We are almost a year into this first time parent thing and I feel WAY more confident in creating a registry than I did a year ago. It’s crazy to me to think back. I had NO idea what to expect. You can truly read as much as you want but until you’re in it you don’t know what you will really need. Anyway, so many friends and followers have asked me what my top items are so I figured I’d share with you our most used and loved items and what I wish was on our registry from day one. This is your baby registry checklist from a first time mom who is almost 1 year in.
Baby Registry 101
Here’s the thing, you don’t need much when you bring baby home, some clothes, some diapers, some wipes and a place for them to sleep. Much of what you will see below is what makes life easier and what we personally use and like. You may find that you end up loving some things and not needing others. Everyone is different, every baby is different and that’s ok.
We used Amazon as our main baby registry. We also used Target Registry to buy our furniture through (because you get a discount for using them). The nice thing is that the return window is pretty long so if you find you aren’t using something or need a replacement you have time to return/replace.
From experience, I recommend setting things up but saving tags, boxes & receipts. You want to set them up because it’s easier to do when you don’t have a newborn and you want to make sure nothing is missing and/or broken which we had a few things like this. If you unbox it and set it up, you can take care of it before you’re sleep deprived.
We loved using Amazon for our registry but there are tons of options out there. I would recommend using the registry that feels best to you and makes your life easiest. For us, Amazon was it.
Baby Registry Checklist
Below you will see my top picks broken up into sections. Remember, you certainly don’t need all of these items but these are what we have used and liked over the past year. Hand me downs are amazing too by the way! Most of our clothes are hand me downs and we absolutely love that because they grow so dang fast. Ask around, look for sales in your area or even join a Buy Nothing group on Facebook to find gently used or new items.
Nursery & Sleep
It was so fun to set up the nursery before Connor arrived but we have rearranged a few times since he was born to adjust to his and our needs. He didn’t sleep in here until after he was 4 months but I nursed him in the nursery every night as it was a nice, dark and calm environment for us all.
We decided on a convertible crib so that it can grow with him. We love it so far and at 11 months he is finally on the lowest setting so he can’t climb out. We used a pack & play (see below) in our room for the first 4 months and the crib lay vacant. Around 4 months we moved him into his crib in his nursery and has been sleeping there ever since.
Crib Mattress + Mattress Pad Cover + Sheets
There are so many options so it will totally depend on preference, size and budget. You will want a mattress that is JPMA Certified for safe sleep. I highly recommend getting at least 2 waterproof mattress pad covers and 2-3 sheets so that way if you have to change them in the middle of the night you’re prepared.
We got a dresser to match his crib but you can certainly use any old dresser, just make sure you attach it to the wall for safety reasons. We love the one we have from Target.
Changing Pad + Covers
We got a changing pad that was waterproof, light and easy to move. We had it anchored to the top of the dresser until Connor became wigglier. Once he could roll and move, we moved it to the floor. It’s not fancy but it gets the job done. We used the covers for when he was younger and would have blowouts, now we just use the pad as-is.
I hemmed and hawed over this for a while but since we were getting the other furniture from Target we landed on this one too. I went and sat in it in the store and loved it. We don’t use the reclining feature and instead use this ottoman. I love the chair and have spent a TON of hours in it nursing Connor so it is well used and loved.
Black Out Curtains
Highly recommend getting black out curtains for the nursery (and also your room if your baby will sleep in there.) We got these for our room and these for Connor’s room. You will likely need to take measurements of your windows to make sure they will fully cover the window because believe me, less light = more sleep.
Pack & Play + Sheets
We chose to keep Connor in our room for 4 months. Some sources say to keep them in there for a year but we felt comfortable at 4 months and welcomed the change. However, we chose to use a pack and play with a bassinet insert for those 4 months in our room. The nice part about this is that you can continue to use the pack and play as they grow and when you travel. We had plenty of sheets for the pack and play and eventually added a mattress (around 10 months) for when we traveled to make it more comfortable for him.
Pack & Play Mattress
This is not necessary especially during the first 6 months. However, we added this for traveling because we felt bad that he was used to sleeping in a crib with a nice mattress and then the pack and play has a hard mat. This is a nice to have, not a need to have for sure.
We were going to opt out of a sound machine at first because we figured we’d be fine. Well I’m here to say we LOVE our sound machine. It’s super nice when the baby is in the same room as you so you don’t wake up to every peep but can still hear baby. We started with this portable one (which is AMAZING) and then finally got this one for Connor’s room that we still use.
This is not for baby, this is for you when you have to check on baby and/or nurse in the middle of the night but don’t want to turn on the big light. We have this amazing lamp in his room but sometimes it was nice to just havea little light to check for poop, nurse or just rock baby.
I can take zero credit for this monitor I left this up to my husband who pretty much left it up to our friends who already had a monitor, ha! The 2 things we wanted were a monitor that had sound and video and also a monitor that wasn’t reliant on wifi or our phones. This one has held up for a year and we like it.
It is totally up to you whether you use a swaddle or not with your baby. When we were in the hospital, they swaddled Connor in a blanket but that just didn’t work for us and we loved using velcro and zip up swaddles instead. You can certainly forgo the swaddle but babies have what is known as the Moro Reflex and startle themselves awake so the swaddle can help reduce that. We tried a few before we landed on the Halo Sleep Sack Swaddle. My recommendation would be to register (or borrow) for 2-3 different kinds and then you can figure out which one you and your baby likes and order more yourself as needed. We also tried the SwaddleMe & Love to Dream and Connor just seemed to like the Halo sleep sack swaddle best.
Note: it also helps to know the temperature of your room/your baby’s room as this will help you determine the TOG (aka Thermal Overall Grade aka how thick/warm it is). Connor’s room is usually between 66-70 degrees F and we usually stick with a 1 TOG.
A sleep sack is more or less a wearable blanket. This isn’t necessary but for us we use these in the winter months especially when it’s cold and our heater just can’t keep up. We did not use these in the summer and we didn’t switch to a full sleep sack (no swaddle) until about 4 months. We are partial to the Halo Sleep Sack but there are a ton out there. I’ve heard people rave about the Kyte Baby ones but they are pricey so we stuck to the Halo brand. You will probably want to register for 1 of any brand you’re interested in, just in case baby doesn’t like it and I recommend registering for ones that are >6 months.
Connor never really liked or took a pacifier. He took one once in a while pretty early on and then ever since if we hand him one he just chews on it like a chew toy. He loved ones attached to an animal like this one and this one but otherwise we had a bunch of different kinds and just didn’t see them helping. If you’re going to register for them, register for a few different kinds because your baby will be different than mine.
If you’re new to diapering believe me you will be an expert in no time. You will change so many diapers in the first week of your baby’s life it will seem like second nature. That being said outside of just having enough diapers, there are other things that are super helpful.
Diapers (in all sizes)
We love the Pampers Swaddlers as they seem to fit Connor the best. We were lucky that we were gifted them in sizes Newborn, 1 and 2 so we were set for awhile.
We have a backpack and love it. The backpack makes it way easier to carry if you also have to carry a baby and it looks great too. Ours came with insulated pocket, small changing pad and tons of pocket and compartments. We use it all the time.
We have two changing pads (well 3 actually). The first is the one above that is in Connor’s nursery. The second is a travel one that we use often if we are out and about or even if we are downstairs and don’t want to go upstairs to change him. The 3rd came with the diaper bag and it’s pretty small so we never ended up using it.
Diaper Pail + Trash Bags
Alrighty so many people are on the fence on these and we were too. Why can’t we just have a normal trash can? Because baby poop smells, especially if you leave it for awhile and even if you are good intentioned to throw it out every other day you will likely miss the mark at some point because it’s hard getting everything done. We love ours and still use it a year later. We have found that the best trash bags are the ones that came with it as the Target brand ones kept ripping.
There are so many out there you will likely have to wait and see how your baby responds. We were/are lucky that our baby rarely gets diaper rash so we have had this brand and same tube since day one. I’d register for one or at least have one on hand for when baby arrives and you can always get more at the grocery store. We also use this diaper balm more regularly as it smells better, is easier to apply and works with cloth diapers (see below).
This is an item I never knew existed but am so glad it does. Diaper cream is messy, thick and impossible to get out of anything. This bum brush makes it easy to apply and also keeps it off of your hands.
I never knew how many wipes I would go through until I had a baby. We go through these so fast and they are an essential to your life now, welcome. We use the Pampers ones or Costco brand but if you are registering for them I’d highly recommend Water Wipes because of the ingredients and they are super soft.
This section is not for everyone and that is OKAY. There is no shame in doing or not doing cloth diapering it is totally up to you. I started out curious about cloth diapering and now we do it most of the time. The only time we use disposable diapers is overnight and while traveling. Below are the items we use for cloth diapering.
We have a few different brands and honestly all of them are great. You can buy them new or look on Facebook Marketplace, Poshmark, Mercari, etc. to find some hand me down ones as well as they hold up for a really long time. We have a total of 18 diapers but probably would suggest a minimum 24 if you’re going to do them full time and/or use them in daycare. We have this brand, this brand and this brand and all are great.
Wet Dry Bags
These are essential for daycare and/or if you are out and about with cloth diapers. We have 2 and send in 1/day to daycare.
Trash Can + Inserts
We didn’t get a fancy trash can, we just got a regular one and usedthese liners. We keep it in our laundry room and because we wash them every other day it’s been fine.
You have to be careful with what diaper creams/balms you use for cloth diapers as some can reduce the absorbency of the cloth. We love this one and use it for either the cloth or the disposable.
Toilet Sprayer + Splatter Shield
We got these and have yet to use them. We have a slop sink in our laundry room and that has come in handy for us. However, we have friends that use this system and love it.
I legit had NO idea what I was doing when I started this cloth diaper journey. I had a few friends help me out but somehow I still made mistakes, haha, whoops! Anyway, there are certain ways to clean the diapers, read more here. The 3 main items we use to clean the diapers are Biokleen Bac-Out to spray the stains, Tide to clean them every load and then OxiClean once in a while to help whiten.
Travel/On The Go
Even in a pandemic you will go a lot of places with your baby, even if it’s just to drive around the block to get them to sleep. Once again, not all necessary but will make your life easier.
Infant Car Seat + Bases
We have one infant car seat and 2 bases. 1 base comes with the car seat usually and then you have to buy an additional base for any other car you have or plan to use. You don’t need an infant car seat as you can use the convertible car seat (see next) but in my experience having the infant car seat is convenient and nice to have especially when they’re more floppy in the beginning and you can take it out of the car while they’re sleeping and allow them to keep napping in the seat.
We ended up getting 3 strollers when all was said and done. You really don’t need that many but it’s what has worked for us. We have a regular one that our car seat could easily snap into and we use it the most out of all of them. I recommend getting one that makes it easy to snap in your car seat because it just makes life easier. We also have a jogging stroller that we love for going on runs with Connor and we also have a travel one that doesn’t take up a ton of room in the car that has worked out great for us.
Convertible Car Seat
You will likely want one of these per car that you plan on using with baby. We got this one and love it so far. We should’ve switch over to it sooner as it’s way easier once they get bigger but you live and learn.
Car Seat Mirror(s)
You don’t need these but we love to be able to turn around and see Connor in the mirror.
This is amazing on hot days, it’s also amazing for labor and delivery so win-win for you and baby.
Portable Sound Machine
We now have 2of these. 1 is at home with us in the diaper bag and the other is at daycare for his naps there. We love this one and I think it may be my favorite item on the registry.
Folding High Chair
This is the cutest thing ever. However, it’s not all that great if you get a ton of food on it as it will retain said food smell. That being said it’s super nice for traveling especially when baby is more around the 6-9 month mark.
Pack & Play
We already discussed this up in the nursery but if you plan to do a bassinet, this is a must for traveling. It’s the easiest thing to put together and take down.
Pack & Play Mattress
We got this around 9-10 months and love it for Connor. It’s a nice to have.
OMG THIS IS LIFE CHANGING. Legit creates a blacked out space right around the pack and play and I wish we had gotten this sooner. It even has a pocket for your monitor and sound machine and a fan if you choose to get the fan.
Most people are able to get a breast pump through their insurance so check there first! I wanted the Spectra S1 and that wasn’t one of the given one’s on my insurance. However, my insurance covered up to a certain dollar amount for medical equipment so I was able to purchase my pump through Target or Amazon and get 100% reimbursement. It’s always worth looking into what is covered.
Breastmilk Storage Bags
We never had any issues with these and I’d use them again.
This never really worked well for me as I don’t have a particularly powerful let down and my boobs never leaked but it’s worth it to have just in case. It’s not only helpful to catch the let down from whatever boob your baby isn’t nursing on but it’s also great in case you have a clogged duct or beginnings of mastitis.
Boppy + Cover
Loved my Boppy so much. Having that support was helpful with posture and back pain. As they get older you need it less and less but I loved mine so much. I tried the BreastFriend too but it was too bulky for me. I also ended up getting extra covers for my Boppy too which was helpful because sometimes a poo-splosion happens mid feed.
We loved these burp cloths and while we got a ton of other kinds I’d only get these next time. They do the trick and are far more absorbent.
I know not everyone likes or needs these but as someone who hates normal bras and was being suffocated by my old sports bras I loved having both nursing bras and tanks. The great thing about these is that they can double as a pumping bra later on if needed.
We ended up getting this microwave bottle & part sanitizer. It is super simple to use (takes 2 minutes) and doesn’t require you to run your dishwasher.
There are many options out there and will definitely depend on your bath/shower/bathroom but this one worked great from us. We used it from the day we brought him home (to get him used to it) up through about 10 months when he fully grew out of it and didn’t need it anymore.
You don’t need bath towels for a baby. Seriously you can use what you already have. that being said we got these hooded ones and they are truly adorable. So this one is a nice to have not a need to have. You are allowed to use your grown up adult towels on them and they will never know.
They don’t need toys until they’re probably closer to 6-9 months but always nice to get them on the registry and have them ready for when you realize baby needs something to play with. We originally got these but they got moldy quickly so I Instead suggest something like this.
This is SO much fun. Truly it’s a different way for them to experience the water (please check with your pediatrician of course). We used this on days where he was a bit fussier and I swear it helped him get longer stretches of sleep on those nights.
Once again you don’t need special wash cloths but we found these smaller ones to work better because then it was easier to wash him especially as he got a bit more mobile. Up to you but they are cute and easier in our opinion.
This one is so dependent on the baby. We love the Tubby Todd brand but you could also try Honest. Most double as a body wash which is great because even if your baby doesn’t have a ton of hair you’ll still want to wash them 1-2x per week.
We are terrible about remembering to put lotion on Connor but we love the Tubby Todd All Over Ointment and have used it especially when he has had rashes from daycare illnesses.
High Chair & Feeding
Okay while you won’t need this until you start solids around 6 months, it is super helpful to have on hand, to set up and to see if it fits in your space. We originally had this one and we didn’t love it. It was too bulky and just seemed like it would be a lot to clean. So, we swapped it out for this one and we LOVE it. It’s not that bulky, grows with baby and is way easier to clean.
Honestly for most meals we just set food on the tray of the high chair but it is nice to have a plate to teach them how they will eventually eat and make it easier for them to scoop up food before they have their pincer grasp.
Babies don’t need sippy cups and they can learn to use an open cup around 6 months. It was hands down one of the cutest things to see when we started solids with Connor so highly recommend getting one of these.
Again, they don’t need a sippy cup so getting them used to an open cup and a straw cup is important once they are around 6 months. It’s nice to have this all on hand so when the 6 months sneaks up on you, you’re prepared.
We loved these spoons. It was a great thing to offer Connor even before we started giving him solids so he could sit in the high chair and practice eating with us.
So many options out there. We love these because they catch all the food he drops and then he picks the food back up from the bib.
There are too many bottles out there. We were lucky that he took the first bottle we gave him but then we changed over to these and he was also fine. Don’t register for a ton of one type. If you can get a couple to try and see what works best for you and your baby.
We don’t have one of these but in hindsight I wish we did. It would make cleaning out the bottles and pump parts a little easier.
Health/ Sick Care
Highly recommend having these on hand before baby arrives because the last thing you want to be doing is finding a place that is open in the middle of the night.
We have a forehead thermometer and a regular thermometer. Your doctor and daycare will likely require you to take your baby’s temp rectally or under the armpit so you will need a regular thermometer. We also have a forehead thermometer just to get a gauge if his temp is rising before we piss him off and shove the thermometer up his butt or armpit.
I cannot recommend this enough. It sounds disgusting but believe me it works. You may also want to register for additional filters as you may go through these faster than you would ever think. Somewhere in the first month they get REALLY congested and this helps majorly along with the saline mist and humidifier.
Love this. We spray it up his nose a few minutes before using the snot sucker and it helps loosen up all the boogies.
Cool Mist Humidifier
This definitely helps when baby is congested and/or you have a really dry house in the middle of winter.
We tried cutting his nails multiple times and kept cutting him no matter what we did. We found this filer and it was a game changer.
Vitamin D Drops
Talk to your doctor but most babies who are breastfed need to also take vitamin d drops. Having these on hand is great so you don’t have to scramble after your first doctor’s appointment.
Obviously talk to your child’s doc before ever giving this to your baby but once again better to be prepared than not knowing what to do in the middle of the night. Always know your baby’s weight too so your doc can tell you how much to give baby. There is also a more natural acetaminophen brand here as well.
Carriers & Containers
I did a lot of searching online and was between the Solly Wrap and the Moby Wrap. I settled on the Moby wrap for cost savings. I used this mostly in the first 3-4 months. It was nice to carry him around the house in it and he loved it for naps. It is tricky at first but you will get the hang of it.
We love and still use the Ergobaby 360 at 11 months. We used this pretty early on as well to change things up. It’s super easy to use and can carry baby in so many different positions.
Not a necessity but nice to be able to put baby down in something so your hands are free. This also was soothing to Connor and he took a nap or 2 in it.
We loved this swing, as did Connor. You don’t need any swing for your baby but it is nice. We got this one passed down to us so it is always worthwhile to ask around before registering for these items.
This is amazing for when they are a bit older. Sometimes you just need a free hand or 2 and don’t want to leave them on the floor. This one grows with them and is entertaining.
We had one passed down to us and there are so many options but this is great for them when they are little as it entertains them, gives them something to look at and is easy to travel with.
A lot of people don’t recommend these and I agree you should NEVER leave your baby unattended in these (or any carrier/container frankly), But this was super nice to use if I was folding laundry on the couch or wanted to take a shower and needed somewhere to rest him as I legit took the shower with the shower curtain wide open so I could see him haha.
WE LOVE THIS BACKPACK! Seriously we use it all the time and love it. It is lightweight, has tons of pockets and Connor loves riding in it.
Toys & Books
You probably don’t need to register for these as people end up gifting toys and books (many do this in place of a card). But it’s nice to think of a few that will last them awhile. Some of our favorites include: this, this, these, and this.
You can certainly use a washcloth dipped in breastmilk and frozen but it’s nice to have options. We had a few that we really liked including: these, this, and this.
Hands down the best toy that they will continue to play with and is so dang affordable. Put them on your list. These also double down as bath toys so a second set may be warranted.
Nice in the beginning and then again as they get closer to 1.
Not a necessity BUT we loved this one and he has been using it since he could sit up (a little before 6 months) and is now using it as a push walker.
ALL THE BOOKS
There is no such thing as too many books. These books are mostly for your own entertainment at first but Connor now has has favorites. Check out my list that is ever growing here.
We did not register for much in this category as people will give you these whether you ask for them or not. Also, ask around for hand me downs. Babies grow so quickly it’s insane. We were lucky in that we had so many hand me downs we haven’t needed to buy much.
This will depend on the weather and what time of year your baby is born, so keep that in mind. You will likely want long sleeves in the winter months and short sleeve in the summer. Don’t go crazy buying newborn clothes because if you’re lucky enough to have a 9lb baby like me they will be in 0-3 month clothes from the get go.
It’s nice to throw pants over the onesies in case your baby has a blowout. It saved us a few times. Bonus points if said pants have built in footies.
We only used these once we sent him to daycare but they are nice if you have a drooler.
Will depend on time of year but nice to have for first week of life. We also got these and we use them ALL the time right now that it’s winter.
Not needed unless it’s cold out. If you’re worried about them scratching themselves most long sleeve onesies and pjs have fold over mitts on them.
Socks will fall off but nice to keep the feet warm. We love these.
Honestly your baby can live in these 24/7 if you want, just FYI. We prefer zip up to buttons or snaps. There are so many options and we use cotton ones during warmer months and fleece during colder months.
Your baby doesn’t need shoes until they walk but it is nice to have an extra layer on their feet. These stay on better than socks (although not perfect).
This will depend on the time of the year. We loved this bear suit, this snowsuit & this one, as well as these swim diapers, this swim suit and sunglasses.
Phew! That was a lot. But remember you truly do not need all of this to welcome a baby home. Your baby needs you! And as overwhelming as it seems I promise you that you will figure it all out.
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