When Should You Make a Baby Registry? (With or Without a Shower!)

A baby registry allows friends, family, and co-workers the chance to buy an item for the bundle of joy. Most parents will create a baby registry, especially if they are expecting their first baby, but when is the best time?

The end of the first trimester is the optimal time to start setting up your baby registry. This makes sense as it is all the time that most parents will start to share news of the pregnancy. You may also want to wait until you find out the sex of the baby. The earliest you should start a registry is after the first doctor’s appointment (week 8).

Keep reading to learn more about the best time to set up and share your baby registry, as well as some helpful tips for where you should register.

When is the Best Time to Start a Baby Registry?

Most parents will wait until after the first trimester before setting up a baby registry. While it’s not a thought parents want to consider, 85% of miscarriages occur during the first trimester, making 13 weeks – the beginning of the second trimester – a common time to announce a pregnancy.

When setting up your registry, you should consider:

  • When you plan on announcing your pregnancy – Not only do you not need a registry before other people know you’re expecting, you run the risk of letting a random website search spoil your big announcement.
  • Whether or not you plan on finding out the baby’s sex – Most parents choose to find out their baby’s gender, which can be accurately determined through ultrasound at 18 weeks. This can make a big difference in the clothing, decor, and even furniture on your registry.
  • If there be a baby shower – Since baby showers typically take place one to two months before the baby is due, you’ll want to have the registry set up in time for the host to include that information on the invitation.
  • Are there any big holidays coming up – It’s not uncommon for excited family members (especially first-time grandparents) to get started spoiling baby early. Consider making sure your registry is ready in case someone is feeling generous!
  • How much are you depending on the gifts from the registry – Parents are shocked by how much their new baby requires and it can be a big blow to any family’s budget. If you are depending on friends and family to supply some of the necessities, make sure your registry is ready in time so they know exactly what you need.

How to Announce a Baby Registry With or Without a Baby Shower

Parents can make a baby registry with or without a baby shower.

If people ask the expecting parents about having a baby shower and the parents have opted not to have one, they may inform those asking that they do have a baby registry instead. This is also helpful for people who want to give a gift, but would not otherwise know what you need.

If the expecting parents decide to have a baby shower, usually a family member or a friend will host the baby shower in the parents’ honor. A baby registry is important to include on the baby shower invites and eliminates a lot of questions guests may have in regards to what to purchase the baby.

Although some disapprove of the use of social media, it can be a great platform to reach all the people who would have been invited to a baby shower, about having a baby registry. A friend or family may also post the baby registry in the parents’ honor, much like a virtual baby shower. You might be surprised at how many old family friends want to pitch in and send over a cute outfit or some money for diapers!

Another option would be to send a postcard with the baby announcement and baby registry information to friends and family.

Is it Rude to Put a Baby Registry on Baby Shower Invitation?

Some people may be concerned that including a baby registry on a shower invitation is the written version of grabby hands.

In reality, most people would be surprised and confused to receive an invitation that does not include a registry. Think of a baby shower as more like a bridal shower than a birthday party – the guests are gathering together to support the couple in starting a new chapter in their lives together and the community is working together to provide you with the specific things you need.

A baby registry will give the guests a clear list of items that are needed for the baby. It will cut back on the number of duplicates received since guests will be able to see what has been purchased and what has not.

The Best Baby Registries to Consider

Due to the convenience of the internet and online shopping, making a baby registry is as easy as it will ever be. There are many different companies to choose from when it comes to creating a baby registry.

In some cases expecting parents may have more than one registry at different companies. This gives the parents and possible gift purchasers a variety to choose from.

Let’s look over the top 5 websites to start a baby registry:

  • Amazon
  • Walmart
  • Babylist
  • Target
  • Buy Buy Baby

Amazon

As one of the world’s largest retailers, Amazon is the go-to for many expectant parents.

Amazon offers a huge selection and lets you browse and compare items quickly and easily. It is especially good for registries as it allows shoppers to ship directly to the recipient, allowing friends and family to give gifts even if they are not able to attend your baby shower – or if they want to give you something too large to transport easily (a car seat or crib, for example).

Pros:

  • Selection – Amazon has a massive selection of items for the baby registry. Online shopping is a convenience and a time saver.
  • Discount for parents – Amazon offers special discounts if the parents complete their baby registry. Non-prime members receive a 10% discount upon completion. Prime members receive a 15% completion discount.
  • Return policy – Gifts purchased by others have a one-year return policy. The recipient gets an Amazon gift card of equal value. The creator of the registry gets 60 days to return an item that they purchased from the baby registry.
  • Free gift – Amazon sends Prime members a welcome box once the first purchase is made from the baby registry.
  • Diaper fund – Amazon allows friends and family to make contributions into a joint fund (up to $550) which parents can use to make purchases through Amazon.

Cons:

  • Online only – If a purchaser wants to handle a potential gift, they will have to go elsewhere to find it.
  • Discount expiration – Registry completion discounts must be used within 90 days of the due date. This may seem like a long time, but the first three months with a newborn are hectic and exhausting without worrying about making additional purchases.
  • Big business – Many people prefer to support smaller, local businesses.

Walmart

Walmart storefronts are ubiquitous in the United States (I can get to at least five in less than half an hour!), and are a solid choice for baby basics and cute clothes.

Walmart’s baby registry allows friends and family to purchase cute basics at a great price. It is good for all age ranges as purchases can be made both in-store and online, and online purchases can be shipped directly to the recipient. Walmart also has an exceptionally good return policy.

Pros

  • Accessibility – Walmarts locations can be found all across the USA. This makes them a great candidate for a baby registry. Friends and family can make their purchases in-store and online (here’s a perk – registry purchases always qualify for free shipping!).
  • Return policy – Enjoy free returns for up to one year on eligible registry items.
  • Inexpensive – Walmart is known for its cheap prices on items. This is a huge advantage to those on a budget.
  • Free gift – Walmart sends a Welcome box for making a baby registry.

Cons

  • Selection – Walmart offers a limited selection and may be especially lacking in natural and organic items.
  • Returns – Exchanges have to be done in-store. Any returns have to have a gift receipt or packaging slip. The returns can be transferred to cash, gift card, or store credit.

Babylist Baby Registry

Babylist is a great option for a baby registry because it allows you to link to separate registries on retailer websites (Amazon, and Walmart, for example) or select specific items from any e-commerce store. Plus, Babylist is more than just a universal registry. Soon-to-be-parents can ask family and friends for meals or help once the baby arrives on their integrated website. 

Pros:

  • One-stop – Since Babylist is universal, any items from Walmart, Amazon, and even boutique retailers can be added to the baby registry.
  • Return policy – Babylist has a generous 9-month return policy for any purchase directly from the Babylist website.
  • Free gift – Babylist offers a 15% completion discount and a welcome box once the registry is started.
  • Cash fund – Babylist allows gift-givers to contribute money toward the purchase of a larger gift. This money is automatically disbursed into your PayPal account and then you can make the necessary purchase.

Cons: 

  • Recognition – Virtually everyone is aware of big-box retailers, but Babylist is probably a new one for most people and they may be reluctant to sign up for yet another website.
  • Online only – Babylist does not have a physical location and all purchases will need to be made online, possibly from multiple retailers. This can be confusing, especially for older relatives who may be less tech savvy.
  • Overwhelming – Since you can link to literally anything you can purchase online, it’s easy for the registry to become unwieldy and intimidating – both for you and any potential gift-givers.

Target

Like Walmart, Target is a big-box retailer that offers both in-person and digital options for your baby registry. It is a universal registry (meaning it supports outside links) that allows group gifting, a more-than-generous return window, and double discounts. Target registry might be hard to navigate for the less than average user. 

Pros:

  • Physical location – Target boasts a large selection of items for a baby registry along with a physical store to walk and browse in.
  • Convenience – Target baby registry is universal and allows group gifting.
  • Discounts – Target offers two 15% discounts. One discount is for completion of the baby registry to be used in-store. The other discount is good for online use only.
  • Returns – Target allows new, unopened, and originally packaged items from the baby registry to be returned up to 1 year after the baby’s due date.
  • Free gift – Target allows parents to redeem a welcome box containing over $150 worth of samples and coupons in-store.

Cons:

  • Technological barrier – The online registry can be difficult to navigate if someone is not familiar with the technology.

Buy Buy Baby

Buy Buy Baby registry is a great choice if parents are expecting to spend a large amount on baby items and gear and desire a lengthy return policy. Buy Buy Baby offers many coupons and discounts. 

Pros

  • Discounts – Buy Buy Baby registry offers multiple coupons for parents to be. Buy Buy Baby offers a 15% completion discount and mails 20% coupons regularly.
  • Return policy – Buy Buy Baby has a long window for returns at 1 year of the purchase date.
  • Shipping bonus – A unique feature to the Buy Buy Baby registry is if the parents, family, and/or friends spend a total of $1,500, Buy Buy Baby gives free unlimited shipping for a year to the parents of the registry.
  • Free gift – Buy Buy Baby gives a “goodie bag” full of samples and free products to the soon-to-be-parents. It has to be picked up in-store.

Cons

  • Cost – Buy Buy Baby is one of the pricier baby registry options on this list.
  • Free gift – The free sample bag must be picked up in-store.

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