Setting up a baby registry can be harder than it looks. What do you add to it? What things do you actually need? Retail stores have sparkling advertisements for the latest and greatest products, but in reality, you don’t even need half of the items in the store. Many mothers find that they are content with just the basics, while others find that they are overwhelmed and overrun by seldom-used baby appliances.
We are here to help you figure out the most essential baby items you will definitely need (and some that you won’t!)
Diapers and Wipes.
Diapers and wipes are expensive, so asking for them as gifts will help you out financially in the long run. Be sure to add diapers from sizes 1-6 so you are covered for all the growth spurts!
Pro Tip: Don’t ask for or buy newborn diapers (unless your baby is a preemie.) The hospital will give you lots of newborn diapers and within one to two weeks your baby will have already moved into size 1!
Blankets, Swaddle Blankets, Burp Cloths, and Sleep Sacks. All newborns liked to be swaddled, and it is a powerful way to calm crying fits. Sleep sacks are also amazing to prevent suffocation and SIDS since it encloses the baby in a sack keeping them warm but without the risk of a blanket coming over their nose. Some sleep sacks even have weighted chest pockets for self-soothing.
Clothing. Baby’s grow so fast, so be sure to add a variety of sizes to your registry from newborn to 2T. Remember to add little things like socks, bows, coats, shoes, and baby-sized hangers too!
Baby Monitor. Many parents opt to not use a baby monitor for several reasons: if they co-sleep, share a room, or if they have a small house where the baby is close by to their room. However, the majority of parents in fact do use a baby monitor for peace of mind. If you are trying to sleep train, a monitor is a must for you! Most baby monitors are inexpensive, ranging from a simple screen with two buttons to a system that could probably drive the car for you. Monitors are also one of those things you can buy used or borrow until your baby sleeps through the night.
Bottles, Bottle Scrub Brush, and Formula. Even if you plan to breastfeed, it’s good to have a few bottles on hand for emergencies. Sometimes breastfeeding doesn’t go according to plan, and it’s better to have alternative tools on hand in case you need it in the middle of the night.
Baby Furniture. Stroller, crib (with safety mattress), diaper pail, bouncy chair, high chair, and newborn swing are all great items to put on your registry! In the last decade, these items have been redesigned to fit into small spaces and many of them come at affordable prices.
Pro Tip: if you don’t get gifted one, thrift stores and discount stores like Ross and TJMAXX often have amazing sales on these items. Or, consider borrowing baby furniture from a friend. Babies grow fast, so it’s easier to borrow items you need and give them back to make room for the new as the baby gets older. Another option is to contact your local pregnancy resource center and ask if they have baby furniture available.
Travel Set. One of the most important items you need is a safe and up-to-date travel system. You will need a car seat, stroller, and chest carrier. There are many varieties, styles, and different price points you can choose from. Because of safety concerns, you should never use or buy a previously owned car seat. Make sure it is up to date with safety regulations and that the box is unopened. If you were not gifted with a car seat, ask your local pregnancy resource center, the hospital (before your due date), or your local fire department about acquiring one. Remember, the hospital will not let you go home if you don’t have a car seat with you.
Baby Toiletries. Your baby will need shampoo, body wash, lotion, pacifier, nail clippers, nail file, thermometer, diaper rash cream, washcloths, towels, and a bulb syringe. Usually, baby toiletries come all together in a cute set, which people love to gift!
Pro Tip: babies don't need special washcloths and towels for bath time, yours will work just fine, too.
Diaper Bag. Diaper bags have come a long way in the last few decades! No longer the patched up bulky bags from the 1980s, diaper bags today are designer, chic, and highly functional.
Pro Tip: Look for one that is a backpack as they are easier to carry when you have your hands full!
Gift Cards. Most registries will allow you to add gift cards, and we highly recommend that you do! It’s nice to have cash on hand for the little things you will need refills for like bath soap or teething biscuits or extra pacifiers or diaper pail refills in the future.
Things You Don’t Need
Working with babies for so long, we see a variety of unique baby items donated to our baby boutique that mothers never used. Here are our words of wisdom for things to avoid when shopping for your baby.
Wipe Warmer. If you spoil your baby with warm wipes, they might never let you change their diaper without a warm wipe! This is not helpful when traveling or in public. This is an extra nicety, but it’s not a necessity.
Butt Spatula. These are used to wipe diaper cream on your baby’s bottom, but in our opinion, your finger works just fine. A butt spatula will need to be sanitized after each use and is prone to get lost.
New Born Shoes. Yes, they are adorable, but they fall under “the nice to have” category, but not a need. Often newborn shoes can cost the same as toddler shoes, and they don’t even use them. If you must buy shoes, add 1 year old or toddler shoes to your registry. They are just as cute!
A Baby Food Processor. When your baby is old enough to start eating solids, your blender or food processor works just fine to mash up food for them. There is no need to get a separate bender just for the baby food when your kitchen gadgets do the same job.
Toys. While we recommend a few teething appropriate toys like rattles and rings, the truth is that children attract toys like magnets. Friends and family donate and gift toys and it's one of those things given to you without you asking. So don't stress if you didn't put toys on your registry. Your baby will end up attracting them!
A Changing Table. This is a surprise for many new moms, but in reality, mothers often just use the floor or the bed to change their baby since it is the most convenient. Most changing tables go unused and take up a lot of space. A changing pad is more functional since you can take it to any part of the house.
A Formula Mixer. Yes, this is the newborn version of your Keurig machine. It dispenses the formula into warm water and mixes it up all by itself, all you need to do is push the button. While it is a very nice luxury, scooping powder into water is not overly complicated in the first place. These are pricy and many mothers find themselves just making a bottle for their baby by hand, as it is faster.
Pro Tip: if you have twins or triplets, however, this might be a very smart item to purchase.
When planning for your new baby, remember baby items take up a lot of space. You are not a bad mom for simplifying your life. In fact, studies show that babies who have less stuff are actually happier! At the end of the day, many store items are luxury "wants" not needs your baby will actually use. As you make plans for new purchases remember to ask your friends to loan you items and call your local pregnancy center for help.