Author: Amber Mamian | Last Updated: 1/19/24
This is your basic “if I knew then what I know now” registry. I know that building a baby registry list feels overwhelming. So, let me help you out! I have pulled together the highest recommended items from all of the mamas we know and rounded up exactly what you will need to make it through the first year of parenthood.
|Baby Registry Breakdown
|Clothing & Layette
|Health & Hygiene Products
|Extras for 6 Months and Beyond
|Products for Mama
Why listen to me? This baby registry checklist is exactly what I would give my sister or best friend! As a mother of six, through both birth and adoption, I have been through this baby registry process enough to know what baby products you actually need. I hope my experience can help ease your mind and help you design the ultimate baby registry checklist for your baby shower. Alright, let’s dive in!
10 Baby Registry Must-Haves that EVERY Mom Needs to Put on Her Baby Registry List
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. When your baby arrives all they really need is you (your love and sometimes your boob), some onesies, a swaddle blanket, and somewhere safe to sleep.
That being said, the following ten items will make your life a lot easier making these the baby products you will 100% want to put on your registry.
- Infant Car Seat
- Breast Pump + Feeding Essentials
- Baby Swing
- Swaddle Blankets
- Nursing Pillow
- Onesies and Gowns
- Sound Machine
- Baby Carrier
- Service-Based Gifts
1. Infant Car Seat
Did you know, that in most places, you cannot leave the hospital without a properly installed infant car seat? Since this is usually non-negotiable, a car seat is definitely a must-have baby registry item to add to your list.
It is also important to mention that this is one item you definitely will want to purchase new. A used car seat may have been in a crash you don’t know about. It could also be expired or recalled.
You can find detailed descriptions and comparisons of all of our favorite infant car seats here! Rookie Mom’s top pick currently is the UPPAbaby MESA V2 Infant Car Seat. Most importantly, it has a 5-star ease of use rating from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. When we were testing out car seats, I fell in love with how slender this one is and how easy it is to install.
A stroller should definitely be at the top of the list when adding items to your baby registry list. It can be super convenient like the Doona, a jogger stroller combo for an on-the-go family, or the ever-popular UPPAbaby Vista V2.
Check out our full list of the best strollers for every type of mom here. Then, as soon as you figure out your favorite make sure to add it to your list. These can get very pricey, so it is definitely nice when you receive them as a gift.
Although you don’t technically need a stroller, I strongly believe every new mama should have one. The mental boost you get when taking a walk with your baby is invaluable. Not to mention, having a stroller just makes it feel a little easier to get out of the house. They are a must-have when it comes to convenience.
Check out how cool the Vista V2 is!
3. Breast Pump + Feeding Essentials
When it comes to the must-haves for feeding your newborn, you’re looking at a mix of items that cover all your bases, whether you’re breastfeeding, formula feeding, or doing a bit of both. A breastpump is one of the pricier items you will need to invest in.
And, if you plan to breastfeed your newborn, I highly recommend investing in a high-quality breast pump. A double electric breast pump or a hands-free breast pump are the best options in terms of convenience.
I am currently using the MAM 2-in-1 Double Electric Breast Pump. Not only is it affordable, but the battery life is amazing. I love that the suction stays consistent whether it is plugged in or using battery reserve. Both sides can be transformed into a manual-style pump super easily as well. The pump fits easily into my regular diaper bag because it’s so small.
I have used a Medela pump previously and would say my output with the MAM 2-in-1 is similar and the suction is equally comfortable!
Rookie Mom Tip: 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. AND always check to see if your insurance will cover a breast pump. Find out how here.
4. Baby Swing
Repeat after me, “I WILL PUT A BABY SWING ON MY REGISTRY.” They are lifesavers. Newborns are operating on a totally 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 high-tech swings out there, but I still love a classic simple swing like this one by Graco. I’ve found babies don’t need the 20 different motion and sound options, a simple sway back and forth will do. Here is a list of our favorite baby swings for 2024.
Remember your baby always needs to be buckled in and you need to keep your eye on them at all times.
5. 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 with velcro which makes it a little easier to wrap your baby up tightly!
6. Nursing Pillow
Whether you are planning on nursing or not, I highly recommend adding a nursing pillow to your baby registry checklist.
Nursing pillows are great for helping tired new mamas hold their babies while nursing or bottle feeding. They also are a great way to provide support for siblings or visitors who want to hold the baby.
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. Sound Machine
Noise machines can make a huge difference in your baby’s sleep… which means your sleep, too! They remind babies of the noisy womb that they spent the past 9 months in. Sound machines also help train your baby to sleep with noise which is a very valuable skill.
The Yogasleep Hushh Portable Sound Machine is a lifesaver on the go. But for at home, I recommend the Hatch Rest. It is popular because it is a sound machine and night light all in one. You can control the sound and light from your phone which is so nice for late-night feedings and diaper changes!
9. 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 to be able to use your hands on occasion. This is where a handy baby carrier comes in and it is precisely why a baby carrier belongs on every baby registry list.
Our Rookie Mom Squad’s top pick is the Ergobaby Omni Breeze. It works great for newborns (and beyond!). Plus, it is easy to put on and adjust for the perfect fit.
10. Service-Based Gifts
Let’s face it, being a new parent is a whirlwind, and finding the time for just about anything, let alone preparing a good meal, is a tall order. Adding service-based gifts is the new cool thing to put on your registry because of this!
Meal service (Thistle is my favorite) is the first thing I would prioritize adding to your baby registry. But, think about all those service-based gifts that can be a lifesaver for new parents! From house cleaning services to baby sleep consultants, and maybe even a subscription to a meditation app for those rare moments of peace.
Good news; there’s actually a way to add some of these services to your baby registry with Tot Squad! Their services can be added to both Target and Amazon registries. Learn more about how that works 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 best gear to get that baby sleeping as soon as possible! Also, make sure to add swaddle blankets and a sound machine which we mentioned above on our must-have list.
- Baby Monitor
- Nursery Glider
Newborn Sleep Space
This might be a bassinet, co-sleeper, or crib. It is up to you, but the main point is your cuddly newborn is going to need somewhere safe to sleep. Keep in mind, you can also get a used crib if it meets current safety standards.
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 this one is budget-friendly (it’s still very trendy and cute) and 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! And, if you decide to go with a bassinet, we have a whole article breaking down our favorite bassinets here!
These are sold separately which I didn’t realize with my first child- ha! You can read about our top 5 crib mattress picks here, including our favorite the super breathable Newton Mattress.
My favorite baby monitor is actually not a video monitor. It is the Owlet. You have probably heard about it because it’s amazing. Simply wrap it around your baby’s foot and it will monitor their breathing, how much oxygen they have, and so much more.
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 when a baby is in distress as well as broadcast it and that it is small and battery-operated so you can take it with you.
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. I would definitely say adding a nursery glider to your baby registry list is essential.
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.
A few good pairs of jammies are a must! There is one thing that is super important to think about when picking out pajamas for a baby; are they easy to get on and off for late-night changes? You will be very grateful that you considered this when 3 AM rolls around!
Lately, I have been loving Buckle Me jammies. They have 2 ways zips for fast and easy changes. Plus, they are made of ridiculously soft, thin, breathable material. Buckle Me pajamas are great for taller babies because you can extend out the arms and legs, this also means they will last you longer!
Best Nursing Products for Your Baby Registry List
If breastfeeding is the path that you choose, the following items will make nursing your new baby a lot more convenient and comfortable.
Of course, I highly recommend investing in a good breast pump above all else. That’s why it was included in the must-haves portion of this list.
- Nursing Cover
- Breast Pads
- Nipple Cream
- Nursing Bras
- Nursing Tanks
- Breast Milk Storage Bags
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 the 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.
For pumping mamas, this nursing bra is a great choice.
Use the code 20ROOKIE for 20% off your Kindred Bravely purchase!
I preferred nursing tanks, especially in the hospital and those first few weeks home. They were cozy even during my cat naps.
Breast Milk Storage Bags
People often refer to breastmilk as liquid gold 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.
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 want to have on your baby registry list.
- Bottle Drying Rack
- Portable Bottle Warmer
- Bottle Pieces Cage
- Formula Dispenser
- Bottle Brushes
- Bottle Sterilizers
Obviously, baby bottles will be a must-have. 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.
You can check out some of our favorite bottles here! 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.
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 bottle 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 can also 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.
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.
- Diaper Bag
- Diaper Rash Ointment
- Changing Pad
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 and Layette to add to Your Baby Registry List
This is probably the one section 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.
- Kimono Tops
- Burp Cloths
- Baby Hats
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.
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.
- Nose Cleaner
- Nail Clippers
- Digital Thermometer
- Bathing Essentials
oogiebear Baby Nose Cleaner
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!
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.
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 the 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 of mom, you may write it all down or even graph it. A thermometer is a must!
I don’t think there’s anything special about baby washcloths. Just buy your regular brand and make sure they are soft!
A baby bathtub is a great addition to any baby registry checklist. Having one around will definitely make your life a little easier.
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)
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. 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– Check out our favorite baby toys for a 6-month-old focused on development!
Service Based Gifts for the New Parents
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 is a great gift; 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 is worth asking for.
- Home Doula – Mother’s helper, babysitter, night nurse are variations on the theme of someone to help you get the baby cared for.
- Laundry Service – Between labor & delivery and a newborn, laundry piles up quickly those first few weeks. You can pay for a laundry service, like Poplin, to take this burden off the new parents.
- Streaming Services– You might think you won’t have time to watch shows, but there will be definitely some downtime. In addition, you might find yourself watching infomercials at night while nursing if there’s nothing better on. Luckily, there are some great streaming services. This way you can enjoy your favorite shows on your time, which as a mama might be at the weirdest of times. Our two favorites are Disney+ & Hulu!
- 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.
- Postpartum Care – 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. Things like postpartum underwear are 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.
*Very Cool Perk: Amazon’s baby registry service allows you to register for services (maid, massage, whatever!) as well as pretty much everything else a mama might want. You can also register for Tot Squad Services at Target and Amazon.
10 Things to Skip
Now that you know what you do need, here are the items I recommend skipping over because they just aren’t necessary.
- Wipe Warmer – Your baby’s bottom will be fine without the wipe being warm. Scratch this one off your baby registry list.
- Changing Tables – 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.
- Baby Shoes – 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!
- Diapers – Wondering what size diapers to put on the baby registry if you do decide to register for them? A variety! However, anytime someone has diapers on their Baby Registry List, they end up with way too many 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 – Mobiles are a bit outdated and usually a choking hazard once your baby can stand up. Keep it off your list.
Setting Up Your Baby Registry
Ideally, you will begin your baby registry in the second trimester. This gives you ample time to research products and decide what you need before the baby shower invitations are sent.
The first thing you will need to decide is where to register for baby! Here are some of the most popular places to create a baby registry:
- Target Baby Registry
- Bed Bath and Beyond Baby Registry
- Buy Buy Baby Registry
- Pottery Barn Kids Registry
Make sure to take advantage of any offers the above stores are offering for creating a registry! For example, Amazon offers a completion discount. This means you can get a 15% discount on select items that didn’t get purchased off your registry.
You can also use a service like Babylist or MyRegistry. With these services, you can add products from various stores like Kohl’s, Etsy, and Nordstrom; baby registry essentials come from all kinds of places!
Wherever you decide to register, just make sure to keep track of it all with my Baby Registry Checklist! This way you can ensure you register for all the essentials and be well-prepared for your baby.
Creating a baby registry is an exciting part of preparing for your new arrival. By starting early, choosing the right platform, and carefully selecting items, you can ensure that you have all the essentials ready for your baby’s debut.
Remember, the registry is not just a list of gifts, but a helpful tool in your journey to parenthood. Enjoy the process, and don’t hesitate to ask for help or advice from friends and family who have been through it before.
Frequently Asked Questions About Baby Registry Must-Haves
What should I put on my baby registry list?
Here are my top suggestions;
Infant Car Seat
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?
I would skip these items;
Baby Food Blender
Is it rude to put expensive items on baby registry?
No, it is completely expected for there to be big ticket items on your baby registry. I suggest including items at various price points so all of your guests feel comfortable purchasing something off your baby registry.
How many items do you typically put on a baby registry?
It is normal to have 50-100 items on your baby registry. Keep in mind, you should include different price points and a wide variety of items to make shopping easier for your guests.
What month should I create a baby registry?
I recommend creating your baby registry early in your second trimester as it may take some time to build it out and decide what you want to include.
Used vs. New- What baby items can you safely use as hand-me-downs?
Really, anything that doesn’t skeeve you out and passes current safety standards is ok to get as a hand-me-down. I would NOT recommend hand-me-downs for the following items:
Car seat– New safety regulations suggest never using a pre-owned car seat because of recalls, potential missing pieces, and the fact you don’t know if the car seat has been in an accident.
Crib mattress- I reused mine throughout my multiple children and everyone turned out just fine, I think! However, I would not buy a pre-owned mattress from someone I didn’t know and trust.
Mechanical breast pump – Hand pumps can be thoroughly washed and thrown in the dishwasher, but not the electric.
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Pin for Later: 50 Must-Haves to Put on Your Baby Registry List + 10 Things to Skip