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Snowsuits and coats. These items are an investment and you want to be sure they’ll fit. Think about it this way: Newborns often come out weighing six pounds. They also often come out weighing closer to ten pounds. That’s a pretty big difference in size!
Shoes. Same reasoning as above. Yes, there will be adorable little shoes you’ll have a hard time resisting. Just don’t go overboard.
Furniture and Gear

A stroller. This may seem counterintuitive. Strollers are one of those items that usually end up on the gift registry or purchased way in advance. But until your baby is here, it’s not going to be easy for you to know what you’ll really value in a stroller. These are big-ticket items, and I think there is a lot to be said for waiting until the baby is here and you see what your new life as a mom is like before you shell out several hundred dollars. If you do opt to purchase or register for a stroller before your baby is here, do your research. Read reviews online, and consider your lifestyle and what features are really important to you. Ask friends for recommendations. Stop other parents on the street and ask them what they like and don’t like about their strollers. This is also a great way to make new friends and tap into the mom community.
Toys. Your baby will not be playing with much other than his fists and feet for several months. And despite what clever marketing ploys may suggest, the toys or videos your baby is exposed to at this age aren’t going to turn him into a baby genius (that’s where you come in, Mom—talking to and interacting with your baby is the best way to build smarts, naturally!).
Whether or not you register for toys, people won’t be able to resist buying them for you (and let’s face it, you won’t be able to resist some of the adorable ones yourself) so believe me, you’ll have some on hand when Baby starts showing interest. Toys can take over a baby’s room (and the rest of your house) very quickly. I don’t recommend you put them on your registry. Instead, wait until Baby’s here and seems interested in them to start—slowly and carefully—amassing his collection.
All the rest. While there are some gadgets parents swear by for helping to soothe, comfort, and entertain babies, there’s no way to know until your baby is on the outside which ones of these she’ll need or want. Once she’s here, you can start figuring out whether she might sleep better with a white noise machine or whether you can improvise with the fan you already have.


Sometimes expecting parents find that all their immediate baby needs are covered from family hand-me-downs. You still want the baby celebration, but really can’t think of a thing to register for. What to do?

One option is not to register at all and just let people give you what they really want to. As a person who loves to give thoughtful gifts, I always enjoy the freedom that “no registry” parties allow me—I can pick up that beautiful handmade baby blanket or picture frame at the local boutique without guilt. You may end up with far more beautiful and unique items than you ever would have found at the baby superstore.

Another idea is to throw a themed party rather than a traditional shower. Some ideas:

A diaper shower. Figure out what type of diapers you’ll be using (cloth or disposable) and then ask for a variety of sizes of that type of diaper. You may find yourself set for months.

A freezer meal shower. Ask guests to cook you a healthy meal that can easily be frozen and heated up after the baby’s here. By the time the party’s over, your freezer will be stocked with foods you can pull out, heat up, and eat when you’re too busy or tired to cook.

A book shower. One guest (probably one of the grandparents) gives a beautiful bookcase for your child’s room. The rest of the guests bring books. No need to stick to baby books—this is a gift that can last your child a lifetime. Ask guests to bring their treasured childhood favorites or books they wish had been around when they were kids. Personal inscriptions are welcome!

A blessingway. This celebration is actually geared more toward honoring the expecting woman on her journey to motherhood than it is toward filling her house with baby stuff. But if you want to celebrate your baby’s upcoming arrival without getting a bunch of new stuff, it’s a wonderful alternative.

Feel free to come up with your own variation on this idea. Think about your values and goals for your child: What are things you won’t mind her having a LOT of? What will stand the test of time and see her into the future? What kind of party fits with your family culture—and what will be just plain fun for you and your guests? This is your pregnancy, and you’re allowed to call the shots. Think outside the box.

When my friend Donna was pregnant, after the traditional shower festivities, we gathered in a circle. Each guest in turn told the story of how we met Mom and Dad. After that, we went around the circle again, this time offering the baby (we knew her name) our personal wishes for her future. She’s a teenager now who treasures this piece of family history. If you offer to be the videographer, you’ll be giving a gift that will last longer than any stuffed animal. To paraphrase the commercial: Stuffed toy? $5.00. Baby diapers for a month? $30. Video of Baby’s shower? Priceless.

The registration and baby gear-buying process of course is, and should be, a lot of fun. You just want to make sure that the fun you have now doesn’t lead to regret down the road. When your baby isn’t here yet, it’s easy to fall into the trap of getting everything under the sun because she “might” need it. But those infant months are fleeting and all babies are different. The last thing you need to do is clutter up your house with expensive stuff you never wind up using—and then have to unload later. Don’t worry, if you decide later that your baby simply must have that bouncy seat that plays music, jiggles, and creates a light show at the same time; you can always send your spouse out to pick it up at the nearest discount store—or just buy it online.
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