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When to Start Your Baby Registry: All Your Questions Answered

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Inside: You just found out you’re pregnant – congratulations! Now you’re wondering when to start your baby registry. And maybe you have other burning questions like what exactly is baby registry sharing etiquette? That’s why we’ve answered the most common questions about starting baby registries here, all in one place.

I can remember experiencing all the feels when I found out I was pregnant with my twins. Elation. Shock. Inexpressible joy. Cautious excitement. And yes, fear and anxiety mixed in there, too.

Once you know there is a sweet little one growing inside you, it is VERY difficult to contain the excitement, even if it’s mixed with fear.

Every walk through Target pulls you to the baby aisles, and you can’t help but envision your future with this new little one… rocking on the glider together, putting on precious onesies at the changing table, going for walks in the stroller through the park.

Typically, once you find out you’re pregnant, picking out those baby items and making a baby registry comes next, often before you even share the news with the world. But, is there such a thing as starting a baby registry too soon? 

Personally, I was very hesitant to start all the baby things, like maternity clothes, a baby registry, and even telling the world I was pregnant. Now, you may be like me and are proceeding cautiously– or you may be the opposite of me, ready to start all of the things just seconds after seeing 2 lines on the pregnancy stick.

So is there a right and perfect time to start a baby registry?

Well, you’ll learn real fast from Day 1 of motherhood that nothing is perfect and everyone has a [strong] opinion, but let’s at least start the discussion here. 

We’ll cover:

  • Can You Start a Baby Registry Too Early? 3 Things to Consider
  • So When IS the Best Time to Start a Baby Registry?
  • But What About Baby Registry Completion Discounts? Does That Affect Start Time?
  • When to Finalize Your Baby Registry
  • Places to Start Your Baby Registry
  • When to Share Your Baby Registry – and With Whom

Related: 10 Smart Baby Registry Tips for First-Time Parents (avoid common mistakes)

pregnant woman starting her baby registry

Can You Start a Baby Registry Too Early? Yes…and No.

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Short answer: maybe.

I know that’s not what most moms want to hear, but in certain cases, it just might be too soon to start a registry. 

So you’re probably wondering what those situations would be. Let’s discuss.

1. Before Your First Appointment

I know. It’s SO hard not to run full steam ahead after you get a positive on your home pregnancy test.

But before you begin your registry and start planning all the fun ways Pinterest says you should announce your pregnancy to the world, it’s a good idea to see your doctor and have a blood test to confirm that you actually are pregnant.

Though not overly common, there is such a thing as a false positive, and early miscarriage, too, and it’s so hard to backtrack, especially emotionally, once you’ve set the wheels in forward motion.

So, before doing anything, see your doctor and get the official word.

Related: 20 Things for Your Early Pregnancy To-Do List

2. After Pregnancy Loss

This was the reason for my hesitation 100%. I had 2 miscarriages before I became pregnant with my twins, via IVF.

Even though every doctor visit was a good report, starting right from my very first one at 5 weeks, my fear about losing my baby wasn’t completely alleviated. 

Even though my first two pregnancies had warning signs that they weren’t viable right from the start and this pregnancy had none of those, I still felt that paralyzing fear of losing another one.

I felt myself balking at some of the milestones most pregnant women look forward to: Buying maternity clothes. Creating a registry. Inventing a clever way to share our news.

I was well into my 2nd trimester before I did any of those things. 

So, if you’ve experienced loss before, any hesitation is totally, totally normal. And it really may be the right thing to hold off on all those milestone events, including starting a baby registry, until you’re in your 2nd trimester.

Typically, the risk of pregnancy loss is greatly reduced after the 1st trimester.

3. People Finding Out Your News Too Soon 

Maybe you just want to keep your pregnancy private until you’re ready to share it with all your people. In this case, holding off on creating a registry can keep the cat in the bag just a little longer. 

But if you really want to start building your registry but you don’t want the universe to know yet, you can always opt to make it private until you’re ready to share.

Privacy might be a factor in holding off, but it doesn’t have to be unless you have other reasons you want to wait.

So When Is the Best Time to Start a Baby Registry?

There really isn’t a perfect answer to this. This is your pregnancy and your registry. You can start it anytime you want.

BUT.

Taking all things into consideration, the safest time (safest as in ‘protecting yourself emotionally’) to begin building your baby registry is probably early in your 2nd trimester – at about 13 weeks and on.

Many couples decide to find out their baby’s gender and pick gender-specific items for the registry. If that’s the case for you, you’ll need to wait until 18-20 weeks to add those items. But you can certainly choose the non-gender-specific (which are usually the bigger items) before that.  

Pro Baby Registry Tip: You really don’t want those bigger items to be gender-specific anyway. Sure, if you’re having a girl, she might look super-sweet in a pink stroller or car seat, but if your next child is a boy, you don’t really want to buy another round of all of that big, expensive gear. Or have to put your son in a pink car seat with butterflies.

You can always add some smaller, less expensive, gender-specific items to your registry after 18-20 weeks, if you’re finding out your baby’s sex.

By the way, we didn’t find out with our twins, and we did just fine with registering for gender-neutral items. Our sons turned out OK. 🙂

But What About Baby Registry Completion Discounts? When Do They Start/Expire?

One thing to note, however, is that you can start your baby registry too late.

If you start your baby registry too close to your due date, that will affect your baby shower, obviously, but also your completion discount, since most registry platforms require your registry to be started 30 days prior to receiving the completion discount.

As for expiration of Baby Registry Completion Discounts, they vary pretty significantly and could impact your choice of where to register.

Babylist, for example, states in their Completion Discount FAQs, “You will be eligible for your 15% registry discount 60 days before your baby’s expected arrival date. A link to redeem the discount will be displayed on your registry once you are eligible…You can use your discount for up to 6 months after your baby’s expected arrival date.”

With Amazon, the discount is based on your baby’s due date, as well, not the time you start it.

You are eligible for the completion discount 60 days before the arrival date of your baby, BUT Amazon’s completion discount expires a mere 60 days after the due date, not the generous six months Babylist gives you.

It appears that Target also gives you six months to use the completion discount, so if that matters a lot to you, you may want to consider something other than Amazon.

pregnant woman and partner shopping for baby items and registry

When to Finalize Your Baby Registry

You really can add items to your baby registry all throughout your pregnancy. There will definitely be those who want to send you gifts after the baby arrives, so there’s no problem with adding last-minute items.

Certainly, though, you’ll want to have your baby registry ‘mostly’ finalized before your baby shower, which can happen as early as 6 months. That way, your guests have a nice selection of gifts to choose from and you receive what you really want and need.

Most baby registry sites appear to have the same standards of becoming eligible for the completion discount 60 days before your baby’s arrival (a.k.a. due date).

However, the discount does vary significantly depending on where you choose to register.

Places to Start Your Baby Registry

Amazon is probably the most popular choice for a baby registry because, #1, they have everything. And #2, most people generally feel very comfortable ordering from there, and many also have Prime memberships. 

You can see all the Amazon Baby Registry has to offer new mamas HERE.

However, there are other places you can complete your baby registry, such as:

  • Target
  • Walmart
  • Babylist.com
  • Pottery Barn Kids
  • MyRegistry.com
  • Buy Buy Baby

Other things to consider include return policies – how easy it is to return things (with or without a receipt) and how long you can return items from the registry. Target, for example? Not so easy despite their statements to the contrary.

You’ll also want to think about how frequently things go out of stock – once or permanently.

Ultimately, choose what works best for your needs as well as considering the ease of those who will be purchasing from there.

Related: Minimalist Baby Registry Basics for Clutter-Free Mom Life

When Should You Share Your Baby Registry? (and with whom)

Now that your baby registry is created and is well underway, when and where should you share it?

Great question.

Before you share your registry, you want to make sure you’ve shared the bigger news – that you’re pregnant! That might seem like a no-brainer, but you don’t want people’s first awareness of your pregnancy to be when they see your baby registry. 

As far as who to share it with, to put it simply – it’s best to leave the registry announcements to those who are coordinating gifts or are in charge of any and all of your showers (family and friends, coworkers, church, etc.).

Of course, if someone asks, it’s always acceptable to give them that information, but it’s not something that should be disseminated by you.

It’s a little tacky to put your registry link on Facebook or other social media platforms. There’s always that chance that it will be seen as a covert mission for baby gifts. (And to be fair, why else would someone put their registry on social media?)

Basically, you share your registry with those who are coordinating your shower or showers, and they share it with everyone else.

The only exception would be is if someone specifically asks for it.

Let Your Baby Registry Work for YOU

I know that creating a registry can feel like an overwhelming task. There are so many possibilities, and everything you see is absolutely darling. 

However, it’s best to keep it as simple as you can. Register for what you really, really want and need.

And the thing is, you probably won’t even know what many of those things are until your baby actually arrives.

It’s totally fine to order things or add to your registry after your baby arrives, once you specifically know what your actual needs are. Yes – you CAN do that! Right up until you use your completion discount.

Just make sure that whoever coordinated your shower, or relatives and close friends, know that you’ve added things so they can get the news out. It’s also acceptable when someone asks what you still need after your baby is born to just direct them to your baby registry, mentioning that you’ve added specific items.

You don’t want your home filled up with a lot of things you thought you would need, but actually don’t. Many people understand this and often opt to give you gift cards anyway (which I personally love to receive).

Include high-priority items, a mix of price ranges and options for your guests, and you’re good to go.

Despite a lot of good advice and opinions (as with all things pregnancy and motherhood-related), the how-when-what of your registry is ultimately up to you.

God gave you those mama instincts for a reason, even before your baby arrives – you can trust them.

Read Next: 40+ Baby Essentials for the First Three Months


Thank You for Sharing!