Baby Registry Etiquette: 5 Tips to Follow

By Kara Reynolds | Mar 26, 2021

If you are an expectant mother, you probably can’t wait to put together your baby registry. This ritual offers the ideal way to get some of the supplies you need the most to raise your child. However, as with any tradition, you need to follow the rules to avoid hurting other people’s feelings. 

As much as you may need the help, it won’t do to go begging for more than folks can reasonably give. Everyone has a different socioeconomic profile, and what seems reasonable to you could cause other folks considerable anxiety as they try to please you on a shoestring. Please follow these five baby registry etiquette tips so that you look like a gracious, not a greedy, mama-to-be. 

1. Let Your Choices Reflect Your Values

Do you plan to swaddle your baby in nothing but organic cotton and bamboo while providing them with toys only from companies that don’t contribute to excess landfill fodder? If so, the planet might thank you — but the folks looking to buy you a gift won’t appreciate a laundry list of items you don’t want. 

It’s okay and natural to want your purchases to reflect your values, but your shower guests also deserve the same consideration. They want to please you, but including too much about your preferences makes you seem more like a primadonna than a pregnant mama. 

Therefore, go ahead and include items like a certified organic baby and toddler clothing on your registry. However, leave off the proclamation that you don’t want any shirts and slacks with polyester or rayon. Those looking to celebrate your new baby will notice your preferences from the items selected and honor your wishes if they are able. 

2. Consider Separate Registries

You might have heard the well-meant advice that you shouldn’t create multiple baby registries. However, you have to take such wisdom with a grain of salt.

Of course, you don’t want to ask for the same items from Buy, Buy Baby that you already requested from Target. You could end up with two or three of the same item, making you stand in an endless customer service line to exchange things. Plus, your shower guests feel terrible when you unwrap a matching set — and you aren’t having twins.

However, you might want to create a less expensive list at one store and save big-ticket items for a separate registry at another. That way, you can use your judgment and discretion when sharing your need for pricier items. If someone asks, “Isn’t there something else you need besides diapers,” you can drop a hint if you feel confident that they want to treat you and can afford to do so. 

3. Allow for Contributions 

If you need cold, hard cash the most, you are far from alone in the current economic climate. However, even during the Great Depression, folks considered it gauche to ask for money in your shower invitations or announcements. How can you spread the word?

One way is by using “flying monkeys” — your team of close friends and relatives whom you know more distant ones will ask for ideas. Let them know that you need the money and directly tell them it’s okay to inform others. You shouldn’t ask yourself, but others can do it for you. 

Another way to spread the word is to create a website where you blog about your journey and share your money struggles that way. You can also use Babylist, a registry site that lets gift-givers donate cash toward a specific big-ticket item or need. 

4. Avoid Going Viral 

Please avoid sharing your registry on social media. It’s one thing if one of your acquaintances asks you if you have such a list via direct message. Otherwise, though, it looks like you’re soliciting donations from people you might not even know in real life. 

You also want to be careful about what you share about your child on social media. It’s wise to get into the discretion habit now. How will your child feel in 10 years when that viral video of them singing “Let It Go” on the potty gets shared among their sixth-grade circle? Some children can laugh it off, but others are devastated. 

Furthermore, publicly sharing your registry increases the risk you may accidentally reveal personal information, like your address, to the wrong individual. Predators use social media to target the unwary.

5. But Clue in the Clueless

That said, please don’t assume that your child-free friends know a thing about raising kids — or necessarily want to learn. Please don’t drive a loved one nuts by gloating on and on about how they will love having a baby someday if they made it clear diapers aren’t their bag — few things irk more than someone implying you’re defective if parenthood isn’t your preference. 

However, please clue childless friends in on what you need the most if they ask. If all you covet are some meal-delivery gift cards so that you don’t have to juggle cooking and nursing, say so. If they don’t understand your struggle, they won’t know how to delight you no matter how hard they try.

Please Follow These Baby Registry Etiquette Tips 

As with any tradition, following courtesy rules will prevent hurt feelings. Please follow these five baby registry tips.  

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