Congratulations! A new baby is such an exciting time. But, let’s be honest, its a totally overwhelming and confusing time as well.
When I was pregnant with my first son, I was so overwhelmed.
Overwhelmed by the prospect of bringing home a new life that I was responsible for. And overwhelmed with the prospect of picking the right products for him.
I didn’t want to overwhelm our house with a million objects but I also didn’t to end up not having something that I needed.
I get it, there is a lot of preparation that goes into preparing to bring a baby home. You need to interview pediatricians, check out daycares, and read the right books. Creating your ideal baby registry is just one more task that needs to be tackled before your baby arrives.
Now before we get started on what to put on your baby registry, let’s just quickly chat about where to create your registry.
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Things to consider when choosing where to create your baby registry:
Online or brick-and-mortar?
Depending on where you’re located, I always like the idea of having an online option as well as a brick-and-mortar option when creating any kind of registry.
For example, when my husband and I built our baby registry the majority of the items on our checklist for were on either Amazon or Buy Buy Baby. Why? Partially because I know people find buying online super easy (I’m one of those people – I love Amazon Prime!). But I also know that I have friends and family (especially older family members) who still like to go to a baby store and pick things out in person.
When you’re creating your perfect baby registry, making sure that the list contains things you genuinely want (and need) is the first priority. The second priority is making sure you’re creating a registry that contains items that people will be able to reasonably get you.
Can you return items easily?
Let’s face it – sometimes the things we think we’re going to love for our baby just end up being unimpressive, or worse, not helpful. If you’re concerned you might end up with gifts that just don’t quiet work out, or worse yet, a ton of items you just don’t want, check the store’s return policy. If its not somewhere that’s local to you, will it be a hassle to get things returned?
How user friendly is their baby registry?
Take into consideration how easy the registry is to build. Most stores give you the option to build your registry as you walk through the store and to add things online. Make things easy on yourself and pick a store that allows you some flexibility.
Some registries also give your friends and family the option to check and item off of the registry even if they purchased it elsewhere. This might be particularly beneficial if you have friends and family members who are great at bargain shopping!
Do they offer a completion discount?
For me, this was one of my biggest considerations. There are plenty of places that will offer you a completion discount, which is essentially a percentage off of the purchase you make to buy any remaining items from your registry. Keep in mind that, for most of the stores offering these discounts, it’s a one time use discount. You’ll also want to be mindful that many places only let you use the discount before whatever date you give them as your baby’s due date. So, when picking a place to set-up your registry, you’ll want to keep track of that date.
Some examples of stores that offer completion discounts:
Baby Registry Item Necessities by Category
There are truly a ridiculous number of items available for you and your baby. If you’re not sure what items you should be registered for, check out this list. But also, talk with friends and family members. Some of the best items on my list came as recommendations from people that I talked to while I was pregnant. And keep in mind that there are a lot of really great items out there that don’t fit into these categories. Things that aren’t “necessities” but that are a lot of fun. Don’t forget to make your registry uniquely yours!
Fitted sheet for crib mattress
Fitted sheet for bassinet
Bassinet / Co-sleeper / Pack N Play
Keep in mind that there are a lot of great options for those first weeks and months when your baby will likely be in your room at night. The Fischer Price Soothing Motions bassinet worked great for us, but I know that some people swear by the Snoo (which also offers a rental program if you have your heart set on this pricier option, but don’t plan on keeping the baby in your room for long).
If you have more than one level on your home, you may want to consider having a station for your baby to sleep and be changed on your main level (assuming your bedroom is upstairs). Especially in those early days after delivering your baby, being able to avoid too many trips up and down the stairs can be a lifesaver. Since we wanted a Pack N’Play for trips, we just set ours up in our living room in order to have an easy resting spot for our baby, but I know several people who absolutely love their Dock-A-Tot and find it much easier and more convenient to let their baby rest while mom and dad are otherwise occupied.
Pump – Before registering for a pump, definitely check with your insurance provider to find out if you can get one for free. They may not offer the exact one that you want, in which case you can add it to your registry, but if you can get it from your insurance provider that’s always a bonus!
Bottles – We struggled a lot to get our son to take a bottle, so if you’re not planning to start with bottle feeding when you bring your baby comes home, you may want to consider putting a couple of different brands on your registry. Or just starting off with this awesome variety pack offered by the registry provider BabyList. Honestly, I wish I had known about it when I was buying a million different bottles just to get my son to bottle-feed.
Bottle drying rack
Diapers – We tried a couple of disposable diaper brands in the first few months with my son, but there are so many different brands out there and they all seem to have their own die-hard fans. Personally, I like Huggies, but the only suggestion I have in terms of choosing which diaper to buy or register for before the baby comes is to choose a diaper that says “unscented.” You don’t want your new baby becoming uncomfortable in their diaper because of perfumes and such. Alternatively, you could skip disposable diapering entirely and jump right into the laundry-driven world of cloth diapers (which we often use for my son these days).
Diaper pail – I thought we could get away with just using a trash can for the diapers when we had our son, but that didn’t turn out so well. A friend came to visit and when he left he literally went out and bought a Diaper Genie for us and came back to drop it off – so embarrassing! If you choose to have more than one diapering station in your home, at the very least, you may want to consider a diaper pail for the station in or near areas where people come over to your home and visit.
Diaper pail liners
Wet/dry bag if you choose to cloth diaper
Health and Hygiene
Nasal aspirator – I love the Baby Frida Nasal Aspirator. It was a little offputting at first because you’re using your mouth with a long tube and filter between you) to literally suck the snot out of your baby’s nose. But the tube is clear and you can really see that what you’re doing is working and clearing your baby’s nostril out well.
Thermometer (rectal and electronic)
Liquid medicine syringe – A helpful tip: you can often request a couple of these from your local pharmacy when picking up prescriptions!
Scent free laundry detergent – I looked around for a long time at what we “should” be using for our baby, because of course all of his clothing was washed before his due date. A lot of people, and websites, recommend Dreft, which is specifically made as a baby’s laundry detergent. But its also priced more than regular detergents. Ultimately, my husband and I went with All Free & Clear and we have been pretty happy with it. And our son has never had an issues with it either.
Hand sanitizer/ sanitizer wipes
Changing pad – When I was first pregnant I had no idea what kind of changing pad to register for, so I went with the classic foam pad with a changing cover. Then a friend at work with a baby about 6 months older than my own suggested getting a pad that doesn’t require a cover. And there are lots of them out there. Because he was right, a changing pad gets every bodily function spilled out on it at some point and needs to be changed and laundered, whereas a silicon mat like this one, simply needs to be wiped off and its ready for the next use.
Door knob covers
Necessities for Mom
Peri bottle – You’ll be able to take one of these from the hospital with you when you leave, but I would recommend purchasing a couple of extras. They’re helpful to have in random bathrooms around your house and to keep one in your diaper bag. Seriously, you do not want to be without one of these after giving birth.
On the Go
Baby carrier – I personally like having more than one type. The Ergo has been great for my son now that he’s been a bit older, but the Boba wrap (or the K’tan wrap) was great when he was a newborn. However, my recent and favorite of all of carriers that I’ve tried, is the Ring Sling. It works well for my toddler, and I can’t wait to use it for baby #2.
Pack N Play
Diaper bag – I hated looking for diaper bags because I had a really difficult time finding something that I liked, seemed functional, and that wouldn’t break the bank. The diaperbag that I wish (it’s a weird mom thing I guess, to long for a perfect diaper bag) I had gotten, however, is a bag from Lily Jade. They’re gorgeous. But more than that, they are large and easily convert between being a shoulder bag and a diaper bag. A function that was nearly impossible to find anywhere else. Also, if you follow them on Instagram, they offer a TON of giveaways! Some more affordable options that seem to be fairly popular are the diaperbags offered by SkipHop.
Portable changing pad – Though you may want to keep in mind that many diaper bags include changing pads with them.
You may also want to check out:
Consider whether or not your baby shower guests will prefer to shop online or if they like to go into stores. Look at whether or not the place you intend to register will offer you a discount for making purchases off of your own registry. Think about the types of items you may want to put on your registry and look for places that you can register for those items.
You can start as soon as you’re ready! There is no set date you need to wait until, so if you know where you want to register or have specific items you know you want — add them as soon as you’re ready! You don’t need to share the registry until you’re ready to share it with your friends and family, so take your time and build a registry that makes you comfortable.
You absolutely can put clothes — especially if its something you really love. But keep in mind that many people will probably buy you clothes (because people loving picking out cute baby clothes), whether you have them on your registry or not.