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.
When I found out I was pregnant for the first time, even though we were trying for a couple months and had been talking about how much we couldn’t wait to have a baby, the initial shock still hits you like a ton of bricks, like OMG THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING.
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. They come out with new baby products all the time to keep up with the evolving markets and research, and also the fact that us millennials will buy anything to help our babies sleep, eat, and be comfortable.
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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, but 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. Happy shopping!
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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.
This post may contain affiliate links for which I would receive a small commission should you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
Boppy newborn lounger
– The newborn lounger
can go anywhere with you when you need to put the baby
down on the couch, a bed, floor etc. – Very versatile and comfy for baby. Definitely a must have!
– This Halo bassinet
is like the Cadillac of bassinets. It has a nice swivel, allows you to move it over the bed, and lets you push down one of the sides, which all make it very easy to take the baby
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 – 3 or 4 should be fine
Rock n Play Sleeper
– There’s a good chance that your baby won’t like sleeping on her back on a flat surface like the bassinet. I started my newborn in the bassinet, but he just wasn’t sleeping well, and the Rock & Play
changed his sleep patterns drastically! The Rock & Play
is safe gear that you can put your baby in for a more sound sleep. It’s a cozy, inclined space that your baby will enjoy more- and you will to! You can use your phone as a remote to make it rock and vibrate! Super hands-free.
– Depending on the time of year will determine which type of blankets you will use most. My first was a summer baby and we used the Aden & Anais Muslin Blankets
all the time just to give her a light covering. They’re so soft and light and offer a variety of colors to choose from. In the cooler months you will want some soft, warm fleece blankets. This fuzzy blanket by Just Born
Swing & Bouncer
– It’s important to have places to put down your baby to rest, sleep, or just to give you a break. The swing takes up a lot of room so bouncers are more convienent/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, etc 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 smilier 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
My Breast Friend/Boppy
– I had the Boppy with my first baby for nursing and it worked fine, but got the My Breast Friend
for the new baby and it’s much better and easier to work with. The Boppy still causes you to slouch down while nursing leading to an achy back. My Breast Friend
has a strap that you can strap the baby up higher while nursing so you don’t have to slouch. It also allows you to walk around while nursing- multitasking is a must for new moms! The Boppy
is also nice to use when they are getting older, not just for nursing, but to put under their chest for tummy time, as well as prop them up when they are almost sitting up with support.
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 stuff
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!
– 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. I love that it has 3 wheels because I can use one hand to push and turn it because the front wheel swivels so nicely. 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 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.
– You’ll need something to store your stuff
(cell phone, keys, water bottle), like this one
, if your stroller doesn’t come with one.
– 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.
– 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 diaper bag by Halova
is stylish and sleek, has so much space, plenty of compartments, and it’s even got insulation for all your bottles.
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.
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.
– 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
– The Infant Optics Monitor
comes highly recommended. Great quality video. Also, 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!
– 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.
– 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.
– 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
– 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.
One Piece Sleepers with ZIPPERS
– Don’t bother with snaps or buttons-the zippers are super fast and easy to dress the baby
. These ones have the zipper on the bottom which is much more convenient for diaper changes. Also look for the ones that are footed and have the fold over the hand mittens Get a few in newborn & 3 months- your baby will live in these!
Onesies, Pants, Socks – You should get plenty as gifts at your shower and when the baby is born.
Velcro swaddles for bedtime
– Life saver! These SwaddleMe Velcro Swaddles
make it a lot more difficult for your baby to break out of the swaddle and give them a tighter squeeze. Usually only use/ swaddle while sleeping until they roll over (-3m) so get the small ones; Halo brand
has the fleece ones which would be nice for winter and when they’re a little bigger and need their arms free, so you can size up.
Bath & Health
– This Fisher Price Tub
grows with the baby; It has a sling for newborn and they can use it until they’re sitting up.
A little bath time entertainment is always necessary.
Nose Frida with saline spray
– Used to loosen and suck out boogers & snot
– I love this Braun ear thermometer
. Don’t get a temporal scan because they are very inaccurate. Get the ear even though you can’t use it until 6 months, and a standard digital one to use under the arm pit when they’re newborns.
Nursery Care Kit
– This contains all you need for most of the small health essentials: Nail clippers, nail files, comb, brush, dropper, finger tooth brush, digital thermometer, and more.
Baby wash and lotion
– I love Shea Moisture
& Babo Botanicals Brands. They are all natural and don’t contain any chemicals you should avoid with newborns.
Baby towels & wash cloths – These towels
are super soft. You should get 1 or 2 towels and a small set of washcloths.
Diapers and wipes
– I love Water Wipes
for a new baby. They’re all natural and super soft. For diapers, stock up on size 1 and 2. Get at least 1 box of newborn. Pampers and Huggies are soft and durable and have the line to tell you if the diaper is wet or not.
Tylenol & Children’s Benedryl – It’s important to have these on hand before the baby comes because you never know if you will need it in the middle of the night
Baby laundry detergent– Natural/gentle detergent for the first few months- I like Honest brand. I was told not to use Dreft because a lot of babies have reactions to it.
– We loved the Mam pacifiers
– Get the Glow in the Dark ones! Makes your life easier.
– If you’re going to be putting bottles and pump parts in the dish washer.
– This Joovy High Chair
is stylish, neutral colors, and can easily wipe clean. It can be used from newborn (it reclines back for when you start feeding them solids but they can’t fully sit up yet) until they’re older, so a great investment.
will use the 4/5 oz bottles for the first few months and then the 8/9 oz ones after that. Start out with a 4 pack and then you will probably need to buy more later on just for convenience sake (and not having to wash them as often). I love Avent brand bottles
because they have a soft wide nipple, easy to hold, and vent for good air flow.
Nipples– you’ll need different nipples as she gets older- level 2, 3
– Dr browns
is the best one, although you can really heat a bottle on the stove.
– Dr browns
– you can’t clean in the bottles with a regular sponge.
Bottle soap– Dapple- you need special soap to clean all the bottles and pump parts
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.
A few Sensory toys and rattles
– I got a bunch of toys because I have some in my bedroom, some in the living room, in the car, in her room etc. Gotta keep the baby occupied in every room I’m in! This toy is my absolute favorite
for young infants- they’re able to grasp, shake and chew it and it satisfies all their needs.
Chew toys for teething
– Babies love to explore with their mouths. These chew toys
and these teething toys
are great for soothing sore gums when teeth come in, as well as oral motor sensory exploration.
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.
Fisher Price Sit Me Up
– This is a great item for when baby still needs support to sit up around 3 months. It gets them used to being upright in preparation for sitting.
– I have this Skip Hop activity center
which we love. They can start using this around 4 months or later. The colors are neutral, it has plenty of toys for grabbing and interaction, and it’s great for leg and trunk strength because it has a sturdy bottom surface which doesn’t allow the baby to bounce up and down. It also converts to a table as they get older so it can be used for awhile.
Seated Walker & Push Walker
– These won’t be used until about 8 months or later, but great for kids at that age. My daughter LOVED both of these items and they help your baby get used to being on their feet and ready for walking.
Nursing and post partum
Breast pump & extra pump parts– You get one free from insurance – just need a prescription from your dr and call the insurance to see where to order yours from. I love the Spectra Pump, but go with whatever your insurance offers for free.
Hands free pumping bra –
Allows you to be hands free while pumping and if you’re pumping often or at work, you will definitely want one of these since you could be pumping for 15-20 minutes.
Freezer bags & adapters – Bags to store/freeze breast milk & adapters to pump directly into bags- Life saver!
Lanolin Cream You’ll need this once you start nursing for your sore, cracked nipples
Nursing Pads – You’ll need a bunch of these because you’ll go through a few pairs a day while you’re leaking.
Postpartum Items you may not want to register for, but definitely buy beforehand:
– During pregnancy, when you feel the need to buy new bras because your boobs are getting big, get nursing bras so you don’t have to get them later on. Unfortunately your boobs won’t stay this big forever so you don’t need to just buy larger regular bras! They are more comfortable anyway- no underwire or padding, and they just have little clips on the straps . I love this Medela Nursing Bra
– it’s so soft and comfortable. Target’s Gilligan & O malley Brand
is great for bras that are a little nicer when you actually want to put real clothes on.
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.
Gender specific colors- If you are at all inclined to have another baby in the future, don’t buy gender specific colors for the baby gear (especially if you’re having a girl). I know it may be enticing to fill your house with pretty pink floral baby items, but if you have a boy down the line, you will regret having to sit him in a pink baby bouncer. Aim for gender neutral colors like grey or beige or even just multi colors.
I hope I was detailed enough for you and helped complete your registry because I know it can be overwhelming. Let me know if you have any other questions about products or baby essentials!
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