In the next few days I'll be going down the list of items suggested on a baby registry checklist and discussing how "essential" they panned out to be for me or my friends. Please, please, if you have your own personal experience you'd like to share, please comment at the end, so we can get the most comprehensive approach possible. If lots of people share, then it'll be like taking 10 of your best friends with you to register as opposed to just one :)
First, I was just on Babies R Us's website and they've got a new feature that I really like. There's a Baby Registry "Quick Start" option. You choose the type of mom you are (city, classic, experienced, trendy, working, or my personal fav, organic and earth-friendly) and they pull up a list of essentials that fit your lifestyle. I pulled up the organic one and I would only take a couple of things off the list. Here are my thoughts on what they've listed.
1. The swing. I didn't have great success with my swing. I know that every baby's different, so maybe the next one will love it. But, for me . . . and my sister-in-law, we didn't use our swings very much. In hindsight I wish I had used the money on another more essential big item.
2. Bassinet. This is nit-picking, but I don't see the need for a bassinet and a co-sleeper. It's either one or the other, and a co-sleeper is much more convenient. We used a bassinet for our first baby, but that meant every time she woke up, we had to get out of bed, take her to the nursery, change, feed and then put her back down. With a co-sleeper (basically a safe extension of your bed) for those first few weeks, you'd have it all at an arm's reach and wouldn't be getting up as much.
3. Even though I'm all about the Bob stroller, the Baby Planet is actually available in stores whereas the Bob is not. People are more likely to buy off your registry if they can find something in the store. People who buy items online are generally limited to out-of-town friends. This isn't the rule, but it's pretty common. If you don't want to spend your own money (or all of your gift cards) on a stroller, pick something that's in the store.
4. I actually have the "Nature's Purest" Playard and swing. The playard had worked great for me, and I've already talked about the swing. Some reviewers didn't like Nature's Purest because of the lack of stimulating colors, but I'm pretty sure my baby didn't notice. The playard also has an attachable bassinet and changing pad function. Many I know just set this up in their bedroom for the first few weeks. Three-in-one and it all fits next to your bed. That's another great money-saving option because you eliminate your need for a bassinet or a co-sleeper.
5. Parents of Invention--The Ultimate Organic Baby Sling--I've seen these a lot lately in the stores, but have never used one. Anyone have any input on this? I've heard that ring slings are nice because you can adjust them for the perfect fit. Personally, I like the simplicity of my sling, but it's all about preference.
6. Glider and ottoman--My hubby and I stumbled on this this idea. Skip the glider and go to your local furniture store. Instead of a glider, we got a Lazyboy small-frame recliner for the same price, and we LOVE it. It's so much more comfortable than a glider (no hard wooden areas to poke a tired, healing mama's body or baby's delicate body) and so much more versatile. I can pop up the footrest, I can rock, and I can sleep in it comfortably on an emergency basis. Plus, it's not a piece of furniture exclusively for a nursery--it can evolve with the child's room, or it can be added to the family room. I highly recommend a recliner!
7. As far as nursery furniture goes--be careful to check the type of wood it's made out of. Babies R Us and many other stores carry cheaper baby furniture, but a lot of it is made out of particle board. Particle board contains formaldehyde, and considering that most babies chew on their cribs at some point in the teething stage, you might want to pay the extra money and get a hardwood option instead.
8. Boppy--of the three that I tried, Boppy, My breastfriend, and an organic pillow, Boppy was the best. It's a convenient shape, easy to adjust, and the covers are easy to slip off and wash. Now that they have an organic cover, I'm definitely excited about getting a Boppy for baby 2!
9. Jumperoo--We opted out of a jumperoo, exersaucer, and the like. While it's convenient to have babies in a toy that builds their muscles, there's differing opinions about how they affect proper development. Since I'm a stay-at-home mom, I have plenty of time to play with Andie and help her use her own legs and feet, so I didn't need this. Plus, to my knowledge, they're all made from plastic, and we're trying to keep the plastic content low in our home. That's a personal preference. I know many, many moms who swear by these and couldn't live without them. But, if you're in the early stages of pregnancy and have some time to research--search around and find some studies about how these affect baby's development before you sign up for one.
10. I like all of the other stuff that's listed. I'd go ahead and add the clothing options, but again, if it's not easy to find in the store, you probably won't get it. From what I've found, people buy whatever clothes they think are cute, so they probably won't search through hundreds of clothing items for the exact match to what you registered for. The only help registering for clothes did for me was that it made people aware that I was looking for organic cotton. Because of that, I got a lot more organic stuff than if I had not registered for any clothes. Another thing to consider, from the time you register to the time your baby comes, all of the clothing options will have changed and most of what you registered for probably won't even be available anymore.
Again, please add your comments about these items. We all have knowledge that will help each other and, hopefully, save new moms some money and stress.