from the moms that have been there: how to build a registry

tips and tricks to help you simplify the first big hurdle of motherhood
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I’m going to level with you. I did not create my own registry. If you’ve already begun this process yourself, you might understand why. It’s hard. It’s overwhelming. It’s overwhelmingly [expletive] hard. A baby does not need a lot. But as a first-time mom, knowing what they actually need – and differentiating need from want – is a difficult task. They say that it takes a village to raise a child, and I was fortunate enough to begin my journey into motherhood with a small village already intact. And with their insight – and pre-built registries – I felt comfortable wading into these exciting but alarmingly vast new waters.

With her permission, I borrowed a registry that my sister-in-law had already made and I catered it to my personal tastes, needs and the gender of my baby. And I’ll tell you this: I don’t regret a thing. Her early wisdom was the greatest gift I could have received, because it helped me shape an initial understanding of what the day-to-day of life with a baby might look like. A diaper pail with maximum odor control? Why, yes, I would like to keep things fresh. A sound machine to mask unwanted noise and create a calm evening environment for baby? Sign us up, because that sounds quite nice.

So, no, I did not create my own registry. And I would go as far as to say that, if given the opportunity, you do the same. There’s no cheating in motherhood; we’re all here to help each other. And who to trust more than a sister, best friend or co-worker that’s been there and done that before you? Without a community, motherhood can feel incredibly isolating. (No village quite yet? Not to worry. That’s exactly what we’re here for.)

From the minimal registry-building that I did do, here were my biggest takeaways:

on feeding...

Register for a pump (if not covered by insurance, nursing bras and a nursing pillow. A bottle warmer is nice, but not an absolute essential, and you can 100% do without a bottle sterilizer – especially if you’re trying to save space.

on sleeping

Cribs and crib accessories are expensive. Note that, to start, baby will likely spend their first few months (or more) right beside your bed in a bassinet. But once they’re ready to sleep on their own, their space will need to be outfitted with a crib made to grow with them. To offset the cost of that designer crib you just bought for the nursery, consider requesting a mattress so that friends and family can shoulder some of the financial burden. And at the very least, request sheets to accompany their bedroom set.

also on sleeping…

Swaddles are an essential part of newborn life. And with so many uses, you can’t have too many. Make certain these are listed somewhere on your registry.

on strolling...

I veered off the beaten path on this one because a stroller is such a personal choice. Living in different climates and different parts of the country, my needs varied greatly from my friends and family that had already done this rodeo. My biggest recommendation: pick a stroller that best accommodates your lifestyle. And, because this item will literally become your ride-or-die, do a little research ahead of time. (In the event that Amazon or Instagram reviews aren’t giving you the information you need, Consumer Reports is a terrific resource for new moms.)

on teething...

One of the most tumultuous times for a new baby is when they begin teething. And because this consumes such a large part of their first year, it’s not a bad idea to request a stockpile’s worth of teethers (and pacifiers for when they just need simple soothing).
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