Preparing for the arrival of your sweet, growing baby can be overwhelming. There are so many baby registry items available that claim to “simplify” your life, but all of the choices seem to make things more complicated. So often, we turn to other mothers to hear what items worked best for them and which items might just add to the clutter.
This list is a complete guide to everything that I have used with my second born child. At the time of writing this, she is four months old. I have been able to determine which items worked best the first time and that I am using again, which ones I would skip, and which items I love now that I wish I would have had with my first baby.
There is no specific time that you should start your baby registry, but sooner is better than later. The sooner you begin planning items for your baby, the less you’ll have to stress about having things ready for the big arrival! You’ll also avoid the pressure to add things to your list at the last minute before baby showers. The best thing is, you can add or take away at any time. Don’t worry about having too many items, either. Your friends and family will love to have a large selection of items from various price ranges to choose.
The items I recommend here are all items that I have used for myself and my babies. I am making suggestions based on products that I find tried and true and that I believe will simplify your life, too!
Crib – This is not the exact crib that we bought for baby number two (sold out!) but it is a very similar, traditional, and classic alternative. I love this Jenny Lind crib. It is the same style of crib that we used with our first-born, which was also my baby crib from 22 years earlier!
Crib Mattress – The first time around, we went with the less expensive of the mattress choices since we didn’t really know what we needed. We later purchased a memory foam mattress topper that helped contour the baby’s body (but not too much) and prevents the crinkling noise and startling wake-ups. This time, I felt it would be better to skip the mattress topper and purchase a new mattress. (Please note, it is important that crib sheets fit properly and that there are no other items such as blankets and toys in the crib to help the prevention of SIDS.)
Waterproof Mattress Pad – Prepare for the unexpected! Diaper leaks are inevitable and aren’t the most fun thing to deal with in the middle of the night. I purchase these waterproof mattress pads and layer them between two fitted sheets on the crib mattress. In the case of a leaky wake-up call, I can remove the first fitted sheet and mattress pad, change the baby, and put her back to sleep. The remaining mess can wait until the morning!
Crib Sheets – The options here are limitless and you might want to choose something that goes with the theme or color-way of your nursery, but don’t forget to register for crib sheets!
Glider Rocker – I am so in love with this glider rocker! With our first child, I (once again) tried to take a less expensive route and chose a basic rocking chair (no gliding) and ended up really hating the chair. This glider stays in place when rocking and is extremely comfortable. My feet reach the floor just right, which helps so much with posture when feeding and rocking the baby. The last chair was so bulky that my feet couldn’t touch the floor. I love the subtle wingback sides of this chair. I can comfortably rest my head on either side; something that is so useful on those long nights. The lumbar pillow is great for added support when holding the baby, too! I have so many great things to say about this chair and believe it is well worth the investment the first time around.
White Noise Machine – If there’s a baby item I swear by, it’s a white noise machine. Both of my babies love having the soothing sounds to help them sleep well. Not only is it relaxing, but it drowns out the noise that might be coming from other areas of the house. This specific white noise machine wasn’t available with our first child, but I am sooo glad we have it now! I can control the sounds and colors from the Bluetooth app on my phone. As our baby gets older, I can set awake and asleep times according to sound and color options. That way, if she wakes during the night, she can know by the light color if it is time it get out of bed or not. Another important aspect of this machine is that the volume is great! Some sound machines do not get loud enough, which in the end, defeat the purpose of having a sound machine at all. Our four year old was not willing to give up his sound machine for the new baby! This is an item that will grow with your child, making it well worth the investment.
Baby Monitor – I chose this monitor primarily based on the positive reviews. I did not want a monitor with WiFi capabilities due to the fact that our internet connection (out in the sticks) is not the best for supporting a live video stream. Also, I must say I get a little concerned that someone could hack into the internet stream and watch my child. Just me? Oh ok. So far, we love this monitor and its clarity and connectivity. Big brother loves watching and talking to his sister through the monitor!
Changing Table – We have one that we “used” with our first born. It is currently stacked with laundry that needs to be put away. That should tell you all you need to know about changing tables in my eyes. In hindsight, if you need a changing area (our area is typically on the floor!), I would use the top of your dresser space with a changing pad rather than purchasing an additional piece of furniture just for a changing station.
Diaper Genie – I have friends that love theirs, but we never purchased one (or even registered for one) and we’ve seemed to do fine without it. I wouldn’t consider this a necessity.
Wipes Warmer – I feel the same way here as I do with the diaper genie. I have never used a warmer with my kiddos. If the wipe seems too cold, I squeeze it between my hands to warm it up just a bit.
Velcro Swaddles – You’ve probably been told already that every child is different. It’s very true! My first child LOVED to be swaddled. If he wasn’t swaddled, he refused to go to sleep. We used Velcro swaddles religiously. They’re so easy to use and work so well! I stocked up on more when we found out we were having another child, but little did we know, the second baby didn’t really care to be swaddled and slept fine without. Better safe than sorry though; order those swaddles!
Blackout Curtains – Most baby sleep training techniques suggest having a dark room, even for nap time. These blackout curtains look nice and also do a great job of keeping out the light when necessary.
Bassinet – The first go around, we got a lot of use out of rockers like this, but our second child didn’t love them as much! We borrowed this bassinet from my sister-in-law and I am so thankful that she let us use it! We have gotten the most use out of it the first months. I love the bottom rack storage and wheels that let you easily move the bassinet from room to room. This bassinet would definitely be at the top of my baby registry list.
Baby Basics Kit – I’ve come to the conclusion that the people that work for this company are all geniuses. Their products are (in my eyes) fail-proof! These items are a definite necessity. Yes, the snot sucker is going to gross you out, but it works so effectively and gives baby sweet relief when they have snotty noses. I still use the snot sucker on my four year old when allergy season kicks in. And to be honest, I’ve been desperate and tempted sometimes to try it on myself. Ha!
Newborn Lounger – These lovely things did not exist with our first child, but I really wish they did! This is another item I borrowed from my sister-in-law. Her first born loved it, and now we’re getting everyday use out of it too! There are alternatives to this concept such as the Snuggle Me and Dock a Tot, but they are much more expensive. I have not personally tried the other options, but I can’t imagine them being better than this one, especially for the price. Also, this newborn lounger has a slight elevation to lift baby’s head, which the other options do not have. The elevation helps a lot, especially with a newborn to help keep milk down and avoid reflux issues.
Saline Nasal Mist – There will come a day that your little one will have a snotty, nasty nose. Saline helps clean out snot, boogies, and mucous and prevents the chances of sinus infections. From my experience, the mist works more effectively than the spay. This works great in combination with the snot sucker from the Baby Basics Kit listed above.
Diaper Bag – The diaper bag we chose for baby number two is no longer available, but it is the same make as this bag in a different style and color. I purchased this insert from Amazon. I love how the bag and the insert help keep everything organized. I can see everything when I open the bag; it doesn’t all fall to the bottom. We used a backpack like this with baby number one. I loved this brand because it is machine washable, but this style caused everything to get lost at the bottom of the bag.
Musical Play Mat – Babies don’t require a lot to be entertained, so don’t overthink toys when they’re small! I love play-mats like these, especially with music. Our first child loved his play mat during his first year of life. He would even fall asleep playing. We kept it for baby number two. (I don’t think they make the one we have anymore… but the newer ones are cuter anyway!)
Caddy – I love to be the “practical” gift giver at baby showers. I have gifted this diaper caddy so many times. (I make it into a cutesy gift basket with other useful items.) I think this was one of the first things I added to my baby registry with our second born! This basket goes all around the house with us. I keep it filled with diapers, wipes, diaper cream, and bottles. It’s so useful to have everything in one place nearby.
Play Pen – This is definitely the gift that keeps on giving. This is the best way to keep baby contained and gives you the ability to be hands free knowing your baby is safe and secure. As they get older, they can have toys in the play pen with them and in turn, you won’t have everything thrown around the house. We also use our playpen for vacations as a portable crib. This memory foam play pen topper really helps to make the playpen more comfortable for sleeping.
Muslin Quilt – This is another great item that wasn’t available with my first born. Target has these cuddly quilts in different styles. I love this quilt so much!
Muslin Blankets – There’s something about muslin fabric that seems so sweet to me. I love this multipack of muslin swaddles because they are nice in size, big enough to swaddle baby, all the different colors can coordinate with different outfits, and it’s a great price point.
Multiple Bottle Styles – There’s no way of knowing what kind of bottle your baby will like best. You’ll definitely want to have a few different types on hand for when the time comes. My firstborn really liked these the best, but my second baby loves these. We also had these on hand just in case. All three of these bottles are used and highly recommended by many mamas!
Burp Cloths – I feel like a broken record when it comes to all things “muslin.” I love these burp cloths. Not only are they the perfect size, but milk stains wash out of them so easily! I’ve also heard of people using cloth diaper inserts like these as burp cloths.
High Chair – With our firstborn, we used my 20+-year-old Jenny Lind high chair that matched my crib. While I loved the style and classic look of the high chair, it wasn’t the most functional option. This time, we chose to purchase this high chair. It is so versatile and doesn’t take up floor space. If that doesn’t sell you, it is also dishwasher safe! Whatt!!!
Bottle Drying Rack – I’m about 50/50 on handwashing bottles and washing them in the dishwasher. When I do hand wash them, I stack them all out to dry. A bottle drying rack like this one helps keep things tidy and reduces the chances of mold forming on bottle parts allowing them to dry completely.
Dishwasher Bottle Basket – For the times that I wash bottles in the dishwasher, I use this bottle basket to keep the smaller parts from falling into the bottom of the washer and succumbing to the fate of the heating element. There’s nothing worse than smelling a burning plastic aroma coming from the kitchen.
Carrier Car Seat – Having a carrier car seat is optimal for those first months of life. The carrier seat helps to take baby in and out of places without having to take them out of the car seat. It is especially handy when baby falls asleep in the car and you don’t want to wake them by taking them out of the seat!
Travel System – We purchased our carrier car seat with this travel system. I loved it so much that I am getting a second use out of it with our second child! The stroller with this system is easily collapsible for stowing away in your car.
Convertible Car Seat – This is a bigger investment, but it definitely pays for itself in the long run. My four year old is still using his and will be able to use it until he is ready for a booster seat. This car seat has some of the best safety ratings and it is made of steel. Another perk, is that the cover can be easily removed and tossed into the washing machine for cleanup.
Car Seat Mirror – This is one of the items that I didn’t have with my first child, but purchased one soon after having my second child. Definitely wish I’d have had it the first time.
Portable Sound Machine – Swearing by sound machines and white noise! I wish I would’ve had one of these with my first born, because I have gotten a lot of use with it already with baby number two!
Wash Cloths – I’m sure you could use regular wash cloths would do the job, but I find it a bit easier to wash the baby with these smaller wash cloths.
Hooded Towels – Hooded towels are a must! The hood helps keep in baby’s body heat and keep them warm after getting a bath. These hooded towels have held up so well and are very soft and absorbent.
Baby Brush – The bristles of this brush are so soft and works well on thin, fine hairs. It is also very helpful to combat cradle cap.
Baby Bath Tub – I found this tub and registered for it with our second baby. I love that it grows with them during the first year and saves you from having to fill an entire tub of water. The newborn sling is especially handy those first few months.
Baby Body Wash/Shampoo – My babies tend to have sensitive skin. I have found that unscented products usually work best like this body wash/shampoo combo.
Diaper Cream Brush – Don’t make you hands do the dirty work! This tool is extra helpful for diaper rash cream application.
Diaper Cream – Diaper rash is inevitable, best to have this on hand before you need it.
Diapers – Of course! People will likely give you different kinds of diapers as a gift. It’s hard to know which diapers will work best, but these have always been great for us.
Wipes – With trial and error, you’ll learn which are your favorite, which your baby can tolerate, and which ones work most effectively. I really like this particular kind because they do not dry out the baby’s skin and they do not have a rough texture.
Baby Gate – Baby gates are extra important to have to help keep your baby safe, especially if you have stairs. It also helps keep the baby in a smaller territory when they begin to crawl and walk.
Health & Grooming Kit – These are the basic essentials you’re going to need at some point in time.
Boogie Wipes – These are made especially for snotty messes! These wipes help clean those messes and moisturize baby’s skin after all that wiping.
Hangers – You’ll want to stock up on hangers to help organize baby’s clothes! I like to buy a lot of the same hangers to help keep a uniform look when organizing all the clothes! I also love these dividers to help keep track of sizing.
Hamper – This one is self-explanatory. Although, for an added life hack, I like to keep two hampers nearby. One for dirty clothes, of course. The other for clothes that are outgrown.
Laundry Detergent – It wasn’t until I became a mom that I learned that babies needed a special laundry detergent and that it smells AMAZING! Any time I smell this fragrance, I get a sense of “baby nostalgia.”
Onesies – You’ll need lots of onesies it lots of different sizes. Sadly enough, babies grow so quickly (*tears*) and sometimes they’ll need multiple outfit changes a day between blowouts and spit-ups. My babies were both just a little over six pounds and when we arrived home, nothing seemed to fit! I had to order preemie sized onesies and pajamas for them to wear their first month. It would’ve been helpful to have them on hand before arrival!
Zipper Pajamas – Key word: zipper. Always zipper. Zipper pajamas are life savers for those midnight diaper changes. To be honest, they’re great for the mid-day changes too just because of avoiding all those pesky snaps on button pajamas! Just like onesies, you’ll want to have zipper pajamas in lots of sizes to grow with the baby.
Socks – Our body heat escapes through our head and feet. That’s why it’s so important to keep baby’s little feet warm, especially in cooler months. It’ll be helpful to have a lot of socks on hand because somehow, they seem to disappear into thin air.
I hope this list helps you organize your thoughts as you prepare your baby registry. Give yourself time and flexibility as you anticipate the arrival of your little one. Always remember that you can go back and make changes to items you’ve chosen on your baby registry and that sometimes simply asking for gift cards can be a lifesaver, too! It doesn’t all have to be perfect before the baby’s arrival. You’ll learn a lot as you go along. You were made for this! Don’t doubt the ability to care for your baby the way God has created you to do.
What are some of your must-have baby items? Leave your suggestions in the comments!
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