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When it came time to create a baby registry, my husband and I actually decided not to do it. I still had hyperemesis, and the idea of walking around a baby store with a salesperson following you making suggestions seemed overwhelming. Plus, we didn’t want a lot of things. We knew that eventually our house would be filled with kid things, but we wanted the progression to be slow and tasteful. So, instead of heading out to the nearest store, I did what everyone does nowadays– settled into my comfiest chair with some good blogs and reddit threads about top baby registry items. I read about the things you needed at an absolute minimum when bringing your baby home from the hospital (car seat, diapers, wipes, clothes, and somewhere for him to sleep), and what the next level of nice-to-haves were (bathtub, stroller, swaddles, baby monitor). At the other end of the spectrum were fully decked out nurseries with rocking chairs, changing tables, and an inspirational quote on the wall. Don’t get me wrong– part of me would have loved to create a peaceful nursery for my son. However, the reality of a 2-bedroom, 850 square foot condo and being on one income won over. Also, he would be sleeping in our room for at least six months, so I didn’t really see the point of a separate nursery.
Fast forward to me being eight months pregnant and everyone asking us, again, what they could get the baby (yes, our family and friends are awesome!). We had already held off for two months, but at this point we thought it was best to use my research to come up with a quick list of what we wanted. I started a baby registry in Amazon and started adding items to it. I added everything I thought we would need in the first month– including things like diaper rash cream and baby wipes. My mom said these weren’t appropriate for a registry, but I wanted to be thorough, since the plan was to go through a week before the due date and buy everything that was left so we would be prepared for the baby’s arrival (Amazon actually lets you buy everything that’s remaining on your registry– i.e., the things that have not been gifted to you by family/friends– for a discount of 15% if you’re a Prime member and 10% if you’re not). For this reason, it was easiest to have everything on one list so I could quickly see what else we needed and add them to my Amazon cart when the time came. I liked using Amazon because they usually have the best prices, and this was good for the gift givers. They also send you a free Welcome box filled with baby care items.
Almost everything on our registry was something that we knew we would use daily. That was by design, because as I mentioned, we didn’t want any extra baby things. It’s also nice because we can remember the person who gave it to us on a daily basis, not just on the occasional time when we break out a random item.
Here are our top baby registry items– those that we seem to use every day:
- Car seat: This will be one of the most expensive purchases you’ll make, so if you have any friends or family who want to get this for you (either by themselves or as a group present), I’m sure you could you use that money on something else! We asked for the Chicco KeyFit30 car seat, since it’s light and fit our needs best.
- Stroller: This is another expensive item. We ended up asking for the Chicco KeyFit Caddy Stroller Frame, as it was light and we didn’t need an adapter for our car seat. I’ve used it almost every day since my son was born and taken it on four flights, and it’s held up great!
- Bouncer: Some people like swings, but we love this Bouncer Balance from BabyBjorn. It transforms from a baby bouncer into a toddler chair, so you’ll be able to use it for two years. It’s well designed and collapses into a slim profile that can fit behind or under a couch when not in use. Of course the seat material can be removed and thrown in the washer if it needs to be cleaned. And finally, the baby uses his own leg strength to rock himself, so he can use it independently.
- Baby Monitor: Since our condo is so small, we weren’t sure if we needed a monitor. However, I’m glad we put this on our registry because it gives me peace of mind when I’m downstairs cooking and the baby is napping upstairs. It’s also helpful in the middle of the night when we hear a noise, because we can just check the monitor instead of getting out of bed to check on him. After going back and forth on getting a “smart” monitor that we could check from our phones, we decided we didn’t need this feature and asked for the Infant Optics monitor. The monitor has buttons that allow you to change the camera direction and zoom strength from anywhere within range. It also has sound-activated lights on the side so you can see how loud your baby is if the volume is turned down. My favorite feature is that it tells you the temperature of the room, and the number turns red if it is higher than 86 degrees (our heating is very powerful, so this came in use a lot).
- Crib: As I mentioned, we didn’t want to have a traditional nursery. Instead, the baby would sleep in our room for at least the first six months. We decided to get the Dream On Me mini crib because, not only does it have three different mattress levels that will allow us to lower the mattress when our little one begins to stand up, it also converts to a toddler bed so we can use it for a few years if we want. The mini crib allows it to fit in our room, and I think our son likes it, as well, because the space isn’t so big for him.
- Crib Sheets: Obviously we needed sheets to go with the crib. I ended up picking jersey sheets because I liked how soft they feel.
- Infant Travel Bed: As I talked about in my Sleeping Expenses post, for the first few months, I wanted my son to nap downstairs so I wouldn’t have to keep taking him up and down the stairs during the day (it was a little difficult with my c-section recovery). I thought about getting a playpen or a proper bassinet, but we didn’t really have room for these in the living room. I ended up putting this travel bed on my registry, and it’s been perfect. It needs a soft, flat surface to put it on (we use our sofa), and it’s the perfect size for a newborn. It weighs about two pounds and folds up to fit into a carry-on, so if you decide to travel with it, it would work out fine.
- Activity Mat: There are so many activity mats out there, I wasn’t sure how to pick one. I ended up getting a twist and fold one that could be folded up to fit under the sofa. As a bonus, it comes with a velcro mirror and a small cushion for tummy time.
- Portable Changing Pad: Since we were just using a simple tote bag as our diaper bag, I wanted our portable changing pad to have a lot of pockets. Skip Hop has one that has been great– it holds a lot and is still compact. It fits three diapers, a pair of disposable gloves, an extra outfit, a travel size bottle of hand sanitizer, two paper towels, two disposable changing pad liners, two travel packets of Desitin, and a travel container of wet wipes. Not too shabby!
- In-Home Changing Pad: I actually debated using our portable changing pad as our in-home changing solution for awhile, but then I thought it would be better to get something more permanent. There are many different changing pads out there. Some have raised edges on all four sides, but I ended up getting one that was contoured on only the left and right sides, meaning it would take longer for our baby to outgrow it (lengthwise).
- Changing Pad Cover: We needed this to protect the changing pad, since this can easily be thrown in the washer when needed. I almost asked for two, but one has been enough so far. This one seriously has the softest material I’ve ever felt.
- Diapers: Diapers are usually seen as a good baby shower gift for a second or third child, but there’s nothing wrong in asking for diapers with baby #1, as well! We only asked for a 32-pack of the newborn size, because you never know if those will fit or not. If asking for a large quantity, it’s safer to put size 1 on your registry. You could put size 2 and above, as well, but then you will need a place to store the diapers until the baby is about three months old and ready for those sizes.
- Diaper Wipes: This is another mundane item, but oh so necessary, especially in those first few days after birth. We asked for the sensitive ones to limit any potential reactions our baby had to the chemicals in them.
- Diaper Rash Cream: We came home with some Desitin samples from the hospital, but when our son had his first (and only!) bad diaper rash at seven days old, our pediatrician suggested we try Aquaphor, instead. We quickly ordered a big tub of it and haven’t looked back since. Regardless of which cream you choose, I would recommend getting the big tub size and just keeping it open on your changing table. It’s much easier to dip your fingers into an open container rather than opening up a tube and squeezing cream onto your hand. Plus, it will last you a very long time. We’ve had our Aquaphor tub for over four months and it isn’t even a quarter gone, yet.
- Disposable Changing Pad Covers: I thought pretty carefully about how we wanted to change diapers outside of the house. Public bathrooms have so many germs, and I really doubt anyone cleans those Koala Kare stations. Luckily, there’s a product made for this! The disposable changing pad covers are useful to lay your baby down on when you need to change him in public. We also use them in the house on top of the fabric changing pad cover because it allows us to go longer without washing the fabric.
- Bamboo Washcloths: We asked for two boxes of these and it’s been useful. We use them as a shield when changing diapers to avoid getting pee on us, and also during bath time as a regular washcloth. This brand in particular is super soft!
- Diaper Pail: Honestly, if you empty out your garbage everyday or are always very good about really sealing your diapers before disposing of them, you might not need one of these. I’m pretty sensitive to smells, so we ended up putting it on the list. In keeping with our small profile theme, we ordered a Dekor mini pail. We empty it every day or two, but it can probably fit three days worth of diapers.
- Diaper Trash Bags: The diaper pail we wanted has special trash bags to go with it, so these were also added to our registry.
- Burp cloths: Muslin anything is great for babies, and burp cloths are no exception. Aden & Anais and Koala Baby both sell square muslin cloths that can be used as a burp cloth. Whatever you choose, you’ll want to make sure you have something to use for when the feedings get messy!
And that’s it! While there are certainly other items you may want to add to your registry, these are things that you’ll be using every day and, in most cases, are the priciest.