I’ll be honest, when I was creating our baby registry, I was clueless. I spent so much time scouring the internet at others’ registries and trying to emulate them as best as possible. A lot of you asked for me to share my registry, but being that I hadn’t tried any of the products yet, I didn’t feel comfortable recommending them. Now that we’ve been at this parenting game for almost two months (where did the time go!), we’ve got a good sense of what works for us and what doesn’t.
Every baby is different, so some things people recommended to us, Ryleigh hates while other things we didn’t even register for have become must haves. So here’s a list of our newborn essentials.
Portable Sound Machine
The one item we use all day every day (that wasn’t originally on our registry) is this portable sound machine. We registered for the bigger version, but that one requires a wall outlet, so we leave that in her nursery. Being that she hasn’t even slept in there yet, we haven’t used it. HOWEVER, this little rechargeable gem is attached to our hip. We put it on when she’s napping in the living room, sleeping in our room, going out to restaurants or out for walks. It calms her down and eventually puts her to sleep. Maybe we’re creating a bad habit, but I think there are far worse bad habits than relying on a sleep machine. My husband still uses his and it wasn’t a deal breaker 🙂
If there’s one thing every parent-to-be hears nonstop is “swaddle this” and “swaddle that.” I’m not going to disagree, swaddles are great. But the right swaddles are even better. We got so many different styles and types. My favorites ended up being The Ollie and those by Swaddle Me. Velcro is key and making sure they’re the right size to keep those buggers tight as a bug in a rug.
The hospital tells breast feeding moms not to introduce a pacifier until at least a month, well two and a half weeks in, we got desperate and it was the best decision we made. There was zero nipple confusion. And maybe that’s because of these specific pacifiers. I LOVE these patpats by Ryan and Rose. And so does Ryleigh, she won’t even take any other type. We hook them to these cutie clips to limit the amount of times they fall out of reach.
This is another one they recommend breast feeding moms not introducing for awhile. Well, we knew that at seven weeks, I had to be away from baby for two days, so we wanted to get this started sooner rather than later. We started off with the Avent bottles around four weeks; she choked, spit up and it was an all around a miserable first experience. Next up were the Dr. Browns bottles and what a difference. We used their Size 1 nipple and she’s been fine with them since. We try to incorporate a few bottles a week to ensure she doesn’t forget and she’s been fine!
I had a very strict stance on not getting a diaper pail. I had no interest in buying special bags, it seemed very gimmicky. But let me tell you, this diaper pail is so necessary. It doesn’t require any special bags, it uses regular tall kitchen trash bags and boy does it come in handy during those late night diaper changes. We have a pack n play near the kitchen trash can where we change her diapers during the day, but at night, I can’t imagine walking downstairs half asleep to toss the one, two, three diapers we go through. It keeps the smell contained and looks nice too!
Rock n Play
This was one of those items that EVERYONE recommended. I didn’t really see the need for it, but put it on my registry anyway. YES YES YES. Now I know they say not to have them spend all their time in the rock n play because they can develop a flat head, so we rotate between this, the bassinet and the pack n play. But out of all of them, the rock n play is her favorite. When she becomes fussy, she essentially rocks herself and the movement puts her right to sleep.
These are so cool and are great for tummy time and learning early on. We actually registered for both of these by accident and they were the first things people bought before I even noticed I registered for two. However, I’d actually recommend having both. We keep one in the nursery upstairs and one downstairs in the living room. The Skip Hop mat makes noises and has cute little animals, while the Lovevery mat is neutral (which actually looks great with my living room decor), it has high contrast cards to focus on and different parts for her to explore her senses and it has kits you can buy so that it actually grows with them. If I had to choose one over the other, I’d choose the Lovevery mat.
Pack n Play
This was another one that people always tell parents-to-be they need and its absolutely a must have. I thought we’d only use it when we traveled, but this thing posts up in our living room as a downstairs changing table. Its so convenient to not have to run upstairs every time we have a dirty diaper. I tried to pick the most neutral of the options available, but lets be serious, most baby things are NOT neutral (can someone work on this? thanks).
Obviously every baby needs a stroller, but again choosing the right system is key. I feel like I could get my PHD in strollers after the amount of time I spent researching them and I still feel like there is so much I don’t know. We went with the Uppa Baby Vista system including the car seats as well. We got the bassinet stand for our room which is where she’s been sleeping most nights. Getting a few extra bassinet covers isn’t a bad idea either – the first time she spit up, we realized we only had one and we had to cover it with a pillow case until our extras came in the mail. I love this system. The stroller is bulky, but most infant strollers are. Its super convenient to transition from car seat to stroller so seamlessly. Its the only stroller system I’ve ever known so I can’t compare, but can say how much we love it and have nothing but good things to say. Soon I’ll need to start looking into smaller travel strollers and jogging strollers (who knew you needed so many), but this one is great for now.
Bottle Drying Rack
This was another thing I thought was gimmicky, why can’t her bottles dry along the rest of my hand washed dishes. Because there are a million parts that need to be washed a million times a day. This rack is mostly seen in this bright loud green color, but I found the all white one and it actually doesn’t look too bad on my counter tops. Its great to stick all the bottle and pumping parts in and allows them to air dry quicker than if they were in a normal rack.
We started off using the the adorable plush flower that you see everywhere. While it was great for photo ops, it probably wasn’t 100% necessary. In our large kitchen sink, it was difficult to hold the flower up as well as the baby. I ended up looking into infant baths and found this 4 in 1 – definitely not as cute for pictures since its bright pink with this loud pattern, but it is functional. It holds baby up so you can use both hands to wash and rinse and it grows with her. It can eventually be used until she’s a toddler in a big tub. I also found it convenient to have a specific towel and cloth for bath time, its soft on her skin and has a hood for her little head plus its cute. We found that these Burts Bees washcloths are the softest on her skin, so we stocked up. And we love the Dove Baby Wash – we started out with Aveeno, but thought it may have been a little harsh on her skin right away, we’ll save that for when shes a bit older.
Dock a Tot
By now, I’m sure you’ve seen the Dock a Tot all over. When I first got it, I wasn’t even sure what we’d use it for. However, now that she’s starting to move more, its so helpful. Its like having a bassinet anywhere you need it. We put ours on our couch or our bed where we’ll be supervising her and it makes for a nice flat surface for her to lay. It comes in adorable printed covers that can easily be tossed in the wash. I think this size is good for up to 8 months they say.
I absolutely LOVE this changing pad. I knew I didn’t want an actual changing table because I wanted the furniture to be useful down the road, so I opted for a changing pad to go on top of her dresser. This one is awesome. Not only is it neutral enough for her nursery, but it has a built in scale that syncs with the Hatch Baby app. We’re able to weigh her during diaper changes and log the weight into the app via bluetooth. We use the app to record feedings as well so its a nice one stop shop for baby stats. I’m also suggesting puppy pads. No one recommended this to us, but we find these to be so helpful. They sell nice changing pad liners, which we also bought, but that just means more laundry. We lay these absorbent pads on the changing pad (and the pack n play changing pad) for easy clean up. No one prepares you for the number of times baby will pee or poo as soon as you take off that diaper, but quicker than you can put the other one on, these disposable pads catch all that mess.
Someone recommended this to me late in my pregnancy when she was refusing to make her appearance. At that point I was desperate, so I got it, it didn’t work for that purpose, but I didn’t realize how much we’d use it post pregnancy. This baby LOVES to be held while bouncing on this ball.
When we were registering, someone mentioned to get an ear thermometer, but little did I know, that can only be used when they get older. Our pediatrician recommended this cheap thermometer that can take it under the arm and rectally. It produces an accurate reading, which is all you can really expect from a thermometer.
There are an infinite number of diaper bag choices. I went through a period of wanting all of them. However, right now this inexpensive one from Amazon has been a great choice. It looks like some of the other more expensive brands at half the price. This thing is HUGE inside without feeling huge on the outside. It has two side pockets which are super convenient for easy access to water and my phone. There are four pockets inside that hold things like extra outfits, burp cloths, wipes etc. I got this one in black and Will and I both use it.
This may not be in the minds of you parents as we head into Fall/Winter. But bringing a baby into the world in the summer, this thing was necessary. It clips easily to her stroller and keeps her cool on those warm walks or even in the car before it cools down.
This seems to be a tough one to recommend because there are SO many that have different purposes and comfort levels. I’ve been liking the Baby K’tan, there are no clips, just two pieces of fabric that you put your arms through like a Tshirt. I used the Baby K’Tan Active in the summer and also got the original for when it gets a little cooler. My husband has been using our Ergo Omni 360 with the infant insert, as he says he feels more secure in it. I haven’t tried it yet, but it seems like it may be too bulky for me. We were also gifted a Solly Wrap, but I haven’t tried it yet because I think I need a tutorial. But trust me when I say, baby wearing is something that will be a big part of your life as a new parent. Having your hands free, especially if yours is one who wants to be held constantly, will be a major game changer.
So while we heard great things about swings and the mamaroo, we also heard some babies hate them. So we opted to only register for one, the swing. Its super nice and neutral (which I love!), we read that with swings you should start them on the highest setting, which actually did work for us. But sometimes she just isn’t feeling it and we were lucky enough to have a neighbor lend us their mamaroo, which she likes the other half of the time. Hard to say which I’d recommend more because she falls asleep in both and cries in both.
This was a tough one for me. It seemed like while reading reviews, there wasn’t a clear front runner for the video monitor. Until I stumbled upon the Nanit. People LOVED the Nanit, but it was a little pricey. However, after actually ordering a different monitor and having a horrible set up experience, I decided to splurge on the Nanit. The set up is seamless – you can opt for the floor stand or the wall stand, we did the floor stand since we didnt have a shelf nearby and didnt want to drill into the wall. We also got the multi stand that can go with you anywhere – naps downstairs or grandma’s house. The picture is so clear and the best part is that its seen through an app on your phone or ipad, no need for another device in your already full hands. The Nanit also provides insights for an extra charge that will monitor baby’s sleep patterns and allows you to rewatch parts of baby’s sleep.
Frida Baby Gift Set
Everyone recommended this gift set to us. We have yet to have to use anything other than the nail clippers and file, but the amount of rave reviews leave me believing we’ll use them plenty of times in the near future. I love this pair of nail clippers, they are perfect for baby’s tiny nails.
Everyone is going to get you the cutesy baby clothes, but people forget to stock you up on the basics. Baby isn’t going to wear that adorable halter dress or denim jacket to sleep are they? Its good to get packs of long sleeve and short sleeve onesies in various sizes, as well as zipper sleep n plays and gowns for easy outfit and diaper changes.
I’m sure this list will only grow as baby changes her likes and dislikes along the way, but for now these have been our must haves. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments below or leave your recommendations for other parents-to-be!