My Baby Registry Recommendations
Once most of your friends are married, you can breathe a sigh of relief. That expensive season of weddings, bridal showers, and bachelorette parties has passed.
But wait—baby showers are may be just around the corner.
Luckily, celebrating your friends’ new baby is often less pricey than their nuptials. And of course, who doesn’t love buying tiny, adorable clothing? It’s a fun event to shop for, but what are the items new parents need most? (Hint: it isn’t onesies!) And when it’s your turn to pop out a little, where are the best places to register?
What New Parents Need
There are hundreds of lists already out there on what to register for, from minimalists/natural parenting lists that even eliminate the crib, to the Babies ‘R’ Us recommendations which would have you register for nearly everything in the entire store. Sure, all baby really needs is you, but some baby gear will make your life a whole lot easier.
I’m not going to rehash the list, except to say I do recommend a crib! I will share some of my favorite less-obvious baby products, as well as listing a few that I didn’t find all that helpful, at least for us.
Thermometer—this is one of the best gifts I received. Our first night at home was grueling. Baby was fussy, we finally realized he had a heat rash, and couldn’t get an accurate read with the cheapo thermometer that came with the mostly useless baby grooming kit we registered for. (I’m still using the nail clippers, though.) My friend overnighted me this thermometer and it’s been such a trusty parenting tool. Plus my kids actually enjoy getting their temperature taken with it!
Rechargeable batteries—an endless number of other gadgets operate on batteries, and while it’s wise to pick out items with electric options, sometimes you just can’t. Enter rechargeable batteries, the least expected but invaluable baby shower gift.
Travel white noise machine—we are not homebodies and definitely took our kids out and about a lot. White noise helped them sleep on the road and while we host at home.
Light-blocking curtains—I really believe these made such a difference in our babies abilities to sleep, and I’m not the only young mom to say so. Sure, taping cardboard over the window works too, but I like to be able to let in sunlight when it’s not sleepy time.
Stroller frame—if you have a smaller car or just don’t want your stoller dominating your entire trunk, consider getting a stroller frame that fits the car seat. It doesn’t have an actual seat, and you’ll need a different stroller when the baby outgrows the car seat, but by then they’re ready for a jogging stroller or umbrella stroller anyway.
Jogging stroller—if you want to do any off-sidewalking, I highly recommend a jogging stroller. Most regular strollers have smaller wheels that don’t do well on grass. I’m not acquainted with the fancier, more expensive strollers, but the standard brands don’t do well off pavement. Even bumps in the sidewalk can be a lot for many strollers to take. We’ve used our jogging stroller for hiking, camping, walking, and, of course, jogging.
Ergo carrier—the nice thing about the Ergo carrier is that it allows you to wear the baby from a very young age up through toddlerhood. It transitions from front to back (and can be worn on the side as well, though I’ve never tried it).
Bath tub with sling—this is far from a necessity but we loved ours so much and the babies seemed to love it, too. It’s a small plastic tub with a mesh sling that clips on for infants. It made bathing their slippery little selves so much easier. And when they’re able to sit up, it was a nice shape for them to keep bathing in without the sling, until they were steady enough for the big tub.
Pack n play—we used ours a ton. Didn’t get the fancy model with the changer attachment, though. It still seems too low.
Swaddle Me blankets—we loved these. I thought my daughter was going to go off to college still sleeping in these. I also liked the Miracle Swaddle.
Baby book—you’ll definitely want to document the first year.
The new product I’m going to get for baby #3: a rock ‘n’ play. I’m planning to borrow one of these because they look absolutely awesome! Babies seem to find them cozy, they fold down small, and are super easy to transport from room to room or for travel. I didn’t know they existed when I had my first.
I’ve included affiliate links to the products we liked, or similar, but of course, if you can find some of these used you’ll save a ton. I’d recommend getting a new car seat, pack n play, and stroller if you plan to have multiple kids, as it seems like the normal-priced baby items are only designed to go last for 2-3 kids.
Don’t Register For:
Clothing—you’ll get it anyway. Especially onesies.
Bowls that claim they won’t spill—they will spill. Toddlers are geniuses at spilling things.
What to Expect the First Year—there are one million copies of this in the universe already. Get a used one. Or just talk to another mom. You won’t have time to read, anyway.
I found I did not get a ton of use out of my swing, Bumpo seat, or doorway jumper. Didn’t need a video monitor. Didn’t need a Scandinavian snot sucker. Sophie the Giraffe is not magical. Wouldn’t get a diaper pail that doesn’t use regular trash bags. Or anything really gimmicky or trendy unless you are trying solutions for a specific problem.
I loved registering on Amazon. There are so many options, which can be overwhelming, but also means you can get what you really want. The reviews and ratings are also very helpful. I liked that I could register for non-baby items like curtains, a lamp, a hamper, a nightstand, and books. If I wanted to see something in-person, I’d check it out at a retail store first.
What was the most useful baby item in your opinion? What was not that worthwhile?
For us it was the vibrating sling chair. I’m not sure we could have made it without that thing. Not only would it quiet her down almost instantly, it was a virtual guarantee for a, well, poop, and every parent knows the value of that.
I do have something like that, which I loved.
I think every mom has her own list of “must haves”. I’ve LOVED our video monitor, doorway jumper and snot sucker.
Our baby didn’t get a lot of good clothes. For the first two weeks she wore the same four newborn outfits. We had plenty of 0-6 month clothes, but most of them were gender neutral and strangers thought she was a boy. I actually went out and bought some girly clothes for her.
We registered for a stroller with attaching car seat, but not only was it impractical (we never took it anywhere) but the stroller was junk on our gravel roads. Now she’s 7 months old and almost grown out of the car seat. We haven’t needed a noise machine, it was way too hot when she was little to swaddle and we didn’t buy an official “baby book”. I just got a little black notebook to write all of her firsts in. I think babywearing is a little overrated too; I had fantasies of baby in a moby wrap while I did dishes. In actuality my back starts to hurt after 20-30 minutes and about the only thing I can do while baby wearing is walk around the house.
I think even “What to Expect” is overrated because parenting rules change so often. I followed the book religiously until I discovered that some of the recommendations on introducing solids were outdated- in a relatively new book!! Then I was like, screw this book, there is no perfect way to parent. They’re nice for predicting milestones but half of the “how to” information from a thrift store book is probably outdated anyway.
So yeah, to each her own.
Yes, it is highly individual and depends not only on the mom, but also on the kid. And you can’t really predict what they’ll like before they’re born. We used the Ergo a lot for travel, hiking, etc. Not really around the house. I agree–it hurt my back and I start wearing them on my back as soon as they were physically ready for that. The Moby only worked for me when they were tiny, and it wasn’t like I was getting a ton of housework done with them strapped to me!
I could not have lived with out my baby bouncer! So handy to set them in while you shower and what not and my last baby would only sleep at night if she was in that thing!
The most worthless thing that I received was a wipes warmer. I thought it would be so nice but I rarely used it. Plus, half the time you change the baby you are in random spots (living room, floor, out and about).
I think the best things are items you get from friends. Babies use everything for such a short time. Also, the joy of a free stash of clothes cannot be matched! Who has time/energy/money to shop after baby anyway?!
We had a seat that wasn’t exactly a bouncer, but served the same purpose. We used it a lot. We never had a wipes warmer and never wanted one.
I agree that hand-me-downs are the best. We got so many things that way, and I’ve lent/passed on things as well.
The one thing I would take off the list for people like me is that baby book. I had them for two of my three children, and I had great intentions to fill them in faithfully – even for #2 after I’d failed to follow through with #1. It just didn’t happen:( Highly organized moms and dads need only apply:)
I look forward to hearing the big news, Kalie. All the best!
I did actually fill my baby books in–at least for the first year–with a lot of reminders from my husband! I know many people don’t, though!