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Baby Registry Must-Haves for Moms-To-Be

By Babe

Nothing says “I’m pregnant!” quite like throwing a baby shower. It might feel like a lot of work, but baby showers can be an incredibly meaningful way to celebrate your transition into motherhood, and your last few months sans baby, with the people you love the most.

Plus, there’s another benefit: Having a baby shower is the perfect way to stock up on all those parenting essentials you’ll need once your little one arrives. (Nothing makes a first-time mom realize quite how much STUFF it takes to raise a baby, like putting together a baby registry.)

If this is your first rodeo or you’re looking for a refresher course, we have everything your growing family needs/wants. Sit back, relax, and keep reading for all of the baby registry must-haves you need as a new mom.

Before You Begin

Alright, mama-to-be, let’s talk ground rules before you start adding every cute little onesie and trendy baby gadget you see to your registry. (It’s tempting, we know.)

First, take a step back and think about what you and your new baby actually need. You might not know specifics yet, but you at least know you don’t want to end up with a million night lights and zero diapers, so begin there.

Start by making a list of the essentials — all the things you need to buy, no matter what. These are the big-ticket items you’ll be using every single day, so it’s important to make sure they’re top quality, with five-star reviews, before committing to a specific model or brand.

Next, move to daily necessities, like diapers, wipes, and formula (if you aren’t breastfeeding/exclusively breastfeeding). You’ll go through a ton of these items, so it’s okay to register for a lot of them — in this case, you won’t mind having duplicates. Just remember that babies grow quickly, so don’t go too crazy with the newborn onesies.

After you’ve got the essentials and necessities covered, you can move on to more fun items, like a designer diaper bag or booties your babe might not walk in but are totally adorable. Generally, whatever’s going to be useful to you and make your life better is a smart idea.

Okay, we’ve covered the basics — now let’s dive in and talk about those specific items that every new mom should have on her registry.

Baby Registry Items

  1. Baby Carrier

The first excursion you’ll take with your newborn is the journey home from the hospital, so it follows that the first thing you should buy is a quality baby carrier. Baby carriers manufactured in the United States are covered by a variety of safety standards. Take care to select one made from sturdy materials and top-quality fabric. Lastly, it should come with easy-to-understand instructions and positive reviews.

If you’re overwhelmed by the number of options out there, don’t be afraid to ask your healthcare provider for recommendations or poll your mommy friends for baby carriers that they like.

  1. Infant Car Seat and Carrier

Lastly, many baby carriers are convertible to easily strap into your car, so there’s no need to buy both a baby carrier and a car seat. Definitely keep an eye out for this feature — once you get the hang of it, it can save you some effort in the long run.

  1. A Crib or Bassinet

A bed for your little one is likely at the top of your shopping list, but whether you choose a crib or bassinet is totally up to you. There are pros and cons to each — let’s talk about them.

A bassinet is a smaller bed, usually on wheels, that’s wonderful for the first few months when you want your newborn close to you while they sleep the day away. They’re typically light and portable, so you can move them around the house with freedom.

On the other hand, a crib will be a much larger and more permanent fixture in the nursery — you’ll likely use the same crib until your tot is two or three.

When opting for a crib, don’t forget the crib mattress. The mattress should fit each corner of the crib tightly. Purchase two to four crib sheets, so if there’s a 3 am diaper blowout, you have one on tap. 

Both cribs and bassinets are great — whichever option you prefer is completely personal, and there are no right answers. See if your wishlist item meets the safety regulations set by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), with appropriately spaced bars and no sleep positioners or loose bedding in the bed with them. Other than that, it’s really up to you!

  1. Bedtime Needs

Putting babies to bed is basically an art form. When it comes to that postpartum life, you’ll quickly become a passionate student of this craft. Here is what should be in your kit:

Pajamas are easy to buy as an adult, but there are a few more guidelines when it comes to this category of baby clothes. Sleep sacks work well for newborns to toddlers. When it comes to swaddle blankets, experts recommend them only for babies two months and younger.

When it comes to more high-tech baby gear, a white noise or sound machine might help your baby nod off faster. For sleep attire, look for those that include mittens to keep newborns from scratching their faces (as a side note, nail clippers are a must). 

  1. Bathtime Must-Haves

Being a baby is tiring — there’s tummy time on the play mat and teething and weird new experiences like hearing a vacuum cleaner. 

After working so hard (and maybe soiling a few diapers), your newest arrival will need a bath. Register for these items to make bath time a breeze:

  • Hooded towel
  • Body wash and lotion
  • Baby bathtub (these come in different sizes based on different age ranges)
  1. A Stroller

Another big-ticket item you’ll likely want to include on your registry is a stroller. 

The first thing you’ll want to do is think about your lifestyle. Are you a suburban or a city dweller? What size is your car, and how much trunk space does it have? Thinking about these factors can help you narrow down the list to only include strollers that are relevant to your needs.

Strollers come with many different features, so you’ll want to consider which ones are most important. Do you want a stroller with lots of extra padding? Or do you need one with lots of storage or a reversible seat?

Pay attention to the reviews and ratings on each stroller you look at to ensure you’re getting the best one for your baby. (And, of course, always make sure whatever stroller you get meets the safety standards set by the AAP.)

  1. Diaper Needs

Babies need a diaper change every two to three hours, so boxes of absorbent, gentle diapers are always welcome. Don’t forget to add baby wipes — if this is your first baby, you might be surprised at the sheer power a single diaper blowout has. A baby wipe dispenser is an excellent hands-free option for grabbing quick clean-up tools. 

Speaking of diapers… Being a mama means carrying around basically everything your newborn needs everywhere you go: You’ll want a high-quality diaper bag to hang onto all of that stuff. Look for bags in an easy-to-clean material, padded straps, and zipper compartments to help you stay organized; some even come with built-in changing pads!

A changing table and a diaper pail are other solid choices. If you are opting for cloth diapers or disposable diapers from a specific retailer, note that in your list of baby registry items so that loved ones can target the right gifts when shopping for you.

  1. Bibs, Burp Cloths, and Pacifiers

Okay, now that you’ve taken care of some of the larger items on your list, it’s time to think about all the little accessories and essentials your babe will need. (Spoiler: there are a lot.)

Let’s talk about all of those baby registry must-haves that you don’t want to forget:

  • Bibs: Whether your baby is a messy eater or drools a lot, bibs are definitely a necessity. We recommend getting a mix of styles, including practical silicone bibs that are easy to clean. Add in a few washcloths too!
  • Pacifiers: Keeping some pacifiers on hand can help new parents get through long car rides with their little ones. Not all parents opt to introduce pacifiers, so check to see if this is a baby product they actually want. 
  • A baby monitor: Baby monitors can be a great way to get some peace of mind while your baby is sleeping in another room. Do some investigating to find the perfect model for you. 
  1. Feeding Essentials

Breastfeeding and pumping mothers might appreciate nursing pads and nursing pillows. Breast pumps and nursing bras depend heavily on personal preference, so make sure to include which type you are looking for.

Pumping and formula-feeding families might appreciate items like a bottle warmer and travel bottle drying racks. 

  1. Gifts for Mama, Too

Last but certainly not least, don’t forget to put some things on that list for yourself! Being a mama is a lot of hard work — and while it’s certainly a rewarding job, you might find yourself craving a little R&R along the way.

Think of things that will be functional and yet also fun:

  • This Hatch To Hospital X Jenni Kayne set takes all the guesswork out of packing your hospital bag.
  • Babies aren’t the only ones who love a good swaddle. Go for the adult version with this cashmere robe.
  • Ask for a gift card to a prenatal yoga class or an upscale restaurant for one last date night with your partner before your life is taken over by your little one. 

Baby Registry Checklist: Complete

Once you’ve got your registry all sorted out, all you have left to do is pick out the perfect outfit for your baby shower and then you can sit back and relax. We know that preparing to be a mama is a lot of work, and you might feel overwhelmed or stressed — that’s 100% normal! Remember that this occasion is all about celebrating YOU and your little one and all the amazing qualities that will make you the best mom ever.