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What You (Actually) Need on Your Baby Registry

Whitney Eaton

When I shared my nursing experience with you guys a couple weeks ago, I mentioned how thankful I was for my friend, Brandy, for preparing me for how difficult it was going to be. Well, she also totally saved me from registering for a bunch of stuff I didn't need. (I have the BEST friends.) I want to do you the same favor and break down the list that Brandy sent me before Dax was born.

baby registry

(This post contains Amazon affiliate links.)

The NEEDS

Car Seat & Base (a spare base doesn't hurt either) - As infants, the seat/carrier almost always stays with the baby. Having a base in both of your cars, or even the grandparents' car is super convenient. And, of course, you can't leave the hospital without a car seat! We got the Chicco Keyfit System, and I absolutely love it, which brings me to our next item.....

...Stroller! - We LOVE the Chicco Keyfit Stroller even now that Dax is toddling. The lap bar can fit a drink and snacks, and many of my mom friends have mentioned their envy of this feature. You can usually buy attachments for other strollers that will accommodate drinks and snacks, but they're flimsy and easily toppled. The Keyfit lap bar holds the carrier in place, so it's super sturdy, but easy for Dax to reach.

Diaper Bag - Get a backpack. I started with a shoulder bag, and anytime I was wearing Dax in the moby wrap or Ergobaby, it was impossible to also carry around a shoulder bag. Backpacks are much more practical, or at least get a bag that can be both if you're determined to have a cute shoulder bag. (It also helps to get one that comes with a changing pad. It's just easier because you already know the changing pad fits neatly into the bag.)

Pack 'n Play - News flash: it takes awhile for baby to sleep through the night. You'll more than likely want her to sleep in your room for the first months. A pack 'n play, in my opinion, is preferable to a bassinet because it'll also come in super handy later on when you vacation or take baby to grandma's. We really like this pack 'n play by Graco. It folds easily, has a nice carrying bag, and was easy to raise and lower. You'll also want a couple sheets. 

Baby Bath Tub - We only used ours for the first 3-4 months, until Dax could sit up on his own, but it really was necessary in the beginning. I'm not sure how else we would've successfully cleaned him. Because it doesn't get much use, we went with something inexpensive.

Thermometer - Don't skimp here, you don't want to get a cheap thermometer and then not trust it. When it comes to your peace of mind, the extra money is worth it. We love this one.

Monitor - I also recommend not skimping here. We opted for a wi-fi enabled monitor. My husband is really an old man when it comes to his fears of being hacked and/or monitored by "big brother." Wi-fi enabled monitors are much more difficult to hack into, the hacker would have to actually hack into your wi-fi as opposed to the radio frequency. We love the iBaby, we can listen to him, speak to him AND record him.

Diapers and wipes - register for diapers IN ALL SIZES. You need soooo many, and if they're on your registry people will be able to SEE that you still need them. This is an awesome post about how many diapers you'll likely need for baby's first year, and how to stockpile. We didn't have to buy diapers for the first 4 MONTHS! It was amazing, they're so expensive, and I am so grateful that it was one less thing we had to stress over during the most difficult time. When you consider how long kids are in diapers, your need for wipes is incredible.

Grooming Kit - Their little nails are so sharp. Quick tip: trim and file them while they're sleeping. Also, the combs and brushes in the grooming kits can help you combat any cradle cap that might creep up, just comb their hair during the bath and the cradle cap comes right out. 

The Nice-to-Haves

Nose Frieda - The babies hate it, but it is sooooo much better than an aspirator. And trust me, they will have runny noses, it's unavoidable. 

Waterproof Lap Pads - WHOA these are AWESOME! The first few months you're feeding baby where ever you happen to be in the house when they decide they're hungry. It can be a messy affair. There's leaking and spit up. These will save you from having to clean everything else. 

Boppy Lounger - So great. When I needed to use the restroom or shower in the early months, it is so easily portable, I could just take it with me from room to room and put Dax there to be safe and comfy. 

Llama Mama Nursing Tops - Of course, I may be biased, but nursing tops are so convenient. Ours are loose-fitting and comfortable, but I still felt cute enough to wear them out. 

Seat Protector - I am glad I got one of these to go under the carseat. It has protected my rear seat from damaging indentations from the base, Dax's dirty shoes, and spilled drinks. 

Bottles and Bottle Accessories - This is a tricky one. There are so many different brands of bottles and shapes of bottle nipples because babies have a preference. I suggest registering for one or two different types, seeing what your baby is satisfied with, and then filling out your stash on your own. We own 14+ bottles, and Dax never drank from a single bottle. When I started giving him water, he just went straight to a straw. So I'm by no means an expert here. 

Pacifiers - Similar to bottles. Some babies take them, some don't. You may want to register for a couple different types. I had planned on not giving Dax a paci, at least not until he was well adjusted to nursing, but they gave him one at the hospital... that's all she wrote.

Bumbo with Tray - This came in super handy when Dax was starting solids, but still too small for a high chair. The portability is nice too.

Boppy Nursing Pillow - This is nice to have in the beginning, especially during the night time feedings. By the end, I was nursing Dax on the go so much, mine rarely got any use. 

Play Mat - These can earn you some free time, and they're great for encouraging tummy time. We were gifted this one, and Dax still plays with the toys on occasion.

Changing Pad, Cover and Liners - A quick note on nursery items in general: don't freak out if you haven't been nesting or preparing the nursery. In most instances, babies don't move to their room for 6 months. Take your time there, and don't feel rushed. Buying a crib could potentially be an outing you take WITH your baby when it's time. The same goes for changing table. We just have an IKEA dresser, with this changing pad place on it. This way, we can use the dresser later. I actually still change Dax consistently on the changing table, but MANY of my friends never use theirs. They just do diaper changes where ever is convenient at the moment. 

Wipes Warmer - We love ours, but again, we have friends who think they're a waste. In the beginning, I used it because it kept the wipes warm. Now I mostly use it because it's WAY easier to just pull one wipe at a time out of the warmer than the padded packs of wipes I get with my amazon subscription.

Diaper Genie - I have the Dekor diaper pail. I love it, but Bran makes a fair point: you're really just giving yourself another trash can to empty, and the refill bags are an extra expense. It's just as easy to take the diaper to the trash can. 

Things You'll Need in a Few Months

Bowls and Spoons - I started Dax on solids at 4 months, earlier than most people, I think. We have gotten a ton of use out of these. I love the OXO brand, but my husband wasn't a fan of their spoons, so we have some of these we like too. 

High Chair - I love IKEA's high chair. It is inexpensive, easy to get Dax in and out of, and I don't have a crazy patterned fabric messing with the look of my modern kitchen. You can also get silicon mats specifically for this high chair on Etsy in all different colors and patterns. Double win!

Tub Toys - Dax is obsessed with his bath crayons. We also just have the Little People Superheroes in the tub, and these hanging bags for storage. The suction cups on those bags are awesome! 

Outlet Covers and Cabinet Latches - Dax figured out so early how our phone chargers fit into the outlets. We had to plug those up around 5 months. I rearrange the kitchen cabinets a bit so that he can open most of the lowers. Pulling stuff out of the cabinets can keep him occupied for a whole hour while I get dinner ready. Life saving. The others I had to latch, and I was really please with these 3M ones.

The Don'ts
(Do not register for these things, trust me)

Bibs, Burp Cloths, Towels & Blankets - People will buy these for you whether or not they're on your registry, it's the fun stuff to buy! If you register for it, you're just losing space for items that you really need. I cannot tell you how many blankets and bibs we have that were never used. 

Clothes - Same thing. People will get you something off your registry AND an outfit. Plus, babies grow out of their clothes so fast, at such different rates, and it's so difficult to predict what season it will be when your baby is in that particular size. It's more fun for you to shop for your baby anyway, so register for your NEEDS and put YOUR dollars into their little, baby wardrobe.

Baby Wash and Lotion - Dax is 16 months old, and I still haven't bought any of this. People LOVE to buy you the thing that will make your baby smell like baby.

Bonus

I am a huge fan of Babylist.com for registries. You can surf the internet and add things from ANY website.  You might alienate a few people by not having a registry at a physical store (or you could do both), but I only got a complaint from one grandma, and she still purchased from Babylist. 

I hope this is helpful! I'd love for you to share your thoughts and opinions on baby registries or items you have gotten that you loved or never used.

-Whitney