Of the new tasks hitting your to-do list after finding out you’re going to be a mom, creating a baby registry can be pretty overwhelming.
There’s just so much stuff to get – not to mention all the brands, styles, and price points for every item you’ll need to add. It’s enough to make your head spin!
The first thing we’ll say is this… RELAX. This doesn’t have to be a stressful part of pregnancy. If you follow some basic tips and focus on what you really need, you’ll have this done in no time.
To help get you started on your journey to building a registry, we put together some recommendations on baby gear you absolutely need, some that you absolutely don’t need, and some that you may forget.
Please note – this is NOT a comprehensive list. These are just ideas to get you started in the process.
What You Need:
- Car Seat: Car seats are critical to the safety of your little nugget right from the moment you need to come home from the hospital. There are so many different brands and models to consider. The most important thing to consider is getting a car seat that works with your stroller (which we’ll cover later). This will make mom life a whole lot easier.
- Crib, Bassinet, or Cradle: Your baby will need somewhere to sleep (and for safety reasons, it shouldn’t be your own bed), so one of these options will be a must. There are a host of pros and cons for each one. A bare minimum would be a bassinet to get you through the first few weeks. If you want help narrowing it down, here’s a great resource to help you decide which is best for you: https://parenting.firstcry.com/articles/bassinet-vs-crib-vs-cradle-which-one-should-you-buy-for-your-baby/.
- Snug-fitting Sheets and Mattress Covers: Dirty diapers will be a fact of life, and that means the mattress in the crib, bassinet, or cradle will get dirty. Be sure to protect it with tight-fitting sheets and mattress covers – and have more than one so you don’t have to do any middle-of-the-night laundry.
- Diapers and Wipes: Don’t wait until the last minute to get diapers and wipes – start stocking up a few months ahead of time. Be sure to keep in mind that children can be born at different weights and grow VERY fast. That means there is a chance you won’t need the newborn diapers at all, depending on the size of your child. So have diapers on hand, but don’t go overboard either.
- Clothing: Your prince or princess will need plenty of clothes, but you also shouldn’t break the budget. Just like we mentioned with diapers, there is a chance your baby won’t fit into the newborn-sized clothing at all, and your baby will grow out of clothes quickly. Don’t be afraid to keep it simple and lower cost. Also, people LOVE to buy baby clothes, so odds are you will end up with some outfits and onesies that your friends and family “just couldn’t resist” picking up.
- Breast Pump, Formula, and Bottles: Your needs in this category all depend on whether you choose to breast feed or bottle feed. Each path requires different supplies, so be sure you have everything for feedings before the big day. Here’s a resource to help guide you: https://www.whattoexpect.com/baby-products/nursing-feeding/.
- Burp Cloths: Burping your baby after each feeding helps prevent an upset stomach and added fussiness. But it is likely that this will lead to some spitting up, so have plenty of burp cloths on hand to protect your clothes and keep your baby clean.
- Swaddles and Sleep Sacks: Swaddling a baby has numerous benefits – not the least of which is helping babies (and YOU) sleep more. There are tons of swaddles on the market, ranging from basic swaddle blankets to special sleep sacks. Babies will be swaddled for the first few months of life, so be sure to register for plenty of swaddles – and try out a few different styles so you can figure out what works best for both you and your little one.
- Stroller: Unless you plan to carry your baby everywhere, a stroller is a must-have. Just prepare yourself: like car seats, there are tons of brands and styles at all different price points. Consider checking out your options in-person at some stores. Often, you are able to actually try them out and see what works best for you.
Once you add these, you should be well on your way to having the minimum supplies you need to get your baby home and through those early days and nights.
But with all that you should consider for your registry, there are also items you don’t need. Some are not very practical or necessary. Others should be avoided for safety issues.
What You DON’T Need:
- Crib Bumpers: We know they may look nice or be a perfect match for the nursery, but they are a significant safety hazard for babies. Check out this article for more information on the risks of crib bumpers: https://www.verywellfamily.com/are-crib-bumper-pads-safe-293991. Bottom line – stay away from these. They aren’t necessary and aren’t safe.
- Blankets and Pillows: Much like crib bumpers, blankets and pillows are cute for display, but should not be in the bed with your sleeping beauty. They pose similar suffocation and strangulation risks as crib bumpers, so don’t rush to buy these for now. All your baby should have while sleeping is a tight-fitting sheet and swaddle – nothing else.
- Shoes: We know, we know, we know… the tiny UGGs and Air Jordans are the most adorable things you’ve ever seen! But let’s be honest (and practical)… they aren’t necessary. Your little fashionista or sports star won’t be setting trends or shooting hoops any time soon. In fact, your baby doesn’t really need any shoes for those first few months. Do yourself a favor and put that money toward the things you really need.
Okay, now you know the needs and you know the things to avoid. What about the things that may not immediately come to mind but you shouldn’t forget?
What You Shouldn’t Forget:
- Baby Thermometer: The first few weeks with your little bundle of joy will be exciting, new, and emotionally draining. And those emotions may get the best of you if you suspect your baby is sick or has a fever. That’s why you should be sure to invest in a proper thermometer so that when this inevitably happens and you call the pediatrician, you can accurately say what your baby’s temperature is. Here’s a rundown of the different types of thermometers: https://www.whattoexpect.com/baby-products/baby-care/best-baby-thermometers.
- Changing Pad Covers: Diaper changes are about to become part of your normal rhythm… and not all will be neat and easy. Be sure to have a few changing pad covers on hand so you are never without a clean one. Also, think about adding waterproof changing pad liners – these can provide even more protection from messy changes!
- Bath Supplies: Initially, your baby won’t need a bath more than once or twice per week. But remember that for those first few months, your baby won’t be able to use the normal bathtub. There are a number of bath solutions you can choose from – ranging from special inserts for a kitchen sink to a small newborn tub. What to Expect lists out the different options here: https://www.whattoexpect.com/baby-products/baby-care/best-baby-bath-tubs/. You will also need baby soap and shampoo, washcloths or sponges, and some cozy towels for bath time.
- Pack and Play or Playard: This one may seem obvious, but we thought it was worth mentioning because depending on the model you purchase, it can have multiple uses. Some pack and plays include a bassinet, changing station, night light, and even music – giving you incredible value in one product. Here’s a breakdown of what you should think about when looking at different options: https://www.whattoexpect.com/baby-products/nursery/best-play-yards/.
Now you’re ready to start shopping!
The next thing you will likely need to figure out is where you want to register. Before you make that decision, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
Read these suggestions and take the next step toward building the perfect registry at “Before You Register”.
Do you have other helpful hints about baby registries? Is there a something you can’t imagine living without? Share your insights and help the new mommas in the Health for Her community by engaging in the comments!