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Training for Baby: Babies really need all that?

About six weeks ago, my husband and I took on the frightening task of entering a Babies R Us on a Sunday afternoon to register for gifts.

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Kathy Hanrahan's belly bump in late May
Kathy Hanrahan

About six weeks ago, my husband and I took on the frightening task of entering a Babies R Us on a Sunday afternoon to register for gifts. We allotted a couple of hours and I was even planning to hit the gym afterward. What ensued that afternoon was truly one of the most draining experiences we've had so far being pregnant.

Having only set foot into a Babies R Us once or twice before to buy gifts for pregnant friends, I just thought they'd have someone available to help new parents start their registries. They set us up at the customer service area and then turned us loose, armed with one of those scanning guns and a giant list of "items babies need."

We started in infant care, where we stood around for 20 minutes just staring at monitors. Video monitors, motion sensors? Baby video surveillance is very hi-tech.

Then, we went to the bottle section, where our list said we needed tons of bottles and then about 300 nipples in different categories according to age and flow. This is my first baby and I had no idea bottles were different and I certainly had no idea about the nipples.

After registering for about 20 nipples, we ended up in the section by the first aid kits. I finally just sat on the ground and surveyed our surroundings. A baby nail kit? I knew I had to trim his little nails, but does he need his own kit? A hair brush? I heard he gets one of those at the hospital.

We had been in infant care for about an hour when my husband started to worry that the store would be closed before we finished the registry. He even went to the front to check their hours. Thankfully, they didn't close for another four hours - by his estimates that would give us just enough time to finish.

From bath robes to Boppys (which I had no idea what they did, but I knew I needed one), we navigated our way through infant care in about two hours. Another couple with their young baby were also shopping that day. They recognized the dazed and confused look both my husband I were sporting and assured us the experience was just as harrowing for them, but it gets better.

By the time we got to the car seats and carriers, I was done. We needed help! One of the sales associates happened to walk by and ask us if we needed any assistance. After telling him that we needed help with everything on our list, he agreed to walk us through the store. Life got a little easier after that.

We went through the basics - car seats, strollers, pack-and-plays, cribs, bassinets, swings, bouncy things - all within an hour!

After the gauntlet of registering, we went home and just sat on the couch. I couldn't even hit the gym!

We have had to add things since then, but the registry is pretty much done.

We had no idea how much babies need and how many things these stores will tell you they need. I survived my infant years without half this stuff! But I am sure these items make it a lot easier for parents and baby.

Life was good, then we decided we needed to register at Buy Buy Baby - just to add variety to the registry and give our friends other options. A sales associate was assigned to help us there - apparently that is standard at Buy Buy Baby. That visit was even longer than the Babies R Us one! We registered for so many snappy shirts and baby sacks (I had no idea babies sleep in sacks!) and swaddle blankets. I had to take several breaks because this woman was running us ragged. She tried to talk about baby proofing our home, but we just couldn't absorb anymore. We decided to table that until my family comes to visit and my dad can use his Home Depot skills to baby proof our entire home.

We didn't even go through the entire Buy Buy Baby store. We had to throw in the towel around the chairs because we stopped being able to see straight.

Friends have been a great resource on different must-have items, and other ones that you really don't need to worry about. One friend suggested forgoing the wipe warmer because you can't warm wipes when you aren't home. Another gave us a great tip on a monitor and bathtub.

What experiences did you have registering for gifts? What are some of the items you used the most and would recommend to new parents?

Kathy is editor of WRAL.com's Out & About section. Learn more about Kathy on her website. Last year, here on Go Ask Mom, Kathy chronicled her efforts to lose weight before she and her husband started a family. Now, due with her first baby this fall, she's writing about her pregnancy. Find her here on Wednesdays twice a month on Go Ask Mom.


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