Every website, blog, and search can give you an opinion on what to put on your baby registry, but once you welcome that little bundle of joy into the world you realize quite suddenly that some of the items you asked for were simply not worth it. After searching the web and going through the process of making my own registry, having my baby shower, and eventually having my baby, there are some things I wish I knew then that I know now. Some of the things I mention will be common sense and others I even didn’t realize until after I had my child. Hopefully the list will make sense and help you in making your own registry.
Must Have Items
You will want to get at least 5-10 of these if not more. Sleepers will be your best friend as they are a one piece pajama easy to take off due to zippers or snaps being in the front, thus no going over the head like onesies. They are fairly handy in that you will not have to take it fully off to change the diaper of your baby. I would suggest getting these in between sizes so you have a bit of wiggle room such as sizes 0-3 and 3-6. The in between sizes mean they may not fit exactly but there will be room to grow. So far my baby has worn a onesie once or twice in his life, but he’s been in a lot of sleepers.
Combo storage dresser
For those of you that may need to manage your space this is one item that will have a long life for the future. The tiered design means you have a place to place a changing pad or mat while having your diapers, wipes or even diaper caddy higher up and within arms reach. The drawers allow you store all those cute baby outfits you received and has the side space for blankets, towels, toys and other items. While it is a bit more pricey then a standard dresser or even a standard changing table it will eliminate the need for a dresser if you just get the changing table and I find the design a bit more helpful when changing my baby late at night versus a standard dresser as I would likely be using the top drawer of any standard dresser for diaper supplies. The less you have to paw around for supplies in the near dark and sleep deprived is well worth it. Plus once baby is older it can transform into a standard dresser to hold all your infant and toddler clothes and the side compartment can be used for holding toys, blankets, or anything else.
Wash Clothes and Hooded Towels
Once baby has gotten past the early few weeks when bathing doesn’t need to happen all the time, you are going to need these items when it comes to bathing. The hooded towels helps keep your babies head nice and snug while keeping the warmth in. Most wash clothes for babies are fairly small and easy to handle but you may want to get some regular sized ones just to drape over your babies chest and belly during bathing. I have found having a larger wash clothe covering my babies chest and stomach has led to a calmer bathing experience overall.
There are scores of products out there and you will want to pick one that suits your lifestyle and type of living space. I am always a fan of items that extend beyond the first few months of a babies life. The bath I received was a Summer Infant to Toddler bath. It comes with the standard baby tub, plus a nice reclining mesh seat for young babies and infants. The bath also has a shower head attachment which is removable so you can have it at either end of the tub or even out of the tub and on its own. The shower head attachment is great for rinsing off baby after it has had its hair washed or even to get off a few soap suds before wrapping little baby up. But there are several other products and if you have a lot of counter space in your bathroom you may be doing more baths in the bathroom sink versus a standard baby tub. As I mentioned it is all about space and what you want the bath to do for you. Some may only have one function and only until a certain size so be sure to choose wisely.
Pack and Play Playards
For myself I wish I had done more homework on where I would place the baby after he grows out of his bassinet. While the current bassinet I use downstairs has been a huge help (as it can go anywhere I want) it is also limited to the point of weight and when my baby will start moving around a bit more. I have searched the internet and social media sites and found the Pack and Play Playards may well be the best option for those with limited means. While it may not replace a crib as a trusted sleeping area, most pack and plays I have seen mostly come with a bassinet which can be removed once baby is older. Some pack and plays even come with a tiered design so once baby is out of the bassinet they would go onto the supported mattress which then can be lowered once baby is too old for that. Some come with side pockets or lower compartments to store toys, diapers, and much more. While co-sleepers and singular bassinets are great they do only tend to last a short time before baby becomes too big or too mobile for them to be useful passed a certain age or weight. From those that I have heard from a pack and play can last up until your baby is two years old.
While I did ask for a carrier I never received one and now know the importance of having a more concise list and what having a carrier would allow me to do if I had one. For myself there are a lot of chores and tasks I could likely get done if I had a carrier. When baby is in a fussy mood or just wants to be held but I’d like to fold some laundry or cook a bit of dinner a carrier would make my life easier. I live close to some stores and instead of having to lug around a stroller or even car seat around, a carrier would make life easy as I could strap him in and then off I would go. There are a lot of options for baby carriers and I would suggest going into a store and trying some of them out. If you know anyone that has had a young baby or child maybe see about bringing them along just so you get a sense of the weight and feeling of carrying a baby in a carrier. Everyone has an opinion on certain brands and some do likely come more recommended more than others, but until you try it on and see what will work for you and even your partner there is no sense jumping the gun and picking something you may have to return. Again I am a fan of items that have a long lifetime and have many options, some folks may like simplicity. Go with what works for you and fits your lifestyle the most.
Diapers, Wipes, Diaper Caddies, Diaper Pails, Diaper Cream
Anything diaper related you’ll want to think about. For diapers you may want to stock up on a few different sizes. I advise against buying too many newborn diapers as your baby will likely be out of the newborn diapers fairly quickly and if you bought a huge box you may be stuck with diapers you have no need for. In the early days you may not need diaper cream, but once baby starts making more poopy diapers this will help keep babies bum from getting too inflamed or irritated. As for wipes I would suggest the wipes for sensitive skin, you have to remember little babies skin is softer and more fragile than our own and buying some wipe that has perfumes or chemicals in it may irritate baby and put you out of money if you can’t use them. If you have a change table or combo dresser a diaper caddy will help keep all of your diaper related items all in one place, there are several out there and most have the same type of design in mind. And of course lastly you will need some type of diaper pail. You won’t always need it if you live only on one floor, but anyone with a split level house or several leveled house you may have a different change area in the house on the different levels. Any level away from your main garbage it will be good to have a diaper pail if only for a place to put the smelly diapers for the evening or day so you are not trucking up and down steps with diapers to toss out.
Most hospitals won’t let you go home with baby until they see your car seat. But making the choice on which one to get can be daunting. There is the tried and tested car seat, stroller combo, usually the car seat is an infant car seat meaning it will last up until the baby hits a certain weight or length range before you will need to get another seat. These combos usually come with a base so you will not have to purchase that separately and the car seat has the ability to lock into the stroller. This means that you would not have to unstrap baby just to put him in the stroller. Depending on your lifestyle and where you live this could be good option. There is also transitional car seats, these seats will go from baby to toddler the only issue with these seats is they remain stationary so if you have a lot of appointments or tasks to do in a day, having to unhook and re-hook baby may get exhausting. There are also seats for each different age range but unless you have a thousand family members you may want to regulate your choice to one or two seats of your dreams. As for the strollers like the baby carrier it always best to test out the stroller. While something might look good in the store if you find yourself having difficulty closing the stroller or even figuring out how to get a car seat attached it may soon become not the stroller for you. Also depending on space and size you may need a more compact stroller. Some strollers can even have straps bought to accommodate other car seats that don’t match their stroller so it is always best to shop around.
Now I am putting crib on here only for the simple fact that eventually you will need to think about where to put baby once he’s older. While it is theoretically true you could use a bassinet and then a pack and play as a sleeping area for baby it is not the most trusted or guaranteed place to leave baby to sleep. Most cribs these days come transitional, what this means is it will grow with baby well into its toddler years and maybe even a beyond that time. I have a four in one crib, so once baby starts moving about a bit more I can lower the mattress down, once baby can lift himself up I can lower it further and eventually turn the crib into a day bed or even a regular bed. While a crib may not be the first thing you use right away having a crib early on is actually a good thing to get baby used to being in. Anyone who has co-slept with a baby may tell you how difficult it can be to get baby into a crib if you don’t start out early. Even a transition to a bassinet to crib can be difficult as baby may be used to the more confined space of the bassinet and being on a crib mattress can seem like swimming in a huge sea with no end. There are mini cribs out there if size is an issue in the house but they may not be able to transition quite the same as a regular crib and you may have end up getting a regular crib or toddler bed in the end.
Bouncing or Rocking Chair
This is one item I wish I had thought more about. Right now my baby does not have a lot of places to be put in when I need five minutes or maybe half an hour of time to do something. And as my baby becomes a little more active I feel bad for the little guy that there is not something more entertaining or even just something else I can put him in. Also if he ever develops colic I only have his car seat to put him in to try to rock him or soothe him to sleep. Bouncing or rocking chairs are quite plentiful, lots usually have a vibrate function and can rock on their own or need to be manually rocked, most will have some type of toys, and other options. Just be wary that most rocking or bouncing seats tend to last baby up until a certain age or weight range. There are some seats out there that will extend up until a toddler age but they may not have the same bells and whistles as something tailored for a newborn or infant.
Other Items to consider
Unless your baby is born during the squelching months of the summer or the dead of winter you may not need many onesies right away. I find they are best used as a lighter fabric to put baby in when it is too warm or as a secondary item to put on under a sleeper if it is too cold. Eventually once baby is moving more (like rolling or crawling) a onesie may be more practical than a sleeper but likely only during daylight hours of movement. Always try for the in between sizes like the sleepers as it will potentially last longer than a specific size.
Even though the lifetime on these may be small I find them to be a great asset in the early few months especially if baby is born during the colder winter months or your house is an ice box during the summer. Even in spring and fall this would give you some piece of mind that baby is nice and snuggly warm. Also because baby loves to be swaddled for the first little while it will put your little one at ease when it is put to sleep or down for a nap.
Unless you plan to always put your baby down in its crib/bassinet and it will always be in a different room then you are in then you may need a monitor. For others that will always have baby in the same room or floor you are on a monitor may not be needed until baby is older and is heading to bed at a specific time while the caregiver stays awake later. Since there are varying models be sure to pick the one you’ll use the most and not realize later that you would have preferred a model that does a specific thing.
Grooming Sets/Teeth Care Sets
While parts of these sets may not be used right way they are handy to ask for or buy on your own.
Again it may not be used right away but once baby becomes more active this could be one spot you do tummy time on that will transition to play time as the baby grows older.
There are a lot of different options to high chairs now, some come with the ability to fold up to save space others are just a chair that can be strapped onto an existing chair, some even transition between ages.
Once baby can lift his head and hold himself up unassisted this will be another product to put baby in and it should help in developing those leg muscles as well as depending on the bouncer work on hand eye coordination.
Bottles, Pumps, Pacifiers, Bottle Warmers
Depending on whether you choose to breast feed or formula feed bottles, pumps and pacifiers may be higher or lower on your list. If you are exclusively breast feeding you will want bottles for those times when you do errands and leave baby at home with someone, but you may only need a manual pump or none at all. Also if breast feeding pacifiers are usually a no -no until baby has established a good feed and is past three months of age. If formula feeding or you’re heading back to work soon after baby is born you may want to consider different types of bottles, pumps, and whether you want to add pacifiers in the mix. Be sure to pick the bottles and pumps for your type of lifestyle and what you’ll be using them more for. While most bottle warmers are fairly expensive you may find it more useful than leaving your partner or babysitter with trying some other method when baby is screaming for a bottle.
There are a lot of bags to choose from, but whenever or wherever you are taking baby you will need a diaper bag in order to hold supplies. You may also want to look at the bag before buying so you don’t have to go back and exchange it for something else because you do not like the design.
Breast feeding supplies
From covers to a nursing pillow each one has its own merits. If you plan to be out with baby a lot and plan to still breast feed having a nursing cover will keep things intimate between you and baby while the outside world moves by. My nursing pillow has been quite the savior in my house due to the way my baby feeds, but for others it may not be needed.
I bought a truckload of soaps, lotions, oils only to realize I barely use them. Maybe once baby is older and is being bathed more constantly they may come in handy but right now in the early months you may only need a few choice items. Be sure to get items that are hypoallergenic for babies sensitive skin and won’t bother mom if she has delicate or sensitive skin.
Blankets, Receiving Blankets, Blanket sets
For cribs and playard mattresses you will only need a fitted crib or fitted mattress sheet. Due to the possible increase of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) if blankets, pillows, toys and other soft items are in your crib or playard/bassinet you may not need blankets or a blanket set. I have found most of my soft blankets have been used just to cover the car seat when it has been colder outside or buffet him from the elements. Receiving blankets are nice, but only a few have used to swaddle him and the others have been used more as burp or spit up clothes than anything else. If you have someone who wants to give you set just know you likely won’t be using it until the baby is much older.
Bibs, Sippy Cups, Food Containers/Processors
Any feeding items may not be needed right away. Bibs likely won’t be needed until baby starts eating more solid foods which is around six months, sippy cups won’t be needed until baby is off the bottle and off breast feeding, and food containers/processors won’t be needed until baby is eating solid foods. While they’ll be good to get I wouldn’t consider any of these must have items.
From plug covers to gates each one will have to be considered carefully. Some gates only cover doorways while others can do stairs. There are some sets that come with plug covers, and cupboard door latches that you may not need to ask for each singular item. While asking for these items is good on a registry as most are fairly cheap and are popular items, not getting them right when baby is born is not a crime or issue. Just be sure to think more about the safety of your home once baby starts to move.
Car Shades/Car caddy/ Car seat covers /Baby on Board signs
The only item that may be a definite need once baby is born is the Baby on board sign. Not only does it alert drivers behind you, but this is a useful sign to have for EMT’s or rescue workers if you are ever in a car accident as it will alert them to be on the lookout for a young child or baby within the car. Car shades would be only best used for those summer months, while sunlight can still come in during the winter months it may not be as harmful as direct sun during the summer. A car caddy to hold toys or lotions likely won’t be needed until baby is far more older. The same could be said for a seat cover, you likely won’t need this until baby starts holding its own bottle or food.
Laundry Soap/Laundry Basket
In the early months when the baby spends more time sleeping then being active, a laundry basket won’t be necessary. It can be cute to have, but until you start doing laundry every day it won’t be needed. As for laundry soap it is suggested you purchase the one designed for babies mostly because the soap is generally gentle with little to no scent to the detergent. The soap is meant to be gentle on babies clothes while at the same time gentle for baby to wear.
These will likely be cute to get but until baby is older to know what it is or even reach out and grasp them they are a bit useless and not worth putting on a registry.