What Is a Baby Registry?

You’re expecting a baby, and excited about getting all the things your baby will need. But you may also be a bit nervous. How will you know what to get? When loved ones ask if they can contribute, what should you tell them? This is when you will start to hear about a baby registry. But what is a baby registry? 

The term baby registry is so commonplace these days that most of you will be familiar with it. But if you are a first-time mom, you may be unsure about what it entails, or how it works. Don’t despair, we have all the answers you need, right here.

So whether you are completely new to the concept, or just need some tips to point you in the right direction, read on. We will go through what a baby registry is and does, and cover every step in creating a basic baby registry. 

What This Article Covers:

What Does "Baby Registry" Mean?

First, let’s determine exactly what is meant by “baby registry.” The clue is in the word “registry”. This has traditionally meant a place where registers (or records) are kept. In the case of a baby registry, it is a list of baby items at a specific store. 

what is baby registry

This list includes baby items such as clothing, blankets, diapers, and other essentials that expectant parents need for their baby. It can also include toys that they would like as gifts for their baby. There are different types of baby registries, ranging from minimalist to organic and even feminist ones. 

What Is a Baby Registry Used for?

The purpose of a baby registry is to make everything simpler for both the gift-givers and you as the expectant mom. A registry ensures that you will receive the baby items that you need, in the styles and colors that you prefer.

One of the main baby registry benefits is that it helps to avoid the problem of receiving duplicate gifts. Without a baby registry, people might buy you too many of the same things. And because of this, you might also miss out on some things you need.

A well-planned baby registry lets your friends and family know the exact items that you want. But it also makes sure that you get them in the quantities you need. This ensures that you’ll be 100% ready when your baby comes.

How Does a Baby Registry Work?

Baby stores usually advertise when they have a baby registry service. If you’re unsure about a particular store, ask them if they offer this service. Certain stores even offer certain discounts and special offers with this service.

Register at as many stores as you like, but most people register at only one or two. This makes it easier to keep track of everything. Choose stores that offer the type of items that you want for your baby. 

Once you have created the list of items that you want for your baby at that store, share the news. If you don’t know when to start a baby registry, the answer is: as soon as you’ve announced your pregnancy.

Your friends and family will then choose which items to purchase for you, and bring them to your baby shower. So let your family and friends know that you have a baby registry, and which stores they should go to. Do this well ahead of your baby shower party.

How to Do a Baby Registry

Here are some simple but helpful tips for creating a baby registry. Follow the simple steps in this guide and you’ll be on your way to creating a functional baby registry: 

Step 1: Decide on the Registry Size

This could be a very comprehensive list, or a simpler one. Only you know what kind and size of baby registry is necessary. Most people cap it at around 120-150 items, though.

Much of this will depend on whether or not you are a first-time mom. Some first-time mom essentials, like a bassinet, stroller, or car seat, may be best bought by you.

Step 2: Decide What Items to Include

how does a baby registry work

The items that you choose will of course be influenced by personal choice. But any baby registry will include a few organic onesies and rompers. 

And if a close friend or relative has a lot of baby items left from their baby’s first year, they may donate them to you. 

Step 3: Create a Baby Registry Checklist 

Create a baby registry checklist, to be sure that when you sign up for a baby registry you’ll include everything you need. 

Consult it before finalizing your registry. This will quickly bring to light if there are any baby registry items you didn't think of at first. 

Step 4: Choose a Store

Compile a registry at more than one store or offers online options too. This will be of great help to friends and family who are too busy to go out shopping. 

Remember to balance your needs and wishes with the time restraints of your loved ones. Give gift-givers a variety of choices. And if you have preferences about gender neutrality, feminism, or related issues, communicate this to your registry consultant. 

Step 5: Consider the Season & Your Baby’s Gender

When choosing the baby clothes to put on your registry, first consider the season your baby will be born into, their gender, and any special needs. 

A summer baby registry would include more sleeveless rompers and sunhats. Lighter weight blankets may be preferable in warmer weather and climates. 

what is a registry for baby shower

And a winter baby registry would have to include long-sleeved and legged knitted baby onesies and warmer blankets. Beanies, mittens, and booties would also be essential items in cooler climates.

Step 6: Check The Quality

Ensure that all the items on your baby registry are of high quality, sustainably produced, and safe for your newborn. Do not just assume that this is the case. Verify these facts for your peace of mind. This is easier when dealing with a reputable retailer of baby goods. 

Step 7: Think of the Gift Givers

Whether or not it is rude to put expensive items on a baby registry is a personal matter that only you can answer. A lot depends on the dynamics within your circle of family and friends. Discuss this with your closest friends and relatives, to avoid awkwardness later.

Include baby items at a variety of price points, to meet the budget requirements of your family members and friends. Some may not be able to afford what others can so bear this in mind.

What Categories to Include in a Baby Registry

Choosing how many items should be on a baby registry is subject to various factors. But the use of categories in your baby registry will make it much easier for you to do this. 

Construct a rough checklist, and divide it into a few main categories.  This list can then be tailored to your specific needs before you finalize your official baby registry list. It will usually look something like this. 

what's a baby registry

  • Baby Clothing
  • Nursery items
  • Baby transportation items
  • Feeding supplies
  • Bath time products
  • Diapering essentials
  • Soft Toys


Now that you know all there is to know about a baby registry, you can get to work creating your own one. Just follow the steps above and you’ll do fine. But always remember to keep your baby registry suitable for you and your baby’s needs. Only you know what will be best for your particular family needs. 

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