Another uncharted and potentially daunting part of pregnancy: the baby registry! Just like every pregnancy, every mama and every baby is different. It makes sense, then, that not every baby registry is the same.
In an effort to make life a little easier on you, mamas, we put together a list of some things you should know about baby registries, as well as a guide to some of the best baby registries around. Our guide is special because it highlights what makes each baby registry unique and appealing to different types of mamas.
Before we dive in, it's worth mentioning that we've done our research, and have included a Babylist Registry page to our Lily and Llama website, making it super easy for expecting mamas to add our Pre-Packed Hospital Bags to their baby registry. Be sure to add your favorite bundle to your registry so you can check "hospital bag" off your pregnancy checklist!
With that being said...
LET’S START WITH A BASIC BABY REGISTRY OVERVIEW:
So, what is a baby registry? Simply put, a baby registry is a wish list you create of items that you want and need for your baby. Then, that list is shared with your community. This way your friends, family, congregation, and coworkers know what to give as a gift to you and your baby. It makes life a little easier for you and for them.
When should I create a baby registry? There are two general pieces of advice here. First, have your baby registry ready by week 20. Secondly, be sure your registry is ready before you send your baby shower invitations. You will want to include your baby registry details on those invites! That being said, you really can make a baby registry at any time. Some mamas get a head start with inspiration boards on sites like Pinterest before creating an actual baby registry.
BEFORE WE DIVE IN, SOME TERMS TO LEARN.
Universal Baby Registry: A universal baby registry allows you to add items from all different retailers, from big box stores to small mom and pops (like Lily and Llama). It works by adding a button to your navigation bar and simply “pinning” an item that you want to add. Some universal baby registries will even let you sync registries you’ve already created on other websites. Keep in mind that different retailers will have their own shipping and return policies.
Welcome Bag: As a thank you for using their baby registry, some sites will offer a gift bag or box for mama for signing up. Isn’t that nice?!
Group Gifting: Say you have a big-ticket item on your baby registry (eh hem, a L+L pre-packed hospital bag!), wouldn’t it be nice to let your gal pals or coworkers each chip in a bit to cover the costs of a single gift? Some, but not all, baby registries offer split payment options for a group of people to give a single large gift. In some cases, your registry will encourage your group to buy a gift card with the amount of the item in mind. Mama, you then use that card to make the purchase yourself.
Completion Discount: Okay, so this is cool. Some registries will offer you a discount on any items that are still left on your baby registry as you approach your due date. The discount and start date vary by site. Usually, it is 15-20% off, and kicks in a few weeks before your due date. Discounts can last until a few weeks after your baby is born.
AND NOW, THE 9 BEST BABY REGISTRIES OUT THERE.
1. THE ONE FOR THE SCRUPULOUS MAMA: GUGU GURU
Overview: Guru Guru is more than a baby registry. It is a “hands-on” type of service that can be tailored to fit your individual needs. You can customize your experience from a just-the-essentials plan, up to a full-service concierge with all the bells and whistles. As a resource for a completely custom guide for your mamahood journey, it’s no surprise this made our list of best baby registries.
How it works: You get to personalize your registry experience by taking a lifestyle quiz and then let AI (artificial intelligence) and HI (actual human intelligence!) get to work finding the perfect products for you. You won’t create your registry on Gugu Guru. Rather, they will use your information to help you create a registry on the site that is right for you. One-on-one consultations with “gurus” save you time and relieve stress. You get access to their unbiased, expert product reviews and guidance for up to a year after your baby is born.
Gugu Guru is good for…the mama that wants a totally custom, bespoke experience based on high tech and high touch.
2. THE ONE FOR THE “PROGRESSIVE” MAMA: BABYLIST
Overview: Babylist provides super-duper practical, data-driven advice and services. This one has thought of everything. Makes sense, because the creator is a software engineer from Amazon (she started Babylist nine years ago during her own pregnancy). Not only can you streamline your registry with access to any item at pretty much every store on the planet (including Lily and Llama), but you can also register for not-sold-in-stores services like meal deliveries and dog-walking. They have all the latest, cool baby-tech product reviews, too. You can even set up cash funds for your people to contribute to, like college funds, children’s museum memberships, and Prudential Life insurance policies. Seriously practical, right?!. P.S. they’re also really into being actively anti-racist and dismantling systemic racism.
How it Works: With a delightfully techy user interface, Babylist walks you through all of the steps, from adding the Babylist bookmark to your toolbar, adding baby shower details, and more. Once that’s done, start adding products, cash funds, coupons for services, and more to your registry. When you are ready, you can share your registry with family and friends by sending them a custom baby registry URL.
Babylist is good for…the tech-savvy mama that likes to maximize the type of gifts they can receive and knows they are supporting a platform that is socially conscious. We also like their blog, where you can find articles on getting a tattoo while pregnant and expert stroller reviews.
3. THE ONE FOR THE “ONE-STOP-SHOP” MAMA: MYREGISTRY.COM
Overview: MyRegistry.com is a diverse, all-occasions situation. You can create registries for EVERYTHING! Seriously we’re talkin’ babies, weddings, quinceañeras, bat and bar mitzvahs, you name it, they’re on it.
How it Works: The #1 universal baby registry, you can register with literally any store, from Bloomingdale’s to REI to Walmart. You can also add items from across the web using the MyRegistry bookmarked button. You can create multiple registries and sync them together using their app (for Apple or Android). It even sends you notifications when gifts are bought. The interface is clean and easy to use. They also have a feature where you can create a vision board for your special occasion. It’s available in Spanish, too!
MyRegistry.com is good for…the mama that wants to keep coming back to the same platform for all of life’s special moments.
4. THE ONE FOR EVERY MAMA: TARGET.COM
Overview: It’s Target…you get it. We chose Target specifically because Target offers a universal registry. Meaning, Target lets you add items from across the web, even if it is not an item they sell in their stores. It’s kinda like the mall Santa in Miracle on 34th Street. If they don’t have it, or if someone else has it for cheaper, they’ll still let you add it to the registry you set up with them.
How it Works: Just create a Target.com account and you’re in! In order to add items from other sites, add the “Add to Registry” button to your bookmark toolbar. Browse their suggestions, checklists, and start building your registry. You can share your registry via a (customizable) link, or “download and print” registry inserts to include in baby shower invites. Target also has a feature called Felt, which lets you send hand-written thank you notes from your phone.
Target.com is good for…the mama that goes into Target for a toothbrush and leaves with all new living room décor. In short, all mamas.
5. THE ONE FOR THE MAMA THAT LIKES TO PLAN: THE BUMP
Overview: A membership at The Bump starts even before conception, beginning with fertility planning and staying around into the toddler years. The Bump provides resources for everything from week-by-week pregnancy guides, contraction counters, to lists of baby names and Chinese gender charts. They also have community message boards to connect with other parents.
How it Works: You can sync, update, and share all your baby registries in a single place. It also has tons of tools and resources for your journey. Once you create your baby registry with The Bump, you can add all of your registries from places like Target and BuyBuyBaby. Create those registries using the same email you use on The Bump, and The Bump syncs your registry information within 24 hours. That means you can see all the different retailers you’ve registered with, as well as the specific items you’ve registered for at each retailer. You share your registry with friends and family via email with the press of a button.
The Bump is good for…the mama that likes to do a deep dive on research and planning and wants to track their lists (and perks!) in one place. It’s a simple and easy operation.
6. THE ONE FOR THE DECOR-OBSESSED MAMA: POTTERY BARN KIDS
Overview: Pottery Barn Kids offers one of the best baby registries for mamas designing an adorable nursery. With every product safely tested, expecting mamas can rest assured that their nursery will be a secure place. As one of Barron’s 100 Most Sustainable Companies, Pottery Barn Kids is a great choice for mothers interested in long-lasting, eco-friendly products.
How It Works: Create your account and manage your baby registry all in one convenient location with the Pottery Barn app. You can find inspiration, browse online items, or scan and add in-store items to your registry right at your fingertips. Two months prior to your baby shower, you’ll even receive a 20% discount code. You can use this discount code up to six months after your event purchase any remaining items left on your registry. And let’s not forget the free design services that Pottery Barn offers to help you create the perfect space!
Pottery Barn Kids is good for… mamas in need of adorable additions to their beautiful nursery designs.
7. THE ONE FOR INTERACTIVE MAMAS: BUYBUY BABY
Overview: Choosing buybuy BABY as your baby registry location provides an interactive experience the whole crew can be a part of. Your guests can shop your registry and use the analyzer tool to find the best prices on all your favorite items. Receive discounts, referral rewards, and free shipping with buybuy BABY on your side.
How It Works: Buybuy BABY offers both online and in-person registry options, so you can create your list however you’d like. Once you’ve registered, you can pursue online products or schedule an appointment to shop alongside a customer service expert. Their team can walk you through each section of the store and help you find the perfect product for your needs. And don’t forget to try out the interactive checklist and track gifts for easy thank-you notes later on!
Buybuy Baby is good for…the mamas who want to make shopping easy for both themselves and their favorite people.
8. THE ONE FOR TRANSFORMATIVE MAMAS: CRATE & KIDS
Overview: Transformative items are a specialty of the Crate & Kids baby registry. With convertible cribs, dressers, changing tables, and more, your nursery items can grow with your little one for long-lasting use. Shop furniture or 100% cotton sheets and onesies for ultimate comfort in and out of your nursery.
How It Works: Registration is easy with Crate & Kids. Simply enter your information and get started adding items! With a Crate & Kids registry, you receive access to free shipping, expert design services, mobile app management, and more. Start your registry with the handy checklist and don’t miss out on a single item.
Crate & Kids is good for…mamas searching for sustainable, long-lasting nursery items and clothing for their little ones.
9. THE ONE FOR MAMAS LOOKING FOR EVERYTHING: AMAZON
Overview: Last but certainly not least, we have the registry for every last item mamas could need — Amazon’s baby registry. With endless options and supplies to meet every need, Amazon is one of the best places for baby registries. Search through a variety of brands and products to find just what you need for your little one.
How It Works: Kick off your baby registry journey with a free gift from Amazon! When you register, you’ll receive a gift valued at up to $35 to get you started. As a universal registry, you’ll have the option to add items from anywhere to your Amazon baby registry. Shop the Earth’s biggest selection of baby products using advanced search filters and thorough reviews. Amazon’s baby registry also allows group gifting, so your family and friends can pitch in on that major list item.
Amazon is good for…mamas looking for top-quality products using fellow mama reviews. Be sure to check out Lily and Llama pre-packed hospital bags on our Amazon storefront!
BONUS BABY REGISTRY: MEAL TRAIN
Overview: K, so Meal Train is not technically a baby registry. At least not one in the traditional sense. But Meal Train is still a way that your community can help ease some of the burdens that come with the joy of having a baby. So, it makes the list!
How it works: Friends and family sign up to provide meals for mama and the family. This could be home-cooked meals or Grubhub or Seamless gift cards. Enter mama’s name, email address, and where meals should get dropped off. Then pick the dates meals are needed (or would be appreciated). Enter mama’s food preferences (likes, dislikes, allergies) and the best time of day to drop off a meal. Use email, Facebook, and more to invite friends, family, church members, whoever! Folks simply sign up for a date and provide a meal for mama. There is also a paid ($10) version that lets folks sign up for things like household chores and childcare.
Meal Train is good for… mamas that might need more in the form of day-to-day support. It is also good for second- (and third-, fourth-, fifth-…) time mamas who might already have a lot of the baby stuff they need.
In the end, the baby registry you pick should be intuitive for you to use. It should allow you to add all the items and services that you’ll want to welcome your bundle of joy into the world. It should be easy for your community to share and use, too. Your needs, your budget, and the level of support you want are all you need to know when creating your own baby registry.