Registering for a baby is NO JOKE. Especially when you're a first time parent. It's not as much FUN as you'd think...it's really more stressful than anything else. What to get? What not to get? What brands? What's worth top dollar? What's something you can live without? What the HECK is all this STUFF?!?!
I LOVE helping out new moms. I seriously do. One area I get asked about ALL the time is the registry. I have written my recommendations over and over again...so I thought it was time to make a post about it.
Warning: This will be LONG. You know me. I can't be short about anything and I have a LOT of opinions on this topic. This will also be based on MY thoughts. I know EVERYONE has different views. Different "must have" baby items. This is just what I have learned and the things I like the most :)
I highly recommend visiting a big baby store (for us it was Babies R Us in Jacksonville) so you can SEE the items. Play with them. Test them out. And know what you're registering for. I do also love using Amazon to register because it allows you to register for stuff on ANY website! Very handy :)
This is also in random order. It has taken me a long time to remember all of this junk and I didn't want to attempt to organize it ;) Also ALL the pictures shown are of the ACTUAL item I own and am referring to!
What to register for/Buy:
- Pampers Brand Wipes and Diapers: Call me a diaper snob. I used Huggies brand wipes on Kye once and he got BAD diaper rash. I love the Pampers swaddlers when they are newborns then the Dry Fit (cheaper than the cruisers) when they are older. I use the Pampers sensitive wipes too (to save money I buy cheap store brand wipes to use in the kitchen for food clean up and such...the Pampers are only for diaper changes). I DO like the Huggies brand of night time diapers to help prevent leaks through the night though! Pampers offers a GREAT rewards program too where you can earn free stuff. I always have a coupon when I buy diapers and usually buy multiple boxes at one time when they are on sale (surprisingly Toys R Us has great deals quite often on them!). I don't personally register for diapers or wipes. They are an item you WILL buy anyway...not really a fun gift to give OR to get. I DO recommend BUYING diapers while pregnant. We spread it out and buy them throughout my pregnancy and it is so great to have them ready to go! I would get a smaller package of newborn size and mostly buy size 1 and size 2 to have on hand. It also would be smart to get a pack of swim diapers.. I know we took Britt to an indoor pool in Feb to swim and I was glad I had some from the previous swim season...it's something they tend to only sell in the summer time so I make sure to buy plenty!
- Crib: I LOVE my crib. It had a FOLD DOWN side! PERFECT for short people like me who can't reach the bottom of the crib once the mattress gets lowered :) I plan to keep this crib for all of our babies because I love it so much! It does convert to a twin size bed as well if we ever decide to do that but personally I'm not a big fan of converting furniture. HERE is more info about our crib!
- 100% Cotton Crib Sheets: I would recommend getting three of them so you will have one on the crib, one in the washer, and one extra :) I'm pretty sure all crib sheets are 100% cotton but read the label and make sure...gotta be cotton to help prevent SIDS.
- Changing Pad and Cover: See the "stuff I don't think is worth getting" section for my view on changing tables. I use a pad on top of a dresser and it works great! You can find ALL kinds of cute covers to pull together your nursery theme too. I recommend just having two covers. I bought three and the third one RARELY gets used. Waste of money! Next baby I'll just be buying two :)
- Thick Hooded Towels: Seriously. FEEL THEM. There is a difference. I would look at towels and not get why some of them were so much more expensive than others. Those thin cheaper ones? Do NOT dry off your kid. They don't absorb anything! Such a waste of a towel! Invest in three nice thick towels and they will last well through the preschool years (Kye is still using ones we got when he was born)
- Baby Washcloths: Another item I recommend FEELING. You want them thick! We got some thinner ones when Kye was born and use them now at the diaper changing station to pat dry the little bum before putting on a new diaper.
- Infant to Toddler Tub: I really love the tub we got with Kye. So much so that I bought the same one for Britt. It's not expensive. Nothing fancy. But the little net section works great for when they are little little and then you can take it off for when they can lay or "sit" in it. We used it with Britt until she was able to sit up on her own then we moved her to the bath seat...with Kye once he could sit up on his own we moved him to the duck tub. You can see a post on my bath tub recommendations HERE! (sidenote: bath seat has been RECALLED but I'm still using ours...) Also they make these CHEAP sponge type pads you can use to bathe your baby on...I think ours was a turtle shape maybe? I'd def invest in one of these. They are cheap and are great to use when traveling!
- Duck Tub Toy: I always worry about water temperature for my kids baths and the little duck toys with the "HOT" label on the bottom are AWESOME. Very inexpensive gift to give and the kids love to play with them. If the duck says "hot" then you know to cool down the bath water before putting your baby in it. I don't use it forever but it helps in the early days when everything is so scary and new as a mama! It's by Munchkin and I know you can get them at Target for under $5
- Baby Washes: With Kye I was SO loyal to one brand of baby wash. Fast forward a couple years and I learned that the particular one I used knowingly has cancer causing ingredients and refuses to pull it off the market. Awesome. Now I have guilt over that! SO with Britt I mix it up and buy a different brand of baby wash every time. Same with Kye now...they actually share baby wash! I recommend getting a variety of stuff from different brands so IF something like that happens then you don't have as much guilt as I do over it! :)
- Nail Clippers: I admit it...I'm one of those who bites my babies nails down. It's just easier to do it while nursing to me! I do LOVE my baby nail clippers though! They came in some package with a lot of baby care essentials and I have since bought two extra sets b/c I love them so much and am always afraid I'll lose them haha!
- Hospital Brush: Okay so you can't register for this BUT when you're in the hospital ask for an extra baby brush. That thing is AWESOME. Soft bristles. Gets the job done without hurting that sweet scalp! I love that we have two of them :) And that Britt actually kept her hair for me to have a reason to use them ;)
- Nose Aspirator (Hospital): One other thing...ask for an extra nose aspirator at the hospital too. The little bulb thing they have there is AMAZING. Nothing you can buy at a baby store can compare! That junk can suck out some snot like nobody's business!
- "Meds": I'm not big on giving stuff to my baby but when you need something, it's SUCH a blessing to already have it on hand. Go ahead and invest in a bottle of Mylicon (or off brand...I actually liked the Target brand better than the Mylicon brand) gas drops, Gripe water, and infant Tylenol. I like the Little Remedies brand of Tylenol as the legit Tylenol brand seems to always have SOME kind of recall! I would also buy some baby saline spray to use to clean out his or her nose. I never used it with Kye but Britt (being a winter baby) was more stuffy and needed saline more often.
- Box Fan: White noise REALLY helps with getting (and keeping) babies asleep! We use regular box fans in both of our kids rooms and have them on the highest (loudest) setting during all naps and night time. We NEVER have told anyone to "shhhh" b/c the baby is sleeping. We even take them on trips! I know people swear by their white noise machines and I'm sure they are awesome. But I like that if a fan breaks, it's an easy quick trip to Walmart to replace it ;)
- Black Out Curtains: When you are planning your baby's nursery I HIGHLY suggest making sure you have curtains that completely cover any windows and that they are black out ones. They aren't expensive and are WELL worth the money. Not only do they help with your electric bill...but they make the room dark. You want the nursery as dark as possible during naps to remind them that it's time to SLEEP :)
- Angel Care Monitor: To me this is a MUST have. Great thing to register for b/c it's not cheap. I got the cheapest model...it is just the unit for the baby's room. Since I have a separate monitor I can hear it beep through that. Yes. It WILL probably go off in a false alarm. BUT I'd rather be scared to death and running across the house and my baby be FINE than not have it and never be able to sleep b/c I'd be worried sick that my baby would stop breathing. Britt DID have a couple times where hers went off and I DO think she wasn't breathing. It happens especially for younger babies. I don't necessarily think she would have not woken up if I didn't have the Angel Care Monitor to alert me...but who knows. I just know I'm BEYOND thankful for it!!!!!
- Mattress Cover: This is something you can't register for b/c it's from New Zealand haha. But, in my opinion, it's ESSENTIAL. Read the research about it and how it prevents SIDS HERE. There is also a link to order one through that blog post as well. PLEASE order it! It could save your baby's life!!!
- Cheap Crib Mattress: Since the mattress cover protects your baby from SIDS it doesn't really matter how fancy of a mattress you have. ALWAYS buy a FIRM mattress for your baby but I'd buy the cheapest one I could find. Really a cheap mattress plus the cover still ends up being cheaper than buying a fancy mattress :)
- Toothbrush Set: I love having the little finger toothbrush for those first teeth that come in. They make little sets that have several different toothbrushes in them...great to go ahead and have them for when the time comes! Once our kids started biting we graduated from the finger brush to a regular baby sized toothbrush. Make sure you have BABY toothpaste too so it's safe for them to swallow it! Along with the toothbrush stuff I'd also pick up some little individual flossers. I get mine from the dollar store. They are AWESOME and we started flossing Britt's teeth as soon as she had more than one to floss ;) If you start 'em young then it'll never be a big deal! Kye likes to have his flossed!
- Potty Training Gear: Why in the world would you register for it now? Well why not go ahead and have it on hand for when your baby shows interest? I LOVE our baby bjorn brand potty. I also bought the same brand in a toilet seat cover thing. I actually recommend buying an entirely new toilet seat that has a little pull down kids size seat! I love ours and it makes it so easy for Kye to use the potty on his own but also allows adult guests to use the toilet easily too! Some people don't like having the separate potty but I LOVE it. Great for trips. Great for them to learn on in the early days. Great to monitor how much they go etc. Yes, its gross to clean out but it's one of those parenting things. You just do it and get over it!
Our Potty Chair is Baby Bjorn brand! It's great!
- Thermometer: We have a temporal scanner type. I know people say that rectal temp is the most accurate. That's great...but there is NO WAY I'm taking my kids temperature that way...I'm fine with it being a little less accurate and scanning the forehead ;) That being said though, my kids are RARELY sick and RARELY even need their temps taken so I don't use it too often.
We have the Exergen Temporal Thermometer
- Bibs: If your baby spits up a lot (like mine do) then you may want cute cloth ones. Kye LIVED in cloth bibs and I bought him several plain colored cloth ones from some store on Ebay and had them monogramed and such. With Britt I didn't bother and just changed her clothes if she spit up bad enough. However, when it comes time to feed them solids I cannot STAND cloth bibs. I like the kind that you can EASILY wipe off, that you can rinse under the sink, and that you can toss in the washing machine.
My favorite bibs are the Bumkins brand
- Sling: I don't personally hardly EVER carry my babies in a sling. Since I'm not into the whole attachment parenting thing it's just not my style. Zach does LOVE our baby bjorn though. He is able to carry Britt in it and have his hands free to do other things. For me it's just a hassle to put something on just to get a couple of things done. I just wait and accomplish a lot during independent playtime and naps ;) Also I have bigger babies and I'm pretty little so they are just too heavy for me to carry that way!
We have the Baby Bjorn Air
- Swaddles: With Kye I used the Swaddleme...with Britt I used the Miracle Blanket. I know the Woombie is really popular now too. Whatever you use, buy multiples of them. I'd get three of them if you can afford to do so. I prefer the Miracle Blanket to the Swaddleme because it doesn't use velcro (so loud and so easy for them to bust out of as they get older) and it uses their own weight to keep them in it. It's a personal preference thing for sure though!
This is how the Miracle Blanket works! Best tip: Make sure you lay your baby PALMS DOWN!
- Car Seat Protection: You will want to invest in something to put UNDER your car seats to protect your vehicle seats. Car seats are heavy and can do damage to your car. If you're like us and don't drive the same car forever, you'll want to keep it nice for resale so I'm glad I invested in these for each of our vehicles (and each of our car seats...so we have two per car now with two car seats)
- Window Sun Shades: Another must in my opinion. The bright sun can really bother sensitive eyes and if you have a baby who you are hoping will sleep in the car then you don't want the sun shining on their face the whole time waking them up. I like mine okay...they do tend to fall off the windows too often and lose their ability to stick. Currently I don't have either of them on the windows b/c they fell off and I keep forgetting to put them back up. AND I have read for car safety NOT to use the type I have. If you're in a car accident they are likely to fly off the window and could injure your child (something I never even thought about!). For Zach's car we got the sticky sheet thing and it works GREAT. Not very attractive but we aren't the types who really care how "cool" we look in our cars. We're parents. We aren't driving chick/dude magnets haha. I may go ahead and sell my shades and the next kids sale actually and invest in the sticky sheet ones too. They are cheaper, better coverage and SAFER!
I'm thinking I might order these...look a lot safer than the ones I have that roll up :)
- Car Toy Bar: I got Kye's as a gift at a baby shower and am SO thankful I did. He loved that thing, so we loved that thing. We got the girlier version for Brittlynn and it really is a LIFE saver in the car!
The car seat toys we love are by Bright Starts
- Travel System: I am thankful we got our Chicco brand travel system. We bought an extra car seat base for Zach's car. The stroller is wonderful (lots of storage space, easy to push) and the car seat is a MUST own item. SIMPLE to install (which is so important) and, while heavy to carry around, portable! The stroller also folds up pretty decently. It's my must-use Disney stroller for sure :)
- Baby Mittens and Hats: No, they won't use them very long. But, in my book, the mittens are essential. Pack them in your hospital bag and put them on asap after they are born. Kye came to us from the nursery covered in little scratches. It was pitiful! If you don't have mittens, you can use baby socks. Also I'd get some newborn sized sleepers/onesies with the built in mittens too! As far as hats...I'd have a couple but not a ton of them. The hospital will give you a couple to get you through. Kye had a cone head and the hat helped his head to shape better, Britt didn't like them so she never wore one.
- Blankets: Blankets are a no-no in the crib, but are handy when in the car, going on walks, at church, etc. I love that we have one really girly blanket for Britt and one very boyish one for Kye. They are both nice and thick. I think only one thick blanket is fine, but I'd get several receiving blankets. They can double as a swaddle if needed and are small enough to fit into a diaper bag to have on hand in case it gets chilly or windy or something! It's also smart to have one large sized blanket to use when you go outside, on picnics, for tummy time, blanket time, and even to take on trips so your baby isn't playing all over some nasty hotel room floor ;)
- White Onesies: We don't find out the sex of our babies when we are pregnant...but I always register for lots of white onesies in many different sizes. You will ALWAYS use a white onesie (Gerber brand is great, Carter's is even better) and you can toss 'em in with some bleach to have them clean in a pinch!
- Sleepers: Newborns LIVE in these. My favorites (although they aren't very cute...) are the ones that ZIP. The snap ones are cuter, but snapping all those snaps over and over again is pretty annoying. You'll want several in the early days (or months...) then as they get older I have about 3-4 sets of pjs per size.
- Diaper Rash Cream: With Kye we loved the plain purple tube of Desitin. With Britt we prefer Aquifer. It's a personal preference thing and it's about what works best for your baby's bottom. I do also recommend asking your pediatrician about getting the prescription strength diaper rash cream. It's great to have on hand in case your baby develops a rough one!
- Lansinoh: I nursed both of my babies so of course my recommendations will be assuming you choose to nurse too :) (which hopefully you do!) Lansinoh cream is a lifesaver! You will want a couple of tubes of this...I kept mine wherever I nursed and would apply it between feedings to help sooth my nipples. It's great for chapstick too!
- Medela Freestyle Pump: Buy it. It's worth the cost. And open it. You're more likely to stick through the tougher times of nursing when you know you can't return your $300 breast pump. While I loathe pumping I LOVE my pump. It's amazing. Seriously. Even though I bought mine in 2008 it is STILL the top of the line breast pump! It's hands free and travels well. Trust me! This beast has gone on a LOT of trips with me (remember my Paris experience?) Also be sure to invest in a few extra parts and such to have just in case something breaks! I have lost a few pieces while pumping in public bathrooms and I have also stepped on a piece or two a couple of times...
- Boppy Pillow: I still have the same one I got at a baby shower when pregnant with Kye and it's still awesome. It's a must have for me with nursing and I even take it with me to nurse on the go. I would recommend buying two covers for it. I have more than that and I never use them. It's good to have one extra so you can wash the other one!
- Infant Swing: Yes, you should get one. No, I don't have that great of a recommendation. Since I sleep train my babies they don't spend a lot of time in a swing (although Babywise moms swear by them!) and neither of them were big fans. We have three swings...one is by Fisher Price and converts to a toddler chair. We use the chair ALL the time. But never hardly used the swing at all. Another one we got used is the Mamaroo. Again, rarely used it. The one we used the most and I liked the best was actually a travel swing. Portable. Easy to store. Simple to use. I would personally recommend skipping out on a big swing and just get the travel one!
Fisher Price Travel Swing
- Bouncer: This is an area where I recommend saving some money. I got the cheapest bouncers on the market. I own two because I use them a LOT. Since I'm not big on wearing my babies, I need a safe place to set them down when doing things. I like the bouncers because they are light and easy to move. I also like how simple they are, as I feel that baby toys are TOO stimulating now (very important not to over stimulate your baby if you want them to SLEEP!). With Kye I got a Fisher Price one and Britt LOVED it as it has a detachable owl. She worked and worked at getting that thing down and it provided her with a lot of entertainment!
Fisher Price Bouncer
- Sippy Cups: I know it doesn't seem like you'll be using them for a LONG time...but it'll get here before you know it! I recommend registering for a package of Take and Toss stuff. I love all of there products and both my kids learned to drink from a sippy with their brand. They are inexpensive. I actually think they are made to be "tossed" out after you use them? But I have kept almost every single one I've owned...they wash great in the dishwasher! I never use them in the microwave, but I never use anything other than glass stuff in the microwave anyway ;)
- Highchair: I bought a high chair with Kye and planned on keeping it through both of our first two kids. I'm READY to sell this beast after Britt is done with it! I really do like the Chicco brand but do not LOVE this high chair. I love the removable tray and how easy the seat area is to wipe down. However. The seat cover thing is NOT machine washable (what stupid design!) AND there are lots of little areas that you simply cannot clean on the chair. Since Britt does baby led weaning she gets a little messy and I have to literally use a TOOTHPICK to clean out some of the junk and I still can't get it all. So, yes, you need a high chair...but I don't recommend this one!
Chicco High Chair
- Stuff for Teething: Teething is NO JOKE. I would go ahead and stock up on teething supplies...great thing to register for! You WILL get several of those old school teething rings (don't freeze them...keep in refrigerator only!) even if you don't register for them so I wouldn't bother having them on your list. However, raspberry teethers are AWESOME. Both of my kids would chew chew chew on them and they really helped sooth. I'd get two packs (I think they come with two in each). I'd also get some Hylands Teething Tablets and Hurricane Gel (check to see if either have been recalled before using though as I've dealt with recalls on both). I also got a neat vibrating toy that is meant for teething babies as a gift and Britt really liked it!!!
- Pacifier: If you know you want to use one decide what kind...with Kye we used the NUK brand because I know they are EASY to find. I also heard they stay in better? And I like that they are small. Pacifiers are not cute and I didn't want something that covered up his face! We have some NUKS for Britt too although she only uses them as chew toys when teething b/c she is not a paci baby :)
- Pack and Play: I now own two and I'm glad I do! I have one that matches our house set up in the dining room for independent playtime and the other we use when on the go. We are on the go a decent bit so this makes sense for us! I do NOT recommend buying two for your first baby...but if you already have one for baby #1 it wouldn't hurt to have a spare for baby #2. I went with the cheapest ones for both of them. Don't waste money on anything fancy. I do think it's a great thing to have a newborn baby sleep in it and use the higher spot for them to sleep when you first get home from the hospital. We had Britt sleep in hers in her room and it worked out great. Also be sure to get a couple sheets for it. I have two sheets per pack and play and that's plenty. They are different than crib sheets as they aren't as deep!
- Glider/Rocker: Personally...I LOVE my chair I use for nursing. However, I bought it intending to keep it in my baby's room. But I don't actually usually nurse in there so I ended up moving it to a room with a tv in it ;) I recommend finding something COMFORTABLE. You'll spend a LOT of time nursing and sitting in that chair. I'd also pick something that matches your home decor since you won't actually end up having it in the baby's room. I do have a chair in each of my kids rooms to read stories in and such but they are not chairs that are comfortable enough to be nursing for a long period of time in. This is one of those items that you HAVE to go in person. Sit in the chair. See how you like it! If you already have a comfortable chair in your living room or your bedroom, then use what you have and save this expense!
- Wood: This isn't something you can register for BUT you'll want to make sure you have your hubby pick up some flat wood at the hardware store. You'll need it to go under the pack and play mat so you can use the Angel Care monitor in it (we also poked a little hole in the corner of ours to feed the cord through when she was too young to mess with it). Also you may need one for the Angel Care monitor in your crib too!
- Bumbo: I used mine a LOT with Kye but with the whole recall thing I didn't use it much with Britt. However, it's useful. Once your baby is sitting up decently they can't use the bouncer anymore so there is a time span for them. It's similar to a bouncer where it gives you a few hands free moments...just make sure to always keep your eye on your baby while they are in it in case they topple over ;)
- Playmat "gym": I call it a playmat? But I think other people call it a baby gym? Whatever it's called...GET ONE! If you are on a tight budget and have to pick and choose from this list on the things to get, this is one to splurge on. Both of my kids LOVED our playmat. Kye even enjoyed it as a toddler when Britt was born. It's great for the early days when they are learning to focus on things and it doesn't take up much space. I even move ours into the pack and play once our babies are old enough for independent playtime.
Baby Einsteins Playmat
- Jumperoo: This is another favorite of mine. Kye enjoyed it more and for a longer time than Britt did but I still am glad we have it. It takes up a good bit of space and is NOT easy to take apart to move or to store. But it's something they really enjoy and is a GREAT way for them to burn off energy and learn to be upright/use their legs.
Fisher Price Jumperoo
- Toys that Suction: Once your baby is eating from a high chair you'll appreciate the few extra minutes these toys will buy you in the kitchen! They suction right onto the high chair and provide plenty of entertainment without the annoying cycle of the baby throwing their toys onto the ground and you having to pick them back up! You really only need one or two of them!
- Play Mirror: Tummy time can be a hassle and sticking this little mirror down in front of my babies helped them to enjoy it more! I liked Kye's so much that I got another one for Brittlynn (Kye's was used so much that the mirror was pretty beat up).
Sassy brand mirror
- Baby Gates: This all depends on the type of home you have. We have three gates. One at the bottom of our stairs which is a MUST have if you have stairs (seriously...Kye fell from the TOP step and the gate at the bottom stopped him from going all the way to the TILE floor)...another at the doorway of the playroom upstairs (Kye plays in their for room time and I like that the door remains open so I can hear him but that I don't have to worry about him leaving the room) and another large gate that I will use as needed to put around things. Like if Kye is playing with small toys Britt can't have I will put the gate around him and keep her out, some people use them around their Christmas tree, I will probably use it when Brittlynn gets older for independent playtime. Even if you don't have a multi-level home I'd still get the moveable "gate" (it's called a super yard!) b/c you WILL use it!!! It's not cheap but I'm thankful we have it and it's a great thing to register for! We actually didn't even plan to buy it when we were pregnant with Kye but we had a lot of returns at ToysRUs and saw another couple buying it and they talked us into getting it too!
- Booby Tubes: These were a new thing I bought with Britt and I really like them! You can store them in the freezer and when you have pain (when your milk comes in, or you deal with other nursing issues, or when you're in the weaning/drying up phase) you can put them in your bra and they are SO soothing.
- Milkies: Another item I hadn't ever heard about until Britt and it's one of my FAVORITE things! I have been giving them as gifts at baby showers because it's one of those items you don't realize you need but once you have it you don't know how you lived without it! You simply put it on the breast that your baby is not eating from and it collects the milk you leak while nursing. Sure...it's not a TON of milk but every little bit helps and having this allowed me to never have to add in a daily pump session to store up breastmilk for when we traveled! I just pumped for any missed feedings! I would recommend MIXING this milk with pumped milk so you get the healthiest blend for your baby :)
Milkies Milk Savers
- Lansinoh Brand Storage Bags for Breast Milk: Medela is a GREAT company but I had read that their breast milk storage bags were not as good as the Lansinoh brand. I have always used the Lansinoh ones and have used them A LOT. I rarely get any that leak! They are easy to fill, to label, and to store. And they are usually cheaper than Medela ones too :)
- Mommy Hook: Another of my favorites to give as a gift. You attach this hook to your stroller and it gives you a spot to hang your purse, diaper bag, or other items. You're thinking that it sounds stupid...but trust me. You will LOVE it. I think I now own four of them? They are MUST have Disney items for SURE!
- Wipes Storage Carrier: You will have to bring wipes along with you when you go places and putting them in a ziplock bag is ANNOYING. I really like my wipes case. They rarely get dried out and it's easy to open and shut the little top to pull them out of. I often give this as a gift too ;)
Skip Hop Dot Wipes case
- Placemat: This is THE #1 thing I get complements on when we go out. It really is awesome. It suctions to the table so your baby won't throw it on the floor (I've never had either kid even attempt to pull it off the table), it has a great little shelf area for food that falls, it wipes clean SO easily, you can toss it in the dishwasher once you get home, and it rolls up nicely for storage. We don't eat out super often but when we do we ALWAYS use it and we also use it whenever we eat over at someone's house!
- Travel High Chair Seat: This is another thing we use quite often. We do not take it with us out to eat (because restaurants always have high chairs) but we ALWAYS take it to people's houses. It hooks on pretty much every table (we've even hooked it on a coffee table once when we stayed in a hotel room...), you can easily remove the seat portion to wash in the washing machine, and the whole thing fold flat! We usually put the placemat under the seat to help it stay in place on tables that it won't suction to that well!
Chicco Travel Seat
- Baby Proofing: I'm not a big believer in doing a lot of baby proofing. We believe in training our children not to touch things rather than "proofing" it all. However, some things are necessary out of safety. I do have baby proof cabinet things but only on the cabinet under our kitchen sink where our cleaning supplies are. Our house is newly built and now all electrical outlets are made so babies can't stick their fingers/objects in them but if your home is older you'll want to invest in some socket covers
- Paint Sticks: We spank our children (read about our beliefs here) and use free paint sticks from the hardware store to do so. When you're picking up paint for the nursery grab several extras. I like to have one in every room of the house b/c it's SO important to discipline IMMEDIATELY in order to train properly!
- Mommy Books: My personal favorite parenting books for the baby age are: Babywise, Babywise II, What to Expect the First Year, Baby-Led Weaning, Shepherding a Child's Heart, and The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems.
- Video Monitor: We actually did not invest in a video monitor until Kye was older...and I don't know how we lived with out it! I do NOT stare at it all the time but it's so handy to have. Especially when sleep training! Even though Kye is almost 4 we still have his monitor in his room. I really, really love the one we have. Even though our hand held viewers can toggle between both cameras, I'm glad we have two complete sets (2 cameras, 2 viewing monitors) because at night I leave one on each child so we can hear them if they cry out or something. While ours were expensive, they are NOT top of the line. Some of the features available now on video monitors are ridiculous to me. I just like to be able to see my kid! I don't need bells and whistles. I honestly don't even think they make the one we have anymore though so for baby #3 we'll be forced to upgrade if we still want Kye to have a camera in his room!
Summer Infant Video Monitor
- Other Strollers: You figure you have the travel system stroller so you'll be good to go...and it's true. That stroller is GREAT. However, we registered for a small umbrella stroller to use once Kye was old enough. I love that we have it as it's smaller (for trips) and lighter (for me running errands). I also ended up going on a lot of walks with Kye and the travel system stroller is not intended to be used for "exercising" so I found a used jogging stroller online and bought that as well. I don't think either of the extra strollers are must haves but they are a nice bonus if you have a million baby showers like we did ;)
- Lovie: My mom bought one for each of our kids and I put it in their cribs prior to them turning one years old. With Kye I wasn't as "sids cautious" but with Britt I waited much longer. I did end up putting it in with her because she sucks her fingers for comfort and I'd like her to also have a comfort object to give me a way to sooth her when needed. They both LOVE their lovies and I def plan to have them for future babies too. They are breathable and are considered safe from birth. They also hold up great in the washing machine. I have two of them but my kids do NOT know that...I sneak and trade them out when washing ;) You can see Britt's lamb HERE and Kye's monkey HERE!
- Nursing Help: While nursing (especially in the early days) I have a few "must have" items. I set up a little station using one of those tv dinner tray tables an keep a little mini notebook from the dollar store along with a pen. I use it to keep track of what time my baby ate and which side I nursed them on so I can alternate which side I start on for the next feeding. Trust me. You will NOT remember ;) I also like to have a lamp nearby to help keep things bright during feedings (helps both me AND my baby stay awake!). In the months leading up to delivery day I'll record a TON of tv shows and movies on the DVR to watch while nursing. Britt would sometimes take two whole hours to eat...that's an entire movie! It's especially useful during those late night sessions for sure to have something to watch. If you have an ipad or tablet or something I'd also keep it nearby and catch up on blogs, read a book, etc.
- High Chair/Shopping Cart Cover: I'm not a big stickler on germs and such but I always use this anytime we go out. I put it over restaurant high chairs and over shopping cart buggies. I don't think there is any specific one that is any better than another (I think both of mine happen to be Boppy brand...). But I always store ours in my car so it's there whenever we go out!
- Diaper Bag: I know several people will have just one diaper bag they use all the time. I have a mild obsession with matching so I change out diaper bags to match whatever I'm wearing. I have a good bit of diaper bags...I didn't register for one and got them all as gifts for myself (because really the bag is MORE for you than the baby). I will say I prefer the ones I have that are just open at the top and don't have a zipper b/c I never zip it anyway. Lots of pockets are good...however they can also be annoying when trying to find your keys ;) The ones I use most often have a big center section then two side pockets just large enough for sippy cups to fit in! They both happen to be Coach bags but were purchased on sale from a Coach outlet store
- Mobile: I know some people don't like them but I think a mobile hanging above the crib is just a classic nursery thing to have, ya know? I got both of mine specially made through different shops on Etsy to match our themes. I personally don't want ANYTHING that makes noise in my kid's crib and the crib is not a place to play...I don't have any toys in their with them (it's also not safe...). I also don't want anything that lights up! I keep my mobiles SIMPLE. Babies like simple things :)
- Bottle Drying Rack: This is one of those items that will LIVE on your counter top so I recommend finding something that matches your home decor. At our old house I had a red one. This time I got a white one. I just bought a cheap one each time, I don't bottle feed often but when I do I like to use it! Also make sure to get a bottle cleaning brush (don't get the sponge kind...stick with the wirey ones b/c they will last longer/clean better/be less germ infested) and a little tiny nipple brush (again stick with the wirey type). You'll use them ALL the time! I found when I did use bottles that I could clean them better by hand with the brushes than in the dishwasher
- Bottle Warmer: Again, I don't bottle feed often. BUT I really, really love our bottle warmer. So much so that I bought it again for Britt and will buy another next go round. We bottle fed more often with Kye so his got worn out, but Britt's may make it through the next baby! It uses steam to warm the bottles and it has an easy to follow chart for how to warm breast milk :)
- Bottle Storage Cooler: Our hospital gave us this little bottle sized cooler (and a bunch of formula which ANNOYS me...) as a gift when Britt was born and I love it! It fits a bottle just perfectly :) I recommend buying one for sure! I also LOVE my Vera Bradley bottle coolers. I don't actually use them for bottles...I use them for sippy cups. They can fit two perfectly or just one and some snacks :) I think they are retired now...so maybe you can find something similar to this?
- Medela Brand Bottles: I have never tried any other type of bottle. I know people love all different kinds and have their own preferences on bottles so I'm NOT saying Medela is the best or anything. However, I've had two kids use the same bottles and have only had ONE get a leak. I really like all of their products and think they are especially great for breastfeeding moms. The bottles fit on the pump so it's easy to pump then use that same bottle to feed :)
- Toys: I could do an entirely separate post on toys...you're going to get a LOT of them so really it's better not to register for any. Seriously, less is more when it comes to toys. One thing I do end up buying myself though is plastic toy links. They are GREAT to hook to other toys to dangle from things for the baby to play with and make great toys themselves. Even as a toddler Britt really enjoys putting them into cups and pouring them back out! Also work great for teething :) Any brand is great...they sell them in pretty large packs for super cheap!
- Big Kid Car Seat: When we had Kye we had a TON of returns from so many shower gifts and ended up having a lot of money to spend so we went ahead and bought his convertible car seats. It wouldn't hurt to do some research and add them to the registry. We bought Britt's not too long ago and I would HIGHLY recommend her seat. You can read about it HERE!
- Shampoo Rinse Cup: A cheap, but wonderful item. The cup is soft so it shapes around your baby's head! The one we used to have would get moldy pretty fast because it was a hard cup with just a soft side...the new one I bought this last time is completely soft and all one piece of material. It's like that silicone bake ware stuff but in a cup! Not only is it awesome for keeping water/soap out of baby's eyes (heck...toddler and preschool too!) but it makes for a great tub chew toy ;)
- Pool Float: Even if you don't have a pool in your backyard like we do...you'll still want one. Surely you're going to put your baby in a pool at some point, right? I like to be able to set my babies in a pool float although I never take my hands off the float it at least lets them gain a little confidence in the water. The one we had for Kye I really liked because it had the shade on top too! I bought a similar one for Brittlynn. Be warned though, it's best to just leave the inflated and store them carefully...they do get holes in them easily and we have tried to deflate them for trips and they always end up with a hole. I ended up getting cheaper ones to use for travel but like this one to have at home!
- Humidifier: I have always used the same cool mist humidifier for each of my kids...I don't use them often but I do feel like it's a good thing to have on hand b/c when you need it you will be glad you have it. And typically when you need it it's going to be one of those night-time before-bed issues that you do NOT want to have to make a run to Walmart to buy! BE SURE to read ALL the instructions though! And to clean it out OFTEN!
Crane Cool Mist Humidifier
- Reading Books: I think books make a WONDERFUL baby gift! Always ask the giver to write a message to your baby in the front cover. Wonderful keep sake! Board books and touch and feel books are awesome too. As well as those soft/squeaky bath books. If someone is pregnant with their 2nd (or 3rd...etc) baby books are always a great gift to give that will be used and appreciate for years to come!
- Activity Table: I didn't register for this as it makes a great gift at holiday time but if you have a Jan baby for example they WILL use it well before their 1st birthday so it'd be smart to register for it rather than waiting for Christmas time!
Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Table
- Batteries: All the fun musical toys, bouncers, swings, etc require batteries. And most of them require BIG ones! Look at all the stuff you're registering for...make a list of the different batteries you need and then add all of them to your registry too! Maybe some thoughtful person will forgo the cutesy baby present and just buy the batteries ;)
- Bible: Another thing that we have several of is children's bibles. I've read through them all with Kye and we are now reading this one together. It's by far my favorite!!! I love how it asks questions and makes the stories very relatable! I highly recommend it!
- Hospital Gown: I was so blessed to receive a custom hospital gown as a gift (thanks Danielle!) and I really loved it. I was thankful to have something that I knew would be cute in pictures and hoped people would notice it more than they would notice my post-delivery self haha!
- Other Furniture: I would suggest getting a cheap bookshelf to keep in the closet. Both of my kid's are from Ikea. I personally don't like all their books and toys out in plain sight so having the book shelf in the closet minimizes the clutter look. They also each have a cubby storage thing in their closets and I love buying matching cubbies that go with their decor. Baby clothes are SO short so when they hang in the closet you still have a lot of left over space and both these items are great ways to utilize that! I also really like a little touch lamp we keep in the nursery. It's easy to tap on and off when our hands are full :)
- Clothes Dividers: I tend to buy my kids clothes when they are on sale so I buy off season and therefore have a lot of bigger sizes waiting for them as they grow out of their older stuff. Having some closet dividers to divide their clothes by size makes it SO much easier to find everything and keep it all organized. Another great inexpensive gift to give that it also very useful!
- Camera: I am one of "those moms" who constantly takes pictures of my kids. I love it! I would recommend for sure having a camera! Don't just use your phone to take pictures...buy a camera that is easy enough to use and small enough to take with you out and about. I personally am against buying a DSLR unless you are a SERIOUS photographer. So many moms have these fancy cameras and don't even know how to properly use them...I just have a point and shoot and still get tons of compliments on the quality of the pictures I take! You don't have to spend a fortune to be able to keep those precious memories forever :)
My Camera is a Sony DSC-HX1
That's it!!! Whew! While writing this list I also thought up some things that I would NOT bother registering for or buying! Big thanks to all the blog readers who chimed in on Facebook and Twitter to help me make sure I didn't leave anything out in this post!
Stuff I don't think is worth getting:
- Wipe Warmer: It's a BABY. They don't need their wipes warmed up...I don't get why people buy these? I mean the kid will never know the difference if you just always use regular "cold" wipes! Neither of mine have EVER have a warmed wipe touch their hinny and they are fine ;)
- Diaper Genie: Have you used one before? I did a couple times while babysitting and it was confusing to me. It's all expensive and just seems silly to me. We bought a simple trash can with a lid that has a spot that pops open to stuff the diapers in. We use scented trash bags and are good to go :) Great way to cut down on costs! We actually were given a Diaper Genie at a baby shower and returned that junk!
- Bumpers: I can't BELIEVE they still sell bumper sets for cribs. DO NOT buy them!!! Not worth the SIDS risk...really I personally don't even recommend buying the sets that have them then not using them. Why support a company who doesn't care about your child's safety? Instead I recommend finding someone who can sew and making a little crib skirt and buying matching crib sheets. Cheaper, cuter, and SAFER!
Brittlynn's Bumper Free Crib!!! Still just as cute :)
(Pillow only in crib for PHOTO...never put a pillow in with your baby!)
- Changing Table: I am big about saving money and I think it's a total waste of money to buy a piece of furniture that is made to be a changing table. Even if you think "I'll use it for a dresser later" you will ALWAYS look at it and think it's a changing table. Other people will also look and it and know it's a changing table. Just buy a short dresser and put a changing pad on it. We went that route and I've never regretted it. This way when we're done with kids in diapers we can use the dresser like normal...and if you think about it you'll use a regular dresser a LOT longer than a changing table!
- Tub Toy Storage: I know they make all kinds of cute little basket things that suction onto the side of the tub. Resist the temptation! They do NOT stick well and WILL scare the crap out of you when they fall off the wall! Plus they don't hold much. I prefer a tub toy storage divider thing...you can load more into the basket AND once you have more than one kid you can use it to divide them in the tub so there isn't any fighting over toys ;) Plus it's SUPER easy to clean. I just take it apart and soak it in my laundry room sink with some bleach mixed with water! All the scum comes right off without me having to do any scrubbing!
I love how this picture has an Aflac duck hiding in the corner ;)
- Bubble Bath: I know it's another one of those things you think will be fun and don't see the harm in it. We didn't either! But actually, especially if you have a girl, it's much better for your baby to NOT have bubble baths. Google it ;)
- Cute Burp Cloths: I know they are a common baby shower gift. However, they are NOT functional at all. As soon as you wash them they never go back to looking the same AND decorative ones aren't as absorbent as just using regular old cloth diapers. I recommend buying a big pack of Gerber brand thick white cloth diapers. I seriously would go through multiple ones a day so I buy 20 or more of them (both my babies spit up a lot). They work great, you don't care if you lose them, and you can toss them in the laundry with some bleach to get them looking good as new. And this is one of those items where I just throw out all of them and buy new with the next kid.
- Attachable Rearview Mirror: When I saw these I added a couple on our registry b/c I thought it'd be awesome. Be able to use my regular rearview mirror to see Kye and then have the little extra rearview mirror on Britt. Don't bother. What a joke! It's a PLASTIC mirror so it's basically like a baby doll toy mirror and you can't see anything in them!
- Shoes: Why do people mess with baby shoes? They can't walk yet...and you WILL lose the shoes. What's the point? If you notice in my pictures the majority of the time my kids have bare feet until they start walking. I think shoes are a waste of money for the infant age. They only make sense to me for special occasions or if you live in a cold climate. I DO, however, think lots and lots of socks are good investments. Old Navy and The Children's Place are my favorites. I like the ones that are longer at the top because they stay on better too!
- Sophie: This giraffe is the "it" toy. It wasn't around when Kye was born (or at least it wasn't popular yet?) but when I was pregnant with Britt I saw that thing EVERYWHERE. So I registered for it. And got two of them. Which shocked me b/c they are NOT cheap. I'm sorry but I just don't "get it." It's a squeaky toy. Yes, it's got no chemicals or something in it but let's be real it's NOT going to be the ONLY toy your baby chews on. The squeak sound is very annoying and when you have a preschooler they WILL want to squeak it. Constantly. I don't like to buy things just to bc they are "cool" and I personally feel like this whole Sophie craze is just for the "cool factor." Ours is already stuffed in a toy box somewhere and has been for a long time now.
- Bassinet: I have one that we got while pregnant with Kye. It's cute and sweet and I use it for like a week when we first get home from the hospital. Very silly. I would recommend using a pack and play for the early days instead!
- Doorway Jumper: I had one with Kye and it RUINS your door frames. We sold it at a kids sale! Yes, it's better than nothing if you don't have the space for a jumperoo...but the jumperoo is SO much better!
- Diaper Changing Pad: Honestly? I don't think I've EVER used one. When you're out and about there is usually a diaper changing station somewhere. I'll lay a burp rag down and put my baby on that. You don't have a lot of free hands and trying to unfold some contraption just to lay your baby on it is a lot of unnecessary extra steps. Since my kids are on a schedule I rarely even have to change their diapers places where I would need a pad to do it!
- Dishwasher Storage: I have a ton of little things made for the dishwasher to use to wash bottle parts and pieces and I RARELY use them. Maybe if you formula feed they are more useful? I found hand washing was more effective than the dishwasher anyway and it was more of a pain to open and close the little storage thing (and it takes up a good bit of expensive real-estate in the dishwasher too...) than it was just to find a spot to stick them to get them clean.
- Car Bottle Warmer/Pump Charger: I knew we traveled a lot and totally thought I'd want to be heating up bottles in the car. I bought the thing and have NEVER opened it. And I've owned it now for four years and two kids. Don't get one. Also I hunted everywhere for a car breast pump charger and never use that thing either.
- Under High Chair Mat: Again, we believe in training our children. If our kids throw food off their high chair then we train them not to do it. I don't personally believe in allowing them to make a huge mess and am not going to take the extra effort (or spend the money) on products that encourage them to mess it up!
- Baby Food Pantry Organizer: I had one with Kye and rarely used it because I didn't use jars of food...I used the square shaped ones and they didn't fit well on the organizer I had. With Britt we never used any baby food at all so I sold it at a kid's sale.
- Electric Nasal Aspirator: I thought this was a "must have" item when I was pregnant with Kye...but we ended up not getting one and I'm glad. Who wants an electric thing sucking out snot? Gross. I am fine with using the hospital ones we have for the rare times we actually have to clean out a nose with it!
- Baby Hangers: I ended up finding some on SUPER huge clearance somewhere so I did buy a bunch for Brittlynn but really you don't have to have them. Most baby clothes tend to come WITH hangers! I know everything at Carter's does! So keep all the hangers the clothes come on and you'll be good to go! If you do want some...I'd look at the dollar store. They tend to be cheapest there :)
- Mattress Pad Cover: It is not good to have anything on top of your baby's mattress unless it's 100% cotton which these aren't. Again, I can't stress it enough, PLEASE read this post about SIDS prevention :)
- Tub Faucet Cover: We had one of those little inflatable faucet covers when Kye was a baby and it was more of a hassle than it was worth...we didn't use it for very long and I don't recommend buying one. Just get the habit of bathing your baby on the other side of the tub. Which really I prefer to do anyway in case the water from the faucet is too warm/too cold I can adjust it before it gets to them!
- Wee Wee Tee Pee: I can admit when I'm wrong...my mom TOLD me it was stupid to buy one but I did anyway. And she was right, it's stupid. It's a little tent looking thing that goes over the baby boy's privates when you change their diaper so they won't spray you. In that time between undoing their diaper and putting the tent over them they will probably spray you anyway ;) Just use some baby wash cloths instead...or just brace yourself and be prepared for some pee in your face at some point haha. Also it's always smart to have the clean diaper UNDER the dirty one ready to go before you take off the dirty one!
- Nursing Stool: I have always nursed in a chair with an ottoman or will just sit "indian style" while nursing somewhere that doesn't have a place for my feet. This is not a "must have" item in my opinion
- Infant Sleep Positioners: I had one with Kye before I knew any better...but these are NOT safe. Do not have ANYTHING in your baby's crib other than your baby!!!!
- Purifier: I never steamed cleaned anything...I don't overly wash stuff. My kids are RARELY sick. While I think a lot of that is because I breastfeed...I also think it has to do with the fact that I'm NOT overly clean with everything. If a pacifier falls on the floor...I follow the 5 second rule ;)
- Baby Laundry Detergent: I was one of those first time moms that took the tags off ALL of Kye's stuff and washed it in special laundry detergent. Omg. Such a waste! Babies will NEVER wear everything in their closets before they out grow it. Leave the tags on until they wear it! That way you can return stuff! And I always wash my kids stuff with our stuff and have never had an issue. Of course, if your baby DOES have some kind of allergy then, duh, use the detergent if recommended by your pediatrician. I wouldn't, however, start off using it!
- Clothes: What? Don't buy your baby clothes? Yup. I said it. One of the BIG reasons we don't find out the sex of our baby is that when you do ALL people will want to buy you is CLOTHES. Your kid will have more clothes than you will EVER have them wear. And it's hard to returns the clothes people buy you that you don't like (which trust me WILL happen). AND you miss out on getting stuff you actually NEED for your baby b/c everyone just wants to buy you clothes. With both of mine they didn't have any clothes (other than the items I listed above) until they were born. Once they arrive people LOVE to send clothes. Its everyone's favorite thing to buy for a new baby! The grandmothers run out while I'm in the hospital and get some newborn and 3 months sized stuff and it's always more than enough! We do buy one boy outfit and one girl outfit while I'm pregnant and take them to the hospital as a "first outfit" (and return the one we don't use) but that's it. I also don't recommend monogramming everything. 1) You can't use it for future children (unless you're that type that names all your kids with the same starting letter) and 2) You can't easily resell it. I have a few monogrammed things for each of my kids but for the most part I avoid it...When you DO go to get clothes Carter's makes these awesome coordinating onesie sets...buy a set or two in size newborn and 3 months with the coordinating pants set. With those and the sleepers and the white onesies you'll be set! The first few months you RARELY go anywhere with your baby and when you do they will most likely be covered up in a blanket...cute clothes are a total waste until their awake times are longer and you are out and about more! And if you DO have some cute little outfits you love. Put 'em in it QUICK and snap a picture b/c they will grow out of it FAST!
- Educational Junk: Babies learn best from YOU. Simply laying on the floor with your baby and looking at them and talking to them is all they need for education. Don't waste money buying dvds and learning systems. It's better for your baby to not watch ANY tv until age 2 anyway :)
I hope this list is helpful to many of you as I know how difficult and tricky the registering process can be! If you are wondering what to pack for the hospital you may want to read this post!
So you experienced mamas out there...how'd I do? Did I forget anything that you consider useful? Do you disagree with my "must haves" or "not worth buying" items? I'd love to hear your thoughts...might give me some ideas to register for when baby #3 comes around!!!