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Practically the minute you announce you're pregnant, as soon as everyone says a few too-personal things about your body and tells you every pregnancy/birth horror story they know, they immediately start bugging you to start a registry. Even when you say you're busy, oh, anything they'd want to get you would be welcomed and lovely, your mom is calling you to ask "Did you get that registry set up?" and your aunties and cousins are all texting you asking for the link.
And then after harassing you to make it, nobody actually uses your registry.
Recent our site research from found that though 69 percent of U.S. moms set up at least one registry and ask for an average of 56 items apiece, yet get only half of what they register for.
Want to see in black-and-white that you're not alone? Go to BabyCenter's Community and search something like "nothing from my registry." That particular combination of words gets 1.3 million results, page after page of woman saying things like "At my friend's shower maybe 3 things were purchased off of a registry of 50 items. Everything else was clothes and blankets... So many blankets..." and "I didn't get ANYTHING from my registry, and I ended up with a ton of bibs and Onesies that I never used."
All that time that you spent reading online reviews of things like highchairs, car seats, strollers, baby carriers, and cribs seems totally wasted when each new visitor shows up with newborn baby outfits and a blanket. And it's hard to be gracious when people who literally asked for what you wanted ignore your answer.
Your time wasn't really wasted at all – you can buy anything or everything on your registry at a discount at most retailers after a certain date has passed; and even if you don't use a completion discount, you'll still be glad you did your gear-shopping research when the time comes to buy whatever it is you researched.
BabyCenter's registry trends research also found that 82 percent of first-time moms made registries, while only 59 percent of experienced moms did. Why? The most common answers given were "I don't have to have a baby shower" and "Don't feel comfortable registering for a second/third baby." First-time moms were more likely to say they didn't feel comfortable asking for presents.
First-time moms usually register for everything they need, including big-ticket items like strollers and car seats and nitty-gritty items like diapers and baby carriers, while experienced moms were more likely to have "restocking registries" asking for diapers, wipes, and bottles.
So what can you learn from all this? First, it's fine to ask for anything you want. Even if no one gets you the big items (and only grandparents are likely to), you can still use a completion discount to get them for yourself.
Second, people mostly don't use the registries, even though they bug you to make them. So think of them more like a shopping list for yourself, and smile politely as you open up gift boxes containing outfit after outfit your baby will outgrow in a few months. It's truly the thought that counts – and the gift giver is thinking about welcoming your new baby and making you happy.
So enjoy your shower, enjoy your pregnancy, enjoy whatever gifts you get – and know that other moms are ready, able, and willing to commiserate with you about your registry woes.
This post was originally published May 24, 2017
Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.