One of the many things on the mind of a first-time expectant mother is her baby registry. With countless products and brands out there and tons of stores clamoring for the extra business. The entire process can be overwhelming. Regardless of where you decide to register, certain rules of thumb apply. These top ten registry tips have been tried and tested by real expectant mothers and industry professionals and are designed to make your life easier as you prepare for your new addition!

1. Register at the appropriate time. For baby shower gift lists, plan to register in the fourth month of your pregnancy. If you start your registry earlier, plan to keep it private until this time. Most importantly, make sure your registry is well-stocked by the time your baby shower invitations go out!

2. Register for everything you want and need. A baby registry is just a fancy name for a wish list. Use it to keep track of everything you want to buy for baby, regardless of whether or not you think people will buy it as a gift. Then you have an instant record of the things you have bought or received and the things you still need.

3. Get the word out. Once you have created your registry, make sure your friends and family know how to get to it. In today’s tech-savvy world, you can arrange for your registry to be announced via Facebook, Twitter or email; but good old-fashioned word-of-mouth is still as effective as ever!

4. Fill your registry with gifts in a variety of price ranges. Do not be afraid to register for expensive items (people can always combine funds to purchase larger gifts) but also choose a number of budget-friendly gifts. You don’t know what people’s financial situations are and everyone should have the chance to spend whatever amount they are comfortable with.

5. Shop at all your favorite stores. You may find the perfect crib at one place and gorgeous bedding at another–and that’s fine! Don’t feel confined to one or two stores. Use a Universal Gift Registry service to register for any item you want from any store in the world.

6. Choose items that reflect your taste. Chances are, you are about to be bombarded with “helpful” advice from everyone in your life who has ever had, held or even seen a baby, all thinking they know the exact products you should have on your registry. Try not to get overwhelmed, take it all in stride, and in the end, register for what you like. After all, you’re the one that has to look at that wallpaper and use that stroller on a daily basis.

7. Maintain registries both in-store and online. This gives friends and family the freedom to shop for you in whatever way is easiest for them. Many stores like Target, Macy’s, Giggle and The Land of Nod, will allow you to sync a registry created in-store with a universal registry service so that you can manage all of your registries in one convenient place.

8. Update often–even after the shower has passed, and your baby is born! There are always guests who didn’t make it to the baby shower and want to send a belated gift or that overly generous aunt or grandmother who wants to give another present after the birth. Make sure they have that opportunity!

9. Feel free to register for cash. Whether it’s furnishing the nursery or starting Junior’s college fund, cash is always welcome and as long as you let people know that they are contributing to something meaningful, asking for money is perfectly acceptable.

10. Continue to create registries. Even after the baby is born and the nursery is furnished, continue to maintain an online Wish List for your children. That way, whenever a birthday or holiday rolls around, you’ll be prepared when family and friends start asking what your little one wants or needs.

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