Ultimate Baby Registry Checklist
So your baby is almost here. You are already a veteran of tests, doctor appointments, classes, reading, planning, worrying and excitement. You've possibly gone through a difficult first trimester, or even have had a long grueling road trying to conceive. You might know the sex of your child, but if you are like me, you've definitely cried over ultrasound photos and put them up on the fridge, emailed them to every relative, and shown them off to your Facebook or Instagram universe. You deserve a little fun. You deserve a baby shower. Which means if you haven't started one already, you need a baby registry. Some find creating a registry fun, others find it overwhelming and stressful, but all moms can agree that creating a smart baby registry will make your life easier in the first days, weeks and months of your child's life.
What's a Baby Registry?
It's very easy: you want stuff for your life after baby. Put together a list of what you need. Send that list to your friends, family (and especially grandparents!). And, if you are inclined, have a party to celebrate your new baby. And at that party, people will bring you stuff from your list. It's simple!
What if I don't want to have a baby shower, or can't afford it?
Baby showers don't have to be fancy. Just you, close friends, and family. People are always looking for a reason to celebrate. Your husband is looking to take advantage of your temporary state as designated driver so he can do some day drinking. While you might think a party is frivolous, remember that it may not be just for you. While I was pregnant, my mother-in-law decided to throw a baby shower for me and her friends. I didn't know any of her friends, and didn't have friends in her city, but my husband reminded me that "this party isn't for you, it's for grandma." But I got to keep the registry gifts!
Why do I need a registry?
To put it simply, whether you have a registry or not, people will buy you presents. And if you don't have a comprehensive list somewhere, you will wind up with three baby bathtubs, a dozen more blankets than you actually need, and 37 copies of "On the Night You were Born." Having a registry will save you a lot of time handling returns. Also, it allows people to send you gifts at their convenience and not wait for a shower.
How do I create a registry?
Fortunately, thanks to modern technology much of the hard work is already done for you. Online you can find checklists and multiple websites to create your registry, such as Babylist and My Registry. The great convenience of these sites is that you can link to a wide variety of stores, so you aren't limited to just one location. That said, if you like one-stop shopping, consider a registry at Babies 'R Us.
So what should I get?
That's the million dollar question. Or actually, billion dollar question. The baby industry is booming, with over $300 billion in sales in 2016 alone. The amount of products are overwhelming. Focus on what you and your family actually need. Frivolous stuff (like designer clothes, handmade toys, special books) you will want to purchase later, or will arrive by surprise from loving family and friends anyway, so make sure you get the essentials.
The Diaper Decision
Cloth vs. disposable? You and your family will have to make this decision, and it's best to make it in advance. The average baby goes through over 300 diapers in a month so be prepared! If you choose disposable that will cost you about $70 a month. You can save money by buying your diapers from a warehouse store like Costco or Sam's Club, or buy buying in bulk online, but you can save even more money by registering for them in advance. Let your friends and family buy your diapers! Warning: don't buy too much of one size in advance. You will be shocked how quickly your child grows in the first year.
How much should people spend?
That is definitely something you don't need to worry about. But, by giving people options at every end of the financial spectrum you will make it easier for people to give you gifts. You may find it unsurprising that people are spending more money per baby gift now more than ever but frequently those small ticket items are the ones you need the most.
What if I already have everything I need from my first baby, or from friends with babies?
Well, outside of health and hygiene supplies (some things should definitely not be handed down) there are more creative ways to receive the love from friends and family. People will want to be a part of your new child's life, and far be it from you to stand in their way. You can create a college fund and have people contribute, open a savings account for your child, or if you happen to be one of those fortunate people who do not need money, you can have people contribute to your favorite charity.
Baby Registry Items
Your baby registry needs all fall into the following categories:
- Health and Safety
- On the Go
- Toys and Entertainment
Here are a few must haves in each category:
For the first few months your baby will be too small for a normal bathtub. Pick one that is easy to clean.
Bath time accessories
Every playful and inquisitive child will love toys including water toys, boats, tub stickers, and balls.
Baby shampoo or body wash (toothbrush)
There are a variety of gentle formulas which won't sting when it gets in your babies eyes. And it will get in her eyes.
Have at least two. The hood helps keep them warm, plus it is incredibly adorable.
A definite must for bathing infants, toddlers, and even youngsters. You should have at least five on hand.
These are easy to get in and out of, which makes for quicker overnight changing. Plus, your baby will stay warm. Get multiple sleep sacks, as you might go through more than one in a night (it's not if your child will have a poop-splosion, but when).
Some parents prefer pajamas over sleep sacks. Definitely when your babies get bigger pajamas are the way to go as they will want to explore more. Like sleep sacks, make sure you have plenty on hand (five to seven pair per size) or else you will be doing laundry every day.
Quick and easy, and adorable. Every child looks great in a onesie.
If you have a big family or a wide network of friends, you probably won't need to register for shirts. Make sure you have at least eight or nine shirts for each size.
Leggings or pull-on pants
Same goes for leggings or pants. When buying pants, you may want to avoid those with buttons and snaps. It's very cute when your baby looks like they are wearing adult clothes, but the buttons and snaps make it inconvenient at that young age. You just want to pull on and off. Eight or nine for each size.
Socks and booties
Even in warmer climates, you want those little tootsies to stay warm. At a very young age it is a must, but don't overdress; your babies are perfectly comfortable around 70 degrees.
Even in warm weather, you'll need hats in case it suddenly gets cool. They also protect from the sun. Have at least two on hand and also a sunscreen.
Winter coats, mittens and snow suits
Your climate dictates how much protection against the cold you need, so be prepared.
As discussed above, once you decide on cloth vs. disposable diapers, register for a variety of sizes (as long as you have the room to store them.
Regardless of cloth vs. disposable diapers, you will need wipes (and even a wipe warmer). And plenty of them. Buy them in bulk; your baby will grow out of diapers but wipes will be around for the entire diaper era. Plus, they are also good at cleaning faces, and hands, and almost everything.
A must. No matter how tough your baby is, he will get a rash every now and then. A good cream will take care of that in a day or two.
Diaper bag (diaper bag for two)
When you are on the go, pack all your supplies here. Not just for diaper changing, this bag holds snacks, books, my wallet, and anything else that might go in a purse. Your purse might not see the light of day for years.
Diaper pail and liners
Very important, and often overlooked. You need a place to keep your dirty diapers until you take them outside to the trash. A good one is hands free, and contains the scent.
Somewhere to prop your baby (or your boobs and baby) while you breastfeed. Many women prefer a pillow they already own rather than a specialty pillow, but you aren't going to know until you try.
Nursing bras and clothes
Bras and shirts that unhook for easy access is what is best. No need for anything complicated. Your sexy lingerie can take a hiatus for a little while (although your boobs will look great in anything right now).
Important if you are a mom on the go, or a mom who doesn't want to do every feeding overnight. Your partner can bottle feed while you sleep.
A variety of bottles, breast pump bag and parts. Here's a small sample of what you may need.
Spit up: not if, but when. Unless you want to stain all your clothes, get plenty of these, up to a dozen.
Whether you are giving your baby formula or pumped milk, it needs a container.
These include bottle brushes, a drying rack, a dishwasher basket, and a bottle warmer.
Find one that is safe and easy to clean. You'll want one you can take apart easily for cleaning, storage and travel.
Bowls, spoons, and sippy cups
These need to be plastic and durable. While you may want to register for these you will not need them for the first six months of your child's life. Make sure you have at least three to five of each, and that they are dishwasher safe.
An absolute must. The first year of feeding is messy to say the least. Make sure you have three to five.
Plastic table mat
This is for easy cleaning and to protect your table. Feeding time gets messy.
Baby food maker
For parents who want to make their own baby food. With a good food maker, preparing homemade meals is quick and easy. "Quick" and "easy" are two valuable words in the parenting world.
Health and Safety
Your baby will have a fever at one time. There are a variety of different ones to get, but go with digital. A quicker readout is preferred when dealing with a sick and unhappy baby.
Make sure you get clippers or scissors meant for a baby. Adult ones can be too sharp. And baby nails grow quickly so get a reliable brand.
A soft bristled brush is preferred.
This is an excellent device for clearing out mucus. Also, my son thinks it's a fun toy!
Children react differently to teething pain, but having these on hand in advance will keep you prepared. Make sure they are cold; some are better frozen, so read the directions.
A must if your home has stairs, but also important when your child becomes a crawler so you can limit their range to one room.
There are a wide variety of products available; here are some ideas of what you may need.
Very important for peace of mind. Naturally, you will want to check on your little one to see how she is doing frequently. With a baby monitor you can be in other rooms of your home and have peace of mind. Keep in mind that it is illegal to take a baby monitor out of the house and leave your child unattended.
Changing table or pad
There are many different types. We put a changing pad on top of a dresser instead of an entire table, but a table has room for storage which makes it a convenient option.
Crib (crib for twins, mini cribs) and mattress
You may want to have a crib where the front rail can be removed so it converts into a toddler bed.
Some parents prefer a smaller space for their newborn. Bassinets are more portable so you can transition your baby from your room to another room with ease.
Rocking Chair or Glider
A great way to nurse, read to your child, or soothe them back to sleep.
Other options to consider for the bedroom are crib sheets, blankets, a waterproof matters pad, and a white-noise machine.
On the Go
Your most important accessory. Simply put, they won't let you leave the hospital or birthing center without one. As your child grows you will need to get a larger car seat.
There are certainly fancy deluxe models, but don't let peer pressure dictate what you need versus what you can afford.
A portable space where your baby can safely play or nap. Good for parks, vacations, and anywhere outside of your home where you will spend time.
Toys and Entertainment
This is the fun part of any registry. Your baby will learn and love to play with toys, books, walkers, a play mat, a bouncing seat or swing, and a doorway jumper. Keep in mind that computers/Ipads/smart phones are not recommended for use by children under two.
While there is a lot to think about before the arrival of your beautiful baby, having a registry can make your life much easier. A little smart planning when it comes to creating a registry can save you a lot of money on the essentials you need for the first year of your baby's life, and beyond. Plus, it gives a chance for your friends and loved ones to help celebrate in welcoming the new addition to your family.