As new or expecting moms, we’ve all been there when it comes to the conundrum of deciphering what products you need for your little one. The typical first step we take is to innocently ask a handful of experienced moms we know:  “What do I need to buy for my baby?”  The result turns into dozens of spreadsheets with hundreds of “must-have” registry items that have been passed down from every experienced mom — along with very strong, and often conflicting, points of view. What is meant to be helpful quickly turns into something completely overwhelming.

I was there. Pregnant with my son Griffin, all I wanted was a straightforward list of what I needed. I remember asking, “what is an exersaucer and do I really need it?” ad nauseam until I got an honest answer. Super confused, my friend (who had recently gone through this herself) finally told it to me straight, and in a language I could understand within the context of my life. She cut through all the clutter, spelled out the real must-have essentials and eliminated what I didn’t need. We called her my Cricket. Now, I hope to return the favor and do the same for other moms. Cricket’s Circle gives you the short answer, providing three recommendations based on your lifestyle in over 200+ product categories. We do all the simplifying for you.

Registry Tips

Since new moms will make more than 150 product decisions in the first year alone, here are seven tips to help simplify the registry process.

1. Don’t get stuck in the moment.
Register for baby and toddler items. When you start considering what you need, first narrow it down to the first 0-6 months. Then, take a step back, and think about a couple of those items that you’ll use through toddler years (think: convertible car seat, highchair, 6-9M size clothing).

2. Register based on your lifestyle.
What is a priority to you and how do you plan to live with your baby? You may not know right away, but think about your home (do you have to climb lots of stairs or do you have an elevator if you live in an apartment?), your travel (do you drive mostly or take the bus?), your routine (are you partial to organic products?), and most importantly your budget (determine what essentials you absolutely need and what items might be nice-to-haves).

3. Pick one (maximum two) stores to register and always ask their return policy.
The “universal” registry seems great in theory, but when you’re trying to return items to a variety of different stores, it gets complicated and time consuming.

4. Prioritize practical items over pretty ones.
That cashmere sweater or mid-century bouncer may be beautiful, but your soul will be crushed when your baby outgrows it in three weeks or opts for the uglier flashier version with all the songs and lights. Plus, you’re going to need onesies, diapers and a swing a whole lot more.

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5. Keep in mind what you really have space for.
Whether you live in the city or the suburbs, you definitely can not fit every baby product, toy or play-thing in your home. And you certainly don’t need to. Ask mom friends with similar lifestyles what products work best for them in their space and evaluate what you’ll need two of and what you can skip.

6. Think about registry in two buckets.
Choose smaller items ($30-$60 range) so that people with varying budgets can afford to buy you something and also larger items (like cribs and strollers) that close friends and family might purchase.

7. Don’t forget, Cricket’s Circle is always here to help.
We obsess over every product, test them all and tell it to you straight, just like a friend would. On the site, you can start by taking an easy quiz to get personalized recommendations just for you.

And while we all put pressure to do it perfectly the first time, it will naturally be trial and error. Embrace it – creating a registry is the best excuse for some healthy retail therapy.

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Images via Sarah Maizland

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