The Registry of Necessities

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As you know, I’m a first time mom. When I found out I was pregnant in March 2013, I couldn’t wait to register. I’d heard from everyone that registering is stressful. I disagree. It doesn’t have to be. I do agree that walking into Babies ‘R’ Us for the first time can be overwhelming, and rightfully so as it’s filled to the gills with EVERYTHING baby. I have to admit, I was one of those moms-t0-be who registered for a lot of things I didn’t need.

I’ve put together a list of staples that I think should be on every mom’s baby registry based on what I’ve learned over the past two months.

REGISTRY STAPLES

Clothing: Long-sleeved & short sleeved onesies, socks, cotton pants, cotton hats, cotton or fleece footed pajamas, sleep sacks, sweater or hooded sweatshirt, mittens, sleep gowns

  • Be prepared to get a ton of onesies in size 0-3 months at your shower. Almost everyone loves to purchase clothing for babies and this is generally what mom’s receive the most of. Be sure to put a variety of sizes (ranging from newborn to 9 months) on your registry.
  • We’ve learned that zip footed pajamas are much easier to operate in the middle of the night than ones with snaps.
  • Mittens are a life saver. Owen likes to scratch at his face, especially in his sleep, so mittens (or onesies with build in mittens!) are great for protecting babies delicate skin.
  • Our baby boy adores his sleep gowns – he stays warm (they’re long-sleeved!) but can still move his feet around and expose them if he wants. He’s super comfortable in them.

Sleeping: swaddle blankets, receiving blankets, crib sheets, waterproof mattress pad, travel bassinet, white noise machine, night-light, baby monitor, pack n’ play

  • I’m partial to the Carter’s 35’x35′ stretchy swaddle blankets. Not only are these soft and comfortable, they are BIG but NOT bulky! I cannot praise these enough – a must have!
  • If you plan to travel at least a few times during babies first few months of life, I recommend investing in the Brica Travel Bassinet. Not only did Owen use this while we traveled to Michigan for the holidays, he enjoyed sleeping in it for several weeks next to our bed.
  • A white noise machine should be on EVERYONE’S registry. This has been our saving grace for getting Owen to sleep during the first few months. He’s been using it for 2 months now and he doesn’t necessarily need it to go to sleep but it does help – especially in those first few weeks!
  • A night-light is a must have item for the middle of the night. We have the IKEA Grossby LED night lights all throughout our home – unfortunately it looks like IKEA is no longer selling these, but I saw them available on eBay. They’re good for 100,000 hours of light and cost a mere 14 cents per year to operate! Plus, they are light sensitive, so they aren’t on 24/7.

Bath: Baby wash cloths, hooded bath towels, baby body wash, baby shampoo, baby comb + brush, newborn or infant bath tub, baby lotion, bath kneeler, faucet cover

  • Hooded bath towels are wonderful! We have at least 4 of them and Owen really likes them because their soft and light, yet absorbent enough to dry his delicate skin. Plus, I think everyone agrees babies look so cute in them!

Diapering: Disposable or cloth diapers in newborn and size 1, baby wipes, diaper cream, changing pad + cover, travel changing pad, diaper bag

  • All babies are different and it will likely take a few weeks to determine which diapers you + baby like and which ones just don’t work. We found that we adore Pampers Swaddlers and Up&Up brand diapers from Target. We are not fans of Huggies Snug & Dry and Huggies Baby Dry, as they tend to leak for us. Again, every one is different – sometimes Huggies DO work. It’s just a matter of giving a few different brands a go.

Breast + Bottle Feeding: Breast pump, breast milk storage bags, disposable or reusable nursing pads, glass or plastic baby bottles + nipples (to store breast milk and/or use for formula feeding), bottle brush, burp cloths, formula, nipple cream

  • If you’ll be pumping exclusively, invest in a GOOD breast pump. After finding I couldn’t breastfeed, I decided to pump exclusively and the pump fulfilled through my insurance company just didn’t cut it. If you can, rent the hospital grade pump from the hospital (our hospital charged $3/day). You may also be able to rent hospital-grade Medela pumps in your area.
  • If you’ll be bottle feeding, be sure to purchase bottles and/or nipples specifically for newborns.

Solid Feeding: High chair, bibs

  • Even though baby won’t be using a high chair until 4-6 months of age, it’s nice to put it on the registry because they are pricey. Often times a close family member or a group of people will go in on this if it’s on the registry.
  • Bibs are great to use as burp cloths and/or to put on baby during feedings (to save clothing from spit-up!)

Nursery: Changing table, rocking chair or glider, crib + mattress, humidifier, hamper, storage bins

  • We absolutely love the inexpensive storage bins from IKEA! These work well for in the changing table and in dresser drawers to organize onesies, socks, hats, etc. At only $7.99 for a set of six assorted sizes, it’s a steal!

Toys + Entertainment: books, activity mat, swing, pack + play, plush toys, bouncy seat

  • We didn’t have a swing on our baby registry; and nobody bought us one. After 2 weeks, we found that Owen went right to sleep while in a swing at a friend’s house. Literally, the next day we went and purchased the Fisher Price My Little Snugabunny Cradle n’ Swing. It was magical. It has really helped Owen to calm down and drift off when he gets worked up.
  • Books are always great to have around! We asked friends & family to bring a book in lieu of a card to start a library for Owen. Everyone wrote in their book and they make great keepsakes, in addition to reading material for story time.

Baby Health + Wellness: Baby cotton swabs, safety nail clippers + emery boards, 2 thermometers (1 oral, 1 rectal), nasal aspirator, first aid kit, pacifiers, teething rings, gas drops, Infant’s Tylenol, saline drops

  • In my opinion, purchasing a pricey nasal aspirator (AKA nose sucker) is a waste of money. The nose sucker we received from the hospital works the best and it was FREE. We asked our pediatrician for an extra one and he gave us two more FREE.
  • We tried the Soothie Pacifier but it didn’t work out for us. Our friends used it and they love it! We prefer the Avent Classic or Avent Nighttime pacifiers. This may be a crap shoot and you may have to try MANY different brands & types of pacifiers before you find one that your little bundle will like. Be sure to use Newborn pacifiers on your new baby.
  • We didn’t have saline drops right away, but we should have. Especially with having a winter baby, saline drops have come in handy to moisten baby’s delicate nasal passages and clear out dried mucus.

Gear: Stroller, umbrella stroller, infant car seat, extra car seat base (if you have two vehicles), baby carrier

  • The hospital will NOT let you leave unless you have a car seat installed in your vehicle. I recommend installing it about 4 weeks before your due date to ensure it’s ready to go. This is an essential to have on your registry!
  • We are just getting to the stage of the baby carrier and I’m very excited! We received the Ergobaby Galaxy Grey carrier and it’s wonderful! I can’t wait to carry Owen around with me!

Gifts + Keepsakes: Baby book, photo frame

  • I was a little iffy putting the baby book on the “necessities list” because usually this is something a bit more personal that moms like to pick out themselves. I didn’t include one on my registry; I purchased my own. But, if you’re not that picky, this is something you should include on your registry – I think it’s a must for every baby to have.
  • You can never have too many photo frames for pictures of your lovely little girl or sweet baby boy! Photo frames are always nice to receive!

Mom & Parenting Stuff: books, mom journal, gift cards

  • The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp (book or DVD) is great! This has helped both me and my husband in getting Owen calmed down/to sleep. A must!
  • Baby’s First Year Journal by A. Christine Harris PhD is a great keepsake for mom to record the happenings of baby’s first year and read daily information on baby’s growth and development. I have this and I loooove it!
  • Most retailers who offer a registry offer the option of putting Gift Cards on it. I know Babies ‘R’ Us and Target allow this. This is nice to have on all registries (if possible) because it allows mom + dad to purchase items they need for baby (or themselves!).

REGISTRY EXTRAS
(Luxury Items)

After registering for the “necessities” it’s always nice to put some luxury items on the registry. After all, sometimes friends & family like to purchase fun stuff for mom + baby!

Clothing

  • Booties and/or shoes: these are NOT necessary for children who aren’t walking yet. We received several pairs of (cute!) shoes and slippers thinking we might use them out outings, but we haven’t yet. We’ll probably keep a pair as a memento but they are needed. People DO like to buy them for baby because, come on, who can resist a cute pair of Air Jordan’s or Chuck’s?

Sleeping

  • Mobile: another unnecessary item, but I’ve found it can be helpful at the newborn stage. If you are looking at putting one on your registry, or purchasing one yourself, I recommend getting one with red, white and black on it as these are the colors baby can see the most from birth to 1-2 months old. We have one in gray, white and black and Owen enjoys watching it spin and likes to listen to the music.

Feeding

  • Bottle Warmer: this is an inexpensive luxury item that you probably should include on your registry if you’ll be formula feeding. We thought they were unnecessary, but since purchasing one about 4 weeks ago we ADORE it! It’s really a lifesaver, especially in the middle of the night – all you have to do is put the right amount of water in the reservoir and turn it on! Easy peasy!
  • Bottle Drying Rack: If you’re not formula feeding, this isn’t necessary. We bought one after about 2 weeks of using paper towels to drip dry the bottles and I would never look back! We purchased the Munchkin Sprout Drying Rack and adore it. It has special spaces for bottles, nipples and lids! The best part? It’s only $10!
  • Feeding Pillow: The Boppy, My Brest Friend or similar pricey breastfeeding pillows aren’t necessary. Using any old pillow will work just fine. When I was breastfeeding, and even now that I’m bottle feeding,  I use a small throw pillow under my arm for support and it works just as well (if not better!).

Diapering

  • Diaper Genie or similar: we use the Arm & Hammer Diaper Pail and love it. Don’t forget to purchase bag refills!
  • Wipe Warmer: we didn’t include this on our registry, but ended up receiving one as a present about a month after Owen was born. It is definitely NOT necessary, but I feel better wiping baby’s bottom with a warm wipe versus a super cold wipe.

Bathing

  • Towel Warmer: We don’t have one, but I really want to get one. I’ve heard they work great for warming up towels and onesies for after bath time!

There’ll be more to come on baby registries in the future! I hope this post was helpful to all you mommies-to-be! -TheMidwestMama

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