One of my dear friends is pregnant with her first child. She’s been a bit nervous about it all, so I’ve tried to talk to her my experience. One thing we talked about early on was the baby registry must-haves you actually need. So many parents get overwhelmed and go totally overboard on buying way too many things. In all honesty, you just don’t need that many things when you have a new baby.
When I got pregnant the first time, I was truly lucky that one of my good friends was just getting done with the baby phase, so she handed me down tons of baby items. Because I didn’t have to buy that many items, I think I have a good perspective on the baby registry must haves you actually need.
If you’re a soon-to-be-mom or you have friends who are having babies, here are the items I suggest.
Click on the headlines below to take you to the items pictured above.
18 Baby Registry Must Haves You Actually Need
Don’t go overboard, but you definitely do need some outfits for your baby. Generally, you won’t have to buy many because I bet you’ll get more clothes than you need at your baby shower. I can’t blame people, baby clothes are adorable! You should have a few outfits though when you bring baby home, and I absolutely love this Satsuma Designs nightgown. It is super soft and adorable.
My children both loved being swaddled when they were very little. A lot of things I’ve read say swaddling creates a womb-like environment that is calming for little ones. I love this Satsuma Designs blanket that matches the cute little sleeper. It is a perfect little set to give new moms.
I’m keeping my fingers crossed your baby doesn’t barf as much as my son did, but you’ll definitely need some burp clothes and wash clothes for spit-up situations that are bound to happen.
I used my boppy so much the first six months when I had both of my kids. I used it for nursing, I used it to prop up my kids, I used it so they could get some elevated tummy time. The little nook is the perfect little space for newborns to start sitting up.
5. Car Seat
There are a ton of car seat options out there. When I was first trying to decide on a car seat, I wasn’t sure if I should get one of those ones that lasts from birth through pre-school or if I should first do an infant seat. I opted to start with an infant car seat because I wanted to use the snap and go stroller option. Infant seats are also great because you can just snap them out of the car. I can’t tell you how many times my kids fell asleep in their car seat, so we didn’t have to wake them to get them out of the car. Also, our son Rocco actually slept in his seat for many months because it was one of the only ways he wouldn’t throw up.
There are so many cute crib options out there, but you generally don’t need to spend a ton of money for a quality crib. With my son, we went way overboard and paid way too much for a fancy crib. Honestly, that was a waste of money because my son literally gnawed the edge of his crib and basically ruined it. We got a much less-expensive crib for my daughter and she still uses it (since it converted into a daybed). I love this IKEA crib because it’s modern, totally reasonably priced, and has storage underneath.
7. Crib Sheets
You will need at least several crib sheets. Your baby will undoubtedly have leaky diapers, spit-up and make a general mess of themselves and their bed, so you’ll want extra sheets so you can change them quickly and regularly.
8. Diaper Bag
There are so many different types of diaper bags on the market, but I love this one from StorkSak for three major reasons. First, it actually doesn’t look like a diaper bag, which means I can carry it long after my kids no longer need diapering. Second, it’s unisex, so daddy will feel comfortable carrying it too. Lastly, it is very high-quality and has tons of great features that make diapering easy and you can carry anything you need to ensure your baby is clean and comfortable.
Especially when my babies were very little, I loved carrying them. It gave me the chance to be hands-free and also kept them super close to me. From what I’ve read, carriers and wraps are great for bonding with your baby too. I love this wrap from Solly Baby because it is ultra-soft and packs up very small. It is perfect to use when traveling because it can easily fit in your purse or diaper bag.
10. Bottle Brushes
When I first got pregnant, my sister walked me through a baby store, pointing out all of the things I would need. When she told me I needed bottle brushes, I thought it seemed silly. Can’t I just wash it out? Well, bottle brushes aren’t silly at all. They are super useful to get the grime at the bottom of the bottle. I still use my bottle brushes to clean out sippy cups. They are inexpensive and a must-have for new moms.
As early as a few days in, you’re going to need to give your baby regular baths (at least once their belly button comes off). I recall how nasty my son would get, in only a matter of hours, because of all the spit up. It likes to sit right under their neck in the creases and it gets smelly and nasty really fast. I love using a gentle and organic cleanser with my kids. I still use this bubble bath/body wash with them.
There are so many bottle options out there that it can be overwhelming. Even if you choose to nurse your baby, there will likely come a point where you’re ready to bottle feed, your breast milk or formula. There have been a lot of advancements in bottles since my kids were first born and today I would definitely choose these Como Tomo bottles.
Why these bottles? Well, they are non-leaking and have dual air vents to prevent colic. The wide-neck design makes for super easy cleaning and they are made with silicone, which means there are no toxic chemicals. Finally, the bottle is designed to mimic breastfeeding so there is no nipple confusion.
13. Mattress Pad
You will want to get at least two waterproof mattress pads. Your baby will have leaks and it makes your life so much easier if you can just remove the sheet and mattress pads.
There are so many diaper options out there, but I loved the Pampers Swaddlers when we first had our son. I loved them because they were very soft and there was a yellow line that turned blue when he went pee. Although this is a total luxury, I really liked knowing when he was wet. As a new mom, it took some of the stress away. I was so clueless about babies, that it was just one stressor off my plate.
We liked to use the sensitive wipes on our kids because they are gentle and have a very mild scent. We were very lucky that our kids didn’t end up with many rashes or skin issues, and I think the diapers and wipes we chose made a big difference in that regard.
16. Nail Clippers
It might seem silly, but you need a little baby nail clippers. It’s amazing how quickly their nails grow. I can remember several times when I would look down and my son or daughter would have extremely long toenails. I would think to myself, how did those get so long? The little clippers make it so much easier and gentler to cut their nails.
Tip: Cut your infant’s nails while they are sleeping!
This is a tough one for me to talk about because taking your baby’s temperature is so challenging! I never felt comfortable with the rectal thermometer. Although they are the most accurate, I read a lot of articles about parents putting them in incorrectly and causing damage to their children. Thus, I used a regular thermometer and did the under-the-arm temperature. That’s what worked best for me. I never got the forehead type because I read they were the least accurate.
18. Diaper Cream
You need Desitin. On the rare times my kids had skin rashes or redness, I’d put on a little of this and it would be cured within a day or less. I actually received my first tube of Desitin at a baby shower. The mom who gave it to me said something like, “I know it’s not a glamorous gift, but I promise you’ll need this”. She was so right.
11 Baby Registry Must Haves that are Handy, but Not Necessary
1. Diaper Genie
You don’t need one, but I highly suggest you get one. They aren’t that expensive and they definitely keep the stinky smell inside. I found having this right next to my changing area super convenient to just stick the diaper right inside. I generally only put the poop diapers in the genie so I didn’t waste as many of the genie bags. I’d put the pee diapers in the trash.
2. Breast Pump
Breast pumps are super expensive, so I would wait to get one of these until you see how nursing goes. I bought a breast pump, and then I had a horrible time breastfeeding. I ended up renting a medical-grade pump, so my pump went unused. First, try nursing. If you find it’s going great and you want the option of bottle feeding, then you can look into renting (ask your hospital or lactation consultant) or buying your own pump.
3. Play Mat
My kids spent countless hours doing tummy time and just admiring the toys on their play mat. I definitely would suggest getting one. They are very useful when your baby is 0-6 months.
A swing is definitely on the maybe list because not every baby likes a swing. If you have a friend with babies, I would highly suggest asking if you can borrow theirs to see if your baby likes it. My kids really loved swings, but I know a lot of babies don’t like them at all. For my baby girl, who had colic, the swing was a true savior.
5. Changing Pad
This is a luxury, but one that I personally really enjoyed. I know a lot of people just change their kids wherever, but I don’t like that for a couple reasons. First, then you still need a blanket or towel to set down and if you don’t use that, you risk having poop or pee everywhere. Second, the changing pad has higher sides so your child is less likely and able to move around, roll over, etc. Having a dedicated changing area keeps all the nasty stuff in one place and
This is another thing you don’t actually need, but it’s helpful when your child is young and more prone to pooping and peeing while you’re changing them. I can’t tell you how many times my kids would pee while I changed them and I was so glad to be able to just throw the pad cover in the wash.
7. Changing Table (or Dresser)
You don’t need a formal changing table. I actually prefer the idea of using the top of a dresser because it is multi-purpose. We bought a new dresser when we had our son and I set up a whole little changing station on the top of it. I found it very convenient and I love that we still use that dresser 5 years later.
8. Wipe Heater
This definitely is a luxury, but I found the wipe heater so useful for my son. Especially with boys, when you wipe them with a cold wipe, they often pee (well, at least my son did), so heated wipes tend to help the situation.
This almost made my must-buy list, but it also depends on if you’re a stroller mom or a wrap/carrier mom. I personally used both. I found a carrier/wrap more helpful when I traveled with my infant, but I preferred the stroller for going for walks or taking my babies to the store. The Snap and Go is so convenient to use with your infant car seat. You literally just place the car seat right in the snap and go.
10. Baby Bath Tub
This is one that almost didn’t make the list because I think I used the baby tub less than 20 times. It is very useful when your baby is very tiny, but honestly, you can just as easily use a sink or do a little washcloth/sponge bath type cleaning with very little babies. By the time your child can sit-up, you can use your bath tub.
11. Bouncy Chair
My son, especially, spent hours in his bouncy chair. He loved the little vibration and the bouncing. He also loved the little pull toys that played songs when he grabbed them.
I hope my two lists of baby registry must haves is helpful to you as a soon-to-be-mom or someone looking for the right items to purchase for the mommy-to-be in your life. If you have any questions, I’d be happy to chat more about baby items. As always, feel free to connect with me via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or on my social media channels (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter).
I requested some of these items for testing and review. As always, all opinions are my own.