The List of All Lists!—this was the subject of the email that I wrote to my cousin when she found out she was pregnant. She wasn't sure how to get started making her baby registry, and I was only too happy to help! Lucky for me I've photographed hundreds of pregnant women, and by the time it was my turn to carry a bun in the oven I had a ton of great advice pouring in from past and current clients. Since that first email, I have forwarded the list about 15 times to other mommies-to-be. I've also refined and updated it through more conversations with my wonderful client resources, and from my own experience with a newborn.
And now, I've decided it's time to make my list public! These aren't your typical things that you would have thought of already, like the crib, carseat, or diapers. These are the things you may not have heard of yet, things that seem unimportant those first few months (but they definitely are), and things that I have put to use and can say confidently whether or not they actually work!
So, for what it is worth, here is my baby registry List of All Lists! Share the link with any expecting mothers you know.
Baby Registry Must-Haves
- 3 Sprouts Organic Hooded Towel: Wish I'd gotten more of these! The hood is important to keep babies' heads warm right when they get out of the bath. When it first arrived, I thought it was too big and that I wouldn't even touch it until Bennett was 4—I was so wrong. By 6 months he had practically outgrown it. I used it every day for as long as I could!
- Mustela Newborn Set: Wonderful bath products for baby and last forever if you use them sparingly!
- BabyKicks Natural & Organic Baby Wipes: Burp cloths, washcloths, napkins...I use these for EVERYTHING. They have stayed super soft through tons of washes. You can never have too many burp cloths. The Land of Nod used to make really nice thick ones that I would keep around the house: one on the chair in his room, one in our bedroom, and one on the couch! Always nice to have one handy. You can still find other burp cloths on the company's website—I never used them but they seem pretty good and I like the shape. I also really loved this set of washcloths that we got, and I wish we'd gotten a few more.
- Aden + Anais Mod About Baby Swaddle Blankets: Get swaddle blankets. Get lots of swaddle blankets. Trust me! These are the best ones, we used them a ton and now he uses them a ton.
- Giggle Better Basics Fitted Crib Sheet: I have two crib sheets and I feel like I am always washing them! I recommend having at least 4 of these, if you can—especially if you are city dwellers without a washing machine in your apartment. This a great brand; the sheets have stayed soft and the elastic still works well.
- UPPAbaby Vista Bassinet Stand: We went with an UPPAbaby Vista stroller and used the bassinet as his bed for the first 3 months, how's that for multitasking?! I recommend doing the same and getting this bassinet stand. We converted it to a hamper once B outgrew the bassinet. Be sure to grab a couple of extra mattress covers like this one.
- Twelve Hours' Sleep by Twelve Weeks Old, by Suzy Giordano: This was probably one of the best gifts I received. Don't bother picking it up until after the baby is born, I read it during breastfeeding sessions and due to it's nice slim size, finished it in a week. The title says it all—SO helpful for your sleep deprivation!
- Miracle Blanket: No false advertising here! Trust in it.
Diaper & Diaper Bag
- Sugarbooger Diaper Bag Organizer Pouches: These were such a great find. They helped me stay super organized and easily switch bags when necessary. And of course, the dirty bag got a ton of use because I could slip soiled clothes in there and keep them separate until we got home. One of them did end up ripping on me, but still not a regret- I think I just used it too much!
- Munchkin Diaper Pail: Simple, compact, and easy to use. You definitely want a diaper pail if you don't plan to take the trash out daily.
- Gerber Prefold Organic Diapers: These aren't just for diaper use, despite the name—these are also great burp cloths. They are smaller than many other blurb cloths and really soft. (Soft tends to be one of my number one rating criteria!)
- Boppy: This nursing pillow does triple duty as a safe seat for the baby and as an easy way for you two to lay together.
- Splash Bottle-Drying Rack: I bought this myself later, when it was much needed. Definitely register for one of these!
- Bravado Nursing Bra: I really like this brand. Get it a couple weeks before you are due, because your size will change! I had to get a second, bigger size for the weeks just after delivery too.
- Medela Nursing Stool: I think this is often overlooked, but you have to remember to take care of momma! This took the pressure off my legs and helped me keep good and comfortable posture while breastfeeding. I used it with my Luca Glider, which was expensive but my gift to myself—no regrets there!
- Medela Backpack Pump: There's another model that is more expensive and allows you to remove the pump from the backpack—I never saw the need for that because I could just move the backpack around. This was another of those items where I thought I could wait to get it, but by day 3 we were in dire need. If you are overproducing or even underproducing milk, you'll need this right away.
- Bottles and Bottle Steamer: Another thing you shouldn't wait to get is bottles. I really wish I had registered for them. I love the Born Free bottles but Dr. Brown is another great, less expensive option. My biggest piece of advice is to stick with one brand and get a bunch of different sizes, so you don't find yourself trying to match that nipple to this or that bottle. I never bought a bottle steamer but I wish I had. I felt like I was always cleaning bottles and like they were also never felt clean enough! (It would have given me piece of mind, if anything else.)
- OXO Tot Baby Freezer Storage Containers: I didn't register for these, and I wish I had. You don't think about it, since at first you're nursing the baby yourself, but before you know it you are introducing foods. Stock up before the baby comes so it's just one less thing you have to think about later. Buy different sizes, to grow along with the baby's appetite!
- Kushies Waterproof Bib: Speaking of food, grab some waterproof bibs for when your baby starts to eat purée! I got a couple from the Land of Nod that aren't available online anymore, but this Kushies brand one will do the trick. Cloth bibs are important too, great for milk spills or even just over an outfit to sop up some drool. But once meals start to get super messy, waterproof is the way to go. Also, consider getting a bib with a rounded edge at the bottom to catch food, like this BabyBjörn one. We are still using it at 2 years old!
- Sophie the Giraffe: Nontoxic teething toy—safe and babies love it. A definite must have! The other big winner in the teething toy category was the Chan Pie Gnon.
- Bird Mobile: I got a great bird mobile from the Land of Nod that's no longer available (I'm sensing a trend). Bennett loves it—but not where you'd think! I hung it over his changing table, not over his bed. They say it's hard to sleep train if there is something hanging over the bed to distract the baby. The best advice I got was to make his crib like a spa—just plain, simple and soothing. Sounds pretty great, if you ask me.
- Skwish: We got the skwish that was just natural wood color, which was great but B was definitely more into his colorful toys. So get the one with all the colors.
Getting Around—Or Staying Put!
- BabyBjörn BabySitter and BabySitter Wooden Toy: We loved this and used it for as long as we could. Newbie Bennett would sleep in it all wrapped up like a burrito, while 6-month Bennett would enjoy us foot-pedal-style bouncing him in it. Later, 10-month-old Bennett would bounce himself and play with the toy bar. It was safe and seemed really comfortable. Great for travel too, even just for an evening at a friend's house. It really came in handy.
- Phil & Teds Lobster Highchair and Stokke Highchair: We got something called the Me Too chair by the same brand, but it doesn't appear to be available online anymore. This Lobster chair is the same idea and it's been so useful. We attached it to our kitchen island, which is great to put him in when I'm preparing meals and for more casual eating. We were also given the Stokke chair, which I put at our dining table. It's got a great design, is durable, and promotes eating at the dinner table with us. Love them both!
- Moby Wrap: I used shoulder slings, but I wish I'd gotten a Moby wrap in addition. Once B got a little bigger the shoulder slings were hard to squeeze him into. In the end, the Ergo was my go-to carrier the whole way through.
- Treetop Friends Activity Gym: An activity mat is CRUCIAL! I used it every day; it was nice to have something I knew was clean from feet, plus he was content to lay there for a long time just playing with the hanging toys. He used this through his first year.
Other Tips and Tricks
- Bathtub: Don't get a sink tub, because the baby will outgrow it very quickly. I started giving nightly baths at 4 months as a way to relax him and give him a cue that bedtime was coming soon. The ritual aspect was important, babies need their routines!
- Multiple changing covers for the changing station: My mom warned me and I definitely experienced firsthand the need for multiple mats. There will be messy changes and you want something you can switch out easily so you're not washing the whole pad everytime it gets soiled. I bought a bunch of cheapy ones at Babies-R-Us.
- Clothes: You won't need much at the beginning. Just register for a few organic pieces (onesies are the best) and work on getting more as needed.
- Clothes for YOU!: Loose, breathable, and comfortable. Make sure you have a bunch ready—those first few weeks you will be living in loungewear and dealing with messes, which may necessitate changing several times a day. You don't want to be doing laundry every day if you don't have to. Also, get a comfy robe for breastfeeding and the hospital.
- AmazonMom: Highly useful version of Amazon Prime. We get 30% off diapers, which is HUGE.
- Before the baby is born, stock up on: Vaseline, Aquaphor Baby, wipes, diapers. Also make sure you get a changing station ready!
- Happiest Baby on the Block: Skip the book and watch the cheesy DVD while you are hanging out at home those first few days!
Baby Registry Not-So-Must-Haves
- Lula Changing Pad: I haven't used this as much as I thought I would. It ended up being to bulky to carry around with me, which was the whole point because I have a changing table at home. I have taken it to some picnics and classes as something to set him down on, but in the end this wasn't necessary.
- The First Years Newborn Pacifiers: These are really good pacifiers, and the only ones Bennett would take. BUT, be careful not to get too many; I hear about a lot of babies who never take them, and even Bennett only used them for a month before he would have nothing to do with them. Since they're an easy thing to buy, it's equally easy to end up with an absolute ton that you may never need. Make sure to only get a few, or wait until you know if your baby will even take a pacifier.
- Giggle Better Basics Hooded Bath Kimono: This came in handy because it fit him right when he was born, but I never bothered to put his arms through the sleeves. Just keep it simple and get a bunch of the 3 Sprout hooded towels!
- MamaRoo Swing: I was psyched when I snagged this small foot-print swing on Craigslist, especially since it was brand-spanking new. But now I know why: he was not a fan and it definitely didn't calm him down. I could only sit him in it if he was happy already and if it wasn't swinging. I think most babies like a faster swing, and the back-and-forth motion versus the side-to-side. I would pass on this and just go with the larger swing that may not be as "pretty."
Got any additional items that you found especially useful, other tips, or know of an item that just didn't work for you? Be sure to leave a comment!