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Amy Stanford

When To Start Your Baby Registry

Deciding on baby's stroller, car seat and crib can take some time—and there's plenty more you'll want to register for. Here's when to start compiling your list.

Once the fact that you’re going to have a baby really sinks in, the next big realization hits: Babies (and first-time moms) need a lot of stuff! Which is where the baby registry comes in handy: It’s an easy way for expectant moms to keep track of all the gear they want to get, and for baby shower guests to pick out the perfect gifts. So when should you start your baby registry?

You can technically start registering for baby at any time, but most moms-to-be start at around 12 weeks. That may seem early, but building a baby registry can take a lot of work. With so many different brands and models of baby items out there, you’ll need time to do some research and find the products that’ll suit your family needs the best. And trust us, it takes longer than you think to weed out what you want from what you need.

Another factor that can determine when to start your baby registry: Whether or not you’d prefer to pick out gender-specific baby items to add to your list. If you decide to get prenatal testing in your first trimester and find out baby’s sex, you may learn whether you’re having a baby boy or girl right around week 12. If you hold off until the mid-pregnancy ultrasound, when you can get a glimpse of baby’s anatomy, it could be closer to week 20. It’s fine to hold off on starting your baby registry until then. But don’t wait too much longer—you’ll want to give yourself time to put your list together before your baby shower invitations are sent out, which typically happens about four weeks ahead of the event.

Of course, at the end of the day, when you start and finish your baby registry is completely up to you. Have fun with it, and happy shopping!

Updated November 2017

PHOTO: iStock