Baby Registry Checklist: Everything You Need to Know

Baby registry checklist

Your paperwork is submitted. Background checks and interviews are completed. Now you are waiting to hear if you’ve been matched or referred. Congrats! You are officially a waiting-parent-to-be! As you wait for your baby, you’ll have the opportunity to accomplish a few things. Like preparing your home for your future child. A great way to go about this is to create a baby registry at one or two (or more) stores so that when you have a baby shower or your new child arrives, well-wishers can purchase the items your child will need.

Here are some tips to get you started:

When choosing where to register, keep in mind

  • The store’s return policy on original receipts versus gift receipts.
  • The proximity of when you register to when your shower or baby’s due date is (if you are matched/referred), so that you don’t run into any issues if you are trying to return items past their allowed date. Of course, keep in mind that a match or referral isn’t a guaranteed placement.
  • Store policies on returning specific items. Some electronics, furniture and clothing may have different return dates than other items on your baby registry.
  • How close you live to the store and if there’s a charge for returning items via mail if you do not live near the store.
  • Does the store offer coupons or special sales on baby items? If so, when? This can come in handy later when you have to purchase items off your baby registry that weren’t given to you by others.
  • Can you add to your registry at any time, and if yes, how? Online or in-store, or both?
  • Is the store’s baby registry user-friendly for givers? How well does the store’s system work to ensure you don’t receive duplicate items and that your givers receive the best price? Does the store offer price matching?

When creating a baby registry, keep in mind

  • Your givers’ budgets. Register for a variety of items that have varying costs.
  • What you prefer to purchase yourself. Some items you may purchase second-hand or get hand-me-downs from friends and family. Some items you need before the baby arrives. Some such items may include: some clothing, a breast pump and storage bags (if you plan to nurse), nursery furniture, etc.
  • You will receive gifts that are not on your baby registry, such as homemade blankets and clothing.
  • Some stores allow you to register for store gift cards.

Things to register for now

  • A travel system. This is a car seat, car seat base and stroller set sold together. They coordinate and interlock. An extra car seat base or two may be beneficial if you have more than one vehicle or need one for your child care provider’s car.
  • A pack-n-play. This is a portable crib, play space and changing table in one. This is very helpful to have when traveling.
  • Gender-neutral sleepers, blankets, socks, bibs, onesies, burb cloths, bath towels, swaddling blankets.
  • Nursery furniture. The two basic items needed are a crib (make sure it’s in compliance with your agency and state’s regulations) and changing table/dresser.
  • Gender-neutral nursery bedding, a changing table pad, and cover. You may also register for coordinating nursery décor.
  • Crib mattress.
  • Personal care items and medications such as baby wash, wash cloths, pain reliever, hair brush, thermometer, etc.
  • A nursing pillow (which is often used for tummy time, feeding time, and seating support for an older infant) and covers.
  • A nightlight, small radio, carbon monoxide and smoke detector and lamp for the nursery.
  • Safety items such as outlet covers, drawer and cabinet locks, toilet seat lock, etc.
  • Baby toys and books.
  • A play mat, baby swing, baby bathtub, ‘exersaucer’.
  • A diaper disposal receptacle and liners.
  • Baby spoons, sippy cups, snack cups, baby food storage containers.

When registering, keep in mind that a baby grows and changes very quickly. Register for items knowing that the newborn phase is very short, and you will soon need items for an older infant.

Things to consider buying after your baby arrives

  • Bottles
  • Pacifiers
  • Gender-specific clothing and bedding
  • Diapers and wipes
  • Formula
  • Monogrammed items

Note: Babies can be picky about the types of bottle or pacifier nipples they enjoy. Furthermore, some kids with special needs may need specific types of bottles or pacifiers. There are many brands and types of formula which are harder to purchase in advance when the parents aren’t yet aware of the child’s needs. Diapers vary in size, shape and chemical make-up, and baby wipes come in a variety of scents and textures. Cloth diapers, which are fairly popular, are also quite different from brand-to-brand. I recommend having some diapers and wipes, a few bottles and pacifiers and a few cans of formula on-hand.

Enjoy the process of creating and updating a baby registry, knowing that such preparations are exciting for any parent-to-be!