If you have a baby on the way, you are probably overwhelmed at all the things you need to do to prepare. There’s the nursery, the hospital bag, the baby classes, the doctors’ appointments, the baby shower, and of course, the baby registry. The lists are endless.
Creating the list of necessary baby materials can be a daunting task for any soon-to-be momma.
Here are a few things that worked well for my family when we had Lily. These are some of the must-have items I would (and have!) recommend to any friend or family member that’s expecting.
Warning: this is a long list with my tried-and-true opinions and experiences with different products.
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I’m first going to start off by saying that you need a swing for your newborn baby. This little swing gives us a break, and it gives her the option of finally resting without being in our arms.
We love this swing because it also has a built-in mobile that keeps her attention (and makes her eyes heavy!). Its lights glow different colors as the bears rotate above her. It also plays music and can be controlled on your phone, which is just so cool and easy.
This swing is a little pricey, but it’s worth it. The seat can be removed and doubles as a battery-powered bouncy seat too. So you essentially get double the products!
You can find it here.
The only downside to this swing is that it takes up a lot of room, so if you have limited space, you may want to get something a little smaller, like this one.
A Pack and Play or Bassinet
Lily slept in her Pack and Play until she officially moved to her nursery when she was four months old. This made it so easy for me to nurse her when she was hungry during the night. It’s also collapsible and extremely mobile. It’s been on two vacations with us since we’ve had her!
Many people even keep their babies inside the Pack and Play when they need to cook a meal or clean without any interruptions. It’s a great way to keep your baby safe when you need a well-deserved break. We just bought a simple one from Graco, and you can find it here.
When you purchase your Pack and Play, don’t forget to also get at least two crib sheets to fit over it. We always keep one on the mattress and one as a spare in case of any accidents (as there will be many!).
Baby Bath Tub
This is an absolute must-have. It will make bath time a breeze for almost the first entire year of your baby’s life! Also, it saves water by not needing to fill an entire tub!
Our favorite is the Fisher-Price 4-in-1 Sling n’ Seat Tub.
We’ve actually used this tub for both our girls. It’s versatile and comfortable for them to relax. It’s easy to drain, clean, and hang until the next bath. This bath comes equipped with a sling that allows small babies to recline.
And when your baby can sit up on their own, you can remove the net and sit them up in the little seat underneath. After they outgrow that seat, you can even remove that and have them sit in the bigger tub.
When you’re done with the tub, you can hang it to dry on your shower rod. It’s truly a great design that’s versatile throughout your little one’s first year!
Related Post: Postpartum Recovery Products You’ll Absolutely Need
These are so important! You want to arm yourself with many swaddle blankets to help keep that little bundle of yours warm and cozy. There are so many swaddle blankets out on the market, but the Swaddle Me blankets have been our favorite.
These come in different sizes, based on your child’s weight, and offer adjustable Velcro options so that your baby can’t wiggle out of the blanket.
Aside from the homemade blankets given to us by my Nana, these swaddles have been a lifesaver. They even allow for easy diaper changes during the night without removing the entire swaddle.
I’d recommend registering for a few different types of swaddle blankets so that you can try out what works best to keep your little one nice and snug!
Putting furniture on your registry may be difficult to swallow, but I recommend doing this anyways for a few reasons.
The first reason is because sometimes close family members (like grandparents and parents) prefer to buy you a more substantial gift, like a crib or changing table.
The second reason (and perhaps the biggest) is because many registries will give you incentives for the things you purchase. The more money you spend, the more incentives you will receive.
My husband and I put our nursery furniture on our Babies R Us (RIP) registry, but we purchased it ourselves. This was great because they offered store credit as one of their incentives. We purchased our furniture but still got cash back to spend in the store!
We also love the furniture set we got. There are some pieces made by the same company still available! Here’s the crib on Amazon.
Check your store’s registry incentives before registering!
This is a great thing to register for, and many people love to purchase this heavily-used item for your baby shower. I HIGHLY recommend registering for an infant carrier seat. This seat makes it easy to snap into the base and take your infant anywhere without actually taking them out of their seat.
My kids were both born in October, and when the cold winters arrived, it was so nice to take them on errands without worrying about them being cold. I loved knowing that they were bundled in their seat with their blankets.
We used the Graco SnugRide SnugLock Infant Car Seat. You can check it out on Amazon here.
We actually registered for an entire travel system (see below), complete with the stroller that also allowed the infant seat to snap right into place. I LOVE this feature, because we take a lot of walks with the girls and the dog. I highly recommend registering for the travel system to also get your stroller with your car seat.
Because we have two cars, we also registered for an additional infant seat base. This way, we could easily switch cars when needed. It’s worth the extra $50 investment for sure.
Just imagine all the fun trips you’ll take!
Strollers are so necessary when you want to leave the house and go, well, anywhere with your little one. As I stated above, we registered for an entire travel system. This meant we got our infant car seat, car seat base, and stroller all in one. I can’t stress enough good things about this decision. It was, and still is SO easy.
We registered for the Graco Modes Jogger Travel System. This came with the infant seat I recommended above. You can check it out here.
The jogger stroller is great for taller adults to push as well. My husband is 6 foot 5 and he tried many different strollers before landing on this one. The jogger stroller is also great for any type of terrain without giving your little one a bumpy ride.
When you register, you may also want to consider registering for an umbrella stroller as well. This is something I didn’t do, but I purchased it later when I realized we needed it.
This lightweight stroller makes it easy to load in and out of your car when you don’t have a ton of space. We also used this when we traveled on the airplane as well.
It was much better for our 11-month old at the time, and it made for easy and quick transport, as it’s super portable. We have this one and we love it!
Having a baby monitor gives parents the peace of mind they need to get a good night’s sleep. We love our baby monitor. Hands down, it’s one of the greatest gifts from the registry!
Our Motorola monitor comes with a camera, the video monitor, and charging cables for both. It was very easy to set up, and it is extremely user-friendly. It allows us to play music, talk to our little one, adjust the positioning remotely, and more.
You can find it here.
Many people also swear by the Owlet sock monitor. This monitors your baby’s heart rate and oxygen levels. It sends information and alerts to your smart device so you can keep track.
If you are a worrisome parent, this product might be for you. It helps quell anxiety and gives moms extra peace of mind so they, too, can get a good night’s sleep.
Different Types of Bottles
If you talk to any mama, they will likely tell you to register for a few different types of bottles. This way, you can try out a few kinds to see what your baby likes the best.
One of the awesome things about registries is that they will typically provide you with different incentives when you register with them, and this usually includes a welcome gift of some sort. These welcome kits often include some bottles to try, which can give you a good starting point for your bottle collection.
For now, you’ll only need the 4 oz bottles for your little ones. They only eat small feedings for the first few months. By then, you’ll be able to invest in more of the same type of bottle your child likes.
We really like the Philips Avent bottles. They are easy-to-use and easy-to-clean, and both my daughters took to them really well! They come in either plastic or glass. I also hear really great things about Tommee Tippee bottles.
Do some research and choose a few! Then, when the baby comes, you can experiment with the choices and target the best ones for your baby!
I can’t stress this enough. You will use bibs day-in and day-out when you have children. My two year old is STILL using them (despite the fact that she pulls them off frequently!).
Make sure you register for drool bibs, as drooling is one of the many talents of small babies! These help spare you many onesie changes throughout the day. We got these for our girls, and we love them! And they have them in boys’ styles here.
After using them, we just throw them in the wash with the rest of them. Choose stylish patterns, because when your baby is teething, they will practically live in these bibs.
You also might want some easily wipe-able bibs for when they start eating solid foods. These ones are awesome for my girls. We’ve been using the same ones for over 2 years. They are that durable! Plus, they offer cute designs as well.
Baby carriers are great. Simply put. They allow you to get things done even when your baby wants YOU and only you. Avoid the frustration of decreased productivity by investing in a quality baby carrier.
I even take mine on errands with me. With two kids, I find it easier to baby-wear one while I push the other in a stroller.
We have an Ergobaby carrier like this one here. And we love it! Both me and my husband can wear it.
Clothes are one of the main things that people LOVE to buy for you when you are having a baby. Prepare yourself for lots and lots of baby clothes! Because people love to buy this anyways, I recommend only registering for a few essential clothing options, like basic onesies and sleepers in a range of sizes. This way, you’ll get what you need.
And people will still buy you lots of adorable outfits anyways! Trust me, there’s just something about those little pieces of clothing that make people swoon.
When you have a little one in your home, you’ll be amazed at how the place transforms. (And when you add multiple children, you’ll start to forget that adults even live there). To make this easier, I recommend registering for some storage bins. Choose colors that match your home, especially the family room and the nursery. These are where you will likely keep a lot of your baby essentials.
Storage bins like these are great for keeping your home organized with some style.
At our house, we have countless storage bins of different shapes and sizes. We have a few for diapers and wipes placed in convenient locations for easy changing. We have bins with toys for both girls, craft supplies, hair accessories, socks and tights, and much more.
The point is, you can never have too many storage bins or baskets.
Having a Diaper Genie is a game changer for those stinky diapers. It helps to trap the smell and also store diapers so you don’t have to run them outside to the trash bins each time you change a diaper.
This one comes in white (and even has stylish sticker covers you can add to them!) to match your home and color scheme. We love this simple white design, so we opted out of a decor option for our registry. But the last thing you want is an eyesore in your perfectly detailed nursery.
Don’t forget to register for the bags that you need to refill the Genie. I recommend getting the multi-pack here. It’s a better investment and it helps to have extras on hand for when the roll runs out.
Diapers and Wipes
Ah, the essentials. You’ll want lots of these, and you’ll use every last one of them!
This is a great thing to add to your registry because, well, you’ll need them.
Diapers are a personal preference, so it’s hard for me to give a perfect recommendation for these. Many people love to go all organic with their baby products, and great diapers for this are the Babyganics diapers. We used these when Lily was a baby, and they worked great. I loved them, but I couldn’t keep up with the expense.
Instead, we opted for Pampers Swaddlers. These worked great for us when the girls were little babies. In fact, Jana is still using these as a 4 month old.
Once Lily started moving around more, we opted for the Huggies Little Movers brand. These are a great option for those that are walking, running, climbing, and more. We found that once Lily got more mobile, the Pampers diapers were too thin.
We also love the Pampers wipes at our house. I’ve had experiences with other wipes where they constantly get stuck in the bag or they come out in clumps. I have never run into this issue with the Pampers wipes, so we keep buying this brand.
I recommend registering for a few different diaper and wipes brands to see what works best for you. I have friends that swear by Luvs and I have others that love the Honest brand (I love their products – you’ll see below- but their diapers just didn’t cut it for either of my girls! We had lots of blowouts in these.).
But, once again, this is a personal preference. I’m just sharing my stories.
And if you choose to use cloth diapers, you’ll still want to register for a few of these options as well.
Either way, you need something to cover that cute little tushy.
Having a curved changing pad is a great way to turn any dresser into a make-shift changing table. This is the one we got and we love it!
A changing pad is a great thing to add to your registry, because its a practical and affordable gift option.
You can strap the changing pad to the dresser for extra security (we should probably do this!). Also, you can add a stylish changing pad sheet to protect your pad and match the rest of your nursery.
We have some that also match our crib sheets! It brings the whole look of the nursery together.
Postpartum Recovery Essentials
When you are registering, you might forget about what YOU need after the baby is born. After birth, your body goes through a whole other set of tribulations that will certainly bring about more challenges and discomforts.
Be prepared with a full supply of pads, medications, and more by checking out my list of essential postpartum recovery products every mom needs.
Baby Gates and Other Safety Items
Safety is key. Always.
You’ll learn this quickly as a first-time parent. All of a sudden, you’ll notice all the dangers in the world.
So prepare yourself by adding babyproofing stuff to your registry now. Things like baby gates, outlet covers, door knob covers, and cabinet latches will come in a handy sooner than you know.
It’s best to prepare yourself with these items now, just to have peace of mind for when your little one starts to move and groove.
We registered for these awesome baby gates that were easy to install and great for easy opening and closing. We also like the “extra tall” feature that doesn’t require frequent bending over to let yourself in and out. (Plus, remember, tall husband!)
As you can see, our registry had lots of options that catered to taller people!
Bath and Skin Products
This is an important category for your registry, as you’ll also want to try different products to see what works for you and your little one. Our favorite bath product brands are Babyganics, The Honest Company, and Burt’s Bees.
My toddler loves to take bubble baths, and although infants don’t use as much of this product, we find the bubble bath by The Honest Company to be the best one out there once they start with the bubbles. It lathers up well, creating lots of bubbles for your bath. Also, it comes in great scents – even I use it for my own baths sometimes (when I have a few spare minutes to myself of course).
We love the Burt’s Bees shampoo and body wash. They have a few different scents, including a non-fragrance option. Here’s a great set to add to your registry so that you can give a few of their products a try!
We also love any of the Babyganics bath products, which we rotate with the Burt’s Bees depending on what’s on sale.
My favorites are the nighttime scents, like lavender, to promote relaxation. For us, bath time is usually at night, and anything that helps this process is welcomed.
My daughter also loves any body wash that’s foaming, so that’s another reason we love adding the Babyganics products to our registry!
Babyganics and Earth Mama have some great lotion and skin products that are all organic and safe for that precious, brand new baby skin.
Check out this line of Earth Mama products. You can get something for both you and baby. (They also have great postpartum products. I’ve used their sitz bath and nipple butter products myself!)
Don’t forget to add a few crib sheets to your registry. You’ll want to have a few back-ups on hand for those accidents or messes, cause they will happen (more than you know!). And the last thing you want to do is have to do laundry at 3 am.
We purchased these adorable crib sheets on Amazon. They were created by Sweet JoJo Designs and you can find a similar one right here.
Burp clothes are great to have lying around as well. These help keep your laundry to a minimum by protecting your clothes from spit up.
You’ll also want baby towels and wash clothes. We use hooded towels to help keep them warm after their baths. Transitioning them out of the tub is no fun, but the hooded towels make it a little bit easier. Choose ones that are soft and comfortable. Whites are even better, because you can always bleach towels to keep them extra clean.
We put this adorable white, hooded, bear towel on our registry – and we still use it today! It’s thick and soft, which makes it both durable and comfy for my girls.
Diapers bags are quite necessary. In fact, I remember thinking that I didn’t need to register for a diaper bag because I was going to be one of those cool moms that used an adult tote bag. I didn’t want something that screamed “this is for my baby!”
So, I resisted the urge to put one on my registry… at the beginning.
At the recommendation of other moms, I broke down and registered for this awesome and affordable diaper bag set.
And I don’t regret it one bit. In fact, we are still using it for our second girl!
It comes with the big duffel-shaped bag and a few other mini bags to include inside. These are great for keeping items separate and organized within the bag. I use one for extra clothes, one for snacks for me and my toddler, one for small items like diaper cream, medicines, or other miscellaneous items that find their way into the bag.
Having a diaper bag with some interior compartments will help you stay sane when you are rifling through your bag looking for something, which will happen often.
Choose one for your registry that meets your style preferences, because then you will be more likely to use it for a longer time.
We are also huge fans of the diaper bag backpack for when we travel. It’s great to have free hands to hold your other stuff and your kids. Be sure to put one on your registry if you don’t typically hold big purses/bags.
Play mats are like amusement parks for babies. They love to stare up at the hanging toys and engage with mirrors, rattles, and other manipulatives that come in a lot of these play mat sets.
We chose an Infantino rainbow one with just the basics, but there are tons out there to match your style, gender, or toy preferences.
This is another must-have for when your little one begins to engage with the world around them. They have a place to do tummy time and play with their little toys.
We like to have some neutral things on our registry so that we can keep reusing baby items for any future little ones we may have. I highly recommend doing the same if you plan on having more than one!
These are some of the things you should include on your baby registry!
What are some things you couldn’t live without when you had your first baby? Let us know in the comments below!
This post contains the beautiful photography showcasing my girls and our home, taken by our newborn photographer, Danielle Lyn Art Photography. You can check out her amazing gallery and show her some love by clicking here.