Baby Registry

Loving mom rocks her sleepy baby in a comfortable rocking chair.
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I Just Had A Baby & Here’s What I Actually Wish I Registered For

I should have asked for fewer adorable outfits and a lot more sleep sacks.

When you find out you’re pregnant for the first time, you’re thrust into the world of baby products pretty quickly. You start getting gifts from loved ones, shopping yourself, and wondering what you should actually put on your baby registry. With so many options for bottles, bassinets, and everything in between, it’s overwhelming to try and predict what you’ll really need when baby arrives.

Even as a first-time parent, I knew one thing for sure: babies need a lot of stuff. While making my baby registry, I polled friends with kids and leaned heavily on my sister, who has three daughters, for advice on what she used most when they were babies. I figured every new parent registers for some things they end up not using — you never know what your baby will need, or what they’ll like for that matter. But I wanted to make sure we asked for items that would actually make our lives easier, not just clutter up our house.

I also said yes to any hand-me-downs from my sister and other parents we know, so we had tons of swings, bouncers, and seats for our new baby to try. And between our registry gifts and some unexpected gems from our passed-down collection, here are the things I’d register for again, ask for more of, and put on my list if I were to do it all over again.

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1

Swaddles That Transition (& A Lot Of Them)

Some babies love being swaddled, others hate it, and some babies, like mine, fall in between. We had a few different swaddle styles on-hand to try, and we quickly learned our baby slept much better with his arms up around his head. That’s where the Nested Bean Zen One Classic and Love To Dream Swaddle Up came in. Both let him position his arms where he wanted, but still kept his startle reflex in check. And he looked like a cute little gingerbread man in them.

The Zen One was especially helpful when transitioning him out of swaddles and into a wearable blanket (many sources say you should make the switch when your baby shows signs of rolling over or hits 8 weeks old, whichever comes first). The arms are removable so you can take off one at a time until baby is adjusted.

My one regret is not registering for more of these bad boys. My son has a tendency to pee through his pajamas pretty often, so I’m constantly doing laundry in order to have a clean swaddle ready for bedtime.

2

Diaper Inserts

On the note of peeing through everything all the time, our baby could soak through his diaper, pajamas, swaddle, and bassinet at a just a couple weeks old if we didn’t change his diaper every few hours. And when you’re a new parent trying to get as much sleep as possible, skipping the middle-of-the-night diaper changes can help keep your newborn drowsy enough to fall back asleep without a fuss.

We received every size and brand of diapers from family, but none of them could handle my little dude’s nighttime needs. My mom did some Googling and found Sposie diaper inserts, and they’ve become a staple in our house. It’s not the most fun gift, but do your postpartum self a favor and register for a package or two to help you get through those night feedings more easily.

3

A User-Friendly, Comfortable Baby Carrier

Between the hand-me-downs and a gift from a family member, I ended up with two baby carriers. In the postpartum, new baby haze of the first few weeks, the simplicity of the BABYBJÖRN Baby Carrier Mini I was gifted was exactly what I needed. It’s made of soft jersey fabric, is comfortable for the baby and the wearer, and is super easy to use. It was much less overwhelming to figure out than the other carrier I owned, and it helped get my baby to sleep while I got things done around the house. While I’m sure I’ll use the other carrier more as the baby grows, this one is still perfect for us.

4

Glow-In-The-Dark Pacifiers

As sleep-deprived new parents, one of the worst parts of trying to help soothe our baby back to sleep at 3 a.m. was feeling around his entire bassinet for his lost, kicked-around pacifier. I once wrote an entire nature documentary segment in my head about how wild pacifiers can turn invisible at night to blend in with their surroundings. So imagine my joy when I discovered they make glow-in-the-dark pacifiers. My baby likes the MAM pacifiers, but Philips, NUK, Tommee Tippee and other brands offer glowing options, too.

5

Medicines You May Need Before You Need Them

Newborns can’t take many medications, but after a few weeks, we were going through gas drops and gripe water like nobody’s business to try and help our little one through some tummy troubles. We still use gas drops at every night feeding to help break up the gas bubbles in his system while he’s sleeping. I bought a kit of infant medicines myself to keep in his bathroom, and I’d recommend throwing one on any registry just so you already have them if you need them.

6

Different Nipple Sizes For Your Bottle Of Choice

My husband and I chose to formula feed, and I registered for the Philips Avent Natural bottles because my sister’s three babies all liked them, and luckily ours did, too. That said, we found ourselves running to the store often in the first few weeks as we tried different formulas to get different flows of nipples, and it would’ve been nice to have them at home already. My baby has grown into the #2 nipples we purchased for the thicker formula he used to drink, so we’ll use them all as he grows anyway. If you think you may have to do the formula shuffle too, it’s worth it to register for a variety of nipples upfront.

7

Socks In A Variety Of Sizes

I registered for plenty of socks but then my baby was born with skis for feet, and by two months old his 0-to-6-month socks were way too small. I ordered these Burt’s Bees ankle socks on Amazon sized for ages 3 through 12 months, and they’re the perfect fit. Just like the infant medications or bottle nipples, socks in larger sizes are the kind of thing you’ll use sooner or later, so it doesn’t hurt to register for them in case, like me, you need them sooner.

8

The Simplest Bouncer Ever

I inherited a BABYBJÖRN bouncer from my older sister, and I wasn’t sure we’d use it — compared to other bouncers with vibration settings and toys attached, it didn’t seem like it’d be as appealing. But now it’s one of the things we use most, and in my opinion, a registry must.

My baby kicks his legs constantly, which means he can bounce himself, and I love it for taking him with me while I work, watch TV, or do things around the house. It also folds down completely flat so it’s easy to take over to Grandma’s house when she babysits, and the cover is a breeze to remove for a wash. Our bouncer is a little older, but the newer versions even have clip-on toy bars for older babies and different fabric seat covers for your needs.

9

This Light For Late-Night Baby Care

The Hatch sound machine and night light makes a lot of parents’ lists of must-haves, and for good reason. We use this gadget all night, every night for white noise to help our baby sleep, and we use the dimmable light to change diapers and prep bottles without waking him. The rain sound is super soothing if you’re not a fan of traditional white noise (because same). You can also control it with an app, so I’m looking forward to using its color settings to train our kiddo about when he should be asleep, can get up, and so on when he’s a toddler.

10

This Pillow For Feeding & Tummy Time Support

Whether you breastfeed or bottle feed, it’s tiring on the arms. Having a pillow like the Boppy is great for your aching shoulders and back. But I found that, while trying to help my baby get some early tummy time, propping him up a bit using the Boppy helped him lift his head for longer stretches. It was a big help in getting him started, and it’s still a nice option for when he’s been laying on his back all day and needs a change of perspective (always supervised, of course).

11

A Comfy Little Bath Tub

I love our bathtub from The First Years, which comes with a little mesh sling inside to support even the littlest babies during bath time. My baby, like most, tends to pee in the tub as soon as he hits the warm water, so I use the little basin on the end to wash his face and head before soaping up the washcloth. The sling is easy to remove and wash, and it’s a tub he can use as he gets bigger as well.

12

Easy-To-Hold Developmental Toys

My baby is 12 weeks right now and starting to swipe at things he sees and grab them, so it’s officially toy time. I didn’t register for many baby toys, but if I could do my registry over again, these two rattles from Manhattan Toy would definitely be on it.

The Winkel rattle and Atom teether are both made with soft, lightweight plastic so they’re easy for him to grip, shake, and check out with his mouth (and easy for me to wash as needed). I’ll definitely be giving them as baby gifts in the future.

13

Lots Of Muslins

Is there anything you can’t do with a muslin blanket? I could have 20 of these ones and still want more. We’ve used them to cover bouncers in the event of a diaper blowout, as burp cloths when there’s not one nearby, and of course as blankies.

Since our little one was born during the pandemic, we’ve also used them to cover his car seat anytime we have to take him somewhere, like the grocery store or pediatrician’s office. (No official medical experts have said that prevents babies from picking up germs or viruses, but it makes me feel better.) Muslins are also somehow both warm and breathable, a must for blankets when you’re a Florida baby.