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 you can find used. We’ve made notes of those, too.
11 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.
1. Swaddle Blankets
Do you know why newborns are all swaddled up in the hospital? Those labor & delivery nurses know how to wrap those babies up like little burritos for a reason. It typically keeps them feeling safe and comfortable making it easier for them to sleep soundly.
And, sleep is CRUCIAL for new parents and their babies. So, take notes in the hospital. Make sure that the nurse gives you a thorough rundown before you leave and make sure you have plenty of swaddle blankets, like these ones.
You can also purchase a wrap swaddle which makes it a little easier to wrap your baby up tightly!
2. 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. You can check out all of our favorite car seats here!
Although you don’t technically need a stroller per se, 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 super convenient like the Doona, a fun jogger stroller combo (pictured above), or as fancy as you would like.
If you like to travel or live in the city check out the UPPAbaby Minu stroller. It folds and unfolds easier than anything else I have found.
Either way, once you figure out your favorites make sure to add a stroller to your baby registry list. These can get very pricey and it is definitely nice when you receive them as a gift. Check out our full list of the best strollers for moms here.
4. 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 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
You can check out all of our favorite nursing pillows here.
7. Cute Onesies or Gowns
Babies live in onesies and gowns those first few weeks, especially 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 my babies were newborns.
8. Baby Swing
Repeat after me, “I WILL PUT A BABY SWING ON MY REGISTRY.” They are lifesavers. 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.
Here is a list of our favorite Baby Swings for 2021. Remember your baby always needs to be buckled in and you need to keep your eye on them at all times.
9. Sound Machine
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 every mom’s 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. The Hatch is popular because it is a sound machine and night light all in one. A sound machine will help train your baby to sleep with noise which is a very valuable skill.
10. Baby Carrier
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! Our favorite of 2021 is this amazing Sakura Bloom carrier.
11. Streaming Service
You might think you won’t have time to watch shows, but there will be definitely some downtime. In addition, you might find yourself like me watching infomercials at night while nursing. Luckily, there are some great streaming services.
This way you can enjoy your favorite shows on your time, which as a mama is some very odd times. Our two favorites are Disney + & Hulu!
12. Postpartum Underwear
Taking care of mama needs to be on your baby registry list, because the better you feel, the better you will be able to take care of your baby. Postpartum underwear is an important part of the healing process. Kindred Bravely has an amazing pack of 5 that are great for moms who just gave birth.
Check out all our postpartum underwear favorites here.
Essential Baby Sleep Products for your Baby Registry List
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 a new parent inevitably has 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
Parents in certain states can qualify for a free Baby Box see here for details.
We said this above, but we will say it again in case you skimmed! There is a reason you see newborns all swaddled up in the hospital. Those labor & delivery nurses know how to wrap 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 the 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.
Another 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 every mom’s 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.
The trend today is video monitors and there are a lot of options. 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. 40,000 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.
You don’t have to rush out and get a crib as your little one probably won’t sleep in it for a while. However, if you are ready here are some great options to choose from. I love that this one is budget-friendly (it’s still very trendy and cute), or this one that is modern & dreamy. I also think this DaVinci crib that converts into a big kid bed is genius (and a great price!).
You can check out our article on top baby cribs here!
You can also get a used crib if it meets current safety standards.
These are sold separately which I didn’t realize with my first child- ha! You can find a bunch of crib mattresses on Amazon and the price range varies significantly.
This article goes over some of the different types.
New Moms often ask me what is one thing you did not expect to use all the time and there are two, a baby swing and a Nursery Glider. A Nursery Glider is such an essential to your baby registry list.
The amount of time you will spend nursing or feeding your baby a bottle is immense, so take the time to find a good glider for feeding time. Here is a list of our favorite nursery gliders.
Best Nursing Products for Your Baby Registry List
Tthe following items can make nursing your new baby a lot more convenient and comfortable if nursing is the path that you choose.
You will quickly learn that your boobs have a mind of their own and to prevent leakage you are going to need some nursing pads. You can get reusable nursing pads or you can register for disposable ones like these. I used both.
Nothing is worse than sore nipples. Make sure you get yourself a good nipple cream like certified organic Motherlove Nipple Cream.
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 Kindred Bravely’s Nursing Bra.
Our Rookie Mom Squad mama, Gabriela, tried out a couple of Kindred Bravely’s nursing and pumping bras and says they are an absolute must-have! They are comfortable and make feeding your baby easy.
Use the code 20ROOKIE for 20% off your purchase!
Hands-Free Nursing Bras
If you are going to be pumping a ton you will definitely want this nursing bra.
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 and make 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 buttondown sleep tops. Target has some really cute and comfy sets I would recommend checking out!
Repeat from Must-Haves above (because this is really important)! 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 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. This means a breastmilk storage set and breast milk storage bags like these.
Every mama is different, 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.
You can check out some of our favorite bottles here!
Just go ahead and get them and you can decide later if you want to use them. Get some clips to go with them as well so don’t end up constantly searching for where the paci went!
Of course, we also have a full list of our favorite pacifiers, including good options for breastfeeding babies.
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.
Obviously, baby bottles will be a must-have on your baby registry list. One important note, be sure to choose BPA-free bottles. Also, make sure you add 2 sizes (4 oz and 8 oz) and nipples with varying flows to your list.
Bottle drying rack
I absolutely loved my 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.
Portable Bottle Warmer
Bottle Warmers are a nice easy way to warm your baby’s bottle without having to run a boiling pot of water. There are a ton of bottle warmers out there. Our favorite is Baby’s Brew. It is the most convenient bottle warmer you can find. It is small enough that you can actually pop it in your diaper bag and take it anywhere.
Using a first-of-its-kind battery power operation that charges via USB, Baby’s Brew bottle is incredibly travel-friendly and is designed to work with almost every bottle. Simply twist, press, and shake. It’s so simple even big brothers and sisters can do it!
Cage for Bottle Bits and Pacifiers
These are an absolute must for your Baby Registry List. I have one of these nifty things for putting all the bits in the dishwasher.
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.
If you are going to be bottle feeding on the go, these formula dispensers are a must. This BPA-free one by Avent also can double as a snack dispenser when your baby gets older.
Cleaning bottles is very important. You will want a good brush with one of the tiny nipple brush attachments like this.
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.
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 both you and your partner can use it, if it clips to your stroller, how heavy/ bulky, and how happy you’ll be carrying it when your baby weighs 18 pounds.
Diaper Rash Ointment
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.
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 and are definitely a baby essential. However, babies really don’t need much when it comes to clothes. I would try to keep these items to a minimum if possible.
We love these sweet ones because they are so soft.
I always kept my newborns in gowns because it made it so easy to change their diapers. You don’t have to deal with the dread of snapping 50 different buttons to get your baby dressed (maybe I’m exaggerating a bit).
You can find tons of options here to add to your baby registry list.
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 your baby with just a diaper at home. Great if you are a swaddling mama!
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.
There are tons of options and you will want several different types. Some are for bottle feeding and nursing, others for teething and feeding later on down the road. I think these are adorable!
These burp cloths are super absorbent and equally as soft.
You will want a few newborn hats/caps in your closet. These ones are super duper adorable!!
Newborns have claws like a cat. You will want to pop these on their teeny tiny hands to prevent them from scratching themselves.
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 to add to your baby registry list that every parent will want to have in their home.
New parents love oogiebear because they make it easy to safely & effectively remove stubborn sticky mucus and dry boogers from little noses (it also works great for little ears too!). When combined with the oogie nosebalm, the two become the ultimate baby nose care routine for parents-on-the-go!
The patented bear head design on the oogiebear ensures that the ends will not go too far into baby’s nose and the soft rubber scoop and loop are specially created to be gentle enough baby’s skin!
oogiebear’s nosebalm formula is USDA certified organic and made by a cold-pressed method to ensure that all of the natural compounds stay intact from when the balm is first pressed -right down to the last swipe. This truly is the easiest way to clean your baby’s nose. Learn More About oogiebear here + get 15% off when you use promo code: rookiebear15
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.
I know this sounds weird, but one mom hack I used with my newborns was just chewing their nails down. It is honestly the easiest way until they are a little bigger!
*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.
Every new parent obsesses over how warm or cold their 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.
I don’t think there’s anything special about baby washcloths. Just buy your regular brand and make sure they are soft!
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 rave reviews. Check it out!!
Miscellaneous Health Must-Haves
- Baby Tylenol
- Baby Mylicon (This stuff works wonders in relieving gas!)
- Gripe Water
- Baby shampoo and body wash (this Honest Baby Care Trio is a great way to start)
- Purell (I have these 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.
- 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 Perk: the Amazon baby registry service allows you to register for services (maid, massage, whatever!) as well as pretty much everything else a mama might want.
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 Feeding Chair- Here is a list of our absolute favorite high chairs.
- 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 Kid” Car Seat – I like the Graco Extend2Fit (yes, it’s pricey but your baby will use it for years).
- Stroller For the Sitter-Upper– Again, I love the UPPAbaby Minu as I mentioned above. The Baby Jogger Citi Mini has always been a great choice too! Choose something that collapses easily and fits in your trunk.
- Sign Language Books and DVDs– Although I was terrible at using these, some parents like my sister-in-law are incredible and teach their babies sign language. It’s pretty awesome and gives you a chance to communicate with your baby early. This book is a great way to start!
- Feeding Bowls & Spoons– Check out the Avanchy brand (they are easy to clean!).
- A Little Something to Keep Them Busy– A Jumperoo or Exersaucer. Also, check out our favorite developmental toys for a 6-month-old!
10 things to Skip on Your Baby Registry List
Now that you know what you do need, here are the items I recommend skipping over because they just aren’t necessary.
Your baby’s bottom will be fine without the wipe being warm. Scratch this one off your baby registry list.
I had a changing table. I used it once and then every other time just changed the baby on the changing pad on the ground. It’s easier quicker and then you don’t have another piece of furniture in your home.
Diaper Genie/Diaper Bin
Unless getting to an outdoor trash can is a challenge, the diaper genie and any other diaper pail is a waist of time. Most of the time, just wrap up that diaper tight and toss it in a trash with a lid. If it’s really bad, take it to the outside trash.
They are adorable, but not essential, so leave it off your list and make sure you get the essentials before getting into all the adorable shoes
Baby Food Blender
Ok, this was a tough one for me to put on this list because I love my baby food blender, but honestly, any blender does the trick. You can check out some baby food blenders here if you disagree with this, though!
Anytime someone has Diapers on their Baby Registry List, you end up with way too many of the size 1 and 2 diapers. Your baby will grow out of these stages fast and you will be left with a Costco warehouse full of useless diapers. Keep it off your list and instead have a diapers game so guests can bring them if they would like to participate.
Mobiles are a bit outdated and usually a choking hazard once your baby can stand up. Keep it off your list.
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 it is still safe for your baby.
You can also hop on the Facebook Marketplace, Letgo or OfferUp app 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 of 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 items:
- 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.
If you have any questions about what to add to your baby registry list, leave it in the comments below.
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Updated January 26, 2021
Pin for Later: 50 Must Haves to Put on Your Baby Registry List + 10 Things to Skip
Frequently Asked Questions About Baby Registry Must-Haves
What should I put on my baby registry list?
Infant Car Seat
Double Electric Breast Pump
How do I find someone’s baby registry?
Search the registry owner’s name on the website they have registered on. Popular registry sites are Target, Amazon, Pottery Barn, and BuyBuyBaby.
What should you not put on your baby registry?
Baby Food Blender