I can’t believe I’m already a year and a half into motherhood (if you don’t count the near 10 months I was pregnant). As I thought out this experience, I had time to think about the items I loved, hated, and wished I would have registered for. Let me kick this off by explaining that I am an over-researcher, I looked into just about everything, and because of that I was very strict on sleeping arrangements, eating, schedules and also doing what worked for our family. This comprehensive baby registry is based on that research, my experience and endless late night googling.
My best advice is to register for everything you will need within the first year, as long as you have the space, add it to your baby registry. The great thing about baby registries is that most retailers will give you a “completion” coupon where you get a percentage off of anything not purchased through your baby registry. Target for example was 15% off 1 shopping trip in-store and 15% off 1 shopping trip online. We lucked out with those coupons plus our Red Card discount and Cartwheel.
Olivia slept in our room for the first 7 months and then we transitioned her into her nursery. This worked REALLY well for us and I recommend at least trying it, if you have the space for babe to have their own sleeping area (we used a Halo, see below). The recommendation for safe sleep is at least 6-months in the parents room.
- Halo Swivel Bassinet– this was a lifesaver for the first 7 months. The bed portion swiveled away so gently that she wouldn’t wake up when I moved it closer or further away, and the side folded down for middle of the night access. We even traveled with this! It was easy to take apart and we could fit a lot into the bed portion. The base fit into a regular size duffle once taken apart, so this was great instead of a pack-n-play.
- Owlet– We loved this and just recently stopped using it. It’s not recommended to be used as a replacement of safe sleeping methods but it definitely eased my mind, especially once Olivia had transitioned into her crib. We had a scare while we were in Colorado because of the lack of oxygen and would have never known had we not had the owlet.
- Zipper PJs- There is no time for buttons in the middle of the night, no matter how cute they are. There will be plenty of times when you need to change a diaper while baby sleeps and the bottom to top zipper is a lifesaver. I have a few favorites- Burts Bees Baby are really cute and soft, Carters has really cute patterns and solids, Cloud Island has built in mittens and cute patterns.
- SwaddleMe Pod Sleeper. We used these for the first several weeks and they worked really well. They are meant to give the feel of being snuggled in a womb.
- Magic Merlin Sleep Suit. It is recommended that the transition to “arms out” occurs prior to your baby rolling, but Olivia was not prepared and would flail her arms since the startle reflex wasn’t totally gone yet. We ended up buying two sizes of the Magic Merlin because it worked so well and none of us were ready for the transition when she needed the next size up.
- Sleep-Sack/Wearable Blanket. We were on a journey to get to where we are now, see above, but I loved every option we tried to get to this point. Currently we have an Aden by Aden muslin wearable blanket and a thicker wearable blanket for chilly nights.
- Hatch Rest. The only nightlight and sound machine you will ever need. I had this on my nightstand while Olivia slept in our room and it’s now in her room. There are several different color options, as well as dimming options, the soothing sound options are great and the volume is easy to change. The best thing…it’s all controllable from your phone or the device itself. We have a few presets saved and can easily change them from another room.
- Crib. One of the more obvious needs but it still deserves to be listed. I highly recommend one with a few different mattress height options and the ability to be a toddler bed.
- Crib Mattress. The options are endless. Research which one you like and check the safety ratings.
- Mattress Protector. Accidents will happen and you never know when. Even though the mattress is waterproof, extra protection for a quick change in the middle of the night is necessary.
- Baby monitor. We have a video monitor and I couldn’t recommend it more. I know several people with sound only monitors and I have to admit, I love when I wake up in the middle of the night and I can peek in on Olivia sleeping soundly. I really like having a monitor that tells me the temperature of the room, uses multiple cameras and is accessible from my phone.
- Lovey. These were cute for photos until Olivia needed something to snuggle with. I recommend registering/buying a few and switching them out often so your baby isn’t crazy obsessed with 1 single lovey. This could turn into a very upset baby and a very stressed mama if something ever happened.
I don’t mean to get on a soapbox, but I highly recommend looking into safe sleep. This was something shocking to me as I looked further into it. I had no idea dock-a-tots, crib bumpers, mobiles, etc. were such huge safety hazards. As with a lot of things, we are marketed to and don’t think twice because why would someone sell us something dangerous?
- Bookshelves. I have a post in the works about my favorite baby books, but for now, register for a bookshelf! I personally prefer shelves that attach to the wall, or if you would like to make your own (that’s what we did) here is a great tutorial!
- Hangers. I highly recommend registering for baby hangers because you have the opportunity to get the ones you want. Granted, the plastic ones are fine, but I bought the velvet ones a few months ago and they are so much better. We use them in all of our closets now.
- Dresser. If you need a dresser in your nursery, I highly recommend the Hemnes Dresser from IKEA! The drawer sizes have been really helpful, you can see how I organized the dresser in the nursery.
- Drawer Dividers. Again, if you need a dresser, these are perfect! Throughout the last 18 months I have changed some things around every season depending on what fits best.
- Crib Sheet. If you are going to have a crib, you will need a sheet. We have 5 we rotate between, these Burts Bees Jersey knit are my favorite, and we also have a few Lilly Pulitzer ones as well. Cloud Island has cute options to match their themes.
- Changing Pad. I know a few people that said they didn’t use the changing pad too often…we are NOT one of those people. We still use this every single day, multiple times a day.
- Changing Pad Cover. If you need a changing pad then you will want a few covers. It was recommended that we get a plastic one, but I couldn’t find any cute ones so we went with a few really pretty options to match the nursery…and bought the covers to help with the blow out problem. The Burts Bees Jersey Knit and Cloud Island covers are my favorite.
- Changing Pad Liner. These were the perfect solution to keep our cute covers cute. We bought 2 sets and rotated as needed. They are very easy to wash and we also took one on the go for the diaper bag changing pad.
- Changing Pad Hardware. If you do have a dresser, I highly recommend you use the top as the space for your changing pad. We bought hardware to secure the changing pad and it works really well!
- Wooden Glider or Cushioned Glider. I wish we had room for both because I really do like both styles, but we went with a wooden glider since they are a bit smaller. I really like the pockets on the sides and the ottoman is a must.
- Hamper. We went small and use a woven basket to start us off and we are still using the same one. We hit the max amount of clothing faster but not fast enough where I need a bigger one just yet, maybe once she has a big girl room. For the time being I recommend a smaller, flexible version…because #aesthetics.
- Diaper Pail. This was another item we were told we didn’t need…I completely disagree!! It is truly awesome how masked the smell of real food diapers are. I would agree that breastmilk diapers are fine, but dang once she started eating….save yourself the trouble and put one on your baby registry early. I recommend one you can open with your foot and it’s small enough to fit anywhere.
- Humidifier. This will be locale dependent but it was a must for us!
I exclusively breastfed for 12 months and finished breastfeeding at 16 months, we started Baby Led Weaning at 6 months and by 7 months Olivia was eating everything. These are the items we needed throughout the first 12 months of this process. You can read more about our Baby Led Weaning adventure here.
- Nursing Pads. There was a huge need for these during the first few months while my supply was figuring itself out. I had both the disposable and the washable and out of both I highly recommend the washable ones. Having a few sets on hand is helpful, they were easy to change out and much more comfortable.
- Nursing Bras. I wore these throughout the last few months of pregnancy as well. They were really comfortable and easy to maneuver when it was time for a very quick feed.
- Nursing Tanks. I lived in these and a robe or cardigan during the first half of my maternity leave. I wore a belly band for some part of the day so these helped to hold that on as well. These are also ideal for the 2-shirt method when breastfeeding!
- Milk Storage Bags. There are a wide variety of bags available and I tried out several during my 16 months of pumping, I highly recommend the Lansinoh. I didn’t have any of their pump products but these bags had the best seal and were easy to pour into bottles.
- Nipple Cream. Not going to lie, the first few weeks hurt. Cracked, bleeding, etc. and this cream was necessary constantly. Lanolin cream is a must!
- Spectra S1 Pump. HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend this pump!! A few of my friends had different pumps- Medela, Lansinoh, etc. and they do not compare. I heard from multiple people that the suction, options for speed, etc. were nowhere near as good as the Spectra. The Spectra S2 is the same exact pump except it has to be plugged in, the S1 does NOT need to be plugged in. I pumped from day 1 (not recommended but Olivia was in the NICU, I would recommend starting once you’re settled at home though) in the car constantly, for overnight trips, on planes, etc. Pumping anywhere at anytime was made as easy as could be because of the Spectra S1. Check into your insurance to see which pumps they will cover, even if you have to pay extra, I highly recommend paying it!
- Extra Pump Parts. Maybe not for the baby registry but definitely something to buy! I ordered 1 full set of extra tubes, bottles, flanges, etc. from Amazon, it was a different brand than my pump. If you use the Spectra S1 or S2, this set will work.
- Manual Pump. I didn’t use this very often but it was really helpful if I needed something to take with me in a clutch.
- Haakaa. You will never know how much milk you miss out on if you don’t have a Haakaa. I couldn’t believe it but I usually ended up with 2 ounces while Olivia was nursing on the other side.
- Pump bra. HANDS FREE PUMPING!! This is a total game changer! Another one not really for the baby registry, but highly worth the buy. I didn’t have one for the first several months and I don’t know how I made it through. It’s so helpful to do other things instead of holding the pump the entire time.
- Bottles. This one is tough to recommend because we used Dr. Browns. Olivia didn’t mind a variety of bottles and this it what we had on hand, so we used them. We had no problems at all, and while I do recommend at least trying them, every baby is different so don’t go crazy until you know what will work. If you did get Dr. Browns, I recommend the Options which have a green insert. These can be removed as your baby gets older.
- Bottle Brush. We had a Dr. Browns bottle brush but really any bottle brush will do!
- Dishwasher Basket. We used this constantly once we were passed the “everything needs to be sterilized phase” washing and drying bottles, pump parts, etc. gets old FAST. Every single night it was a chore to wash and dry everything, so we started using the dishwasher. The basket is still on our top rack because it’s helpful for the various sips cup parts, soy sauce bowls and dip cups that are too small to hold their own 😉 It might just stay forever at this point.
- Bottle Warmer. Another item that we were told we didn’t need but we used constantly! It’s not an expensive buy so it’s definitely worth the convenience for us.
- Drying Rack. We still use this as well for sips cup parts, we could easily use the “adult” drying rack but the sticks on this help everything stay upright while drying.
- Drying Rack Accessories. We only needed one of the flowers since the only bottles we had drying were from my pump or while Olivia was with our nanny, but I know several people who had 2 or 3.
- Boppy. This isn’t only tool for “eating” but I think this is the best category since it’s the best use in my opinion. For at least the first 3 months, I used a boppy constantly while I was breastfeeding. I recommend having two- 1 for the living space you occupy most often and a second for your bedroom or wherever baby is sleeping.
- Bibs. I’m constantly asking myself why bibs didn’t always have a pouch at the bottom?! Olivia’s second and sometimes third course come from her pouch. It’s a genius idea and we have several. We tried these but they aren’t very good, I also didn’t love the cloud island ones because they were flimsy, but the Bella Tunno are the BEST. Hands down, highly recommend. For traveling or the diaper bag, I recommend these OXO tot bibs.
- Highchair. Many people told us we didn’t need to register for this because we wouldn’t need it for a while, but we did and I’m thankful! We actually started using it around 5 months so Olivia could practice and get used to sitting in it. We put some toys on the tray and she enjoyed it! I really like the one we have because it folds nicely, has various heights to help with different tables, it has wheels and it’s easy to clean.
- Travel Highchair. I don’t know why we didn’t buy this sooner. Serious game changer. We are on the go to friends and family members houses all the time, most of them do not have a baby in the house so there is no need for a highchair, this solves all problems! It folds nearly flat, doesn’t take up much space, it’s very easy to clean, has 2 height options, and fits on almost any chair with a back or can sit on the floor.
- Training Sippy Cup. Hands down the best of the best for a baby learning to drink out of a straw. This cup has a “pre-loaded” straw so that your baby can have satisfaction of drinking right away and it will encourage them to keep drinking more. I also recommend a wighted straw once they are used to it, the wight of the straw helps to find where the liquid is no matter which direction the cup is facing. I like this one for “step 2” of the straw process.
- Ryan & Rose Cutie Tensil. Another great eating tool that Olivia first would only play with but now it is helping her learn to use a utensil. There is a spoon end and a fork end which has a hole to hold food into place.
Having a place to put your baby down is important. You need a break and they need to stretch! As baby gets older, it’s even more important to make sure they have something interesting to keep their attention but also give them some space to learn.
- Bouncer. This can be a few different things, an actual bouncer, a rocker, Mamaroo, etc. We had a Mamaroo and Olivia loved it.
- Swing. We hadn’t originally purchased a swing but after about 6 months, we caved and bought one. I truly wish we had got one early on!
- Black & White book. This was awesome!! While Olivia’s eyesight was developing, I heard about this black and white book. We would set it up in front of her while she was doing tummy time and she was definitely interested in looking at it and eventually reaching towards it as well.
- Tummy Time Mat. Something else to really hold their interest! We loved the Finding Nemo one since it was really unique and Olivia loved it as well.
- Sit-me-up Seat. 100000% yes buy this!!! Olivia started using it around 8 weeks and I truly think it helped her feel like she was involved in things. We would put her on the table (where there was plenty of room around her), have her next to us on the floor, etc. Make sure your baby has great head control prior to using this. Because we had a SMU we didn’t purchase a bumbo, and given the choice between the two- this was the better option. 1- Olivia had chunky legs, 2- the form of this is natural compared to the Bumbo 3- a tray came with it for toys unlink the Bumbo the tray has to be purchased separately.
- Walker. I know there are dangers around walkers, but if you are able to safely have one, I recommend it. This may have been Olivias favorite “thing” from around 4 months until she started walking on her own at 10 months.
- Pushcart. This really helped Olivia learn to walk! Before walking she could sit in front of it and press buttons, but once she started standing and walking she made her way around.
These two are toys you could likely wait for, but if you have the space to store until your baby is almost 1, I recommend it since you can the completion discount.
- Water Table. Once Olivia knew how to stand on her own, a water table was great for her. She loves splashing around, learning to dump out her cup and it wasn’t terribly messy!
- Food Truck. Likely her most favorite thing right now. She plays with this every morning and every night.
Everyone loves to buy teeny tiny baby clothes, and since most people skip registering for clothing, they end up getting something that aren’t as excited for. I think it’s important to add some clothing items to your baby registry. It serves as both a way for your aunts and friends to buy the cutest little clothes but also for you to get something you are excited to put your baby in.
- Baby shoes! Multiple people told me I wouldn’t need these, but goodness are baby shoes adorable! My opinion is to ask for them anyway! I have a few favorites: Freshly Picked Moccasins, Vans, Converse and Booties. We also really liked these Moccasins!
- Onesies. We needed a lot of plain white onesies, but also had several others on hand. Solid colors were great because they paired with everything and patterns were nice because they look more put together when I was feeling lazy.
- Pants. I LOVED leggings while Olivia was still tiny (and even still). It was great since she was born late-spring so we always had the option to take off her pants if she needed to cool off.
- Swaddles. I liked a few kinds of swaddle, muslin & knit. The Lou Lou & Company knit swaddle was perfect for actual swaddling and we still use them because of the size and comfort, muslin was great for lightweight cover, sun shielding, and summer snuggles. I used a muslin cover over the carseat all the time!
Baby-wearing was my favorite way to get around for a while, but as Olivia got bigger I couldn’t wear her for hours on end. I was really happy to have had all of these options when she was born so we could try it all out.
- Baby Wrap. I had 2 Solly Baby wraps and highly recommend them! Dave really liked using them, too. I have heard good things about other brands as well but Solly Baby was my personal favorite.
- Baby Carrier. As Olivia grew, I needed something with more structure and the Ergo was perfect for that! We still use this now.
- Infant Carseat. I miss the days of taking a sleeping baby out of the car in her carseat, clicking her into the stroller and walking through Target. We used the Graco Snuglock 35xl infant carseat as long as we could!
- Extra Base (or 2!). We bought an extra base for Dave’s car and another for my sisters car. This was really helpful so we never had to remove the base when we were in another car. You could always strap it in with the seatbelt but I preferred the safety of the base.
- All-In-One Carseat. A few people warned of putting this on our baby registry because they do have an expiration date, but when we checked it seemed like Olivia would be out of the carseat by the time it expired. The Graco 4ever is made to last from infant to child, backward and forward facing.
- Stroller. You know you need one, maybe even 2. We really liked ours because it has a removable seat to just be used with the carseat and keep things small/light, the handle is adjustable (a must for my tall husband) and it worked with Graco carseats. I know a lot of moms go for the pram basket, but I know from experience that Olivia and several other friends babies were not a fan. I would say to stick with a regular stroller and carseat attachment.
- Carseat Cover. I mentioned above that I used a muslin blanket for this a lot, but having a cover was really helpful when we were out for a while. It helped darken the area for Olivia to sleep, I could use it as a nursing cover (when I wanted to be covered) and it works on carts/highchairs in a picnh as well.
- Cart/Highchair Cover. We still use this on certain highchairs because they can be awfully gross…and it’s sickness season.
- Bath Toys. We registered for a variety of cute bath toys because it’s something fun for the little guests to pick-out and give you. Olivia has some favorites now and it’s fun to remember who bought her which ones.
- Bath Spout Cover. We have a small tub so the chances of Olivia bathing near the spout is pretty high, I’ve been thankful for this on a few occasions already.
- Rubber Mat. I really like this one because it’s cute and suctions easily, it also takes up a lot of the room on the tub floor to avoid areas of possible slipping.
- Bath Toy Drying Bag. Bath toys can get gross, but this helps keep them nice a little longer. It’s also wide enough to put the rubber mat it while it dries.
- Towels. I recommend at least 4 hooded towels on rotation.
- Washcloth Mitt. Baby washcloths are great, but the mit is where it’s at. It’s much easier to slip it on and get the washing done quickly. Whether your baby is an infant or a toddler, you will want to have this chore finished quickly so bath time can be enjoyed…or get it wrapped up.
- Sink Bath. There is a wide variety of options for this. You could simply get a piece of foam, a hard plastic bath, or a shaped foam to curve around your sink. Because of our sink size, we had a flower that worked well for our needs.
- Bath Products. I realized a lot of people buy whatever they want if they don’t see bath products and lotion on your baby registry. I was picky on which products I wanted to use so there were multiple brands wasted on us since I had forgotten to register for this.
The random items that could fall into other categories but are important enough to also stand on their own.
- Frida Baby Set. The Windi and the Nosefrida especially are musts. The Nailfrida and the DermaFrida are really helpful as well, so if you decide to go all in, I recommend buying the kit.
- Safety Plugs. Whether you go with the simple electrical covers or newer more modern covers, it’s crazy how as soon as a baby can get around, they go right for the outlets!
- Burp Cloths. You don’t need these for long but we did use them constantly for the first few months. We always had a few on hand and weren’t attached if we needed to throw some away.
- Diaper Bag with Changing Pad. Pockets and ease of access are number 1 to style when it comes to a diaper bag. The function piece is necessary when you have a screaming baby and a 12 ft space to change their diaper. Think wipes on the outside, a specific pocket for food things (bottles at first- now, sips cup, utensils, disposable placemats, bib), a place for a change of clothes (for mom & baby) and room for lots of diapers. If it doesn’t come with a changing pad, make sure to buy one.
- Thermometer. Always a must. For the infant weeks we had an old school one for the bum, and now we have the quick swipe forward version.
- Carbon Monoxide Detector. This is important no matter if you have a baby or not, but good to keep on the list as a reminder if you don’t yet have one.
- Pacifiers. This is a preference but we think it’s been a lifesaver. Olivia had a pacifier since day one and style was important to me, so Ryan & Rose Cutie Pat it was. The owner, Lindsay, is amazing. She is a Believer, open to sharing her business (and life) journey and is a light on social media. I will continue to support them however possible.
- Pacifier Clips. Again, Ryan & Rose Cutie Clips, are the number one. Olivia has one attached to her daily, so I made sure to buy enough to match any outfit.
- Stuffed Animal. I loved having a single stuffed animal to sit next to Olivia in photos from when she was born. It helps to show the growth in monthly pictures and we will (hopefully) have it forever.
- Diaper Rash Cream. Register for the LARGE tub of aquaphor. It’s expensive and seems crazy to spend so much on butt cream but it’s worth it. We also used it on Olivias skin when she had another rash.
- Diaper Cream Applicator. This may be extra but I did not want the thick cream on my hands, nails, etc. Just trust me and order these!
- Diapers. We love Up & Up Diapers from target and have never had a problem. They last all night, fit properly and Target has a great exchange policy where you can quickly get another side if you need too.
- Wipes. The amount of wipes you will go through is insane, if you can get some help, I recommend it. We like Water Wipes or the Up & Up Wipes. Olivia was sensitive to wipes when she was younger and both of these brands were great for her.
- Shusher. I can’t recommend this product more! I would pay 5x the cost in order to have a machine to constantly say “shhhhh”. We used this in the car, on walks, at night, etc. It helped Olivia calm down time and time again.
- Portable Fan. Having a baby late spring meant the warm days were coming, but I wanted to get out of the house as much as I could. We took a lot of walks, attended many picnics and spent a lot of time outside overall.
- Anywhere Chair. The investment for this chair is WORTH IT! I debated waiting until Olivia was a little bit older but it was perfect for her weekly/monthly photos and she started really liking to sit it in by 6 months. Around 9 months it was one of her favorite things, and even more so now! I recommend the regular anywhere chair size.
- Milestone Tracker. I went a little overboard and had milestone cards, a blanket and I made Lilly Pulitzer numbers.
If You’re Having A Girl…
I have a daughter so I have grown to love some gender-specific items. I know there are amazing items out there for boys as well but I don’t have as many recommendations, so I thought I would add a small section with my favorite girly items.
- Baby Bows. Baby Bling bows are my favorite but if you end up being as bow-obsessed as I am, you may not want to break the bank with purchases every color. We have several Baby Bling but I also love these multi-packs from Amazon!
- Poppy Lane & Co. Bracelets. I LOVE baby bracelets! Seriously it’s so stinking cute to see some bling on a chubby baby wrist.
- Jewelry Stand. I use this to hold bows, sunglasses, pacifier clips, etc. It could be used for a variety of other things (and even for boys!). It’s the perfect way to keep things organized.
Well that is a wrap on my comprehensive baby registry list! I would love to know what your favorite baby items are/were! Let me know in the comments.