It’s official — you’re having a baby. While the idea of putting together a baby registry sounded fun pre-pregnancy, now you’re in the pilot seat and realizing how stressful it can actually be. How many onesies do I need? Why are there so many kinds of bottles? What’s the difference between a bassinet and sleeper? Take a deep breath and let our baby registry checklist guide you. It’s just the right balance of bare-minimum essentials and prepared-for-the-apocalypse necessities.
Ultimately, the items you choose to include on your registry should be dictated by your lifestyle. Are you planning on traveling a lot? Then you might want to include a lightweight travel stroller in addition to an everyday one. Are you an outdoors enthusiast? Then a hiking backpack for when your child is bigger might be useful to add. Will your parents watch their grandchild regularly while you and your partner are working? Consider an extra crib or travel crib you can leave at their place. What’s the climate like where you live? Yeah, Baby might need a cozy snowsuit — or at least a stroller footmuff — if you expect below-freezing temperatures.
And then, of course, there are the just-in-case items you’ll want to stock up on, like a little bit of baby formula (even if you plan on exclusively breastfeeding), because you never know. And while you definitely want to load up on the essentials you need immediately (like diapers, clothes, and a somewhere for Baby to sleep), now’s a good time to ask for high-ticket items you know you’ll need a few months, or even a couple years, down the line, like a highchair, a car seat they can use beyond the infant months, and toys that will motivate them to walk and stand.
One word: layers. Climate is going to play a big factor here. Will it be summertime when your baby is born? Then you probably don’t need to add a heavy jacket in the 0-3 month size. Keep in mind that, especially as newborns, they should wear one more layer than you (they can’t regulate their own body temperature fresh out of the womb), and when in doubt, size up. They’ll grow into it eventually. Seven to 10 of each of the basics (onesies, pants, socks) is a good place to start. Yes, it’s very possible your newborn will have five blowouts in one day.
- Coming home outfit
- Onesies: tanks, short sleeves, or long sleeves? Grab a range. Even during on the hottest days, you might end up in an air-conditioned room and will be glad you have options.
- Mitts to keep them from scratching themselves and to keep their hands warm
- Sun hats (babies can’t wear sunscreen until they are 6 months old)
- Sleep sack
- Pajamas (footed or pair with socks)
- Swaddle blankets
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More baby necessities
Ah, the trusty binkie. It’s not a bad idea to register for a couple different brands and styles because your baby might have a favorite. A pacifier clip is not just for pacifiers. Use them to tether Baby’s favorite teether, rattle, or stuffy to them as well. Load up on burp cloths (at least 10) and keep one tossed over your shoulder at all times.
- Pacifier clip
- Teething toys
- Burp cloths
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For the nursery
The big-ticket essentials you’ll probably want for the nursery are the crib, a chair and ottoman in which you can feed the baby, a baby monitor, and a changing table (typically one that doubles as a dresser for clothes storage). For sleeping, you’ll want options — even if you only plan on using a bassinet or sleeper for the first few months, you’ll need a crib eventually, so we suggest registering for it now. Find what works for your family and space. Do you need something mini? Convertible? Green-guard certified? Under $100? All these options — in practically every style — exist. If you know what your nursery theme will be, go ahead and add some decorative items to your list as well. Trust us that many people (especially your non-parent friends) will want to buy the cutest item off the registry over the most practical or essential.
- Crib mattress
- Crib sheets
- Mattress liners
- Feeding chair and ottoman (we recommend a chair with a high back for extra comfort)
- Baby monitor
- Dresser/changing table
- White noise machine
- Blackout curtains
- Storage bins
- Decorative items: rugs, drapes, decals, art, lighting, and more
- Cold-air humidifier
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This list covers all your diaper-changing needs at home and on-the-go. Whether you plan on using disposable or cloth diapers, there are subscription services that will deliver fresh units to you on a regular basis. (Yes, even cloth ones.) When you’re choosing a diaper bag, try to find something you and your partner will be happy with, one that has multiple compartments (to organize extra clothes, bottles, diapers, and more) and will fit in the stroller basket, because they can be really heavy once packed.
- Changing pad
- Diaper pail and liners
- Diaper cream
- Cloth or disposable diapers
- Wipes dispenser
- Petroleum jelly (Vaseline/Aquaphor)
- Diaper caddy
- Diaper bag (travel-sized wipes, petroleum jelly/diaper rash cream, trash bags [use dog poop bags], hand sanitizer)
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As a newborn, your baby should bathe in a lounging position until they are strong enough to sit upright on their own. Before you add the economy-sized body wash and lotion to your list, start with a moderately sized bottle from one or two brands to make sure your baby doesn’t have any bad reactions to them, and make sure the baby tub you opt for fits in your bathroom — or choose a collapsible option if you’re short on space.
- Newborn tub
- Pouring bucket
- Wash cloth
- Hair brush
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You won’t introduce solids or a highchair until your baby is at least a few months old, but items like a baby food maker (basically a specially-designed food processor) and highchair can be expensive, so now’s a good time to ask for them. And yes, even if you are planning on exclusively breastfeeding, we still suggest adding a couple bottles as well as formula to your registry because you can’t anticipate how your baby might respond to nursing and you might end up pumping. Below, we’ve broken down the supplies you’ll need for every feeding scenario.
- Baby food maker
- Baby food storage containers
- Cups, plates, bowls, and utensils
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The items on this list are designed to make the breastfeeding process easier on the nursing parent. Yes, it can feel easy and “natural” from the get-go, but that certainly isn’t always the case. Since you have cracked nipples, engorgement, and leaking to look forward to, here are the supplies you’ll be glad you have handy.
- Nipple pads
- Nursing pads
- Nursing bras and tops (at least two)
- Milk collector
- Nipple cream
- Nursing pillow
- Nursing cover
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Before adding a breast pump, check to see what your insurance will cover. Most plans will cover the machine and the bare minimum of supplies (two bottles and two flanges), but if you plan on pumping regularly, you’ll want additional accessories to make the process easier.
- Pump and accessories
- Hands-free pumping bra
- Milk storage bags
- Travel milk cooler
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Before you buy a fleet of bottles with a single nipple style, add a variety to your registry (including a colic-friendly one) because your baby might have a strong preference, and you may find that you do, too. Some things to consider: Is it easy to wash? Glass is great, but do you really want to carry around the extra weight? Do you want a gentle dishwashing solution for baby bottles? How do you plan on sterilizing the baby bottles — dishwasher, bottle sterilizer, or stovetop?
- Bottles and nipples in various sizes
- Bottle brush
- Drying rack
- Dishwasher basket (for nipples and small accessories)
- Bottle sterilizer
- Formula dispenser
- Bottle warmer
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First aid and baby care
You can buy first aid baby items for your newborn individually, but there are also many kits that pre-package most of the essentials for you.
- First aid kit
- Nasal aspirator/snot sucker/boogie spoon
- Rectal thermometer for the most accurate reading
- Nail file and/or clippers
Gear for getting around
Some people have a fleet of strollers (one for travel, one for jogging, one for walking around the neighborhood), while others opt for one they can use for all occasions. Here are some questions to ask yourself while shopping:
- How heavy is it?
- Am I going to travel with it? Does it fold up easily?
- If I have another child within a couple of years, will it accommodate two children?
- How much trunk space will it take up?
- Does it work with the car seat I have my eye on?
- Do I want to go jogging with it?
- Do I have space at home to store more than one stroller?
The stroller and car seat can be purchased as part of a travel set or individually. If you’re buying them individually, make sure the infant car seat and stroller are compatible (in most cases they will be as long as you get the right adapter).
- Stroller and compatible accessories: rain guard, cup holder, stroller organizer, travel bag (if you want to check it in at the airport), umbrella, tray. Look at what your favorite brand offers and add accordingly.
- The everyday stroller
- The travel stroller
- The jogging stroller
- Stroller distractions (toys!)
- Car seat
- Car seat mirror
- Car seat cover/winter bunting for baby
- Baby car seat cover
- Car seat adapter for stroller
- Shade for car window
- Baby wrap and/or carrier
- Travel crib/playpen
We’ve included baby carriers in this category, too. Baby wearing is one of the great joys of new parenthood, but you’ll need to start with a wrap or carrier designed for an infant and then move up to something bigger for when your baby can hold their head up.
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When shopping for books and toys for newborns and infants, have no shame about caring whether it’s cute (you have to look at it, too, after all). Of course, you also want toys that are safe and good for your child’s development. High-contrast books are best for newborns whose eyes are still developing. Are you intrigued by the Montessori method of teaching? Stick to non-battery-operated options. And if you’re already mapping our your baby’s tummy time schedule, a cute activity mat will keep then entertained.
- Activity mat
- Mirror, rattles, and soft toys to encourage tummy time
- Books (high-contrast are best for newborns)
- Play gym
- Milestone blocks/blankets
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It is entirely appropriate to register for things that your baby can neither wear nor play with. Want a birth photographer? Have your eye on a beautiful baby memento book? Dreaming about having a professional cleaner come and sanitize the house before you give birth? Don’t be shy about adding anything that will make your life (and especially your recovery) easier and you happier.
- Items to make your hospital stay more comfortable
- Money for a photographer (for birth and/or newborn photos)
- Postpartum essentials (clothes, recovery supplies)
- Food delivery service (Seamless, Uber Eats, your favorite local restaurant)
- Cleaning service
- Baby album
- Baby age blocks
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Your baby will be on the move and exploring every nook and cranny of their home before you know it. Even if your baby is kept contained within a playpen, you still need to make sure any area they can reach is properly baby-proofed.
- Baby gates
- Cabinet locks
- Outlet covers
- Door handle covers
- Corner protectors
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Remember, your baby registry is for you and your family. Take some time to think about your priorities, ask your friends for their recommendations, push some strollers around at a baby store (fold and unfold them and pick them up while you’re there), and volunteer to watch a baby you know for some firsthand experience to get an understanding of what you do and don’t like about certain types of products. Then carve out a generous chunk of space in your home for all your gear (if you can), send a prayer that everything comes with a gift receipt, and watch the presents roll in.