When we first walked into the store to start our baby registry, there was an infant sitting inside of one of those shopping cart covers designed to keep kids away from all the cart germs—only the fabric didn't extend over the back of the seat. She was sitting there, turned around, gnawing on the uncovered cart seat while her mom was turned to look at something on the shelf.
Looking at an entire store of baby items with a finger ready on the trigger of the registry gun, it is a little too easy to tag things that sound like good ideas or are extremely adorable—only to find out later they're not really as great as they sound. Even being around infants quite a bit, it’s different when you are shopping for baby gear for 24/7 and your particular lifestyle.
Registering for baby items is something I've been looking forward to since early in my pregnancy—picking out a nursery theme and all kinds of cute things to go with it. But there are also a lot of choices to make (where it’s more important to consider safety and functionality over the cuteness factor). Needless to say, I'm glad I started early enough to have enough time to go back to the store a few times.
I went into the store having all of the fun details already in mind. I'd already helped my mother-in-law pick out fabric and patterns for a handmade quilt, so I knew what colors and theme I was looking for. For a lot of the gear however, I wasn't quite so sure.
Is it better to get a car seat with a handle for easily carrying baby inside that will only fit for a year or less, or better to get a car seat that grows with him but doesn't have a handle? Should we get a car seat for each car? Do I really need a $350 double breast pump or will a single $50 one do? How do you pick out a safe crib mattress? Do I want a baby bathtub or just a seat to fit in the sink?
As I had a little fun with the registry gun, I was also really glad I brought my husband along with me. I have more experience working with infants than he does, but he picked out several things I honestly never would have thought of. I wanted to register for a wood high chair that matched our dining room, but he found one that was a high chair that later converted into a toddler-sized booster seat (and still matches!). He checked out how easy the stroller pushed and folded and how simple it was to take the car seat in and out of the base.
As much fun as it is to use a registry gun in the store, the online aspect added another level. We put two car seats on the registry, unsure of which one we wanted. When I went online, I saw one of them only had a one-star customer rating, with a review saying the seat tipped over with the child inside. It was quite easy to click a button and delete that one. Not to mention having online access makes it easy to add little things I forgot about in the store.
I'll probably go back to the store a second (or third or fourth) time after consulting with other new moms and I have already asked my mom to take one of those trips with me. But since the stress factor is minor compared to the joy of shopping for a baby (and daydreaming about all those moments to come bathing him with that seat, wrapping him in that blanket or shopping with him in a cart cover that completely covers everything within reach), I may even take a few unnecessary trips too.