Considering my shopping phobia (the germs, the claustrophobia, ugh), I had mixed feelings about going to register for baby stuff. Of course, I was excited to start prepping for her arrival! But I knew from lots of research that it was going to be overwhelming. I found that registering for our wedding was overwhelming - so I imagined this would probably be crazy.
Well, knowing that it was going to be overwhelming, I did lots of research ahead of time. I posted about some resources that were helping me in my research. The book that I really recommend is Baby Bargains. I cannot rave enough about it. It simplified the process for us, gave us a sample registry, grades for deciphering between brands, and lots of other useful information. Also, I happen to have an extremely organized old work friend who gave me a spreadsheet of all of the necessary products to have for a new baby, with notes on each item about favorite brands, what worked, what she hasn't used, what she would die without, etc. Using these two sources saved my life. I won't bore you with the list on the blog, but if you're interested in the list please send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'll break up our decisions into a few different posts. Not all of the decisions, but the big things like strollers, furniture, car seats, diaper bags, and any other products that stand out.
But first, where did we register? We used to live near Buy Buy Baby and knew that we wanted to register there. It is like the superstore of baby products, organized beautifully, has awesome customer support (you can even have a personal shopper walk through the store with you to register. We opted not to since I had done so much research ahead of time - but honestly, it still would've helped to have this person to help navigate the options), and carries the high-end and low-end options.
The downside of this store is that there are very few locations. We drove the 1-hour drive specifically to register here. So I highly recommend seeing if a store is near you, even if it is a little drive.
Since there are so few stores, we also knew we'd need to register at at least one other store to make sure that people not living in the Montgomery County, MD area had a place to go. I checked out a couple other places, but ultimately decided to add some things at Babies R Us. Some of the things we wanted to add were carried here, so that helped us make the decision.
Finally, a few things we wanted we aren't getting at either of these stores. More on this later.
While registering was overwhelming, I recommend doing research before you go to help narrow down your choices. And honestly, I felt so knowledgeable, especially when we would walk into a certain section and I knew exactly what brand is recommended by parents, rated well for safety/durability/quality, and priced well. I also knew what items to skip or wait on. We saw some people picking out strollers or cribs that had been rated an F from the resources we were relying on - I was grateful not to be in that situation.
Bottom line: Registering is fun and overwhelming and exhausting all in one (my body ached afterwards). But doing your research ahead of time can help simplify the process and allows you to get the best products for your baby while considering your lifestyle and budget. Don't go in assuming all the products sold are safe, durable, and are made of good quality (or materials - think about where the product is made - the country probably has different safety regulations in what materials may be used than what you are comfortable with). Cribs sold must meet certain safety standards - but this is a floor and not a ceiling, meaning they simply have to meet these standards but they can certainly be made safer after that.