Baby Registry: Top 5 Tips for Thinking Outside the Box

July 31, 2012 — By

Pregnant Woman Drinking Milk

Editor’s Note: Thanks goes to Felicity Hernandez, the founder of Encore Baby Registry, for this helpful guest post on creative ideas for gift giving to expectant mothers. In addition to her informative blog, you can find Felicity on twitter @EncoreRegistry.

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The phrase “creating a baby registry” often conjures up images of scan guns and a sea of shiny new baby gear, gadgets and gizmos to wade through. Thankfully, technology has paved the way for expectant parents to share needs with friends and family that stretch beyond this basic concept of gift getting and giving. Here are some ideas for spicing up your registry.

Consider Gifts on Loan

Babies grow at an amazing rate, both physically and developmentally. Clothes are sized in three month increments and gear often becomes obsolete just as fast, making it easy to borrow many baby products for short-term use. Parents who have baby gear they are saving for future reuse are often happy to temporarily share items that would otherwise sit waiting in the garage. When using a secondhand item, it’s important to make sure the item is still safe and meets current safety standards. It should have all parts in tact as well as any manuals that came with it. Finally, before using, the item should be checked for past recalls, and then registered for any future recalls. Take extra precautions with car seats, which have expiration dates and can’t be used after being in a crash. Also be aware that many secondhand cribs do not meet the new crib standards that were implemented in June 2011.

Request Secondhand and Hand-Me-Down Baby Gifts

As previously mentioned, babies grow fast! This leaves many “used” baby products in great condition and sometimes not even used at all by the original owner. Asking gift givers to buy used and give hand-me-downs is a great way to reduce your environmental impact, save money and get more of the baby gear on your list. It also makes high-end items more affordable. For example, a new $1,000 Bugaboo Chameleon stroller may be out of reach for a group of friends who want to buy your stroller, but a used one for $300 is much more doable. Using a registry for hand-me-downs and used items lets people know what you need and reduces duplicate and unwanted items.

Include the Gift of Time

If life seems busy now, just think about how busy things will be when your bundle of joy arrives in need of 24/7 care. Getting helping hands from friends and family can save money and your sanity. Think about your pre-baby to-do list as well as tasks that can be delegated after your baby arrives and let people know what they can do to help. Pre-baby tasks could include entering your baby gear into your WeMakeItSafer account, helping with home repairs or nursery prep, and making frozen meals ahead of time for quick and healthy dinners after your baby arrives. Some post-baby task ideas are dog walking, bringing over a home cooked meal, and providing transportation or childcare for older siblings.

Ask for Homemade Gifts

Homemade gifts are usually one-of-a-kind (or at least limited edition) and hold sentimental value beyond their material worth. The abundance of online tutorials and DIY articles makes it even easier for friends to craft, sew, knit, crochet, or build you the perfect gift.

Invite Gifts of Experience

There are plenty of great intangible treasures that can’t be gift wrapped. Let your friends and family help you create memories together by paying for experiences like mommy and me music classes, a family photography session, or a family pass to the local children’s museum. Baby prep classes for birthing, parenting, and infant and child CPR and first aid also make great gifts.


Felicity is the founder of Encore Baby Registry, a free website where expectant parents can create gift registries that include new, secondhand and hand-me-down items on loan or to keep. The site includes features that allow registrants to include all of the “out-of-the-box” ideas above. Encore Baby Registry also provides detailed information about secondhand shopping, safety and etiquette.

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