As a mom-to-be, it can be difficult waiting for your bundle of joy to arrive! Thankfully, there are many helpful things you can do to get your mind off the anticipation and pass the time. Two of the most fun and essential tasks on your big to-do list include creating a baby registry and having a baby shower.
If you’re not sure what a baby shower registry is or how to set it up, you’re not alone! Many new moms need a little bit of guidance—especially those who are having their first child. A baby registry is a complete list of supplies that are necessary or helpful for your little one’s arrival. The items range from small accessories to big ticket items. Most moms-to-be begin registering for gifts after the first trimester of pregnancy, although you can feel free to begin at any time.
If you’re not sure where to shop, many of your favorite stores allow you to create a free registry on their website. Best of all, you can share your baby registry list to social media or send it to someone by email. You can even create a short link to place on your baby shower invitations. No matter which store or method of sharing you choose, be sure to include all of the must-have baby supplies. The list below details what you need, so you can save your brain power for your daily tasks, future plans and birthing classes!
1. Baby Cribs and Bassinets
Every baby needs somewhere comfy and safe to sleep. In the first few months, this may take the form of a bassinet. A bassinet is a cradle for newborns. Most of them will hold a baby up to a few months old. Even though you won’t use it for long, the smaller size can help to make your child feel more secure outside the womb. Also, most pediatricians recommend room sharing until six months of age. If your baby will be sleeping in your room, a bassinet takes up much less space.
Eventually, you will also need a crib, as well as a mattress, waterproof mattress cover and a few sets of crib sheets. Put each of these items on your baby registry list. If you have plenty of space in your master bedroom, you can move the crib in from day one. Decide if you would like a crib with a diaper changing table attached to it. Some designs even come with shelving or convert into a toddler bed later. Make sure the bassinet or crib you choose complies with the latest infant safety standards. The Consumer Product Safety Commission can provide you with more information.
2. Bibs and Burp Cloths
Whether you’re breastfeeding or using formula, your baby will need several burp cloths from day one. Ask for several cloths in your favorite colors and designs. If you skip a few days of laundry, you’ll still have plenty left for feedings. You can even keep a couple in your car or diaper bag.
Your child may not use feeding bibs until they’re a few months old, but ask for them anyway. It’s one less item you’ll need to shop for in the near future. Most parents do fine with around four to six bibs to start. They come in a variety of materials, from organic cotton to easy-clean rubber. Drool bibs are also popular. Add a few to your registry so you can keep baby’s clothes clean while they’re teething.
3. Baby Bottles
Formula-fed babies usually require at least eight to 10 baby bottles and nipples in a couple of different sizes. Smaller bottles up to four to six oz. are appropriate in the beginning, while larger sizes–nine to 10 oz.–are necessary once baby begins to drink more milk. Most of the top baby brands make bottles, too. Take a look at online reviews or ask your mom friends for their favorites.
Breastfed babies will also need bottles, especially if you’re a working mom or spend time on the go. Buy the same amount as formula babies, but be sure the brand you choose works well with your pump. Some bottles fit directly onto the end of the pump hose, which makes breast milk transfer a breeze.
4. Feeding Supplies
In addition to baby bottles, you’ll need a few other feeding supplies. Moms who plan on breastfeeding will need a breast pump and accessories. Moms who opt for formula feeding can use containers of powder formula, as well as packets of powder that can be used on the go.
Other helpful gifts include bottle cleaning brushes and bottle warmers. Portable refrigeration packs and thermoses will make preparation easy while traveling or spending time at grandma’s house. It’s also smart to think ahead to solid feedings. Baby blenders and tiny spoons remain some of the most popular registry items for parents.
Ask any new mom—you can never have enough diapers! While boxes of disposable diapers are always appreciated, many of today’s parents are going back to basics and choosing cloth diapers for newborns instead. If you’re going with cloth, make sure to ask for several multipacks.
Prefold diapers are among the most popular because they make cloth diapering easy. Waterproof styles are also available. Choose from regular cotton, organic cotton and gauze.
6. Baby Bodysuits
Baby clothing is one of the more fun items to add to your registry. While it’s exciting to pick your favorite outfits, you don’t want to go overboard. Your little one will grow quick—and you may not need several styles of garments until later.
If you don’t know where to start, be sure to include baby bodysuits on your list. New moms love them because they make diaper changes easier. They also go with a variety of outfits. Pair them with shorts, stretchy jeans or leggings. They even make great pajamas, especially during the spring and summer months. You can’t really have too many, especially during the newborn stage.
7. Infant Sleepwear
In the first few months, your baby will be wearing pajamas for most of the day and night. For this reason, it’s important to select comfortable, quality sleepwear. Some of the most popular styles include cotton and thermal footed pajamas, but there are various types of sleepwear appropriate for all seasons.
Swaddle sleepers can help your baby transition to life outside the womb. They’ll also keep your child cozy when it’s chilly. Cuff gowns feature attached mittens, which make them excellent PJs for winter. Add a few different styles to your registry so your baby is ready for all types of weather.
8. Car Seat
You can’t leave the hospital without a safe car seat, so it’s important to put one at the top of your registry list. While there are many brands and models on the market, pay attention to a few essential features. Look for a rear facing car seat, which is required for children under two years of age.
The safest car seats feature a special label stating that it’s met or exceeded the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213. It should also have a five-point safety harness. Finally, find a seat that’s earned between four and five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). According to their standards, those with five stars are easiest to use.
Strollers are another one of those quintessential baby registry items. Like car seats, you have many options. If you plan on walking outdoors or spending time in nature, find a stroller with large, sturdy wheels. A three-wheel running stroller can also be helpful for athletic moms. Lightweight, collapsible strollers are perfect for the car, but they may not be sturdy enough for a newborn.
Most parents want a car seat and stroller that work together. If this sounds like you, consider registering for a travel system. The car seat attaches to the stroller, which makes walks with new babies easier. It’ll also keep your infant from waking up when you remove them from your vehicle.
10. Baby Monitor
When you were an infant, your parents probably had an audio monitor. They’re still available—and highly affordable. If you’d like to see your baby on video, choose a video monitor. They’re a little more expensive than the sound-only versions, but they’re worth the cost for most families.
Check how your little one is doing in the middle of the night—or rest assured they’re sleeping while you’re working from home or doing chores in another room. If you’re curious about top of the line options, some modern baby monitors go beyond video. The most technologically advanced options let you gauge the nursery temperature, talk to your baby and monitor infant vitals.
11. Bathtub and Bath Supplies
Register for a baby bathtub that grows with your child. Most of the most popular brands have a convertible option with a newborn sling and baby seat. Use the sling for the first few months when your little munchkin is working on their head and neck control. Once they can sit up, the seat insert will allow you to wash them easier.
Besides the tub, you’ll want hooded towels and washcloths. Select three to four towels from your favorite store and register for at least six to eight washcloths. You’ll also need body wash and shampoo sensitive enough for baby’s skin. Don’t forget lotion and bath toys like squirting fish and rubber ducks. Additional favorites include faucet covers, fun bath mats and hair rinsing tools that keep water and shampoo out of baby’s eyes.
12. First Aid Kit
Baby first aid kits come with everything from medicine droppers to bulb syringes. Some even have fever medication, thermometers and nail clippers. Register for a multi-piece kit that gives you a little bit of everything.
You can also choose to create your own first aid kit by adding your favorite supplies one by one. Besides the items we already mentioned, you’ll also want a baby toothbrush, comb and hairbrush. Don’t forget a nail file, cotton swabs and petroleum jelly. If you’re having a baby boy, you’ll also want sterile gauze for circumcision care. Additional medications include saline nasal drops, antibiotic cream and natural gas drops.
13. Nursing Supplies
While your shower registry is mostly about your baby, you can also use it to get items for yourself. Nursing supplies are some of the most popular gifts for new mothers. These include organic nipple cream and nursing bras. Nursing pads and nursing pillows are also appropriate.
Moms-to-be also spend a ton of money on breastfeeding-friendly clothing. Pad your budget for when baby comes by placing a few garments on your registry. Many clothing brands make t-shirts, sweaters and jackets for easier feedings. While you look fashionable and trendy, you’ll be able to breastfeed your baby confidently and securely.
14. Changing Table and Pad
If your crib doesn’t come with a diaper changing table, feel free to add one to your registry list. Plenty of furniture pieces are available at baby supply stores. Choose one in the same color and style as your crib or bassinet. Add a changing pad and sheet set to make it more comfortable for your child.
Portable changing pads are lifesavers, especially in the first few months. Use it during vacations and family outings to avoid making a mess. You’ll find a variety of styles and colors. Most of them Velcro together, so you can easily fold them into your diaper bag.
15. Baby Books
There are so many benefits of reading to your infant, so it’s helpful to expose your baby to books as early as possible. One of the easiest ways to do this is to have a library on hand before your child is born. Ask for 5 to 10 of your childhood favorites or browse a list of the best baby books to have.
Some moms are asking for books in lieu of cards. Family and friends can write a special message inside the book so your child can read the heartfelt notes for years to come. They also make great keepsakes for your bookshelf when your son or daughter gets older.
16. Toys and Teethers
You don’t need to go overboard on registering for toys, especially since your newborn won’t need too many. Select a few that your child can use immediately and then buy your other favorites later. Some of the most popular newborn toys include rattles, sensory development balls and musical soothers.
Teethers also make excellent registry gifts. Your little one may need them as early as four to six months, and you may not have time to shop for one when your baby begins hurting. Register for two to three teethers made of safe, non-toxic materials. Vary the colors and shapes so you learn what your child likes best.
17. Additional Baby Clothing
Now that you’re registered for bodysuits and sleepwear, you’ll want to add some more pieces of essential clothing. Ask for a few bottoms, like leggings or sweatpants. The best items for winter babies include coats, sweaters and jackets, or even mittens, socks and cozy hats.
Summer babies will look adorable in bathing suits and bucket hats. You can also add tank tops and tees. These pair great with cotton skirts and shorts. A basic baby layette will do. You can always pick out more clothing later when baby gets a little older.
Creating the Best Baby Registry for Your Child
Now that you know what to register for baby, you can decide if you want to add any other helpful items to the list. Some popular nice-to-have gifts include diaper bags, baby blankets and playards. Baby bouncers, carriers and wraps are also trending with new moms. Besides adding these favorites, it’s also a good idea to know what not to put on your baby registry. Don’t bother with the wipe warmer—your child will never notice that you don’t have one. Crib bumpers are unsafe, so don’t add those, either.
Finally, don’t worry about share-worthy dresses or holiday formalwear. You probably won’t want to dress baby up too much in the newborn phase—and your preferences on how to dress baby may change later. Stick to infant clothing basics and you’ll be ready for the first few months of your child’s life. As you browse the most popular and top-rated baby items, have fun with the experience! It’s one of the biggest and most exciting shopping sprees you will ever have.