5 Tips for Building the Best City Baby Registry

5 Tips for Building the Best City Baby Registry

November 8, 2019

5 Tips for Building the Best City Baby Registry

5 Tips for Building the Best City Baby Registry
Photo by @jetset.away
5 Tips for Building the Best City Baby Registry

City living definitely has its perks. Great food, art and culture around every corner and so much to do and see every day are just a few reasons why we love city life. And if you’re planning on raising your little one in an urban environment, they’ll get to enjoy all that the city you call home has to offer right alongside you.

Living the city life does bring with it some issues that not all parents have to face, though. Things like smaller living spaces and public transportation offer unique challenges for city families. You’ll need to make sure you have the right gear to get you through.

We’re taking you step by step through everything you need to know about building the best city baby registry that’s just right for your family as you begin this exciting new chapter.

Baby Registry FAQ

A city baby registry may look a bit different than a baby registry for a family that lives in the suburbs, but lots of the basics still apply. For a full rundown of the most commonly asked questions around creating a baby registry (and their answers), check out our Ultimate Guide to Creating Your Baby Registry.

How to Create the Best City Baby Registry

Thinking through what types of baby items are right for your city baby registry can feel a bit overwhelming—so we’ve done it for you. We’re breaking down city registry building with five expert tips to keep in mind along the way. These need-to-knows will help you figure out what types of products best fit your city life, as well as the gear that’s worth adding and what you can skip right over.

1. Choose On-the-Go Items Wisely

One of the biggest differentiators between city dwellers and families that live in other areas is how they get around. If you’re a parent who lives in the ‘burbs, you’re probably not worried about getting your car seat into a rideshare or figuring out how to maneuver your stroller through the narrow aisles of a tiny grocery store. But for many city families, these realities are a part of everyday life. More than in any registry category, you need on-the-go baby gear that’s designed for city living.

There are three big items you’ll want to think long and hard about before adding them to your city baby registry: your stroller, car seat and baby carrier.

Stroller

The stroller is the ultimate workhorse of the urban family. While a suburban parent may use a stroller for walks around the neighborhood or a trip to the zoo, you and your stroller are about to become fast and furious BFFs. You’ll use it tote around your little one, of course, but also to transport groceries (and whatever else you need to pick up on your daily errands), stash sandbox toys and a picnic blanket, store your diaper bag and a change of clothes, and so, so much more.

When choosing a stroller to add to your registry, take a long look at some key city-friendly features (or lack thereof) and think about how they’ll impact your day-to-day life.

  • Durability. Is the stroller frame sturdy and well made? Does the stroller have large, durable wheels and a suspension system that can handle uneven terrain, curbs and stairs?
  • Size and Maneuverability. Is it easy to push and steer? Is there enough undercarriage storage space? How’s the overall size? (You’ll want a stroller large enough to last through the toddler years, but not unwieldy enough that it won’t fit through narrow doorways and store aisles.)
  • Features. What’s the sunshade like—does it offer enough coverage? Is there a telescoping handle so parents of different heights can push it comfortably? Is the fabric comfy and easy to clean?
  • Portability. Is it easy and fast to break down? How much space does it take up when stored?

You’ll also want to consider your lifestyle. If you live in walkup, then portability may top your must-have list. If you’re short on storage space, you’ll want a stroller that breaks down easily and compactly.

Car seat

If you’re a city family who doesn’t own a car and will be relying on rentals and rideshares, then choosing an infant car seat may look a bit different for you than it does for a family in the suburbs.

Lots of infant car seats use a separate base that remains in the car and makes it easy to pop the seat in and out; others can be installed using either a base or a car’s seat belt. When choosing an infant car seat for your city baby registry, you’ll want to make sure yours falls into the latter category and can be installed using either a base or a seat belt. This will make it easier to take taxis or rideshares, or use the seat in rental cars if you’re headed out of town.

You’ll also want to think about how much use you’ll be getting out of your car seat. If you’re in and out of taxis and rideshares a lot, then you’ll want to choose a lightweight seat that’s easy on the arms when you’re on the go. But if you rely mainly on public transportation or have a stroller with a bassinet attachment, then things like seat weight won’t be as important to you.

Baby carrier

A stroller and a car seat are city transportation must-haves, but there are times when you’re not going to want—or need—to deal with bulky gear, like if you’re riding public transportation or heading somewhere with large crowds. That’s when a baby carrier comes in.

Baby carriers are perfect for keeping your baby close while also keeping bulky gear to a minimum. Make sure you choose one that all members of your family can wear comfortably. You may also want to consider things like carry positions (inward-facing, outward-facing etc.) and choosing a carrier made from lightweight material if you live in a warmer climate.

2. Focus on Function + Size

While a suburban family may have plenty of room for lots of baby gear, that’s not the reality for lots of city families living in tiny apartments or other smaller spaces. When deciding which items to add to your baby registry, city families need to pay special attention to a product’s size and its usefulness.

Focus on items with smaller footprints, and especially on gear that breaks down flat or at least compactly for easy storage. (We also love anything on wheels that can easily be moved from room to room.) Choose multipurpose products whenever possible. We always prefer baby gear that pulls double (or even triple!) duty rather than something that’s designed to do just one thing, but this is extra important when it comes to choosing products for a city baby registry.

Here’s a list of items where keeping function and size in mind can have a pretty big impact:

  • Mini crib. Mini cribs are a great option for city dwellers who don’t have room for a big, bulky bassinet or a full-sized crib.
  • Bottle drying rack. Look for vertically designed, compact styles that can rest on a wall under a cabinet rather than hog a ton of counter space.
  • Bouncer/swing/activity gym. All of these are great options for keeping your baby safe and occupied, but if you’re a city family, add one to your registry instead of all three.
  • Bath bathtub. Instead of a big plastic tub, choose a baby bathtub that either collapses or folds flat for easier storage.
  • High chair. Look for a multipurpose chair that converts to a booster or a toddler seat after the baby days have passed. Clip-on high chairs are also a good choice if you’re looking to minimize your gear footprint.
  • Rocker or glider. Lots of rockers and gliders are designed to fit into small spaces without sacrificing comfort. Look for a narrow option with a small footprint.

3. Skip What You Don’t Need

There are going to be items on your baby registry that you have your heart set on regardless of how practical they are. (We’re looking at you, teeny, tiny but oh-so-adorable baby shoes.) Don’t deprive yourself of the good stuff—building a baby registry should be fun, after all. But if you’re a city family that’s tight on space, you need to choose your registry items a bit more judiciously.

Here’s what to skip on a city baby registry, and what to get instead.

  • Bottle sterilizer. A big old pot of boiling water will do the trick to sterilize bottles and any other baby gear that needs it before the first use. After that, if you’re still worried about germs, microwave sterilizer bags are a great space-saving solution
  • Bottle warmer. Bottle, meet cup of warm water in the sink. Done!
  • Changing table. Skip the table and use a regular dresser with a changing pad right on top.
  • Bassinet. A mini crib is a good option here, as is a playard that’s approved for safe sleep.
  • Toddler toys and gear. Yup, your toddler is going to need gear and toys just like a baby does—but not for a long time. Hold off on this until the baby days have passed and you’ve had a chance to either give away or store the baby gear to make room for the next round of stuff.

One thing to keep in mind here—what’s defines an “essential” for one city family may not be the same as for another. If you don’t have a washing machine in your home, for example, you may need a larger quantity of baby clothes than a family who has easy access to one. Remember to think about your particular lifestyle when trying to figure out what to add and what to skip when it comes to your baby registry.

4. Buy What You Need When You Need It

Here’s the thing about lots of baby gear: when you need it, you really need it. An activity center is clutch for keeping a curious crawler out of harm’s way when you need to make dinner; a bouncer is just the right spot to keep your little one entertained while you hop in the shower, pump or need to make a phone call. But babies grow quickly, and what’s a must-have one month can promptly become completely useless the next. This can be especially problematic for city dwellers, who often don’t have a ton of room to spare or access to lots of storage space.

Instead of adding anything and everything you think you’ll throughout the first year, start slowly and stick to basics that you’ll get the most mileage out of. Things like a stroller, a car seat, a high chair and a travel crib are all items you’re going to use for years. But as for the rest? Hit up friends with older kids; check out consignment stores; and join local social media swap groups dedicated to baby gear. Buy used when you can, and sell the item right back once you’re done with it. This is a great way to tame the clutter and help your budget too.

There are a few things you should never buy second-hand, though:

  • Crib
  • Crib mattress
  • Car seat
  • Breast pump

5. Get Creative

Living the city life takes a bit of creativity—and creating the perfect city baby registry does too. Adding a few creative twists to your registry can help you to solve for those issues that only city families face.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Love the idea of buying in bulk but don’t have the space to store everything? Some registries offer cash fund options for things like diapers. You’ll still get the benefit of being able to buy what you need, but at your own pace.
  • Some of the best, most useful gifts aren’t always things that can be purchased. Consider adding some help and favors to your registry like vouchers for home-cooked meals, babysitting or house cleaning. We promise you’ll value these just as much, if not more, than all the baby items you’re going to get. (You’ll free up some extra space in your living room too.)
  • Subscription services can make great registry adds for city families. Things like baby food meal services, diaper subscriptions and even toy subscription boxes are great alternatives to traditional baby registry gifts and all compliment a city-dwelling family’s lifestyle.
  • You can never have too much storage, especially if you live in a smaller space. Be sure to add things like bins, bookcases and even drawer dividers to help keep everything in its place.
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