Join   Sign In  
 

5 Baby Registry Sites We Love

These Baby Registry Sites Cover Everything a Mom Needs

 

When it’s time to make a baby registry, you could just pop over to your local baby-gear superstore, grab a scanning gun and get to it. But even though you’re using a laser to scan those UPC codes, it’s still the old-fashioned way to register for gifts. These sites take baby registries to the next level, giving you the freedom to find gifts all across the internet, and even to ask for hand-me-downs, home-cooked meals, or cold hard cash.

Babyli.st

Even if you register at a brick-and-mortar store, chances are a lot of your friends and family will still wind up buying gifts online — so why limit yourself to just one retailer? Babyli.st is a beautiful, well-designed, easy-to-navigate universal online registry. You install a "bookmarklet" in your browser's bookmarks toolbar (which is just a matter of dragging a button up to the toolbar on your desktop), then simply click on it when you find a product—from anywhere on the web—to add to your Babyli.st registry.

So, whether you have your eye on that cute giraffe hat from Etsy, a sleek new digital camera, or a stroller that folds itself, adding any item to your Babyli.st is just a couple clicks away. You can even add a note to explain why you chose it or how it'll come in handy.

Being able to register from multiple sites can also save your friends and family money. Install the InvisibleHand extension (available for Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer, and Opera), and as you browse online shops, you'll see a popup notification if the item can be found cheaper on another site. Then, just click over to the new site and add the item to your Babyli.st from there.

Mealbaby

Especially if you’re juggling more than one small child, have a baby with special needs, or just don't have much family nearby who can lend a hand, staying energized and well-fed during those early, sleep-deprived weeks is key. Enter Mealbaby, a clever online food registry that’s perfect for new parents.

Signing up for yourself (or for a friend, since some moms might feel weird about asking for this kind of help) is a piece of cake: You fill out your info, click a calendar to pick what dates you need meals delivered, then enter your food preferences, allergies, how many people need to be fed, and other important info. Once you're all set, just add your friends' email addresses so they can be notified, and anyone who signs up to bring a  meal will get an email reminder the day before. If your friends and family are in another town, you can also specify your favorite restaurant chains and grocery stores so they can pick gift cards that will be mailed to you. You can also share your meal registry on Facebook, Twitter, or your blog.. Your registry can also have a link to let people donate to Feed the Children, a wonderful charity.

My Secondhand Baby

I live in San Francisco, where apartments are small and storage space is practically nonexistent. So when I told my friends I was having a baby, the hand-me-downs and loans started immediately — which was both incredibly touching, since we felt so supported; and insanely practical, since my friends finally got to reclaim some of their lost space. And while experts recommend you purchase things like car seats and cribs new because safety standards are constantly changing (if the item is relatively new, it's easy to Google the product name along with the word "recall" to get a good idea of...whether it's a good idea), babies outgrow clothes, toys, and gear so quickly that hand-me-downs are usually in great condition.

My Secondhand Baby makes it easy to get great stuff second-hand. You start by setting up a registry of things you need, without getting too terribly specific — say,  "We need a crib, but I don't care what color or what brand." Or, "Our baby boy will be born in January, so we'll need plenty of warm clothes." You can also add links to things you have your eye on, or just to, say, a page with crib safety standards. The idea is to let friends and family know what you already have, and what you think you need. They can then lend you items, hand things down, or go treasure hunting at secondhand stores and garage sales. The site is pretty bare-bones, but the idea is amazing and the execution is solid.

Deposit a Gift

I love reading advice columns, and etiquette experts like Miss Manners insist that asking for cash is tacky. But when you think about it, Miss Manners isn't really a fan of any gift registry — so the birth of a baby is perhaps the best time to pull off this. Maybe your health insurance has a huge deductible, or you wind up with other—unanticipated—medical bills. Maybe you live in a studio apartment and you need some financial help to get a place with more room for your growing family. Maybe your loved ones want to chip in for child care costs, or start an education fund for your new addition. I could go on and on, because, let’s face it, there are few problems that a big stack of cash can't solve.

Deposit a Gift lets you set up a registry of big-ticket and/or hard-to-shop-for items: think fancy strollers, nursery redecorations, swimming lessons, diaper service, newborn portraits, even a college savings account. But instead of asking people to buy those things for you outright, you estimate their cost, and gift-givers can chip in. So, let’s say you have your heart set on a $500 stroller. Instead of making it a single item on a store registry, you can ask for it in 50 donations of $10 each. (Or, register for it at a store and raise the funds to pay for it on Deposit a Gift, so you can still take advantage of a store registry's completion discount.) The website itself is gorgeous, and lets you share photos and news about yourself, and even features a guest book to boot. It feels more like a customized wedding website than a straight-up cash grab.

But there is one string attached: Deposit a Gift charges a 7.5% fee for processing the gifts (made by credit card), and you must specify if you want that taken out of the gifts (you pay, in other words) or tacked on (your givers pay). When you want to "cash out," you can have the money transferred to your bank account, or you can have a check or VISA gift card mailed to you. And all of the payout options are free, unless you're transferring the money to an international bank account, which is $40. Deposit a Gift also keeps track of who gave you what, so you can keep notes on when you sent your thank-you notes.

Simple Registry

Like a combination of a register-from-anywhere site like Babyli.st and Deposit a Gift, this site also lets you put a bookmarklet (in this case, SimpleAdder) into your browser's toolbar so you can add products to your registry from anywhere on the Web. There's even an iPhone app with a barcode scanner, so you can add items to your registry by scanning or snapping a photos when your out in the real world. When your friends and family access your registry and pick a gift to give you, they just pay with a credit card on the Simple Registry site — and you get the money instead of the gift. It's great if you want to have one registry with both tangible items plus non-tangibles or experiences (classes, museum memberships, a babymoon, even a college fund). Plus, you get the final call on sizes and colors, and your givers don't have to pay taxes ipping for your gifts.

The site has a slick, easy to use design that you can personalize with your own photos and greetings. Like Deposit a Gift, it helps you keep track of your thank-you notes — and tacks on a few additional fees: the service fee is 3.5% of all gifts, or a one-time $35 charge. And the transaction fee of 3.5% applies to all gifts, but can be taken out of the gift on your end, or tacked on to what the giver pays. To redeem your gifts, you can have a check mailed to you or receive a PayPal deposit for free. Transfer to a U.S. bank account is $3, and to an international bank account is $30.