’t bank on getting particular, super needed items from your registry without having a Plan B.
#3: Cash In Your Duplicate Items
It happens to us all. You’ll probably unwrap two, maybe even three or more of the same item. Those gift-givers are probably feeling disappointed since they just watched you open that exact item once or twice before.
That is the time to smile profusely and thank them anyway, reassuring them.
Duplicate items are essentially the equivalent of gift cards or cash.
You can return the item for a refund if you have a gift receipt–or at the very least, store credit–and use it to purchase something that you need.
Pro-Tip: Most stores will give you store credit for an item, even if you don’t have a gift receipt, if the item still has the tags on it and has never been used. Be sure and explain it’s a baby shower gift.
#4: Hoard Your Gift Cards
If you get a lot of gift cards and/or duplicate gifts, you have a little nest egg to work with.
Personally, I used a few gift cards for things I needed at the time and then I saved the rest. I put them in a little envelope and hid them in a small compartment of my diaper bag.
As I need to, I use them for diapers and baby items, which keeps our monthly costs down. They’re nice to have set aside for a rainy day.
2020 Update: Those gift cards lasted me nearly a whole year!
#5: Don’t Create an Enormous Registry
The ugly truth about baby registries is that yours is going to take time, effort and energy.
If your registry is huge and the number of guests attending your baby shower is only a fraction of the amount of items you’ve registered, you may have overshot.
Yes, there are out-of-towners who will purchase things for you and have them sent but that’s not going to account for most of your gifts.
-Keep the amount of guests attending your shower in mind when you create your registry.
-Add items by amount of importance, so that the things you want the most are added first.
#6: Keep Your Registry Cost-Realistic
Make your life a little easier and create your registry based around items that are realistic for other people to buy. If everything on your registry is over $150, you’re probably not going to have a lot of items from your registry.
You can make your life and others’ lives easier by selecting items that would be easy for any one person to purchase that would save you some serious time and effort.
Examples of this are:
- Crib accessories
- Burp Cloths
- Diaper/Rash Creams
- Baby Soap and Toiletries
- Car Seat Accessories
- Home Safety Items
- Toys and Books
- Baby Towels and Sheets
- Baby Clothes (in serious moderation) Feeding Accessories, Dishes and Utensils
- Baby First-Aid
- Inexpensive Diaper Bag
- Portable Baby Items (portable changing pad, etc.)
Other types of items that can be more costly and therefore may not be purchased are things like:
- Baby Carrier
- Travel System
- High Chair
- Baby Rocker
- Rocking Chair
- Other Baby Furniture
- Name Brand Diaper Bag
- Baby Monitor System
The Ugly Truth About Baby Registries
While some of the second list of items will probably be purchased for you, they’ll most likely come from family and close family friends. The upper list is likely to be purchased by your baby shower guests, coworkers and other friends and acquaintances.
Knowing what to expect and from where to expect it can help you plan and save some serious frustration.
If you know some of your immediate family is purchasing a particular item, maybe you don’t need to worry about adding it to the registry, unless they don’t live locally and are shipping your item to you.
One More Thing
Let’s just be realistic here, for a moment. You’ve probably already bought enough baby clothes on your own that were just so cute and irresistible.
You already know you’re going to get a lot more at your shower, so you probably don’t need to exert a lot of energy adding baby clothes to your registry, especially considering how fast clothes go on sale and are moved through a store.
Take that extra time to grab a nap or take a bath. You’re welcome.
#7: Make Your Registry Easily Accessible to Out-of-Town Buyers
I learned this the hard way. I chose large chain stores for my registry and found that they are so vast and varying from city to city.
Many of my out-of-town family and friends couldn’t find the exact item sizing or color from my registry and either ended up texting me for more information or sending me an alternative gift.
Meanwhile, a close friend of mine opted for an Amazon Baby Registry and was getting boxes of her exact items left and right.
Not only could she manage her registry easily through the app and select items from all brands and stores, all gifts over a certain amount (I believe it was $25) included free shipping.
It gave her all around more success with her registry than I would have thought and that I got on my own registries when it came to out-of-town shoppers.
I will certainly be using an Amazon Baby Registry next time. It will save so much time and frustration and give my out-of-town family a chance to easily buy and send the exact items that I ordered.
No more wondering down aisles, frowning at item codes and hassling with shipping.
#8: Let Yourself Be Excited About Everything You Get, Regardless of Your Registry
This is a wonderful, fun time. The best thing you can do is just relax and enjoy the moment.
If you’re Type-A, like me, you might find yourself stressing about all the gifts you receive, wondering what you’re going to do with them all.
Instead of stressing about it, choose to enjoy the fact that all these people love you and are excited with you, and took time to go out and get your baby something special.
Don’t stress about the extras and the random items and the stuff you didn’t get. It will all work out–really, it will.
You’re doing great. If you find yourself getting frustrated, just take some time away from your registry. Do it in chunks so you’re not pushing yourself past the point of enjoying yourself.
One more thing
Remember to thank everyone for their gifts. They spent time and money to support your day. Regardless of whether or not it’s exactly what you wanted, it’s still a token of their efforts, and they deserve a hug for that.
Hey, Sister! I’ve got your back! Here’s a free baby shower gift list download. Forget scrambling around to find a piece of scratch paper and just print this one! You’re welcome 🙂
Keep up the good work, Mama!
The Ugly Truth About Baby Registries