We caught up with Julie McCaffrey, the founder of Baby Nav Baby Planners, a baby planning and baby concierge service in the New York area, to find out how to make the whole baby registry process a bit easier. It's Julie's job to stay on top of the latest baby gear trends, so her clients don't have to. One of Julie's favorite new baby gear buys is DockATot, check out her recent review of DockATot Deluxe on her You Tube channel. Here, Julie gives us the scoop on her baby registry must-haves and the most important questions moms-to-be should be asking themselves.
The baby registry process is so overwhelming. How do you calm down parents-to-be during the process?
Julie: McCaffrey: Yes, yes, yes! Registering can be a real overwhelming experience for so many new parents. The first thing I tell new parents is that most baby products do work for someone but it doesn’t mean you need them all or even one item from each category. Ditch the list provided by the store as they are typically created based on each section of the store and not what a new family really needs.
What baby gear items are always on your baby registry must-have list?
JM: The three items that are must-haves for any family are:
- Nosefrida Snotsucker – Yes, it sounds gross at first but it absolutely works and there is no worry about mildew building up after use. www.fridababy.com $15.99
- Vulli Sophie – There is no other toy that should go onto your registry but Sophie who has been beloved by babies for over 50 years. Made from rubber, Sophie is the perfect size for a baby’s small hands and her perky ears and horns seem to be just the right size to give relief to any teething baby. www.sophiegiraffeusa.com $19.95
- Aden & Anais Serenity Star – Talk about multitasking. This electronic feeding and sleep system incorporates a feeding diary, sound machine, room temperature indicator, night light and clock all in one small, well designed piece that works well with any nursery design. www.adenandanais.com $89.95
How has baby gear changed over the years that you've been working as a planner?
JM: Baby gear has changed so much over the last five years to the benefit of all parents and it continues to evolve. From the most affordable pieces of baby gear to the most luxurious, parents have options for fashions that match their style as well as function that meets their lifestyle needs. Baby gear no longer has to be something that is all kept to the nursery or clashes with parents' home design. Many colors, finishes and fashions in baby gear now follow the trends in clothing and home décor so parents can choose something that easily fits into their lifestyle and they are happy to keep in their main living space. In more recent years, gear has also started to be designed to grow and change with babies in really smart ways. It used to be that parents were forced to update several pieces of their gear every few months as baby hit a new stage but now there is a lot of gear available that parents can simply change with those new stages.
What's the most extravagant item you've seen a parent register for?
JM: Honestly, nothing overly extravagant on a registry. Usually if parents can afford something really luxury or extravagant they purchase it on their own. I have had parents design their nursery with a crib that cost more than $6000. I have also had several clients with more than one home that bought two of absolutely everything to avoid having to constantly pack up and move things back and forth.
What are some words of advice to moms who have no idea where to start with their registry?
JM: First, they can look for a baby planner to help them get started! Either way there are questions a mom can ask herself before she starts selecting gear to add to her registry that can ensure she ends up with a list of products that will work for her and her growing family:
- At the time of your due date what will the weather be like?
- Are you a physically active family?
- Does your family enjoy traveling (even if it is for day trips)?
- How would you describe the style (or your desired style) of your nursery?
- Do you have a desire to incorporate “green” or eco-friendly baby products into your home?
- Do you plan on using cloth or disposable diapers?
- Do you plan on bottle feeding, breast feeding or both?
- Will you be headed back to work after you have the baby?
JM: When parents find out they are expecting multiples it can be hard to know what gear will work best and how many of each item they need. Parents of twins should not assume they need two of everything and there are items that you can definitely get away with sharing. Items like car seats, cribs, crib mattresses, soft goods (sheets, towels, etc.) and anything that goes in baby's nose or mouth you will need to get multiples of. However, items like a bath tub, nursing pillow, diaper bag and toys parents will only need one of each. Parents of twins also need to make sure they are thoughtful and realistic about how much space they have and start thinking about where and how they can organize and store baby gear items when they are registering.
What do you love about DockATot?
JM: I love that DockATot is so multifunctional while still being a pretty simple design! Because of the busy lives of parents, babies today are so often shuttled from a car seat to a stroller to a bouncer and DockATot gives parents a safe and comfy spot for parents to place baby that won't have them on the same spot on their backs.