What Do I Register For on my Baby Registry?

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What Do I Register For on my Baby Registry?

Decode the confusion of your baby registry with tried and tested  essentials.

We all have personal preferences, and guess what? So does your baby! So how do you buy a gift for a baby you've never met? And equipment for a game you've never played?

Here's a place to start:


Babies eat, poop and sleep. They need breastfeeding, diapers, a car seat, and a place to sleep.

1. Diapers - cloth and disposable.

Cloth diapers are not harder than you can believe. Try them before you decide against them. If you are using cloth, a pack of disposables eases the learning curve of cloth diapering and disposes of the meconium, leaving your diapers stain free.

2. Wipes - cloth and disposable

Babies are wet and messy. Plain water easily cleans most messes without chemicals that often irritate baby's delicate skin. Washcloths are bigger and more absorbent than disposable wipes and they are reusable. Even if you use disposable wipes when you go out, get a stack of 10-20 washcloths for home use.

3. Breastfeeding support

Even if you have an easy beginning, you will have a ton of questions. Unlike Google, a kind and caring Lactation Consultant will give you customized answers to your satisfaction, 

4. Domestic help so you can breastfeed and recover from birth.

Housekeepers are not just for the rich! Look to hire a Postpartum Doula (or Baby Nurse) who is like your mom, only better. They cook, do chores, hold the baby so you can sleep or shower, answer your breastfeeding questions, reassure you and even hold you when you cry.

5. Meals so you can take care of your baby.

Ever try to cook with only one arm? It's possible. But imagine how much nicer it is to pop a ready-to-eat meal made with love by your friends and relatives? Buon Appetito!

6. A safe place to put the baby when they aren't in your arms

The American Academy of Pediatrics just updated their Sleep Policy. It's not a long read or complicated, but please read it here

7. A car seat

Even if you don't have a car, you will want one for taxis and planes. If you have two cars? You will be happier with two car seats. There are two kinds of car seats.

One goes from birth through childhood. This All-in-One car seat stays in the car. It is installed either rear facing or forward facing depending on your child's age and size. You carry the baby to and from the car in your arms, or a carrier. 

The other is the Infant-only rear-facing bucket style carseat which snaps into a base. They are convenient for transporting sleeping babies. However, sleeping babies should be transferred into a crib as soon as you get home. It is heavy and bulky and can cause back, neck, shoulder and wrist injuries in parents. These are only used for a few months before your baby outgrows it when you would move them into a Convertible or All-In-One car seat. Read more about car seat safety here.

Anything that makes essentials easier is next on the list.

Nice To Have Items:

For Breastfeeding:

8. 3-4 nursing tanks and bras.

You will appreciate expensive ones once you have them, so ask for them. The fabric and clips are nicer and usually they fit better.

9. Breast pads - cloth or disposable.

You may not need them after a few weeks or you might. Ask for a variety. You will have a preference and you won't know until you use them.

10. Nipple butter or salve.

Three Sisters Herbals Magic Salve made with olive oil and calendula tops my list for soothing and healing. 

11. Burp Cloths

it's nice to have a dozen. They work well too for catching active letdowns and leaking on the other side. Consider using inexpensive hand towels or prefold diapers. And some people like to sew their own out of flannel.


For Naps and Sleep

12. Bassinet that attaches to the parent's bed

These are wonderful for breastfeeding moms and babies. If nobody told you yet, most babies only want to be held by you. It's biological and while some babies don't mind being put down, our brains need the safe feelings and frequent interaction with adults to grow.

13. Crib

While expensive, do not use a secondhand crib unless it has all the original hardware and it has not been recalled.

14. Pack and Play

Many people have this with the changing table/bassinet in the living room and something else in the nursery/bedroom. It's convenient for traveling, too.

15. 2 fitted sheets for each of the above

16. Washable cotton-face waterproof pads to reduce sheet changes

Taking care of baby:

17. Baby clothes in newborn and 0-3 sizes 

4 outfits
4 pajamas
4 onesies 
2 sweaters/hoodies
1 fleece hoodie/footie for outside
3-6 pairs of socks
1 pair Zutano booties
2 Sleep Sacks/Swaddles These ensure that your baby is warm, but not too warm, while they sleep. They go over a onesie or pajamas.

Your friends and family will usually give you way too many newborn and 3 month sizes and very few 9 month+ sizes. Keep tags on until after your baby is born. Then you can do a full inventory and buy what you need if your baby much smaller or bigger than you thought.

18. Blankets

1 heavy blanket for the floor or stroller

2 swaddle blankets

19. Diaper Bag

This can be any tote bag or backpack, or can be the real deal. Pockets are a must for organizing. Colors and patterns should either be negotiated with your partner or buy two bags if you can't agree.

20. Foam mat for sink bathing

Sinks are so convenient and easy to clean. Baby bathtubs are basically useless for anything other than bathing a newborn and not easy to clean.

21. Bath towel and wash cloth

Hooded baby bath towels in 100% cotton and in a good size will last until your child starts school. You can also use a regular or a smaller size adult towel.

22. Three Sisters Magic Salve and a natural soap/shampoo/bodywash.

Three Sisters Herbals Magic Salve made with olive oil and calendula tops my list for soothing and healing. Skip the Johnson's Baby and Desitin. While natural products are more expensive, you don't need much for a little baby. Plain warm water is the gentlest and most effective cleaner for your baby's delicate skin.

At some point, your family and friends go home & you are left alone to take care of your baby & the house.

Stuff For Getting Things Done!

23. Enough clothing

There is a balancing point between having too many clothes and scrounging around in the hamper for your baby's or your's "least dirty" dirty shirt. More clothing means a longer wash/dry/fold cycle but it also means more to keep track of. Consider 7 nursing bras and tanks instead of 3. 

24. A baby carrier.

The average family ends up with 4-6 baby carriers because your preferences change, your baby grows, and your friends give you theirs.

Mobywraps are wonderful and stable carriers for the early weeks, but can be complicated to learn.

Ring slings are fast to put on and adjust but can put one-sided strain on your back.

Soft structure carriers like Lillebaby, Ergobaby, and Tula  are all great carriers and they fit people differently. It's hard to guess while you are pregnant but know that many people are very happy with each of these. You can rent baby carriers to try here.


25. A stroller

While a newborn baby might not appreciate it, most babies do at some point. A stroller helps you to get out for walks, which helps you feel better.

A full size stroller holds a lot of gear: coats, shopping bags, diapers and snacks, so they are great for combining errands without getting in-and-out of the car a bunch of times. But, they can be difficult to fold, lift and store in your car.

An umbrella stroller is for older infants and toddlers. They are small to pack and lightweight. Everybody needs an umbrella stroller.


Things everyone says you need, but probably don't:

Breastfeeding Pillow

Personally, I feel that most women do better without this until breastfeeding is going well because breast pillows are often too tall, or too short, in addition to being completely useless when reclining. When babies are bigger, they can be convenient and cozy.

Infant feeding bottles

You may be tempted to stock up on bottles, but you can wait. Your breastpump comes with bottles you start with and if you need to use formula, trial sizes come with their own nipples.

 Bouncy seat, swing or vibrating seat.

This equipment is only useful for a few months, and are of limited use because babies should never sleep in them. Pick one if you have to, you don't need them all.

Wipe warmer

Run a washcloth under warm water. Voila! Squeeze a wipe in your hand and it's warm enough. Consider how your baby will not have warm wipes when you are out and about. 

These are the essentials! Happy Registering! 

Start Your Registry Here!


Updated 4/8/2024

Originally Published 7/6/2019

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