This really is a no-nonsense guide. I am going to list things that I found most useful. I had most of these items on my registry and was gifted them thanks to some really generous and kind friends. Others, we bought.
People make the classic mistake of putting way too many clothes on their registry. Don’t do this. Just shop at consignment sales, Craigslist, or other discount stores. Kids really, really outgrow clothes fast so you don’t want to spend a lot on these items but still, there are some sizes you SHOULD get:
0-3 newborn clothes – Mostly onesies (single piece outfits which snap at the crotch), Sleep-n-plays, and maybe a few good outfits for pictures (although babies look cute in everything. They don’t need special good outfits to make them look any better than they already do but you might want a few for those pictures). Don’t bother with mittens. They never stay on and can be very frustrating to put on. Instead, get the long body suits with mitten cuffs that you can put on or take off as you please and the baby can’t do anything about it.
Note: If you know you are going to have a big baby for whatever reason (e.g., tall genes), get some 3m+ of the suggestions above and skip the 0-3m ones.
I loved the Sleep N Plays. J hung out in these all day and slept in these at night (different set). Perfect. I also liked the kimono style side snap suits. These also work well if you need to use a layer between a Sleep n Play and the baby for cooler temperatures. Also, if you buy Sleep n Plays with zippers that you have to undo all the way for diaper changes, having a layer of a side snap suit on the inside will keep your baby warm. Along with the Sleep n Plays, side snap suits are perfect for visits to the pediatrician where babies have to undress. Try wrangling a shirt or even a onesie over a screaming baby who just got her or his shots. Not fun. I always took J and now E to the ped in Sleep n Plays.
You will always need burp cloths. Get water-resistant bibs for drool, first foods, or even when bottle feeding so you can quickly dry away any spit-ups.
Get the bigger snack/food catcher bibs with pockets for when the baby will start eating actual food. Whether you are the one feeding your child or the child is feeding herself, these catchers do their job. There are different kinds available. Pick whatever you like best. Read reviews. I only meant the picture as an example.
Receiving Blankets were an anomaly to me. I never put any on my registry because I just didn’t know what to make of them or what I would use them for and because I had many hand-me-downs. However, I did end up using them a lot – as swaddle substitutes for a quick wrap in the early days as a newborn, for cleaning vomit, throw-ups, as burp cloths, for drying bums after using wet wipes – basically for any little or big thing. These cloths were really handy to have around.
Socks are generally not necessary if you keep the baby in Sleep n Plays most of the time as I did with J growing up in Chicago. With E growing up in San Jose, where temperature these days are in the 90s, I like to leave her in onesies but because her feet get really cold (just her feet which is common among babies), I sometimes like to put socks on them. When we go out, she may wear a dress with socks.
Blankets are something people love to buy as baby shower presents so definitely have one or two on your registry. I have one as an example but you may like a light one and a thicker one depending on the weather. We got a lot of blankets that were hand-me-downs. A bunch of them were also knitted or made by family or friends for J. Nobody gifted E blankets (second baby!) but I made her a quilt (I made one for J too).
Swaddles – I found swaddles extremely helpful with both J and E. There is a whole range of them available so do your research but do add a few. I was gifted the Aden + Anais swaddle from my registry and I still use it with E. I love these soft muslin cloths and their multiple uses. I do not like that they can unswaddle quite easily once the babies are old enough to stretch their arms and legs (around 3 months).
I also use the Swaddle Me by Summer Infant. I really liked these too. I use them daily now. The only problem I have with them is the velcro is quite loud so it wakes E up if I have to take it off during any leaks or night time diaper changes.
There are other swaddles from brands like Halo and Ergobaby too. My favorites are the ones I have mentioned above.
Wipes warmer – Reading some reviews where people expressed the lack of need for one, I decided not to get one for J. J didn’t seem to really care for a warm wipe on his bum until recently even though he did twitch at the first cold wipe each time. So I decided to get one for E and she really likes it. I feel her twitch (as did/does J) when I use cold/normal wipes although she of course doesn’t complain. I really like this and would recommend it.
Explanation on some of the items above:
#1 – The same of regular bumper pads is banned in some places but the mesh ones should work just fine.
#4 – You really only need a nail clipper and nail clipping scissors so you may choose to just buy these instead of the whole grooming set.
#13 Use a baby lotion that is fragrance free at least until you know if your baby is allergic to the chemicals used in some of the products.
#14 & 15 Diapers & Wipes – Place diapers of different brands on your registry just in case your baby is allergic or sensitive to any one brand. For J, I had Pampers, Huggies, 7th Generation, Honest Company, Target brand, and a whole bunch of others. Thankfully, he wasn’t sensitive to any of them so we decided to stick with Target ($0.19/diaper). Place newborn (not too many Newborn ones though, maybe a big box and a couple smaller ones) as well as other sizes. I had all the way up to Size 3.
#18 – The hospital will give you some formula if your baby needs it. Your pediatrician and OB-GYN may also have free samples for you. Furthermore, Enfamil and Similac may also send you their free samples. Regardless and just in case, do your research prior to the baby’s birth and stock up on at least one can of your chosen formula. For Baby J, we used Baby’s Only Organic Formula.
#19 – Absolutely couldn’t have done without a formula dispenser with Baby J. Very convenient to have pre-portioned formula in the different spaces for easy pouring.
#25 – Even if you plan on making your own baby food, it is convenient to have a few store bought ones for those times when you just haven’t had time to make some fresh food or microwave frozen packs.
#26 – Don’t just plan a registry for the baby’s first few months. Feel free to think about what your baby may need at age 1 or 2. In fact, (forgot to add it to the list) but you should also include things you might need for potty training, and a step stool.
#27 – Great to have. Still use them for TJ at 2 years
#29 – We just use a regular mat you place under your home office chair as our floor protector and works just fine for us
#39 – Was absolutely a must-have for the cold Chicago winters when we still needed to walk to get groceries (we lived downtown and walked everywhere)
#50 – BELLY STICKERS!!! Just put it on the registry and if no one buys it for you, buy it yourself.
Meanwhile, do not bother with:
Pacifiers – The hospital will give you a newborn (most likely a Phillip Avent Soothie) pacifier. Ask for a few extra ones. For all you know, your baby may not take to a pacifier at all. E never did except for a few hours at the hospital.
Bulb snot suckers – They give these at the hospital.
Bath toys – Cute to look at but that plastic cuteness starts looking disgusting pretty soon with mold if left in the wet/moist tub for long.
Baby shoes – Adorable to look at but wasted money. Unless they can walk, there is no need for shoes. Socks work just fine.
Music Mobile for Cribs – I am torn on this. We got a hand-me-down so we used it on occasion but I really don’t see much of a use for it unless used during sleep training.
Too many clothes – Buy them used
The more you think about your registry, the more likely you are to be confused, frustrated, or plain tired of the whole process. Hope my posts help you ease into the process a little. It can be a little overwhelming but I enjoyed it. Creating a baby registry meant something wonderful was going to happen soon. Our lives changed forever and a registry was one of the first (other than a positive pregnancy test, among others) public declaration of our joy, happiness, and gratitude.