Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About How to Start Your Baby Registry

First of all, congratulations on your pregnancy! This is a time of celebration and transition, and everyone around you is going to want to take part.

That’s what we love about baby registries- it easily divides tangible things you will need among those that are so eager to contribute.

Baby registries are lists of the items you’ll need to welcome your new baby, and they are made from store to store.

If this is the first time you’ve made one, there’s a few easy tricks to it and you’ll have the hang of it in no time!

There’s a lot out there that you won’t need or want, so keep your own ideas in mind, but there’s certain things like timing and organization that are certainly worth a refresher even if this is not your first time.

Having a baby is not cheap! There’s the diapers, the wipes, the car seat, the stroller, the crib… and those are just the essentials! Luckily, friends and family love to rally around an expecting mom with a baby shower and tons of adorable gifts. But how can you let everyone know just what you need and want? That’s where a baby registry comes in. Read on to find out more! 

How to Throw an Awesome Baby Shower + 22 Baby Shower Games

What Is A Baby Registry? 

Just like a wedding registry, a baby registry allows expecting parents to create a wish list of items they would like to receive. Typically, gifts are purchased to be given at a baby shower. But gifts may be purchased at any time and you don’t need to be having a traditional baby shower to reap the benefits of a baby registry. 

Cultural expectations and common etiquette allow for friends and family to give gifts to the expecting parents at any time before or after the baby’s birth. However, there is some debate about whether or not the arrival of second or third child warrants a shower and registry. 

Some families enjoy having a shower for each and every baby. Other people prefer to allow for these occasions only upon the birth of the opposite gender (no matter how many previous children have already been born to a family) under the assumption that mom and dad will need new products for the arrival of a new gender to their family. Still others find these celebrations tacky after the first baby; making a second baby shower taboo in some social circles. 

However, even if you’re on your 4th child – there is nothing wrong with creating a new registry list for close friends and family who ask for one. 

How Does A Baby Registry Work? 

A baby registry is very simple: you add items to a wish list, and your friends and family purchase them for you! Most baby registries (particularly those created online) will automatically update to show potential shoppers which items have already been purchased – and which ones are remaining on your list. If you need more than 1 of something, there is usually a place for you to edit the desired quantity so that your guests will see that information as well. 

Where Can I Create A Baby Registry? 

If you’re expecting a baby, one of the most exciting experiences is to wander through a baby megastore scanning the things you like. As of this writing (February 2020) there are sadly no more Babies R Us stores left to experience the ultimate new baby one-stop-shop. However, there are some other brick and mortar stores like Buy Buy Baby, Target or Walmart that still allow couples to have the traditional baby registry experience. 

In today’s world, online registries on websites such as Amazon are becoming increasingly common. One other option is what’s called a universal baby registry – where you can add any product from any store to a virtual shopping portal. 

Another perk of today’s baby registries is that you will often receive free samples, discount coupons and other special offers from the store simply for signing up. Some even include what’s known as a “completion discount” for you to stock up on anything on your list that was missed. 

When Should I Create My Registry? 

Most couples wait until they have found out the gender of their baby. That way they know what colors and nursery theme they want to use. If you create your wish list too early in the pregnancy, you may not have a good idea yet of what items you truly need. But if you wait too late, it doesn’t give your guests enough time to purchase their gifts before the party. As a general rule of thumb, creating your registry around the 5 month mark should be a safe bet. 


How Do I Let People Know About My Registry? 

If you’re having a shower, simply include the store information or website link of your registry on your invitations. If you’re not having a party, you can always email your close friends and family or post on your social media pages. If you’re worried about / not comfortable soliciting gifts, just be sure all of your correct information is linked to your baby registry and hope that others find it. 😉 


How Do I Find Someone Else’s Baby Registry? 

If the expecting couple’s baby registry information is not included on the shower invitations and you don’t want to ask them for it – you can try searching for their first and last name on the most popular baby registry websites (which we’ve listed in a prior section above). 

This website also crawls the web to find registries on the most commonly used baby registry sites: Registry.thebump.com/babyregistrysearch 

If your search comes up empty after that, unfortunately you’re going to have to resort to gifting the old standard of diapers and wipes – or just ask! 😉 


How Do I Purchase From Someone’s Baby Registry? 

Once you’ve found the little one’s baby registry, you can usually purchase items either online or at the store. Most registries allow you to ship directly from the store to the address on file (which is especially helpful if you live in another town) or you can have it delivered to you.

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After you purchase, the registry should show other shoppers that the requested item has already been bought. This helps avoid duplicates. Be sure to double-check your items before buying also. 

When to Start Baby Registry?

Around 12 weeks is the standard! So, this is before you’ll know (if you’re finding out) baby’s gender but there’s some staples that will form the foundation of your registry. It’s a great time to sort out what stroller, carseat(s), diaper bag(s), diapers and wipes, changing table, changing table mattress, carrier/sling, bottles, bouncer, and bath products your would like.

This takes you through your bigger ticket items and then around 20 weeks if you’re finding out baby’s gender, you can add in clothes, blankets, and room items. Or, if you’re not finding out baby’s gender, you can easily place gender neutral items on your registry- lots of onesies in solid colors or stripe prints, yellows, oranges, and neutral tones are all great as well! While 12 weeks may be the official start, there’s an option on most registries to keep the registry in a “private” mode which lets you browse early and finalize as you go, and not announce your pregnancy until you’re ready to do so. The biggest thing is to make sure if you’re having a baby shower to have your registry items ready before that point so people can shop your list leading up to the shower! 

What Should I Put On My Registry? 

Don’t be afraid to put a wide range of products on your wish list, from the very affordable teething toy to that dreamy expensive crib. Remember, a variety of people will be purchasing through your list – from your coworker down the hall to your dear great aunt Gertrude.  

The items that work best for you and your family will vary depending on your baby’s individual needs and your parenting style. But here is a basic checklist to get you started! 

A good printable from BeingYourMommy.com

We’ve used the What to Expect guide on what you can add to your baby registry- but many of these items you may have already purchased on your own.

You will also want to purchase your own formula if you are formula feeding. The list is very extensive, and for baby shower gifts in particular, know that people like to bring the “fun” and pretty items! Think play yard, swing or bouncer, car seat toy, adorable towel/jammie set, clothes of all kinds (tiny socks and booties are a forever favorite), and stacking blocks or rings. Some people will really enjoy purchasing the bigger ticket items, so you can direct them to the registry list with the stroller, high chair, or baby monitor. 

Essential Items That Should Be On Your Baby Registry List!

  • Items for bathing: a baby tub, hooded towels, washcloths, baby-safe body wash, baby-safe shampoo, baby-safe body lotion, a few bath toys, and a faucet cover. Items for bedding: crib, crib mattress, waterproof mattress protector, 2+ fitted sheets, bassinet.  
  • Clothing items (consider putting different ages on your registries for clothing items so you don’t end up with too many 0-3 outfits): 10 leggings/trousers, 10 footie pajamas, 10 pairs of socks, 10 short sleeve onesies, 10 long sleeve onesies, 8 non-footie pajamas, 5 swaddling blankets, 10 burp cloths, 5 bibs, 5 beanies, 3 sweaters, 1-3 sleep sacks, 1 sun hat/1 swim suit for summer babies, 1 snowsuit with mittens and booties for winter babies,  “coming home” outfit, 1 pair of soft soled baby shoes if you have your eye on a pair for photos, gentle/baby-safe laundry detergent. 
  • Diapering items: diapers (cloth or disposable as per your preference), baby wipes, diaper cream, cotton balls/swabs, diaper pail (trash can), 3-5 liners for diaper changing table 
  • Feeding (adjust accordingly based on if/how you are breastfeeding): breast pump, extra pump parts, breast milk freezer bags, nursing pillow, nursing bras (or tops), nipple cream, baby bottles, nipples for bottles, bottle brushes, bottle drying rack (if you’d like, this one isn’t highly necessary), and high chair 
  • Medical items: baby-friendly nail clippers, thermometer, rubbing alcohol pads, saline nose drops, suction bulb 
  • Nursery furniture and setup: crib, bassinet, rocking chair, changing table, night lights, white noise machine (there’s also apps for this on your phone, so a good speaker may be all you want), baby monitor, baby books, storage bins/baskets 
  • Play items: swing/seat/bouncer, activity mat, soft baby books, soft/light stacking blocks, wooden blocks, teething toys (we recommend picking up 3 different types and your baby will pick his/her favorite), rattles/maracas, cotton stuffed animals, soft blankets 
  • Travel items: infant car seat with headrest/liner, stroller, any necessary additions to stroller for cold/rainy weather, baby carrier (there’s wraps, slings, kangaroo pouch tops, and buckled carriers), diaper bag, portable changing pad, travel crib/pack and play 

A quick tip for stroller and car seat: check these out in store if possible! You’ll want to see how much the car seat weighs before you schlep and test out the relative ease in taking out/putting back together both the car seat and stroller. Being a little bit prepared will help you when you have an infant clutching you or your partner and the spotlight is on to get going! Fortunately, most are easy so you’ll just be looking at what your preferences are and getting a preview of how to use these items.

Amazon, Babylist, Baby Gap, Carter’s Buy Buy Baby, Etsy, IKEA, Nordstrom, PB Kids, Target, The Honest Company, and Walmart are among the most popular choices. Amazon is increasingly popular because of the sheer range it offers, covering a wide breadth of brands where other stores may be more limiting. Etsy is also a popular registry because of the handmade charm its vendors are known for- they do a wonderful job in bringing out the spirit of welcoming a baby! 

One thing we didn’t mention that is big time trending in 2020 is mother care items. These are especially valuable for postpartum times and often are creative- like a Whole Foods delivery list from Amazon so mama doesn’t have to cook for a week or two, or big fluffy robes and socks from Nordstrom, or any of the “Gifts for Mom” items from The Honest Company. It’s gaining more and more momentum to prioritize self-care in those crucial first few weeks of bonding, so definitely don’t be shy about asking for some things for mom, too.  

Remember that it’s ok to return items too. Not only items that are duplicated, but items that you don’t want or need or that weren’t a part of your registry. The more accurate your registry is before your baby shower, the less chance for duplication. But the thing is, not everyone checks your registry before going ahead and purchasing what they’d like to purchase. Hence, ten million newborn outfits when really, you only needed a handful. Most major retailers will accept returns without receipts for store credit, so no harm, no foul. Make sure you get what you need first and foremost, and enjoy the rest! 

Baby registry can seem overwhelming, but by starting early and adding items as you go up until your baby shower, you will be way more ready than you think! 

Here is a full list of the most commonly used baby registries today: 

Amazon’s Baby Registry

Amazon, of course, has become a staple in the baby registry game.



Buy Buy Baby is a great choice because they offer awesome discounts, freebies and deals if you get your friends to use them when they have a baby! Currently, new users can get 20% off if you sign up to their e-mail list newsletter. They also give you some cool freebies and samples if you sign up for a baby registry with them!



Cool websites that lets you create a registry list and shop around places like Etsy.com. Etsy has a lot of unique baby products and handmade products, click here to check out some of their awesome baby products!


Walmart or Target

You can create your baby registry list using one of shopping giants

Other options include:
MyRegistry.com, Pottery Barn Kids , Crate & Kids , IKEA, Nordstrom, The Honest Company, Baby Gap & Baby Earth.com 

Creating or purchasing from a baby registry is a big part of all the new baby fun! Baby registries are a very convenient way for new parents to get everything they need while not offending friends and family by demanding expensive gifts. From online universal registries like Babylist.com, to in-store scanning sessions at Buy Buy Baby or Target – there are so many great options for today’s parents to get in on all the fun. So get started with your baby registry today! We wish you the best of luck and all the happiness in the world with your new little bundle of joy.