Thursday, October 10, 2013

Baby Registry Essentials


I researched like a crazy person while I was pregnant. I would like to blame it on the hormones, but really that's just how I am. I'm a researcher. I can't help it! I love to learn.

To begin my registry used a few different blogs to guide me on what the "must haves" are. Since Billy is only 5 months old I can only guide you on the things I have found to be essential this far, but in my honest and humble opinion, by this point as a mom I know what I like and I'm completely comfortable marching into Babies or Buy Buy and picking up what I need.

I have my own favorite brands, and you bet that I am going to promote them because they are what's worked best for us. I have not been compensated in any way to write this post and please remember that all babies are different. What worked for Billy may not work for your little bundle.

In an ideal world, we all get everything we want and need from our registries and we get to save our own money for rainbows and unicorns and Frappuccinos. Sadly, however, this is not the case where I live, in the real world. This registry list is full of things that are the best bang for your buck. No extras. No frilly-dillies. Just straight up sh*t you will need.

Now, shall we?!

Nursery & Decor
Go ahead and skip this section on your registry entirely after choosing furniture. The decor doesn't matter. Go to Hobby Lobby and use a 40% off coupon to make something magical.This list is about saving money. On second thought, pick a crib that's under $200 and call it a day. They're all safe. They're all put through testing, and even still...recalls happen. Trust your mama gut.

I've found three is a magic number with many things baby. Pick three cute crib sheets and three waterproof mattress pads. I like these:
Carter's Fitted Crib Sheets
Carter's Keep Me Dry Waterproof Fitted Quilted Crib Pad
Sometime in the first few months, your baby will begin rolling around in his sleep. He will then wake up with limbs caught outside of his crib and scream hysterically. For prevention of that, I recommend getting one of these:
Breathable Mesh Crib Liner 
Baby Gear & Travel
Many mamas told me travel systems are bulky and unnecessary, but I admit that I have a sick obsession with the one I have. We call it "The Escalade" and it is a beautiful, beautiful thing.

The early days of learning how to get around with a tiny person that has more stuff than what fits in your car is taxing, and just getting in and out of the doorway at Starbucks will throw your sleep-deprived brain for a loop. For this reason, I strongly recommend every new mama has a three-wheeled stroller. It just makes every movement easier and in those early days...easier is so much better. Not to mention you feel super cool out on walks with your fancy-looking jogger stroller. Even if you've never jogged a day in your life.

This is my travel system and I love it:
Graco Trekko Travel System
I'm a cruchy mama, so baby wearing and cloth diapering may not be for you, but I know I get a lot more done using two hands instead of one so I recommend every mama has at least one baby carrier to wear her babe. I have these two and adore them both:
Baby K'Tan Breeze Carrier
ErgoBaby Performance Carrier
I chose the Breeze & Performance carriers because they are made with more breathable fabrics. If you've ever held onto another person for more than an hour in July in Chicago, you understand why these fabrics are a smart choice.

Every mama needs a diaper bag whether you're using disposables or not, and I love my Vera Bradley bag. It has all the compartments I need and has a thousand other accessories to match. Win/win. I like the Messenger style:
Vera Bradley Messenger Baby Bag
If you want to cloth diaper, put them on your registry and ask your shower guests to buy them for you. I added a note on the bottom of my shower invitations: "All cloth diaper gifts will be given a ticket for a raffle with fabulous prizes!" It helped me get every single diaper I registered for. Boo-ya.

For a newborn, I recommend starting with 24 newborn/size 1 prefolds, 8 newborn/size 1 covers, a package of 3 Snappis and 40 infant washcloths to use as wipes.

For an older baby, over 12 lb, I recommend 18 size 2 prefolds, 8 one size covers, a package of 3 Snappis 6 one-size pocket or AIO style diapers and 40 infant washcloths to use as wipes.

Nursing & Feeding
If you plan to breastfeed, you will want a good pump. I recommend this one:
Medela Pump In Style Advanced Tote
For a hands-free pumping bra, buy some cheap sports bras on clearance somewhere & cut slits at the nipple just wide enough for your flange.

Not all babies will take all bottles, but our favorites are the Medela bottles because they fit on my pump so I have less dishes to do. The pump above comes with four bottles and I believe one nipple, but extra nipples are helpful to have on hand, so add these:
Medela Slow Flow Wide-Base Nipple
Medela Breastmilk Bottle Spare Parts
You'll need to clean those suckers too, so get 3 nice brushes and some good bottle soap. I don't feel my dishwasher does a good enough job cleaning the bottles, so I prefer to wash bottles and parts by hand. I have tried several brands and these are my favorites:
Dr. Brown's Bottle Brush
BabyGanics Foaming Dish & Bottle Soap
"The Girls" will need extra special care the first few weeks, so invest in yourself by getting several (5+) pairs of these:
Bamboobies Washable Nursing Pads
I was very anti pacifier before I had Billy, but after 3 weeks of listening to his colicky scream, I learned that pacifiers are a beautiful thing. Just like bottles, typically babies pick favorites. Billy prefers these:
MAM Brand Pacifiers
For a few weeks I swore there was a paci-gremlin hiding under our furniture because the second a paci hit the floor, it would evaporate into thin air. Two of these will save you a lot of hours on your hands and knees, paci-hunting (for these, brand matters!! We tried several and none compared to BooginHead):
BooginHead Paci Clip

You may already know, I love bath sponges. I think tubs are too expensive and take up too much space. I already have a kitchen sink installed..that's like a built-in baby tub! One of these is what I started with and it lasted me 5 months until I finally wore it out and bought another. Love!
Summer Comfy Bath Sponge
I do laundry pretty regularly, so I think two towels are sufficient, and the fluffier, the better.
Carter's Hooded Bath Towel
I love saving money, and I'm all about being cents-smart, but some things are worth the splurge. California Baby Shampoo & Bodywash is one of those items. Make sure to register for the bottle with dispenser pump:
California Baby Calming Shampoo & Bodywash
There are lots of lotions available, and California Baby makes a lovely smelling Everyday Lotion, but my favorite thing to use on Billy is coconut oil. I also use it as diaper rash cream and it's the bees knees. Two birds, one stone.
Coconut Oil

Health & Safety
It's still very early for us, so we haven't needed to child proof anything (I know our days are numbered...) so I'll give you the basics that I have on hand for this category:

We own a video monitor but we don't use it because of all the reports that keep coming out about video monitors being easily hacked. So in my opinion, unless you live in a mansion where you will be so far from your child it is impossible to hear him cry, you don't need one.

That said, you will need these:
Digital Thermometer
One of these:
Vicks Humidifier
And these:
Gas Relief Drops
Nosefrida Nasal Aspirator
Outlet Covers
Sleepwear and Clothing
They say not to register for clothes because you'll get plenty anyway, so keep that in mind. I think a few onesie sets, some pants, some socks and a sweater in NB size and 0-3mo are sufficient to get started until you learn your favorites.

Sleepers are a little more universal. I am very thankful for:
Zipper PJ's
HALO Sleepsack Swaddles
Some babies hate to be swaddled, but they will all need some kind of wearable blanket (aka sleepsack) for bedtime so these are multifunctional. Register for 3 in each size (NB & Small). You will not regret it.

In my opinion it's impossible to have TOO MANY PJs because you just never want to run out and some nights you can go through 3+ sets of them. Trust me. It's a mystery, but it happens.

Having these books on hand will save you a lot of frustration. Read them now, then read them again when your baby is born, and again as your baby hits milestones and you need to be reminded of their message.
Happiest Baby on the Block
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child
This is one area I started out very slim and grew my collection based on what my baby liked. I also bought things second hand or received them as hand me downs from family friends, which saved a bundle.

The swing we own is the most beautiful gadget of all.

I recommend all mamas register for Graco products, because they are brilliant. For example, our swing is compatible with our SnugRide infant car seat. That means when you get home from grocery shopping and have all those bags to carry in but the baby is snoozing away in the car, you pop the seat out of the swing and snap the car seat in. Baby keeps sleeping, completely undisturbed for another hour+ and you can carry on with your chores. Pure genius. However, I'm not sure the same model we have (above) is still available...

Thankfully, they also make this:
Graco Baby SnugGlider Infant Car Seat Swing Frame
...with a tiny price tag of $65. Can't beat it.

And last but not least, don't try to survive without one of these. When your baby arrives, you'll understand.
Fisher Prize Rock N' Play Sleeper
THAT'S IT! I know, you're thinking, "Jess, that is an insane list. It wasn't small or cost-efficient AT ALL." but trust me, it is pretty bare bones compared to many registry list suggestions out there.

Think I missed something major? Write your favorite baby must-haves in the comments below!


  1. Pacifier holders save my life! LOL. And we love our breathable crib liner too although she sure does try to "figure it out" while laying in there.

  2. Jess - this is pretty much dead-on. My LO is just 3.5 months, so not to far behind Billy, & as such I've followed your blogging with great interest! I would add Aden+Anais swaddle blankets, and also a selection of general clothing so people can pick your style preferences. (i.e. we didn't want everything to be pink) Oh, and a temporal scanning thermometer, especially for first-time moms, it's so easy to do a quick check (and then recheck to confirm that last reading)

  3. I have read your post All great suggestions for new moms! There's a lot of great items on here. I definitely feel like.Thank's for sharing.

  4. this is a great tips of baby registry. you've shered details in your post. I like it so much max K

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