Helpful Tidbits, Products + Reviews

Baby Registry Basics

So you’re having a baby… Yay!!! Congratulations on bringing a brand new, adorable little squish into the world!

Deciding what to buy/register for when you’re pregnant with your first baby can be so overwhelming at the beginning. Recently a friend of mine (who’s pregnant with her first baby, hooray!) asked me if I could share with her a list of everything I think is a “baby essential” for new mamas. She’s putting together her registry and was looking for tips on where to get started. I sent her my list but I thought I’d share it here as well, just in case other mamas-to-be could benefit from it.

{By the way, I am by no means an expert…these were just things that I personally registered for and/or found super helpful these past four months with Jameson. I also have a shorter review of my top eight favorite baby products, which you can check out here.}

Okay strap in and let’s get started…

Stroller & Car Seat

I thought I’d start off with the big ones. You can buy these separately but we’ve found that the stroller + car seat combo option (aka a travel system) is super convenient and easy because you can literally unclick the car seat from its base in your car and click it right into the stroller (which is extra magical when Jameson falls asleep in the car and we don’t want to wake him up). We use the Britax B Agile (stroller) with the Britax B Safe (car seat) but there are lots of other great brands as well. Alternatively, you can actually buy a car seat alone and then buy a stroller frame that the car seat can click into, but that stroller frame can’t be used in the future without the infant car seat. So that’s why we chose the full travel system instead, and we’ve loved it from day one.

Baby Carrier

There are sooo many options and I drove myself crazy researching and trying to figure out the best ones. Ultimately I bought two different wraps (but I liked the Solly Baby the best out of the two…it can be used for an infant and an older baby) AND we also got a soft-structured carrier (the Ergobaby 360) for things like zoo trips and situations where I want to wear Jameson for longer periods of time. But if you prefer wraps to the structured carriers (or vice versa) you really don’t need both…that’s just what we did.

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Swing or Bouncer

Seriously, if you can get your great-aunt-whoever to buy you a really nice swing, it will not disappoint. If not, just go with the best you can afford. Total life saver for me when I needed to get dinner together or clean up or whatever and Jameson was too little to just leave somewhere and be entertained. We have the Fisher-Price My Little Snuggapuppy swing. Getting a bouncer is another (cheaper) option, but you probably don’t need both the swing and the bouncer, so go with whatever works best for you.

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Graco Pack ‘n Play with reversible napper and changer

{Find it here on Amazon} This bad boy is easily packed up and taken places so your baby always has a safe place to sleep and play. Plus it has a bassinet on top which flips to be a changing station, so you can set it up in your bedroom and let your little one sleep there at night if you want. Otherwise, you might want to buy a full bassinet to keep in your room during the first few months. If you go with the Pack ‘n Play, though, it’s all in one (the main reason we went that route). You’ll also want to register for a couple of the Pack ‘n Play mattress sheets (on Amazon here) and possibly a separate, more comfy mattress than the one it comes with (such as the Dream on Me), if you’re planning on using it long-term.

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Bath Time Supplies

  • Go with the cheap blue bathtub that everyone gets (Walmart has them here) with the infant sling in it for when your baby is super itty bitty. No need to get fancy in this area.

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  • We use plain old Johnson & Johnson products for shampoo, body wash, and lotion (you can register for the gift set if you prefer).
  • And make sure you throw some washcloths and hooded towels on the registry for your babe, too.

Sleepy Supplies

  • First off, you’ll definitely want to register for some swaddle blankets. You can get specific “swaddlers” that just velcro so you don’t have to worry about wrapping and folding and all that black magic, but Jameson never liked those. We ended up buying a bunch of the adin + anais muslin blankets instead (kind of pricey but if someone buys them for you…scoreee!). They’re super breathable and can be used for swaddling of course, but we use them for lots of other things too.

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  • Depending on your house size, you’re going to want to register for some baby monitors. If you’re in a small apartment you might not even need them, but if you’re in a larger home (or if you’re just a worrier like me) then you’ll need some good ones. We originally registered for audio-only monitors but as we’ve been transitioning Jameson to his crib at night, I personally felt like I needed more for my own peace of mind. So with our Christmas gift cards we ordered the Levana Stella video monitor and it’s been awesome. Either way, do a bit of research before you decide on a monitor so that you’re sure you found a quality one.
  • A sound machine is another item you might want on your registry, especially if you have loud neighbors, loud animals, loud spouses (ahem). There are plenty of cheap ones that will do the trick, or you can go all out and get a fancy shmancy one. We use the plain old HoMedics SoundSpa sound machine and keep it on the white noise setting. Or sometimes we just put a small fan in Jameson’s room, which works just as well for drowning out unwanted noises.Some sort of night light. Doesn’t have to be anything expensive (unless you want it to be), but I’d definitely recommend one for those late night feedings when you’re basically half asleep and bumping into everything.

Feeding Supplies

  • Bottles/slow-flow nipples if you’re planning on bottle-feeding or pumping (even if you’re not, you might want to grab a couple of bottles and nipples like the Philips Avent starter gift set, as well as some formula, just in case you get in a bind and breastfeeding isn’t an option at the moment for whatever reason).

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  • A hand pump and/or an electric pump for breastfeeding mamas (you can get a nice electric pump through your insurance under Obama Care). Also some sort of storage system for your pumped milk, if you want. {I can’t really speak too much on this area because I personally don’t pump or store breast milk.
  • Burp cloths. LOTS of burp cloths. (We use Gerber brand and they double as cloth diapers if you’re into that sort of thing). Some bibs might be good as well.

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  • Nursing pads for inside your bra (I personally prefer the washable kind because they’re softer and cheaper than constantly buying the disposable kind). Even if you don’t plan on breastfeeding, having some nursing pads on hand is helpful at the beginning because you’ll most likely leak a little when your milk comes in.
  • Nipple cream or butter (I just used Lanolin by Lansinoh when I needed it at the beginning) but I’ve also heard good things about Earth Mama Angel Baby nipple butter.
  • A good nursing cover. Don’t skimp on this one! It’s so worth it if you’re breastfeeding. I started with the standard bib-type (aka the front-facing cape) but it felt so awkward and revealing to me so I searched for a more modest option. Ultimately I found Covered Goods and ordered the cover online almost immediately. It’s literally probably my favorite baby-related purchase, not only because it’s so modest and comfortable but also because it has so many other uses as well. Check them out for sure!

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  • A Boppy (or some other type of nursing pillow) is helpful when you’re learning how to breastfeed, and it’s good for tummy time for babes. You’ll also want to register for at least two nursing pillow covers just because…babies are messy.

Diapering Doo-Dads

  • You can register for diapers and wipes, but you’ll probably get those as gifts anyway.
  • A wipe warmer. Some people say to skip this one, but for Jameson it was a must. When he was a newborn he haaaateeedd getting his diaper changed and a wipe warmer seriously made such a difference for him.

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  • Some type of diaper rash cream (I highly recommend Boudreaux’s Butt Paste, partly because the name is hilarious but also because it’s just a really good product)
  • Possibly a diaper pail, although we just use a small trash can.
  • A good diaper bag. There are about 6 zillion options to overwhelm you, but whatever you decide…make sure it’s good quality. You’ll probably be using it for many years down the road (and possibly for multiple kids), so invest now. I went with a Ju Ju Be diaper bag (the Ju Ju Be B.F.F. model because it’s also a backpack) and I’ve loved it ever since. Cute, convenient, comfortable to carry, machine-washable, and versatile.

Nursery Essentials

{Just stick with the basics.}

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  • A mattress (you can go organic with this, or something like the Safety 1st Heavenly Dreams mattress on Amazon)
  • A few waterproof mattress pads and a couple of extra sheets (for those lovely late-night leaking adventures)
  • A dresser (we have the Fisher-Price Lakeland Double Dresser that matches the crib)
  • A changing pad to go on top of the dresser if you want to skip the whole extra “changing table” piece of furniture like we did) and a few changing pad covers to go on it.
  • A glider for you (doesn’t have to be fancy, just something comfy you can rock/feed your bebe in when you get tired of bouncing them around). We just got one of the cheapest ones we could find on Amazon and it’s been perfectly fine.
  • A mobile like the ones from Buy Buy Baby can be great.

Playtime 

  • A play mat is a MUST (Jameson learned so much about using his hands from his mat and he has so much fun with it). Fisher-Price makes great ones, in a variety of price ranges.

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  • For older babies, Exersaucers are a blast (found here on Buy Buy Baby) and so are those bumper jumpers that you can attach to the door frame (found here on Buy Buy Baby).
  • You might also want to see if a Bumbo (on Amazon here) is something you want for when your baby is a little older. If so, I’d recommend getting the tray attachment for it so your baby can easily play with toys or have a snack or whatever else.

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  • Some sort of car seat toy (Amazon has a bunch of options here). This is especially useful when you have a baby like Jameson who strongly believes that the car seat is quite literally torture.
  • Maybe a couple of bath toys? You can delay this, though. Newborns just sort of lay there in the bath haha.
  • Any other toy that looks fun! Rattles, things with buttons and silly songs, some teethers. But really, you’re probably going to get a bunch of these whether you register for them or not.

Randoms

  • Pacifiers. You’ll probably want to register for a couple different brands to see which your babe prefers (if any). We used Soothies at first and now Nuk brand since Jameson was about one month old.

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  • Some sort of snot remover device (we use the NeilMed Naspira Nasal-Oral Aspirator which looks like the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen in your life but works SO AMAZINGLY WELL). You can also pick it up at Target or Walmart or wherever.
  • A mirror for the car so you can see your baby while you drive (like this one).
  • Receiving blankets are great to have on hand, for swaddling when the baby is little and for tummy time and things like that (those things get so much spit up on them all the time, you’ll probably want quite a few).
  • Maybe a couple of cute baby blankets, although you’ll most likely get those as gifts anyway.

 

And that’s it! Phew! You made it.

** Word to the wise…don’t bother registering for baby clothes unless there’s something specific you really really want. You’ll be up to your eyeballs in adorable baby clothes at your shower anyway. **

Another AWESOME resource I’d encourage you to check out is Lucie’s List. It’s what I used when I was researching baby products and putting together my registry. The sheer number of options for literally every baby product is like…insane. But Lucie’s List made it easy for me to compare the top brands and choose what I thought would be best for my baby and my family. Plus Meg (the main author) is hilarious and she has a great newsletter that gets sent directly to your email with tips and info depending on where you are in your pregnancy/mommyhood. I loved getting those newsletters every couple of weeks during my pregnancy, and even after the birth of my son.

I hope you found this giant registry overhaul helpful!!! Please comment with any other registry essentials you may have, or with any questions. Thanks for reading!

– Jess

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