A good friend of mine is expecting her first little bundle of joy so she reached out to me for some baby registry guidance. As I rigorously typed away a detailed email of essential baby items to her, I wondered to myself ‘Why don’t I have a post about this?’ So you know what I did? I made one. Below you will find my suggestions for what you need and why, what items you probably can skip on, and a few baby registry tips to make sure you get everything you need.
Baby Registry Essential Items
Sleeping and Soothing
- Crib, crib sheets, and crib mattress protector – look for convertible cribs (cribs that turn into beds) and keep an eye out to try to spot one that comes with a mattress (Graco does that sometimes)
- Pack-n-play with bassinet and changing table – Pack-n-plays are wonderful to have whether you have a crib or not. In all actuality, if you get a good one, it could technically replace the changing table, bassinet, and crib. So if you’re low on space or just want to take the minimalist route, this is a must-have. The sleeping space on pack-n-plays grow with the baby and you can more easily move it from room to room, when necessary. You can choose from the pack-n-plays with the reversible changing table and newborn nappers or the ones that have a separate changing table and newborn napper (that even vibrate in some cases). We had the reversible one and I liked it, but I’m sure it comes down to preference.
- Swing – this is a great way to give yourself a break to sit down, cook, or use the bathroom while still safely soothing baby. We had the Fisher Price Comfy Cloud swing and loved it. Make sure whichever swing you pick vibrates, as well.
- Vibrating chair – Although a lot of swings vibrate, if you have a multilevel or multi-room house, having a vibrating chair in one room and a swing in the other is nice. The vibrating chair is more mobile than a swing too, so you could bring it in the kitchen (not on the counter, don’t give me a heart attack) with you while you cook. Once again, if you’re going the minimalist route or need to choose between the swing and the chair, I vote swing that vibrates.
- Blankets – the thin muslin blankets are great for swaddling and putting down on surfaces the babies lay on (like the pack-n-play, visitors, the floor, the couch), the receiving blankets are great for lying on the changing table so they won’t have to lay on the cold changing pad, and 1 or 2 thick, cozy blankets for when it’s cold outside should suffice
- Pajamas- go pajama crazy, the pajama gowns are great because you can change them easily without dealing with their squirmy legs and they won’t grow out of them as fast
- Teethers – Everyone swears by Sophie the Giraffe teether. J.T. never really loved his. What he did and still does go to town on is the banana toothbrush. I would recommend just getting a few different shaped teethers and at least one you can freeze. Of course you could always use frozen wet wash cloths, though. It’s soothing to their gums to suck on them. The only downside is you can’t take those out with you on the go.
- Pacifiers – this isn’t necessarily essential, J.T. never took to his, but it doesn’t hurt to have a few different options available for when/if you start introducing pacifiers (not until about 4-5 weeks if you’re breastfeeding)
- Burp cloths (lots of them)
- High chair – one that is easy to clean, meaning there aren’t a lot of hard to reach grooves for food to get trapped in, the seat isn’t cloth, the straps are removable to be washed, and the table top comes off. I HIGHLY recommend the Ingenuity Trio Smart Clean. We just swapped J.T.’s original one for it last month and it has made my life so much easier. I had no idea what I was doing the first time I bought a high chair.
- Cloth and pocket bibs
- If you will be breastfeeding and pumping
- Nipple cream – I loved Medela and Lansinoh
- Nipple pads – disposable and cotton washable pads
- Breast pump – if you’re going to be pumping on the regular, I’d say go with the Medela Pump in Style Advanced Pump that comes with a tote (or backpack). If you’ll just be pumping here and there, the Evenflo Single Electronic Pump gets the job done (this is also a good pump to travel with or to keep at home in case you leave your heavy duty one at work by mistake, (PRO TIP: baby brain does not end when you push the baby out))
- Sterilizer bags – to sterilize your pump parts
- Breast milk freezer bags
- Nursing pillow – please be aware that boppies come in different sizes though it isn’t clearly communicated in the name. I would recommend reading the dimensions as you’re picking out your favorite design or you could skip the boppy altogether and use your pregnancy pillow. That’s what I ended up doing, when I found my boppy to be uncomfortable.
- Nursing stool – if you have an ottoman or a stool at home already, you can skip this. It is really helpful to have something to prop your feet up on when you’re not nursing in the bed or on the floor though.
- If you will be bottle feeding
- Newborn bottles and 0-6 month bottles – I would recommend trying 1 box of 1 or 2 different brands because babies can be picky with what kind of nipple they’ll take, especially if you go from breast to bottle when you go back to work
- Bottle sterilizer – those sterilizing bags are great, you just put the parts in the bag, fill it with a certain amount of water and microwave it. If not, a bottle sterilizer is good to have too because some pacifiers or teethers will say “do not microwave” or “do not boil” because it will break down the material.
- Bottle brush
- Bottle drying rack
- Bottle warmer
- Diaper Genie and changing bags
- Diapers and wipes, of course – you won’t know how many of each size you’ll need because you won’t know how fast your baby will grow until they’re here. I recommend putting at least 2 boxes of each size on the registry and trying out different brands so you can see which you prefer. We’ve used everything. Now, that he’s bigger Luvs are our go to since they’re more affordable.
- Diaper cream
- Changing pad (comes with some diaper bags)
- Changing table – if you are not opting to only have your pack-n-play as a changing table. A way to make sure you make good use of your changing table is to get one that is included with a dresser. They are more expensive, but I think they’re worth it. I used a changing table with the open shelves and had little cubes to keep his clothes organized, but I think a dresser would have been more useful.
- Baby bath – of course you could always go the sink route and get the flower petals, if you only have a standing shower in your apartment. If not this one was great because it has the smaller seat for when they’re tiny and then the larger tub for when they can sit up (here’s one for $20). You can also take showers with the baby once they can be fully submerged in water
- Bath towels, face cloths, and cotton balls (great for cleaning them when they’re little and getting in all of their rolls when they get chubby). Get at least one hooded animal head towel just for your own joy.
- Rattles with contrasting color – They can’t really see the first few weeks, so contrast is easier for them to spot. Black and white stripes are great.
- Something that plays music – a lot of babies enjoy classical
- An activity mat to practice tummy time, develop vision, encourage rolling over and crawling. Here you’re looking for something with bright contrasting colors again and objects hanging in all directions to encourage baby to look and move in different directions, rather than just laying flat and looking up.
- Even though it’s not necessary, I would vote for a jumper over a walker. Walkers can be more dangerous because they can walk into stuff and knock things down on themselves. Jumpers are cool, but definitely not a must if you’re low on space. It’s just something else to keep them entertained and give you a break once they’re bigger and a little more active but still not independent.
- Stroller and carseat – the travel systems with the matching car seats are cool, you’ll just have to get a larger carseat at some point. J.T. outgrew his around 6 months, but he’s a big guy. I don’t regret getting the infant carseat first though, because it was nice to be able to pop it right into the stroller, without taking him out and waking him when he was smaller.
- Car-seat – going with word of mouth can be helpful at times, but do your research with carseats as safety recalls happen with different models every year.
- Baby carrier – These are great for those earlier walks, wearing your baby around the house if that’s your thing, shopping with baby, and traveling. I had two and didn’t love either well enough to recommend them. They were the Infantino carrier and the wrapping one. Next go round, I would do the Ergobaby carrier. It looks sturdier and less complicated, which is probably why it’s more expensive.
- Diaper bag
Cleaning and safety
- 2 Infant First aid kits – one to keep at home and one for when you’re out and about. Your standard safety kit should have thermometer, bottle medicine dispenser, nail clippers, nail filer, aspirator, tooth brush, brush, comb, band-aids, and alcohol wipes
- Detergent – Method Free and Clear (8x concentrated) and All Free and Clear have worked well for us
- For baby safe cleaning solutions, you can use vinegar, water, and an essential oil mixture to clean practically everything. To sterilize, you can use hydrogren peroxide (spray bottle) instead of Clorox bleach wipes.
Registry Items You Can Skip
- Sound machine – if you have a smartphone, you can just play whitenoise or waterfalls on that. Tidal has white noise albums for sleeping babies.
- Wipe warmer – you can roll the wipes with your hands or run a little warm water on them if they’re that cold and you’re little one will get used to it
- Baby Bullet – I had a bullet and used it quite a bit, but after learning I could have skipped that purree stage and went the straight baby-led weaning route, I would do it differently next time. Also you can mash up most foods with a fork or masher once you boil them. The baby book with the guide on what foods to introduce when and the dates on the little containers that came with the bullet were very helpful. You could just get a good baby food book and label the food expiration dates yourself though. It’s a toss up, but definitely not a must.
- Dryer sheets – unnecessary chemicals on baby’s clothes, which transfers to baby’s skin
Baby Registry Tips
- Register at a few different stores. Consider what’s accessible to your baby shower guests. Not everyone has access to a Babies-R-US or wants to buy their gift off of Amazon. Give folks a few options and if you get multiple of something, you can always exchange it for something else off of your registry.
- Don’t freak out if people don’t buy the gifts off of your registry. People tend to go rogue when it comes to baby gift buying. Don’t let it get your maternity panties in a bunch. Just be gracious they are celebrating your bundle of joy and use the registry as your own personal shopping list, like we did.
- Like I mentioned in the baby registry tips post, I wouldn’t go too crazy on a certain brand of soaps or lotions. In the rare (I hope this doesn’t happen to you) case that your child has sensitive skin, the brand you love so much may not work for them. Do your research. Read the ingredients (just because it says it’s all natural, does not mean it is). If you do find that your little one has really particular skin, like JT, the NEA website is very helpful in finding brands that are recommended for babies with eczema. Unfortunately, no one can tell you which lotion will work for your baby. You’ll have to test it out to find the one that’s right for your child, but that site helped us end our search much faster than going back and forth to the doctors searching for answers. This is another story for another post though, so I digress.
That’s all folks! I hope you found this post helpful and not overwhelming! Remember, this is a beautiful time in your life. If you are registering for a shower, that means you’re about to have a baby and people love you enough to celebrate that. Let everything else roll off the shoulders, mama.
Sending you lots of love,