Baby registry 101: Your step-by-step guide

Make the baby registry of your dreams with this primer

Baby registry 101: Your step-by-step guide

There's no denying it: When you're preparing for the arrival of your baby, creating a baby registry is one of the most fun tasks. It's not only an opportunity to shop your heart out and lovingly guide friends and family members in the right direction, it's also a special opportunity to visualize how life is going to look when your baby makes their big appearance.

Now, there is a slight learning curve when it comes to registering for baby items. After all, how much thought have you given the best bassinets or strollers in the past? But don't sweat it, mama: We'll help you get back to the fun of it by giving you a quick primer on creating the baby registry of your dreams.

Here's what you need to know.

Step 1: Decide where to register

The fact that you have to take this step is a no-brainer, but deciding where to register can be a bit overwhelming as there are so many options. Take this pro tip from us: You can't go wrong with Target's baby registry, which features Target's Year of Benefits program. Just by starting your registry, you will enjoy Target's welcome kit with more than $100 in coupons plus free samples. The savings continue with two 15% off coupons to help you complete your registry at Target for the first year after your baby's expected arrival. And for expectant parents who also sign up for Target Circle, there's also a full year's worth of exclusive discounts thanks to the brand new Year of Exclusive Deals benefit.

It's also helpful to consider the shopping styles of the different people who may purchase gifts. With Target, your gifters can just as easily buy online or in a store. Better yet, friends can even team up to contribute to the expense of larger items. You can add more than just products from Target, too: The online registry allows you to add items from anywhere on the internet.

Step 2: Start with the essentials

Thinking about everything you need for your baby can get a bit overwhelming, to say the least. But you've got this, mama. Just like when you are creating a grocery shopping list, start by checking off the essentials that immediately come to mind. In this case, think about the items you can add without spending too much time weighing options and evaluating pros and cons, such as diapers, wipes, bathing items and more.

Still stumped for ideas? Turn to an essentials checklist that can help you get started.

Step 3: Research the best gear

As your registry confidence builds (see, this is fun!), turn to the gear items that call for a bit more commitment. In fact, about 20% of the items you're going to want on your registry will take up about 80% of your decision-making time. We're talking about your car seat, stroller, baby swing, activity station and the other items in the "slightly more complicated" category.

Thankfully, mama, you don't have to go into this without a guide. The beauty of online shopping (especially with a major, trusted retailer like Target) is that you can lean on the reviews of hundreds of other parents.

We suggest starting with a single item you want to nail down, such as your car seat and/or stroller. By filtering options based on rating, you can either make an informed decision from your device or you can go into the store with an educated short list.

Step 4: Add some personal touches

Now that you're really rolling it's time to select the items that will furnish your baby's room, clothes to hang in their closet and more touches that suit your lifestyle—like budget-conscious essentials, eco-friendly items and more.

Also, remember, there are no hard rules or restrictions to what you can add to your registry, so think about what will make your life as easy as it can be once the baby arrives. If that means some comfy pajamas or spa supplies for yourself, go for it, mama! Target will even give you two 15% off coupons to apply toward any unpurchased registry items, so there's no reason not to add a little something for yourself. You can even use the coupons toward "hidden" registry items.

Step 5: Crowdsource for items you have have overlooked

You're getting there! By this point, you should have the major items that come to mind when you're getting ready for your baby. But what about the things that only mamas who have "been there, done that" know to recommend? For example, do you have refill bags for your diaper pail? Or what about a bassinet for when your newborn is bunking in your room? It's time to call in a friend or turn to some checklists for items that may have slipped your mind earlier. And don't fret: If you do miss something, Target's Year of Exclusive Deals perk (which comes with a Target Circle sign-up, as of August 2020) gives you discounts on baby essentials for a full year.

Once you fill in the gaps, it's time to share your registry with your friends and family! The great thing about your baby registry is that it can be dynamic, so there is no harm in adding something that comes to mind later. You've got this!

The final tip? Have fun—which is easy when you start your registry at Target and enjoy the Year of Benefits featuring a Year of Exclusive Deals available via Target Circle, two 15% off coupons, a year of hassle-free returns, a free welcome kit and more!

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.


Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!


Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.


Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

Dr. Brown's nipple shields

There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌


Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.


Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.


Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.


Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.


Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

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