You’re expecting. YAY! Getting prepared for baby’s arrival is mostly exciting and a tad overwhelming, filled with decorating the nursery, reading all those “what to expect” books (or not reading them), and mentally wrapping your mind around what parenthood will bring. But you know what you can’t prepare for? Getting a heck of a lot of advice, whether you ask for it or not. How ironic…here I am, giving my advice. So here’s the thing: know that most people, mothers especially, have the best intentions when sharing their advice with you, as do I. Motherhood is largely about community, and honestly, even that frazzled mama giving you tips in the Walmart checkout line is just excited that she can relate with you; because she knows: becoming a mother is a huge feat. She might not be “Mother of the Year,” but she’s still a mother, so smile, engage, and take the advice with a grain of salt. At the end of the day, a stranger’s advice, my advice, your own mother’s advice: it’s just a way of showing support for the greatest thing you will ever do with your life.
Keep in mind: it’s not all going to perfectly fit you and your baby.
I kept that in the back of my mind when I did hours upon hours of research when I started my baby registry in early 2015. I read countless reviews; I consulted all my favorite, highly-respected blogger moms; and I confided in my fellow mama friends, family, and some acquaintances. Now that my son is here, and I’ve been living the new-mom life for 7 months, I’ve found: some advice was spot on, and some was not. Shocking? Of course not. So with that, I will share my revised registry with you, now that I’ve learned, first-hand, what my baby needs and doesn’t need and what’s nice to have but is not a necessity. You can mirror my list (if you don’t feel like doing the dirty work); you can take it all with a grain of salt; or you can use it as a launching pad for your own research. Whatever it may be, it’s my way of sharing my support and my excitement for you because: you’re having a baby! YAY! Enjoy all these cute, itty bitty things!
Take a deep breath…I get pretty detailed, my friends.
I’ll be completely honest with you, baby clothes still baffle me. Sizing, style, brands, all of it: baffling. I started out registering a bunch of basic white onesies, size newborn and size 0-3 months, footie PJs and pants and tops and coats and hats…and then I deleted almost all of it from my registry. Why? Well, first of all, I knew I was going to get clothes from people; I knew it was inevitable. Friends and family love to go out and buy lots of precious little baby outfits: it’s going to happen whether it’s on your list or not, so you might as well wait and see what you get. Turns out, I was right: I got plenty of clothes, and some of them weren’t super practical (which is the “style” I lean towards), so I picked up the rest myself.
Long-sleeve side snap shirts (2) ~ Get these from the hospital if you can! I bought some not knowing I would be able to take some from the hospital (doesn’t hurt to ask). These are great especially while baby’s belly button is healing.
Footie PJs (6-8) ~ These are ALL my son wears still! We’re home most of the time, so it’s way more convenient, practical, and comfortable, in my opinion, and I’m just not one of those moms that puts baby in stylish outfits everyday; I save those outfits for lunch and dinner dates or weekends out and about. Besides, there are lots of super cute, stylish footies! We like both snaps and zippers. Little Me is one of my favorite brands.
Zipadeezip (2) ~ These are AWESOME for sleeping; they’re designed for transitioning from the swaddle. The arm length is meant to mimic the length/feel of mama’s womb. We didn’t start using these until about 3 months.
Halo Sleepsack (2) ~ This sleep sack was perfect for our needs, and he wore it every night up until we moved on to the zippy at about 3 months. Bennett did not like his arms swaddled, but this allowed for arms to be swaddled in or out. The velcro around the waist, even when he got his arms free, made him feel secure, cozy, and warm. He slept like a champ in this. We got size newborn, and later purchased the next size up.
Hats (2-4) ~ I got a couple from the hospital that we used a ton in the first few weeks, so snag as many as you can; then, around 3+ months, I used Burt’s Bees (so soft and came with an adorable footie) or Gap brands.
Socks (4-6) ~ Don’t even bother with shoes for your newborn; it’s a waste of money. Baby socks always fall off, but I found the Trumpette ones stayed on fairly well; oh and they’re so dang adorable.
Cotton mittens (3 pairs) ~ Just need a few pairs for those first couple weeks when baby likes to scratch or you’re terrified, like I was, to clip baby’s nails in the beginning!
Other items ~ Depending on what you get from showers and gifts, you’ll need some bibs, pants, and onesies (long and short sleeves), but I did not have to purchase any of those things, as I mentioned earlier. If you’re looking for ballpark amounts, I’d go with roughly 6 long/short onesies, maybe 6 bibs (I got about 20 as gifts), and 2-4 pairs of pants.
Ohhhhh diapers. Where do I begin? I’m team fluff, so I love, love, love my cloth diapers. My husband and I chose cloth to avoid the often icky ingredients in disposables, but mainly, we chose cloth to save money in the long run. Cloth is going to cost more up front, but the big plus is: you can use them for your next child, if that’s in your future! The savings has already been significant for us, just 7 months in, but of course, it takes a little extra effort as opposed to just throwing a dirty diaper in the trash. To me, the effort is worth it. I plan to write a whole bunch of blog posts on cloth diapering, but for now, I’ll give my quick tips for prepping a newborn stash. I’ll also share what I would do if I were going the disposable route.
Changing pad + 2 covers ~ I got a waterproof pad and 2 velour covers, but I throw a wipeable pad on top for easier clean up. The covers are just for looks.
Diaper pail ~ We just got a regular old trash pail from Bed Bath & Beyond that you can open with your foot. You don’t need to get fancy: it’s just holding poopies.
Diaper bag ~ I did a lot of research on diaper bags, but this one won me over because it has a BUILT IN WET BAG. I was sold. I love that if I need to throw a poopy diaper in the wet bag pouch, it’s anti-microbial, water-resistant, and odor-resistant. I do wish it was larger and had more space, but I also shove more than I need in my bag most of the time. Other brands I highly considered were JuJuBe and Petunia Pickle Bottom.
Cloth diapering mamas: read my post here for how to register for fluff basics.
Disposable diapering mamas:
Disposable diapers (a LOT?) ~ If I were to go the disposable route exclusively, I would look at Bambo Nature or Seventh Generation for safer options. I have used the Seventh Gen. disposables but had major blowouts with those; however, I’ll be honest: if you’re going the disposable route, blowouts are going to be practically inevitable. That’s another reason I like cloth better: blowouts are extremely rare in my world.
Wipes ~ These are the purest wipes out there, that I’m aware of; they’re 99.9% purified water and 0.1% fruit extract. That’s it! I’ve used them, and they work great. Tip: If you want to control what goes in your wipe solution (maybe you’re fighting a lot of rashes and want to come up with a safe mix that may benefit baby) but don’t want to go the cloth route, you could always make your own solution, put it in a spray bottle, and use paper towels or some other disposable material for baby’s bum.
NURSING & FEEDING
Nursing pillow + 2 covers ~ I prefer the Boppy over the My Brest Friend pillow because the Boppy is a bit more versatile. I also got a cheapie version to leave in the car (yes, I’ve nursed in many parking lots).
Burp cloths (10+) ~ Take as many of the swaddles as you can from the hospital; they make fabulous burp rags, and you can never have enough. I really like the flannel ones, and they’re absorbent enough for me.
Bottle warmer ~ This is a “nice to have” item. Honestly, I use it sparingly, but I mostly nurse. Otherwise, Bennett doesn’t seem to care either way: he’ll take it cold or warm.
Bottles (4+) ~ I really love the Comotomo bottles, and 4 is enough for me because I stay home and hand wash each bottle after use; Bennett usually only gets 2 bottles a day. He has never had issues with these, and they’re very boob-like, so we had no “nipple confusion” or latch problems after using these. The nipple and body are made of 100% safe hygienic medical grade silicone, so even the body of these feels squishy like a boobie. They’re super easy to clean too (no brush needed).
Bowls & Spoons ~ Not much to say on this one…I got Munchkin brand of each. You won’t need these until 6 months at the earliest.
Baby food blender ~ This is a “nice to have” item; although I do recommend making your own baby food (save money and way healthier). I’ve used the Baby Bullet a handful of times so far, but my Ninja or another blender would work just fine; I probably don’t need both. I also have done mostly mashing myself as opposed to straight purees. If you do get the Baby Bullet, though, you get a ton of extra stuff with it (storage containers, spatula, food guide, etc.), which is a plus.
Pacifiers (4+) ~ We’re fine with pacis around here; they haven’t given us any issues (yet), but I do recommend waiting to use them until after breastfeeding is well established, just in case. We tried a couple brands, but he didn’t like any of them except Mam brand. It’s not my first choice (he didn’t like Avent Soothies), but it is what it is. I keep 2 in his room, 1 on the main floor, 2 in the diaper bag, and 1 is usually lost or eaten by Sienna (she loves to steal these; she’s Batman: so stealth).
High chair ~ I originally did not have a strong opinion on high chairs, but now that we use one daily, I definitely do: do not get a high chair with any fabric on it! They take extra work to clean (like washing the removable fabric, for example). That being said, I did my research, asked around, and was told to get the IKEA Antilop high chair. Oh my GOSH. It’s perfect; super easy to clean; nothing fancy; and guess what: it’s $20!!! Sold.
Crib & Mattress ~ We love, love, LOVE our crib, and we got it at a local store in Charlotte (Baby Furniture Plus Kids). It converts into a toddler bed and a full size bed, so we will definitely get our money’s worth out of it. The mattress was an add-on deal, so I didn’t exactly research much in that area. I will say, though, that you want something very firm, waterproof, and preferably made out of non-toxic materials.
Crib sheets (3) ~ We registered 2 basic cotton patterned crib sheets off Amazon, and they were nice: nothing special. But then, a local baby boutique went out of business, and I scored an Under the Nile Fitted Crib Sheet…oh em gee. It’s 100% Egyptian organic cotton, and it is SO soft. Next baby, if it’s feasible, I’ll be getting more of these.
Pack n Play + 2 sheets ~ We’re huge Nuna fans. This Pack n Play is well built, practical, and super user friendly. It folds up so easily, and this brand has always been good to us. We used this next to our bed before transitioning Bennett to his crib in his room, and it worked great. I got some generic sheets for it to save money; I regret this decision. The generic ones barely fit (even though the dimensions were correct), they’re stiff, and they don’t match up with the tabs like we hoped. Next time, I’ll bite the bullet and get the Nuna sheets; I’m sure the quality alone will be well worth it.
Bassinet ~ Here’s our story: we got the Rock n Play, and we will never use it again. Though so many people swear by it and love the incline, it caused/promoted torticollis and a flat spot on Bennett’s head, which we are still working to correct with our chiropractor (as our pediatrician was suggesting a helmet). Though Bennett really struggled with reflux and the incline did help, I’d rather find another way to help that issue than dealing with reshaping his head and “fixing” his stiff neck. Next time, I’ll stick with just the Pack n Play, or I’ll be researching co-sleepers (Arm’s Reach or Halo Bassinest maybe?).
Blankets (4) ~ Where other mamas have an addiction for buying cute baby outfits, my addiction is blankets: I want to buy ALL the blankets! Try to refrain, and you’ll be good with one of each of the following kinds: 1 small, square stroller blanket; 1 thin, fleece blanket; 1 thick, cozy blanket; and 1 basic cotton blanket. Truth is, I have way more blankets than this (several hand knit, one huge fleece one, a comforter), but it’s excessive and not necessary, in my opinion; plus, you will get a lot of blankets as gifts, more than likely.
Sound machine ~ This is a MUST have, in my opinion. In fact, I’ve been using this sound machine since high school; now, I’ve migrated it to Bennett’s room. When you have dogs that bark when the wind blows, you need this. We have a projector clock version by Homedics that plays several sounds, and we prefer ocean waves. The clock part is totally unnecessary; in fact, it’s too bright, so we have to cover it. I can’t even find this exact clock anymore, but any sound machine that plays white noise that doesn’t drive you crazy and can run all night (don’t get the timer ones), I highly recommend. Dohm white noise machine is a top seller, I know.
Baby tub ~ We are big 4moms fans in this house! The moms that started this company are truly innovative, and their products are sleek, modern, and high performing. The 4moms newborn tub worked great for us up to about 6 months, when Bennett started sitting up. The two features I love are the side drain because it allows the dirty water to flow out while clean water flows in, and the built-in digital thermometer with a color-coded temperature display (green means it’s a safe temp, red means too hot); however, I was disappointed that this did not, in fact, fit in our sink, as it claims to fit “most single and double sinks.” But we ended up just putting it right in our guest bathtub, and that actually worked better, I think. Once Bennett could sit up on his own, we transitioned to the tub above so he could sit up and play in the water but wasn’t ready for the freedom of the big boy tub quite yet. The Stokke Flexibath is pretty basic, but it can fold, which will be awesome if we ever need to travel with it. It’s lightweight, has a drain, and is suitable for birth-4 years (supposedly); I did notice there’s an insert you can buy for newborns, so if you want more bang for your buck, you could get just this tub and the insert instead of buying 2 tubs.
Baby body wash/shampoo ~ If you’re like me, you’re very conscious of what goes on baby’s body. If you’re not like me, you should be! I won’t get into it, but long story short, most of the personal care products out there are made with toxic chemicals that babies especially should not be exposed to on a daily basis. With that being said, my two absolute favorite, safe baby soaps are Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild castile soap and Beautycounter’s Baby All Over Wash. Castile soap is made of mostly oils, so it doesn’t really lather, but I find it very moisturizing and like that it can serve as a body wash and shampoo for littles. Beautycounter, bias aside, has minimal but safe ingredients that truly perform. This wash is no exception, and you get a TON of it. It’s pretty luxurious and will last a long, long time.
Baby oil/lotion ~ I cannot begin to tell you how many lotions and oils I’ve tried on my boy, who has extremely sensitive, dry skin. I’ve tried Burt’s Bees lotions and oils, CJ’s Butter, and Sheamoisture fragrance free lotion, just to name a few. Nothing has helped his small eczema patches. Then, I gave the Beautycounter Massage Oil a try, and let me tell you: this oil is pure gold! It’s a dry oil, so you don’t get a slippery baby, and it’s truly nourishing for baby’s skin because it has the best of the best: a mix of organic coconut, jojoba, and sunflower seed oils. Again, this bottle is going to last forever, so I plan to use it on my belly when the time comes for baby #2. This oil works better than any lotion, so I don’t even use lotion on Bennett anymore.
Digital thermometer ~ I’m not a big fan of forehead thermometers, especially with super wiggly babies, but this one has an additional ear reader option. Keep in mind, I got this one as an Amazon lightning deal, so I paid much less than the current price.
Gripe water ~ I still remember the first time we used gripe water. Bennett was struggling with hiccups, and it was driving us all nuts, so I gave him a very small dosage. Stuart and I stared, waiting for Bennett’s reaction. Bennett just stared back at us, never even blinked, but his hiccups were gone instantly. It literally works every time for us, and we primarily use it for this reason since Bennett has had some reflux issues and tends to get a little frustrated when he gets the hiccups. It’s also good for gas, stomach discomfort, fussiness, teething, and colic. And you can rest easy because the Mommy’s Bliss brand is made with organic fennel and ginger.
Hooded towels (2) ~ I like the softness of my Burt’s Bees hooded towel, but I also got a fun one by Spasilk, which was pretty inexpensive. Honestly, baby doesn’t spend much time in these, so you don’t need the most luxurious towels for your baby.
Natural bath sponge ~ I’ll tell you the truth: I do not use washcloths, on myself or my son; I have nothing against them, but I just don’t find them a necessity. Bennett is 7 months old, and I still use this bath sponge on him. It’s a great, gentle, natural way to clean and exfoliate baby’s skin.
Brush & comb ~ Bennett had zero hair when he was born, even after he cooked in my belly for 42 weeks. His hair is starting to come in, but there’s nowhere near enough to use a comb or brush on it. But if you’re lucky enough to have a baby with a full head of hair, these will come in handy, are very gentle, and are great for scalp massages and getting rid of cradle cap.
Hot water humidifier ~ We’ve only used this a handful of times, but it works great. It’s relatively quiet, and it has auto-shutoff. If you go with a different brand, just make sure it’s a hot water humidifier because the cold varieties can increase airborne bacteria, and you don’t want that.
Nursing bras (2-3) ~ I read and was told by several moms to not get nursing bras until several weeks after Bennett was born, but I did not listen, and now, I can say: these people were right. I most definitely do not fill out the cups as well as I did when Bennett was a newborn…so the bras just sit. I will say, you should definitely go ahead and purchase 2 soft, stretchy, unlined, sleep nursing bras: they are the most comfortable and if you’re fortunate enough to have a decent maternity leave, you’ll spend a lot of time at home and will love the flexibility and comfort of sleep bras. I like Motherhood Maternity and Target for these. If you need a little more support, go with a bra without underwire, especially in the early weeks; you may be engorged for a little while as your milk comes in and underwire can cause mastitis and/or clogged ducts for some women. Next time, I won’t be purchasing my nicer bras until at least a month or two after baby is born. Besides, needing nursing bras is a nice excuse to take a short, post-baby shopping trip by yourself and give daddy some one-on-one time with baby for a couple hours. You’re welcome.
Nipple cream ~ Coconut oil is your friend during the first couple weeks of nursing. If you want a thicker consistency, I also used lanolin.
Sitz bath spray ~ This is a “nice to have” item that I used a lot postpartum. This stuff feels so good on sore perineal muscles the days after birth, but it’s also excellent for those times you just can’t get a shower in (and you’ll have a lot of those, trust me). It smells pleasant, to me, and it contains witch hazel, which is great for healing pregnancy wounds. This was in my hospital bag, and I went crazy spraying this on postpartum pads and directly on sore muscles.
Nursing pads (8-12) ~ I wore disposables in the beginning, but I found them so annoying and uncomfortable. I then purchased cotton nursing pads and wear them constantly. I throw them in with my cloth diaper laundry, so I did fine with just 8 pads; however, even if you reuse them a couple days, you may want closer to 12.
Pump ~ I got my pump completely free through my insurance, and I chose the Medela Pump In Style Advanced. It works perfectly, and I received everything I needed. I only pump once a day these days, but I was pumping 1-3 times a day in the beginning and figured out very early on that the flanges were not the right size for me, so make sure you look into that and ask a lactation consultant if you’re unsure on sizes. I purchased my new flanges on Amazon, and I also got larger bottles for pumping when my supply increased. Otherwise, my insurance covered all the basics.
Pumping bra ~ This is a “nice to have” item; although, I will admit that I’ve been using this a lot more now that Bennett is on the move. Have a good laugh at the advertisement for this thing, and then get over it because you might just fall in love with it. This was an absolute must have when we drove 17 hours in the car when Bennett was only a couple months old. It is so slick, convenient, and adjustable, and I actually tend to produce more milk when I wear it because I don’t sit and stare at how much milk I’m making; I’m busy chasing Bennett or doing something else. If you want your hands free, you need this bra, as goofy as it may look.
Breastmilk storage bags ~ I prefer the Target brand storage bags; they seem to hold more for me, and they’re cheaper than some of the other brands. They’re labeled to store up to 6 ounces, as most of them do, but I’ve been storing 7-8 ounces at a time in these just fine (since that’s how much Bennett gets in his bottles).
Baby carrier ~ This is one of my favorite items: my soft structured Ergo 360 carrier. I got a stretchy wrap, but I returned it because I was always going for this one instead, so I saved my money and just use this one primarily. It’s great for mom and dad, and I love that unlike some carriers, you can do a side/hip carry with this one. It has four position options, and most importantly, it is ergonomically correct: keeping baby in an ergonomic, frog-leg, seated position, whereas other carriers can cause some major hip and spine issues. I’ve used this on long walks, at the grocery store, at the airport, making dinner, or just to get in some quality “skin-to-skin” cuddle time. Tip: Skip the newborn insert. You can YouTube how to make your own insert by simply rolling up a blanket and shoving it inside when baby is itty bitty. It worked great for us!
Baby bouncer ~ I purchased our 4moms Mamaroo well before Bennett was born when there was a sale on Amazon; we have the old version. My family called this the “space pod.” It’s pretty futuristic looking, but that’s because 4moms is just on top of it, creating modern and effective products. My honest review of this bouncer/swing is that we liked it, or I should say, Bennett liked it. He did not love it, but I’m still glad we got it for several reasons: one being that it has so many different motion options, speeds, and built in sounds; you can also hook up your iPod or phone if you want. The main reason I like this product, though, is because it mimics mama’s natural bounce and sway. My son just wasn’t big into swings or bouncers period, but I know so many moms that cannot live without the Mamaroo. I also know a mom or two whose babies did not like this pod. It just depends on the baby, so you’re taking a risk no matter what. I’d still go for this one over other brands. But…see “baby swing.”
Baby swing ~ Besides the Mamaroo, there is this other swing, which is more of an actual swing; it’s the Cradle n Swing. The only reason I got this in addition to the Mamaroo is because I read and heard so many families rave about it, and my husband found it down the street for $15, so I figured: psht why not? Well, we scored big time because Bennett ended up really liking it, mainly because of the spinning mobile he could gaze up at while swinging. This kid is a fan of fans, so I think that’s what grabbed him with this one. It’s a great product and gave us several silent dinners due to a sleeping babe.
Play mat ~ There are so many out there, but this piano mat came highly recommended. It did live up to the hype, I will say, but I wouldn’t mind a mat with a larger surface area, instead of this long and skinny one; however, that’s me being very picky. Bennett liked being able to kick the piano while playing with the objects dangling above and can now sit up and play the piano too. He’s just always moving and wiggling, so I wish this was a tad bit wider. Anyway, I still highly recommend this one: music is great for mental development!
Rattle ~ No brainer: get a rattle or two to help baby learn to grip things; they’re a great way to start working on motor skills. I prefer wood toys, when appropriate, so this rattle was perfect, and it’s actually a great teether too–definitely a multi-sensory toy!
Touch-and-feel books (1-2) ~ Bennett loved, and still loves, to scratch and touch new textures that make different sounds. He adored all of his scratchy, crinkly, smooth, soft books, and it’s nice because you can always find room to shove them in the diaper bag or in the car seat. You can find some pretty fun ones, like the one linked, but you can also get some great ones for just a couple dollars at Babies R Us.
Board books (5+) ~ I mean…what mom doesn’t load up on board books? They’re so awesome, especially when baby is still little and learning and wants to put everything in his or her mouth. These are pretty indestructible with their thick pages, so go ahead and create a small library for your little with as many or as few board books as you’d like: it’s never too early to read to baby!
Sophie teether ~ Sophie is Bennett’s girlfriend. It’s a natural rubber teether, and it’s cute, and it’s a must have.
Stroller ~ Don’t freak out: you do not need to buy an $800 stroller to get a good one. We won this stroller from a local boutique baby store at a registry event, and although I highly, highly recommend it (especially if you’re a jogger or plan to hike with baby in tow), I would go with the City Mini GT, if you’re looking to spend more in the $300-$400+ range; if we hadn’t won the Jane stroller, we would have gone with the City Mini (quick fold, easy setup, reliable), but I know for a fact our Jane stroller is going to last for years and years to come, and we’re in love with this smooth ride.
Infant car seat ~ I could not be happier with our car seat choice: again, Nuna for the win! This thing is solid, sleek, and user friendly. The major perks (besides the dream drape and material features) of the Nuna Pipa come with the base, which has a steel stability leg and a secure lock installation system with a green safety indicator. It literally takes 5 seconds to install, and I truly never worry about my child’s safety with this seat because like I said, it’s solid.
Exersaucer ~ Bennett loves this thing, and it has come in very handy during dinner and lunch time. It keeps Bennett entertained, mentally stimulated, and active (definitely helped him build up leg strength).
Video monitor ~ I must say: our monitor sucks. We got a Motorola, and the battery life is terrible; I’m just not impressed with it in general. I’m still on the lookout for a good video monitor. I’ll check back when I’ve found a good recommendation; if you have one, please share!
That’s it! Phew. It’s a lot: I know. Don’t get overwhelmed. Like I said, I’m picky, overly-detailed, and like to research everything before I invest my money in a product, especially for the ones I love most. I plan to update this periodically, so be sure to check back for any additions and changes! Good luck.
P.S. ~ We registered on Amazon and Target. Happy registering!