Creating a baby registry is one of the most exciting things you will do in preparation for your little one’s arrival. But especially if you’re a first-time parent, it can be hard to focus on what you really need (because let’s face it, baby items are so darn cute). There are a lot of lists out there, but we’re here to guide you on absolute, must-have basics.
For starters, here are general things to keep in mind when you’re creating your baby registry:
- Consider the number of people who might be sending you a gift. This can determine approximately how many items you might want to add. When in doubt, opt for more options. You’ll never know if someone is feeling extra generous, or if someone beyond your baby shower guest list also wants to send you a congratulatory gift.
- Think about your living space. If you’re living in a small apartment, you can only really have so many things.
- Include options for a wide range of budgets (think: smaller accessories like pacifiers to big-ticket items).
- Choose a store or online registry that offers registry completion discounts (more on that below!) for you to purchase whatever is left.
Now, onto the fun part:
Nursery Furniture and Decor
Your nursery will be very personal to your space restrictions and your personal style. Don’t feel like you need to have it picture-perfect by the time the baby arrives, especially if you plan to co-sleep with a bedside bassinet.
- Crib: Consider one that can be converted into a toddler bed for later years.
- Waterproof crib mattress
- Storage baskets
- Changing table
- A comfy chair (for those late-night feedings!)
- Monitor: The Nanit Pro gives you a unique overhead view of the crib (which means no blind spots), it features two-way audio so you can talk to your babe, plus it tracks sleep patterns and breathing motions through an app.
- Bouncer: The BABYBJORN Bouncer Bliss is great if your baby prefers an up and down rocking motion (as opposed to a swing). This bouncer is super lightweight (you can carry it with one hand), doesn’t require an outlet, and doesn’t take up a lot of space.
- Swing: The Fisher-Price Snugamonkey Cradle N Swing is a registry classic — you can swing the baby from side-to-side or front-to-back, it features tons of soothing tunes, and includes a mobile to keep your baby calm.
Get a mix of newborn and size 1 diapers in case your baby outgrows the newborn size quickly.
- Diapers: Pampers Swaddlers are soft, gentle, and the color line indicates when you need to change them.
- A diaper pail: The Munchkin Step Diaper Pail completely traps in odor and can hold up to 272 diapers. And PurePail utilizes a patented odor containment system that enables it to hold nearly 20% more diapers while generating 34% less plastic waste. They even have a to-go option for diaper changes on the go!
- Diaper bag: A backpack-style bag will keep your hands free.
- Portable changing pad
- Baby lotion or cream: Opt for unscented products for those beginning months when their skin is the most sensitive.
Your baby won’t need many baths in the beginning (make sure to keep the umbilical cord dry until it falls off!), but baths eventually can become a calming part of their nighttime routine before bed.
- Baby bathtub: The Summer Infant Right Height Bath Tub adapts to your baby as he/she gets older and transforms into a spacious toddler tub.
- Baby shampoo: Again, any fragrance-free option is best for sensitive skin.
- Bath towels
Health & Wellness
Your baby might not need these right away, but it’s helpful to keep on hand so you’re not scrambling at the last minute.
- Pacifiers: You may have to test out a few different brands to see what your baby likes, but BIBS pacifiers are known to be the most nipple-like (plus they’re BPA-free).
- Rectal thermometer
- Baby Tylenol
- Nail file
Even if you plan on breastfeeding, keep bottles and formula handy in case your nursing journey doesn’t work out or if you unexpectedly need to be away from the baby.
- Bottles: Just like pacifiers, your baby might take to some bottles/nipples and not others. This Babylist Bottle Box comes with five different popular options so you can see what works before committing.
- A nursing pillow: A Boppy helps you get the baby in a comfortable position.
- Bottle dryer or rack
- Nursing essentials: If you plan to nurse, add a nursing cover, nursing pads, a pump (if your insurance doesn’t cover one), nursing tanks, and milk storage bags.
You’ll need a car seat to bring the baby home safely from the hospital. And, when it comes to strollers, be sure to ask yourself some questions about your lifestyle needs. Will you be using it mostly indoors or outdoors? Do you think you will need one that can function as a double stroller in a few years? Keep an eye out for products that offer longer warranties too.
- Infant car seat: The Nuna Pipa Lite Infant Car Seat clocks in at just 5.3 pounds, making it the most lightweight infant car seat on the market. Plus, it has an added stability leg safety feature.
- Stroller: The Bugaboo Lynx Stroller can be used right from birth. It weighs in at only 20 pounds and folds compactly. The Doona Infant Car Seat and Stroller is also an awesome option for those who love convenience and minimalism, as it’s a car seat and stroller in one.
- Baby carrier: The Líllé Baby Serenity All Season carrier gives you the ultimate back support, features two carrying positions, plus a front panel that you can unzip to reveal a breathable mesh layer for warmer weather. You’ll need the newborn pillow insert if you want to use it from birth.
- Bassinet: The Halo Bassinest Swivel Sleeper lets your baby sleep right next to you in a safe and secure spot. Plus, it features music, vibrations, and a nightlight for middle-of-the-night feedings.
- Swaddles: Ollie World Swaddles are super soft, stretchy, and easy to use thanks to Velcro!
- Sound machine
Clothing & Laundry
- Baby-safe detergent
- Newborn clothing: Opt for gender-neutral colors and designs, so you can feel good about investing in pieces that have a lot of life ahead should you have another baby.
- Comfy PJs: Magnetic Me Pajamas feature magnetic closures, which are a game-changer at 3 a.m. feedings when you don’t want to fumble with buttons or zippers.
Believe it or not, the registry is not just all about the baby. Mama (the real MVP) will need stuff too!
- Pregnancy pillow: The last few weeks of pregnancy can be quite uncomfortable, so the Snoogle by Leachco will become essential.
- Postpartum recovery kit: For mamas who deliver vaginally, The Frida Mom 33-Piece Postpartum Recovery Essentials Kit ($50) is pretty comprehensive. Mesh undies, ice-pack pads, and perineum soothers will be very, very welcome.
As for the other adorable items like baby shoes, a make-your-own-baby-food machine, and baby proofing items, they are all essential, but not necessities to get you through the first few weeks or months. So, it is a good idea to prioritize asking for the things you will actually need upfront — especially if storage space is tight.
Where is the best place to register?
Beyond picking your favorite retailer or one with the closest proximity to your home (for returns!) do thorough research on which places offer the best registry perks, have the most forgiving return policies, offer sales and coupons, and are easy for your friends and families to order from.
- BuyBuyBaby: They offer a goody bag for new parents, assistance from registry experts, a 15 percent completion discount, referral rewards, and an automatic gift tracker to organize gifts and recipients.
- Pottery Barn Kids: They provide a trained sales associate to help you set up your registry in-store, or you can opt to do it online. Other benefits include easy registry monitoring and tracking, a super helpful checklist, and perhaps the best perk of all — a 20 percent discount on purchases of any remaining items for six months after the date on your registry.
- Target: They offer a welcome kit to all registrants with over $80 worth of coupons and a 15 percent discount on everything that’s left unpurchased eight weeks before your baby’s due date.
- Amazon Baby Registry: They offer a 10 percent completion discount (15 percent for Prime members) on select items and have unparalleled inventory offerings for quite literally everything you could possibly need for baby, yourself, or your home.
- Babylist: They enable you to put pretty much anything from any store onto your registry as sort of a one-stop-shop. You can even register for home-cooked meals, housecleaning, or a college (or diaper) fund with money deposited straight to your bank account.
- Shop local! Local small businesses offer registry options, too. And many times have one-of-a-kind products.
Registering for your new bundle of joy is such an exciting experience. It is important to have fun, soak it all in and feel all the feels.
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