So you’re having a baby! Congratulations! Or maybe you are just the ultimate gift giver and want to know the latest and greatest stuff to give someone who is having a baby. Either way you have come to the right place! Putting together your baby registry is a daunting task. At least with a wedding registry you have a vague idea what kind of toaster you’d like. When you are expecting your first baby you have NO idea what a baby needs…..at least I didn’t. I didn’t even have a ton of Mom friends/know any Moms to give me sweet tips either. I was one of the first of my friends to take the plunge and so it was a lot of googling reviews and comparing prices and blah blah blah putting together a registry is exhausting. HOWEVER that is a first world problem as we are pretty lucky to have been able to put one together in the first place!
Now I know registries can be controversial. Some people think they are tacky and you should just accept whatever generosity (if any) comes your way. Fair enough. But in my humble opinion, most people want to give you something useful something that you actually want for your baby. Not just another cute outfit but sht the kid/parents will use every day. A registry takes the guesswork out of gift giving for people and as the parents you can relax knowing you will likely get most of what you need for baby without having to buy it yourself! There are also two camps of people: those that think a baby only needs milk and diapers and those that think baby needs a ton of sh*t….I am with the latter. I wanted to do the research up front to get most of what we needed for baby’s first year ahead of time. I didn’t want to be running out for this or that wishing we had asked for x, y, or z. I wanted a stocked house and prepped nursery so the only thing I needed to focus on was feeding and changing the kid. Which I’m glad I did because feeding was no joke….more on that in another post.
Ok, so after all the reading, research, and now actual experience with the stuff we registered for, what was the best, absolutely must haves, what were the nice to haves and what were the didn’t really need items? Great question. Honestly I felt like everything we registered for was a must have…but I am a very uptight new Mom who believes in the power of gadgets and modern conveniences. BUT for the sake of not breaking the bank I will separate this list into items you really must have and those that you can get by without (though would be nice to have!). Also I will try to be brief in my rationales so you aren’t reading this post for the next 3 years. ANYWAYS…here we goooooo!
Baby will not sleep without being swaddled. End of story. There are many different kinds of swaddles. We started with muslin blankets but eventually switched to a sleep sack and haven’t looked back since. Our favourites are the Halo Swaddle Sleep Sacks. Since we had a winter baby we have the fleecy one. You just zip them in and velcro their arms around them, it’s magical. You can change them while swaddled, feed them while swaddled and they look like cute baby seals when they are swaddled. Moral of story: SWADDLE.
If you’ve been following my story you know I am dependent on my pump. I am SO glad we have the best pump on the market. I use it 8x a day though so I am quite biased. If you foresee yourself pumping to get a freezer stash, or returning to work while continuing to breastfeed, you want to spring for a good pump. There are lots of pumps on the market but I highly highly recommend a double electric pump. Caution: high ticket item, most likely a gift multiple people would have to go in on for you but ultimately so worth it. The Medela Freestyle is HANDS FREE. Do you know how rare it is to be hands free with a new born? Extremely rare. In fact you will have your hands full of baby so you won’t also want your hands full of pump. NOTE: if you register for this pump you should also register for the hands free bustier (sold separately) otherwise it won’t be hands free!
This might seem silly but if you are planning on pumping you will need somewhere to dry your pump parts after each use. We keep our boon grass on our counter 24/7 and my pump parts are always dry for the next use. If you bottle feed you will also love the grass for drying out bottles and nipples after washing them. You might also want some of their accessories to help dry. We love the twig and the flower for drying bottle nipples and pump parts. Both are linked below.
We LOVE our activity gym. You won’t need these right away when you have a newborn but around week 6-8 they start being more alert and interactive. We stick John under here and away he goes kicking and kicking delighting himself with the colours, shapes, and sounds. Most recently he started reaching for the dangling toys and grasping them! So neat to watch your baby develop motor skills under their activity gym. This gym has also bought me a LOT of hands free time during the day. I can do things around the house even workout myself while baby plays. Yes I interact with my child…I just also enjoy watching him entertain himself I think it’s important not to be constantly stimulating your child with your own face….the colours, reaching, grasping are all important tasks for him! We bought the campground linked below but our parents have the alphabet zoo and tree trop friends versions and he loves them all! Might I also say that the Skip Hop brand is super high quality, we have been very impressed. These activity gyms stand up to abuse and I’m sure we’ll have it for our next kid!
Back on the topic of being hands free. You will never take this for granted again after you have a baby. Being able to wear baby around the house, going on walks etc. is a marvellous thing. There are numerous benefits to baby wearing, none of which I’ll go into here. I can tell you that I have had major success calming John down while wearing him. He settles down almost immediately and he loved going out for walks snuggled all cozy against my chest. Mom or Dad can wear baby, or Nana or Grandpa whomever. It took a few YouTube videos (check this one out) to learn how to use the Boba Wrap properly but overall I am very impressed with the quality and stretch of the fabric and I love that the wrap naturally fits him as he grows but the tying technique is the same! Full disclosure I have only mastered the newborn tie….there are other methods but I have yet to explore…
Baby needs somewhere to sleep. For some parents this is the marital bed, but bed sharing wasn’t for us. We wanted to co-sleep though (have baby in the same room as us) so we opted for a bassinet. John has yet to transition to his crib but we are enjoying having him in our room so there is no rush. The bassinet we have is pretty cool, it’s actually part of the Uppa Baby stroller system! Now before you roll your eyes, yes I know how expensive the Uppa Baby Vista is…..we had very very generous family members go in on this gift for us and oh.my.god. it is the best thing ever. There are literally dozens of features that make this the cadillac of strollers. We use it every single day and it has been worth it’s weight in gold (which is almost what you pay for it…). Don’t chimp on your stroller. Get something that is built to last. Especially if you are planning on having more than one child. Our family can ‘grow into’ our stroller. It is a double decker that can fit two toddler seats or one bassinet + one toddler seat. The really cool thing? The Uppa Baby bassinet is sleep safe so you can use it for overnight sleeping! We have done this for weeks and J man loves it! If you are going to make one big splurge….I would recommend getting the Uppa Baby stroller system. You just can’t beat it. There aren’t many ‘sexy’ items for life with a baby but this bad boy certainly is.
Car seats are a tough one because the safety regulations change every so often and the manufacturers void their warranty if you have even been in a minor fender bender…so it’s pretty hard to get a good one uses. Most car seats last for 5-7 years though so once you invest in one you will likely have it for subsequent babies. Because we had the Uppa Baby vista stroller we opted for the Uppa Baby Mesa compatible car seat. It clicks in and out of the stroller and car seat base with the click of a button and makes for super easy in and outs from the car. Again, these are things you are going to be doing multiple times a day, invest in something good quality that will last for more than one baby (if your plan is to grow your family).
CAR SEAT COVER
Do you live in Canada? You will need a car seat cover. Despite the fact that it is absolutely frigid in the winter, it’s safer for kids not be bundled up in snow suits and jackets when they are put in their car seats so instead you are supposed to but them into the seat with just their clothing on and pile on the layers over top of the straps. Sounds insane but if you think about how much space a puffy snowsuit puts between the baby and the straps it makes a lot of sense. You want those straps real snug around baby’s torso so they ain’t goin nowheres. There are a few different options for car seat covers, I have also seen a lot of poncho style jackets you put on the kid once they are in the car seat. We have the 7am Enfant Car Seat Cocoon and Johnny is snug as a bug in a rug even on -25 degree days. We usually throw a little blanket on him once he’s strapped in but the Cocoon traps the heat in really nicely. Basically a baby sleeping bag.
CHANGE TABLE PAD
We LOVE our bumbo change pad. First of all, it’s made of silicone so it is SO easy to clean. People who opt for change pads with covers you have to wash blow my mind. John will do his best to pee on me/the table at every change so I am so glad I don’t have some piece of fabric that must be washed. I just use a wipe and the Bumbo pad is clean in seconds. It’s also super portable and easy to store if we wanted to put it away (which we won’t be doing for years…) also it’s soft enough that when he is kicking and banging his legs against it it doesn’t hurt him. I also like that it is long enough that he can grow into it and we will have it for years. Again, the general theme of our baby registry was getting quality products that will last for our next baby. Highly recommend the Bumbo change pad, it is virtually indestructible.
If you are planning on breastfeeding you will want some comfy nursing bras. You can check out bras that have fancy clips but personally I opted for the stretchy kind you can just pull down to whip your boob out. The Bravado Ballet Nursing Bras came recommended to me by a friend and they did not disappoint. Buy at least two so one can always be in the wash while you wear the other one. They are butter soft and great for sleeping too. Plus they fit gigantic bazoombas which you will have.
Seems simple but you will really need these. You will leak. All. The. Time. I still do! And unless you want to be soaking through t-shirts and onto your sheets while you sleep I recommend you get nursing pads to stuff in your bra. Funny, the time when your boobs are at their largest is the time you are stuffing your bra. Huh. Anywho, unless you hate the environment I recommend getting reusable ones. I have the ones linked below and they wash up like a dream! Get quite a few as you will need to change them at least once a day.
Yes you need a baby monitor. If you ever want to be in one room while baby is in another you’re gonna need one. Unless you live in a one bedroom apartment in which case you don’t….self-explanatory. We did our homework on these and found one that was right for our price point. Yes there are fancier and more expensive ones. But the Motorola MBP36XL is one of the top rated baby monitors on Amazon and it has all the features we wanted: portable, night vision, two-way talk, easy to use, quick to charge. It is so convenient to be able to place the camera on any surface. I carry it from the bedroom to the living room during the day. We didn’t want to wall mount one that was fixed in one place…wanted to be able to bring it to Grandma and Grandpa’s etc. so far we have been super happy with this monitor!
“NICE TO HAVES”
Yay bath time fun! Once you get over the initial anxiety of bathing baby (they are so slippery!) bath time is the greatest. There are many baby friendly bath products out there but our favourites have been from the Honest Company. They are gentle on his skin, smell good, and are paraben blah blah free, and no tears if it gets in his eyes! We also have the lotion and it’s a lovely product as well. Maybe it’s the bath products maybe it’s genetics but John has really nice skin lol.
This puppy is an absolute must. So convenient we just love ours! It actually does such an amazing job at containing the stink. Full disclosure, breastmilk poops really don’t smell that bad, they are messy but don’t smell. We have also had some formula poops that were less than pleasant. Either way the diaper genie contains that sh*t - literally.
Ahhh yes the swing. For some parents this is literally a life saver. We didn’t really harness the full power of the swing until I realized John liked to be swaddled in the swing…THEN we got so much more use out of it. He can nap in there for hours. There are many swings on the market. Something you will find when you make your baby registry is that the store you register at might not have everything you want. We registered with Snuggle Bugz which we were super happy with. The only thing is that the swing they offered only rocked back and forth which for some babies is not enough…some babies like side to side swinging too. So below I have linked the swing we have, which we are very happy with (lightweight, folds up easy for storage and travel, nice to look at and does the job) and another swing worth considering which is probably the highest rated swing on Amazon. I would put the swing somewhere in between MUST and nice to have…depends on the babe but ours has bought has many hours of hands free time….which is essentially priceless with a newborn.
WHITE NOISE MACHINE
Oh baby the gift of white noise is a precious one. We had our first nearly full night’s sleep with John thanks to the soothing sounds of the ocean current. To be perfectly honest, my husband and I probably enjoy the white noise as much as baby does. Not everyone will though and that’s understandable. Remember, whatever baby sleeps with you will too (and amplified if listening over the monitor!). We like the Project Nursery white noise machine for several reasons. It is small, you can control it from an app on your phone, it also acts as a nightlight, you can program it, and it offers several noises and songs to choose from. Bonus it also acts as a bluetooth speaker in case you want to play some really jazzy music for baby! It’s compatible with Alexa but that sh*t gives me the creeps so I prefer to control it using buttons/my phone rather than shouting at the air to turn it on. If your baby really likes white noise you will probably want a portable machine which this is not. In that case check out the Rohm portable white noise machine, also linked below (great for car travel!)
I am only including this on here as a must have because we have been super happy with the quality of this product. The Aden & Anais burp cloths are super durable, they can clean up anything from a little goober to a giant spit up. They also have a small clasp if you want to do them up like a bib around baby’s neck! How cute. They are made of super soft absorbent material and wash up great. We keep one on hand at all times and can’t say enough good things about these cloths!
BABY BATH TUB
A baby bath tub is not a must. You can bathe baby in your kitchen sink for a long time. If you only have a stand up shower (no tub) you might want to get a tub that fills with water, in this case I would recommend the EuroBath. We wanted this one but opted for something a little lower profile seeing as we have a full tub for baby to sit in. We bought the Angel Care baby bath. Pros: it’s easier to store than the EuroBath, it cleans really easily, baby can lay down without you holding him while you wash him, and it will fit him for quite a while. Cons: it doesn’t hold water so you have to keep baby warm by constantly pouring water on him and/or filling up the tub enough so he is somewhat submerged. If you live in a small space and even your kitchen sink doesn’t present as a great option check out the Puj tub, this thing is ingenious! We don’t have one but if we lived in a condo we would definitely get it! Last but not least is the Blooming Bath. Grandma has this one and we love it. It cushions and fills space in the sink so baby fits better and is more comfortable. Only downside is that after the bath you have a giant soaking wet flower to deal with…best to just toss it in the dryer after each use. That may or may not appeal to you…but the cuteness factor is 3000.
BABY GROOMING KIT
This one seems silly but I have actually gotten so much use out of it. Trimming baby’s nails is like the most anxiety provoking activity you can possible engage in but these tiny baby sized trimmers actually made it pretty easy. Also, I didn’t even realize John had cradle cap (like baby dandruff) until Grandma pointed it out and recommended I brush the duck fluff he calls hair. The baby brush in this kit has stiff natural bristles and no kidding, after three days of brushing gently after the bath his scalp was smooth as a bowling ball. Honestly I was surprised you needed to brush a baby’s hair but it’s good for their scalp! And this little kit has it all.
This one only applies if you bottle feed (DUH) but even if you pump milk once in a while it’s nice to have a warmer. The Phillips Avent warmer fits bottles of most any size and it super super easy to use! We use ours all day every day!
Different than a wrap this is a structured carrier. We opted for the Ergo Baby Omnio 360 due to the variety of positions baby can be put in and durability. This carrier comes very highly rated and we are excited to use it as the weather gets warmer! Keep in mind that for babies under 12lbs you will need the newborn insert. We have mostly been using the Boba Wrap while John is a newborn. We are about to put the Ergo Baby carrier to the test as we travel to Florida! We will need to carry baby throughout the airport and on the plane not to mention while on vacation! I especially like the more masculine colours of the Ergo Baby making Dads look quite “fetch” when wearing baby!
Ok last tip about registries: it matters where you register. One store may not have every item you want or may only carry select brands. A really cool solution to this is registering with Amazon or Baby List where you can add items from any store you like! The only problem is, for the less tech savy guest they might prefer an in-store option rather than buying online. We opted to register from Snuggle Bugz who were local to us and carried all the brands we wanted. We didn’t find that Babies R Us had everything we wanted. Just something to keep in mind.
This list is not exhaustive but it certainly covers the “MUST HAVES”. Some other items to keep in mind:
Clothes (zipper sleepers people! I don’t mind clasps during the day but at night…ahh phoey!)
Baby food maker
Comfy post partum wear for Mama
Pack n’ play
Car mirror for car seat
Crib (yes this is likely a MUST have but really cribs come down to preference, as long as they meet the safety ratings you can’t really go wrong)
Baby gates for stairs
Bottle cleaning brush
Dock a tot
Baby scratch mittens
Baby weigh scale (we love weighing John every few days to see what he is gaining! It’s been fun)
Good Luck with your registry! If you have any questions you think I can help with me please let me know!!
NEVER MISS A POST!
Sign up with your email address to receive Wisdom Wednesdays. Just kidding that sounds ridiculous....but seriously sign up you might even like it.
We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.