If you are anything like me, you want to start your registry the second you find out you're pregnant. Like clockwork, I started to research everything under the sun after the test came back positive. With all the information out there that contradicted each other, I was overwhelmed. It was difficult figuring out what was truly needed and what was only desired. So to make things easier, I've compiled a baby registry checklist for you, filled with important baby items for your new bundle. These are items I've found incredibly useful after Maddox arrived.
Don't get too stressed out. Remember, the most important thing is having a healthy, clean, and fed baby.
Crib - We purchased a crib before we realized we were co-sleeping. After researching and after Maddox arrived, I found co-sleeping was the safest, most natural way to sleep. This one is set up in our room but he only uses it for occasional naps. With that said, it's beautiful, 4-in-1, and was easy to set up.
Crib Mattress - According to experts, firm is the safest way to go. This soybean mattress is great.
Crib Pad - A waterproof mattress pad can provide extra protection for those nights baby gets a little messy.
Fitted Sheets (3) - You'll want to change them at least once a week and some weeks you may have to change them a couple times. Instead of doing laundry right away, having a few sets is helpful. I love the Circo sheets and the Land of Nod. Both have plenty of fun patterns!
Arms Reach Co-Sleeper - If you want to co-sleep but would prefer not to bed share, you can purchase an arms reach co-sleeper. It's perfect for the middle of the night when your baby wakes up. All you have to do is simply reach over rather than walking across the room or to another room.
Baby Monitor - We don't have one, personally, but I know many people love them. I've heard this one has been obsessed over.
Noise Machine - White noise is great for babies as it reminds them of the womb. Too much silence can freak them out. When Maddox slept in the rock-n-play, it vibrated and the noise helped soothe him. This machine is awesome and portable. It also has multiple sounds such as thunder, brook, heart beat, summer night, and ocean.
Swaddle Blankets - Swaddling was very important in our house because Maddox wouldn't sleep well without bundling him up. Babies are often woken up by themselves since they still have their startle reflex. By swaddling him for naps and nighttime, he'd sleep so much better. He's almost 4 months and I still swaddle him at night. It reminds them of being in the womb: secure, warm, and cozy. We alternated between receiving blankets and these Aden & Anais swaddle blankets. Swaddling, for us at least, took a little practice and a little patience. They also make zip-up ones and this handy Miracle Blanket but we found regular blankets worked well enough for us. Here's a video to help teach you.
Car Seat, Stroller, Base - Britax makes a wonderful B-Agile travel system that comes with the car seat, stroller, and base. This is the one we have and I absolutely love it. The car seat is comfortable and secure. The straps never twist and as far as car seats go, it's relatively light. The stroller is easy to open up and put away. The one downside: it doesn't have a cup holder and you have to buy an attachment. And since it's a jogging stroller, it's tough to push with one hand. But it's effortless and the stroller will move with us into Maddox's infant years. Graco is also very popular and you can buy a frame to turn it into a stroller!
Baby Carrier - I highly recommend baby wearing. It's cozy, you can have both hands free, and baby loves it. There are plenty of baby carriers out there and you may like some more than others. I absolutely adore my Sakura Bloom Chambray ring sling. By adore, I mean I'm OBSESSED with it. The Chambray is double linen so it provides more support while still being breathable, the fabric is gorgeous, and it's so comfortable. I could wear him all day (and some days I do). Other great options are Ergo and Baby Hawk.
Pack'n'Play - I own this one and the top bassinet section is where we change Maddox and let him play. It's so easy to fold up and take along with us if we need it. They also make pack'n'play's with a napper and changer attached. I opted out of those simply because I figured Maddox would grow out of them rather quickly and I didn't find them worth the price. If you travel often, I recommend the Baby Bjorn travel crib. It's very light and packs up easily so it's perfect for plane rides.
Pack'n'Play Sheets - I found these extremely useful (although not entirely necessary) for the times Maddox would pee while changing him or if he had a blow out. It's a quicker clean-up than having to wash down the pad.
Activity Mat - We definitely didn't need this until Maddox started interacting more with the world around him. We didn't buy one until about 1 or 1.5 months but now we absolutely adore this one from Skip Hop.
Rock'n'Play - We didn't have one until after the first night we got home from the hospital. Maddox wouldn't sleep in the crib and we figured the cozy, secure incline of the rock'n'play would help him feel more comfortable and more at home. It worked! In the beginning few weeks, he'd sleep in there until he'd wake up to feed and then I'd bring him into bed with us. We had amazing sleep!
Baby Bouncer or Lounger - These are great to have. I love the 4moms Rockaroo. It has four different speeds and an auxiliary cable for your phone so you can play music as he swings.
Nursing Pillow - I have the Boppy which I used for the first couple weeks while I was getting used to breastfeeding. I haven't touched it since except a few times to prop Maddox up but it really helped initially. You wrap it around your waist and it helps support your arms and your baby while you breastfeed, making them less tired.
Breast Pump - My baby is 98% of the time fed by breast but a pump comes in handy especially when your newborn is still sleeping and your breasts are the size of watermelons. It's also great to create a supply if you have plans on going back to work, if you want daddy to feed baby, or so someone else can watch baby for you. I use the Medela manual pump which I love and you can travel with it easy but I also recommend getting an electric one. It's so much quicker and easier. Many insurance companies cover pumps so make sure to check with them before buying one!
Milk Storage Bags - If you're pumping, you need something to store your milk in. The Kiinde bags are my absolute favorite. They don't leak and you can just pop them in the freezer. Super easy!
Bottles (2-6) - If you plan on breastfeeding, having a couple bottles on hand may come in handy especially if something happens to your supply. I bought Philips Avent Natural and the first time we introduced a bottle at 6 weeks, Maddox took it with no hesitation. Every baby will be different. Some may take to any bottle while some may need that specific one. If you are having trouble with your baby taking a bottle, follow these tips. You may have to try a few different bottles and nipples before finding the perfect fit!
Pacifiers (2) - We didn't introduce a pacifier until about 4 weeks but I was very happy when I did. My breasts were sore from Maddox being latched on for almost the entire day and it was nice to give them a break. Natursutten pacifiers are amazing and so are the hospital soothies.
Burp Cloths - Spit-up will become your life and it will be everywhere. The best burp cloths are actually cloth diapers. Trust me, don't skip out on these. You'll be going through them quicker than your favorite ice cream.
Diapers - And lots of them! When Maddox was fresh and super tiny, we used Honest Company diapers. The patterns were adorable and they fit perfectly! I loved that they were chlorine-free. As he got bigger, Honest didn't fit him as well and once we were in 1's and 2's, we switched over to Target Up&Up's.
Nighttime Diapers - Until baby is sleeping through the night, you won't need these right away. Huggies Overnight gives great protection for night time messes.
Changing Pad & Covers - We simply change Maddox in the bassinet part of the pack n play. A lot of people love changing pads though! It all depends on your lifestyle and specific needs. This contoured changing pad is great. They also make a bunch of cute covers for it.
Diaper Bag - It's great to have a diaper bag you love with lots of pockets and lots of space. Sometimes it takes a couple before you find the perfect one. This one is large but carries a lot if you're a hoarder or have multiple babies. I have this one which I love but it lacks organization. I've mostly been using this fringe, cross-body bag since it's perfect while baby wearing. Most diaper bags come with a changing pad, if not they make travel changing pads.
Baby Tub - We did a lot of sponge baths in the beginning couple weeks while we waited for the umbilical stump to fall off completely. Once we started bathing him, we loved the Summer Infant baby bather. We co-bathe a lot so I wanted something inexpensive. Although, I often wish I would have snagged this Puj tub. It lays directly in the sink, is extremely comfortable, and cradles baby securely. There's always next time..
Hooded Towels & Washcloths - I don't know what it is but people load you up with towels and washcloths at baby showers. These Circo infant towels are incredibly soft, hooded, and big enough to last for a while. This duck one is adorable too! For washcloths, these organic bamboo ones are great or these Circo ones (pink, orange & blue, yellow).
Baby Shampoo & Wash - We absolutely LOVE Burt's Bees (they also make a calming one with lavender too!). It smells so good and never irritates his skin or dries it out. I've also heard really great reviews on Honest Company's shampoo & body wash.
Baby Lotion - I'm a big Burt's Bees fan so their Calming baby lotion is my absolute favorite. It smells wonderful, has a little lavender in it to help relax him, and moisturizes him perfectly.
Hamper - I usually combine my dirty clothes and his dirty clothes together in one hamper.
Receiving Blankets - I mentioned these are good for swaddling but they are also great for tummy time, to lie baby on when at a friends, or for the car seat.
Onesies & pants (12-16) - You don't need to go overboard with clothes. Babies grow like weeds and they'll be out of Newborns (NB) before you know it. Some babies don't even fit in NB straight out of the womb. Carter's has a wonderful selection and often have clearance items. It's easy to find a few onesie and pant sets!
Sleeper (7-8) - I do laundry about once a week so having 7 sleepers is the perfect amount. Make sure you get ones with a zipper! Fumbling around at 2 in the morning snapping up a sleeper after a diaper change is a hassle.
Socks (4-7) - Even if Maddox is just in a diaper, I almost always have socks on him. His feet get cold so easily!
Hats & Jacket - If your baby is born in a colder month, you might want to grab a few hats and a jacket to keep them warm!
Aspirator - Most babies have stuffy noses and this bulb syringe is perfect to relive some of that mucus. You might be able to get one from the hospital but if not, this one is perfect and it never hurts to have a couple in the house.
Baby Nail Clippers - Maddox came out of the womb with a freshly manicured set of nails. Clipping his nails was vital so he wouldn't scratch himself. These work great.
Rectal Thermometer - Some may be grossed out by the rectal thermometer but I swear, it's not as bad as it sounds and it's the most accurate reading. It's good to have on hand in case you think baby might be coming down with a fever. You can also do what my mother used to do before taking out the thermometer: simply kiss baby's forehead and see if it feels warm.
Gripe Water - Maddox was prone to hiccups and an uneasy stomach. Gripe water helped soothe him.
High Chair - You won't need this until around 6 months when baby starts their journey into solids. I really love this high chair. We live in a condo so we don't have tons of room. This high chair doesn't take up a lot of space plus it's easy to travel with.
Board Books - There are so many awesome books out there. I'm always reading to Maddox and I even started while he was still in the womb! Our favorites: Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and Little Blue Truck.
Bottle Warmer - I almost never use bottles so this wasn't necessary for us. When we do use bottles, it's much simpler to stick it in a bowl or faucet of hot water but they make plenty of bottle warmers.
Bottle Drying Rack - We have this countertop lawn drying rack which is nice but definitely not necessary. Again, it's hardly used considering as we don't use bottles but occasionally I'll dry a bottle or my breast pump on it!
Trash Can - I simply throw all his diapers away in our regular garbage. It rarely stinks up the place before we take it out so I'm happier we didn't invest in one. If it starts to smell, I simply diffuse a little purification oil and mask the scent. I've often heard from other mothers an extra trash can is unnecessary and pointless but here's a great one if you're interested.
Backseat Mirror - We don't have one but I know plenty of moms that love them.
Car Window Sunshade - Babies have sensitive eyes and usually the hood on the car seat is enough. For the times it's not (especially important for the rear window), a sunshade is helpful.
Nightlight - We love this Turtle nightlight for naps during the day and Dave loves turning it on at night for himself. It even shows a few constellations and changes colors from blue to green to orange.
Hand Sanitizer - In the beginning weeks, you'll be very protective of your baby. You'll appreciate having hand sanitizer around to keep your baby free of germs especially when you have visitors!
I hope this helped you. Some great places to register are Amazon, Target, and Babies'R'Us. Do you have any other items you recommend? How have you decided what's essential and what's helpful? Congratulations to the new parents! Have fun registering!