Like most things these days, creating the perfect baby registry in the throes of COVID-19 is going to be different. If you’re not feeling so comfortable going to stores right now, we hear you, but don’t worry—an online registry is the next best thing. For one, it comes with perks—specifically, you can do it on the couch in your cozy PJs relaxing—and going all virtual makes it easy to share with family and friends right away. But picking out all baby basics and then some exclusively online can be overwhelming, so that’s why we’ve got tips for doing it with ease. Read on to find out how, and for everything baby, be sure to check out the NJMOM Virtual Baby Expo happening November 19-21.
Featured photo via @HazelBabyStore
The perks of an online baby registry
Though you may feel like you’re missing out on the “full” experience of creating an in-store registry, there are many benefits to a digital experience from the comfort of your own home. “Registering online is easy to do, and if you change your mind, it’s simple to swap out what you want, as opposed to going back to the store,” says Ashley Blossom of Hazel Baby and Kids in Jersey City. It also gives you the gift of time (something all expectant moms tend to be short on). Since there’s no need to feel rushed or intimidated, and you can spend time researching the brands and products before you add them to your cart.
Decide on the Registry
The next step is deciding where you want to register. Big box stores like Target and Buy Buy Baby offer a soup to the nuts experience of registering for everything you could ever need—from the little stuff like bottles and grooming kits to bigger ticket items like car seats and strollers. Consider also registering with smaller, local specialty stores like Hazel Baby, Bambi Baby, and Pottery Barn Kids, which can give you a more personalized experience and a selection of specialty and splurge items you might not find at the other stores. They also may offer gifts for registering with them and other extras like future discounts. If you’re planning to register at more than one store, consider Babylist, a site that lets you make a master list from various stores, so everything is organized in one spot. The added benefit? Their expert advice on gear and the essentials makes picking out what’s on your baby registry that much easier.
Have a strategy
You’ll want to plan your baby registry just as you would in-store. Divide your list into wants and needs, and then by product sections, including what you’ll need for feeding, diapering, travel, sleep, bathing, and clothing. Adorable headbands or stuffed animals might be cute and tempting – but stick with the basics first. Make sure all the “essentials,” including a stroller, car seat, bathing items, feeding items, and bassinet, are at the top of your list. Then, have fun with the rest. Ashley shared some of her personal favorite “must-haves” that you should go ahead and add to your list, too, including Zutano booties to keep little feet warm and snug, the fan-favorite Sophie La Girafe, and the Wee Gallery Activity Pad.
Take a virtual walk-through
Now that nearly everything in 2020 has a virtual option, you can visit a store from your screen. Some like Bambi Baby and Pottery Barn Kids allow you to make virtual shopping appointments with a specialist. The specialist can guide you through testing products, helping you fill out your baby registry, and point you towards the essentials that every new mom needs. If your local store doesn’t offer virtual appointments, ask if you can do a Facetime or Google Duo with a sales associate—most stores are being accomodating during COVID.
Do your research
If you’re stuck between two items, brands or find yourself lost in a sea of swaddles, you have a few options to help. If you have any recent mom friends, ask them for their advice. You can even set up a Facetime call while looking at your options. Ashley believes that some of the best advice on what to include on a registry comes from other parents. She says, “Ask your family and friends with young children for their must-have items. Cross-check what each of your friends has to say–if it’s mentioned more than once, it’s probably a must.” If your mom friends now have pre-schoolers and your mom can’t remember the last time she changed a diaper, check out online reviews, which can help give a real look at how gear works and what you do (and don’t) need. Babylist also has a bunch of guides with tested reviews and essentials. And when you’ve put the final touches on the baby registry, put up your feet and take a break, mama—your work is done (for now).