There are few things more stressful than bringing a little person into the world. When you’re trying to figure out what you need to put on your baby registry to-do list to prepare for whatever new baby life throws your way, most of the things the choice from which can seem daunting to new parents — not to mention all the different choices for each of those “needs.”
The set of options for your baby registry checklist, such as sleeping bags, diaper bag optionsbottles, pacifiers and bassinets is vast and seemingly endless, all for this little creature you’ve never met. It’s hard to work out the essentials, the baby registry must have, from the endless sea of clutter marketers want to convince you that you can’t live without.
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In fact, once your new baby arrives, the products you spent hours agonizing over won’t be as important as you thought. It’s just kids NEED some things (food, clothes, diapers, a safe place to sleep), and each child is actually different, with different preferences. Are any of these things really necessary? No. That being said, here are a lot of kids that should be on the registry that have been key to my parenting journey, that I wish I had known to register instead of making a panic purchase on Amazon in the first few weeks. You can also check out our picks for best diapers, best baby monitors, best car seats and best baby clothes.
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If you take one piece of advice from this list, do it this way: Invest in as many magnetic onesies as your budget allows. They are expensive, but in my experience, totally worth it. No zippers, no snaps – just little magnetic buttons that let you quickly and easily open and close your child’s PJs, perfect for those bleary-eyed middle-of-the-night changes. The fabric has a lovely soft, almost silky feel, and there are many beautiful patterns to choose from. (My kid’s Pop-pop loves them too, because they’re easy to operate even with arthritic hands.)
We brought our baby girl home from the hospital armed with several Halo sleepsack swaddles and swaddle blankets, only for her to get through or generally hate them all. He seems to want to sleep with his hands up, so I ordered a Love to Dream swaddle. He immediately seemed more comfortable at bedtime, and we stayed with it until he was ready to transition (in your size there are “transition” options that allow you to zip up the sleeves) . These swaddles also offer the added bonus of making your little one look like a flying squirrel.
My lactation consultant recommended these bottles as the most similar shape to a human nipple, and best for helping baby latch. They are easy to clean and keep in a cooler. Plus, they’re a steal compared to the more expensive Comotomo bottles I have on my registry. While my son doesn’t seem to like anyone else, Evenflo is what we rely on.
What exactly do you do with a newborn all day, when they’re not eating or sleeping (which, to be fair, is usually on time)? This Baby Einstein mirror might not be the prettiest looking, but my baby loves it — it gives him a way to see himself and some high-contrast patterns that make the tummy look more it was easy for us in the early days. He also likes to look at high-contrast animal cards, which make him smile.
Speaking of tummy time, when your baby reaches three months, this water mat will help make that activity more engaging and interesting. It is a mini water bed for children, and gives them a different feeling while on their stomach, and something to look at with the floating fish. You can also try pushing it in different ways with the inflatable sides. This helped us increase our tummy time sessions quite a bit.
Between spitting up, diaper blowing and messy milk feedings, newborns get dirty easily. For those times when you don’t want to shower (or those fun times when one of the above happens right after a shower), these Johnson’s Head to Toe wipes come in handy. They are large, soft hypoallergenic pre-moistened baby wipes that allow you to clean easily.
Actually, the point here is to register for more burp clothes than you can imagine. Our baby always drools, and we have burp cloths strewn around the house all the time. These Hanna Andersson ones are nice and soft, and a little bigger than the Burt’s Bees I have on my registry, for the same price.
I registered for a regular old kid nail clipper, thinking, I know how to cut nails, how hard is it? At least for me, it’s not necessarily difficult, but it’s scary – the newborns are shaking, and their nails are so small, that I’m afraid to approach them with scissors. Not to mention that newborn nails grow surprisingly fast and need to be trimmed regularly, lest your Wolverine-in-training scratch themselves in the face. This battery-powered electric nail clipper is a lifesaver: It has three different filing attachments specific to the child’s age (and some adults too), a light so you can see what you’re doing , and two speeds in each direction. You can file while your baby is sleeping (strange but true, at least in my case).
This is for parents. I thought I could fit all my materials for nursing/pumping in a nice little caddy. I was so wrong. A small storage cart like this one will hold everything you need, like your pump, extra pump parts, snacks, water bottle, burp clothes and anything else you need (and shout out to postpartum nurse and Instagram influencer Karrie Locher for the idea). And you can roll it from room to room so you’re not trapped on the couch all the time.
This is an honorable mention because it’s actually on my registry after a friend’s recommendation. If you’re someone who doesn’t want to get your hands dirty, you need this tool that can only be called a butt spatula. Apply your baby’s diaper cream to this small silicone brush and apply it to their bum, saving your hands from getting messy. It has a suction stand so it can sit on your diaper table by itself, and it’s easy to clean.