Expecting a baby should be a magical thing. And yet, there’s nothing that kills the excitement quite like thinking of all the stuff you need to buy and arrange for the new arrival – not to mention how much it will all cost!
That’s where a baby registry comes in. This simple tool helps you streamline your thoughts on what you need to prepare for your baby, and lets friends and family share some of the burden. In this article, we provide you with a baby registry checklist, to help you figure out what you want to put on your baby registry.
What is a Baby Registry?
A baby registry is a list of items that would-be parents would like to receive as gifts from their friends and family. This ensures that moms and dads will get what they need in preparation for the coming of their newborn. Typically, these registries are arranged by store and can be an online or a physical setup. Some baby registries also offer perks and promos like free returns, price matching, welcome box of freebies or a completion discount on select items. For online registries, some offer gift-tracking feature, thank you notes, or app monitoring for ease in ordering and fulfillment of items. It works just like a wedding registry that you can share with family, friends and baby shower guests eager to present gifts.
The Baby Registry Checklist
There are all sorts of different types of baby products you may want to add to your baby registry. This baby registry checklist looks at some of the common ones, divided between home and away.
Items For Baby At Home
Although you will start with sponge bathing the baby until the umbilical cord falls off, it will eventually be time for the baby to have a real bath. When that time comes, you will want a bathtub that has a cloth string to make newborns easier to bathe, baby body wash and shampoos, and washcloths. It is also nice to have baby-sized towel, bath toys, lotion, and a soft hairbrush. You will probably find the bath toys remain a firm favorite long after your little one has outgrown the baby bath!
If the baby is going to sleep in a crib, you need to follow safe sleep practices, which includes not going overboard on bedding. Just stick to just the baby’s fitted bedsheet on the crib mattress, a waterproof mattress protector, and a couple more extra fitted crib sheets.
Baby clothes are the cutest, but you need to choose with care! Newborn sized clothing will only be good for a few weeks so a great way to maximize the baby registry is to order a variety of clothing sizes typically good for the baby’s first year. You may also want to consider the seasons to prepare your newborn for different types of weather. Also remember that baby clothing should be washed with baby-friendly detergent, including the mittens and soft hats or bonnets, sleep sacks or swaddles that they easily outgrow, socks and zippered bodysuits.
Since parents-to-be will be changing a lot of diapers, it is important to have a good setup that will make changing diapers such a breeze. Essentials include changing pad and cover (with a few extra covers), baby wipes which could help if organic to avoid diaper rash, diaper cream, and both overnight and day-use diapers. For cloth diapers, waterproof covers and snaps are also handy while for the disposables, a variety of sizes can also be registered to have options since infants grow quickly.
Feeding supplies to go on your baby registry depends on what type of food the newborn is going to consume: breast milk, formula, and even up to solids. In practice, you may not know until baby gets here whether breastfeeding will work out or not, so it’s good to be prepared for all eventualities.
For breastfeeding moms, there are not many baby products that you need while nursing your baby, but nipple cream and nursing pads are must haves for your own comfort. If you intend to try pumping breast milk for your little one, then a breast pump and pump parts, milk storage and freezer bags, bottles and bottle brushes for washing, breast pads, and nipple cream.
For formula feeding, formula milk and a bottled water or filter system need to be added to the above list. It is also nice to have a bottle warmer and bottle drying rack, and carrier bags, and ice bags to avoid milk spoilage in case outdoors.
Whichever way your babies get their milk, you will need burp cloths to clean any spit-up. Once the baby starts to eat solids, it is important to have a high chair, bibs and training cups, kid-friendly bowls, plates, and utensils. It is also nice to have a baby food processor, a couple of ice cube trays to freeze baby food, and storage containers. Although you can buy these products later on, it is nice to start off with all the necessities for the first year.
It is nice to register a baby-safe nail trimmer, thermometer, rubbing alcohol pads, saline nasal drops and a suction bulb or nasal aspirator, baby first aid kit, and infant medication in case of fever. These may be not used on the daily, but at least being prepared for emergency situations where a medical expert is not readily available.
The most photographed baby space and the most fun to prepare, the nursery or the baby’s room is expected to be cozy and well-stocked to make life easier for parents before the arrival of the newest addition to the family. A crib, changing table, bassinet placed in mom and dad’s room, a baby monitoring system, rocking chair, dresser, pacifiers, and a night light. Although not full-on necessities, it is good to have a humidifier, baby gates, outlet covers, blackout curtains and a white noise machine. Crib bumpers, pillows and blankets are not recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) since these pose risk of suffocation, strangulation or entrapment.
A glider is sometimes added to the baby registry in place of a rocking chair. It also has a gentle movement that can rock the baby to sleep and is super comfortable both for the newborn and the parent. Although some still prefer the rocking chair, gliders can be more new-parent friendly since they have more padding, reclinable, and has a locking mechanism so it is safer for parents to stand up holding the baby while the chair is not moving.
Another piece of baby gear that you may want to include on your baby registry is a baby bouncer. This is a lifesaver when parents need a free hand for a quick meal or go to the bathroom when the baby is awake. They are also called bouncy seats, bouncy chairs, or bouncy swings depending on the design, all equipped with harnesses and soft fabric to keep the baby strapped in safely. Although these baby bouncers do not follow the safe sleep recommendations of the AAP, it is still safe to be used to help baby wind down for bedtime and should not be used to fully put the baby to sleep.
Babies learn through exploring, and you want to provide them with as many opportunities to play and learn as you can. You may want to include on your baby registry an activity mat, soft baby books, soft or wooden blocks, teething toys, rattles, and organic cotton animals.
Although playtime items are nice to have, do not go overboard. Tons of toys may not be what the child wants: their parents’ smiling faces are still the most entertaining thing in the room.
For Traveling With a Baby
Unless you are planning to have your baby at home, your baby will need to travel in those early days to get home from the hospital. It’s a good idea to even have baby’s car seat fitted into your vehicle before you head to hospital – to save yourself the stress of trying to work it out with your new bundle of joy in tow.
Car seats are one of the few big ticket items that you should NEVER buy second-hand. The reason is that even mild knocks can reduce the safety of car seats, and new models with increased safety features are being developed every year. Don’t skimp on this one: and one of the easiest ways of making sure you get this essential piece of kit is by adding it to your baby registry.
If you have more than one car, an additional car seat base that fits the same car seat may come in handy, so that it is easy to transfer baby from one place to another without having to change them into a different car seat.
Sling or Baby Carrier
Having a baby doesn’t mean you’re confined indoors. It is still recommended to go outdoors for some sun warmth and a dash of sunshine on the baby’s skin. One of the easiest ways to do this is using a baby carrier, wrap or sling. Once you get the hang of using them, you simply tie little one in, and you’re off!
If a sling isn’t for you, a stroller gives you the flexibility to be out of the house without an added weight on your shoulders. Choosing a stroller can be tricky, as there are so many options. If you choose a travel system, it will come with a stroller base as well as a car seat base. If you like to stay active, it is also nice to have a jogging stroller.
A diaper bag is another of our must-haves. It’s not necessary to pick something that is specifically marketed as a diaper bag: any type of shoulder bag or rucksack will do. The trick is to choose one that will accommodate everything you need, without being overly bulky. You need to have enough room for diapers, wipes, a fold-up changing pad, a change of clothes (for baby and, ideally, also for you), and rash cream. It’s not one of the big ticket items, but it can be a good one to put on a baby registry list, particularly for first-time parents. Let one of your experienced friends or relatives pick for you!
Other Travel Necessities
If the family is heading out for the day, don’t forget that you will need a bottle cooler bag, baby-safe sunscreens for babies 6 months and up, and baby sunhats to make life easier.
Baby Registry List Ideas
Now that the baby registry checklist is out and about, what other things should you consider for setting up your baby registry? The best baby registry depends on the family’s specific needs, budget, and whether you are considering specific product brands.
You can create a baby registry by signing up anytime, usually when the pregnancy is about 12 weeks along. If waiting for the baby’s sex, the family can hold off creating a registry until the 20th week or later since it could influence which designs and color choices they go with. Be cautious in registering too late. Baby shower guests need some time to browse through the registry and parents still need time to research and decide on the furniture and gears needed both essentials and non-essentials.
There are no right or wrong answers as to what you should include in the baby registry. It is essential to have a checklist while considering which items as it is going to be crucial when caring for a newborn.
If this is baby number two (or three or more), you may not need as much items as those expecting their firstborn child. There are certain products that are generally safe to reuse especially if the family saved stuff from when the kids were still infants. Assuming the items are still in good condition and meet current safe standards, you can reuse clothes, cloth diapers, blankets, glass bottles, cribs, strollers, baby carriers, bouncers, baby monitors and toys. You may also want to add big brother and big sister explainer books to make welcoming the new baby easier.
Baby Registry Help
Most of the baby registries are user-friendly and are often capable of adding a wide variety of selections for different items. Both online and physical stores offer free sign up so parents will not be limited to having just one baby registry. Many online baby registries also allow “private mode” for parents to be able to discreetly add items during the first few months of pregnancy. It is also a good idea to complete baby registry selections before having a baby shower or announcing you have one to family and friends. Popular retailers Amazon, Walmart, Babylist, Bed Bath and Beyond, Kohl’s, Crate and Barrell, IKEA, Pottery Barn and Target all carry their own baby registries so quality products can be assured. It is also okay to politely ask gift-givers to include receipts. A registry note saying “Please include gift receipt just in case we need to make an exchange” hopefully will not hurt anyone’s feelings.
Do not forget to spend some self-care too while preparing for the arrival of the baby. Nesting instinct can keep you awake for days but try to resist the urge to skip on sleep while there is plenty of time to. Take some time for relaxation before the hard work of parenting begins. The list of things parents-to-be need can seem overwhelming, keep in mind that the most important thing to give the newest addition to the family is love. Their nurseries can be mismatched, large items can be secondhand, but if your baby is showered with attention and care, that will have the biggest impact on their development.