This Babylister Has Helped Thousands of Families Build Their Registries
This Babylister Has Helped Thousands of Families Build Their Registries
May 13, 2021

This Babylister Has Helped Thousands of Families Build Their Registries

This Babylister Has Helped Thousands of Families Build Their Registries.
This Babylister Has Helped Thousands of Families Build Their Registries

Talking to a seasoned parent is one of the best ways to get the scoop on the best baby gear, what to add to your baby registry and what to skip. But what if you could talk with someone who helps families build their baby registries for a living? (Thousands of families, to be exact.)

Meet Angela, Babylist’s Happiness Hero Content Coordinator. She’s been at Babylist almost since day one—eight years and counting, to be exact—and, among other things, helps parents choose the gear that’s right for them and answers any and all of their baby gear-related questions.

We sat down with Angela to talk through what she’s learned over the years working with Babylist users and to snag some of her best (and super valuable!) registry-building advice. We also chatted about some of the biggest mistakes she sees parents-to-be make when creating their first registries—so you won’t make them—and the go-to registry essentials she recommends again and again.

Hi, Angela, and thanks so much for talking with me! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your family?

I’m 38 and my husband Josh is 34. We’ve been married for 10 years. We’re Native Texans currently living in Syracuse, New York. We’ve got four kids: Mabel, who’s two, Henry, five, Carson, who’s eight and Anna who is 16. They’re all named after Downton Abbey characters. I identify as a “semi-crunchy” mom. I breastfed AND formula fed. We cloth AND disposable diapered. We baby wore AND I have an impressive collection of strollers. I buy organic AND my kids can spot a McDonalds from 3 miles away. It’s all about balance.

What’s your role here at Babylist and how long have you been working here?

I started at Babylist in 2013 right after my first son was born. I was the very first Happiness Hero (customer service agent) ever hired. Since then, I’ve done everything from being a Hero to a Registry Consultant, one of our video Scouts, a Happiness Hero Supervisor and now my current role as our Happiness Hero Content Coordinator. I write all our internal and customer facing FAQs (and then some)!

How many expecting parents do you think you’ve helped to build their registries during your time here?

Oh gosh. Probably thousands at this point. It’s so fulfilling being able to get an email from an overwhelmed first time parent and being able to work them through some really tough decisions about products they’ve NEVER thought about before. That sense of relief they feel when they know they’ve got it figured out brings me such joy. It really lets them focus on the important things—like their baby!

What would you say is the biggest mistake you see first-time parents make when they’re building their baby registries?

Babylist registries have a 1,000 item limit on them and I often see people hit those limits. I think the world of baby gear is vast and there’s a lot of really neat stuff designed to make our lives easier…until you have 27 devices to do 27 unique things. But you can replace all 27 of those things with one thing: you.

Sometimes less is actually easier. I’m totally for saving a few options to your registry to research and then narrowing down your list later, but decision fatigue is real! It’s super important to weigh what’s important to you and what your priorities are and then focus on those priorities. Don’t get too distracted by the gadgets and gizmos and the latest and greatest.

So it sounds like you’re a big proponent of the “keep it simple” philosophy. Why?

I wasn’t at first. I was totally a collector of all the things. I wanted the newest release and the limited editions. When you work in the baby industry, it’s hard not to get wrapped up in all the hype. But while my husband was working on his PhD, he was either in class or teaching or going to conferences, and I was at home alone with two or three kids. Suddenly all of those extra “conveniences” were also things that I had to maintain. It was more to clean. More to reset. More to wash. More fold. More to put away. More to store. So even after I managed to get my kids to bed, a feat in itself, I was overwhelmed with all these little tasks that still needed to be done. Suddenly, all these conveniences really weren’t all that convenient. Between that and then having to pack it all up for two cross-country moves, I realized that having all the things was really actually not all that great.

Any tips on how to tackle a registry if you’re a first-time parent feeling overwhelmed? As you said, there’s a lot of baby gear out there and it’s really easy to feel like you need to add alllll the things. Where should you start?

I recommend getting the big decisions out of the way first. Every baby needs a car seat. Most people will want a stroller. Every baby will need a safe place to sleep. And you’ll probably want at least one “baby holder” (swing, bouncer, lounger etc). Whatever your living situation, decide what that looks like for you and start there.

Once you make those decisions, the rest is really just icing on the cake. Those big items are also the ones parents tend to be the most concerned about and the most overwhelmed with. If you’re not sure what you need, ask! Babylist has registry consultants that would love to help you figure out what would work best for your lifestyle and growing family. There’s also this feeling when you make those decisions, like this worry has been lifted off your shoulders. So it’s nice to get it out of the way first.

So what categories or specific products would you recommend parents focus on the most? And what can you spend less time on or skip altogether?

When it comes to your mental energy, I’d recommend focusing it on the items that either keep your baby safe or on items that your baby spends the most time on or in.

  • Car seats are the obvious one but also your baby will spend a lot of time in their crib and on their mattress. (Especially if you use it through their toddler bed years.) As registry consultants, we get a ton of car seat questions but not nearly as many mattress questions.
  • Your stroller, if you’ll be using it a lot.
  • Whatever “baby holder” you decide to go with whether it be a swing, a bouncer or a lounger.

As for what to spend less time on- literally everything else. Clothes, books, toys, diaper bags, diaper pails, baby tech, sterilizers, warmers, baby blankets, swaddles, single-use-gadgets that have one purpose or short life spans. All of these can just end up cluttering up your life, causing more worry and taking up your time. And I’m not saying that you can’t or shouldn’t register for those things. You totally can! But if you have a limited amount of time, space, money or mental energy, you can definitely focus it elsewhere on more important things.

What are five products you’d never, ever add to your own baby registry?

  1. A bottle warmer. Mom hack time! We have a Keurig. So I brew a mug of hot water and put the bottle in the mug of hot water. Same concept; one less gadget on my counter.
  2. A ton of clothes. People are going to give you clothes whether you register for them or not. The only exception would be if you want a very specific outfit for a very specific event (e.g. coming home from the hospital, baptism, newborn photos etc.) I got enough clothing for my kids that I didn’t buy anything for the first year and I didn’t register for any of it!
  3. Newborn sized clothing. Unless you’re expecting preemies or multiples that you know for sure are going to be itty bitty babies, they’re not going to fit in newborn size clothes for long, if at all. Two of my four kids never fit in newborn clothes. One of them barely fit in 0-3 months.
  4. One kind of bottle or pacifier. Babies have opinions. Who knew? So although YOU may like a certain bottle or pacifier, when the baby gets here, they may hate it. I made this mistake with my fourth baby. MY FOURTH! (I should have known better!) I totally got suckered into these super cute, trendy pacifiers. They had matching pacifier clips. I bought a ton. She arrived. I was so excited to give her this gorgeously curated pacifier collection and she HATED them. Learn from my mistake. Instead, register for a variety of bottles/pacifiers to give them each a try. Find out what they like first THEN go buy more.
  5. ALL the “baby holders” at the same time. You’ve seen me mention baby holders a few times. All parents need to set their babies down at some point and you need someplace safe to do that. But you don’t need a swing AND a bouncer AND a lounger AND playmat AND an activity center AND AND AND. These things tend to take up a lot of space and they also can be one of the more expensive items you end up buying. I’d recommend letting your available space and your budget dictate how you approach what baby holder you start with. If you don’t have a lot of space or a smaller budget, start with one baby holder. If your baby isn’t content, then consider upgrading to something else. You don’t have to fill your entire house with baby holders. I promise!

This is SUCH GREAT ADVICE! Thank you so, so much.

Now let’s talk product recommendations. What are some registry essentials and products you absolutely love?

Ohhh, this is fun! Here are my picks.

The Must-Haves

Every baby needs a car seat. You can skip an infant seat all together and start with a convertible right at birth. I’m personally a big Nuna fan.

Nuna RAVA Convertible Car Seat

$499.95

If I had to pick ONE stroller to recommend to ALL families, this would be it. The all-terrain tires mean it can handle pretty much any surface you take it on. The one hand fold is hands down the easiest of any stroller I’ve ever seen.

Baby Jogger City Mini GT2 Stroller

$359.99

Your baby is going to spend a lot of time on their mattress. It’s worth doing your research on. We love this one. You can literally hose it off in the shower!

Newton Baby Breathable 2-Stage Crib Mattress

$299.99

The Nice-to-Haves

A sound machine isn’t necessarily a need but with four kids (and a dog), I really feel like it’s been a lifesaver for us. I love this one so much that I have one beside my bed too. We used it initially as a sound machine but as my boys got older, we started using the Okay to Wake feature to signal when they could get up for the day.

Hatch Rest+ Sound Machine, Night Light, Time-to-Rise plus Audio Monitor

$89.99

I love this tub! The newborn insert is a little awkward at first but it folds for super easy storage. It’s big enough to last way longer than you’ll need it. It can even fit a tall three year old…don’t ask me how I know.

Stokke Flexi Bath with Newborn Support

$64.00

Worthwhile Splurges

I love this chair so much that we have two. My five year old got one as a gift at his baby shower and he’s still using it at the dinner table every single day. It helps support him in the perfect height and right seating position so that he actually eats better.

Stokke Tripp Trapp High Chair

$269.00

A video monitor is definitely not a need but let me tell you how many times we’ve caught cute, funny or naughty behavior on ours. We like the Nest because it’s compatible with Alexa Show devices which act like a parent console.

Google Nest Cam Indoor Camera

$359.00

My Personal Faves

When you start solids, I really love these silicone bibs with the trough. They’re SO easy to rinse clean between meals.

mushie Silicone Baby Bib

$12.99

This little guy is totally underestimated. We love it so much, we never even put it away between babies because you can really dry anything on it- not just baby stuff!

Boon Lawn Countertop Drying Rack

$19.99

I don’t think FridaBaby has made a product I don’t love but this one is the best. I know, the concept is gross. But trust me! It’s absolutely a lifesaver when your baby is sick.

FridaBaby Nosefrida Bundle

$17.63

Parent Pro Tip Picks

I don’t stock up on a lot of things, but we went through burp cloths like…I don’t even know. These are the perfect size. They’re terry on one side and a soft jersey on the other. Super absorbent. Get a few packs. Trust me. Love them!

Carter’s 4-Pack Striped Burp Cloths

$26.00

I know it’s like tooting our own horn but this might be the most brilliant idea of all time! Instead of getting eight bottles and then finding out your baby hates them, this box comes with a few different bottles to try and then when you find one your baby likes, you can stock up on them. So smart!

Babylist Bottle Box

$29.99

Skip the shoulder bag and get a backpack. It lets you have both hands free and won’t accidentally slip off your shoulder and smack your baby in the face like mine did…ahem.

Freshly Picked Classic Diaper Bag

$175.00

Baby Holders (Start with one!)

I’ve tried the pricer/fancier/modern swings and my kids did not like them. We got this for our last baby and she absolutely loved it. At this price point, you can’t beat it!

Graco Simple Sway Swing

$89.99

I like this one because it keeps baby upright (great for babies who like to spit up), bounces lightly in response to your baby’s little leg kicks and it’s easily moved from room to room.

Babybjörn Bouncer Balance Soft

$199.99
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