Building a baby registry list is overwhelming! Trying to figure out what baby products to register for and what your baby will actually need/ use its first year of life is challenging. So, let us help. This is your basic “if I knew then what I know now” registry. It’s the exact list I would give my sister or a good friend. As a mother of five through both birth and adoption, I have been through this baby registry process enough to know what works and what doesn’t. I hope my experience can help ease your mind and help you design the perfect baby registry list for your new baby.
Of course, once your shower is over and you’ve washed and folded all the mini clothes in fragrance-free detergent, there are more things to buy (that no one is going to want to buy you) and many things that are great to get used. We’ve made notes of those, too.
(For your convenience, we’ve linked everything where possible.)
Baby Registry List: The ULTIMATE Guide
of What to Register For and Buy
Top 10 Must-Have Baby Items for EVERY Baby Registry List
There are certain items that every new parent is going to need to buy or borrow. Of course, it is easy to get lost in the mega baby stores and feel like you need to add hundreds of items to your baby registry but the truth is you don’t. Your baby really just needs you (your love and your boob), some onesies, a swaddle blanket and somewhere safe to sleep. However, the following ten items will make your life a lot easier which is why these are the baby products we believe every new mom needs to have on their baby registry list.
- Swaddle Blankets- there is a reason you see newborns all swaddled up in the hospital. Those labor & delivery nurses know how to wrap those babies up like little burritos for a reason. It keeps those babies feeling safe and comfortable so they sleep. And, sleep is CRUCIAL for new parents and their babies. So, take notes in the hospital. Make sure that nurse gives you a thorough rundown before you leave and make sure you have plenty of swaddle blankets, like these ones, ready when you arrive home.
- Infant Car Seat- did you know you cannot leave the hospital without a properly installed infant car seat? This is a non-negotiable you must register or purchase an infant car seat. This is one item you definitely will want to purchase new. The Chicco KeyFit 30 has been a favorite for years and lately, I have seen a lot of moms boasting about the UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat. It has a 5-star ease of use rating from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
- Stroller- although you don’t technically need a stroller per say, I believe the mental boost a new mama gets when she takes a walk with her baby is invaluable. Plus, when you are talking about convenience a stroller is a definite must-have on any new parents list. It can be as basic as a snap & go or as fancy as you would like. Either way, just figure it out and add your favorites to your baby registry list. These can get very pricey and it is definitely nice when you receive them as a gift. If you like to travel or live in the city check out the NEW UPPAbaby Minu stroller. It folds and unfolds easier than anything else I have found. Check out the video here.
- Double Electric Breast Pump- if you plan to breastfeed your newborn you will definitely want a really nice double electric breast pump, I always LOVED this one from Medela. Not only does this allow you to get a strong and steady milk supply in from the beginning, but it also gives you freedom later on. I recommend you freeze your milk so that your partner can help with nighttime feedings eventually and you can actually leave your baby occasionally and get out into the real world. It helps to keep a new mama sane! You can also opt for a manual pump like this one too! Always check to see if your insurance covers a breast pump- find out how here.
- Meal Service- Yes! I am totally putting this on the list because being a new parent is EXHAUSTING and you will NOT have time to cook yourself a decent meal which you will badly need. So, create your baby registry on a site like Babylist where you can add things you don’t normally think about like gift certificates, cash and items from any store (including etsy). Start your Babylist registry today to be eligible for Free Hello Baby Box!
- Nursing Pillow- whether you are planning on nursing or not these pillows are indispensable. Nursing pillows are great for helping tired new mamas hold their babies while breast or bottle feeding them. Nursing pillows also work great for visitors especially little kids who want to try holding the baby. Of course, these pillows often convert to helping babies sit up later on as well.
- Cute Onesies or Gowns- babies live in onesies and gowns those first few weeks if they are summer babies. If you have your baby in the winter or live in an area that is colder this probably translates to sleepers. I always loved the kimono style onesies when mine were newborns.
- Baby Swing- newborns are operating on a total opposite sleep cycle when they arrive thanks to being rocked to sleep in their mothers all day long. So, having a swing around to help give your arms a rest and help them get onto a normal sleep cycle is a major bonus. There are tons of newer versions on the market but I still love the classic ones like this one by Graco.
- Sound Machine- again, going back to this whole sleep thing. It is super important that you and your baby get enough sleep. Noiseab machines are on the top of ever moms must-have items. A noise machine helps your baby go to sleep because it reminds them of the noisy womb they were in for the past 9 months. You can go with a classic version like this or you can get this one that you can control from your smartphone. And, it helps train them to sleep with noise a very valuable skill.
- Baby Carrier- us mamas are busy people. Unless you are fortunate enough to have a housecleaner, someone to do your laundry and clean your dishes you are going to need your hands on occasion. This is where a handy baby carrier comes in and it is why a baby carrier belongs on every baby registry list. I used a sling style with my first three babies and an ergo carrier with the next two. Either way, you will appreciate having your hands back, especially if you already have other kids in the house!
Help Baby Sleep with these Baby Products
The one thing that changes the most when you bring home your newborn baby, besides the intense love for this little stranger, is SLEEP. Your sleep pattern or lack thereof is something that new parents inevitabely have to deal with. However, you can arm yourself with all the gear to get that baby sleeping as soon as possible and that is what this baby registry list can do.
- Newborn Sleep Space- your cuddly newborn is going to need somewhere to sleep. Popular choices include Dock A Tot for in the bed with you, a bassinet, or co-sleeper. Parents in certain states can qualify for a free Baby Box see here for details.
- Swaddle Blankets- repeat from above. there is a reason you see newborns all swaddled up in the hospital. Those labor & delivery nurses know how to wrap those babies up like little burritos for a reason. It keeps those babies feeling safe and comfortable so they sleep. And, sleep is CRUCIAL for new parents and their babies. So, take notes in the hospital. Make sure that nurse gives you a thorough rundown before you leave and make sure you have plenty of swaddle blankets, like these ones, ready when you arrive home.
- Sound Machine- repeat from above. Again, going back to this whole sleep thing. It is super important that you and your baby get enough sleep. Noise machines are on the top of ever moms must-have items. A noise machine helps your baby go to sleep because it reminds them of the noisy womb they were in for the past 9 months. You can go with a classic version like this or you can get this one that you can control from your smartphone. And, it helps train them to sleep with noise a very valuable skill.
- Baby monitor – The trend today is video and there are a lot of options. Currently, my favorite budget/techy monitor is Fredi. The camera connects to an app on your phone (which I always have nearby) and it is super affordable. My favorite overall is Infant Optics which has an interchangeable lens, so that you make sure the image is crystal clear. Don’t take my word for it on this one though. 18,000 people on Amazon love it. Audio-only is also fine. We like to see lights on the parent unit that show you a baby’s distress as well as broadcast it and a small and battery-operated so you can take it with you.
- Crib – you don’t have to rush out and get a crib as your little one probably won’t sleep in it for awhile. Thre are plenty to choose from we like this one for budget-friendly (it’s still very trendy and cute), or this one is dreamy if you have a little more room in your budget. You can also get a used crib if it meets current safety standards. I also think this DaVinci crib that converts into a big kid bed is genius (and a great price!)
- Mattress– these are sold separately which I didn’t realize with my first child- ha! You can find a bunch of crib mattresses on Amazon here and the price range varies significantly. This article goes over some of the different types.
- Crib Sheets – you will want 2-3 of these and same goes for the waterproof mattress covers or pads too!
Best Nursing Products for Your Baby Registry List
Truth is us mamas are wired to nurse our babies so we don’t need anything else besides our bodies really. However, the following items can make nursing your new baby a lot more convenient and comfortable.
- Nursing Cover- not everyone is comfortable breastfeeding in public and for me, a nursing cover like this one really helped.
- Breast Pads- you will quickly learn that your boobs have a mind of their own and to prevent leakage you are going to need some type of nursing pads. You can get reusable nursing pads like these or you can register for disposable ones like these. I used both.
- Nipple Cream- nothing is worse than sore nipples. Make sure you get yourself a good nipple cream like certified organic Motherlove Nipple Cream.
- Nursing Bras- of course, to nurse you need easy access to your breasts so several comfortable nursing bras are a definite must! Moms from our Rookie Moms Facebook Group recommend Bravado Nursing Bras. You can learn more about our very strong opinions about nursing bras here.
- Hands-Free Nursing Bras- if you are going to be pumping a ton you will definitely want this nursing bra.
- Nursing Tanks- I preferred nursing tanks especially in the hospital and those first few weeks home. They were cozy even during my cat naps. Nursing Tanks like these also work great to layer under other shirts. It makes breastfeeding very discreet.
- Button Up PJ Tops- if you prefer not to wear a nursing tank to bed you are going to want to have a few button down sleep tops.
- Breast Pump- repeat from Top 10 Must-Haves above. If you plan to breastfeed your newborn you will definitely want a really nice double electric breast pump, I always LOVED this one from Medela. Not only does this allow you to get a strong and steady milk supply in from the beginning, but it also gives you freedom later on. I recommend you freeze your milk so that your partner can help with nighttime feedings eventually and you can actually leave your baby occasionally and get out into the real world. It helps to keep a new mama sane! You can also opt for a manual pump like this one too! Always check to see if your insurance covers a breast pump- find out how here.
- Breast Milk Storage Bags- people often refer to breastmilk as liquid gold and because it is so precious you are going to want to make sure you have the baby products you need in the house to store it and that comes down to a breastmilk storage set andbreast milk storage bags like these.
- Bottles- this may be controversial but I think it is a smart idea to have a few bottles with slow newborn flow nipples so that your partner can help you feed the baby sometimes. There are plenty of opinions on which to choose.
- Pacifiers – Just go ahead and get them and you can decide later if you want to use them. Get some clips/leashes to go with them.
Bottle-Feeding Baby Registry Must Haves
If you plan to bottle feed your baby there are a few items that you will need to ensure you have on your baby registry list. It is difficult to guess which bottles your baby will like so you may want to register for a few so that you can try them out.
- Bottles- 2 sizes (4 oz and 8 oz) with nipples in varying flows.
- Bottle drying rack– I absolutely loved my Soraco Grass Bottle Rack. The cute grass design always looked nice in my kitchen and it held everything neatly in place allowing it to dry quickly and easily.
- Cage for bottle bits and pacifiers- I have one of these nifty things for putting all the bits in the dishwasher.
- Formula – this one can be tricky to know as you can’t be sure which formula your baby will take. So, either you choose to put it on your registry or you use a registry like Babylist that will allow you to register for cash or gift cards to be used later on formula. We have a great article on introducing formula here if you want to learn more.
- Formula dispenser – this handy item is for feeding on the go; this BPA-free one by Avent doubles as a snack dispenser for big babies.
- Bottlebrushes- cleaning bottles is very important. You will want a good brush with one of the tiny nipple brush attachments like this.
- Bottle Sterilizer- speaking of keeping your bottles clean you can either steam them in a pot (risk of melting them, I know because I have done it- don’t judge!). Or you can buy one of these handy contraptions for the microwave or one of these electric sterilizers which don’t require a microwave at all.
Diapering Needs for Your Baby Registry List
Those cute little baby buns are going to need something to cover them up and keep them dry. The following list will help you determine which diapering items belong on your registry list.
- Diapers- be sure to register for plenty of baby diapers on your baby registry list, you will also want to specify multiple sizes because they grow out of the newborn stage so quickly.
- Diaper Bin – We picked this Munchkin / Arm + Hammer Diaper Pail for maximum stink control; it’s easy and doesn’t require special bags. Inspired by my preschool, I’ve also individually bagged the offending poopy diapers and carried them right outside. Some folks use regular old trash cans and take out the trash every day. Up to you.
- Diaper bag – You actually can use an oversized handbag or a backpack for diapers and associated changes of clothes. But if you can’t resist this rite of passage, pick out a style you like. Consider features like whether it’s too girly to share, if it clips to your stroller, how heavy/ bulky, and how happy you’ll be carrying it when your baby weighs 18 pounds. I loved my Skip Hop, my friend is OBSESSED with her Ju-Ju-Be Diaper Bag, and another friend used little Pack-it cubes chucked under the stroller. It’s a totally individual choice.
- Diaper Rash Ointment, something zinc-based; my fave is Desitin, I subscribe to it.
- Changing Pad-to be honest I used this thing way more than I actually changed my baby on their fancy changing table. I suggest getting one that is extra big like this one from Skip Hop.
- Wipes- someone on the Rookie Moms Facebook Group (come join us!) suggested registering for a bunch of different brands because you won’t know which you love, or that you would have such strong opinions about them until after the baby is born. She’s totally right!
Clothing/ Layette to add to Your Baby Registry List
This is probably the one section of your baby registry list that your friends and family will want to shop for the most. Baby clothes are just too adorable people can’t help themselves. However, babies really don’t need much when it comes to clothes. I would try to keep these items to a minimum if possible. Plus, you will enjoy finding cute clothes to buy for your baby anyway.
- Onesies- we love these sweet ones because they are so soft.
- Gowns- I always kept my newborns in gowns because it was just so easy to change their diapers. You can find tons of options here.
- Kimono Tops- these are great for babies too especially when you are freaked out about putting things over their tiny little heads. My sister in law swears by them. You can pop these ones on and just wear them with a diaper. Great if you are a swaddling mama.
- Sleepers- several moms called out Burt’s Bees Organic Sleepers as the best baby sleepers for newborns so I would definitely add a couple to your baby list registry.
- Bibs- there are tons of options and you will want several different types. Ones for bottle feeding and nursing, others for teething and feeding later on down the road.
- Burp Cloths- these burp cloths are super absorbent and equally as soft.
- Baby Hats- you will want a few newborn hats/ caps in your closet. These ones are super duper adorable!!
- Mittens- these newborns have claws like a cat. You will want to pop on their teeny tiny hands to prevent them from scratching themselves.
- Booties- nearly every new mom I asked had these booties on their must-have list. They sound like they are the absolute best!
Health and Hygiene to add to Your Baby Registry List
The following are a few basics that every parent will want to have in their home.
- Nail clippers – The tiny nails of a newborn have to be trimmed more than once a week and it’s hard to guide those clippers. I used to recommend buying sharp nail scissors and I still believe they work well. However, the new moms I spoke with seemed to prefer a nail grinder like this one which sounds even better. *Despite your best efforts you most likely will still want to keep mittens on those tiny fingers to prevent your baby from scratching their sweet little face.
- Digital thermometer – you will likely be obsessed with how warm or cold your newborn is. If you tend to be a keep-track-of-everything type mom, you may write it all down or even graph it. A thermometer is a must you can get a digital one but you may also want a rectal thermometer for when the baby is really little.
- Bulb Syringe or Nosefrida- you will need something to suction out mucus from those tiny little nostrils. Parents rave about the Nosefrida.
- Washcloths – I don’t think there’s anything special about baby washcloths.
- Bathtub – We recommend either the Eurobath or the First Years; the Eurobath is quite large and costs more but both are good for newborns to toddlers (we used the Eurobath for three years!). Winning a genius award, we plunked our infant and tub on the kitchen counter to avoid bending and kneeling. *UPDATE- the Puj Tub is getting rav reviews. Check it out!!
- Baby Tylenol, Baby Orajel, Baby Mylicon, Gripe Water
- Baby shampoo and bodywash
- Homeopathic teething tablets
- Purell – I have little containers all over: diaper bag, near the changing table, the car… hint hint hint.
Amazing Services to Add to Your Baby Registry List
There are plenty of service-based gifts that you can add to your registry that are super helpful to new parents. Like I mentioned before you can actually add requests like this if you create your baby registry with Babylist.
- Cooking – food of any kind. Home-delivered gourmet, something pre-made and frozen, or an account at your favorite takeout joint.
- Cleaning – a cleaning service for a few weeks or months
- Home Doula – mother’s helper, babysitter, night nurse are variations on the theme of someone to help you get the baby cared for
- Massage – it may be a while before you feel comfortable going for one, but it’s so nice to have that gift certificate on the fridge as a reminder
- Classes – Mommy and me, Gymboree, Mom’s Group… you may not have considered these kinds of groups ever before in your life, but you soon will! Membership has its privileges. Here are five classes to consider with your baby. Too soon? Start with a local Moms Group and take baby steps!
Very cool: a baby registry service like BabyList allows you to register for services (maid, massage, whatever!) as well as stuff (cute etsy hat and 10 jillion diapers) all in one place.
Baby Registry List Items for 6 months and beyond!
Your baby will eventually get older and drink from bottles, eat real food, crawl around, stand up, walk away, and speak in sentences. As long as your kind-hearted family and friends have their wallets out, you might want to ask for some future-oriented stuff too:
- High chair or booster/ feeding chair
- Portable Crib- have you seen this one? It is incredibly easy to set up and worth the money in my books, especially if you travel often.
- Something to prop baby up, the Sit Me Up is a very popular choice!
- “Big boy” car seat – I like the Britax Marathon and wish they made one in my size (yes, it’s pricey but your baby will use it for years)
- Stroller that works for the sitter-upper (and hopefully collapses easily and fits in your trunk). Again I love the UPPAbaby Minu as I mentioned above. The Baby Jogger has always been a great choice too!
- Sign language books and dvd- although I was terrible at using these. But, some parents like my sister in law are incredible and teach their babies sign language and its pretty incredible.
- Feeding bowls, spoons, bibs (that are easy to clean!)
- Jumperoo or Exersaucer entertainment pod
NEW VS. USED (find out what you can leave off your baby registry list)
Really, anything that doesn’t skeeve you out and passes current safety standards is ok to get as a hand-me-down. Your friends and family may have a ton of goodies that they can pass down to you. All you need to do is ask and then do your homework to ensure its still safe for your baby.
You can also hop on the Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist and easily finds tons of gently used baby gear there as well. Once you know some of the bigger ticket items that you want, you can watch the lists for a couple weeks to see what comes up. Also, don’t be afraid to tap into your own new mom community. Ask around if folks are done with their carriers and swings. Odds are that they’ll want the gear to serve another family rather than sit idle in an attic.
I’m cool with yard sales for most things, but not these:
- Car seat – new safety regulations have me spooked into getting new models for every little baby.
- Crib mattress – possible links to SIDS might shame you into buying new. Then again I reused mine throughout my multiple children and everyone turned out just fine, I think!
- Mechanical breast pump – the hand pumps are thoroughly washable and dishwasherable… but not the electric. Ok, don’t tell anyone, but my breast pump was a hand-me-down and the lactation expert lady at the hospital told me to replace the tubing (which you should never try to clean btw) and I’d be fine. I also loved my Hygeia Enjoye and then passed it on (which is officially pass-downable).
What items do you feel are MUST-HAVES for a Baby Registry List?
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Updated February 1, 2018