I’m one of those people who LOVED making my baby registry because I had basically already made one in my head over the years watching what my mom friends had collected and used. I know this can be stressful for a lot of women, though, especially if you’re not into having a ton of stuff or don’t like how a lot of baby stuff looks! Below is my list of things that I used those first few months of mamahood – I made this list for my sister who will be bringing her baby home to a one bedroom apartment and then moving shortly after. She didn’t want a ton of stuff before she really needed it. There’s also a list of “nice to haves” below in case you’re wanting a little more. This does not include nursery items because I didn’t register for a lot of nursery things. Nursery items and “organization” forthcoming in another post 🙂
I recommend creating an official registry, even if you’re not having a traditional baby shower! People will want to buy you gifts, and it’s nice to have a spot to direct them so they’re staying on script, so to speak. Most registries have a completion discount, too, so when you get closer to your due date you’ll be able to buy any last minute needed items with a percentage off. I made registries on both Amazon and Baby List because there were a few things that were not available on Amazon at that time.
My must list:
Safe place for baby to sleep: We felt most comfortable with the baby in our room in his own spot. We went with a bassinet, but some people opt for a pack and play, which would be a good two-in-one if you’re looking to not gather up too much stuff and have the space in your room. Don’t forget the sheets! They seem silly, but Baby will spit up/potty/poop on everything and it’s easier to clean a sheet than the little mattress pad.
Baby lounger: somewhere safe to set the baby down when they will let you set them down. We LIVED on the couch those first couple months, so it was nice to have somewhere for the baby to lay while I would get myself adjusted, or try to eat or go to the bathroom. I went with the Snuggle Me Organic because my sister-in-law got me hooked on their Instagram. I like that it’s smaller than some of the other brands, and the cover was easy to wash when it got messy. Definitely check their Instagram for discount codes! Other friends love their Dock-a-Tots and Boppy loungers, too.
Sound machine: we bought this one when I was pregnant to try to drown out the sounds of my husband sleeping (everything your partner does is made 100x worse when you’re pregnant and can’t sleep) and ended up buying a second one when baby moved to his own room. I’m a big believer in sound machines as a sleep aid, but more on that to come in an upcoming sleep post.
Night light: when you are nursing in the middle of the night 8 times a night, it is not fun to turn on a big, bright light. In my head this also helped establish a day/night rhythm for baby since it never got too bright after 9pm. We used a salt lamp that we already had and it was the perfect, calm glow in the middle of the night.
Swaddles: Not everyone swaddles, but I was a follower of Taking Cara Babies and the 5 S’s and they both promote swaddling to help baby feel safe and womb-like and to prevent the Moro reflex from waking the baby up. I was a fan, and found that the Halo swaddle I got for free in the hospital was better than the ones I originally registered for. I recommend registering for a couple.
Clothing: I was very lucky and got a good amount of newborn and 0-3 size clothing hand-me-down from a friend. Do you have any friends who are all done with their babies you can do this with? Can you buy used? Don’t collect too much, in my opinion. Elliot has lived in footie jammies for most of his life so far and it’s been fine. I ended up really liking Carter’s, Baby Gap, and Primary the most. I registered for some Burt’s Bees jammies but they were too snug to go on easily. Go with what feels good to your mama heart, but don’t stress too much. In newborn sizes, I’d recommend 7 jammies and an assortment of short/long sleeve onesies depending on the season. Maybe like, one pair of pants if you feel like being fancy.
Blankets: Register for a couple if you find some too adorable to resist, but people love gifting blankets so you’ll receive some no matter what.
Haakaa: I ended up having an oversupply of milk and this thing was a life saver. Check out a future breastfeeding post for how I used mine!
Milk saving bags: helpful to have ahead of time, in my opinion, but also very easy to send your partner out to get if needed.
Diapers and wipes: I originally registered for Pampers Pure but didn’t get too many diapers ahead of time except for a sweet diaper cake from my coworkers. We received a few different brands of diapers and ended up liking Honest the best for Elliot’s long body. In my experience, they all operate the same if you’re changing frequently and sizing up earlier than you think you should. Go with what your budget prefers 🙂
Car seat/stroller combo: After reading a handful of reviews and “best of” lists over months, I opted for the Chicco KeyFit 360 car seat and stroller combo. It works, and I feel confident that my baby is as safe as possible. I waited to buy a “real” stroller to see what I actually wanted to use one for, so I liked getting this stroller that the car seat can clip into. It was a safe spot for baby when we went on slow postpartum walks, and it was a huge help for running errands when I wasn’t fully healed from my cesarean and shouldn’t be carrying the baby and car seat. Note: everyone I know likes their car seat and everyone has a different brand. Whatever you go with will be great.
Baby wearing wraps: I have a few! I registered for the K’Tan, and that one was very easy to use especially when he was a newborn. I wish I had bought up a size, because the size I received was a little tight on my postpartum body. I got the Solly as a gift and actually preferred that one, even though the wrapping was a little more complicated. The wraps are so great for fussy days, and a lot of moms I know wear their babies constantly! I also got the Ergo 360 which has been great now that Elliot is bigger, but not for everyone and definitely don’t need it the first few months.
Burp cloths: Register for way more than you think you need. Elliot was just shy of having reflux and spit up CONSTANTLY. We have several different brands and they all do the same thing 😉
Pacifiers: I went with the Soothie brand only because that’s what I had seen a fellow mama friend use with her babies. Elliot took a pacifier for awhile before opting for his thumb, so I recommend not registering for too many like I did.
Baby bath items: I’m a Beautycounter consultant so I started with their baby line. I actually really liked it, and will buy more when I use up the other brands I received as gifts. My nonnegotiables are paraben, sulfates, and fragrance free. We started using baby lotion when we started giving Elliot baths more often.
Nose Frida: the hype is warranted. Definitely recommend this gross looking contraption for helping baby with congestion.
Thermometer: Ugh. Good luck. We have multiple thermometers but I don’t trust any of them. I feel like you need one, but if you find one you like please let me know!
Nipple cream: I received a couple organic versions of nipple cream but honestly plain old lanolin was the best for my very tender, very painful nipples. I bought a couple tubes and kept one at each of my nursing stations. It’s paraben/sulfate/fragrance free, but not vegan.
Breast pads: I registered for reusable breast pads and also received disposable ones. I used both for different reasons. The reusable pads were more comfortable, but in the early months when I was very leaky, especially at night once baby started to sleep longer, disposable kept me dry so much better. Maybe register for reusable if you’re looking to cut down on your consumption, and know that it’s easy to buy the disposable if you need more.
Diaper bag: Just buy a backpack. Why people haven’t been using backpacks all this time is beyond me. Hands free, plenty of space. We received this one and I like it, but it could be any old backpack.
My nice to have list:
Baby towel and washcloths: Totally not necessary because adult towels dry off babies just fine, but it was my first baby so give me the little hoods.
Infant bath tub: Maybe you’re confident setting up your baby in the sink; I am jealous of you. This infant tub was helpful for me!
Car seat cover for cold weather: I *think* tucking a blanket around baby is okay? This won’t be necessary for everyone, but I ended up buying this car seat cover for cold weather. It’s not my favorite, but you get the idea.
Baby nail clippers: I didn’t originally register for these thinking the clippers I already owned would work. I received these clippers as a gift and it really made it easier for me.
Play mat: nice for the first couple months, but now that Elliot is rolling all around we haven’t been using it. If you find one you like, go for it, but a blanket works just as well.
Bouncy seat: I used our bouncy seat a ton! This is where Elliot sat while I took a shower those first few months – he loved the white noise of the shower, the steam helped clear out any congestion, and I could keep an eye on him. If I were to do it again, I would treat myself to the ridiculously expensive Baby Bjorn one, or get the cheapest possible wire version. The one I have is bulky and harder to move from room to room.
Changing pad/station: I’m pretty sure my mom changed all five of her babies’ diapers on the floor, so if space is an issue this is definitely not a must. I went with this simple changing pad on top of the dresser, but I ended up needing one of the things that it nests in because it moved around too much (I got ours free from a friend). There are very beautiful, more expensive changing pads that probably stay in place better. I did not get covers for the changing pad which ended up being a good thing: it was one of Elliot’s favorite places to spit up, so changing a cover every time would have been hella annoying.
What I didn’t worry about until after baby:
Toys: I registered for a few so people would have an idea of what I liked, but newborns definitely don’t play with anything yet. Maybe some black and white images if you’re feeling fancy, but the ceiling fans and lamps in our house did the trick for the first eight weeks at least.
Clothes in larger sizes: Sizes and seasons really threw me off. Maybe this isn’t as big of a problem in areas without seasons, but I couldn’t wrap my head around how big the baby would be in what season. People gifted me larger sizes of some things and I continued to get hand-me-downs, but I prefer to buy clothes as I need them.
Activity center: We ended up buying this one when Elliot was old enough to actually use it (about 5 months for him). He LOVES it, and it’s where he hangs out now when I need to do dishes or need to keep him contained.
Stroller: I didn’t originally research or register for a stroller because I wanted to wait and see what my stroller use would look like. After using the Chicco Fit stroller for the first few months, I learned that I needed a better quality walking stroller to handle walking quickly over sometimes uneven ground. A friend recommended the Baby Jogger City Select and I love it for fast walks with Baby and the dog. Theoretically, it can also adapt to be a two-seater once that’s needed.
High chair: We ended up getting one for free from a coworker and it’s working just fine. Definitely an item that used is totally okay for!