Congratulations on your growing family! Whether you're expecting a baby through pregnancy, adoption, or surrogacy, creating a baby registry is more than a baby step; it's an essential tool in preparing for your newest addition.

A baby registry is more than just a list of items. It's a gift-giving game-changer for your excited friends, family, and coworkers, ensuring you receive the items you actually need. It's your personal assistant, helping you stay organized and keep track of the baby products you want, have received, and still need to acquire.

However, we understand that creating a baby registry can feel overwhelming, especially when you're already juggling so much. That's why we've put together this comprehensive guide on how to make a baby registry that's tailored to your unique needs, lifestyle, and preferences.

Our unbiased and expert advice will help you confidently navigate the world of baby products, ensuring you have everything you need to welcome your little one. Say goodbye to the stress and confusion of creating a baby registry, and hello to a streamlined, efficient process that allows you to focus on what matters most—preparing better for your parenthood journey. 

What is a baby registry?

Alright, parents-to-be, let's talk about the fun stuff - baby registries! But first, let's define what a baby registry is. A baby registry is essentially a wish list for all the baby items and gear you'll need for your little bundle of joy. Think of it like a shopping list, but instead of jotting down baby items on paper, you create an online or in-store baby registry where your friends and family can pick out gifts for your baby shower or before the baby's arrival. It's a way to keep track of all the cute little things you'll need for your little one and for others to help ensure you have everything you need. Plus, it'll give your loved ones a way to buy things that you've already chosen, that fit your needs, style, and parenting approach.

Why create a baby registry?

So, why should you create a baby registry? For starters, it's like having a personal assistant helping you prepare for your new arrival. A baby registry allows you to list all the things you'll need for your little one, and it also makes it super easy for friends and family to know exactly what to get you (and what not to get you!) Plus, let's be honest, who doesn't love getting gifts? And trust me, with a new baby, you'll need some new gear and essentials.

At Poppylist, it's our goal to get you the right things, not more things, and a baby registry can set you and your growing family up for success.

Does everyone make a baby registry?

Not everyone chooses to make a baby registry, but it is a popular option for many new parents, even for those having second or third babies. Some people prefer to keep things simple and buy what they need as they go along, while others find it helpful to have a list of items to reference and for others to purchase as gifts. Additionally, some families may have specific cultural or traditional practices that make a registry unnecessary. Ultimately, whether or not to create a baby registry is a personal choice, and there is no right or wrong answer.

When to Start Creating Your Baby Registry

You can put your baby shower registry list together whenever you have the chance, but try to give yourself plenty of time to research products and think through what you need. 

You’ll want the baby registry to be ready by the time your baby shower invites are sent out, so check in with the host of your shower about when they plan to do this.

Like many parents-to-be, you might find it convenient to prepare your registry toward the end of the first trimester, adding more items during the second trimester as you decide which products are best for you and your baby.

You may want to change your selections or add items to your list once you know your baby’s gender—if you’re finding out ahead of time, that is! You might decide whether you’re having a boy or girl during the mid-pregnancy ultrasound, which takes place at around 20 weeks pregnant.

Once your baby shower registry is complete, the host of your baby shower can include your registry information in the shower invitations or share it via email or social media. Tip: Add a QR code to your baby shower invite that automatically directs people to your Poppylist baby registry!

Keep in mind that most registries allow a “private” mode so you’re the only one who sees the registry until you decide to make it public—including Poppylist!

Is it selfish to make a baby registry?

No, it is not selfish to make a baby registry. A baby registry is a tool that helps new parents prepare for their new arrival by providing a checklist of baby items they need and want, and it also makes it easy for friends and family to know what to get as gifts. It is a common practice among expecting parents, and it's a way for people to show their love and support. It's a way for friends and family to contribute to the needs of the new baby and the new parents.

As a mom of two, I want to remind you that it's totally fine to make a baby registry if you feel it will be helpful to you, but it's also okay if you don't want to create one. The most important thing is that you and your baby have everything you need to be comfortable and safe. Check out this article which shares more about how to help friends and family buy purchases from your registry vs. going rogue.

How to create a baby registry

Creating a baby registry is a simple process and can be done in a few easy steps:

  1. Decide where you want to register: You can register online or in-store or do a combination of both. Popular online options include Amazon, Poppylist and Babylist. If you prefer to register in-store, you can check out places like Target, Walmart, Nordstrom, or Pottery Barn Kids. Many local baby and family stores have registry options too, and can often provide more personalized guidance. If you're interested in learning more about the Top 3 online baby registries and what makes them different, look at our comparison article here.
  2. Set up your registry: Once you've chosen where to register, set up your account and create your registry. You'll be prompted to provide basic information, such as your name, address, and due date. If you've chosen Poppylist for your registry, you can get started here.
  3. Start adding items to your registry: As you add items to your registry, you'll be able to browse and select from a wide variety of baby gear, clothing, and essentials. If you're in-store, some places will have a scan gun that you can use to scan items as you walk around the store. If you're registering online, all options have a universal registry feature, which means you can add any item from any store.
  4. Share your registry: Once you've finished creating your baby registry, you'll want to share it with friends and family. Some registries have a feature to share your registry link via email or social media, or you can share the link manually.
  5. Update and manage your registry: As your baby's arrival approaches, it's a good idea to check your registry and make sure all the selected registry items are still available and in stock. You can also add or remove your registry items as needed. Often, registries will have a "must have" feature, where you can mark certain items as more important, to make sure they are purchased first.

Fun fact: Poppylist is the only baby registry to offer you the ability to exchange any registry gift before it ships. The best part? Your friends and family won't find out you've requested the $125 for the highchair instead of the highchair!

And that's it! You've created a baby registry! Remember that creating a baby registry is a personal choice, and it's a good idea to do it as soon as possible, so you and your friends and family can start getting ready for the arrival of your new baby.

What to include on your baby registry

When creating your baby registry, it's important to consider all the essentials your little one will need when the baby arrives, but it's also important to consider future needs as they grow. Here are some must-have baby items that are worth considering adding to your baby registry:

  • Diapers and wipes: You'll go through these quickly, so stock up. Think about adding a few different diaper sizes (starting with newborn)
  • Clothing: Onesies, sleepers, and outfits for all seasons. If you're not sure what to add, this article can help!
  • A safe crib or bassinet for your baby to sleep in
  • A car seat and stroller for on-the-go adventures
  • A baby monitor to keep an ear out for your little one
  • A quality baby carrier that grows with your baby
  • Bottles and breast pump if you're planning on breastfeeding
  • A baby bathtub, soft absorbent towels, and baby skincare
  • Diaper bag, diaper cream, diaper pail, and a changing table
  • Feeding supplies such as a high chair, bibs, and utensils

This is just a basic list to get you started, but as you prepare for your newborn baby, you may think of additional items you'll need. Remember, every baby and family is different, so customize your baby registry to fit your needs and your family's lifestyle. Having a second baby? Read more about specific items you may want to add here.

Is it Okay to Ask for Cash on Your Baby Registry?

When creating your baby registry, you may wonder if asking for cash instead of traditional gifts is appropriate. The good news is that most registry platforms offer cash fund options, making it easier than ever to request monetary contributions. If a cash fund isn't available, consider adding gift cards or even requesting help and favors from your loved ones. Don't hesitate to include these options on your registry – your friends and family want to support you however they can. And yes, Poppylist offers cash funds and group gifting! Plus, you can add any online gift card to your baby registry.

Can You Add Big-Ticket Items to Your Baby Registry?

Absolutely! When making your baby registry, it's important to include the items you really need and want, regardless of their price point. Poppylist parents turn on 'group gifting' for their big-ticket items. Group Gifting allows multiple people to contribute towards a single item, making it more affordable for everyone involved. This option lets your loved one pitch in as much as they feel comfortable with or fully funding the item if they desire. By including a mix of big-ticket items and smaller essentials, you'll create a well-rounded registry that reflects your true needs and preferences.

What not to include on your baby registry

While creating a baby registry, it's crucial to consider what you need and can do without. As a first-time parent, I understand how important it can be to avoid buying things you won't need (or use). Here are a few things you may not need to add to your baby registry:

  • Too many baby clothes: Babies grow quickly, so you may not need as many clothes as you think.
  • Expensive designer gear or nursery furniture: While adding high-end items to your baby registry may be tempting, keep in mind that many affordable options work just as well. Tip: don't compare! It's truly the thief of joy.
  • Too many baby toys: Babies are fascinated by simple things like a spoon, plastic containers, and the outdoors.
  • Unnecessary gadgets: Contrary to all the marketing, some baby gadgets on the market are not must-haves and can be expensive. Items might include a wipe warmer, a baby formula dispenser, or a baby food blender. Wait until the baby is here to determine the few things that are real must haves.
  • Too many baby shoes: Babies will outgrow them quickly, and they aren't essential for their development. Add baby socks here, too!
  • Outdated items: Some items like baby rockers, baby swings, baby seats, and infant bathtubs may have been recalled. As a new parent, you must stay up-to-date on product expiration dates and recall announcements.

It's important to remind you again that every baby and family is different, so make sure you're setting up your baby registry to suit your needs best, and don't feel like you have to include every available item. Trust me, I know— there's so much stuff!

Baby registry essentials for the baby

As the Founder of Poppylist, I have unique insight into what our parents are adding (and loving) to their baby registry lists, and I'd love to share with you some of our top baby products. According to thousands of first-time parents, here are some Poppylist favorites:

  1. Infant Tub: Angelcare Baby Bath Support Seat
  2. Nursing Pillow: My Breast Friend
  3. Bath toys: Mushie Stacking Cups
  4. Infanr Car Seat: UPPababy Mesa
  5. Organic Baby Formula: Bobbie
  6. Shop Second Hand: GoodBuyGear
  7. Newborn Diapers: Coterie
  8. Crib: Cradlewise Smart Crib
  9. Crib Mattress: Non-Toxic Crib Mattress by Newton
  10. Nipple Cream: Earth Mama Organics Nipple Butter
  11. Bottle Drying Rack: OXO Tot Drying Rack
  12. Breast Pads: Kindred Bravely Organic Nursing Pads
  13. Diaper Bag: Kibou Diaper Fanny Pack
  14. Burp Cloths: Muslin Cloths by Comfy Cubs
  15. High Chair: Tripp Trapp High Chair by Stokke
  16. Changing Table: Skip Hop Baby Changing Pad
  17. Baby Monitor: Nanit Pro Monitor and Floor Stand
  18. Stroller System: UPPAbaby Vista v2
  19. Diaper Rash Cream: Aquaphor Healing Ointment
  20. Baby Skincare: Tubby Todd Newborn Gift Set

Baby registry essentials for the parents to be

When creating a baby registry, it's important to remember that it's not just about the baby. It's also about the parents. Here are a few items that parents should consider adding to their baby registry for themselves:

  1. The First Forty Days book. This book includes ancient Chinese practices on healing after birth by creating a safe, sacred space for bonding with your baby and several recipes to help moms heal from within.
  2. A quality baby carrier: This can be a lifesaver for parents who need to keep their hands free while keeping the baby close. We love the Ergobaby Aerloom Carrier.
  3. A rocking chair or glider: This can be an excellent place for parents to sit and relax while they hold their baby or feed them. Tip: Add a side table and an ottoman!
  4. A baby book: Recording the milestones and memories of the baby will be something that parents will treasure. We love The Story of You from Artifact Uprising. Also consider something like Qeepsake, a digital way to keep track of your baby memories!
  5. Registering for parenting books or online classes can help new moms and dads prepare for parenthood and know what to expect in the first days, weeks, and months with a new baby. We recommend the virtual class by Taking Cara Babies First Five Months: Healthy Sleep Foundation and the paperback book Baby 411 by Dr. Ari Brown.
  6. A postpartum recovery kit for the mother can include items such as pads, ice packs, and compression garments to help with recovery after childbirth. Our mothers have loved the It's Bodily Care for Birth Box and the Postpartum Care Kit by Earth Mama Organics.
  7. A warm bathrobe for mom. These are easy to nurse in, and they're comfortable day and night against a postpartum body. You can't go wrong with a plush robe from Barefoot Dreams.
  8. Maternal wellness telehealth gift card to Ruth Health. It's hard to predict what mom will need in the fourth trimester, but a gift card to Ruth Health means she can schedule a virtual appointment with a lactation consultant, a pelvic floor therapist, or work with an RN on c-section recovery.
  9. Gift Cards for food delivery like Uber Eats, Postmates, or Grubhub.
  10. Gift Cards to mom and dad's favorite coffee shop. Sometimes you need a reason to leave the house— it can do wonders for your mental health.

I want to emphasize that it's not selfish to think about the parents' needs when creating a baby registry. Becoming a parent is a brand-new journey. One met with a lot of uncertainty and one that requires a lot of care for mom, dad, and baby. And parents deserve to be represented on the baby registry just as much as the baby.

How to share a baby registry with friends and family

When it comes to sharing your baby registry with friends and family, a few different options are available.

  1. Share the link manually: Many baby registries will give you a unique URL or link you can share with others. You can copy and paste the link into an email, text message, or social media post.
  2. Social Media: You can share your baby registry on your social media account, like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. This is an excellent option if you have a lot of friends and family on social media.
  3. Email: You can email your friends and family members with the link to your baby registry. This is a good option if you have a lot of out-of-town friends and family members who may not be able to attend your baby shower.

Ultimately, the most important thing is to make sure your baby registry is easily accessible and convenient for your friends and family to use. You can use one or a combination of these methods to share your baby registry, and remember to remind them of your baby registry closer to your due date or baby shower date.

Preparing to become a parent

So, are you feeling prepared to build your baby registry? As you now know, it's the easiest way to keep track of the items you need and want, and it also makes it easy for friends and family to know what to get as gifts. It's a fun and exciting process that can help new parents feel more prepared and less overwhelmed. After all, that's our goal at Poppylist.

Don't rush the process. Take your time and think about what you need and can do without. Be bold and ask for advice from friends and family who have been through the process before.

And most importantly, remember to enjoy the process. This time in your life is going to fly by— and you deserve to have fun and feel fully prepared to welcome your bundle of joy!