Did you just find out you’re expecting for 2021? Congratulations! It’s such an exciting time learning you’re about to become a mom for the first time. At the same time, it’s hugely overwhelming. You probably have no idea where to start, do you? Not to worry! I’ve got you covered with a grand list of what to get (and what to avoid) that will make things easy.
Plus, this is the fun part, believe me, because this is when you get to shop! And who doesn’t love that? Making a baby registry is almost as much fun as the act of making that sweet baby. Almost. I’d say it’s a solid second place to that.
What makes it so great is that you get to pick out all the things you’d love to have for your new baby when he or she arrives. You create lists at different stores and your friends and family choose gifts for you based on your lists, just like your wedding registry, only instead of fine china and kitchen appliances, you’re choosing baby items.
Oh, doll. Don’t you panic. You might not know how to put a diaper on a baby yet or what the heck a diaper genie does (no, it doesn’t grant wishes, sad to say), but you will. First, let’s get to that baby registry checklist!
Table of Content
- The Baby Registry – Here’s What It Is:
- When You Should Get Your Baby List Going
- Where You Should Create Your Online Baby Registry
- What Should I Put On My Baby Registry?
- What You Don’t Need To Register For
- Double The Pleasure, Or More
- And Finally, The Best Baby Registry Advice Of All…
The Baby Registry – Here’s What It Is:
As previously stated, this is a list you and your partner will create with all the baby products you’ll need to help you take care of the baby. You can include anything you wish on there, and the more choices, the better.
Some friends and family will be more than willing and completely able to buy pricier items like strollers or cribs while others may only be able to comfortably get those cute baby outfits and onesies.
You don’t have to create it at just one store either. And in our modern times, boy are you in luck! You can do it from your smartphone or another device without having to go into a store if you’d prefer. Another great way to stay organized is to create a universal baby registry. This allows you to choose products you like from many different stores and put them on one list so you won’t run into duplicates. Remember, Mommy-brain is very real and starts during pregnancy.
When You Should Get Your Baby List Going
The sooner you start, the better off you’ll be. There are so many things to look through. Sure, it’s easy enough to tick off a bunch of clothes you like for your baby. But what about strollers, cribs, breast pumps, car seats, and baby monitors? You don’t want to add any of them to your cart without first doing a bit of research on which ones have the best ratings and meet your particular needs.
Many expecting moms tend to wait until they’ve made it through the first trimester to officially start the baby registry. Others have very specific desires for clothing and décor and wait until around 20 weeks when they know whether they’re expecting a boy or a girl. If you’d like to wait, focus on those items you’ll need no matter what the sex of the baby or opt for unisex attire.
Where You Should Create Your Online Baby Registry
The problem you’ll face when building your ultimate baby list isn’t a lack of options, but rather, a plethora of them. Not all of them will match your style or your desired price range though. This is why I recommend setting up with several online stores.
The ones that have locations near your loved ones also make things convenient for your friends and family that like to go into the shops and buy things the old-fashioned way.
You can’t go wrong with options, and finding ways to merge your lists into one is absolutely brilliant, prevents duplicates, and allows the people in your life from all backgrounds to have an easy and discreet way to find gifts for you without draining their savings account.
My favorite picks for stores to create an online baby registry are:
Why I love it: Amazon is easy to shop and is already universal with tons of different retailers to choose from. You have a seemingly endless array of options here. Plus, Amazon Prime makes things even more amazing and includes more discounts. With Amazon, your friends and family can easily get those big-ticket items on your list or find those smaller things you need without pressure.
To create your FREE baby registry on Amazon:
Why I love it: I think Target has some of the cutest baby clothes around. They’re bright and fun, plus they’re not outrageously priced. They also have cute nursery items and another bonus to registering with Target is that they also offer a universal feature to make combining lists a snap! Want Freebies? Go to your nearest Target to start your registry. They’ll give you a ton of samples and coupons, plus you’ll get 15% off on the things remaining on your registry when you’re 8 weeks away from giving birth.
Why I love it: Walmart also has a lot of super-cute baby clothes and accessories. Their online selection is vast and includes everything from babyproofing items to nursery furniture. It’s also very affordable and offers a price match guarantee, plus you can get freebies too just for registering.
Buy Buy Baby
Why I love it: They literally have every single thing for babies that you could ever want or need. They also give you samples and coupons just for registering which sweetens the deal even more though you’ll have to pick it up in-store. A great feature they offer is allowing friends to make suggestions for you based on their own registries which really helps when you’re getting overwhelmed and aren’t sure what you need. Want more from Buy Buy Baby? Take part in the Friends Referral by referring anyone you know that’s expecting. You’ll get $25 off $100 on any in-store purchase if they create a registry (also works for your newly engaged friends with Bed, Bath & Beyond, its sister store).
Pottery Barn Kids
Why I love it: If you love Pottery Barn (guilty as charged!), then creating the perfect nursery via their handy baby registry is a must. This is a great one to sift through because they offer personalization on many of the items they sell, so if you’ve announced your baby name and would love it embossed on your nursery items, you’ll be one thrilled mama. For creating a registry, you’ll get 10% off 2 items or more (must be the same nursery furniture or bedding item), plus like Target, you’ll get a discount on all items remaining on your registry six months after your baby shower date, and that extra 10% can be extremely useful.
I mentioned before you can create a universal baby registry to keep all your desired baby items from all over the place on one easy-to-use list. You can use My Registry to do that (also good for anyone you know getting married) and BabyList is another universal list maker that will give you freebies too.
What Should I Put On My Baby Registry?
So we’ve now talked about some great places to start your baby list and the cool freebies you can get for creating those lists. But the more difficult part is deciding what should go on your baby list. Hey, relax! This is going to be fun!
These are the things you should have ready to go well before the baby arrives. You can’t get by without them. I’ll leave brands up to your preference since there are so many great ones to choose from but I’ll give you tips on what you should look for on each.
You cannot, I repeat cannot take the baby home from the hospital without a car seat installed in your car (read the law in your state).
You’ll want one that can be adjusted for rear-facing in the beginning. The ones that grow with your baby are the most useful because you won’t have to buy another one when they get bigger.
Need help installing the car seat? You can always ask local law enforcement or those serving your community like the firefighters in your neighborhood, so long as they’re a certified car seat tech.
A good stroller will keep your baby comfortable and make your life easier. You may even want to consider investing in a travel system which combines a car seat and a stroller to save you time, space, and money. I didn’t but many moms have loved this option. Whatever you choose, opt for something that works with the terrain you tend to go on most, folds with ease, and has plenty of storage.
An easy way to go hands-free in a home or outdoors is with a baby carrier. Babies love them because they get to be close to you. You can’t spoil a newborn by holding him or her too much and a baby carrier helps you keep that bond. Choose ones that don’t disrupt the hip placement and support that tiny head. You can also find ones that make it easy to nurse while you’re walking!
The whole crib and caboodle
Baby needs a crib, mattress (must be firm and fit snugly in the crib), a mattress cover (to protect the said mattress from leaks), and crib sheets. Check safety ratings on cribs before buying and do not ever give newborn pillows or plush toys in the crib. Read up on sleep safety to make sure you’re adding safe items to your baby registry.
Put your mind at ease during naps and nighttime with a baby monitor. The latest models have night vision monitor and two-way sound so you can watch your baby and even respond to the cries with a loving, “Mommy’s coming sweetie!” to calm them down. You’ll also be able to use it for when your baby gets into the toddler years to keep an eye on them during playtime.
If you have more kids, you can add cameras to the system to keep a watchful eye in each room. Talk about modern parenting marvels!
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says that you should either breastfeed your baby or feed formula to your baby exclusively for the first 6 months of life until they can sit up on their own. Then you can start adding in soft solid foods.
If you’re breastfeeding, a breast pump is essential even if you plan to stay home with the baby. Other breastfeeding items you’ll need are milk storage bags, nursing pads, nipple cream (believe me, you will thank me later), a nursing cover (if you feel shy in public), and if you want to add more comfort, a nursing pillow.
Bottles are also a necessity no matter if you’re breastfeeding or formula feeding. Don’t forget those bibs and burp cloths too or you’ll have some tough stains to scrub out of their clothes (and yours too!).
For formula babies, make sure you have plenty of formula. And for both, a bottle brush will help you clean those bottles perfectly. Many moms like to get a bottle sanitizer too, but you can use boiling water to achieve the same effect.
Cloth or disposable, stock up on newborn-size and the next size up. Unscented wipes and diaper rash cream too!
Baby bath accessories
A baby tub will make bath time a whole lot easier. So will a baby bath sling which helps you keep baby safe while using both hands. Your baby probably won’t care about those rubber ducks, but you’ll need baby-safe shampoo and lotion. They usually have them in a cute kit with baby hairbrushes and soft washcloths.
Baby first aid kit
As a fellow mom, I can’t tell you how important this one is. Always keep it stocked just in case, and make sure you’ve got a proper thermometer and nail clippers to help care for baby too.
As baby gets bigger, let me tell you how this will save your sanity. You can place your baby in it while you get things done in the same room. It saves your back from when you need a break carrying the baby and usually rocks, vibrates, or has some baby-safe toys attached to it to give them something fun to do.
Choose your favorite styles but keep in mind you’ll want onesies, pajamas, front-buttoning sweaters and jackets for colder climates, socks or booties, soft caps for winter, wide-brimmed hats for summer, no-scratch mittens, and a fleece suit for winter too. Receiving blankets and winter blankets are also a must.
While you can get by without a diaper changing table as long as you have a changing pad to place on the floor or bed (just never leave little one unattended), many moms find they need it. Plus it serves as a place to stash all the essential changing items. Other things you may find useful are a rocker, bookshelves, decorative accessories like mobiles, lamps with soft lighting, and blackout curtains.
A good way to determine what’s best is to measure your baby’s nursery and see what fits. Then visit your friends who already have babies and see what works for them. A diaper pail of some kind is also a must or else your nursery will have a funky odor.
Outlet covers and baby gates are things you’re going to need but not immediately. You’ll also want to bracket furniture to the walls to avoid having them topple over on your baby once they become mobile and try to stand and walk.
Even newborns need toys! There are many bright and colorful, textured and exciting toys for your little one to use. The mats that allow them a soft and safe place to touch and explore during tummy time are perfect!
Down the road
High chairs, playpens, and other exploratory items are worth looking into but if budget is a constraint, you can hold off for now until you get the essentials that newborns need.
What You Don’t Need To Register For
The baby product industry is huge and there are tons of things to add to your checklist for your baby. But some of them are completely unnecessary. Here are the things you can (and should!) do without.
They’d like you to think you’re keeping your baby safe, but they can actually make things more dangerous. In fact, the AAP insists you stay far away from them because they are a huge risk for strangulation and suffocation. If you get these for a gift, please don’t use them.
Someone actually invented a device that warms up wet wipes to keep the cold from upsetting your baby. While the premise is nice, it’s rather unnecessary. You can hold it in your hands if it’s that cold and get the same effect without reducing any of the moisture it needs to work. It’s just another thing that wastes space. By the way, if you’re a minimalist, proceed here for the essential and must-have baby registry checklist.
Kitschy baby clutter
One product that comes to mind is a tent-like device to cover a boy while changing him to prevent being sprayed with pee. As the mom of girls, I can tell you that it won’t save you from a stream of liquid baby poop. And as a mom with friends that have boys, they have all told me the same thing – those excess burp clothes and receiving blankets you have on stockpile can all do the trick just as well without taking up more space.
I mentioned this before but again I must insist that you never should use baby pillows. NEVER! They make them but pose a suffocation hazard for your baby. If you like artful pillows in the nursery, keep them out of your baby’s reach.
Baby shoes are a waste of time and money. Baby socks are all you need. In the winter, a warm set of soft booties are all you need. Baby shoes can cause problems for their little feet before they learn to walk. If you must put a gifted pair of them on your baby for photos, make sure the soles aren’t hard. If you decide not to listen to me, that’s fine too. Just don’t get upset when your baby kicks off one of those shoes somewhere and you have to try to retrace your steps looking for it.
White noise machine
White noise is excellent for babies because newborns are in what the experts like to call the 4th trimester. They miss that ruckus from inside you where all your internal organs made a soothing sound. Now you’re all being so quiet the baby can’t stand it. But white noise machines can be pricey. All you really need is a tablet with a free white noise app on it.
Double The Pleasure, Or More
What if you find out you’re expecting more than one bundle of joy? Then your shopping and baby registry efforts must double (or triple, depending on how many multiples are on the way). You’ll have to look for strollers for multiples, furniture for multiples, and you’ll need at least twice as many diapers and clothes for all these sweet little blessings.
And Finally, The Best Baby Registry Advice Of All…
When it comes to being a mom, one of the things I found most helpful was the support and advice of other moms.
Not everything you’ll learn will work for you, but talking to other moms about what worked for them (or what didn’t) can help you get a feel for what will meet your needs.
Also, before you get deep into your baby registry, go look at baby products at the stores. Test out the strollers by loading them up with your bag or other items around the store and push them around the sales floor.
Try on the baby carriers and see if they feel functional to you. Poke the mattresses, touch the sheets, and get in there before simply clicking on things because you like the patterns or colors. These things all look pretty in pictures, but the reality is you need them to function for you when you’re in the trenches as a new mom.