As new parents, there is so much to get done during pregnancy. Prep the baby room, attend a ton of doctor’s appointments, choose the baby’s name and of course, create your baby registry. But as a new mom you might think to yourself, what essentials do I actually need on my baby registry checklist? And what can I leave out?
When I was pregnant, I relied on the checklist given to me at the department store I had my registry and yeah, that was a mistake. Shortly after having my baby, I realized I had so many unnecessary items that I was never going to use.
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Fast forward to my second child, I’ve become a bit of a minimalist so I kept my registry super short with only essentials and items I wish I had with my firstborn.
I’m ready to share with you my list of top baby products that are must-haves and that you’ll actually use. I’ll also add on some optional items that are nice-to-have and convenient, but many moms can do without, as well as some items you don’t need and can definitely skip.
And don’t forget to download your own FREE printable of the baby registry checklist!
Why Create a Baby Registry?
I know some parents choose not to have a registry, and that’s perfectly fine. But it’s generally a good idea to have one if you’re going to have a baby shower or you’re expecting family members and friends to buy you gifts.
If you create a baby registry list, you can ensure all of your essentials and big-ticket items are covered and your family and friends won’t duplicate gifts or get you unnecessary items. Also, you’re not going to have much time once your new baby is born, so you’ll be grateful to have your necessary items already purchased and ready to use.
When Should You Create a Baby Registry?
There’s definitely no rush on creating a baby registry, but if you’re a first-time mom, you might be excited to start ASAP! It’s common to start creating a registry sometime in the beginning of the second trimester before baby shower invitations go out.
Definitely give yourself time to research everything you need and want for your baby registry. When it’s completed, you can add the registry information to your baby shower invites or share it with your friends, family, and coworkers.
Where Should You Register?
It used to be the case where there were only 1 or 2 stores parents registered for their baby shower, but now there are more options and all of them allow you to purchase online.
With my first child, I registered at Buy Buy Baby because of the convenience of gift wrapping and store recognition. With my second, I created an Amazon baby registry because of ease of use, fast shipping, and a variety of options and brands.
Baby Registry Checklist
Here are the items you should add to your baby registry:
- Crib– while any crib will generally do, some prefer a convertible crib that will convert to a toddler bed when your child is ready. I recommend the Babyletto Hudson 3-in-1 Convertible Crib, which is simple, beautiful, and matches any decor. I used this crib with my daughter and son and love that mid-century minimalist look.
- Comfortable rocking chair or glider with optional ottoman– I cannot stress enough a good comfortable chair with an ottoman, especially for my nursing mamas out there. You will be spending A LOT of time feeding your child in this chair, so get something comfortable that you can rest your feet on. A lot of rocking chairs now come with matching stools, like this one that is highly rated and free of toxic chemicals. For a more expensive option, I highly recommend the Dutailier gliders for their comfort and durability. I nursed two kids on that glider through many days and nights, and it still looks as great as the day I bought it. For a full list of top breastfeeding chairs and gliders, check out this post.
- Nightlight– for those late-night diaper changes and feedings. Moms rave about the Hatch nightlight which combines a nightlight, sound machine, and a gentle time-to-rise alarm in one. If you’re looking for ways to help your baby sleep longer, I cover the top 10 effective baby sleep products here.
- Nightstand– you’ll need a nightstand next to your rocking chair to hold all your nighttime items, like bottles, pacifiers, burping cloths, etc.
- Nursery decor– there are so many great themes so have fun with it!
- Nursery Organizers- to keep your nursery uncluttered and store diapers, creams, blankets, swaddle blankets, etc. I’m a fan of the Amazon Basics organizer. It comes in a great neutral color, offers plenty of storage space, and fits into most closets easily.
- Changing Table– I made this optional because I know plenty of moms who just change their child on a changing pad on top of a dresser and it works. I liked having this dresser/changing table combo, and it’s gotten a lot of use with my two kids. Don’t forget the changing pad.
- Baby monitor– I’m not sure what parents did before baby monitors honestly. I’m glued to this thing and it helps me sleep at night knowing I can quickly check on them without going into their room and disturbing them. It’s definitely not a “must-have,” plenty of moms see no need for a baby monitor. But if you’re like me and just need that extra level of comfort, the Nest camera is my go-to. It barely loses connection, and by using the app on your phone you can view your child’s room even while you’re out on date night. The app will allow you to see every room a camera is installed in, which is helpful if you have multiple children in different rooms.
- Don’t Need: Crib Mobile– other than look nice, they are actually quite dangerous to put on your child’s crib. Especially when they become more mobile (no pun intended) and are able to grab things. Since you’re only going to be able to show it off for a few months, what’s the point?
- Swaddles– Velcro, velcro, velcro. I’ve tried all types of swaddles, and if you want to spare yourself the headache (and your partner’s) get a swaddle with a velcro closure. Swaddles in general are a good idea for the first few months since most babies sleep their best when they’re swaddled tight (to mimic that feeling in the womb).
- Crib mattress– if you’re looking for a crib mattress that is non-toxic, washable, and breathable, look no further than the Newton crib mattresses. The peace of mind alone is worth it.
- Crib mattress pad– accidents will 100% happen so invest in some good waterproof mattress pads!
- Crib fitted sheets– I’m obsessed with these stretchy crib fitted sheets! They come in cute designs and feel so soft, perfect for a baby. I recommend getting at least a few sets of sheets in case of accidents.
- Pacifiers– not all babies will take pacifiers so I wouldn’t go crazy adding a bunch, but it’s a good idea to have at least 1 or 2 sets on your registry. Bonus if they’re glow in the dark like these MAM night pacifiers so you can easily find them at night. If you’re looking for the best pacifiers for breastfed babies, check out this post.
- Bassinet– some moms put their baby straight in the crib from the first night and never need a bassinet. If you decide on a bassinet, remember that your baby is only going to be in there for a very short while (each of my kids only slept 7 weeks in it!) before transitioning them to a crib. No need to get anything expensive! Or get a Pack and Play that has multiple uses and you can use for much longer. To learn which one would suit your needs better, check out Bassinet vs Pack n’ Play: Which is Best for Baby?
- Sleep Sacks– When your sleeping baby starts rolling over, swaddles are no longer safe but neither are blankets. Use a sleep sack instead, which is basically a wearable blanket.
- White Noise/Sleep Machine– While this is not a must-have, I found it to be so helpful for long, uninterrupted sleep that everyone in my family has one in their room. Both my kids sleep through the night despite any noise going on in the house. Some moms just use their Echo Dot or Nest Mini to play white noise. If you’re like me and are iffy about putting those devices in your child’s bedroom, try this one which has an awesome wood grain look, multiple sound options, and includes a timer.
- Don’t Need:
- Blankets and Fancy Crib Bedding Sets– for the first few months, it’s a suffocation risk for a baby to sleep with a blanket. Also, you’re probably going to be gifted a lot of blankets (especially monogrammed blankets) so no need to add them to your registry.
- Crib Bumpers– these are also suffocation risk and highly discouraged by pediatricians.
For more detailed information about the best sleep aids to help your baby sleep through the night, see 10 Effective Baby Sleep Products to Help Your Baby Sleep Longer.
- Baby bathtub– any bathtub will do, I kept it simple and got this convenient support chair that is lightweight and easy to store.
- Hooded towels– 3 soft hooded towels is all you really need.
- Baby shampoo, body wash, and lotion set– while you can get these separately, the sets are nice to have as they include everything you need for bath time. This Aveeno set is my go-to for baby shower registries! For organic soaps that are free of chemicals, organic, and baby-safe, I highly recommend Earth Mama’s line of baby washes and lotions, like my favorite Calming Lavender Castile Baby Wash.
- Washcloths– washcloths are necessary especially for those first few days of sponge-bathing your baby.
- Optional Nice-to-Haves: Bath toys– you might not need bath toys if you want bath time to be a relaxing routine for your baby, but they are great to have as your child gets older and has more interest in toys.
- Regular and overnight diapers– needless to say, you’re going to be going through A LOT of diapers in the first few years so stack up and get them in all sizes. I wouldn’t put too many newborn-sized diapers on your registry as your child will grow out of them very quickly. Definitely invest in some overnight diapers, they absorb more urine and can prevent overnight leakage. I’ve tried every brand, and I can honestly say nothing beats the absorbency of Honest Company diapers. They’re made out of sustainable materials and are hypoallergenic which is also a nice plus. If you’re not a fan of disposable diapers, look into getting reusable cloth diapers that are high quality and easy to wash.
- Diaper rash cream– a doctor once recommended Boudreaux’s Butt Paste and that’s all I’ve used since. Despite the funny name, it has no harsh ingredients like other diaper rash creams and works well. For an organic option that is smooth and soothing for even the most sensitive baby skin, try Earth Mama Organic Diaper Balm.
- Wipes– like diapers, you’re going to need A LOT of wipes for the foreseeable future. My entire household uses Amazon’s Elements wipes, which are free of alcohol and other harsh ingredients and are inexpensive.
- Diaper bag– yes, you definitely need a diaper bag, or at least a bag with a million compartments to carry ALL THE THINGS. Thankfully, nowadays there are fashionable options, like this one I was gifted and love. Pro tip: get a diaper bag that doubles as a breast pump bag! For a detailed list of the best breast pump bags, check out this post.
- Traveling changing pad– crucial for on-the-go diaper changes. I’ve used Skip Hop’s changing pads for both kids because of how conveniently foldable they are and the different design options available.
- Optional nice-to-haves:
- Diaper caddy– never had one but I could see how this would be a good idea for added organization and portability, like this one that has multiple compartments and looks great.
- Diaper trashcan– another item I never bothered getting since I didn’t like the idea of collecting soiled diapers in a trashcan for longer than a day. However, moms I know swear by the Diaper Genie, which uses a carbon filter to lock in odors.
- Wipes Warmer– this is a nice-to-have, but definitely not necessary at all. I definitely treated myself to a wipes warmer with my second child. It’s just so annoying to change your baby’s diaper at night and have him startled awake with a cold wipe. I’ve been using the hiccapop wipes warmer, which has a helpful night light and keeps the wipes moist.
- Onesies, long and short-sleeved– get a variety of onesies! Just avoid getting too many white onesies, they will all end up stained anyway. Primary is a great place for organic baby clothes, they’re great quality and gender neutral.
- Long and short pants- Your baby might not wear pants the first few months, so don’t go crazy. You can get away with adding pants for sizes 3 months and up.
- Pajamas with zippers– your newborn will likely live in pajamas, so do yourself a favor and get zippered PJs. There is nothing worse than having to snap on PJ buttons during middle-of-the-night diaper changes.
- Hats- if your baby is born in the fall/winter, you will need a handful of hats to keep them warm. For the summer, they’ll need a sun hat. They can quickly outgrow them, so again no need to add more than 3 or 4.
- Mittens- your baby will go through a phase where they are scratching up their face unfortunately, so I recommend 3-4 pairs of mittens. There are great hats/mittens sets you can add to your registry.
- Sweaters, coat and jacket– necessary for fall/winter babies. If you can get a zippered coat, even better.
- Laundry detergent– pro tip: change the family’s detergent to one that is safe for sensitive skin, like this one that I use. Then you only have to use one detergent instead of having a separate one for baby.
- Socks– For the fall/winter, LOTS of socks. You’re going to lose a few because they slip off so easily, so I recommend getting more than you think you need. You could probably get away with not getting any socks for spring/summer.
- Optional nice-to-haves: Dressy clothes– have a nice outfit ready for upcoming holidays or parties, but no need to have more than 2-3 dressy outfits as they will outgrow them quickly. For unique dressy outfits, Tea Collection has the cutest fashionable clothes for babies.
- Don’t need: Shoes– your child won’t be walking until they’re closer to a year old so there really is no need for shoes. I have a few and have tried to get my baby to wear them and he immediately kicks them off. They may look cute, but they’re pointless.
Bottle Feeding and Breastfeeding
- Nursing or bottle feeding pillow– as I mentioned before, you’re going to be spending a lot of hours feeding your baby so make sure you have a comfortable pillow for your arm. I love the Boppy brand, used with both my kids.
- Burp cloths– my baby was 8 months old and still spitting up on me daily!! Highly recommend having burp cloths handy!
- Bibs– ditto to lots of bibs as your baby will be drooling constantly. Also once they start solids, make sure you have bibs that are easy to wipe off.
- Bottles– have a starter set to try out, but keep in mind you may have to try some different brands if your baby is refusing the bottle or spitting up a lot. I really like Avent baby bottles especially for breastfed babies because of the different flow levels and natural wide-shaped nipple. I found my kids were able to go back and forth between breast and bottle easily using this bottle, with minimal spit-up.
- Bottle brushes– I recommend having a bottle brush set that will clean both the bottles and nipples, like this one.
- Bottle warmer– I treated myself to this bottle warmer for my second child, and it was a lifesaver. Instead of waiting around forever to warm up refrigerated formula/breastmilk, I would just put it in the bottle warmer for 90 seconds for the perfect not-too-hot temperature. Definitely not necessary though, just very convenient.
- Formula dispenser– especially when you’re on the go, a formula dispenser is handy for quickly serving pre-measured formula powder.
- Bottle drying rack– I’ve used this one for both my kids. Uses up some counter space but is useful for drying bottles and nipples.
- Breastfeeding items like nursing pads, nipple creams, lactation massagers, and nursing covers– the only reason I added these as nice-to-have is because not every woman will be able to/want to breastfeed their child. I’ve known a few moms who thought they would, and added a lot of nursing items to their registry, only to be unable or unwilling to breastfeed due to certain circumstances. Outside of a nursing pillow and getting a pump through insurance if possible, I would hold off on adding a bunch of breastfeeding items to the registry. For items like nipple creams, Earth Mama Organics was my go-to while nursing. If you do want to add nursing tops and dresses to your registry, I recommend shopping Undercover Mama for their stylish breastfeeding clothes.
- Don’t Need:
- Bottle sterilizer– Boiling water in a pot does the trick! No need for a bottle sterilizer.
- High Chair– for when it’s time to start feeding solids around 6+ months. There are great high chairs that can recline, are convertible and will grow with your baby.
- Sippy Cups– get sippy cups with lids and handles unless you want to spend every meal cleaning up spills!
- Baby spoons and bowls set– there are great feeding sets that stick to the highchair table and are great for self-feeding.
- Don’t need: Baby food blender. Just use your own blender if you plan on making purees. I find baby food processors much less effective than using my own Ninja blender.
Baby Health and Safety
- Thermometer– unfortunately, babies get sick often, so you will need a good, reliable thermometer. Rectal thermometers will give you the most accurate reading and are preferred over forehead thermometers.
- Humidifier– because babies also get congested often and can’t take any cold medicine to relieve congestion the way adults do, a humidifier is crucial to help baby breathe better when they are sick. I swear by the Crane humidifiers for my whole family.
- First-aid and grooming kit– make sure you’re prepared for any minor accidents with a first-aid kit. Many of them now also come with tiny nail clippers and hair brushes for babies, like this one from Safety 1st.
- Bulb syringe or nasal aspirator and saline drops– because babies can’t blow their noses like adults do, get saline drops and either a bulb syringe or nasal aspirator to suck up mucus when your baby gets sick. I’ve found the most effective and easy to clean to be the NoseFrida.
- Optional Nice-to-Haves:
- Teething toys– teething toys are useful when your baby is teething, but you could easily have your baby instead naw on a frozen washcloth or teething biscuit.
- Babyproofing items like outlet covers and baby gates– you won’t really need these items until your baby is more mobile. I bought these items once my baby was crawling around 9-10 months.
Travel Carriers and Accessories
- Infant Car Seat/Stroller– the most expensive stroller isn’t always the best stroller for you and your needs. Assess what your needs are and go to the store to try some out. Stroller/car seat combos and travel systems are great options because you can easily transfer your baby from your car to the stroller (without waking the baby up!) If you have a toddler and will need a double stroller, Graco makes great double strollers.
- Pack n’ Play– playards are a must for traveling, because they essentially serve as a travel crib and a playpen in one. The Graco Pack ‘n Play is multi-use, and also serves as a changing table and a bassinet. To learn more about the many benefits of getting a Pack ‘n Play, check out this post.
- Infant carriers– one of the best baby carriers is an Ergo baby carrier, especially if you’re on the go often with your baby. Their baby carriers are breathable, comfortable, and grow with your baby from newborn to toddler.
- Stroller rain covers – If your stroller doesn’t sufficiently cover your baby from rain and snow, then I recommend adding a stroller rain cover to your registry.
- Bunting Bag (coat)– sounds like a funny name, but bunting bags are great when transporting your baby in the cold. It’s not always ideal to put a coat on and off your baby so instead you keep them warm in a plush wearable blanket that fits nicely in your stroller.
- Rear Facing Car Seat Mirrors– you’ll love car seat mirrors to be able to see your baby while you’re driving.
- Car window shades– car window shades are recommended to protect your baby against harmful UV rays while sitting in the car.
- Play mat– an activity mat is a great place for your baby to play and practice motor skills including grabbing, rolling, sitting, and crawling.
- Baby Swings and Bouncers– I’m a fan of swings and bouncers, but admittedly your baby will grow out of them so fast. Because of this, I recommend getting a hand me down baby swing or buying a used one.
- Baby floor seat– also handy but yet another item your baby will grow out of really fast, so no need to spend a lot of money on a baby floor seat.
- Toys including rattles and sensory toys– you’ll be surprised how easily you can entertain your baby with everyday items in your home, so just a handful of toys for them is fine.
- Don’t need: Walker– most doctors are no longer recommending walkers for babies as they’ve become safety hazards. If you do opt for a walker, a sit to stand one is a better option, since it also teaches your child to pull themselves up.
The Last Thing You Need to Know about Baby Registries
In addition to all of these great items, gifts cards and gift sets are always useful. One of my favorite gift sets is from Earth Mama Organics with safe skin care items for maternity including belly butter and oil, organic body wash, deodorant, and lip balm.
Overall, creating a registry can be overwhelming. But if you take the time to thoroughly research and think about what you actually need, you’ll have all your baby essentials covered and end up with less waste. Then you can move on to all of your other to-do items before baby arrives!
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