I had no idea what I was doing when I created our baby registry! Of course my baby shower was amazing, and AB was shown so much love before she came into this world, but I still thought it would be helpful to share what I learned AFTER my baby was born, but what I wish I had known BEFORE!
When I created my baby registry for AB, I did no prior research beforehand about what specific items to put on my registry. I just assumed it would be easy and obvious when I got to the store. Blankets, clothes, diapers– you know, baby stuff– I totally winged it! I wish I had looked into it or asked around first, because there were a lot of things I ended up buying later that really would have come in handy during those rough early days.
There were also some things that we ended up with TONS of that I could have left off the registry. I’ve put together a list of what I found (through trial and error) to be absolutely essential for any baby registry, as well as what you can probably get by without. Hopefully my experiences can help save you time, money, and effort and ensure that you are all set for when your new arrival makes his or her appearance!
What you NEED on your registry:
1. A Play Gym / Play Mat
Newborns aren’t mobile, but they do get bored! A play mat gives them a new place to lay with lots of bright, colorful things to look at. Lights and sound provide extra entertainment.
As babies learn to use their hands and feet, they’ll be intrigued and start reaching for or kicking at the hanging toys. Most mats let you move the objects around or detach them, so the play gym doesn’t get stale. (Even at almost a year old, AB still has a couple toys that she loves that used to hang above the mat…talk about longevity!)
A play gym is also a great place to work on tummy time, since the mats are usually padded. Because a play mat is often a favorite place to be, it might make baby hate tummy time just a little bit less!
Swings are great, but if I had to pick one baby “seat” I would definitely go with the Rock-N-Play. Unfortunately, I didn’t even find out about these amazing pieces of baby gear until a couple months after AB was born!
AB always wanted to be right near the action — since Rock-N-Plays are elevated and portable, she could sit next to us at the table (when she was too small for a high chair), hang out in the living room, or watch Daddy cook, and never feel left out. Plus if she got tired, she was reclined and comfy and could just doze off whenever she pleased.
Another benefit is the vibrating button, which always worked to calm AB down if she was getting fussy. Newer models have the option of an automatic rocker, but we just tapped it with our foot to soothe her to sleep. We got months of daily use out of ours! The weight limit is 25 pounds, so if AB was happy to sit still these days we would still be using it!
3. Pacifiers (LOTS of them!)
I was dead-set against pacifiers before AB was born! I won’t name names, but someone in my family was addicted to “Paci” until three years old — I was determined that wouldn’t me MY baby.
But after a week of marathon nursing sessions and times when AB would cry for seemingly no reason, I caved. I commanded (nicely, of course) hubby to run out immediately and buy a pack.
Wouldn’t you know, pacifiers are miracle workers! Sometimes, all AB wanted was to suck on something, and it was nice for it not to be ME for a change! (Don’t worry, she was and is WELL fed!) We had success with both the Soothies and regular Avent types.
Around six months of age, AB decided she was done with Paci — you couldn’t even make her take it, so I had been worried for no reason at all! Save yourself the crying and exhaustion and have a few on hand — there’s no shame in using the Paci!
4. Swaddle Wraps
I received a velcro swaddle at my baby shower (it was NOT on my registry.) When I first looked at it, I couldn’t imagine who would do such a horrible thing to their precious little baby. I dubbed it the “baby straight jacket” and tossed it aside.
Again, I couldn’t have been more wrong! After a few days of sleepless nights, I pulled out the swaddle in desperation and fumbled around until I figured out how it worked. Another miracle worker! AB actually LIKED having her arms glued to her side and fell right to sleep.
The swaddle kept her startle reflex from waking her and I was able to get sleep! (Well, for 3 hours until the next feeding session!) When your baby starts rolling, you’ll have to give up the swaddle, but fortunately I found the Zipadee-Zip and this is what AB still uses today.
This might be the single greatest baby invention ever. AB has used hers since she was able to touch the bottom with her toes (about four months) and even now LOVES to spend up to an hour bouncing away.
Exersaucers have an adjustable seat (so they grow with your baby) and allow them to jump up and down a couple inches. There are a variety of toys which range from easy to handle to more complex.
These things are durable! AB is ROUGH on hers, slamming herself into the seat when she’s excited and yanking on the toys with all her might and it’s still hanging in there.
Bonus: you can set the baby down safely to go to the bathroom!
What You Can Skip:
- Blankets, towels, and clothes — These are the go-tos for last-minute gifts and people who didn’t look at your registry. You’ll get plenty of these items regardless, and if you add them to your registry you’ll likely end up with double! I love all of our beautiful baby blankets, especially those that are personalized, but we have enough for three babies!
- Baby Carrier — Don’t get me wrong, baby-wearing is very useful, but it might be better to wait until after your baby is actually so you can take them for a test run and see which style you prefer. I was thrilled to get the wrap carrier I wanted at my shower, BUT I didn’t expect to have a c-section and the knot fell right on my incision– ouch! We ended up getting an ErgoBABY 360 later on and loved it.
- Diaper Pail — It seems like a good idea in theory, but in reality, it is more hassle then it’s worth. They fill up super quickly, bags are a pain to change, and refills don’t last long. I just recycle old plastic shopping bags to seal out the smell before tossing in our regular trash can.
- Mobile — A mobile is a must for a crib right? Well, ours ended up being more like a decoration instead of anything functional. Little did I know when I put it on the registry that it only played music for a couple minutes– what’s the point? Plus, when a baby is able to sit up, you have to take the mobile down, as it is a strangulation hazard.
- Crib Bumpers — They’re adorable! But they’re a suffocation risk. If you’re worried about your baby hitting their head on the side of the crib as they become mobile, look for breathable mesh bumpers instead.
These are just some of the baby gear that I found useful, as well as things that weren’t. If you’re expecting, don’t be like me and just wing it — I definitely wish I had put more thought into my registry! It’s not the end of the world, but had I known what was a waste, I could have asked for a helpful item instead.
Ready to get started? Create an Amazon Baby Registry today!
Happy shopping mamas!
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