By Sandra Gordon
If you’re expecting a baby, consider yourself warned: You may need to do some L
Baby products are an $8.9 billion industry in the U.S., with hundreds of new products added to the lineup each year. With an ever-increasing range of choices, and seemingly limitless options, shopping for a new baby can be daunting and expensive.
A targeted baby registry or two, however, can alleviate the guesswork for friends and relatives to help you get just what you need and avoid unwanted or duplicate items. To get the most mileage out of your registry, do just as much homework for your registries as if you were paying the tab yourself. Test-drive strollers in the store, for example, to get an idea of how they handle. If you’re registering online, visit retail stores first to get familiar with the products you’re considering. Selecting baby products is a process so expect to make several trips to fine-tune your product picks.
And check back with your baby registry frequently to make sure the products you’ve chosen haven’t been discontinued.
Use the following registry rules for expectant parents to help hone your gift list:
Check for recalled models at www.recalls.gov before registering for baby gear. Recalled items must be pulled from retail shelves. But products can fall through the cracks.
Request practical items. Put diapers, diaper wipes and diaper rash ointment, breast pads, pacifiers, a nursing bra or two, a digital rectal thermometer, breast milk storage bags, baby bottle liners, formula and baby body wash on your registry. Necessities like these may not seem gifty, but you’ll be so glad you have them on hand later.
Ask for big-ticket gear, too like a stroller, glider, a crib with stationary sides and a mattress, a baby monitor, changing table, high chair and an infant car seat. In this economy, putting pricey baby items on your list can be guilt-inducing. Still, friends and family may chip in as a group to buy them for you.
Register at more than one store. Gift givers like lots of options. If you’re registering online, some websites, such as www.amazon.com have retail relationships with third party merchants such as Target and Buy Buy Baby so you have a wider selection of products to choose from. Consider registering for money, too. Sites such as www.myregistry.com and www.depositagift.com allow you to tastefully request and accept cash gifts.
You can then use the funds to buy as you go – even after your baby is born, or just have a stash of cash for the future for unexpected expenses.
Feel free to wander outside the baby gear aisle. These days, new moms and dads are requesting items on their baby registry that aren’t typical, such as spa certificates, a smartphone, or a digital camera.
If you don’t have a digital, now’s the time to ask for one. You’ll need it to capture those precious memories of your little one and email photos to friends and relatives.
Don’t register for baby clothes.
Don’t waste your baby registry dollars here. Clothes are the most popular new-baby gift. Count on getting plenty of them to last you awhile from well-wishers after your baby is born.
Sandra Gordon is the author of Consumer Reports Best Baby Products (10th Edition). This A to Z formatted book reviews a wide range of essential baby (and parent) gear, with an emphasis on quality and safety as well as necessity. For more information, visitwww.consumerreports.org or www.babyproductsmom.com.
Updated August 2012
By Sandra Gordon