Baby Registry 101

When it came time to do my Baby Registry when I was pregnant with my son Chase, I felt paralyzed.  Everyone I spoke to gave me different advice.

Of course, every baby and parent is different, which leads to very different experiences. This makes taking any guidance super difficult because there’s a ton of conflicting opinions on gadgets / brands / products / etc.  I remember wondering, “where do I even begin?” and “where is the best place to register?” and “how many stores is too many to register for?

So, I decided to create a Baby Registry Guide as a way to keep myself organized with all of the products I had been researching and hearing about. In this post, I will share my thoughts on the best places to register and an outline of items I suggest registering. Hopefully this will help in alleviating some of the stress I remember feeling when it came to tackling a Baby Registry.

Best Places to Register

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I suggest registering at only two stores. One ‘mega’ store/website and one local store. You want at least one registry to be accessible to your friends and family that may not be able to attend the shower in person and can easily mail it to you directly.  For your main registry, I suggest a ‘mega’ store/website like BuyBuyBABY, Target, Walmart or Amazon. These ‘mega’ stores not only have everything, but sticking to one store for the majority of your purchases will make returns easier. For your second store, I suggest registering at a local store as an option for those friends and family able to attend your shower in-person. 

There are also Registry websites like BabyList.com or MyRegistry.com, which allow you to add items from *any* site, including Amazon, to your registry. My only hesitancy with these sites is that since they are newer and not yet a well-oiled machine like Amazon, so I know some people don’t find them user-friendly. 

[Note: If using BabyList.com or MyRegistry.com, you can create a “Private List” and compile all the items that you need, but don’t necessarily want to register for (i.e. nipple shields, bottle brushes, etc.)

If the item you are registering for is available at both the ‘mega’ store as well as your local store, I suggest registering for it at the local store — as people prefer to easily pick up items to bring to the shower. Also nice for those last-minute shoppers, like myself. 🙂

Registry *Must-Haves* Checklist

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Below is an outline of items you will need to register for. As part of my Mama ArdyParty series, I will do individual posts that go more in-depth on each category and provide options of items to choose from. You can use this list as a starting point to get acquainted with the necessities and as a general checklist.

Gear & Travel

  1. Stroller
  2. Car Seat
  3. Carrier (i.e. a strap on accessory to carry baby on your chest)
  4. Travel Accessories (portable changing pad, back seat car mirror, etc.)

Infant Activity Gear

  1. Infant Seating
  2. Pack ‘N Play
  3. Activity Gym
  4. Playmat

Feeding

  1. Highchair 
  2. Portable Highchair 
  3. Breast Pump
  4. Bottles
  5. Bibs
  6. Accessories (burp cloths, nursing pillow, bottle warmer, etc.)
  7. Pacifiers 
  8. Teethers

Bath Time

  1. Towels
  2. Washcloths
  3. Bath Products (shampoo/bodywash, lotion)
  4. Bath Tub
  5. Bath Accessories (toys, sprout cover, kneeling pads, etc.)

Health & Safety

  1. Cleaning Supplies (bottle drying rack)
  2. Humidifier
  3. Thermometer
  4. Safety Kits (plug covers, cabinet locks, first aid kit)
  5. Baby Monitor

Clothing

  1. Newborn Basics (short-sleeve onesies, long-sleeve onesies, footie PJs)
  2. Newborn Accessories (socks, no-scratch mittens, caps/hats)
  3. Swaddle Blanket
  4. Sleepsacks

Nursery

  1. Accessories (sound machine, mobile, baby hangers, etc.)
  2. Diapering (diaper pail, changing pad, wipe warmer)

Items You Need, But Don’t *Need* to Register For

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The following items are things you will need, but you don’t necessarily need to put them on your registry. Either because there are more important items you’d rather your friends purchase for you (i.e. stroller) or you will most likely receive as gifts regardless.  Some items I chose not to add to my registry because they were either super cheap (nipple brushes) or super expensive (crib), and I was more comfortable purchasing them on my own. 

Plenty of people do register for these items – so it’s completely up to your personal preference if you want to add them to your registry!

Nursery Items:

  • Crib
  • Changing Table
  • Diaper Bag
  • Glider
  • Book Shelf

Cleaning / Meds:

Nursing:

  • Nipple Cream
  • Nursing Bras (Ollie Gray or Simple Wishes)
  • Nursing Pads
  • Nipple Shields (these helped me SO much when first trying to breastfeed – but you can also ask a nurse to provide you one at the hospital)
  • Bottle Sterilizer Bags (some bottle sets come with these included)
  • Milk Storage Bags (some bottle sets come with these included)
  • Bottle Nipples (level 2 and level 3) **Must-Have**
  • Purified Water (Recommended to use filtered/purified water when making formula bottles up to at least 6 months of age. Also important to put water in first, then add formula. Putting formula powder in the bottle first won’t mix as well and can give baby colic. )

Diapering:

  • Diaper Rash Creams (Aquaphor, Cortizone10, Triple Paste, Desitin, Butt Paste)
  • Baby Wipes 
  • Pampers Swaddles (Winner of Baby Center’s “Best Mom Picks of 2018”)
    • Note: Don’t purchase too many diapers in the NB size because babies grow fast and the hospital will give you plenty to take home. Also, if your baby weighs 8 pounds or more at birth, they might already be ready for Size 1. 
  • Playtex Diaper Genie – liners and carbon fillers

Gifts People Love to Give

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Below are items that even if you register for it – your friends/family will likely go off registry. Everything on this list I probably received 4 or more as gifts after Chase was born. So I did not register for any of these, but all are must-haves!

Items You *Won’t* Actually Need

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As mentioned, every baby and parent is different and that leads to very different experiences. This makes taking advice difficult because there’s a ton of conflicting opinions on gadgets / brands / products / etc. These are just some takeaways I felt I heard consistently among friends… but, again, completely up to you!

  • 4 oz bottles
    • Don’t register for 4oz. bottles!! Just use 8oz. bottles and only fill it up with as little or as much as you need. 
  • Swaddle blankets 
    • No need to register for any of the original swaddle blankets. These were made before wearable ones like the HALO were invented. No need to make your life more difficult by trying to learn how to swaddle your baby with a loose blanket when there’s an invention for that. 
    • Swaddle blankets are also more dangerous because it’s possible for a baby to wiggle out of it.  
    • I suggest not registering for any, and I bet you will still receive a ton as a gift. And although you won’t use any for actual swaddling, they do serve as wonderful stroller blankets and car seat covers.
  • Bottle Sterilizer Machine
    • Most recommend hand-washing bottles/parts and leaving them in a bowl of warm water overnight and then air-drying them using the dryer racks. I did a lot of research on bottle sterilizer machines and couldn’t find one brand that was reliable.
    • Reviews mentioned that they can’t wash that many bottles at a time, aren’t compatible with the bottle brands you may end up using, or they break after a few months of use.
    • Also, a lot of bottle sets come with sterilizer bags as another alternative to an expensive sterilizer machine. 
  • Baby Food Processor / Maker
  • Thermometer – Owlet Smart Sock:
    • Tracks your sleeping baby’s heart rate and oxygen levels; silently monitors your baby and alerts parents if something is wrong. 
    • Although highly rated online, I’ve heard the sock falls off frequently from the baby wiggling and you get an alert that your baby has stopped breathing (!!) when it actually hasn’t! So it seems way more stressful than helpful. 
    • Winner of Baby Center’s “Best Mom Picks
    • Winner of The Bump’s “Best of Baby”
  • Ubbi Diaper Pail 
    • A very popular brand – you will see it at every baby store and on a ton of people’s registries. I heard it works great at first, but then it doesn’t contain the smell very well after a few months. But I’ve also had friends that haven’t had an issue… 
    • I personally don’t like that you have to use your hand to open it. A hands-free diaper pail comes in handy …A LOT. 
    • Winner of The Bump’s “Best of Baby”
  • Motorola Baby Monitor:
    • Very commonly used, but I don’t think the image on the monitor is that great… and I’ve heard it breaks. My friends that have it suggest buying two for when it inevitably does break… not a great start!
  • HALO Bassinet or the SNOO 
      • Everyone I know that has a HALO/SNOO doesn’t end up using it for much longer than a few months.
      • Both are SUPER expensive $$$ and most moms decide to use a Pack ‘N Play or a cheaper bassinet since it isn’t used for long.  
  • Fisher Price Rock N Play: 
    • I inherited mine from my sister and some babies LOVE this. Mine doesn’t. Regardless — it has been recalled !!!
    • A new study has shown that babies that are 3 months or older can suffocate in the Rock N Play. This is because they are able to roll over.
    • If you receive one as a gift, just make sure not to use it once the baby is older than 3 months.

Woof… That’s A LOT of stuff!

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I know all of this may still seem very overwhelming and like a staggering amount of stuff. I’m no expert on parenting or babies, but I personally felt that by having the items on this list, I felt more prepared and less scared of what was to come with a newborn. I also made sure not to open everything I received at my baby shower in case I got duplicates or the items didn’t come in handy so I could return them. The majority of registry items are returnable for almost a year if you don’t need them… and if not, there’s always the option of regifting. 😉

Stay tuned for more!

Xx,

Mama ArdyParty

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