When you first get pregnant, there is so much on your mind that it can be very stressful. From symptoms and what’s going on in your body to how your life is going to change after the baby comes, you can’t help but feel completely overwhelmed.
After you let the shock set in that you’re officially going to be a mom, it’s time to start planning for this baby’s arrival. That includes, getting your house ready, registering for all the baby must-haves, picking out a name, and the list goes on.
Starting a baby registry and learning about all the new baby gadgets and gizmos can make your head spin. Every baby is different so some things that worked with my babies may not work for you. Also, if you ask your parents what they used when we were babies, you will hear totally different recommendations than what your friends who are currently having babies might say.
There are new baby products being produced all the time to keep up with the evolving markets and research. Also, the fact that us millennials will buy anything to help our babies sleep, eat, and be comfortable.
This isn’t a minimalist’s list, but quite an extensive compilation of Must Haves for your registry or new baby. Now it’s all dependent on your budget as to what you would view as a necessity, as a baby could sleep in a card board box if need be. However, use your discretion if you’re on a tight budget as to what is important and what is not. I’ve also included some things that I would say, save your money on, and other tips from a seasoned mama!
I didn’t include every brand because I have obviously not tested them all out, but I can speak for ones that I have used and reviewed myself and what worked or didn’t work for me. The following are what I would consider my necessities for a baby registry. Happy shopping!
Related Post: Financial Must-Dos Before Baby
If you haven’t already started a registry, be sure to sign up with Amazon Baby Registry first. They have the largest selection of any baby/mommy items, free returns, 15% off completion discount for anything that wasn’t bought on your registry, Prime 2 day shipping, and a ton of other perks.
Also if you want an in-store registry and a place to actually go in and look and feel the products, Buy Buy Baby is your best bet.
You can’t possibly hold your baby all day, but that’s typically the only way your baby will feel at ease. It’s important to find a place to put them down where they still feel safe, comfortable, and warm. The Boppy Newborn Lounger was a life saver and I highly recommend it.
The Newborn Lounger is a cushion that’s like a little nest for a newborn. The center cradles your baby at a gentle angle, allowing your baby to fit in a perfectly comfortable position. Every baby loves this cushion!
One of the greatest part about the Boppy Newborn Lounger is its unique portability. You will want a piece of baby gear that can be easily transported from room to room or during travel. You can bring it anywhere with you when you need your baby close by. It can go on your bed, in your bathroom, or in your kitchen, following you around your house! Definitely a must-have baby gear item!
Bassinet– This Halo bassinet is like the Cadillac of bassinets. It has a nice swivel, allows you to move it over the bed. It lets you push down one of the sides which makes it very easy to take the baby in and out, especially if you are recovering from a c-section. They have a version with vibration, music, and lights, but the standard version is fine if you want to save your pennies.
Bassinet Sheets – 2 or 3 should be fine
Blankets– For swaddling and keeping warm and cozy, I kept a blanket on my baby at all times. Depending on the time of year will determine which type of blankets you will use the most. For the summer babies, Aden & Anais Muslin Blankets provide a light covering whether you’re outside or in the house. They’re so soft and light and there’s adorable patterns and colors to choose from as well.
In the cooler months you will want some soft, warm fleece blankets. This fuzzy blanket by Just Born is perfect.
Swing & Bouncer– It’s important to have places to put down your baby to rest, sleep, or just to give you a break. The standard swing takes up a lot of room, so bouncers are more portable.
For convenience, you will definitely want one in different rooms that you’ll be in- your bedroom, living room, & kitchen at least. So you can have a swing in the living room, bouncer in the kitchen, newborn lounger in your bedroom, so you always have somewhere to put the baby down and don’t have to keep moving things around.
In my opinion, the standard swings take up too much room, so you’re better off with a smaller, more portable solution like this Ingenuity ConvertMe Swing. The swings all have features like vibrations, swinging in different directions, music varieties, mobile, etc.
Bouncers offer a similar position for baby to lay, but with out all the bells and whistles and movement. Your baby may or may not even need all of these features, so pick something within your budget.
Bibs and burp cloths– Bandana bibs are great for newborns because they go up high for spit up (and so many cute patterns and colors available on Amazon!). A pack of burp clothes is good too, but cloth diapers work great as burp cloths and you get more for your money. If you want pretty ones though, opt for burp cloths like this.
Pack & Play with changing table– Chicco Lullaby Dream is GREAT! I had a Graco first and returned it. This one has a higher changing table (and larger) which is much better for your back and it’s a lot sturdier. It’s good to have one of these in your living area to have an area to change them so you’re not running to their nursery all day.
Most also come with a bassinet attachment, which is just a higher level flat surface for them to take naps, as well as a newborn bouncer/lounger attachment to put the baby down in, as well.
Pack & Play sheets– Just 2
Nursing Pillow– The My Breast Friend Nursing Pillow is the most convenient and easiest to use. This cushion has a strap so you can hold the baby up higher while nursing.
Standard nursing pillows lead you to slouch over and can cause you a lot of back pain. It also allows you to walk around while nursing. Multitasking is a must for new moms!
The Boppy is another option for a nursing pillow that doubles as a great support for their chest during tummy time, as well as propping them up for sitting. I wouldn’t recommend it over the My Breast Friend as a nursing pillow, but definitely an item that would have many other uses.
Baby carrier wrap– The Baby Ktan Carrier is super easy to use and the baby can face in or out so that you can do things while carrying her around at home. When baby doesn’t want to be put down, but you need to clean your bedroom, just wear them in the wrap!
This carrier is made to just slip on so you don’t have to actually do the wrapping yourself- much more efficient that the standard wraps!
Stroller– I have the Baby Jogger City Mini GT and LOVE it. It’s lightweight, folds/unfolds easily, handles great and has great wheels for all terrain. The 3 wheels make it swivel so effortlessly, requiring only one hand to push and turn it.
The only con is the small under storage. I also really like the feature in my City Mini that reclines really far back. When we did a day in Boston, Brielle was able to nap in the stroller and we were out all day.
I also recommend the Baby Jogger City Select if you’re planning on having a second baby soon because it converts to a double stroller. It is just a lot more bulky and heavier though, so it depends if you’re willing to deal with that for a year or 2.
If you still want to shop around: Musts for a stroller are that it’s light weight, has an easy fold, good under storage, and handles well.
Infant Car Seat– Infant car seat & an extra base for a second car if you plan on using both cars often. I have the Britax B35 Elite and love it. You could also go with a travel system, like the City Mini has a system that includes the car seat so that will save you a little money to get it as a set.
If you don’t go with my suggestion, look for a car seat that is more lightweight (you’ll be carrying it a lot and if the car seat weighs 20lbs and the baby is 15lbs, it’s exhausting) and has a larger weight capacity so they can stay in it longer.
They’re all up to the same safety standards so you don’t have to worry about that. Some have added safety features but are not always necessary. They also say that European brands like Peg Perego and maxi cozi have a little bit higher standards.
Car Seat Adapter– If your stroller doesn’t come with the car seat you need an attachment to lock in the car seat to the stroller.
Stroller organizer – You’ll need something to store your stuff (cell phone, keys, water bottle), like this one, if your stroller doesn’t come with one.
Stroller hook– If you get one of those higher end strollers, they don’t really come with any accessories so you’ll need these. This hook from Amazon has been great for carrying bags and baskets while shopping.
Diaper bag– The back pack style diaper bags are really popular now because you can be hands free with the baby which is so important (you’ll quickly learn). This Freshly Picked Back Pack Style Diaper Bag is stylish and sleek, has so much space, plenty of compartments, and it’s even got insulation for all your bottles. It’s a little pricey, but this will literally be your purse for the next few years so invest in something nice.
Small Traveling Diaper Bag/Pad– I also recommend getting a smaller diaper bag/changing station for the first few months. When your baby is a newborn, all you need to bring out with you are diapers & wipes, a burp cloth, and an extra onesie (you wouldn’t need bottles if you’re nursing). This is a lot easier than carrying a diaper bag around.
JJ Cole Car Seat Cover– This car seat cover is great for keeping the baby warm in the winter since you can’t put jackets on them in the car seat. Don’t get the JJ Cole Bundle Me because it’s not safe and takes up too much room in the seat.
Baby carrier– I have the Lillie Baby All Seasons Carrier which has been great (just a little hard to put on yourself). My husband uses this a lot when we are out and I plan to use it a lot more now having a 2nd baby. This may not be something that you get a lot of use out of, but it depends on the activities you’ll be participating in.
Rearview Mirror– For the car. Get one with a LIGHT like this one
Summer Infant Pop n Play– This is great for once baby starts sitting up and moving, to keep them contained. We used it A LOT outside when it’s nice out. It’s really lightweight and super portable- I brought it with me everywhere. Highly recommend.
Multi-use Car Seat/Nursing Cover– I love my Copper Pearl car seat cover. You need this for the first 1-2 months so people don’t touch/get germs on your baby when you take her out or on chillier days to give her some cover. They are multiuse/all-in-one so you can use it as a nursing cover, shopping cart/high chair cover. They have lots of great patterns and they’re so soft and stretchy.
Travel Crib– This is not a necessity, but if you plan on traveling much or even just trips to the grandparents (baby’s need to be put down for naps frequently). Pack n Plays are not very portable despite their name. They’re bulky and heavy. Baby Bjorn Travel Crib has worked so well for us. It’s so lightweight and portable, so definitely a must for traveling.
Convertible car seat– You’ll need this when they’re about 1 year old or earlier depending on the size of your baby, so not a necessity for a newborn registry. The Graco 4ever or Extend2Fit are great, comfortable car seat that also converts to a booster seat, so it can last you until they’re 5+ years old.
Baby monitor with video– If you want a monitor with WIFI so you can see the baby when you’re out of the house, I highly suggest the Wyze Camera. You can get the video feed right through your phone so if you’re at work or date night, you can still check on your baby. It does everything that a regular monitor can do, you just have to use your phone for it. You really can’t beat it for the price either- only $38!
Monitor shelf– I definitely recommend the VuSee Shelf so you can put the monitor up higher and get a full view of the crib. We used to attach the monitor to the crib, but once our baby started sitting up and reaching for things, she would pull it right down.
Crib & Crib mattress– I recommend the Kolcraft Pure Sleep Mattress. You don’t have to spend a fortune on a mattress and this one is nice and firm and fits great.
Waterproof mattress covers & sheets – 1-2 waterproof covers & 2-4 sheets- You don’t need more than that for now and the sheets will be based on your nursery decor
Changing pad, Changing pad cover, & changing pad liners– To maximize space, you don’t need a changing table, use a regular dresser and place a changing pad on top, with a cover, and changing pad liners so you’re not always changing the cover if there’s a blow out.
Diaper organizer/basket– You’ll need some kind of diaper organizer for all your diaper stuff in the nursery and also by your changing station downstairs by the pack n play if it doesn’t already come with one. This storage basket can hold everything including your diapers, wipes, ointments/creams, nail clippers, burp cloths, bibs, etc.
Diaper genie with refills– We got 2 of these, 1 for the nursery & 1 for the changing station in the living room for convenience. Don’t forget to buy some extra refills because you go through them quickly (especially since you’ll be changing 10+ diapers a day when they’re newborns.
Sound Machine– I love the Dohm Sound Machine– It’s just white noise and not rainforest/ocean sounds so I like it better; however we have been using the humidifier a lot because babies frequently have runny noses, and it honestly sounds the same, so you may not even need one if you want to use a humidifier instead.
Humidifier– This helps relieve congestion which most babies will get in the winter.
Touch Lights & Night Lights– Have a night light by your bed and the bassinet for those late night feedings and wake ups so you don’t have to put on the bright light and wake the baby even more.. These night lights are great and have a sensor to turn on only when it’s dark. Put one in your hallway, bedroom, bathroom, and nursery. These adjustable night lights are great to put on the dresser next to the diaper changing station and you can adjust the brightness on your own.
Bath & Health
Utensils –These Grabease utensils are the BEST for little hands. For a little older children, the OXO Tot Utensils are the only ones you need- the metal fork is necessary to actually pick food up and the handle fits well in their hands.
Plates & bowls –These plates (EZPZ)have worked great for suction. I get the ‘mini’ ones because I found out that the regular size mats are too big for most high chair trays. The minis are plenty big enough. These bowls are fantastic as well!
Sippy Cups – I have found these Munchkin 360 cups to be good for not leaking the most. I am also partial to a straw cup because it’s the best for oral motor development. I do love these munchkin straw cups. They’re great for the first cup to transition baby from a bottle and learning to drink from a straw, but sometimes they do tend to leak more when thrown.
Bibs – These Bumkin bibs are easy to clean and cover a large area. For when baby is just learning to eat, these long sleeve ‘smock bibs’ are good for the most coverage, especially good in the colder months when baby will be wearing long sleeves. If you don’t want sleeves, these rubber bibs really work to keep baby from pulling them off and are super easy to clean.
Crinkle Books – These little books could keep my daughter occupied all day long. When they start to grasp around 3 months, they’ll love the sensory (auditory and tactile) feedback it provides and also love turning the pages.
O-Ball Shaker – The holes in the O-Balls are perfect for little hands to grab and move. This one is a great toy because it has a rattle which allows baby to start learning cause and effect (that he can grab and shake a toy and it will make noise).
Light and glow toys to push – This toy also teaches cause and effect, allowing your baby to push a button to light up and play sounds. Watch your baby start dancing to the music and see his excitement when he realizes he just made that happen. These kind of toys are used a little on the later side of newborns, but at a few months your child will begin to press buttons.
Soft Plush Toys– This Lamaze Play and Grow Freddie the Firefly combines bright colors and textures to stimulate the senses. It has the crinkle texture which babies love to feel and hear, as well as dangling parts to chew on and manipulate.
Crib Mobile – A mobile is great for when your baby starts visually tracking objects around 2 months. The movement will grab their attention and they can watch as it spins in a circle. Attach it to the baby’s crib or bassinet, but you will want to remove it once your baby is sitting up and can reach it. There are sometimes mobiles attached to baby swings and pack n plays which are great additions to look for when you’re shopping for them.
Activity gym – An activity gym is great to do tummy time. The toys and bright colors give them some more visual stimulation, as well as objects to reach for and grasp.
Nursing and post partum
Postpartum Items you may not want to register for, but definitely buy beforehand:
Heavy Maxi Pads You’ll bleed for 2-6 weeks postpartum so have these on hand.
Briefs Yep, this is about how sexy you’re going to look for those first few weeks after the baby is born. Embrace it! But these ones are so soft and comfy, you’ll never want to take them off.
Ameda Nipple Gel Pads- These were by far my favorite postpartum accessory! My nipples were soooo sore after the first couple nursing sessions that I could barely tolerate her feeding! You can put them in the refrigerator so they are cool and keep them on your breasts in between nursing sessions.
Save all boxes, packaging, and receipts– Amazon has a great return policy and Buy Buy Baby let’s you return within a year of purchase from your registry. I had to return things that I wasn’t happy with and you may not even use something for 4 months after the baby is born. Also, you will want to store the baby gear in boxes once you’re finished with it, especially the stuff that you may only use for 1-2 months. I know how exciting it is to get everything after your baby shower and want to set everything up, but try to wait until you really know what your baby will need.
Don’t take off all the clothes tags and wash everything as soon as you get it, especially newborn stuff. Your baby could be in newborn clothes for a week or 3 months. You don’t need 15 onesies in each size, maybe 6-7, and pajamas, in each size. You’ll probably get the most clothes in sizes newborn & 3 months so definitely exchange for larger sizes if needed.