Are you a first-time mom-to-be?
Are you wondering where and how to create your first baby registry?
Then you’ve come to the right place!
This article is a part of my first-time mom series. Make sure to check out my ultimate Baby Registry Guide comparisons of 9 different retailers! And then read Caring for Your Newborn: 9 Extensive Resources All New Parents Need.
Since this article is quite long, you can skip to the content right here:
- What’s a baby registry
- How does a baby registry work?
- When to start baby registry
- Baby registry tips
- Baby registry checklist
- Best registry items
- What not to put on baby registry
- DIY baby projects
- Baby items I actually went without
Being pregnant for the first time is overwhelming enough.
All of a sudden you find yourself researching best diapers, strollers, bottle warmers and ton of other things you’ve probably never heard of before.
On top of that, your friends are asking about your baby registry all the time. “Have you started already?” and “Have you asked for this or that?”
Not only you don’t have a baby items checklist yet, you probably have no idea where to even start a baby registry!
Am I right?
Now take a deep breath. It is going to be ok.
I am here to help you out. I am going to hold your hand (virtually) and show you exactly when, where and what to register for.
On top of that, you will find a thorough checklist of baby items that are actually necessary and useful for your first baby. I’ll also mention what not to put on baby registry.
As a mom of twins, I had to be very budget conscious about our baby purchases. I learned very fast what items were absolutely useless and which ones were life-savers during the first few months of our new parenting journey.
So let us begin!
Articles you will also enjoy:
- Caring for Your Newborn: 9 Extensive Resources All New Parents Need
- 10 Ways to Prevent Your Baby from Becoming a Picky Eater
- Baby Registry Guide: Best Places to Register for Baby
- Milk Supply After C-Section: From No Milk to Nursing Twins to Toddlerhood
- 22 Places to Go with Babies: Fresh Ideas for You to Enjoy
What’s a baby registry
A baby registry is essentially a list of items you need for you and your new baby.
It helps your family and friends to choose the right gift. It also gives them an idea about your preferences let’s say in diaper or clothes brands.
They will present these to you at the baby shower or over the mail if they can’t attend.
It is extremely helpful for you as well!
Because you can use it as a guide for baby items shopping.
Feel free to add anything and everything to your baby registry that comes to your mind.
Therefore make sure to have a baby registry even if you don’t have a baby shower! It is worth it for the discounts themselves!
How does a baby registry work?
First, you need to choose where you want to register for your baby list.
Then you simply add items to your list and share the list with your friends and family.
You can send them a link or they can look up your name at the retailer you’re registered with. Either way works.
When to start baby registry
The beginning of your pregnancy might be a bit hectic. Filled with morning sickness, exhaustion and different aches and pains, a baby registry is not even on your mind at that point.
Therefore, starting a registry during your second trimester is a safe bet.
You will feel much better, your excitement for your new baby will be growing daily and you will be able to fully focus on what lies ahead.
The third trimester is usually quite late to start a baby registry.
It is a good practice to give your family and friends enough time to choose and decide what to get for you. Plus if they are shipping the gifts, they might take a while to be delivered!
Baby registry tips
Make sure to add items you’ll need later down the road.
For instance, your baby will outgrow the newborn size diapers quite quickly. Therefore registering for size 1 or even size 2 comes handy! Same goes for clothes.
Ask for things that are in different price range.
Some people might prefer to give you one expensive gift while others a few smaller and cheaper items. Give people options.
Add items to your registry that you don’t expect anyone getting such as a crib or a stroller.
As I mentioned earlier, most retailers will give you a discount when you decide to purchase the items from them!
Avoid impulse shopping for your baby. Your house will clutter very fast with all the baby items. Not the best thing for your or your baby’s mental well-being.
Do register online at first to get ideas and learn more about baby items. The more familiar you get with different options out there, the less pressure you’ll feel from visiting an actual store.
Baby registry list
I’ve used my own experience and other reliable resources to create this baby registry checklist.
I also browsed hundreds of forum comments to see what items first-time moms appreciated the most.
You can view & download your FREE printer-friendly baby registry checklist (quantities included) right here!
You might be wondering about the items I selected as “optionals”.
There are easy ways to go around these things if you are on a tight budget or are planning a minimalist baby registry.
Here is the breakdown:
Changing table can be easily replaced by a top of a dresser or another suitable furniture. Many parents simply put a changing pad on their bed or the couch and change their baby that way.
Crib mobile is a nice-to-have item. But I know plenty of families without one and their babies are just as happy as any other.
Cradle or bassinet is only necessary if you are planning to co-sleep. Not everybody does.
As you will read below, glider and ottoman are often underused. If your baby’s nursery is tiny, there might be no room for one.
Instead of a diaper bag, use bags you already have. If you are anything like me, you have plenty of those. I used my backpack for longer trips and an older gym bag for regular days.
I’ve only used pullover bras from Hanes during my nursing days and I’ve been absolutely happy with them. But getting a nursing bra really depends on many factors such as your breast size, staying at home vs. working, if you tend to leak milk or not, etc. One reason for waiting on buying your nursing bras is the size of your breasts after birth. I went through different sizes at the beginning.
Best registry items
There are several items that were absolute lifesavers during the first months of our parenting journey.
Let’s have a closer look:
1. SwaddleMe Original Swaddle was a God-sent gift to us from our friend. As a first-time mom, I didn’t have any swaddle blankets on my registry. It took a while for my twins to be able to break-out of these. Better sleep for everybody.
2. Aveeno Baby Eczema Therapy was the ONLY thing that helped soothe both of my babies’ itching and peeling skin. In case your precious little newborn develops eczema, try this before anything else. The doctors were not sure what was my boys’ condition, but for about two weeks (each!) we went literally through a dermatological hell. The steroid cream prescribed to us did nothing to help. But Aveeno Baby Eczema Ointment worked miracles!
3. Rock ‘n Play Sleeper is the one thing I recommend to every new mom from my friends’ circle. My babies took their naps in it during the day and they would even sleep in it overnight when the times got rough. Skip the bouncy seat and just get this one. It is thousand times more useful!
4. Portable Baby Swing was another baby gear item that helped us greatly. Most likely because we had twins, having one vibrating and rocking seat for each was convenient.
5. Baby Activity Gym came in handy around three months. Once the boys started moving around more, they couldn’t get enough of playing with the hanging toys and kick around. Every baby needs some kind of activity gym for sure.
6. A Ring Sling was my most favorite way of baby wearing! It is perfect for newborns and older babies as well. I tried a couple of other baby carriers and they all serve you in a way, but a ring sling was the one I liked the most.
7. We use Regalo baby gate and play yard to this day. It helped us to create a dedicated area for our boys without going crazy with worry if they were going to get into something they are not supposed to. Easy to install and great looking too (compared to plastic options).
8. If you do not have a Crock-Pot, make sure to ask for one in your registry! It is a great way to cook healthy meals without too much work and effort. We cook so many dishes in it, plus baby food and even applesauce!
9. Tommee Tippee Bibs are amazing! They are sturdy and the crumb catcher actually collects the crumbs and food pieces! We tried other brands, but they would all stick together and never did the job. We still use them and plan on doing so until forever, lol.
10. Carter’s Swaddle Blankets are simple square blankets. The great thing about them is the soft and light material (great for summer), plus they are quite big. Big enough even for my toddlers.
What not to put on baby registry
Here are some items that I consider absolutely unnecessary.
Many of them simply don’t have an important purpose in our baby’s or our lives.
Wipe warmer – don’t worry about “cold” wipes. Your baby will be just fine.
Bottle sterilizer– sanitizing bottles is easy without any special products. You can boil them in a hot water for a few minutes. If you prefer using a microwave, simply place them in a big bowl, put a little bit of water at the bottom of the bowl and let it “cook” for a few minutes. Bottle sanitizer does exactly the same thing!
Diaper Genie – There are several issues with diaper genies. I see way too many of them being thrown away every single week on trash day. They go straight to the landfill for hundreds of years! Plus wrapping every single diaper into an extra plastic bag is disheartening enough. The chances of decomposition are near to none. We never had one (with two babies!) and we were just fine. One way to deal with stinky diapers is to flush the contents down the toilet and simply throw it in your regular trash afterward. Make sure to take your trash out on a daily basis! You can even take the soiled diaper straight to outside trash can (I prefer this method after flushing the contents away).
Bottle drying rack – Yes, they look cute. But your bottles will dry just as well in a sink drying rack or in your dishwasher. It takes way too much room anyway!
Bottle warmer – it is a nice-to-have item. But you can go without easily. We simply placed bottles in hot tap water for a few minutes and it worked just as fine. You can even heat up water quickly in a water kettle and let the bottle sit in it for a minute or two.
White noise machine – absolutely unnecessary, too loud and too bright! We use a FREE app (Relax Rain ~ Rain Sounds found in Google Play) on my phone/tablet to this day and it works wonders.
Special baby food maker – use Ninja or any other food processor. It is essentially the same thing! No need to waste money or space at your house for something you already have!
Bath kneeler – honestly, I feel like retailers are trying to squeeze the last dime out of new parents! Use a folded towel if your knees really hurt. I bathe my boys without any special knee support and I don’t even notice!
For comparison, check out Jenna’s 15 Baby Items you do not Need, Plus 15 you can’t Live Without at her blog At Home with Kids. Another mom’s opinion can come handy!
DIY baby projects
Making some of the things you need can save you a bit of money.
I am personally not the greatest seamstress. But I managed to make a bunch of stuff for my twins without spending a fortune.
I found many great ideas on Pinterest with step-by-step instructions and got to work.
(If you are a mom-to-be and you are not on Pinterest, you are missing out BIG time! A ton of help and advice, plus tutorials and inspiration for everything you can think of!)
Here are the items I made on my own (plus the tutorials I followed):
I followed this mom’s tutorial. As she humorously pointed out, by baby #3 she hardly ever used one anyway!
She did a great detailed job on making her own changing pad. I simply sewed the materials together without much worrying about the looks. They still worked!
As you can see on my About page, this whole blog is actually named after our crib mobile!
This tutorial served me as an inspiration. I added airplanes to it.
Plus I used Cross Stich Wood Hoop for the mobile hanger. Much easier to do!
I made a bunch of toys for my boys.
Mostly soft kind, crochet and sewn. They love them to this day.
Not only I saved a few bucks, it also felt amazing to be able to create something for my little ones on my own.
No specific tutorial to show you.
I simply made a few crochet square blankets. We ended up with so many blankets from other people, that we hardly used them, however.
Diaper storage bins (dollar tree bins hack)
This was my inspiration, but I ended up sewing instead of using a spray adhesive.
Unfortunately, they didn’t come out too great. But hey, who is really going to care about your diaper storage bins?
Because we live in sunny California, we need to protect ourselves from the sun most of the time. I didn’t want to use sunscreen on my infants too often too soon.
Therefore I would hide them by covering a side of the stroller with a blanket.
I simply hooked a light receiving blanket with toy links (yep, true story) on the sunny side of the stroller. That way they still got some nice breeze but were completely hidden from the sun.
Moms can be quite the inventors when they need to, right?
You can absolutely do the same! No need to spend money on stroller umbrellas or any other products out there.
Because of having twins, I knew we would need a LOT of burp cloths. And they definitely came handy!
Of course we had some store-bought ones. But I also made a whole bunch from spare T-shirts we had. Most of them were those never worn event t-shirts that would end up in the trash anyway. The perfect way to upcycle!
You can find the burp cloths tutorial here.
Baby items I actually went without
Car mirror – I didn’t feel as if I needed one. And we did just fine without it. But it is a personal preference. If you know that your baby is going to spend a lot of time in the car, go ahead and get one.
Nursing bras – for some moms, they are essentially a must-have, but I felt great with using simple pullover bras the whole time.
Video baby monitor – never had one of these either. Not only video monitors are pricey, but I found them to be unnecessary and a little bit creepy too. I didn’t want a camera to be pointing at my babies all the time! I can see the point if a baby has a serious health concern and you want to keep an eye on her at all times. But we use a very basic sound monitor to this day and never had any problem.
Crib bumpers – yes, they look cute, but I’ve never seen a real purpose for them. Plus there have been a lot of safety warnings from the medical circles in the past years. For instance, see this article from Parents.com.
Shopping cart cover – these were created upon the craze of the germaphobic mania of the past decade. Instead, you can put your infant inside a shopping cart in her car seat or simply carry her in a baby carrier. Or wipe the cart with some wipes, strap her in and go shopping. She will be just fine.
Baby Scale – first-time moms tend to worry about many things. Baby’s growth and weight is definitely on top of the list. At the beginning, you will be seeing your pediatrician often, so she will check your baby’s weight regularly. But if you want to see for yourself, simply step on your scale while holding the baby and subtract your own weight. It is not the most accurate method, but we did this with our twins. At least you can tell if the baby is losing or gaining weight. No need to weigh your baby before and after each meal (yep, there are moms who do this). You will drive yourself crazy!
Fancy glider – I hardly ever nursed my twins in our rocking chair. Gliders are quite robust and can take a lot of space. You are more likely to end up nursing your baby in bed or on the couch, where you can rest and relax much more.
Baby shoes – we received many pairs of baby shoes from our friends. We never used them!
Now that you are familiar with best registry items, go ahead and read next article Baby Registry Guide to find the perfect registry for you!