When you have a little one on the way, it’s exciting. One of the first things that many expectant mothers like to do is build a baby registry. It’s so much fun looking at the clothes your little one might wear, the toys they can play with, or the sheets they might sleep on.
How do you sort out what baby gear is a necessity and what isn’t?
Even though there are many things that might need to go on your baby registry, with this helpful list, you can help weed out what’s not important and what is. (Don’t forget to add some things for fun, though.)
Do I Need a Baby Registry?
Some expecting parents may want a baby shower, while others might prefer to just celebrate quietly on their own. Although a baby registry is often used in the event of a baby shower, you don’t need to have a baby shower to have a registry.
Note: First-time parents tend to throw showers while those with young children already usually host a baby sprinkle.
Registries may take some time to build, but every expectant couple should build a registry anyways. Babies need a lot of stuff, some of which can be pretty expensive. Even if you aren’t going to have a baby shower, a registry can allow friends and family to help out the new parents.
How Should I Build a Registry?
The gift registry is a somewhat new concept; it was invented by Macy’s during the 1920s. In this pre-internet era, shoppers would go to the store in person, and sales associates would cross off each item to avoid double gifting.
Nowadays, many different websites allow you to build a baby registry, and some registry sites are specifically oriented toward babies. Many stores also have websites that will allow you to build a variety of registries, including a baby registry.
It’s usually better to find a site specifically for a baby registry. That way, you can find products from many stores instead of focusing on just one or making multiple baby registries.
Baby Clothes and Linens
One of the primary things that babies need is clothing. Clothing keeps them warm and cozy, and sometimes it can help contain any messes that might happen.
Linens are indispensable: Towels and washcloths are key players during bathtime, but they are capable of far more.
Onesies are the foundation of every baby outfit. They are cute and comfortable, and they make diaper changes easier. They can protect your little one’s stomach while they crawl and keep older babies from trying to remove their diapers.
A Tabeeze Bottom-Up Baby Bodysuit is the number one onesie to add to your nursery closet. Tabeeze is made to be comfortable for both babies and parents. For parents, it’s a breeze to change, thanks to the fumble-free snaps and bottom-up dressing capabilities. For babies, instead of skin-irritating zippers and velcro, Tabeeze has flat inner seams and nickel-free snaps.
The Bottom-Up Baby Bodysuit facilitates skin-to-skin contact and makes every diaper change a snap.
Pants are helpful in keeping your little one warm in cold weather, and they can keep the knees of a crawling baby protected from any potential rug burns.
Winter clothing is another must-have, especially in a cold area. What your baby will need depends on where you live. In colder regions, a snowsuit or parka might be in order. If winters tend to be cool but not freezing, a jacket or sweater might be more appropriate.
Hats, booties, and socks can be part of a cool or cold-weather closet. When dressing a baby for winter, pay attention to layers. Mimic what you’re sporting and dress your baby in the same way, but adding one layer.
Note: While winter clothing can include mittens, many babies use them outside of the snowy season. Mittens prevent babies from scratching their faces accidentally (hint: add nail clippers to that list, too!)
Adults tend to associate the word “blanket“ with bedtime, but infant safe-sleeping practices dictate that a new baby should never sleep with a blanket.
That’s why receiving blankets aren’t for bedtime. Instead, they’re for the other action-packed hours of the day.
Depending on which blankets you purchase, they may be a little small to work as swaddles, but they are great for:
- Cleaning up spit up
- Keeping baby warm in the car seat
- Adding extra layers to the stroller
- Using as a makeshift changing pad
You may have plenty of things to use to wipe spit up, but burp cloths are unique; they’re small and easy to place over your shoulder while burping your little one.
Along with burp clothes, don’t forget to add some bibs to your list of baby registry items. Having more than you think you need can be a lifesaver: infants under three months spit up roughly three times a day.
Items for Bedtime
You plugged in the night light and sang a lullaby; what else do you need?
The first thing that your little one will need is a bassinet. Keeping the bassinet in the parents’ room can reduce the stress of late-night crying sessions and make feeding and diapering faster.
Once your little one is six months to a year, they will most likely need a crib. Generally, babies outgrow bassinets once they can push themselves onto their hands and knees, although you should always check the bassinet's instructions.
Baby mattresses should be firmer than adult mattresses, so you need a mattress that is made for a baby’s crib. A crib mattress shouldn’t sag when your baby snuggles in, and the pad must reach every corner with no gaps anywhere.
Crib Sheets and Mattress Protectors
It’s an unfortunate fact of parenting that babys’ diapers often leak, no matter how good they are. It’s better to have a mattress protector than to try to clean a mattress.
Sheets are another necessity. Not only can they be cute and add brightness to your baby’s room, but they are usually much softer and more comfortable than only a mattress protector.
One of the things that might help your newborn sleep at night is swaddling them. It mimics the snugness and warmth of the womb and may help prevent your baby’s startle reflex upon waking up.
You can find swaddling blankets, which are blankets that are the right size to swaddle your little one until they can roll. There are also pre-made swaddles, which are made easy to fold.
After your baby begins to roll over independently, they shouldn’t be swaddled anymore. However, blankets aren’t safe for babies to use quite yet.
Sleep sacks are an excellent option for babies. They’re like tiny sleeping bags for babies, except they aren’t as bulky and are safer than blankets.
White Noise Machine
A white noise machine can be beneficial, especially if your little one has trouble sleeping or getting to sleep. These machines block out unpleasant sounds (like traffic or loud neighbors) and replace these noises with something peaceful and calming.
Once your little one starts sleeping in their own room, a baby monitor can come in handy. A monitor will help you check on them without accidentally disturbing their sleep.
Even though babies don’t get dirty very often, they still need to be bathed a few times a week.
Consider these baby bath supplies:
Towels and Washcloths
Baby towels are made to be gentle on your baby’s skin while still being super absorbent. Add a touch of whimsy to bathtime with hooded towels that look like animals or cartoon characters.
Washing your little one is much easier if you use a washcloth, especially when their umbilical cord hasn’t fallen off yet. With a washcloth, you can work around the cord to keep it from getting wet.
Babies will likely need baby-specific products when it comes to skincare. Reading the labels is a must here — for many reasons. For example, some baby shampoos can double as body washes, although it will depend on the product.
Other products might have phthalates or other irritating additives. For peace of mind (for your baby’s skin and the planet), earth-friendly items are a nursery priority.
Even when they’re small, babies squirm a lot, so it can be challenging to hold them and bathe them simultaneously. That’s why there are infant tubs.
After your baby’s umbilical cord falls off, you can place them in an infant tube. It props a baby up, like a bouncer seat, to make washing them easier. When your baby is old enough to sit on their own, there are infant bath seats that your baby can use.
Items To Improve Diaper Changes
Diaper changing is a necessary part of parenting.
Since your little one will be going through a lot of diapers, you’re going to need some gear first:
A diaper bag will carry all of the diapering gear, as well as extra clothes. Some diaper bags have a cooler that you can use to take breastmilk with you on the go. Others function as a makeshift changer table with an unfolding flap (which must still be sanitized).
When it comes to baby products, none are more essential than diapers. Whether you’re welcoming your first baby or your fifth, diapers should be on every list. Unlike a pack-n-play or glider/rocking chair, diapers don’t typically work as a hand-me-down, especially if you go the disposable route.
When weighing the options between cloth and disposable diapers, consider factors like cost, environmental impact, and time bandwidth.
If you opt for cloth diapers, you may need safety pins or diaper covers, depending on which variation you pick. Additional items include a diaper pail, diaper sprayer, and baby-safe detergent.
Diaper wipes are another common gift request, but first, figure out what kind you need. Skin-safe wipes should be free of unnecessary chemicals or additives. Water-based wipes are particularly kind to sensitive skin.
Some parents like wipe warmers, but these might not be as necessary as the more critical diapers or an infant car seat.
Changing Table/Changing Pad
A changing pad is a fan favorite since you can use it to change a diaper anywhere.
Changing tables usually have places where you can store your diaper supplies but make sure to carefully follow all safety instructions.
Breastfeeding Toolkit Products
If you decide to breastfeed, here are a couple of gifts you might hope to receive:
A nursing pillow is a C-shaped pillow to help prop up a mother’s arms and the baby she is nursing. Nursing can be tiring, and this pillow helps prevent arm fatigue.
Nursing Bras and Pads
Nursing bras can be helpful for breastfeeding mothers. They allow for quick and easy access while still providing the support of a bra and absorbing breast milk leaks.
Bottle Feeding Gifts
Bottle feeding is another option: With pumped breast milk or formula feedings, caregivers can share the feeding duties more evenly.
Whether your family chooses pumped breast milk or formula, you’ll need bottle-feeding equipment.
Different bottle nipples allow for unique flow speeds, and oftentimes, babies have preferences — this might be a trial and error buy.
There are plenty of baby bottles to choose from. Besides flow speed, certain bottle nipples can prove an easier latch or make it less confusing for infants to switch between breastfeeding to bottle feeding.
While you can warm formula or breast milk in a number of ways, you may want to consider a bottle warmer.
If you want to bottle feed with breast milk, grab a high-quality breast pump.
You have many options, including electrical pumps and hand pumps. Some mothers will find that an electrical pump works better for them, while others prefer hand pumps. Some prefer a hands-free option to pump while working or relaxing.
To keep baby bottles clean, you might want some bottle brushes. Other cleaning techniques include microwave steam sterilizers or antibacterial chemical sterilization solutions.
(You may also want to consider a drying rack.)
Baby Travel Necessities
Every infant co-pilot needs a car seat. Car seats keep babies safe and secure while in the car. This is one of the more expensive items that you’ll have on your registry list, which means it's one of the most important ones to add.
A stroller is another must-have. While wraps and baby carriers have their place, strollers can help take some of the weight off while going for a long walk, whether on a trail or at an amusement park.
Playtime Nursery Must-Haves
Upon their big entrance, newborns don’t quite have enough coordination to actively play with and engage with toys.
However, toys are still a classic registry item since they’ll come in handy soon enough. Plus, this is one of the items people most love to buy.
Toys for Tummy Time
Play mats are great when your baby starts reaching for interesting objects and rolling around. Mats are super important for tummy time andusually have bars that go over them with toys that hang down for your baby to grab.
Toys That Improve Motor Skills
Consider toys that encourage babies to do new things. For example, a wooden stack tower can help babies develop stacking skills and figure out how things fit together. This is part of fine motor development.
While newborns are a long way away from going on strolls, you might want to add a sit-to-stand walker or baby walker to your baby registry checklist. Not only do these help with the development of walking muscles (and further gross motor skills), but some of the best baby walkers will also work as sound machines or colorful moveable additions to enhance playtime.
What Other Baby Items Might I Need?
Even though we’ve covered a lot of the basics, you might still need to add a few things to your registry:
A thermometer is always good to have on hand. If your baby feels warmer than usual, now you have a way to check their temperature.
Since babies can’t hold a thermometer under their tongues, armpit, rectal, or forehead monitors are ideal.
Snot Sucker/Nasal Aspirator
Babies can’t blow their noses on their own, so you’ll need something that can pull the mucus out: a snot sucker. Before introducing this (or any other first aid type device), contact your pediatrician before proceeding.
Sucking is a natural reflex for babies. It’s how they eat and calm themselves down — that’s why they suck their fingers or thumbs. For a hands-free (literally) soothing aid, perhaps add a pacifier to your baby registry items.
Not all parents opt to introduce pacifiers to their set of childcare techniques. This is on a case-by-case basis; some parents love how pacifiers help their baby sleep and calm down. Others are concerned pacifiers might interfere with teeth growth and breastfeeding practice.
Planning for Your Baby’s Arrival
When getting ready to meet your newest family member, there are a lot of things that you’ll need. A baby registry can help organize the items you want. Plus, you’ll have a list to give someone if they ask what you want.
Armed with this information, you can make a great registry full of adorable, practical, and eco-friendly baby items.