How to Create a Baby Registry without Stress

Baby's coming and what have you got to show for it? Nothing but your big belly! You should definitely show off that growing part of your body with pride, but don't let the nine months of gestation get away from you without making a list of stuff that your infant will need after she decides to make her grand entrance into the world. And who better to help you collect all the baby essentials than those who love you (and the little one who you won't be seen without for the next few years) most! That's right, it's time to register for baby shower gifts...the stress-free way!

Going straight to your local WE HAVE BABY SUPPLIES or SUPER DUPER BABY MART stores will be overwhelming. Unless you're already a pro at navigating the hectic mazes of diapers and 57 brands of everything from rash ointment to car seats, it's best to start off slow. Do some pre-shopping research on the Internet, ask other moms for recommendations, make a loose list of essentials, and take a friend (your hubby, your mom, your BFF, whoever). Before we get into specifics, let's go over a few things you absolutely need: crib, car seat, clothing, diapers, and food. Pretty intuitive, right? See, that wasn't so hard!

Survey Your Friends

If you're pregnant, chances are you've got at least a friend or two who are also pregnant or who already have kids. Use them as a knowledge pool! These ladies will surely remember how it was confusing and little overwhelming at first to know what to ask for when it comes to your baby, and they won't be shy in giving you their grocery list of must-haves. They'll suggest many of the items you'll think of yourself, but they also may recommend some gems or reveal little known mom secrets...write these down! Sometimes being creative is the answer to many a fussy baby/dirty diaper/hungry tummy situation.

Check the Web

It's so easy to get on the Internet to compare the prices and ratings of millions of products. Not sure what kind of car seat to register for? Look online to see which of the hundreds of possible seats have made it through the most car wrecks. You can research user ratings on things as mundane as bottles--nothing is too silly to look at when it comes to your newborn! Consider the price, quality, longevity, and comfort of the products you research. You won't be sorry you did your homework!

Consider Prices

It's exciting to register for gifts that people will buy for you (oops, we mean your baby!), but don't go overboard. If you register for a $500 car seat, you can't reasonably expect someone to get it for you, and you'll be left having to purchase one for yourself. Although safety is a huge consideration for several items, remember that price is also a big factor when you're asking people to buy these things for you.

Decide Where to Register

There are gazillions of places to register for baby shower gifts. While diapers are diapers are diapers pretty much anywhere you get them, other products will vary according to where you get them. Baby superstores tend to keep track of items that have been purchased off a registry, which is nice for both you and your baby shower guests. Make sure you find out the return/exchange policy of the store you register at too, since repeat gifts are inevitable if you're inviting a ton of people. Another option is to create more than one registry so people have a choice of products with varying prices, and so they can either shop at the store or online.

What Not to Register For

-- Clothing items other than basics. Different stores may have varying inventories (or sell out of certain pieces) so your guests may not be able to find the exact outfit you registered for. Basics are always in stock and you can never have enough of them!

--Diapers and wipes. People will get these for you whether you ask for them or not, so don't put them on your registry unless you want to receive them as gifts.

--Blankets. Same reason as diapers and blankets are the standard "Congrats on your new baby!" gift, so you'll be getting plenty of these. Only register for blankets that match the crib bedding so you'll have some that are meant to go together, but other than this, people will be showering you with blankets even when you don't ask for them.