Our Birth Story

Our Birth Story

My sweetest son,

This is the story of your birth. I’m recording it for us, so that we can always remember the miracle that happened on September 8, 2017.

Our Birth Story Mama Brilliance

Your due date had come and gone, and you were still nestled snugly inside me. Friends and family would text or email, “Is that baby here yet?” “Are you still pregnant?” “Didn’t you tell that kid it’s Labor Day?”

I would respond as cordially as I could, despite the annoyance I felt at their light-hearted jests. Believe me, you will know he’s here shortly after we will, I thought to myself. And so Daddy and I continued to wait for you. We filled our time watching movies, catching up on television shows, walking the trails at the local park. I even counted my stretch marks. 63 crimson stripes across my belly; a permanent reminder of your temporary home.

At 40 weeks and 5 days, my obstetrician offered to strip my membranes. I had been 90% effaced for about 2 weeks, and dilating a centimeter a week for 3 weeks, putting me at 5cm dilated before active labor started. Warm up contractions would come and go for hours at a time, usually between 2 and 3 o’clock in the morning. I was ready to meet you. I was ready for the anticipation to be gone, and to finally hold you in my arms.

I graciously accepted the offer from my OB, and braced for impact as she separated the bag of waters from the sides of my uterus. Daddy held my hand, and when the doctor was finished, we agreed that if labor hadn’t started by the weekend, we would induce in 3 days, on Sunday September 10, 2017.

After stopping for an early dinner, we arrived at home around 4PM. I started to feel more cramping, and the contractions began to arrive. I wonder if this is just more warm-up labor, I thought to myself, as ate my sandwich from Jimmy Johns. An Italian Night Club, with no onions; never once feeling guilty for eating lunch meat while pregnant.

Then it happened: a tightening of my belly that grew stronger as it took my breath away. And it happened again. And again. And again.

After 5 hours of deep breathing, rocking on a balance ball, and loading up on cashews, string cheese, and oven roasted turkey breast, we decided it was time to call the hospital. My contractions were consistently 3 minutes apart, lasting a little more than a minute each, and getting stronger with every wave. The nurse who answered the phone agreed that it was time to come in, and Daddy and I gathered the last of our hospital bag items and prepared to head out the door.

The books and the birthing classes all talk about the excitement and joy you feel when you go into labor. I did not feel this way. I was anxious. I felt unprepared. Despite reading dozens on pregnancy, labor and delivery, and newborn care, I felt completely unprepared. In a last ditch effort to maintain some control over the situation, I decided to brush and floss my teeth.

Your Dad walked into the bathroom and asked me what I was doing. I tearfully replied that I didn’t know when I would get another chance to floss my teeth; as if this would be the last time I would EVER have the pleasure of flossing. Daddy replied that he would bring dental floss for me, and that I would, in fact, be able to floss again after you made your grand debut.

After my dramatic farewell to floss, we departed for the hospital at 9:30PM on September 7. I began to cry out of insecurity, and also because my contractions had stopped.

“They’re going to send us home and I’m going to be embarrassed and Sarah (our doula) will have to drive all the way back to Wisconsin just to come back again another day for actual labor to start.”

“That’s not going to happen,” your father reassured me, “We’re going to get to the hospital, you’re going to be admitted, and we’re going to have a baby and everything will be perfect. Okay?”

I nodded as I held back tears and breathed through my anxiety.

We arrived at St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth and parked in the Red Ramp. We walked to the skywalk, only to find that the entrance was locked. I cried again, “I forgot we have to enter through the Emergency Room after 8PM.”

Thankfully, a nurse who was entering the hospital saw my gigantic pregnant self and your father with a suitcase and a backpack, and correctly assumed that we were headed to the birth center. She let us enter with her, and wished us luck.

As we rode the elevator to the 5th floor of the hospital, I felt a small contraction. I felt somewhat more confident in being admitted after that contraction, but there was a part of me that still thought we would be sent home.

The nurses admitted us, and our first nurse Theresa brought us to our birthing room. Ironically, it was the same room we toured during the birthing class; a lakeside room with a hookup for nitrous oxide for pain management and a whirlpool tub for laboring in. Reality started to set in.

I’m going to have a baby.

Theresa took my vitals and hooked me up to a monitor to check on your heart rate and measure the frequency of my contractions. Your heart rate was beautiful, and the contractions were still happening, even though I couldn’t really feel them.

The resident on-call came in to take a quick history and to check my cervix. I was between 95-100% effaced and 6 cm dilated. He asked about my preferences for pain management. I requested that I would be able to labor in the tub and to use nitrous oxide if I needed it. I also mentioned that I’m open to an epidural if I feel it becomes necessary.

He nodded in agreement and basically said that he would be leaving me alone until I needed either the nitrous or the epidural, and that if everything was going well he would be back in a few hours to check my cervix again. He didn’t seem concerned that I wasn’t feeling the contractions anymore, since he could see them on the monitor, and they were definitely happening.

After he left, Theresa took the monitors off and suggested Daddy and I walk around the birthing center floor to help restart some stronger contractions. So we walked around the floor twice, and I had begun to feel more pressure in my pelvis. I could still walk, but it was getting harder to breath through the contractions while I was upright.

We arrived back at the room and Sarah, our doula, had arrived. My contractions were in a lull again, and so we made small talk and just hung out for about 30 minutes. It was now just before 11 PM, and our nurses were changing shifts. Theresa would be leaving for the night, and Taylor would be taking over.

Shortly after Taylor had taken another set of vitals, my contractions really picked up. The first few were so strong that I had to get down on all fours to relieve the pressure in my back and belly. Like the Jedi before me, I remembered my training: breath deeply, inhale to the count of 4, exhale to the count of 6 or 8. And groan like a freaking wildebeest. Deep, guttural moans that put to shame any sort of hoofed, quadruped animal in the throes of heat (i.e. elk, moose, yak, llama).

I requested, with my last shred of amity, that Taylor bring a birthing ball to the room. I tried to sit on the birthing ball, but you were putting so much pressure on my cervix that I couldn’t stand the weight. I tried to kneel on the ground over the birthing ball, hugging the giant purple sphere so tightly I was sure it would burst. I lamented that I did not bring my yoga mat to kneel on, as hospital floors are not known for being easy on the knees. We tried a pillow under my knees, with no relief.

Sarah used counter pressure on my hips and back to relieve some of the pressure, reminding me with every contraction to keep breathing, groaning, and remember that each contraction is temporary and productive. “He’s coming, Mama. You get to meet him soon.”

I’ll be honest. Through the hardest part of my contractions, there was a part of me that wondered what I had done to myself. Why did I do this? What kind of sick, sadistic person would intentionally put themselves through this pain?

I need a time machine, so I can go back and tell myself to not get pregnant because labor is AWFUL and it never ends.

“I need the nitrous,” I managed to say.

“Okay. I hear you. Do you want to try a warm bath first?” Sarah asked.

“Yes,” I nodded through another contraction.

We filled the tub, and I stripped down to nearly nothing. Not caring that I was naked from the chest down, I eased down into the tub. The water felt wonderful. But the tub was not nearly big enough for me to labor the way I needed to AND get the full benefit of the water. I tried to lay back and let the jets massage my back. I tried to kneel on all fours. I even tried sitting cross-legged. Nothing was helping. All the while I swayed and rocked and breathed out every wave of pain that shot through my body.

“Sarah, I need the nitrous.”

“Okay, we’ll get the nurse.”

I stood up to get out of the bath, and noticed 10 scarlet streaks gracing the bottom of the tub. Through an especially intense contraction, my Sally Hansen Cinna-Snap toenail polish tagged the tub like a juvenile delinquent with a can of Rustoleum and a pension for defacement.

This is why you put a top-coat on, Megan. Because otherwise you ruin nice things.

Daddy flagged Taylor, and she went to notify the resident on-call. He came in with some papers for me to sign, and began to go over the rules for using the nitrous for pain management. He checked my cervix again; now at 7 cm. Just as Taylor walked in with the machine for the nitrous oxide, another contraction hit me like a freight train. I knew that laughing gas wouldn’t help me at this point.

The resident began to go over the waiver with me, to which I replied, “F**k the nitrous, I need the epidural.” Your Mama was not messing around. I was almost fainting with every contraction, and I needed something stronger to get me through those last 3 cm. The resident responded with an, “Okey dokey,” and Taylor took the nitrous out of the room and went to call the anesthesiologist.

Taylor put the monitors back on my belly to monitor your heart rate and my contractions, and gave me an IV of fluids to keep me hydrated. The contractions kept growing stronger as we waited about 40 minutes for the anesthesiologist to arrive. When he did, he demonstrated the most perfect example of mansplaining I have ever seen.

This joker sits down on the bed next to me while I’m groaning like a cow, and proceeds to play Pictionary with me to explain how an epidural works.

“Hi Megan, okay, I’m going to draw you a picture here so you know what I’m doing alrighty? This is your brain. This is your spine. This is your brain stem and your spinal cord. Here is your uterus,” etc.

He proceeded to go through a freaking anatomy lesson, drawing every part on his notebook, all the while I’m thinking that I’m a married, 27-year-old, college educated woman. I’ve read the books. I took the class. I KNOW what an epidural does and how it does it. Place the GD catheter and GTFO of here.

And yes, I know that he has to explain what he’s doing for legal purposes so that I don’t sue him incase something goes wrong. His know-it-all attitude was simply not appreciated while I was hitting a 14 out of 10 on the pain scale.

The epidural took about 20 minutes to fully kick in. And even then, it barely took the edge off. I still felt every contraction, and I still needed to breath and groan through every wave that hit me. The contractions were about 2 minutes long at this point, and I thought I would be in labor for ever. I only had about 30 seconds of rest between each contraction, and I needed every single break I could get.

After you were born, Daddy told me that the monitor that was watching my contractions would sometimes go off of the scale. I couldn’t believe how much I felt them even after the epidural. Labor continued like this from 2 AM until about 6 AM on September 8. The resident checked my cervix at about 4 AM; 9 cm. Around 6 AM I entered a slight rest period. The contractions had just about stopped, and I could actually talk and communicate like a human again. The three of us, your Dad, Sarah, and I all slept until 8:30 AM.

Our daytime nurse, Debbie, came to check on me at 8:30. She noted that I had been laying on my left side for a few hours, and was worried that the epidural would have settled on that side; leaving my right side completely open to pain. I assured here that it was not the case, and that my right side was actually completely numb, and my left was the one that needed a little extra assistance.

She acknowledged what I told her, and asked me to roll over on my back so she could check my cervix to see if I had dilated any further. With Daddy and Sarah’s help, I rolled onto my back for yet another cervical exam.

“Oh! Oh, yep. I see your baby’s head. He’s got a lot of hair. Okay, it’s go time.”

“Mkay, great,” I said, trying to roll over onto my right side so I could keep sleeping.

“No, no honey, you’re having a baby now. You can’t go back to sleep.”

“Oh, okay,” as I rolled to my back.

Debbie left to grab another nurse and the daytime on-call doctor and resident. I don’t remember the name of the resident who was there, but the doctor who delivered you was Dr. Rogotzke. They entered the room all at once, decked out in scrubs and surgical gowns and masks. The doctor raised the table and removed the foot of the bed, and though I was in a daze I heard her ask, “Okay Megan, are you ready to have this baby?”

I must have said yes, because the next thing I knew Debbie was directing Sarah and Daddy how to hold my legs as I pushed. The epidural had completely numbed me, and I couldn’t feel anything as I pushed. Dr. Rogotzke coached me to curl around you as I pushed through the contractions that would bring you into your first breath of life.

Daddy and Sarah held my legs while I pulled against them, held my breath, and pushed. Debbie would count to ten, I would push, and then take a half-a-second break. I had been pushing for about 27 minutes when Dr. Rogotzke said, “Okay, ease up a little bit Megan, you’re starting to tear and we need to slow down.”

I backed off, but you were ready. As your final farewell to your uterine home, you used my ribs as a springboard to burst forth into world. Pushing off of my ribs with one last bone-breaking kick, my waters broke with a fury and you erupted out of me like a phoenix from the flames. The doctor caught you as my stomach deflated and I could hardly believe you were here as I laid my eyes on you for the first time.

“Oh my God, oh my God, you’re here,” I repeated over and over as I wept and shook with pride and love and awe.

“He’s real. Oh my God, he’s actually real,” I said to your dad.

“He is,” Daddy replied, struggling to find the words to capture his awestruck agreement.

The doctor handed you to me and I laid you on my chest and held you as hard as I dared. I looked at your father and I barely eked out, “You’re a dad, Daniel! You’re a dad!”

I will never forget the look on his face as he smiled and shed a few tears and nodded joyfully as he kissed my head and looked at you. In that moment I have never loved him more. Even though the room was full of people, it was like no one else was there. It was just the three of us. Our wait was finally over. You were finally here and you were absolutely perfect. Nothing else mattered. We were all together. Our perfect little family.

You weighed 8lbs 8oz at birth, and measured 21.5” in length. Daddy says you have my eyes, and I say you have his nose. You have the cutest little ears, and that hair! So much hair. I don’t think I will ever get tired of looking at you.

As I write this, I look down at you, sleeping on my chest, and I marvel that you lived inside of me for 10 months. You will wake up soon, and you will probably cry, but I will be here with you, and here for you. We’ll snuggle, and we’ll play, and before I know it, you’ll be walking and talking, then off to college, and you’ll be married with a family of your own.

You will never know how much I love you. How much your Father and I so deeply love you is something we can never truly convey. Just know that we will always be here for you; no matter what.

We’re so blessed that you’re here. We can’t wait to watch you grow. 

As the founder of Mama Brilliance, Megan is an avid writer, reader, and self-professed coffee snob. You can find her in northern Minnesota with her family, exploring the great outdoors and dreaming of breakfast food.

10 Items to Skip on Your Baby Registry

10 Items to Skip on Your Baby Registry

Creating our baby registry was one of my favorite milestones of the pregnancy. Yes, feeling kicks for the first time was amazing. But the baby registry? So much fun to go shopping with my Hubby and let him go full Han Solo with the blaster registry gun. It’s also easy to go overboard and register for things you don’t actually need, or that you shouldn’t even buy.

After registering for and over-receiving/over-buying items, I can tell you first hand what you do and do not need to waste time registering for. Here are 10 items to skip when you’re creating your baby registry.  

Items to Skip on Your Registry

Mama Brilliance is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Car Seat Accessories

Though squishy and adorable, these accessories are unnecessary and actual decrease the safety and effectiveness of your car seat. In the event of a crash, these accessories could void the warranty on your car seat. These could be anything from infant headrests, shoulder straps, custom fabric covers, and even toys that attach to the straps or carry handle.

Clothing

Seriously… don’t bother registering for ANY clothing. You will get a TON of it. Also, just a little FYI from someone who’s worked retail: clothing is seasonal, and will often not be around/available for purchase in the span of when you are registering for items and when you have your baby shower. Unless you want something that is extremely specific or custom made, I recommend skipping any clothing additions to your registry.

Crib Accessories

Again, squishy and adorable, but unnecessary and could cause more harm than good. Skip the crib bumpers, pillows and additional padding. Infants can roll over a lot sooner than you expect, and bumpers can be a suffocation hazard if baby rolls into one while sleeping. All you need is a couple of fitted sheets and you are good to go.

Walkers

Once thought to help babies learn to walk more quickly, walkers have actually been shown to do more harm than good when it comes to lower body alignment and proper walking. Plus, kiddo could take a tumble down the stairs if he’s not properly supervised. Your baby has everything he needs to learn how to walk on his own. No accessory needed for this milestone.10 Items to Skip on Your Registry Visual

Food Processor

Yes, making homemade baby food is a more efficient and economical way to introduce your little one to solids, but a baby specific food processor isn’t necessary. This is especially true if you already own a “grown-up” food processor or high power blender like a Ninja or a Vitamix.

If you really want to go the homemade baby food route, get a Ninja or a Vitamix system because a) it’s better quality than the “baby” brands and b) you can make margaritas in them which is basically priceless after you become a parent.

Baby Bathing Cloths & Towels

What if I told you that babies could be washed with normal wash cloths? Mind. Blown. Right? It’s not something you need, but someone will probably end up getting them for you anyway. Same thing with the hooded towels. Super cute, but you can get by with the towels you already have. OR… ooh, yes, brilliant idea right here: you could register for some luxe grown up towels for your bad self, ‘cause you just gave birth and you freaking deserve them.

I kind of wish I would have thought of this sooner… BRB, heading to Target.

Books & Toys

You’re gonna get a bunch of books. I promise. Unless you’re hoping for something specific, skip the baby book aisle during your registry excursion. Same thing as books, people are going to get you toys. And honestly, you will have more stuffed animals than you know what to do with.

Wipe Warmer

Seems like a great idea, and I’m sure it feels phenomenal compared to a cold wipe on the bottom. But what happens when you’re at Target and you have to change a diaper? Sorry but I’m pretty sure you’re not going to be carrying a wipe warmer in your diaper bag, hoping there’s an outlet for your warmer in the Target bathroom so your babe doesn’t have to feel the icy chill of a *gasp* room temperature diaper wipe.

If anything, keep the warmer for yourself for postpartum vagina recovery. It’s like a spa experience every time you wipe. Haha aahaha ahhh… Not really. It still hurts like hell.

Bassinet

Okay kind of weird, I know, but hear me out on this one. You can get the same effect as a bassinet with many of the play yards that are now available. For example, I registered for the Chicco Lullago Bassinet because I knew I would be driving to my parents house quite frequently during the winter, and I wanted something that was portable and easy to breakdown for travel. But I also registered for the Graco Pack ‘n Play Playard Snuggle Suite XL, which has an infant sleeper, bouncer, and diaper changing station.

I love both of these products, but the Pack ‘n Play has a much longer use-expectancy than the bassinet. We’ll probably use the bassinet for 4-6 months, tops. The Pack ‘n Play is MUCH more economical in the long run, and it’s just as portable as the Lullago (as long as you don’t bring the changing station and bouncer).

 

Did I miss anything? Which items do you wish you would have skipped on your registry?

As the founder of Mama Brilliance, Megan is an avid writer, reader, and self-professed coffee snob. You can find her in northern Minnesota with her family, exploring the great outdoors and dreaming of breakfast food.

How to Win the Battle Against Postpartum Depression

How to Win the Battle Against Postpartum Depression

After 40 long weeks, you finally get to meet your newborn baby. You’ve been waiting for this moment for months, and you expect nothing but pure joy during those first few weeks. After all, you made this tiny, perfect, little human. How could life be anything but perfect after this?
 
For many women, postpartum depression becomes the norm after delivery. It’s estimated that approximately 20% of women experience some form of postpartum depression (PPD). That means out of 5 of your friends or relatives who are mothers, at least 1 of them has experienced PPD. The reality is that this estimate could be low; meaning the rate of PPD is most likely somewhat higher than 20%.
 
So what’s the solution? There isn’t a one-size-fits-all remedy for PPD, education is a big first step in understanding mental health issue.
 
As a woman who is 31 weeks pregnant, and who has struggled with depression for over 15 years, postpartum depression is definitely on my mind. My strategy at this point is to educate myself about as many aspects of PPD as possible. I feel that if I go into the postpartum period equipped with knowledge and strategies, I will be better prepared to handle the possibility of postpartum depression.
 
Enter Lauren Cecora, postpartum depression survivor and author of Past Partum: From Shattered to Sane. Lauren was gracious enough to let me review her brand new book about her experience with PPD. I’m beyond excited to share this review with you, so let’s dig in!
Win The Battle Against PPD

Past Partum: From Shattered to Sane Description

Lauren is a military wife and mom-boss. During her husband’s most recent deployment, she gave birth to their daughter and developed Postpartum Depression & Anxiety. Her life in a sense, shattered before her as she was drowning in maintaining her joy and happiness. Through her struggles she developed a series of actions that helped regain her sanity as a mother. Lauren shares with you five of her “Sanity Saving Tips” that will help any mama with balancing life, home, mommy-hood, a career and marriage.
 
So grab a glass of whatever you’re drinking, put the ear muffs on the kiddos, and get ready to get personal. Lauren holds nothing back as she reveals her heart in this personal story of her Postpartum Depression and how she overcame it.
Past Partum Book Cover

Book Review

In reading Past Partum, I felt I was hearing the experience of a friend; someone who knew that her experiences were dark, yet relatable to so many women. How could she keep quiet when she knew that her survival could mean saving another mother?

As a fellow military spouse, I empathized with Lauren’s situation. Her husband was deployed during a part of her pregnancy, birth, and first few months of her daughter’s life. I appreciated her sharing this detail, because I will experience a similar situation with my husband’s schedule. The tips she shared for managing her mental health are invaluable to me, because I know that there will be months where I am parenting on my own.
 
Lauren holds nothing back as she describes her experience with postpartum depression. Reading her darkest thoughts during the first months of her daughter’s life, I am filled with gratitude. I know this sounds strange, but it’s true. I am grateful that Lauren demonstrated such honesty as she penned her memoir.
 
We need more women to come forward and say, “I thought the same thing.” Sharing their experiences with this common enemy will move mountains towards creating postpartum resources that are available for the women who need it.
 
Postpartum depression is an ominous and unforgiving opponent. It makes you think, say, and do things that cause you to lose track of who you are. Lauren makes an important point in Past Partum: postpartum depression is different for every woman. Postpartum isn’t a failure to bond with your baby after delivery (although this may be a symptom). It may manifest for some as anxiety, or obsessive compulsive disorder. You may feel angry or resentful, or even despondent.
 
The important thing is to recognize what you are feeling is an imbalance of your emotional spectrum. And I say “spectrum” of emotions because we all live within an emotional spectrum (happy to sad to happy to angry to content to blissful to indifferent, etc.). The spectrum is normal. It’s when there is an imbalance that the spectrum requires further examination.
 
I also loved that Past Partum wasn’t solely focused on the darkest parts of PPD. Lauren provides what she calls Sanity Savers, or simple solutions to staying sane in the postpartum period. These Sanity Savers are simple, and can be easily implemented in any household. The best part about these Sanity Savers is that they are flexible, meaning you can adapt them to fit your unique needs and schedule.
 
I plan to adapt a few of Lauren’s Sanity Savers to get into an established routine before our little guy arrives. This will help with little things like keeping the house clean after he is born. And with big things like maintaining my mental health and my building up my relationship with my husband.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, Past Partum: From Shattered to Sane is a must-read for any new or expecting parents. In all honesty, Past Partum should be recommended reading for the following:
  • New or expecting moms
  • Moms who have experienced or are currently experiencing postpartum depression
  • New or expectant grandparents (to recognize the signs and provide help as soon as possible)
  • Spouses or partners of new or expecting moms
  • Close friends and family members that will be providing support during the postpartum period
It cannot be emphasized enough: understanding postpartum depression and recognizing potential symptoms can go a long way in providing support and encouragement for new mothers and their families. Past Partum is one resource in this emerging mental health issue. Educate yourself. Provide kind and compassionate support for yourself during the postpartum period.
 
And remember: you are loved. You are beautiful. You are strength itself. Reach out for help when you need it AND when you want it.
 
You. Will. Thrive.

A Special Offer

As a special thank you to Mama Brilliance readers, Lauren is offering 10% off of Past Partum: From Shattered to Sane from July 10-12, 2017. All you need to do is click this link to get the discount during that period.
Past Partum Affiliate Link
Lauren also has an AMAZING Sanity Saver available for new subscribers. I recommend it regardless of if you are a parent or not. Lauren developed several Sanity Savers to help women focus on what they desire most out of life. Should you choose to work with her, you’ll talk about how you want to feel in the day to day. Together you and Lauren will find a balance that works for YOU and your family.
 
These Sanity Savers aren’t “one size fits all.” They’re meant for you to break down to the bigger picture so you can identify where to focus your time and energy.
 
You can also connect with Lauren on her Facebook page here. And in her free Facebook Group Sanity Savers Support Network. The network is a private support group for mamas who might be struggling with motherhood. Lauren shares a TON of sanity saving tips in this group.
 
Thanks so much to Lauren for sharing her story, and her generous discount for Mama Brilliance readers!

As the founder of Mama Brilliance, Megan is an avid writer, reader, and self-professed coffee snob. You can find her in northern Minnesota with her family, exploring the great outdoors and dreaming of breakfast food.

Baby Registry Road Map: Which Registry is Right for You?

Baby Registry Road Map: Which Registry is Right for You?

Bun in the oven? Super exciting. Creating a baby registry? Also super exciting! Getting ready for baby means pulling together a list of all the items you will need to get you started on the road to brilliant parenting. Baby registries are awesome because they allow you to keep a running list of all the items you will need, AND friends and family have access to it so they can help you out with baby item procurement!

With all of the baby registry options to choose from, how do you know which one is right for you? Should you stick to just one registry? Or are multiple registries in your future? Only you can know which registry will be right for you and your growing family, but I’ve compiled a few of my favorite options to help you narrow down your search. Let’s dive into the baby registry roadmap!

Baby Registry Road Map Mama Brilliance

*Mama Brilliance is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Babylist

Don’t want to limit yourself to just one registry? Don’t! Babylist was designed with just that concept in mind. The creators realized that there are many registry options to choose from, and trying to pick a single option could be stressful for moms-to-be. Babylist combines the concepts of a universal registry with a few other goodies.

Baby List Logo

Here are a few of the features:

  • Add anything from any store to your registry.
  • Add other registries to your Babylist registry.
  • Chrome extension for easy registry add-ons.
  • Help & Favors registry options for things like cooking, cleaning, or walking the dog.
  • Cash Funds for just about anything. Think: doulas, housekeeping help, childcare, etc.
  • Mobile app for on-the-go registry additions.
  • A customer support team that can’t be beat.

The Cash Funds option is one of my favorite aspects of Babylist. Being able to register for a Doula Fund or a Babysitter Fund is priceless in my opinion. I also love that you can register for help and favors. This is especially helpful for friends and family who want to help you get everything you need for your new baby, but might not be able to contribute financially. They can sign up to help out with meals, laundry and other housework, or even just stop in to help out with the little one so you can catch some extra Zzzs. ‘Cause you know you’re gonna need it.

Target

I love you Target. And I know you love Target too, good reader. In fact, I would be willing to bet a pretty penny that one of the first things you thought after you found out you were pregnant was, “I wonder when I can start my Target registry…”.

Yes?

Thought so. That’s why we are friends. Target is a great place to register for baby items because they have quality products, and a pretty good selection to choose from.

Here are a few of the features:

  • 15% Off coupon to stock up on baby items.
  • Universal registry to add items from other websites.
  • Gift tracking, to see who gave you which items. Plus, it helps you track whether or not you sent a Thank You to the gift giver.
  • Robust checklist to get your registry-building skills warmed up.
  • Group Gifting option for gift-givers to contribute towards larger items.
  • Registry app with barcode scanner for easy additions. Super helpful for if you see an item in store that you love, but don’t want to waddle your pregnant-self all the way back up to the service desk to get a registry scanner.

Target also offers a Welcome Packet in store when you register. If you register online you’ll probably get a little coupon book in the mail that lets you know how to get the Welcome Packet, and maybe even a giftcard for creating a new registry. I received the coupon for the giftcard, but these promotions are changing all the time. If you’re reading this a few months from the publish date you might get something different!

Babies R Us

Ah, Babies R Us: the one-stop-shop for all things baby. Babies R Us is one of the most formidable baby supply stores on the planet. Their registry program is also pretty amazing. I love that there are so many helpful features for new parents, such as a consultation with a Babies R Us associate and in-store classes.

Here are a few of the features:

  • 10% Cash-back through the Endless Earnings program.
  • 1:1 Registry consultation with a Babies R Us consultant.
  • Classes and events held in-store regularly for new parents.
  • 10% Completion discount for the items you’ll need to complete your baby-ready checklist.
  • 1-year return policy on all items.
  • Mobile registry via the Babies R Us app.
  • Price match guarantee.
  • Free shipping on all purchases of $29 or more.

My favorite aspect of the Babies R Us registry program is definitely the Endless Earnings program. You get 10% back on everything that is purchased from your registry; including items that you purchase. About 10-12 weeks after your baby’s due date, Babies R Us will send you an e-gift card with the appropriate amount to your email. This is super helpful for picking up any new items you might need for your growing bundle of joy. Think: bigger diaper sizes, a few new clothes, or maybe a special splurge item that you didn’t receive at your shower. Treat yo’self!

Baby Registry by Amazon

Oh yes friends. Even Amazon has a registry option. Baby Registry by Amazon is a phenomenal universal registry. You have access to register for literally everything and anything that can be sold on Amazon. If you’re thinking that might be overwhelming to sift through, Amazon has actually made it pretty easy to hone in on baby-centric items for your registry.

Baby Registry by Amazon

Here are a few of the features:

  • A universal registry that can add items from any website.
  • Over 270,000 items to choose from.
  • 90-day return policy.
  • Mobile registry via the Amazon App.
  • 10% Completion discount for the items you’ll need to complete your baby-ready checklist.
  • Increased savings and bonuses for Prime members; i.e. 20% off diaper subscriptions. Cha-Ching.

 

If you’re already an Amazon Prime member, a registry on Amazon is practically a no brainer. And if you’ve been on the fence about a Prime Membership, now’s the time to get that gravy train a-rolling. The discounts are significant, and they make it super easy to get everything that you need for your new arrival.

More Options

The number of baby registries is, like, a lot, and I honestly didn’t want to overwhelm you with a ton of other options. Especially because I personally didn’t use any other registry options during my pregnancy.

However, I know that there are more options, and that some moms might want a quick run down of a few other choices. So just for you, mama, here are a few other good options worth checking out:

 

Which registries did you use when you were expecting?

As the founder of Mama Brilliance, Megan is an avid writer, reader, and self-professed coffee snob. You can find her in northern Minnesota with her family, exploring the great outdoors and dreaming of breakfast food.