A JOURNEY IN RUNNING, LIVING, LAUGHING AND LOVING

Baby registry tips for those registering AND those buying (there's a lot I didn't know!)

Saturday, January 3, 2015

My friend Ashley texted me yesterday and reminded me that we're having a baby next month. NEXT. MONTH. I'm trying to let that sink in a little bit, as it still seems totally surreal that we're getting that close to our due date (just six more weeks!)! 

We've spent a lot of winter break trying to get the nursery ready (blog post coming soon!). We've also been spending time trying to figure out what we still need for our baby. Being first time parents, it's hard to know exactly what we're going to need for Baby P. Thankfully, we've gotten a lot of advice from our friends and experts (bless you, Consumer Reports!).  

But, there are still some things we've learned that I want to share with you today. These are things I definitely didn't know before even though I've been purchasing off of baby registries for years! Hopefully this will help those of you registering and those of you purchasing off of said registries! 

Registry Basics

For starters, we registered at two different stores: Babies R Us and Target. While Babies R Us had mostly everything we wanted, Target did have some different colors and patterns that we liked better, so it was worth it for us to register at both. But if I really had a choice, I'd register at...

Buy Buy Baby

If we had a Buy Buy Baby anywhere near us, I absolutely would have registered there! Buy Buy Baby is owned by the same company as Bed, Bath, and Beyond and operates in the same fashion. They are incredible about returns and often send coupons for 20% off one item, just like Bed, Bath, and Beyond does. They do have an option to register online and not in store, but I'm one of those weird people that likes to see and touch every item we're putting on the list. If that doesn't bother you, though, and you don't have one nearby, go for it! 

Babies R Us

1. Break it up. 
This is the first store we registered at, and it is by FAR the mecca of all baby items. I will be 100% honest and say I always have and probably always will be intimidated by this store because there's just SO much in it! We broke it up in to chunks and went over three different days to register because there was a lot we hadn't talked about before (like, what kind of stroller did we really want, and what pattern of Pack n Play and swing did we like the best). Breaking it up really helped us maintain our sanity! 

2. PRO: Score some freebies.
Babies R Us gave us a nice gift bag upon registering with them that included a guide of items we might want to register for, coupons, diaper samples, and a bottle for baby. They gave us water bottles too (it's necessary to hydrate as you choose all those items!)!

3. PRO: Ask about a Rewards program. 
I love Babies R Us, and they've been great about any questions we've had so far. Babies R Us also offers a rewards program called Rewards R Us. We signed up for a rewards card and everything that is purchased off our registry helps earn us Rewards Certificates to be used later. Our purchases count too, of course, so this can add up to a lot of diapers, wipes, and other essentials for little to no cost to us. 

4. CON: Keep an eye on those gift receipts. 
My one complaint about Babies R Us is that gift receipts do not specifically indicate which items were purchased on each receipt. There is a line for people to fill in what they got you, but as someone who has bought gifts from this store for years, I can safely say I never filled that line in either. My best advice is to keep track of receipts as you open gifts and write down what the receipt is for. In the event that you have to make a return, you won't have to go to the store with a fistful of receipts just to find the one you're in need of. 

Target

1. PRO: Target has a different selection on certain items. 
We knew we wanted to get a Rock n Play for our baby, as my friends all swear by them! The selection at Babies R Us was decent, but they were very sex specific. Since we're staying team green until Baby P arrives, we wanted something a little more neutral. Target had an awesome minty green Rock n Play that was totally perfect for us. Babies R Us didn't even offer it online! 

2. CON: Customer Service was hit or miss. 
We had the glow of new parents on our faces when we went to register at Target. We went to Customer Service eager to get started, but the woman who set us up was, ehhh. She didn't seem to be in a great mood, and she really didn't spend much time explaining how to use the gun, where the items were, and what the functions on the digital screen did. Unlike Babies R Us, the baby section at Target is not their only priority, and I had to remind myself of that. However, they've been helpful with returns, which is great!

3. CON: The registry is not updated constantly. 
So, we had way less items on our Target registry. But it didn't seem to get updated often. Case in point, we got the same set of onesies not once, not twice, but THREE different times. Yes, we registered for them, but we only registered for one set, and the registry online showed that only one set had been purchased! The second set, we had a gift receipt for, so returning them wasn't a problem. But, when I checked our registry online the next night, it then said that we had received 0/1 set, making it look like we were still in need of it! I decided to just remove it from the registry completely in the hopes that we wouldn't get it again. When the onesies appeared for a third time, we didn't have a gift receipt, so we had to return them without one. They were still nice enough to take them back, and they simply gave us a return that's linked to my driver's license. I'm guessing this is so they can track how often (and what items) we're returning without receipts. 

General Advice

1. Look at the guides on the websites. 
Both of the stores we registered at have a great online guide of suggestions. They will even show you that you've perhaps "missed" a category (for example, it will remind you to register for hangers, pacifiers, safety equipment, etc.). But, it will also show you that you're "missing" items unless you specifically attach something to it (for instance, it keeps showing us that we're missing a stroller at Target because we registered for one at Babies R Us, and it keeps showing us we're missing pants for our baby because we didn't register for the 4-6 sets the store recommends). 

2. Consider your lifestyle. 
We went back and forth for all of three minutes before deciding we wanted the BOB Revolution jogging stroller. It's really freaking expensive. But, we're runners. I plan to run a LOT with this baby. And to me, it's worth it to spend the extra money to have the amazing stroller that so many runner parents swear by. If I wasn't an active runner, I probably wouldn't have even considered a stroller that pricey. But it fits our lifestyle. Make sure to consider yours. Are you going to be in and out of the car a lot? It might be worth it to get an awesome, easy to latch car seat, even if it costs a bit more. What other factors of your lifestyle do you need to take into account? 

3. Try to keep big ticket items neutral if you're thinking about having more than one child. 
Whether or not you decide to find out the sex of your child, I think it's worth it to keep big ticket items neutral. Most are. Things like cribs and dressers tend to come in neutral palettes, but we saw a LOT of expensive items that are more geared toward boys/girls -- things like strollers, Pack n Plays, high chairs, and car seats. If you're thinking about having more than one, you may want to consider a more neutral palette, unless it won't bother you if your boy ends up in a pink stroller or your girl ends up in a truck-themed stroller. We also took this into consideration with painting the babies room, as we decided we will probably keep the same nursery and furniture for all of our future babies. 

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