Expecting a baby isn’t exactly all fun and games. Your ankles are swollen, it’s getting harder to find a comfortable sleeping position, and your hormones are staging a full-fledged revolt. Or maybe you’re overwhelmed with your nursery-building to-do list, endless doctor’s appointments, stacks of new parent books (because no two of your friends recommended the same one), and low-key concern that the car seat might not be installed correctly, even though you’ve had it professionally checked AND baby won’t be here for another month.

Expecting is a LOT, but you know what shouldn’t be stressful and overwhelming and, well, much? Choosing tiny things for your new tiny human. Putting together your baby registry, full of irresistibly adorable outfits, clever conveniences, and beautiful nursery furniture should be 100% joy from start to finish. But with thousands of baby brands competing for your attention, and a few dozen places to start your registry, even making a wishlist of super cute items can wind up… a little stressful.

With the help of our fave new-mom-to-be, Brand Ambassador Kailan, we’ve assembled some tips for what to look for in a baby registry service, and five registry items we’re excited about right now. We hope we can help you kickstart your own registry goals and take a little stress out of one of the best parts of waiting for baby! 

First things first – you’ve got to decide WHERE to register. When it comes to easy-access, guest friendly registries, you really have two options: store-specific or all-in-one. 

Store-specific registries are great for families who have a favorite shopping spot and know they’re likely to find all they need in one place. The pros are that well-known baby registry staples like Target, Pottery Barn Kids, or Amazon have lots of options available, are familiar to friends and family, and offer lots of discounts and incentives. On the con side, you might find yourself unable to add that particular crib you fell in love with, or the small business crafted baby carrier that would really be the best fit for your family.

All-in-one, or universal, registries, are web-based wish lists that let you add items from any online store. Sites like BabyList or My Registry offer some of the same perks as their store-specific counterparts, like discounts and flexible return policies, with a little more wiggle room to choose items you really love.

When first-time mom Kailan was shopping, her registry priorities were:

  1. Being able to add items from any store to a single list.
  2. The option to ship gifts directly to her home (a huge convenience in a pandemic, or simply to avoid having to haul everything home from the shower.)
  3. A discount to purchase items that she didn’t wind up receiving as gifts.
  4. Convenient email updates and customer service.

She wound up choosing BabyList, an All-in-One, for her registry, and loved it! We’d love to hear from you – which registry site did you choose, and how did it wind up working for you? Would you recommend it to other parents? Let us know in the comments!

Once you’ve decided where to register, it’s time to start shopping! Here are five items we’d love to add to our registry, just to get you started:

Mockingbird Stroller Single to Double 

You know we love a product that grows along with baby! The Mockingbird Single to Double Stroller starts out ready for one baby, then expands to hold two little ones as your family grows. It’s compatible with a wide range of car seats, so you won’t be locked into a particular brand.

The Lovevery Play Gym

Another brilliant grow-along-with-baby design, this time made for play! Created by Child Development specialists, the Lovevery Play Gym comes with an activity guide to help you find new, developmentally appropriate ways to play with baby from birth through their first year.

Keekaroo Peanut Diaper Changing Pad 

The best part about this slip-resistant, easy-to-clean changing pad? It’s compatible with a wide variety of surfaces, which means you can pair it with your dadada dresser for a comfy, cozy changing station! We also think their clever, accident ready design is a new parent must – because if there’s one thing we’re sure about, it’s that changing table mess is pretty much inevitable.

Nanobebe Microwave Steam Sterilizer 

We’re all more aware of germs than ever before, so we’re grateful for this quick, easy, safe way to clean and sterilize bottles – no need to handwash tiny parts or try to calm your hungry baby while you wait for the dishwasher to run a whole cycle. Affordable, durable, and it makes new parent life easier – what’s not to love?

Graco Soothe My Way Swing with Removable Rocker

Some babies don’t love a traditional swinging motion, so this genius swing comes with options! Try swinging baby in each of the two different directions and eight soothing motions, until you find the combination that works best for your unique little one!

Remember: it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of baby gear out there. Ask moms you trust for their must-have baby items and reviews of popular choices. And when in doubt, remember that there’s more than one right answer. “The best advice I got that eased my anxiety was simple: don’t stress too much over which item is perfect for baby,” Kailan told us. “There are hundreds of articles debating why one stroller is better than another. As long as the one you’re looking at has good reviews, fits your space, and suits your style, you’ll be just fine!”

Happy shopping, loves! We can’t wait to hear more about your favorite finds!