Registering for your baby items is definitely one of the more fun aspects of being pregnant, among an ever growing list of less pleasant parts. But it can also be overwhelming. There are so many things marketed as a MUST-HAVE baby item. Things that promise better sleep, a good eater, easier naps, engaging play and so on. But I think most moms would agree that there are only a few things that are truly must-haves for baby – at least right away. And all of those other things fall into the “nice to have” category. To get you started, I rounded up several of the truly must-have items for you to peruse and see what fits your lifestyle best. Because the thing is, even among the must have items there is variety, and what works for one mom/family won’t always work for another.
1. A car seat
This is truly a must have. As in, they won’t let you leave the hospital without one. The thing about car seats is that there is a HUGE variety. There are newborn seats, convertible seats, travel systems – it makes your head spin when you start researching. Most people opt for a newborn seat to start with but there are convertible seats that fit a newborn. Just be sure whichever you choose you read the manual thoroughly to know when adjustments or changes need to be made to suit your baby.
- Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat
- Britax B-Safe Gen2 Infant Car Seat Eclipse – SafeWash
- Maxi-Cosi Pria All-in-One Convertible Car Seat
Along with the car seat purchase usually comes the questions about the stroller. Believe it or not, there are moms that say a stroller isn’t a necessity, at least early on, so you’ll have to decide if it’s a must have for you or not. But if you are stroller shopping, I highly recommend choosing a stroller that fits your car seat to make the transition from car to stroller easy when you have a sleeping baby. These are often sold as “travel systems,” so they can come with heftier price tags, which is something to keep in mind if you’re on a tight budget.
- Chicco Bravo 3-in-1 Quick Fold Travel System
- Graco Fast Action Fold Jogger Stroller
- Doona Car Seat and Stroller
2. A safe place to sleep
Babies don’t need a lot of things but you are going to want them to have somewhere to sleep. Between daytime naps and nighttime sleep, babies do a lot of sleeping so this is definitely something you’re going to want to have thought about. Here are a few options and how they might be helpful:
A Crib: a pretty traditional option and great if you have space in a separate nursery or in your own room for this piece of furniture. You can opt for a traditional look or choose a more modern crib depending on your style.
this is a great option if you’re planning to keep baby in the room with you those first few months or don’t have room for a full sized crib. These usually can fit right next to your bed to make middle of the night feeds and diaper changes easier. The one downside to a bassinet is that your baby will grow out of it faster than a crib.
A Pack N’ Play- This is a portable crib and many people register for one even if they have other sleep options for baby. The nice thing about this option is it can easily be moved from one spot to another in your home and it will work for a newborn as well as continue to be a good option as baby grows.
Don’t forget, when getting your sleep space you’re going to need to consider what kind of mattress your baby’s bed will need as well as sheets. This varies depending on which type of bed you register for.
3. Feeding supplies
You typically have three main choices here- breastfeeding, exclusive pumping or bottle feeding. The choice you make for you and your baby will effect what the must have items are for you. Or you may not know yet what your plan is and you want to be prepared for multiple scenarios which is great too! There are all kinds of accessories and extras in the feeding department so here is where I suggest you start as a basic must-have.
Whether you’re breastfeeding, or exclusively pumping you’ll probably want a breast pump. Many insurance plans will cover the cost of this purchase so definitely reach out to yours to see what you may qualify for. If you’re looking for an easy way to get started, check out Aeroflow Breast Pumps, they can help see what pumps your insurance covers and get yours ordered.
A definite must have if you’re planning to formula feed or exclusively pump.. But here’s a good tip! Babies can sometimes be picky about the bottle they prefer. I recommend getting a bottle assortment- often registries offer these (like this one on babylist!) You can test out a variety of bottles with your babe and then order a full set of the one they prefer. If you’re planning to breastfeed you still may want to consider having a few of these on hand so that other people can help with feeding or so that grandma can babysit.
4. Diapering supplies
This one will be an ongoing must have item for quite a while. Did you know most babies will go through about 2,000 diapers on average in their first year? But I’ve got some registry tips for diapers. First you need to decide if you’re going to go with disposable, cloth or a combination of both.
Disposable- If you’re using disposable it can be a great idea to register for a few boxes OR register for a diaper fund- a new trend where people can donate cash towards diapers without buying specific boxes.
While babies will go through thousands of diapers that first year, those diapers will not all be the same size. And what you don’t want to do is register for 5 boxes of newborn diapers only to discover that your baby outgrows newborn diapers in a week. Also, just like babies have bottle preferences- different babies respond differently to different diaper brands depending on their size, skin sensitivity etc. A possible place to start would be 1 box of newborns, 4 boxes of size 1 and 2 boxes of size 2 to get you started. But don’t open any boxes until you’re ready for them. This way if you find you don’t need any more of that size or your baby ends up preferring a different brand you can exchange them.
Cloth- If you’re planning to use cloth diapers you’re going to want to get started with diaper inserts, covers and wet bags.
While this is a must-have for your baby for sure, but it may or may not be a must-have for your registry. Everyone loves to buy baby clothes so sometimes having them on your registry means people will gravitate towards those purchases rather than the other essentials you need. On the other hand, if you don’t put clothing items on your registry people will still probably buy them for you and in this case they’ll be buying what they like, which may not be your preferred style.
If you do register for clothes some of the most important things you’ll want are sleepers and onesies as these are versatile, easy to get on and off, and comfy for your baby. But of course you can also add special and seasonal outfits as well. I also recommend registering for a variety of sizes so you don’t end up with way more newborn outfits than you could use and nothing for when they turn 6 months.
Keep in mind the season your baby will be born. If you want to register for an adorable Fourth of July firework onesie that’s great! But think about the size- will your baby be born in July so they can use a newborn or 0-3 month size? Or are they due in October so by the time July rolls around they would be better off with a 9 month size.
That’s 5 main must haves. Sure, there are so many other wonderful items that you’ll want to register for as you start shopping around – like maybe a super soft swaddle, a hands free carrier or burp cloths. But this list will get you started on the right foot, and leave you confident that your baby has what it needs.
I’d love to hear in the comments what items you felt were must haves when your baby was born!