When first time moms register for their baby shower I am certain they think it is supposed to be this gloriously exciting, wonder-filled experience.
If this is you . . . think again. Your registry experience is more likely to unfold like this . . .
You walk into a big-name baby store and are handed a scanner gun and nineteen-page-booklet of items your “personal registry consultant” explains are all necessary to own when raising a child. As you scan said nineteen-page-booklet, you find it would have made no difference at all in your understanding of the products if it were written entirely in Hebrew. Or Japanese. Or maybe even Swahili.
You’re left to wander the aisles aimlessly, carelessly scanning barcodes for things you think you might need but are not entirely sure, because if truth be told – you have absolutely no idea what you are doing. Your hormones are racing, you’re sweating through your clothes, you *might* have peed your pants, and there is not a single person in the store to answer your questions. Not one. They’re all hiding in the stock room waiting for you to leave, placing bets on how many returns you’ll make in the coming months.
Welcome to the most overwhelming part of your first pregnancy.
All that being said, you CAN make it through this season of pregnancy with your sanity, and your checkbook, (relatively) intact.
Here are six things I learned from my own baby registry experience that may help keep you smiling through yours:
 Baby stores are interested in making the sale.
I remember having a loooong conversation with my OB about the need to put a sleep positioner on my registry. She kept trying to nicely tell me it wasn’t necessary and I almost didn’t listen. I’m glad I did. Sleep positioners are not recommended for safety reasons, but that didn’t keep them off the shelves at our local baby store.
Just because a baby store recommends a product does not mean that it will be helpful or safe. Their first priority is the sale. Not you, and certainly not your baby.
 Practical is the only way to go when it comes to fabric.
You should be thinking spit up, blow out, and vomit whenever fabric is in close proximity to a baby. I had some very lovely cream-colored changing pad covers that were not quite as lovely (or cream) after baby number two, and as such never made it to baby number three. Let me tell you from experience, you will not be thinking about treating fabric after you’ve been pooped on from shoulder to ankle (true story). By the time you get around to the stain at hand it will likely be permanent. Don’t even get me started on dry-clean-only . . .
 Think twice if an item’s sole purpose is to be adorable.
I registered for the most adorable baby bath robe – it had a tie front with little doggy paw prints all over it’s blue terry cloth. I received at least two at my shower and each time I pulled one from a box everyone stopped and fawned over it. That was the most excitement the bath robe ever saw.
Babies who are wet and squirmy and cold do not like to be forced into scratchy bath robes that come to their knees only to take a picture. Cuteness is completely wasted on them. Go figure.
 Babies are surprisingly resilient.
If you are a first time mom, you may not have seen a seasoned OB nurse handle an infant. Fair warning – it will make you cringe. But once you get over the initial shock of seeing your newborn (man)handled by a pro, you’ll realize a very important truth.
Babies are not china dolls.
As such, you probably won’t need the wipes warmer, or a stroller fan, or a padded baby helmet (that last one is so ridiculous I won’t even link to it – but it does in fact exist). Healthy babies are resilient babies, and the only pampering they need will cost you hugs and kisses, not dollars.
 Put high priority on convenience and functionality.
Is a product complicated? Is it heavy? Can you maneuver it with one hand? Is it going to make your life easier or drive you crazy?
I had the hardest time finding a diaper bag that could fit what I needed to carry and didn’t create knots in my back every time I used it. We purchased a few. Do you know what I used for baby number two? The sample diaper bag I got at the hospital for short runs, and my college Jansport backpack for long ones. All those other bags only added up to wasted dollars.
 Go with a brand name for the big purchases.
I knew the pace of my life before a baby would not lend itself to scouring the internet trying to find every recall for every off-brand item that happened to make it’s way into my home. I was smart enough to know that I would have even less time after the baby was born. I figured if a big brand name like Graco had a problem with their strollers or high chairs . . . Matt Lauer would be all over it on the Today Show.
So it’s your turn now.
First time mommas, walk into that store with confidence in your common sense and laugh in the face of that 19-page product list knowing you will walk out having conquered this experience unscathed. You can be sure – you and Google are all over this.
Seasoned mommas, what did you learn from your registry experience? Tell us please, we’d love to know!
6 Things I Learned When Registering for Baby is post one in a three part series. To read the entire series click HERE.