Putting together a baby registry can be a daunting and stressful experience, especially for first-time parents or parents like me who are basically starting over due to years passing between their first child and current pregnancy. There are so many baby supplies on the market these days making it hard to figure out which is truly essential for baby and which you should ditch. Having attended many showcases for expectant parents, I can break it down for you, and share my top essentials for baby.
Related: Top 5 Items You Need to Add to Your Baby Registry
Read on for a complete list of things you need to add to your baby registry so that you’re prepared for your baby’s first three months of life.
Baby Gear Baby Registry Essentials
Car seats are the #1 essential for a baby to add to your baby registry. It’s so important to keep babies safe while in a vehicle. Plus, hospitals will not let you leave with your baby without having them in the proper car seat.
With so many car seat options out there, do your research to see what works best for you. Convertible car seats or car seats that grow with baby are a more economical option versus one specific to baby’s age.
For our little one on the way, we opted for an all-in-one since we have to get seats for two cars. Buying car seats for every stage of life – infant, toddler, booster – was just an expense we just didn’t think make sense. We are loving the specifications of the *Maxi-Cosi Pria 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat and the Maxi-Cosi Magellan All-in-One Convertible Car Seat.
Baby carriers were a lifesaver when I had my daughter. She lived in her ErgoBaby carrier. They are great to keep baby close, and hands-free, which allows you to get more things done. If you travel often, having your hands free while going through the airport is a gamechanger to decrease stress during travel. Baby carriers are also perfect discreetly for nursing your baby in public.
Related: Best in Baby Gear and more from the 2017 New York Baby Show
Let’s face it, babies get heavy and sometimes the best option for getting them around, especially if you’re always on the go, is a stroller. There are so many strollers on the market from which to choose. There’s a travel system, jogging strollers, all-terrain strollers, lightweight/sun strollers and more!
So how do you choose? You choose the stroller that best suits your budget and needs. If you live in the city and use public transportation you need a stroller that is versatile and lightweight. Travel often? Invest in a good travel system. Whatever your needs are, do your research to find the best stroller that will suit your family’s life with a new baby.
Because we are a family that loves to travel, we opted for the *Maxi-Cosi Lila. Why? It is the only stroller we will need for our daughter once she arrives. The Lila stroller can accommodate newborns to children up to 50 lbs. Plus, it can be used as a travel system with the use of an adapter.
Playmats are great to keep babies occupied and stimulated during the times you need a break. Whether you need to get things done around the house or you need to steal away time to use the bathroom or shower, a playmat will help you get the few minutes you need to do just that.
We are fond of the *Tiny Love Black & White Gymini Magical Tales Playmat. It’s based on their seven (7) Developmental Systems of wonders: senses, cognition, emotional intelligence, fine motor skills, imagination and creativity, language and communication.
Baby Bouncer or Swing
Speaking of essentials for baby to add to your baby registry, some babies love being held and/or bounced. A bouncer or swing (you don’t need both) will do the job for you so that you can get some things done or just give your arms a break.
My sister swore by the 4Moms mamaRoo for both her son and daughter. From her experience alone, it’s something that has made it to my registry.
Nursery Baby Registry Essentials
Safe Space to Sleep
Whether the baby has a beautiful nursery set up or will be sleeping in your room, it is important that the baby has a safe space to sleep. This can be a crib or bassinet, and if you are co-sleeping, purchase a co-sleeper. But, do not place the baby in the bed with you directly.
Crib or Bassinet Mattress
A firm, flat mattress that fits snugly in the crib. Two prevent any crib-related accidents, less than two fingers should fit between the mattress and crib
Fitted Crib/Bassinet Sheets
A safe sleep environment can feel like a bare sleep environment since most of the cutesy crib accessories like bumpers, blankets, pillows, and quilts are off-limits. That leaves just the crib sheet to add some flare. Thankfully, you don’t have to be torn between making a statement and making sure the baby is safe and comfortable because these days, crib sheets come in a variety of styles and colors to make your baby’s sleep environment cute and fun.
Newborn babies love to feel warm and secure as if they’re in the womb. Swaddles help recreate that feeling. My mom is great at using receiving blankets to make a perfect swaddle, but I suck at it. If you’re like me you’re going to want to add a swaddle wrap or suit to your baby registry.
The *Sleepea, developed by famed pediatrician notorious for his 5 Ss, and starting the swaddle revolution, promises to safely swaddle your baby in 5 seconds (or less) so that you can have The Happiest Baby on the Block.
Receiving blankets are so versatile. They’re great to throw over baby while out to keep them warm, they’re perfect for swaddling, and if you’re breastfeeding, they can make a great nursing cover-up.
A baby monitor helps with the newborn jitters. It’s natural for parents of newborns to worry about their babies while they are asleep or just playing in their nursery. A baby monitor allows worrisome parents -I’m one of them- keep an eye on their little ones from a safe distance. Baby monitors these days allow parents to view monitor feeds on their wireless devices, which is pretty cool! That means access to your baby/kids even when you’ve stepped out and let the grandparents or aunts and uncles watch the baby.
Deciding on a baby monitor is just like everything else, you have to do your research because the one you choose is dependent on your needs. It comes down to these seven (7) things:
- Clarity of video
- Battery life
- Add-on cameras (to monitor more than one child or space)
We haven’t yet narrowed down the baby monitor we want, so if you have recommendations leave a comment below.
We’ll be having a winter baby, which means the heat will be on blast. Heat can lead to dry air, which can lead to unpleasant symptoms in babies, irritating their noses and airways. Using a humidifier, especially when babies have colds, can relieve stuffy noses and coughs, helping everyone, including mom and dad, get a restful sleep.
We’ll be using the *Crane Drop Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier.
Air purifiers remove allergens like dust mites, dander, and other pollutants from the air. The air purifier should have a HEPA filter, which removes the majority of allergens from the air. It should be energy efficient.
Diapering and Bathing Baby Registry Essentials
Whether you’re opting for an economical and eco-friendly option like cloth diapers, or something more convenient like disposable diapers, we can agree that babies need diapers. Finding the perfect diapers is just like bottles, it’s trial and error. You want something that is blow-out proof, leak-proof, keeps baby dry and doesn’t irritate the skin.
Before buying a bunch of diapers, test them out first. Also, don’t waste your money on newborn-sized diapers because babies grow fast! You don’t want to be stuck with boxes of small diapers you can’t use.
From poop to pee, babies go through many diapers, which means you’ll need something to clean up those messes with too. For baby’s sensitive skin, you’ll want wipes that are unscented, hypoallergenic, and has very little added ingredients. If you want a more economical option, you can use a soft baby washcloth with warm water, but that just means more laundry.
Do you need a bathtub specifically for a baby? I’d say, yes! It definitely makes giving a baby a bath easier, especially during the first six months. There are three types of baby bathtubs, and the type you choose depends on your needs and space.
- In-sink baby bathtubs: Ideal for a newborn, these infant bathtubs are smaller and fit inside or over a kitchen sink. Typically made of mesh, foam, cloth or plastic, many of these baby bathtubs are collapsible and take up very little storage space.
- Basin baby bathtubs: Designed to sit on the counter, on the floor or even in your actual tub, these plastic baby bathtubs give you a lot of flexibility on where bath time happens.
- Tubs that grow with baby: Not all babies are ready for the big-kid tub at 6 months old, and that’s where a transitional tub can help. Features like removable infant inserts and adjustable recline positions can take baby all the way through toddlerhood.
Baby Shampoo, Body Wash and Moisturizer
It is so easy to get overwhelmed with the many choices of formulas for baby shampoo, body wash, and lotion. There’s scented, unscented, organic, tear Free – you name it, it’s out there. But the most important thing is to look for baby products with the least amount of chemicals, dyes, and fragrance.
Below are some things to look for on the label when shopping for the best baby lotion for your new baby:
- Dye-free and [synthetic] Fragrance-free
Related: Must-Haves For Mom & Baby from Babypalooza NYC 2018
Diaper ointments and creams help relieve symptoms of diaper rash, which can be a literal pain in the butt for babies. In addition to relieving symptoms of diaper rashes, it can also prevent them by acting as a barrier between your baby’s skin and the diaper.
A good diaper rash will have a good concentration of zinc oxide (at least 10% – 40%) and is fragrance and color-free.
With my daughter, we used Boudreaux’s Butt Paste and will be using it again this time around, except it will be the one with Natural Aloe. The original formula has 16% zinc oxide, while the extra-strength version has 40%. Both formulas are thick, allowing the cream to last for what seems like forever. You’re definitely getting bang for your buck.
These are great for retaining the baby’s heat on their heads and bodies after a bath. Plus, they look cute in them. Isn’t this poodle one cute?
Feeding Baby Registry Essentials
I plan on breastfeeding my new baby just like I did with my daughter. With breastfeeding, there are very few items needed because most of what you need is right there at the breast. However, there are things that make feeding time less stressful, more comfortable, and less painful. These are my baby registry must-haves for breastfeeding moms.
When I breastfed my daughter, I swore by the Medela Pump In-style Advance. In fact, after eight years, I still have it and have loaned it out to my best friend when she was in need. That says something about its durability.
Breast pumps are great because it allows you to pump milk to store for later. You can freeze the milk, or just have a bottle ready to have for dad so you can get rest during a late-night feed. Pumping not only allows you to collect breast milk when you’re separated from baby, but it also helps moms that breastfeed keep up their milk supply.
The joys of breastfeeding are larger leaking breasts. Without the use of a nursing pad, you can have embarrassing milk stains on your shirt.
Nursing pads (breast pads) are small inserts that go inside your bra to soak up any milk that may leak out from your breasts. These pads are available in different shapes, sizes, and types—and just like everything else in the world of baby products, the number of options can be overwhelming.
There are three (3) primary types of nursing pads:
With my first daughter, I used disposables because they’re are convenient; however, if you plan on nursing for as long as I did, it can be a costly expense. In that case, a reusable/washable nursing pad may be the better option. Then there are silicone pads, which can cost a pretty penny. Deciding which route is best for you depends on personal preference.
Unless I find an alternative that I like, I’m sticking with my Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads.
Breastfeeding is a beautiful thing. I enjoyed the bonding it offered. I am praying that my next experience is as good as my first. Even though I had a pretty uneventful breastfeeding experience with my first daughter, there are some things that come with the learning curve of breastfeeding for the first time like nipple soreness and cracking. The pain will eventually go away once both you and your baby get the hang of things. But in the meantime, nipple ointments/creams help make things feel better.
A good nipple ointment will have the following characteristics:
- Easy to pronounce ingredients
- Free of petroleum, parabens, mineral oil, triethanolamine, and alcohol
- Soft and smooth texture
Babies are messy, especially if they have excess gas and it comes out in the form of spit-up. Burp cloths are perfect for keeping yourself free of baby’s spit-up. I also like to use them as a barrier between baby’s skin and another person’s clothing. The latter protects baby’s sensitive skin from whatever may be on someone else’s clothes or skin like fragrance, which can irritate it.
I like to use these Gerber Diaper Cloths because they’re super absorbent.
One of the things that I’ve kept that is still in pristine condition is my Boppy Nursing Pillow. I’m so happy because it was helpful in keeping my daughter in a proper nursing position during feeding times.
A great breastfeeding pillow is rounded just enough to snuggle against your abdomen, yet firm enough to keep baby positioned up where they need to nurse. That is my Boppy!
Finding a baby bottle, especially for a breastfed baby is not an easy task. You want something that prevents gas and has a nipple that’s similar to mom’s breast. If you’re using plastic bottles you want something that is BPA-free. It may take a few times of trial and error to find the perfect bottle for your baby, but the perfect one is out there.
Here are a few options you may want to check out:
Breastmilk Storage Bags
Whether you’re pumping to increase your milk stash for your return to work or to have it on-hand for when you need a break, having the proper milk storage bag is an essential item to add to your baby registry.
Breastmilk storage bags are made of sturdy, food-grade, BPA-free plastic, and are specifically designed to keep your breastmilk safe, organized and sanitary, no matter where it’s stored. A quality storage bag will not leak or burst, lay flat for storage, stand on its own for pours and provide space for measurements and labeling.
Here are a few options you may want to check out:
If you’re planning on storing milk, you may want to invest in a deep freezer. This is one lesson I learned from experience. I produced so much milk I ran out of space. I had to store milk in my mom’s freezer and my own. This time around, I am investing in a deep freezer specifically for storing my breastmilk.
What are some baby essentials are must-have items for your baby registry?
Because I’m basically starting over, I created a Target Baby Registry.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. items with a (*) have been provided for review consideration.