My Ultimate (aka Overwhelming) Guide to “The Baby Registry”
Posted May 1, 2012on:
Another “by popular demand” post. This will be updated as I have time, but I wanted to get something rough posted!
There are definitely things omitted from this list…either because I forgot, I don’t have an opinion, or I didn’t want the list to be even more ridiculously long and overwhelming.
Keep in mind: All babies are different. Some good that little tip does you now, since you have no clue what your baby is going to be like when you register. But just keep in mind that what works for one baby/parent may not work for you. Keep advice in perspective, and keep receipts!
- Pack ‘n Play: Yes. Great for traveling, or to use as a bassinet if you don’t want to spring for one of those. A friend of mine’s baby just transitioned to a crib after a year of sleeping in the Pack n play.
- Co-sleeper. I got this the second-time around, after realizing that I co-sleep primarily because I am lazy. If you are nursing, this is clutch for night-time feedings.
- Baby carrier and/or sling: This is one of those things, like a swing, that will depend on the baby’s and your preference. I’ve gone through a bunch, so will give you my opinions: Baby Bjorn dangles babies by their crotches. Do you want to be dangled by your crotch? These, although popular, aren’t great for baby’s hips, either (due to the dangling). Ring slings are versatile and easy to pack in a bag/keep in the car/etc . They can be used well into toddler-hood, but can be brutal on your back since they are one-shouldered. Moby Wrap – A lot of my mom friends swear by this. It is a little restricting, so mine didn’t like it (but a cuddly baby would love it). It also was a lot to mess with in terms of tying. But once you get the hang of it, you can do a ton of holds with it. I prefer my not-as-stretch-material one that I got on Etsy. Baby Hawk – this is what I’m using now and I LOVE it. It has a lot of the benefits of the Moby but isn’t as cumbersome. This would be great for a baby that likes being upright. Pouch-style slings (like Hotslings) – This is what I registered for and I hated it. Baby was smushed and I felt like I had to force him into it. I think its more of a fashion statement than anything else. But, maybe a cuddly baby would like it. I’d go with a ring sling over this. Baby Ktan – I returned it after a few days, it was way too complicated for me. Ergo- I never actually used the Ergo, but have heard rave reviews, so I thought I’d share J.
- Stroller: I liked having a travel system (stroller that the infant car seat can go into) and would definitely recommend that. Once the babies got a little bigger, it got to be too big to cart around everywhere so I started using a more portable umbrella-type stroller (spring for a good one if you plan on using a lot like I do). Mine is a 3-point harness; in hindsight I might look for one with a 5-point so the baby can use it before he/she can fully sit up on his/her own.
- Burp cloths: I’d recommend getting pre-fold cloth diapers instead of “burp cloths”…they are less expensive and more absorbent.
- Bottles, including nipples: BPA free bottles, slow-flow nipples. Some people swear by Dr. Browns…we didn’t need them and there are WAY too many parts to clean. We use Medela, which I love. If you are exclusively pumping, you won’t need more than 5 oz. bottles; if you use formula, you may need up to 8 oz.
- Bottle brush: I’ve gone through a few at this point. I really like the one where you can put soap in the handle. The one with foam on the end got really ratty really quickly.
- Bottle drying rack: We use ours daily!
- Bottle warmers: We decided against this because they take, like, a half an hour to heat a bottle. I don’t want to listen to a baby cry for that long while I wait for a bottle to heat up. Heating water on the stove and then putting the bottle in it takes 5 min or so.
- Dishwasher basket for small bottle parts: Love it, use it all the time.
- Mesh Feeders: Both kids used this briefly when they were just starting solids…it was good for larger pieces of fruit and blueberries so we didn’t have to worry about them choking. They moved on quickly from it though…and the mesh is brutal to get clean.
- Food Mills/Processors: If you are going to make your own baby food, you really just need a regular food processor or blender. Or a fork to mush up soft foods.
- Feeding stuff: Register for some soft-tipped, color changing spoons, bowls, and sippy cups. It’s the planning ahead thing.
- Breast pump: Go for the fancy automatic double pump if you’re going back to work, it’s totally worth the money. See if your docs office can write a prescription, or if you are planning on only pumping for a little while, rent from the hospital. It was more cost-effective for me to buy since I planned on going a year. I have a Medela Pump-in-Style…love it! Look into a hands-free bra, too. Also get a hand-pump as a “back up” or for travel.
- Breastfeeding pillow: I have a Boppy….its multi-functional, which I love. If using exclusively for feeding, I’ve heard that the “My Breast Friend” pillow is better.
- Nursing pads: I liked using washable ones, I thought they were way more comfortable. I did use Lansinoh disposable as backups…they were good too. Gerber sucks.
- Lanolin lotion for sore nipples: Steal as much as you can from the hospital ;). I haven’t found a difference in the brands of this.
- Breast milk freezer bags or storage cups: If you plan on stocking up, I recommend Lansinoh bags. I only had a few minor leak issues, but nothing compared to what I’ve read online about some of the other brands.
- Infant bath tub or seat: We just got a regular infant tub…make sure it fits in the sink because bathing in the big tub is really hard early on.
- Thermometer for the tub: Yes! We have one shaped like a duck…its great to know what temp the water is.
- Something to hang bath toys in: It can be a mesh bag, or other type of holder, but you’ll want something that can stay in the tub while thee toys dry out (avoiding mold…)
- Washcloths: yes, get washcloths.
- Baby shampoo and cleanser: Johnsons baby cleaners have fragrance (and as of press time, a carcinogenic chemical), so if you are trying to avoid that because of sensitivity, avoid any baby-made shampoos and cleansers for a bit. We used Dove sensitive skin, fragrance free for a while. Cheaper and didn’t have to worry about reactions. Same goes for detergents….Dreft has fabulous marketing and a monopoly on baby-laundry detergent. Dreft is loaded with fragrance. I recommend a dye and fragrance free regular laundry detergent. The alleged benefit of Dreft is that it retains the “non-flammable” part of clothes. If my baby is that close to fire, I need more help than detergent can give me.
- Baby lotion: AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends no baby lotion. It’s pretty unnecessary, and can actually mess with baby’s own ability to moisturize. If dry skin is that bad, talk to the pediatrician. If you use any lotion, use Eucerin.
- Hooded towels: We use these all the time.
- Crib: Duh. Drop-side is no longer an option…so my recommendation for cribs is limed to making sure that it meets general safety guidelines, and that whatever mobile/crib toy you may get will fit on it.
- Changing table with pad: We use a desk for a changing table. We bought a contoured changing pad and have 2 covers that we rotate out. We also got some of that non-skid stuff for cabinets to put between the pad and table, which is great when they get wiggly. For the early days, I’d also recommend having a second changing station (pad, diapers, wipes, and pail) on the floor where you most hang out if it is different from where the baby’s room is. I would not have wanted to do up and down the stairs a million times a day. (same goes for a second hamper)
- Rocking chair: Go glider with a gliding stool if anything. I rarely used our glider, but that’s because I nursed downstairs (glider is upstairs) during the day and laying down in bed at night.
- Mobile for the crib: I recommend anything with lights, movement, and music. We got an aquarium thing for our first that hangs on the side of the crib rather than something that hangs over, because once they are standing, you have to take down a hanging mobile because they could pull it down. For our second, we have a monkey/jungle one, but the lights/movement go off after 6 minutes, which is NOT enough time in my book. I’ve heard great things about Twilight Turtle, too.
- Crib bumper : Ahh, the great “what to put in the bed” controversy. We decided to err on the side of caution and do the “nothing in the bed but a sheet” style of bedding. Then, our son started to get his arms and legs stuck in the slats of the crib, so I bought mesh, breathable bumpers.
- Fitted crib sheets: I’d go with 3 in case you have a heavy wetter who goes through multiple sheets per night. My kids didn’t, but I know of babies who did.
- Waterproof mattress pads: Definitely – you don’t want to ruin the mattress. I’d get 2. Extra tidbit – if you do have a heavy wetter, make the crib by layering pad-sheet-pad-sheet. Then, if there is an accident, you can just take off a set and there is still a set underneath.
- Diapers: I’m a cloth-diapering mamma, so obviously I’d recommend going this route ;). A few cons – I do a lot of laundry, they are fairly cumbersome to travel with, and cleaning poop is not the most glam job. However, if you think you will not touch poop if you use disposables, you are sadly mistaken. Pros – we have never had a poop leak, and very few pee leaks. Cloth is also better for preventing diaper rash. We have saved a lot of money not buying disposable diapers. If you go this route, see this post.
- Disposable wipes: whether you do cloth or not, have these on hand. Also good for when grubby people touch the babies hands.
- Diaper pail: Not sure what to recommend for disposables…I use a Diaper Dekor with a cloth bag for mine…no issues with odor and I like how it operates. I think you have to use their bags though if you go disposable, so you may want to look into one that lets you use regular (and much cheaper) garbage bags.
- Diaper bag: This will be your purse for the next 6 months, at least. Get something you love!
- Baby monitor: There were points that I wished we had a video monitor…but in hindsight, I was much better off without the ability to stare at the video screen for hours on end making sure the baby was breathing.
- Pacifiers: Get a few in case you need them…neither of my kids ever took one, but it was fun to try (insert sarcasm). Be sure to get “newborn” ones and try some different kinds. They all have different “nipples” on them and the baby may like one kind over another.
- Thermometer. Get a rectal (not as bad as it sounds) and a regular/temporal for when baby is older.
- Nasal bulb syringe for clearing stuffy noses: Definitely steal this from the hospital…theirs are better than any that you can buy. NoseFrida is also amazing. AMAZING.
- Baby nail clipper: Boooo. I hate nail clipping. Gotta do it though. Most baby grooming/first-aid kits will have this in it.
- Car Seats: This is a tough one too. I initially wanted to be economical and get one infant seat and one convertible seat. Then I realized that having an infant seat with 2 bases was definitely the way to go. The last thing you will want to do is wake up the baby to bring him/her in the house/in a store/etc. I would still recommend registering for a convertible car seat that does front and rear facing. It saves your from having to get it later (or get two later)
- Baby-proofing: Here’s my philosophy on baby-proofing. Do the essentials – outlet covers and gates. Save the “other” stuff until you see what your baby gets into (drawer and cabinet locks).
- Gates: Top and bottom of stairs that are hard-mounted are a must. Sidenote- I also think it’s important to teach children how to safely maneuver steps, so if you have top and bottom gates, make sure baby (at an appropriate age) gets some step practice.
- Thermometer for the room: Our portable heaters that we have in the kids rooms have a thermometer/thermostat on it. I am kinda psycho about temperature because I get nervous about over or under clothing them for bed. I like having it around 70 in their rooms, and the thermometer gives me piece of mind about that.
- Sleep positioner: Another controversial item because it is a thing that you “add” to the crib (SIDS concern). We used one for a little while to see if it would help the baby sleep…I don’t know that it did.
- JJ Cole BundleMe: This is a must-have for the infant seat. It completely eliminates the need for a jacket…which would be a pain in the arse because it’s cold outside, but warm in the car, and how much do you bundle in the car, blah, blah, blah. I have a winter and a spring/fall one. The lightweight one is waterproof too, which is awesome.
- Shopping Cart Liner: I used this once. Early on, I carried the baby in a carrier in the store. Once the baby is old enough to sit on his/her own, you may be less “worried” (if you are like me…which you may not be) and a good wipe-down with a baby or lysol wipe will be enough.
- Car mirror: The cops that installed our carseat told me not to use this, but I love it and don’t care. I would go nuts if I couldn’t see them when they rear-faced. I guess the issue is if you are in an accident, it might fly off and hit the baby in the head. But its soft…so I overrode the cop J
- Onesies: get some short-sleeved and some long-sleeved. Kimono styles are good for little guys because its easier than going over their heads. Register for a variety of sizes…baby will outgrow them quickly and this is one of those things that is way to not-fun to buy yourself Gerber brand runs small.
- Sleepers/Sleep n Plays: My babies lived in these. Get ones with built-in footies. We had a few gowns, which are good for late-night diaper changes, but not so good in the winter, or when they get too long and their feet stick out J
- Bag Sleepers – these are recommended in lieu of blankets for babies because of SIDS. We used them a little, but I didn’t like the inconsistency in temperature since their arms aren’t “covered.”
- Swaddle Blankets – We swaddled them at the beginning (some babies love it and need it to sleep, some don’t). You can use receiving blankets, but my violent little babies always managed to get out of those, so we used SwaddleMe blankets (they have Velcro). They worked well.
- Socks: Um, socks do not stay on babies feet. Get some, but know they will probably come off. I swear by Robeez type shoes (knock-offs are the same), they stay on, keep socks on, and the bigger sizes are good for when they start walking (soft-soled).
- Hats: Get some hats of different weights for the seasons, including sun hats.
- Receiving blankets. I never figured out what to use receiving blankets for….
- Bibs: Lots of outfits will come with drool-bibs, so I wouldn’t worry about getting too many of those. Food-bibs are bigger, I would recommend waterproof so you can just wash off in the sink rather than having to launder.
- Hangers: You might want to register for some hangers – we hang a lot so we use a lot!
- ExerSaucer. This is great for “later on” when baby doesn’t fit in a bouncy seat but you need him/her to stay put for a little while when need be (like if you need to go to the bathroom for example). Also great stimulation. They do take up a fair amount of room, but despite your best efforts, you will come to find that baby crap will take over your house.
- Swing or bouncy seat. Some babies love them, some hate them. Get both, and be ready to return if need be. Some babies will only sleep in a swing because they love the motion. My son was just so-so with the swing but loved the bouncy seat. My daughter was the opposite. My biggest advice is the head support…make sure that whatever you get has head support. We made the mistake of getting one without and returned it within a week because when the baby fell asleep, his head looked like it was going to break off.
- Activity mat/Baby Gym: Both of my kids loved the Fisher Price aquarium one. It also converts into a tunnel that they used later on.
- Bumbo seat: They have a fairly short shelf life (baby will be too small, then too big) but most baby things are. It’s always good to have something at any stage of growth that you can put the baby in where he/she will be safe while you go to the bathroom… I also recommend the tray with this – it was great for snack-feeding or toys.
- Door-way jumper: My first hated it, my second loves it.
- Walkers: AAP recommends no walkers…I agree. Not good for their legs, and can be a safety issue.
- Bigger toys: Plan ahead and get some toys for when they are 6+ months…people love buying toys for showers, and then you don’t have to buy as much later.
- Books: Also a good registry item, especially if there are classics that you like!
Seasoned mamas, what would you add?