How to Create a Conscious Registry

How to Create a Conscious Registry

Benjamin Norment

One of the best opportunities for parents to practice conscious consumption occurs before your child is even born. Limit wasteful spending and ensure you get the things you really need by being mindful about what you put on your baby registry. Forget the nice-to-have’s, the novelty products, the adorable but impractical outfits your child will wear once and then outgrow, and focus instead on the big, must-have items like your stroller, car seat and high chair, as well as the essentials you’ll use every day. Here are some tips:


  • Stroller – With so many different options out there, the choice of stroller can feel overwhelming. Concentrate on what you know you’ll need: are you a runner who plans to jog with your child? Will you be traveling frequently and need something compact and eas to stow? Considering factors like your lifestyle and your available storage space will help narrow down your options and choose one stroller that fits as many of your needs as possible. Important: a stroller that can take your car seat not only makes travel easier, but it’s also a must-have for those newborn months.
  • Car seat – This is one of those few areas where we believe in sacrificing sustainability for convenience. As tempting as it may be to buy a convertible car seat that can grow with your child through toddlerhood, the convenience an infant car seat offers is hard to beat. Being able to easily move your sleeping baby in and out of the car, is – in our opinion – worth the price of a second seat.
  • High chair – Again, there are so many options to choose from! We’re of two minds: you can either invest in a high-quality wood option from brands like Stokke or Keekaroo that will grow with your child, can be used for many years, and can ultimately be passed down to another family member, OR focus less on what looks good and more on utility. One of our favorite high chairs is the ANTILOP from Ikea: a super basic white plastic high chair that’s a cinch to clean, ultra-lightweight and stores easily. Bonus: it retails for just $24.99. The ANTILOP is proof that sometimes the inexpensive, no-frills baby gear can be just as good as the fancier stuff.
  • Diapers/wipes – Diapers (and baby wipes) are something you can never have enough of. Since it’s tough to know how big your baby will be or how fast they’ll grow, try registering for only one box each in a few different small sizes and then signing up for a diaper fund with Amazon or Buy Buy Baby, where friends and family can contribute a dollar amount and you can redeem as needed. To reduce waste (and save money) consider using cloth diapers (we love the brand bumGenius). We promise, cloth diapering is not as daunting as it sounds! (P.S. – If you’d like to learn more, stay tuned to this blog for our upcoming Cloth Diapering Guide. 
  • Bottles/pacis – Since it’s impossible to know which bottle or pacifier your child will take to, consider registering for just one each of a few different options, and then you can order more once you find out what works.
  • Books – Try this: ask your friends and family to gift the books that mattered most to them, or that they loved reading to their own children. (Including gently-loved, secondhand books passed down from a previous generation.) That way, you’ll ensure your kiddo has a carefully curated library of meaningful titles, with personal stories attached to them.
  • Food delivery gift cards – No one wants to cook right after having a baby. Gift cards to food delivery services like Uber Eats, DoorDash, Grubhub and Postmates can be lifesaving in those first few days at home with a newborn.


  • Clothes – Let’s face it: many first-time parents build their registries with an Instagram mentality, only to find that the reality of parenting is wayyyyy different. Babies are messy; spit up, throw up, food messes, and accidents of all kinds mean you’ll be doing more laundry than you ever thought possible. Not to mention those super-cute overalls with all the buttons and snaps are going to get really old after the eighth diaper change. So, while your child may start their life with a wide-ranging wardrobe full of clothes for every occasion, it’s more than likely they’ll end up cycling through the same four or five easy-to-put-on outfits and wearing them again and again. That’s why secondhand baby clothes are such a good idea: ask your friends and family with older kids for hand-me-downs and try thrifting the rest. Remember, people will still buy you impractical, impossibly cute baby outfits whether you ask for them or not, so reduce your footprint by registering for only the most basic items (a pack of organic cotton onesies, socks, knit caps to keep baby’s head warm), in limited quantities. And don’t go overboard on newborn sizes: your baby will grow faster than you think, and you probably won’t be leaving the house much in those first few weeks anyway.
  • Receiving blankets – Like clothes, this is another item that people will give you without being asked. Also, you’ll probably leave the hospital with at least a couple of them. 
  • Stuffed animals – Yes, they are cute, and because of that, you’ll receive more of them as gifts than you’ll ever want or need. If there’s one particularly meaningful animal that you’d like your child to have, consider purchasing it yourself. Otherwise, avoid putting stuffed animals on your registry, no matter how plush or cuddly they may be.
  • Nursery items – Resist the temptation to buy every crib sheet you think is cute. You can easily end up with ten sets of sheets when you’ll only end up using three (see clothes, above).
  • Toddler stuff – Baby gear takes up space, so focus your registry on items you’ll need for your child’s first year. Also, keep in mind that your child’s needs will naturally change as they continue to grow and develop their personality. It’s impossible to anticipate the toys and activities they’ll love, or the products that will best aid their development as they move through different stages of life. Stay flexible and buy what you need as you need it.

There will always be gadgets and gizmos our consumer driven economy will pressure you into thinking you “need” – things like wipe warmers, bottle warmers, fancy swings that move in 15 different directions while playing 12 songs. Parents have been raising kids forever without all these extras. Keep your focus on the things you know you’ll use no matter what: bottles, pacis, strollers, car seats, books, diapers. And remember: if you don’t have something you need, you can always get it later.