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What are the REAL Baby Registry Essentials?

For first-time moms, the registry process can be so overwhelming!

When I got married a few years ago, I can remember the fun and excitement of registering for all our new pots and pans and pretty dishes.  As the wedding day got closer, I would check the registry in excited anticipation of what goodies we might be receiving as a congratulations for our upcoming big day.

And so when faced with the task of registering for baby items, you would think that the process would be even more fun and more exciting, right?  Because baby stuff is all so miniature and soft and adorable!

But as a first-time mom, with no idea really what I need and which things to choose, I have found the process to be completely overwhelming.  Every time I think I’ve made a decision on car seats, or glass vs. plastic, or bumper vs. no bumper, I hear another new opinion that makes me re-think all of my careful research.

Many experienced moms recommended the book Baby Bargains to me, so I quickly rushed out to buy it and then absorbed every page.  By the end I felt both informed and terrified.  While I know that research and reviews are intended to be helpful in making these big decisions, more than anything I am left feeling like any and every decision I make can potentially kill, poison, or suffocate my baby.

So how do I know which of the four thousand car seats that are available is actually the best choice for my needs and my family?  Do I listen to Consumer Reports, or a message board of experience moms who have used things first-hand?  With so much information available, I can’t decide when to stop questioning and when to just go with my instincts.

When I look at the “registry must-haves” listed at all the major retailers, I can’t help but think that over half of the items on these lists are not actually necessary or practical for bringing into my 1,200 square foot townhome in the city.  But I am also terrified of bringing an infant home only to discover that I don’t have the items necessary for our sanity and survival in those trying first few weeks.

With baby shower invitations scheduled to hit the mailboxes soon, I know it’s time to make decisions and stop over-thinking this whole registry process.  I just wish it could be as simple as picking out my favorite pattern of dinnerware again…

Experienced moms weigh in!  What are the REAL registry essentials that you couldn’t have lived without?  What wasn’t worth it?  What do you recommend?

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