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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Baby Registry | Tips & Tricks

On Monday when I shared the latest of what's happening in Little Love's nursery, I mentioned spending the cash/check gifts to purchase her vintage French provincial dresser. And I thought I would share tips and tricks on what you should do with all those monetary gifts including gift cards.

One of the greatest pieces of advice I was given during my pregnancy was to hold on to all my gift cards until after the baby comes. I gotta say this one piece of advice benefited us greatly. Mostly as new parents you really don't know how to separate what babies actually need to what's nice to have. I remember asking my friend for advice on my registry and she pointed me to Babies R Us Registry Checklist and said it was pretty accurate for the most part and in some aspects it is and in another aspects is not.

Before spending any gift cards or monetary gifts, consider returning or exchanging certain gifts that you either have too many of, don't like or want a different size. We did this a lot. 

1. Second Hand Clothing and Exchanging Sizes - There were a few outfits that were duplicates so I decided to return NB sizes and choose different outfits in the 0-3 month sizes as that was the size we were lacking. For one, I didn't want too many NB outfits as you always hear babies grow out those quickly and this is true and secondly I bought a large lot of gently used NB clothes from Brittany. Because they were NB size and again babies grow quickly they were in such great condition, you'd think they were new regardless so don't knock buying used on clothing.

2. Exchanging Brands - Originally I registered for all Johnson's Baby bath-time essential products however once Sophia arrived and we were giving her sponge baths with Johnson's Baby Wash we received from the hospital we realized it was causing her dry skin so we returned all the ones we could and bought a sample size of Babyganics which worked so we now have purchased two large bottles with our return merchandised gift card. The ones we couldn't return we donated to family members or the pregnancy help center here in Katy. We also were given a baby bath chair that we weren't fond of (bad reviews) so we returned it and used the combined merchandised gift cards to purchase the one we wanted.

3. Baby Blankets and Swaddles - We received a lot of hand knit blankets for Sophia which I was ecstatic about. Part of her nursery plan in my head was having a knit blanket showcased so when we received 5 I couldn't have been happier however we also received numerous fluffy store bought blankets and no swaddles. Since handmade gifts can't be exchanged or returned (and I loved them all too much to even consider returning), we decided to exchange most of our fluffy blankets for swaddles HOWEVER I wish we didn't. We were able to take three Swaddles home from the hospital, my in-laws bought us two more and my sister bought us a pack of 4 and we got a pack of 4 with our exchange. According to the registry checklist I mentioned earlier, suggest having many many swaddles. I personally don't think you need that many. Sophia quickly outgrew the two 4-packs of swaddles within a month and at that time we weren't swaddling her so that wasted 8 of them. The 5 other swaddles we have, 2 are standard hospital size and style and the other 3 are Muslin Swaddles. We used the standard hospital ones pretty consistently from month one to month two and made the switch to the Muslin ones from month two to now. We personally use the same swaddle for about a week before throwing it in the laundry and pulling a fresh one out therefore I say you really only need 3 or 4 LARGE Swaddles like the Muslin ones.

Once you have exchanged and returned everything, you now have additional gift cards if you didn't spend everything you just returned. And add those to the gift cards you saved from your baby shower, you should have a large amount to make those purchases of items you didn't either receive or you didn't know you needed or what you need more of.

1. I needed nursing bras and didn't receive any therefore I purchased two sleeping nursing bras and one daytime nursing bra. In the beginning I felt guilty using Sophia's gift cards for my needs but I realized by making it easier for her to nurse makes it a need for her as well.

2. We registered for a humidifier because that was on our checklist but didn't receive one, yet we didn't really see the need for one until Sophia was about two months old when she got her first cold and stuffy nose. Luckily we had our gift cards set aside to purchase one.

3. We were lucky enough to have such a large stockpile on diapers and wipes that we haven't needed to purchase any until two weeks ago but again we had those gift cards set aside for times like this.

4. Now that Sophia is getting older and building her neck muscle even more, we decided to use some more of those gift cards to purchase a Bumbo Floor Seat and we love the thing although Sophia has a love/hate relationship with it at the moment.

My last piece of advice or suggestion is to register at Babies R Us because of the benefits. For everything purchased from your registry, you get a percentage of that purchase back on a eGift Card about 12 weeks after your expected delivery date. Before I purchased something, I checked to see if I already had it on my registry, if it wasn't I added it and when I went to purchase, I told them it's apart of my registry so even my purchases went towards that percentage. I finally received my eGift Card and it was a nice size and came right when we finished off all the other ones we had on hand. Plus I am apart of the "R" Us rewards program, so every $125 I spend, I receive a $5 off coupon and those $5 help.

So what would I put on baby #2's registry whenever we have one? Diapers, diapers and more diapers and wipes. Nearly everything we have now is gender neutral and we did that for a reason. We plan to hand it down to our next child (whether a boy or girl) whenever we decide we are ready for another one. So consider that as well or else you'll have to repurchase everything if your consecutive child is the opposite gender.

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