Life as an expectant mom can be chaotic and overwhelming. Between the doctor appointments, nursery prep, worry, heartburn and exhaustion; the thought of starting a baby registry can be overwhelming. Especially for first-time parents navigating the uncharted waters that are parenthood.
Having had three children in under two years (two of those being twins!), I think it is pretty safe to say that I am an expert in all things baby. I had the help of some mom-friends when I put together my registry a few years ago, but there are some things I know now that would change how I’d register if given the opportunity to do it again today.
I am nothing if not a big proponent of sharing knowledge, experience and advice with other moms, moms-to-be and parents. Thus, this blog post is meant to be a “Baby Registry Boot Camp”. I have created a baby registry check list with all of the items I recommend having on hand when your new bundle arrives; pin it, bookmark it, screenshot it, whatever. Just make sure you have it on hand when adding items to your list because I promise it will make the process easier.
Along with this handy check list, here is a quick run through of some of my favorite items and some items that you might think you need, that you really don’t.
These products were designed to be placed on top of your infant’s crib sheets so that if they pee through their diaper, the sheet saver would soak up the leakage and you would not need to change or wash the sheets (hence the name, sheet savers). While I think the concept is great, in my experience these aren’t necessary. Every time my children peed through their diaper they ended up rolling to a spot not covered by the sheet save and soaked their sheets anyway! These likely work best for a baby that is not yet rolling
Changing tables are wonderful; they are convenient, help prevent the back pain that can come along with 20 diaper changes a day, and they often offer extra storage. But guess what? They aren’t necessary. If you are prepping for baby on a budget, this is something you could do without. A pack n play with a changing pad would suffice, or you can be like me and re-purpose an old dresser! For both children we had an old dresser painted with milk paint, changed out the nobs, and then secured a changing pad to the top! We often ended up changing the kids right on the floor, couch or on our bed.
Definitely do not go without a sound machine. We still use one with our three-year-olds. Most of these double as a night light, and play sounds that will remind you infant of being in the womb, nature sounds, lullabies and more.
These are wonderful to have, especially if your baby sleeps in his/her nursery. We splurged on a super comfy La-Z-Boy for the twins and probably used it less than a dozen times. All of our children slept in our bedroom until they were around 9/10 months, so if the woke in the middle of the night we would just rock them in our bed or pace around the room. It is now in Hank’s room and since he turned one we are just starting to use it a bit more for story time. If you have a small nursery or need to cut costs, you should be able to get by without one of these.
Stroller Travel System/Car Seat/Bases
I highly recommend investing in a good travel system with car seats. When your baby is tiny, it is SO much easier to get them in and out of the house, car and stroller in a car seat carrier like this. While you can start with a convertible car seat that they can grow with into childhood, they are not nearly as convenient. I’d suggest waiting until your child is around one-year-old before moving them to a convertible seat like this one.
Be sure to pick the right travel system. We have used Graco Click Connect with all of our kids. We purchased one car seat carrier, a travel stroller and multiple bases. The nice thing about purchasing multiple bases is that you can keep one in each of your cars, the grandparents could install one in their car, etc. and then all you have to do is click the car seat right into the base of each car. There is no need to uninstall and re-install the seat each time! Car seat carriers are also great for transporting sleeping babies, for outings, and more!
Think carefully about this purchase, because your diaper bag is going to be your best friend for the next 2+ years. With the twin, I used a JuJuBe cross-body diaper bag. I chose this because it was gigantic and having two babies required some extra space. The material was easy to clean, it came with a travel changing pad, and it had more compartments than I knew what to do with. The only two complaints I have about that bag are that it was expensive, and cross-body bags can be annoying when moving around crowded spaces.
With Hank I was gifted a backpack diaper bag like this one; and I am obsessed. The size is perfect, the compartments are practical and I can wear it on my back thus keeping my hands free and avoiding knocking over fragile products at Target.
Baby carriers and wraps are amazing. They allow you to have free hands while still keeping your baby close. I have both a wrap and a carrier. My carrier was super cheap, and is an Infantino. I got this for the grandparents to use but ended up using it often myself, especially when Hank got bigger. For the twins we had two wraps; one Moby and one Boba. I loved them both but it could be tricky trying to figure out the proper way to wrap. I watched a LOT of YouTuber videos. The best thing about the wraps were that when the twins were tiny, I could wear them both at the same time!
Changing Pad Liners
Changing pad liners are a wonderful invention. These small liners lay right on top of your covered changing pad, ready to catch any “leakage”, blowouts or surprise accidents while you are changing your baby. Just toss it into the washing machine and slap on a clean one if it happens to get dirty!
This product just seems silly to me. Of course I can understand why new parents would be drawn to this product; why wouldn’t you want to keep your baby as comfortable as possible when changing them? My issue with this product is that it is a waste of money, and unless you plan to travel from room-to-room with this and toss it in your diaper bag when you leave the house, it seems pointless. I wouldn’t want my child to get used to warm wipes only to be bombarded with a room-temp one during an outing to the park! I definitely say leave this one off your list.
Similar to the wipe warmer, I don’t think this is a necessity. I used one for a bit, but then realized it was faster to fill a large plastic cup halfway with water and pop it in the microwave for 1 minute. Then I just drop the bottle of milk into the hot water and let it heat up for a few! Easy-peasy.
My high chairs are probably in my top five favorite baby products. I used them for more than just feeding. At our house they are also used for time out (for the twins), play time for Hank when he was smaller, an area for doing crafts/projects, a safe place to keep Hank nearby while I am cooking, and more. So I highly recommend doing some research on high chairs and finding one to best suit your needs. We have this Graco highchair (apparently I am a huge fan of Graco) and we love it. It is a 6-in-1 chair that grows with your child; including an infant booster, toddler booster and youth chair. We use the included toddler booster when traveling to restaurants! This chair is also easy to clean up and the wheels make it easy to move from room to room.
Toss those cotton bibs in the trash (unless using for drool or spitup) and use silicone bibs! Silicone bibs are amazing. They are easy to clean, most come with button hooks rather than Velcro so they are harder for your child to rip off, and they have a crumb catcher! Just dump the crumbs and rinse the bib after meals and you can re-use it as soon as you would like (unlike fabric bibs that need to be thrown in the washer often).
If you are planning to make your own baby food (I have a whole blog on this!) I highly suggest purchasing a Baby Bullet. It makes baby food cooking, prep and storage so easy! Bonus – you could also use it to make a great guacamole.
Hands-free Pumping Bra
If you are planning to breastfeed/pump, a hands-free pumping bra is a MUST. Especially if you like to multi-task or will be pumping at work. It allows you to pump while keeping your hands free so that you can work on a computer (I am literally pumping as I type this) or stop your toddlers from hitting each other. This one is my favorite.
Breast Pump Car Adapter
If you travel often or make frequent road trips, be sure to pickup a car adapter for your pump! There have been times I have had to pump in my car (while my husband was driving us to Northern Michigan, and during a work conference) and had I not had an adapter i would not have been able to do so.
I am a big proponent of co-sleeping. Especially during the first few months and if you are a nursing mother. It is extremely convenient to be able to roll over in bad and pick up your fussing baby and rock/feed/sooth them. I also found it very comforting knowing that my infant was less than a foot from me as I slept. My worries of SIDS were much less than I had expected.
If you are exploring the idea of co-sleeping, be sure to get a bassinet! With all three of my children we used a Rock n Play; however, to my understanding those are now recalled. I still think they are an amazing product as long as you are using them correctly and taking heed of the included warnings. But if the Rock n Play is not for you, I have heard great things about this bassinet!
Another must have, in my opinion; the Boppy has endless uses:
- Nursing pillow
- Supervised naps
- Tummy time
- Shielding your c-section wound from your crazy toddlers
- Impromptu couch pillow
- Big sibling/cousin holding assistant
Be sure to get a cover or two for this, as it will end up getting dirty often. If you are having twins I highly suggest he Twin-Z pillow!
Sleep Sacks & Velcro Swaddles
Not every baby likes to be swaddled but I would highly suggest having some Velcro swaddles on hand. You will also want a handful of sleep sacks because infants should not sleep with ANYTHING in their crib/bassinet for at least the first year. Sleep sacks act as a blanket to keep your baby warm without risking suffocation.
If you have a child who doesn’t sleep through the night and is either to old for swaddling or does not like swaddling, I suggest trying out the Magic Merlin Sleepsuit. I am pretty sure God himself created this product! It might make your baby look like the Stay Puft Marshmallow man but boy is it worth it! You can now buy them at Target!
As far as nasal aspirators go, NoseFrida is the one to get, and is another one of my top five baby products. If you are at all squeamish I’m sure this product sounds disgusting, but I promise you that it is not. When your child is so congested that he/she can barely breath, is extremely fussy and not sleeping; I promise you that sucking the snot out of their nose will seem like the holy grail. The filter does a great job of containing the mucus, the entire thing is hand-washable, and you can buy large packs of filter refills on Amazon.
Nail Clippers/Nail File
One of my least favorite things to do is to cut teeny tiny baby finger nails. It is not fun, it is not easy, and odds are you will draw blood at least once (if you don’t, you’re a saint). However, there are products out there designed to help make this task easier on you. Definitely register for clippers, but I would also suggest an electric nail file like this one. It is extremely gentle, and the files can be changed out based on your child’s’ age. I like to wait until the baby is asleep and then zip through nail clipping with this.
Hooded Bath Towels
I really don’t have much to say about these besides that I don’t think there is anything much cuter than a baby wrapped in a hooded towel!
Bath Tub Seat
Another nice to have item, a bath tub seat comes in handy when you have multiple children you would like to bath together; or a child who isn’t quite sturdy enough to sit up in the tub but is ready to splash. I never had a seat made exclusively for the bath tub, but I did use our SuperSeat (I also have this product listed as an item under PLAY) with the activity and snack tray removed. This made bath time SO much more enjoyable for all parties involved.
Speaking of the SuperSeat – I highly recommend getting one of these regardless of bath time use. It has so many convenient uses! It is great for play, feeding, practicing sitting and more!
Shopping Cart Cover
I LOVE MY SHOPPING CART COVER. Not only does it look cute, it helps to keep your child comfortable in the shopping cart. Another great thing about this product is that it helps protect your baby from shopping cart germs (unless I am the only one who’s child likes to put their mouth all over the metal cart). Bonus? You can put it over those gross wooden restaurant high chairs.
Stroller/Car Seat Cover
A good stroller /car seat cover has multiple uses. You can use this to shield your child from UV rays, to keep out mosquitoes, to create a shaded space for napping, to shield them from the rain and even as a nursing cover when in a bind! We have a few different kinds, but I would suggest a canopy cover like this, and/or a Milk Snob cover.
I know that was A LOT to digest, but my hope is that this blog will make the registration and baby preparation process a little more enjoyable and a little less overwhelming. And please remember – the most important things you can provide your child are food, shelter and LOVE; the rest is just material.
Here is a quick look at my Top 5 Baby Registry Must Haves.