Baby Registry Essentials | A Nurse & Feeding Expert’s Guide

baby babyregistry breastfeeding combo-feeding newborn nursingessentials Jan 16, 2024
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Building your registry can be stressful. These tips from a pediatric nurse and feeding expert can help you build your registry with important essentials you will actually use.

Building a baby registry can be a daunting task. There are so many products out there, and so many opinions on what registry items are “must-haves”. It’s a delicate process and you often don’t know what you are in the moment. I created this blog post with baby registry essentials that I use and love as a pediatric nurse practitioner, lactation counselor, and mom of two boys. My goal is to give you helpful tips and questions to think through, even if you are creating your baby registry as a second-time mom.

Nursery Baby Registry Items

  • Crib and Mattress: There are many options when choosing a crib. Think about a few things: do you want to use it as a toddler bed? If so, choose a transitional bed. If not, you can choose any. It is hard to choose a crib mattress, and it is important to read reviews or feel them in person. The mattress should be firm to touch for your baby’s safety. Consider how easy it is to clean the mattress for inevitable blow outs or spit ups. You may consider a breathable mattress.

  • My recommendation: This mattress was my splurge item and we still love it. It is easy to hose down and gave me great peace of mind when both babies started sleeping on their bellies once they could roll. It has held up great for both boys. We have this crib which has held up well, even while being used by a toddler.

  • Changing Table: Simplify diaper changes with a dedicated changing table that can be safely mounted to the wall. Look for one with storage options to keep diapers, wipes, and other essentials within arm's reach. Choose a changing pad that can be easily wiped down.

  • Rocking chair, glider, or a comfortable chair: It isn’t a necessity on your baby registry, but you will need somewhere to feed your baby in the middle of the night. We never used a glider, but used an heirloom rocking chair. It was uncomfortable and hard to feed in. We moved a comfortable chair in for our second, which has been so much better.

  • Baby Monitor: Consider if you want one that connects to WiFi or not. WiFi monitors usually have a wider range of where you can use the monitor (for instance, you can see in the room while you are working or out of the house). The downside is that there is sometimes a delay in transmission. It is also said that WiFi monitors are more easily hacked.I suggest a monitor that has a moving camera if possible.What we use: Infant Optics Non-WiFi

  • Sound machine: I consider a sound machine to be essential for baby sleep. I love our hatch and bought another for our second baby. We change the colors for our older child so he knows when it is time to go to sleep and when to wake up. Consider a portable sound machine too.

  • Crib Bedding: Choose sheets that work for your style. Make sure to skip the crib bumpers (even mesh ones), pillows, and blankets, which are not a part of safe sleep.

  • Bassinet: A bedside bassinet is a game changer in your baby’s first few months when you are waking up to feed in the middle of the night. Consider if you want to splurge on a bassinet like the Snoo or go for something convenient but less money like the Halo. We used both since a friend let us borrow the Snoo for free. It worked well for a few weeks and did give us extra sleep. I recommend the Halo for breastfeeding moms so you do not miss hunger cues.

Feeding and Diapering Baby Registry Items

  • Breast pump: Once you decide on your breast pump, consider putting replacement parts on your registry. You will likely need a couple sets of duckbills and valves.

    >>>  To learn more about choosing a breast pump, click here <<<

  • Bottle warmer: Did you know your baby doesn’t need to drink warm milk, though it is a preference for many babies? My pick: Philips Avent Bottle Warmer has held up great.

  • Bottle sterilizer: Bottle sterilizers can be very convenient for bottle-fed babies or moms who exclusively pump. Alternatively, you can sterilize parts in your dishwasher or boiling water.

  • Burp Cloths: Your baby is going to spit up. It’s nice to have a few burp cloths hanging out by your feeding area.

  • Straw cleaner: Maybe this isn’t the most fancy registry item, but it is something that every mom will need sooner or later. This straw cleaner is everything when you’re washing tons of bottles and pump parts.

  • Drying rack: I’ve had three different drying racks. This drying rack takes up the least space and is the easiest to clean.

  • Milk cooler: Are you planning on pumping or sending your baby to school? Consider a milk cooler for easy portability. Bonus: get one that isn’t all black so you always know which one is yours.

  • Breastfeeding pillow: There are two main players when it comes to breastfeeding pillows. I don’t love either of them, but they are nice to have when your baby has very low tone as a newborn. The My Breast Friend tends to have more structure while the Boppy gives you a bit more flexibility. I prefer the MBF over the Boppy.

  • Haakaa and ladybugs: These are nice to have items, but can be lifesavers for moms who have an abundant milk supply. Haakaas are pumps that remove milk via suction. They are often used on the opposite breast you are nursing on and help catch leaking milk. Ladybugs are inserted into your bra and catch the milk that leaks throughout the day. They are not discrete like they are marketed, but can be helpful for moms who drip milk.p>

  • Pumping bag for work: Choose a pumping bag with a lot of space and a compartment for your laptop.

  • Bottles and Nipples: This may come as a surprise, but I don’t recommend putting many baby bottles on your registry. Why? Your baby may have a strong opinion about what they do or do not like. I recommend starting out with one or two with different nipple shapes and then buying more as you need them. We used Dr. Brown’s Glass bottles and Chicco duo bottles with lansinoh nipples for Elliot (before he had bottle refusal) and used Como Tomo for Max.

  • Highchair: It is difficult to decide whether to spend a lot of money on a fancy high chair or get one from Ikea. I recommend the Abiie since it is easy to clean and grows with your baby.

  • Feeding items for starting solids: consider adding bibs, bowls, plates, an open cup, and a straw cup to your registry.

  • Diapers and Wipes: You may want to start with a few packs of different types of diapers and wipes until you see how your baby’s skin reacts to them.

  • Butt spatula: Don’t skip this one. In fact, put two on there. Would you rub cream on your booty after you pooped? Probably not. It is the same with your baby. Use a butt spatula for an easier diaper cream experience.

  • Diaper Bag: A well-packed diaper bag is a parent's best friend. Decide if you want one both you and your partner can use or one for you alone. 

Clothing Baby Registry Items

  • Onesies and Sleepsuits: Keep your baby comfortable in soft, breathable onesies and sleepsuits. Consider a range of sizes to accommodate your baby's growth.

  • Swaddle Blankets: Swaddling can help soothe your baby and promote better sleep. I recommend a non-weighted swaddle that zips on the bottom for easier diaper changes at night. Your baby will grow out of a swaddle when they can roll. You may consider adding a sleep suit for when they get older.

Health and Safety Baby Registry Items

  • Baby thermometer: A digital thermometer is a must-have for monitoring your baby's temperature in case of illness. You don’t need anything fancy. This one works great.

  • Baby health items: Include a well-stocked first aid kit with essentials like baby-safe nail cutters, saline drops, and a snot sucker for nasal congestion.

  • Childproofing Essentials: Prepare your home for a curious explorer by adding safety gates, outlet covers, and cabinet locks to your registry.

  • Infant Car Seat: Ensure your baby's safety while traveling by including a reliable infant car seat in your registry. Don’t forget to check out the crash test ratings. We went with the Chicco car seat because of the good crash test ratings.

  • Stroller: I used three strollers for my boys. One that the car seat is attached to, one for jogging, and a small umbrella stroller. I never anticipated this, but I used them all frequently! I got my strollers on Facebook Marketplace to save money, but many like to include them on their registry. Don’t forget the cup holder or tray accessories!

  • Stroller fan: Are you going to take your baby out during the summer? Don’t forget to add a portable fan You’ll use it all the time.

  • Baby bath, towel & soft washcloths: Choose soft towels and washcloths for your baby. You will use them for a long time!

Registry Items for Moms

Don't forget to put items on your registry for yourself and your family. Consider adding food delivery gift cards, a donation fund for massages, self-care items, or postpartum support services. You can even add lactation services like mine! Having a baby is hard, so treat yourself!

That’s a lot! Building a baby registry is an exciting step, yet it can be stressful! It is important to focus on what items you actually need on your baby registry and think through different scenarios when using those items.  By focusing on nursery essentials, feeding and diapering supplies, clothing and bedding, and health and safety items, you'll create a well-rounded registry that meets your baby's needs.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase from these links, I get a small commission at no extra cost to you. This money helps me provide free or low-cost baby feeding support to moms like you.

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