You don’t need the latest, greatest and most expensive inventions to care for your baby. Here’s a simple list of what you really need before your bundle of joy arrives.
When I was creating my baby registry, to say I was overwhelmed is an understatement. Would my newborn son really need a Pee-pee Teepee? How many blankets would my 7-pound baby need? Would I be deemed a bad mama if I didn’t get the most expensive bathtub? I later found out that while I registered with the best intentions, I didn’t need most of the things that people gave me. We live in a small home with limited cabinet space, and finding room for all the baby shower loot messed with my nesting rampage. I learned a lot: a Pee-pee Teepee is no better than throwing a cloth on my son during diaper changes; I only needed a few blankets; and my kitchen sink worked much better than any expensive infant bathtub. After chatting with a few of my other mama friends, we composed this list for you. These are things that you really need before the baby comes. The rest of the stuff you can buy along the way.
Something for Baby to Sleep In
Baby needs a place to sleep, right? Keep in mind that you will likely want your baby in your room with you when you come home from the hospital for at least a few weeks, but if you are going to do crib sleeping right away, that’s cool too. Whether you choose a Moses basket, a pack-and-play, bassinet or co-sleeper pulled up to your bedside, you want to have it set up by the time Baby makes her debut. Check out our list of Best Cribs.
Something for Baby to Eat
If you are nursing, register for a few packets of breast pads and a tube of nipple cream for your comfort. You may want to hold off registering for a pump. You can use your gift cards to purchase a breast pump that suits your specific needs after your nursing relationship is established. If you are formula feeding, be wary of registering for formula because you might find that your newborn prefers a certain brand or has a sensitive tummy and requires a special kind.
Whether you are nursing or formula feeding, bottles belong on your registry. Don’t let the various types of bottles overwhelm you, and be cautious about registering for a full bottle system because some babies are quite particular about which bottle is best. Register for one or two of a few different brands so that you and Baby can try them out. Think twice before you get caught up in registering for accessories. For example, a bottle-drying rack was not realistic for my limited counter space, and turning my washed bottles upside down on a towel near my sink worked just as well.
Babies need blankets, and you will receive plenty of them from well wishers and family crocheters. However, you can register for a few swaddling blankets so you can transform your newborn into a sleeping baby burrito. My mama friends suggested getting two to three packages so you always have some available when you need them. You don’t want to find they are all in the washer or dryer when your screaming infant needs to be swaddled. You can pick pretty ones that you like, but also choose a few different brands to find what works best with your baby. Some babies love large blankets with lots of stretch, while other babies love soft cotton swaddlers.
If you are planning to use cloth diapers, place them on your registry. Keep in mind that your newborn might not initially fit into the cloth diapers, so register for a few small packages of Size 1 disposable diapers to tide you over until Baby can fit into the cloth ones. Feel free to register for your wet bag and laundry soap too. If you are choosing to use disposable diapers, only register for a few packs of different sizes. One of my mama friends found a great deal on diapers while she was pregnant and bought enough diapers to last nearly a year. Her baby ended up being allergic to them, and she had to return her huge stock back to the store. The same advice can apply to wipes. Only register for a few packs of wipes in case you find out Baby needs non-allergenic or special kinds to prevent diaper rash.
Baby has places to go and people to see. Registering for a travel system that includes a stroller, carrier and car base is essential for a baby and family on the go. You can find one that you think is pretty or gender-neutral, but also check safety ratings and its ease of use, such as placing the carrier in and out of the base. Check out our list of Best Car Seats.
Find a diaper bag that matches your lifestyle. While we registered for two, one for me and one for my husband, we found that my husband didn’t need his own diaper bag. He was content to toss a few diapers, wipes and snacks in a backpack when he was out and about with our son on his own.
First Aid and Safety Items
I still use the first aid kit that I registered for five years ago. Register for a variety of thermometers, suction bulbs or a Nose Frida, medication droppers and other similar items. Register for a large first aid kit for your house and a smaller one to tuck in your diaper bag because you never know when you’ll need a bandage.
As a first-time parent, I found a great deal of comfort in the baby monitor. Whether you pick an expensive one with all the video and motion-detecting bells and whistles or a simple one with only sound, it is a good item to have on your registry and in your home before you return from the hospital with your little one. It will help you relax and keep you from checking on your sleeping infant every 5 seconds.
Things You Can Skip
Even if you are creating a larger, more comprehensive registry, there are a few things you won’t need to buy. For example, you don’t need to register for clothes because you will get tons of clothes as gifts when Baby is born. My son had more 0-3 months clothing options than I could use, and that’s with changing him a few times a day due to diaper blowouts. Don’t worry about registering for small busy toys like rattles, unless you see one that you cannot live without. You will likely find small busy toys tucked into gifts, and your infant doesn’t really need more than one or two busy toys until after a few months. If you want gift cards or books to grow your child’s library, be sure to include that information in your baby shower invitations or spread the word through friends. Instead of registering for board books, your friends can purchase ones that they love or that remind them of your family, and your child’s library will be much more meaningful.