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Stress-Reducing Tips to Manage the Nursery and Registry Planning

01/18/2013 11:22 am ET | Updated Mar 20, 2013

During the first trimester, I was able to keep a lot of questions from friends and family regarding baby-planning at bay. I had a good excuse: after my first miscarriage, planning anything around the baby-to-be seemed premature. Once my 14th week hit, however, the questions and eagerness for planning soared.

As much as I have loved shopping for friends' children, and for baby clothes and all of the niceties of a new-born, the first time I walked into a baby store as a mother-to-be, I immediately wanted to run in the other direction. You could say, it was overwhelming.

As an only child, I never grew up with a lot of children, or brothers and sisters who paved the way for this journey. And so, looking at the endless choices in strollers, cribs, car seats and other necessities was somewhat paralyzing. I needed a strategy that would allow me to enjoy the journey, but not feel overwhelmed in the process.

If you are anything like me, here are some of my tips to manage the experience of nursery shopping and registering for your shower:

1. Solicit input from friends.
The one benefit of being the last of our friends to have a baby is that we have a ton of "experts" at our disposal. I actually sent a poll out to my closest friends for their input about cribs, strollers, breast pumps and other typical important items. I quickly could see which brands and models were most popular, even among my five or six friends who replied.

2. Break it up.
Every week, tackle a new major item. For my husband and I, we decided on the crib first. If you are new to this game, it turns out that cribs aren't always ready when you're ready, so pre-ordering is important. With each passing week, you'll have made a decision on some of the major items, which will give you a huge sense of accomplishment.

3. Target your visits.
When you go to the store (our pick is Buy Buy Baby), go in knowing exactly which items you'll be testing or looking at. It is so easy to get distracted by the endless items on the shelves and in the aisles. If you can keep to the task at hand, you won't feel drained or panicked by all of the things on which you could be focusing.

4. Get Baby Bargains.
A great recommendation from several friends was to utilize the Baby Bargains book by Denise and Alan Fields. One of my closest friends actually bought it for me and sent it to me immediately after receiving my "poll." It is packed with solid information on everything and is well-organized. It makes the whole research process much less stressful.

5. Utilize the store's services.
When you choose to register with a store, choose one that is service oriented. This is why we went with Buy Buy Baby. They are extremely helpful, and even the 18 year old salesman in the stroller department seemed to know TONS about the products. Many stores will also provide you with a concierge or personal shopper to help you through the process. Further, they provide registry lists so you know how much of what you will need. For instance, we learned two mattress pads are a must in case of night time diaper leaks or other issues. Can you imagine washing and drying a mattress pad at 3 a.m.?

6. Divide and conquer.
Work with your partner to divide up tasks so you can both focus on what you enjoy most. For instance, my husband loves researching products; I don't. He is the researcher for big ticket items and I am focusing on the nursery look-and-feel, and smaller scale stuff that doesn't seem so "scary."

7. Take it at your own pace.
Most importantly, remember that this is your and your partner's adventure. As much as friends and family may pressure you to make decisions or to do things on their timeline, your timeline is what is most important. Getting stressed or panicking about all of the things that need to be done is no good for you or your baby-to-be. Enjoy the process and take it at your own pace!

Are you finding the registry and nursery planning stressful?