When my sister announced they were pregnant I was so stoked for them but also knew how I felt when we were expecting our first baby…absolutely CLUELESS!! I had been around babies and kids all my life but I didn’t know the first thing about what I actually needed to have one of my own! I mean of course there are the obvious things you realize they are going to need like a bed, a carseat and diapers but the first time you walk into a major baby store it hits you that you have no idea what you just got yourself into. It is like a deer in headlights!
So here is a little list of my favorite things that I use almost daily with my kiddos. I compiled these baby registry essentials for my sister and for all of you that might be needing a bit of help getting started.
- Video Baby Monitor: Although you may not need this in the very beginning (first 3-4 months) because most likely the baby will be close to you at all times, there will come a point where they will be in their own room. When this does happen you are going to want a video monitor so you can see and hear them. If you plan on having more than one child I would suggest getting one that is capable of seeing multiple rooms at the same time. We have the Summer duel screen monitor and have really liked it. Our friends have the Fujikam which is a wireless video monitor that you can see on your phone and they really like that as well (I would suggest this one for anyone with a nanny and you want to be able to check on them when you are not in the house).
- Sound Machine: Both of our kids have sound machines in their rooms and not only is it soothing, but it helps block out other noises in the house. Make sure you get one that never shuts off so it doesn’t interrupt their sleep. We like the ConAir Noise Maker. It has multiple sounds; ocean, white noise, rain, etc…and only turns off manually.
- Black Out Curtains: You don’t find this suggestion on a lot of lists out there, but I think it is very valuable! We had very difficult babies, who did not just go to sleep easily so we had to do everything possible to make their rooms as sleep friendly. You can find black out curtains in a variety of home stores now; these are a few I like.
- Pacifier: I realize some may not want to use a pacifier, but in our house we did so I will give you the suggestion to buy more than one brand. To prove that every baby is different our two kiddos did not take the same pacifier. Our son took right to the Dr. Brown brand and our daughter did not like any paci for the first 2 months, then finally one day I got her to settle down with a Wubba Nub paci. I would suggest registering for 2-3 different brands and seeing which one your baby will prefer.
- Swaddle Blankets: By far the Aiden and Anais swaddle blankets are the best. They are super light weight, soft and can be used for lots of different things. We used them to swaddle, sometimes I used them as burp towels, or I would even throw them over the car seat as a cover to protect the baby from sun or wind. The 3.5 year old still likes to snuggle with them.
- Baby Carrier: Just like every baby is different, so is every parent. Some like to “wear” their babies and others do not. If you do plan to baby wear then my suggestion is for the Ergo 360. It has great back support, the baby can face in when super small, face out when they can hold up their head and even go on your back when they get bigger. I like how easy it is to get on and off and can actually do it while holding the baby. I tried the Moby wrap when the babies were small and although it is soft and keeps the baby tucked in tight, it just wasn’t for me. I did not like that it was not quick to put on and took even longer to take off, fold and put away. It also did not give me good enough back support. The things I think are the most important are: Can I get it on and off easily? Can the baby face all directions as they grow older? Is it comfortable? Does it support my back so I could wear it for at least an hour if the baby falls asleep?
- Humidifier: Let’s face it kids get sick. It is inevitable. So you definitely want to have a humidifier on your registry. I like the Vicks brand because you not only have the steam to help them breath, but it also has a spot for the Vicks to be vaporized into the room as well. It’s a win win when the baby is sick and they are not old enough to take any kind of medication.
- Bottle Warmer: Even though I breast fed both our babes, eventually I began to pump so the hubby could help with some of the feedings. Let me tell you that when you have a crying, hungry baby you don’t want to be trying to microwave some water and guess at how long the bottle is going to take to warm up. Get a bottle warmer. It takes all the guess work out! Depending on how many ounces are in the bottle it will be ready in 2-4 minutes! We used the Dr. Brown Bottle warmer and loved it.
- Nursing Pillow: I loved the Boppy pillow, but I know there are other brands out there. These pillows are not only good for nursing, but they come in handy to prop the baby up after a feeding, as they get older they can lay on it for tummy time, then you can use it when they are starting to sit up to support their back. This is really a must have!
- Bath Seat: Once baby has outgrown baths in the sink and they are ready for the big tub I highly suggest a bath seat. We have used the same one with both kids and we love it. It helps them to not slip around in the bath and helps me as a mom when I’m washing one kid not to worry about the other one moving around too much. They don’t make the exact one we have but here is something very similar: Keter Bath Seat
Those are my top ten must haves but I also wanted to mention a few other products that I do like and recommend…Nose Frida Snot Sucker (do not be a alarmed, this sounds gross but it will help you when baby is sick and is unable to blow their own nose), Diaper Pail (those diapers are pretty stinky and you are not going to want to just put them in the regular trash can), Cart/High Chair Cover (not only does it make sitting in a cart more comfy it also keeps baby away from lots of germs), and last but not least you do need somewhere to lay the baby so I suggest the Rock n’ Play Cradle (it collapses easily, fits in small spaces and we used it as the main bed until almost 5 months).
I know one of the bigger purchases is the carseat and stroller, which can be the most overwhelming because there are so many options. My suggestion is to go wheel them around, see how easy/difficult they are to collapse, test out how heavy they are to lift, do your own research. For baby number one we ended up with the Britax carseat and stroller. I still love how light it is and how easy it is to collapse. But once baby number two came we realized we needed space for another and I was not about to go for a double wide. So we upgraded to the Baby Jogger double stroller and love it. They only down side is that it is quite heavy!
One thing you do not need to register for anymore is a breast pump. Make sure to call your insurance company because most of them are now covering breast pumps (one every year for as long as you decide to breast feed).
And there you have it folks, your guide to all things baby. I hope this helps out the confused, overwhelmed, slightly shocked new parents out there. My mom always reminds me that they didn’t have any of this stuff when we were babies and we still turned out all right so that should give you some comfort!
*Photos by Eyelet Images