Best Baby Registries

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Before you are pregnant you may never have heard of baby registries – especially if you have not attended any baby showers till that point or if you come from outside the US. Asking people to gift you specific things seems so like the times when we hinted at our parents on what exactly we wanted for our birthdays. Wasn’t gift giving supposed to be a personal experience which brought out the personality of the giver. Turns out baby registries are the most practical way to navigate this process. With all my reservations, I really embraced it once I understood how most gift givers preferred this method to having to choose something that is useless for the parent.

Here are some key advantages if you want to look at it objectively

  1. It saves you a lot of time  – Imagine the time which you would have to waste to return the 9 copies of “What to Expect When You are Expecting” when you are not even sure about keeping one.
  2. It saves time for the gift giver – There are people in you life who will want to send gifts, and it will save them a lot of time and effort if they can efficiently send you exactly what you want, than having to figure out what you would want.
  3. There will be items available at different price ranges – so givers can choose within their budgets without feeling guilty.
  4. You get a completion discount on the remaining items so you get it cheaper than buying it directly.
  5. It helps you organize all your needs effectively. You will take time to visualize and research your needs, so that you can quickly add to the registry.

Here are some tips to note while adding items to the registry

  1. Do not feel pressurized to add all items into the registry so that you have everything ready upfront. It is not as if you are going to be trapped inside the house for the next 1 year – you WILL get time to go and get the stuff you need.
  2. While it is not important to get all items – you could choose to get items that you may need 6 months from now or 9 months from now. Dont just load teh registry with items you need for the first 3 months- you will miss out on a lot of cool items that people might feel more happier giving.
  3. Add items of all price ranges – as low as a couple of bucks to as high as hundreds of bucks. Let people choose what they want to give and they could even pool money to buy you a big ticket item.
  4. Go easy on clothes – as you cant be sure of the size and what might suit your child better. Wait till he or she comes out before stocking up too much.
  5. Do your research. If you have bought this book or are reading this blog – you are headed in the right direction 🙂
  6. Unless you are registering on Amazon, do check out both the store and online as some items may not be available in the store and vice versa.

Recommendations for Baby Registries

The key differentiators between the different registries will be

  1. Online Vs Store – Amazon is obviously online only but all the major registries from Babies R Us, Target, Buy Buy baby and Pottery barn can be completed both online and in the store. All of these other companies will have different inventories available online and in the store, so you will need to visit the store. Not to mention there will be items that you will want to touch and feel before you choose them. But the big disadvantage with multichannel retailers is that the gift giver might go to the store and not find some items which are online only.
  2. Completion Discount – A discount offered by retailers for items left over in your registry. Amazon offers 10% off the top for qualifying items (15% for Amazon Mom members) 4 weeks before due date. Babies R US offers 10% off the top for items in the registry but must purchase all at once to redeem coupon.You also get 5-10% back in the form of a gift card for any item purchased from the registry, whether you purchase it or a gift-giver does. Buy Buy baby gives 10-15% as well a few weeks before the due date. PotteryBarn gives 10% coupon usable for 6 months after due date(note after due date only) and Target gives  15% off coupon 6 weeks before due date; must be used in 1 day.
  3. Return Policy – Amazon offers 90 days return policy on most items, and most items can be returned for free. BRU accepts returns  (for store credit) up to 1 year after your due date for any item that’s on your registry. With on-line only items – the process is a little confusing and you might need to be persistent to get the credit and for the credit not to go back to the person who purchased it. Buy Buy baby will accept returns up to 90 days after due date even if you don’t have a gift receipt. With PB its only 30 days and target gives you 90 days to return new, unopened items if you have a gift receipt.
  4. Selection -The order is as follows Amazon > Buy Buy baby > BRU > Target >PB. Use PB only if you are generally fans of PB for your regular furniture and would like the same for your kids’ stuff as well. Target is frustrating in general because different stores have different selections and many online items are often sold out – which in general increases the time burden for your gift givers.

Here are my recommendations

  1. Amazon – Unbelievable selection available on Amazon, and as I have mentioned before I got through all my first two years mostly on Amazon. Even if the gift givers want to buy from somewhere else and want to mark the item as bought they can do so and provide the details. This makes Amazon the best choice for me. No complaints with the return policy as well.
  2. Next would be BRU. Buy buy baby may offer a better selection overall but the stores are not present everywhere and they are in general more expensive. Even with BRU – some of the items are not available in the store which can hassle any potential gift giver.
  3. PB kids is the best choice for high quality expensive items.
  4. I would not choose Target or Walmart as the stocks are hit and miss both online and offline and is basically too much of a time drain.
  5. I recommend Babyli.st – which is a universal online universal baby registry which lets you request unconventional items – like diaper service subscriptions in addition to gifts from around the web, from any retailer. There are some hurdles but overall experience has been great for all my friends who did use the service.

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