In the past year or so, I feel like there has been a HUGE baby boom. Maybe it’s Fifty Shades of Grey or maybe there is a lack of good television, but I know so many ladies who are planning to start a family,who are pregnant or who have just had babies. All these moms, always have the same question for me: “What do I need? What should be on my registry?”
After rewriting the same email to my family and friends at least ten times, I decided to post here our (Brian has had some serious input), favorite things and must haves for baby. Now keep in mind, I am not an expert, I just know what worked for us.So here goes, our favorite baby must haves:
1.) Carseat and Stroller (also known as a travel system): For obvious reasons, we absolutely knew we needed a carseat. We registered for both the carrier carseat with base and the carseat that is for older children. While we wouldn’t need the larger one until much later, we figured it was an expense that would be nice not to have down the road. We personally have a Chicco carrier carseat and stroller for our infants. We love it and installation is easy. We actually started out with a Graco carrier carseat, but because our oldest was very small, his head was always falling forward so we switched to a Chicco. However, both have extremely high safety ratings, and I have never heard anyone complain about either brand. For the larger size up carseat, we did a Britax. They are highest rated in safety and easy to install. They can also serve as rear facing and forward facing which in some states the law requires kids stay rear facing until age two, and there is no way any kid can stay in those carrier things past 10 months because they are just too heavy to carry around. Also, the Britax models are a bit pricey, but there are ways to find bargains. As far as strollers go, this is basically personal preference. Some people like jog strollers, while others like more basic models. Some decisions are based on ease of pushing or how high the handle is for taller parents. When we registered for a stroller, the best advice we got was to make sure that whatever carrier carseat we purchased could fit into or be adapted to fit into the stroller. When babies are really little (younger than six months) it is safest for them to be in the carrier carseat even in the stroller. Most sales people at stores like Babies R Us and Buy Buy Baby will know what works. Also, we tried to consider quantity here. It is nice to not have to move carseats around to different cars. For the carrier carseat we just registered for a second base which is cheaper than buying a whole carseat. (Whew, overwhelmed yet?)
2.) Crib/Bassinet/Play-yard: I don’t know if a crib is something that parents will register for, but in some cases a bunch of family members will go in on a big purchase like a crib. Cribs are kind of tricky because there are a lot of safety things associated with them for obvious reasons. Our theory with the crib was as long as it is safe, pretty, and can be used for a long time and multple kids we were good. We actually went with a model that Babies R Us sells, and I think they still carry. It is also a convertible crib, which means it can be converted to a toddler bed, and then later can serve and a head/footboard for a double sized bed (talk about bang for your buck). As for bassinets, we thought this was not a good idea as they can only be used for a short period of time, also bassinets require different sized sheets and bedding. We have a play-yard (Graco Pack and Play the bare bones basic model) that has a bassinet feature, and we just put that in our room for the first few weeks. I know Moms that kept the play-yard set up on a lower level of the house as they weren’t able to walk stairs after a c-section. After the bassinet phase, it is nice to have a “travel bed” for Nana’s and trips and such. This is another quantity item. Some people like to keep one at Nana’s or in the car and keep one at home especially if you use it every day in your house (however they are easy to fold up, and we got buy with only one).
3.) KCU: This is my own little term I made up. I call it a Kid Containment Unit (KCU). Things that fall under this category are swings, bouncey seats, exersaucers, play mats, jumperoo’s, Bumbo’s etc. We narrowed it down to two or three of these things, as they take up so much space and honestly, our kids liked roll around on the floor. I used them mostly when I needed to fold laundry or cook dinner. I knew the baby was safe, contained, and occupied. We did end up with all of these things, but people gave them to us as hand me downs. The two things we used the most were the bouncey seat and the exersaucer. Also, any time we could register for a travel one of these things we did (we were living in a condo at the time). They are smaller, can be folded, easy to hide, and do the same thing as the “bells and whistles” models. When we had babies, we only had one level, but I know Mom’s who have two or three levels in their house that liked to have a KCU on each level.
4.) Change Table: We didn’t register for those old school ones like we had growing up. Ours was just a dresser with one of those pads on top. It was nice to have a designated space for baby supplies and clothes, and later we used it as an actual dresser (some play-yard models have change tables built in).
5.) Breastfeeding Supplies: This depends on if you plan to breastfeed, if not skip ahead. Boppy Pillow: (some Moms like the My Breast Friend) either way, I honestly could not have lived without this. It made nursing so much easier, and came in handy when I needed to answer the phone or change the channel on the TV for a 3 a.m. feeding. Breast pump: I had a Medela Pump in Style. Again, I know its pricey, but was so worth it, and for as much as I used it, it had paid for itself 3 times over. Another thing I thought was so convenient were the Slimlines freezer trays. They are freezer trays for breast milk, but they freeze the milk in one ounce sticks so they can fit in the bottle and since they are each one ounce you know EXACTLY how much milk you’re putting in the bottle.
6.) Baby Carrier: I liked our Baby Bjorn. It was so nice to sometimes just be able to use that instead of packing a bulky stroller. I liked it for the grocery store, church, walks outside, and doing some things around the house. A lot of moms swear by Moby wraps or baby slings, but I could never get it to work right, and I didn’t feel like the baby was in there safely (again, personal preference). Also, the weight limit on a Bjorn is nice. They also make carriers that you can use for kids up to 45 pounds and go on your back. We considered this, but our kids were happy in the stroller, and once they started walking, they didn’t want to stop. (Almost done, I promise).
7.) High Chair: We had an old school model. The separate high chair with a tray. We liked it a lot and we liked having something that we could save for grandkids. However, some moms find the ones that attach to your kitchen chairs much more convenient. They are smaller, don’t take up floor space in the kitchen, and can later be used as a booster seat without the tray. We did not register for the travel ones that attach to counters or tables, they did not seem safe to us at the time.
8.) Baby Tub: We had a baby tub, and used it. We also liked it because it was nice to have even when our kids were older. We put the little tub inside our bath tub, and just filled the baby tub. It saved water, and it helped with a transition to the big tub.
9.) Linens: Crib sheets are specially made to only fit a crib mattress (I would say to have 3 or 4 on hand, it’s always nice to have a lot of these in case there is a middle of the night diaper leak or something). Hooded towels are not a necessity, but I liked having designated baby towels (three is enough, when they are little babies, they only bathe every few days as to not dry out their skin. Also, it is nice to keep one in your diaper bag in case you have to do an impromptu bath at Nana’s after messy cake. True story). Baby washcloths are just softer and I like them better (we had at least 6 of these, as I used these all the time and even kept one in my diaper bag for emergency nose wipes and spit ups). Play-yard sheets are for the pack and play (I had two in case of an accident). Change pad covers are covers for the pad that goes on the change table (two or three are nice for laundry rotation). Burp cloths are nice to have all over the house (I had about 8 and kept 2 in the diaper bag). Lap pads or multi purpose pads are not a necessity, but my trick for these was I put one in the boucey seat, and one in the carseat so if there is a diaper leak you don’t have to wash the WHOLE seat cover, as they are kind of a pain to wash). I also had an extra Boppy Pillow cover in case of an accident.
10.) Miracle Blanket: You’ll see on my list below of things to not register for, and you’ll see I put blankets, however, we absolutely loved our Miracle Blankets. This was my Mommy secret for getting the kids to sleep through the night, and fall asleep on their own. If you want more information on Miracle Blankets click here
. Seriously, they are a Miracle and really work. I used them with all three kids, and they were all sleeping through the night pretty early on, and even now they all older I can just put them in their beds and they fall asleep on their own. Brian and I owe the Miracle Blanket for not only how well rested our kids are, but how well rested we are.
11.) Bottles: I know this seems like a common sense thing, so I just want to share our experience here. We liked Breastflow bottles. My kids never experienced nipple confusion with them, and they are BPA free to boot. I know Moms that like Avent, Dr. Brown’s and lots of other brands. The advice I got here was to ask the baby’s pediatrician, lactation specialist, other Moms, or labor and delivery nurses for suggestions.12.) Diaper Bag: I actually just have a nice backpack that I love, but they have some really nice diaper bags out there now that I wish they had when I was registering. Some things I would would have done is get one that comes with a change pad, as well as get one that has insulated pockets for bottles and sippy cups. Early on, we learned it is sometimes a pain to bring a large diaper bag if we were just running out for a little bit, so I also have a small one that I keep a few diapers, some wipes, and an extra outfit. It is nice for church or quick runs to the store.
13.) A nice thermometer. We have a Summer Three in One Family Thermometer. We like it and know other Moms that love it. It is easy to use, which is nice in the middle of the night.
14.) Grooming Supplies: Tiny nail clippers, soft bristle brush, and a little comb.
15.) Feeding Supplies are something we didn’t need until the kids were a little older, but we were happy to receive at our baby shower. Little bowls, spoons, forks, and plates. I registered for bowls that came with lids which were awesome for traveling or refrigerating leftovers. There are different sized spoons for different ages too, so we made sure to order a few of each size. Also, I made my own baby food so there are all kinds of contraptions for this, but my favorite is the OXO Ice Trays for storing an freezing all the purees. (No really, almost done this time).
Below is a list of things I didn’t add to our registry. I had heard from friends people often like to give these kinds of things once the baby comes.
– Outfits (the only exception here is I personally picked out two or three outfits and purchased them myself for coming home from the hospital and the first couple days home.)
– Socks, Hats
– Books and Toys (this is a personal preference of course, but some parents prefer no plastic or only toys made in the USA)
– Sippy cups (this was tricky for us because our kids had preference with them so I just returned any we received and then bought ones that our kids liked).
– Pacifiers (we delivered in a hospital so we asked our nurse at the hospital for a few extra just in case and we were good to go).
I know it doesn’t seem like a lot (or it does and you are totally overwhelmed) in comparison to the registry sample lists they give you at Babies R Us and Buy Buy Baby, but honestly, these are the things we used EVERY single day. When I registered, I tried to think of what my parents, grandparents, etc. had access too, and honestly all the baby needs is love, food and diapers.