When to Make a Baby Registry
Timing your baby registry’s debut is nearly as important as what you put on your list. Creating your baby registry list well ahead of time—even before you send out baby shower invitations—helps you get organized and prevents your friends and family from unnecessary and redundant gifting.
But when exactly is the right time to make a baby registry list?
While some people say 12 weeks into your pregnancy and others say at least 4 weeks before your baby shower, the simple answer is: It’s up to you. But if, like Goldilocks, you’re still wondering whether it’s too early, too late, or just the right time to create a baby registry, read on. In this article, we’ve put together a little guidance on everything you need to know about when to make a baby registry.
For a First Baby, Start Planning Early
If you’re expecting your first baby, there are tons of items you likely don’t own yet—cribs, baby bottles, breast pumps, baby sleep products, baby monitors, cloth diapers––you name it. There are even a bunch of baby essentials you may not even know you need, like nipple balm, nursing pillows, and teethers.
Putting together your baby registry essentials early in your pregnancy will give you plenty of time to:
- Figure out exactly what baby essentials you need.
- Pick out adorable items you want (like, for instance, a unicorn-themed mobile to decorate the nursery).
- Ensure you’re prepared with supplies well before the baby arrives.
Another benefit of planning early? You give yourself plenty of time to research baby items without creating excess stress for yourself.
Eliminate Stress by Starting Early
Baby registries are great. A new mom gets to look at endless parades of cute baby clothes, beautiful cribs, innovative strollers, a baby bath, and so much more, all the while daydreaming about her little bundle of joy.
But the truth is that creating a baby registry checklist is also a lot of work. You’ll likely have to make decisions like:
- Do you want a crib, a bassinet, or both?
- Do you need a stroller that folds or one that telescopes?
- Will you bottle or breastfeed your baby, and what baby items will support you?
There are so many baby gear products and variations of those products on the market, it can take quite a bit of your time to research and understand what’s available, and what will work best for you and your baby.
Unnecessary stress is something you want to minimize during your pregnancy, so tackling your baby registry checklist early and in small sessions will help keep you feeling your best.1 Consider making or utilizing a baby shower registry checklist, then only deciding on one or two items at a time.
If you do start to feel overwhelmed by the process, take a day or two away from it, and try one of the following methods to relax:2
- Talk to your partner, a friend, or your healthcare provider
- Remind yourself that pregnancy is temporary and your baby shower registry should be fun
- Eat a healthy snack
- Go for a walk
- Take a nap
- Have an herbal tea
- Run yourself a bath
The beauty of registering early is that you have plenty of time to work at your own pace and take breaks when you need to.
Just How Early is Early?
Many first-time mothers start creating their registry as early as 12 weeks. This is a great time to begin creating the registry, not sharing the registry. The distinction is important; many registry websites will allow you to work on your registry in private without sharing it yet.
This method is also excellent because it allows you to:
- Work at your own pace
- Add or delete items
- Run possibilities past family, friends, and mentors
- Research product reviews
All of this before anyone ever gets a peek at your list.
For Twins, Start Planning Really Early
If you’re expecting twins, a few extra considerations go into the timing of your registry. In particular, you’ll want to give yourself plenty of time to figure out what items you’ll need multiples of and what items you’ll only need singles of.
For instance, consider having two of each of these items:
- Cribs and bassinets
- Strollers (or a double)
- Car seats
- High chairs
However, you will likely only need one of each of these items:
- Nursing pillow
- Diaper bag
- Changing table
- Rocker or glider
- Sound machine
These are not by any means exhaustive lists. Part of beginning your registry planning early is figuring out what you need to double up on and what can be single on your registry. Only once you’ve gotten a handle on your multiples should you share your list with your family and friends. So, if you’re expecting twins, start planning a little early for your double-duty baby needs.
For A Second (Third, Fourth, etc…) Baby, Timing Still Matters
Whether you’re having your second, third, fourth, or even fifth baby, there will still be essential items you need that your friends and family will want to purchase for you. Even if it’s not your first time around the baby-making block, having a baby registry is just as important—albeit in different ways—as it was when you had your first baby.
However, unlike your first time through the whirlwind of baby showers and announcements, you’re a seasoned pro at this parenting gig. You likely have a pretty good idea of what you need now, so don’t be shy about asking for it.
Just as with a first baby or twins, registering early—somewhere between week 12 of your pregnancy and 4 weeks before your baby shower—will help you get organized about:
- What you already have
- What you need to replace
- What you never had (but really wanted) the first time around
Yes, Adoptive Parents Should Register, Too
Creating a baby registry for a forthcoming adoption is a beautiful way to share your wonderful life change with your family and friends and prepare for the arrival of your newest family member.
If you’re adopting, all the same advice about timing applies: To reduce stress and ensure you have everything you need for your little one, it’s best to begin crafting your baby registry well before your baby’s arrival.
Creating Your Registry in the Age of the Internet
Traditionally (and that means before the internet), an expectant mother would start planning her registry around the beginning of her second trimester and would aim to have it completed and ready for sharing by the start of her third trimester. But that was the expectation when a first-time mom might need to shop in-person, physically going from store to store to select nursery items.
Luckily, the age of the internet has made the process of planning and sharing a baby registry a whole lot easier. Today, an entire baby registry can be created without the expectant mother ever setting foot in a brick-and-mortar store.
Aside from not having to leave the comfort of your couch, the benefits of registering for your baby’s nursery items online are:
- Broader selection
- Possibility of personalization
- Ease of research and comparisons
- More unique items
- Community guidance through ratings and reviews
- Ease of sharing once completed
Etiquette of Sharing
After you’ve done the hard work of creating your registry, you get to share it with your loved ones. To determine the best time to share your registry publicly, ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you keeping your baby’s gender a secret or planning a reveal?
- Will you have a single baby shower or multiple showers?
- Have people begun to ask you what you need?
- Will you be receiving gifts in-person, through the mail, or a combination of the two?
If your family and friends are getting antsy to buy your baby gifts, consider sharing your registry ASAP—whatever the date may be. The risk of redundant and unnecessary gifting increases with each passing day when your friends and family want to get buying.
Sharing your registry is also particularly important if your first baby shower is within 4 weeks. This makes the timing of sharing your registry around when your baby shower invitations will be going into the mail. By following this timeline, you can help ensure that your friends and family have plenty of time to purchase an item for your shower.
No matter when you decide to share your registry, remember—there’s no reason to stress about this. When your baby registry does go public, keep in mind:
- You can always make additions and changes
- Returns are usually possible
- Some people may ignore it and buy off-registry
- It’s okay to ask for cash, too
When Creating Your Baby Registry, Partner with Monica + Andy
Here at Monica + Andy, we want your baby registry to be a joy to create and share. That’s why we’ve made the process easy to navigate whether you’re in the first trimester with your first baby or in the third trimester with your third baby.
Our universal registry service allows you to add products you want from any online store. This means you can create and manage your perfect registry all in one place. Plus, our community of experienced parents will help you curate a registry that’s personalized, thoughtful, and full of all the best quality products available. Sign up today and see what the universal registry at Monica + Andy has to offer.
- "Stress During Pregnancy." American Pregnancy Association.https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/pregnancy-health-wellness/stress-during-pregnancy/
- "Stress and Pregnancy."American Institute of Stress. 17 October, 2019. https://www.stress.org/stress-and-pregnancy