SILVER SPRING, MD, January 19, 2012 – Amidst all the excitement of being pregnant, you walked into a store with scanner in hand and went to work creating your baby registry. You were overwhelmed or over excited, or maybe both. Once baby is home and you start your life together as a family, your daily activities will help you determine what you actually use.
It’s almost a shame you can’t take a baby for a test drive while you’re pregnant to find out what you truly need. Chances are your registry was far from perfect. You missed things you desperately need, or you added things that were frivolous or redundant.
Before baby is born is the time to rectify this situation.
Know your store’s policy
At some point after baby showers and the new arrival gifts have stopped rolling in, you’ll want to close out your registry. Before you walk into the store proudly pushing a shopping cart with your infant seat perched in the basket, check the stores close-out policies and procedures. You don’t want to miss out on any benefits or discounts.
Each store has its own policy regarding how long your list will be available, how to close it out and what benefits you receive for doing so. Some send you a one-time use coupon to purchase of the remaining items on your list. Some exclude certain items, such as diapers, from their registry completion programs. Others lock your list at a certain point prior to your due date.
Six months after your due date is often the longest stores will keep your registry on file. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the daily demands of a baby, but don’t wait too long to close out your registry or you may miss out on savings.
Return any duplicate or unwanted items
It happens to everyone. You receive two turtle night-lights, three identical rattles, and 3 dozen bibs. Some of these will have gift receipts or were purchased off a registry in a manner that allows easy returns. Make sure you take these items back to the store within the appropriate timeframe to get your merchandise credit, but resist the urge to spend it on adorable outfits. Instead, set it aside, designated for use in purchasing the remaining items off your registry.
If you are lucky enough to have items that are still within the return period that you have not removed from the packaging that you won’t use (like the bottle warmer you don’t use because you’re breastfeeding, or the diaper genie because you decided to go cloth at the last minute), return those as well. Unused items only clutter up the nursery and house.
Special order crib conversion parts
Styles change. So do the brands of furniture carried by stores. While one of the benefits of purchasing a convertible crib is the ability to use it for years to come, it is only usable past babyhood if you buy the conversion kit.
Typically, convertible style cribs have two kit options to purchase, a toddler/daybed option and a twin/full size option. While some parents skip the toddler bed and go straight into the full size bed, toddler kits can buy you a few years with a smaller bed footprint. They can also be good training beds as they come with guard rails to help your growing little one adjust to sleeping in something other than the crib.
The reason it is so important to purchase the conversion kits as soon as possible is that if you procrastinate, the model may no longer be available when you finally get around to teh conversion phase. As styles are discontinued so are their conversion kits. There is often some delay between the end of a model of crib and the unavailability of the kit. However, there are plenty of stories of parents who waited only to find they could no longer make the purchase.
If you choose not to purchase your conversion kit when you close out your registry, make sure you have as much information as you can. Ask if there is any known plan to discontinue your crib. Ask how long the conversion kits are made available after furniture models are discontinued.
Finally, ask what information you will need to order in the future, especially if your crib model is no longer being sold. Often the model name and number are all that are required.
Look for items you didn’t know you needed
All mothers can tell you, once you get your baby home and become used to your new routine, you will discover there are things that you hadn’t considered that you now wish you had. Since you’ll be combing the aisles for all the items remaining on your list, take a little extra time to browse the other offerings on the shelf. You may just find a gem you hadn’t noticed or dismissed before.
Things like mesh netting to keep mosquitoes off of babies in their car seats are great for summer picnics and outdoor get-togethers. Clips with rolls of deodorized diaper disposal bags are invaluable additions to a diaper bag. Giant carabineers that clip onto your stroller to hold shopping bags allow you to be hands free when shopping with baby. Ice cube trays to freeze breast milk in handy 1 oz serving sizes and bibs with scoops to catch fallen food might help solve feeding problems down the road.
While you’re at the store, stock up on essentials. This is especially helpful if you have a coupon for the entire transaction versus just registry items.
While you never want to go crazy with pre-purchasing diapers since you don’t know how many you’ll need of each size, things like wipes you’ll use for years. Formula, if you aren’t breastfeeding, will be the cornerstone of your baby’s diet for months, even after she has started eating solids.
Bags for the diaper pail won’t go bad. Bottles of baby soap and diaper rash ointment are good things to have on hand, as is baby sunscreen. Be careful with the sunscreen if you haven’t yet tested it on baby’s skin. You won’t save any money if you buy 3 bottles of a lotion if your baby has a bad reaction. Also, sunscreen does have an expiration date.
While setting up the registry is a fun, momentous occasion, closing it out is a time to make sure you truly have everything you’ll need for the coming months ahead. By taking advantage of close out bonuses and discounts, you can save money and frustration in the future.
Follow Brighid on Twitter at @BrighidMoret and receive updates on when new columns post on Facebook. Read more about first time parenting issues in Parenting the First Time Through at The Communities at The Washington Times.
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