Overwhelmed with registering for your baby? Welcome to the club.
Before I had Arlene, I’d literally changed a diaper once. I knew nothing about babies, and all these gizmos and gadgets left my head spinning. Do I need the jogging stroller and an umbrella stroller and a snap-and-go and and and and…. waaaaaahhhhhh! What in the hell is all this stuff?
In my 10 months as a mom, I’ve learned that you just need a core set of items to start with. We live in a small-ish space and I don’t like heaps of crap, so I’ve tried to not overdo it on baby stuff.
Once your baby is here, you’ll be working with A LOT more information. That’s when you may realize that you actually DO need the $400 Mamaroo (and will be willing to pay for it if it’s the only thing that will keep your baby from crying). Sign up for Amazon Prime now. You’ll need it.
With that in mind, here are the items I couldn’t live without.
Ergobaby Four Position 360 Baby Carrier. Wearing your baby is essential if you want to get anything accomplished. We opted for this Ergo because it’s comfortable, supportive, and eventually, you can place baby facing out (they love that shit). Our baby sleeps really well in this sucker, too. If you’re choosing between this and the one with “cool technology,” all I’ll say is that it’s not really the carrier so much as human-to-human body heat that makes things sweaty. Grey is a good option– spit up and slobber show up on black.
Infant car seat. The Chicco Keyfit 30 had good reviews, high safety rating, works with our stroller with an added adapter. PS did you know car seats don’t actually need a base? I would for sure get one base, but if one parent will be driving less, I say just watch this video and skip an extra base.
Car seat cover. I got a super warm one that I later learned is unsafe to use in the car. :/ Great for Minnesota winter walks though! If you want one for car rides, get one that doesn’t interfere with the straps, like this.
Stroller. It’s easy to get into analysis paralysis when it comes to baby stuff, especially strollers. My criteria was A) easy to maneuver; B) small/light enough to easily throw in my car. The City Mini hits on all of that, and works with our infant car seat (with this adapter) until she can sit like a big girl.
Dangly to hang on car seat. Who knew something so simple could inspire so much wonderment.
Mirror. So you can make sure they’re still in the car without turning around.
Window shield. ‘Cause babies don’t like wearing sunglasses.
Bathtub. I got this as a hand-me-down. It’s nothing fancy and does the job.
POOP AND PEE
Aside from diapers and wipes (of which you will need one million), here’s the basics for bodily functions.
Changing table pad. You can change your baby’s diaper on your bed, floor, couch, so technically you don’t “need” one. Though it’s nice to not have a baby peein and poopin on your bed.
Cover for pad. Get two. I love the ones I purchased from New Mom Designs on Etsy.
Changing pad liners. They poop a lot, and this will keep your changing pad cover from needing to be washed every other day.
Arm & Hammer diaper pail. I’m not evangelistic about this product, but it gets the job done. A Diaper Genie would also suffice. The key is trapping the stink.
DISTRACTIONS TO HELP YOU GET CRAP DONE
I don’t love the idea of plasticky baby stuff all over my house. I quickly got over that once I realized it’s the key to getting anything accomplished.
When they hit six months, they will really love a jumperoo. Come on, wouldn’t you want an adult version?
Nuks and tethers. Arlene likes these ones best. It might take you a few tries to find one your kiddo likes (if you can even use one at all). When we’re out and about, I clip them to her. Nothing like retrieving a paci off a grody bathroom floor.
CRAP FOR SLEEPING
Fisher-Price Rock and Play. I literally do not know one person who got this and regretted it. Arlene slept in hers every night until she grew out of it (5 months😬). Get the auto-rock version.
Humidifier. For when they get sick, or when it’s cold and dry.
Swaddle sleep sack. My baby slept in this for the first two months or so. I like this one because it has velcro on the wings so they stay put.
Regular sleep sack. Get two in each size so you can wash them.
White noise machine. You might want one for yourself, too! Like… for the rest of your life.
Baby monitor. We got a video monitor and to be honest, it’s kind of overkill for our current needs. HOWEVER, I hear once they can get up and walk around, the video option is clutch. If video appeals to you, I might suggest checking out a Nest system— then you can watch the video on your phone.
Aden + Anais blankets. Someone told me you cannot have enough of these. Not true. I have about 20, and could get by with half as many. But they are really nice to have for swaddling, keeping the sun off your baby, letting them crawl on, and cleaning spit-up.
Bedding. I got it all from New Mom Designs on Etsy. Love it all!
FEEDING YOUR BABY.
Madela pump. When I had Arlene, this was 100 percent covered by insurance (Thanks, Obama!). Works great.
Manual breast pump. I have the Madela and it gets the job done; a friend of mine has the Avent and loves it. It’s east to throw in your purse or do discretely in a restaurant if you have to.
Soothies. For your nips! Get a few and bring them to the birthing center or hospital. Put them in the fridge. Thank me later. Nipple cream is essential, too. Lansinoh makes a good one. You don’t need a huge tube of it– a little goes a long way. Also, don’t get all cocky and throw it away after a few months. I’m 8 months in and still use it occasionally.
Breast pads. Because leaky boobs are funny until they happen in public. These are much better than the disposable ones IMHO.
Bottles. We mostly use Dr. Browns (they work with my Madela pumps). I’ve never needed anything bigger than the 4oz containers with a slow flow nipple. My sister-in-law loves the Kiinde system— they’re bags you can pump right into and use with their bottle system, as well as freeze for later. My advice is to register for a few kinds and see what your baby likes. If you’re breastfeeding, you aren’t going to be doing much in the way of bottles for awhile anyhow.
Bottle brush / Drying rack. Get ready– you being doing a crap-ton of dishes. In addition to the brush and rack, I’d add this twig thingy to dry smaller pieces. PS we ‘permanently borrowed’ the small plastic washtub Arlene had her first bath in at the hospital. We use that in our sink for all baby dishes.
Breastfeeding cover. I used this as a cover one time, and then just decided I didn’t care about covering up. BUT I do use it to keep the sun out of Arlene’s face when we’re on walks, etc. It’s perfect.
Num Num spoons. Cause your kid will probably want to feed themselves eventually.
Silicone bib. Babies are messy eaters.
Fruit feeder. Easy to clean and goof for when they’re learning to eat real food.
Sippy cup. You’ll want to try a few kinds. Arlene likes this type the most.
You will get tons no matter what you register for! Newborn clothes are so tiny and adorable, but they pretty much only wear jammies for the first month or so. You will always be worried about your baby being too cold (even I was and I had a summer baby!), so keep that in mind.
Zutano booties. The only things that will stay on their little feet.
Newborn gowns. These things pee and poop like crazy… like 12+ diapers a day for the first 6-8 weeks! This makes diaper changing a breeze.
PJs that zip with footies. Buttons are fine, but zippers are better. And this may be due to my living in a colder climate, but most of the year, I want her feet covered at night.
Bandanas for drool. Save a onesie, ride a bandana!
STUFF FOR WHEN THEY GET SICK
Honest Co diaper rash cream. This one worked for us!
Vitamin D. Because the only thing that breastmilk doesn’t have is Vitamin D.
Thermometer. Honestly, I still don’t know what thermometer we should be using. Tell me in the comments!
Nose Frida. This sounds disgusting until you need it. And then it is a life saver.
Cuticle clipper. Clipping your baby’s nails will paralyze you with fear. At first, I could only use a tiny cuticle scissors. Now, I just use a regular ol’ clipper. No need to get all fancy here IMHO.
STUFF FOR MOM
Let’s be real: mom probably needs more than the baby. And yet the pressure to throw self care out the window starts well before the baby is born. You are not a selfish A-hole for asking for things for yourself. You can create a registry on Bably List to collect items from all over the internet. Might I suggest these?
Food. Gift cards for food delivery services. Boom.
Giant thing for water with a straw. If you’re breastfeeding, you will never fully quench your thirst. Make it as easy as possible to drink your weight in water.
Massage or pedicure gift card.
Audible gift card. It’s hard to read a book while you’re breastfeeding. But you’ll want to because it takes so much time at first! Audio books = clutch.
Netflix. You’re going to be literally Netflix and chilling (definitely not figuratively).
The Wonder Weeks. Great book about child development that will make you feel better when your baby won’t stop screaming bloody murder. “Oh, that just means her brain is growing!”
Amazon Prime. You’re going to need a lot of stuff, but you’re not going to want to leave the house.
Fitbit. Anything to encourage you to get moving.
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There are tons of additional things you could add to your registry, but I really do suggest your keep it low-key until the baby is born. You might be tempted to register for that MamaRoo right off the bat. Your kid may not even need it (and if they do, you can easily find one on Craigslist). I say save the gadget-y buys for after you meet you baby.
What other essentials am I missing here? Share in the comments. Other overwhelmed parents-to-be will thank you!