A registry checklist of essential baby gear from Graco, Chico and more, plus what to buy for your layette.
Sure, staring down aisle after aisle of adorable baby stuff is fun, but it’s overwhelming too. How do you cut through the clutter and figure out what’s necessary and what’s not? Start here, with our handy checklist of everything you’ll need for your baby-to-be. Then set up a registry at your favorite baby superstore or online retailer. It will greatly reduce the odds that you’ll end up with duplicate or not-your-style gifts. Try to make the bulk of your registry a mix of low- to mid-priced options; include a few pricey items in case several friends or family members want to chip in on one big-ticket gift. But don’t get zap-happy! Stick to your list and choose carefully. Ready to go shopping? We thought so!
- Crib The good news: All cribs sold in the U.S. must meet the same safety standards, regardless of price. You’ll want a crib with at least two mattress-height positions: high (for newborns) and low (for when baby starts sitting up). A crib with stationary (non-drop) sides is best because there are no moving parts that could malfunction. Buying a crib that converts to a toddler or twin-size bed will extend the usefulness of your baby’s furniture set, but if you’re planning to have more than one child, you’ll still need a crib for some time to come.
- Dresser with a changing area Your baby will quickly outgrow a changing table once she refuses to lie down for diaper changes (often by the first birthday). A more practical optionis a dresser with achanging-table top that can be removed when diaper days are done.
- Firm mattress
- Sheet protector or mattress pad
- 3 to 4 fitted crib sheets (ideally, with elastic all around, not just at the corners)
- Monitor (unless you live in a small home)
- Glider (better than a rocking chair, which can pinch small fingers)
- Diaper pail or disposal unit
- Small hamper (or laundry bag)
If You’re Breastfeeding:
- Breast pump This purchase can make or break your nursing experience. If you’re going back to work full time, you’ll need to buy or rent a super-efficient (but pricey) double electric pump. But if you’re staying home, a much less expensive manual pump may be fine.
- Freezer storage containers or bags
- 4 to 6 bottles
- Nursing pads
- Nursing pillow
- Nipple cream
- 2 nursing bras for now (your size may change when your milk comes in)
- Can of formula in case of emergency (it’s always good to have one on hand!)
If You’re Bottle Feeding
- 4 to 6 small bottles
- 4 to 6 large bottles This may not seem like enough bottles, but your baby has the final say—she may prefer one type of bottle or nipple over another, so don’t buy in bulk until you know what works.
- Formula Two cans of powdered or six to eight cans of ready-made formula will get you started. You’ll receive plenty of free samples at the hospital and from your doctor’s office. Register at each brand’s website to receive valuable coupons.
- Disposable bottle liners (if you’re using them)
- Bottle drying rack
- Bottle brush (with nipple brush attached)
- Infant car seats fit newborns best, so if your budget allows, buy one and save the convertible seat for later. Plus, an infant car seat makes it easy to move a sleeping baby in and out of the car and quickly into a stroller frame or travel system. Choose a seat with a higher weight limit to extend its safer, rear-facing position.
- Stroller The choices may seem overwhelming, but you can significantly narrow the field by considering your lifestyle. Are you a city dweller who has to tackle curbs, uneven pavement and public transportation? You’ll want a model that is lightweight and folds fast. For suburbanites driving to supermarkets and malls, opt for a midsize stroller with lots of storage that fits in your trunk. Choose one that either allows your newborn to fully recline or accommodates your infant car seat.
- Umbrella stroller Once your baby is sitting up, a super-light umbrella stroller that folds quickly and compactly is easy to bring along with you.
- Convertible car seat You can use a convertible car seat from birth through toddlerhood (typically until your child is about 40 pounds) to avoid the expense of a separate, infant-only car seat. A convertible seat must be used rear-facing at least until your tot’s first birthday (the longer the better) and then can be used forward-facing.
- Sling or front carrier You can snuggle and keep your hands free for other tasks with a sling or carrier.A sling should have an adjustable shoulder strap so you can position your baby where it’s most comfortable for you. The key word when selecting a front carrier is support: head support for your infant and back support for you.
- Infant tub or bathing pad
- Diaper bag
- Bouncer and/or swing
- Play yard
- Stationary activity center
- High Chair Consider the size of your kitchen when choosing a high chair. If yours is tiny, you may want a booster style that attaches to a kitchen chair. If space isn’t a problem but money is, think about whether you need extra features like folding (will you really need to put it away?) and recline settings (your baby may be able to sit up by the time he starts solids).
- 6 Infant Spoons (try a few different styles)
- 3 to 4 Plastic or Melamine bowls
- 4 to 5 spillproof cups
- 6 big, wipe-clean bibs
- 2 to 3 teethers
- Diapers (a couple of packs of newborn size and a big box of size 1)
- Baby wipes
- Diaper rash cream with zinc oxide
- Digital rectal thermometer
- Alcohol wipes (to clean the thermometer)
- Infant acetaminophen
- Nasal aspirator
- Baby washcloths or 3 to 4 regular ones
- All-in-one baby shampoo/body wash
- petroleum jelly (to use with thermometer)
- 4 to 5 pacifiers (in a few styles to find out which baby prefers)
- Baby nail clippers or scissors
- Mild laundry detergent
- Baby-formula sunscreen
Since clothing is such a popular gift item, wait until after your baby shower to see what you still need. It probably won’t be much—remember that your baby will grow into a new clothing stage every two to three months. This list may not look like a lot, but it’s a good place to start.
- 1 “going home” outfit
- 8 bodysuits
- 3 shirt-and-pant sets
- 4 coveralls (one-piece footed outfits)
- 1 sweater
- 6 pairs of socks
- 2 large hooded towels
- 2 sleep gowns with elastic bottom
- 2 sleep sacks (which serve as safe blankets)
- 6 to 10 burp cloths
- 2 receiving blankets
- 1 swaddling wrap, depending on your climate and when your baby is born:coat
- Knit hat
- Brimmed sun hat