Having a baby later in life (by no means old), means that I have been lucky enough to see some of the methods that my friends and sisters used when registering, buying, and care for their LOs. Here is my two cents on some of the do and don'ts to buying for baby.
1. Team Green!!!
I know that girls clothes are really cute and a truck onesies would be perfect, if you just knew what to buy, but here is the real deal. I watched my oldest sister get all the stuff you need for baby (read: diaper genie, changing table pad, bath tub, etc) when she did not know what she as having and then people brought her clothes after her daughter arrived. I watched my other sister get pink blankets, fancy clothes, and a few baby goods when she knew she was having a girl.
It's not about the surprise, it about the stuff. I knew that we would either get clothes or I would buy what was needed, but I wanted to try to have the stuff and worry about clothes as we needed too. Besides, there are plenty of good green and yellow out there.
2. Don't get a fancy bedding set.
This is easier said than not registered for. The beautiful sets line the walls of every baby store and Pinterest would have thrown me over the edge! Keep in mind you can't use the quilt for a long time, bumpers have been poo pooed, and you need more than one fitted sheet. It's a lot of money for something that you don't get a lot of use out of.
Suggestion - pick a cheaper bedding set or put more decor on your registry.
3.Register for ANYTHING you think you will need in the first year.
Most store keep your registry open for that long. You will get good advise from lots of people (too many to count) and you can keep track of what you want down the road (like bigger toys) as you go along. You can often times get discounts on the items. If someone ends up buying something for you that you don't need yet, return it!! The registry keep track of that!
And you can use it as a wish list for your baby's first birthday!!
4. Don't open something until you need it and keep the packaging.
We were lucky enough to get a bouncy seat and swing. I personally don't think most babies need/want both and we had a baby that HATED the swing. She's odd, I know. Luckily, I was careful with packaging and after two 2 minute swings, back in the box and to the store it went!!
5. Listen to your gut
If you want something on your registry, put it there. If you don't, don't. I don't care what is on the checklist from the store or what your SIL used. If it doesn't feel right to you, you don't need it. Parenting really engages your gut, stick to it!