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How to Make Your Baby Registry Picks Without Testing Gear in Person

The coronavirus shutdown means parents-to-be can’t head to a store and see items first-hand before registering. Here’s how to work around it.
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By Ashlee Neuman, Content Director
Updated January 19, 2021
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As any expectant parent will tell you, figuring out what to register for a new baby is hard. After all, there’s a lot to consider and a lot of products to choose from. What’s even harder? Finalizing your registry picks during a global pandemic. With retailers shut down and people quarantining at home, you can’t just mosey on over to a baby store or friend’s house and get a (literal) feel for the items you’re considering. Deep breath. You can still put together a stellar baby registry without browsing the aisles or relying on the salesperson to list out everything you need. Here, our top five tips for how to make smart registry decisions in the era of COVID-19.

1. Go With Trusted Brands

There is a world out there teeming with baby products, and while most of the stuff is downright adorable, not everything is made equal. Instead of heading online and picking out whatever cute items catch your eye, pay attention to the brands that make them, especially if you’re registering with an international marketplace like Amazon. That way, you can relax knowing the products you’ll use with baby are safe, durable and well designed.

For first-time parents who aren’t yet familiar with the names of top baby brands, this can feel easier said than done—but all it takes is a little research. How long has the company been around? Where is it based? What is their ethos when it comes to safe and sustainable manufacturing? Have they won any industry awards? What are their user reviews like online? By digging up the answers to these questions, you’ll get a sense of a brand’s quality and reliability pretty quickly. If the sleuthing starts to feel a bit daunting, though, skip to tips two and three, below.

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2. Ask Your Mom Friends

For some, the process of putting together a baby registry is tons of fun. For others, it’s a pounding headache. Either way, you can trust that your friends who have kids all went through it themselves–and then actually put their registry picks to the test once their babies arrived. They’re bound to have a list of what they registered for and, even more helpful, what their top recommendations are now that they’re living the mom life. Tap that invaluable resource!

Just keep it mind that every family’s needs can be slightly different. As you’re going through your friend’s suggested items, think about your own circumstances, including where you live (city vs. suburbs, sunny vs. cold climate), how much space you have at home, if you’re expecting multiples, what your budget looks like and more.

3. Check Out Experts’ Top Picks

Whether you’re the first in your friend group to have a baby or you’re looking for a second opinion (or validation for your selections), seeing which baby products industry experts hail as best-in-class is always a smart move. There are plenty of publications and organizations out there that review, compare and call out their favorite baby gear—including The Bump! Every year, our team of editors test out a dizzying array of baby products in over 50 different categories and name a winner for each in our annual Best of Baby awards.

Want more than our single top pick for specific gear? Browse The Bump roundups of best baby products, from strollers and car seats to baby swings, sound machines and so much more.

4. Watch Them in (Virtual) Action

When it comes to the major pieces of baby gear, like strollers, car seats, high chairs and baby swings and carriers, how they function should be foremost on your mind. Does that stroller fold up easily and compactly? How simple is it to install that car seat correctly? Does the high chair tray release smoothly? Since you can’t exactly head to a store and test these products out in person, the next best thing is to watch videos of how these items really work. Head to the brands’ websites and (even better) YouTube to see others’ demo the gear and learn whether the product’s design will meet your wants and needs.

5. Limit Yourself to the Essentials

Babies need a lot of stuff, which is why the list of registry must-haves is typically pretty long. Under normal circumstances, you’d toss every item from the checklist onto your registry and even add a few fun extras. But given the coronavirus shutdown, if you’re unsure about which baby products you really want, you can always hold off on registering for certain items and decide when you’re finally able to assess them in person. There are some things you must have on hand for when baby arrives (such as a car seat and a crib or bassinet), but you can get away with saving other items—like swings, high chairs, feeding gear for solid food and activity centers—for later. Figure out what’s essential to have up-front and what you’d rather pick out in person when the lockdown lifts and normal(ish) life resumes.

Made your picks and are ready to register? Amazon, Target and BuyBuyBaby offer some of the best baby registry platforms around.

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