Photography by Michael Alberstat Image by: Photography by Michael Alberstat
Do your research
Head to the store to look at or try out the products you're interested in. "For example, it's a great idea to test strollers to see which are easily collapsible, lightweight and easy to maneuver," says Spada-Miele.
Then go online to read customer reviews of those products. And don't forget to ask friends for recommendations. "I was teaching kindergarten when I was pregnant with my first, and I asked a few of the student's moms to make a list of their must-haves," says Josephine Fernicola, a mom of three from Keswick, ON, who's expecting her fourth child this summer. "When we went to the store, we grilled the sales associates. We asked to see all of the items that had been recommended to me, and we got demonstrations and were shown similar products."
"Registries can be started in-store, then completed, continued or managed online, or vice versa," says Spada-Miele. But many moms, including Denise Dingman, find it easier to set up registries from the comfort of their own couch. The Beaverton, ON, mother of two says the online setup was a cinch. "I ended up logging in often just to look at what else I wanted to include," she says.
You don't want to wait until you're in labour to start picking out necessities—that's why Spada-Miele recommends starting your registry early, at the three- or four-month mark of your pregnancy. "Even if you'll be having the baby shower later on, it gives you enough time to add items or to change your mind on others," she says.
Choose a variety of products
What should go on your registry? Pretty much anything you need or want. From washcloths to strollers to car seats, there's no etiquette as to what should or should not appear on your list. "You can put anything on it—from small items like burp pads, no-scratch mittens, soothers and clothing, to larger items like swings, playpens, cribs, mattresses and car seats," says Spada-Miele.
According to Spada-Miele, some of the most popular items are diaper disposal systems, baby hangers, baby food–makers and, of course, the classic French teething toy, Sophie the Giraffe.
Dingman chose to reserve her registry for smaller items that she needed multiples of, like bottles, blankets and bibs. "I wanted to keep it as inexpensive as possible," she says. "I did add a baby swing as a 'nice-to-have' item—that was the one treat."
Fernicola says she registered almost everything she thought she might need: a high chair, an infant bath tub, a playpen, toys, exersaucer, bassinet, play mats, stroller, car seat, baby monitor, breast pump, etc. The best part, she says, was that she was able to use many of the larger items again with each of her subsequent children.