Motherhood

What to Register for Your New Baby

Before Toby was born, I felt totally overwhelmed by all the choices of baby products. I had no idea what to buy or where to shop or what we’d really need. (I remember bursting into tears to Alex one night on our way to dinner!) My wish was just to know exactly what other parents were buying for their babies, but, despite tons of research, I couldn’t find a full registry list anywhere online. I was bewildered.

So, my darlings, now that Toby is here, I’d LOVE to share a complete list of the things we bought when he was a newborn. I wrote down every single thing (big and small), so you could literally get this list and be done with it. Or, of course, add/subtract as you see fit. Congratulations to all new parents! Hope this guide is helpful. xoxo

UPDATE: There’s an updated 2017 list here.

OK, here goes…

*****

A random tip:

When I registered for my baby shower, I used MyRegistry.com, since it lets you register from all different stores (not just one). That way, you can bring together exactly what you’d like for your baby registry (even items from etsy), instead of being limited to one store’s selection. Just a thought!

*****

We bought four great books to read before the baby arrived which made us feel more confident and prepared:

* The Happiest Baby on the Block (both the book and DVD) about how to calm a crying baby. Dr. Karp’s tips work like MAGIC.
* Jo Frost’s Confident Baby Care—by the SuperNanny! I loved her assured, encouraging tone, and she offered great advice about taking care of a new baby (baths, diapers, etc).
* The SleepEasy Solution about naps and nighttime sleep. Practical, gentle advice about how to teach your baby to get the sleep he needs. A friend recommended this to us, and I’m so glad she did. It saved us when Toby was four months old and suddenly decided he hated napping. :)
* The Nursing Mother’s Companion, an amazing, lifesaving guide to breastfeeding, which made everything much easier. (I mentioned this book in my breastfeeding post, as well).

*****

And here’s everything else we got:

Infant car seat — Graco infant car seats are fantastic and very easy to use. Pretty much every parent I know has this one. (You can also get a frame to turn it into a stroller, which is great for everyday life, as well as traveling.)

Crib — We loved Wal Mart’s cribs, surprisingly! Our friend Abbey had one, and they’re modern and chic; they look sort of like the gorgeous Oeuf cribs, but are 1/3 the price! We got the Olivia, but they’re all nice. (You can see it in Toby’s nursery here.)

Crib mattress — We chose this natural soybean mattress. FYI, experts say it’s best and safest to get a firm mattress for the crib.

Crib mattress pad — We got this NaturePedic organic mattress pad.

At least three fitted crib sheets — Experts recommend changing the crib sheets approximately once a week (since they get spit up, dust, etc. on them), so we’ve found that it’s helpful to have three sets of sheets, so you’re not always running to the washing machine. We splurged on the cute fitted sheets from DwellStudio, and also got a plain white one from Target.

Noise machine — Babies love white noise since it makes them feel cozy, like they’re in the womb. (Total silence can freak them out!) We got this white noise machine for naptime/nighttime, and it’s awesome (I love that it has two different volume settings; and doesn’t have wave/forest/rainstorm sounds, which I find distracting; it’s just plain white noise similar to a fan).

Fan — Experts recommend having a fan to move air around in the nursery and keep the air fresh. we just used a fan that we already had.

Baby monitor — We are OBSESSED with our video monitor. You can see the baby on the little screen, so know if he’s asleep or playing in his crib. It’s also awesome when you’re a brand new mom and (if you’re like me) totally neurotic and want to constantly check to see if your baby is breathing:) Instead of getting up and tiptoeing into the baby’s room, you can just zoom in on the monitor! It was totally worth the money for us, since we’ll use it many times a day for years; on a million friends’ recommendations, we bought it when Toby was a few months old and haven’t looked back.

Alternate baby monitor — If you don’t care about having video on your monitor, we also had this Graco monitor for the first few months, and it worked really well. A great thing about this one is that you can put it on vibrate, so if you’re watching TV or have friends over, you will be sure to hear it.

Stroller — A stroller is a super personal choice, based on your city/lifestyle/budget/etc. We use two strollers for different reasons: First, the Graco stroller frame simply lets us just add wheels to the car seat, to turn it into a stroller). These are great when babies are super little, since babies sleep in them really well and you can take them on long walks/out to restaurants/etc. It’s AMAZINGLY easy and awesome to use when traveling, as well, since you can pop them in and out of the car or taxi.

For everyday use, we use the Maclaren Triumph, which is for babies 3 months and older. It’s comfy, light and easy to fold (to stick in the trunk of the car). Many of our friends highly recommended it, and we love it, too. Toby has happily ridden in his for the past three years!

Stroller blanket — Good for chilly fall and spring days. We love the DwellStudio blankets–adorable!

Stroller bundle bag for winter — Bundle bags are AMAZING. If winter gets cold where you live, you can just pop your baby into one of these instead of having to dress him in a bulky snowsuit or giant jacket/pants/etc. Our friends swear by them, too. Since we walk everywhere in New York, we splurged on this one from 7 A.M. Enfant, which a friend had highly recommended. It’s the warmest (but most expensive) option. Alternately, a less expensive—but still great—choice is the BundleMe stroller bag. I’ve seen tons of moms around the West Village with it, and it looks super cozy. Honestly, I’d probably just go with the BundleMe if we were doing it over again!

Baby carriers — I love wearing Toby on walks around the city. It’s lovely to cuddle up, and he adores it. Using a carrier also lets me have both hands free and I can easily walk around crowded streets, grocery stores, etc. There are lots of great carriers (and slings!), but my all-time favorite is the Ergo. The Ergo is beloved by pretty much every mom I know, since padded straps go over both shoulders and it sits on the hips, so the weight is distributed really well. It’s super comfy, even with older babies; honestly, sometimes I’ll forget for a second that I’m wearing Toby. :) I love the Ergo.

High chair — Lots of moms seem to love Stokke, but since our apartment is tiny, we got the Phil & Teds Lobster Highchair, which clips onto a table and is super small to store. It’s great. FYI, the older version of this chair–the MeToo–was recalled because some clamps were faulty, but this version is A-OK. (Here’s Toby sitting in it, if you want to see it in action!)

Daytime diapers — We use Honest diapers for the daytime, since they’re pure and chlorine-free. And they have the cutest patterns! Babies wear diapers 24/7 for years, so it was important to me that they be very pure and natural on his sensitive skin.

Nighttime diapers — When Toby was about six months and started sleeping through the night (p.s. more on sleep here!), we got him Huggies Overnight Diapers; they’re so absorbent that he doesn’t wake up when he has a wet diaper (which is great for both him and us:).

Diaper wipes — We like Honest wipes, since they’re natural and chlorine free.

Diaper Dekor (or Genie) — We got a Diaper Dekor to use as a trash can for diapers in the nursery; it works well, is cheaper than the diaper genie, and keeps the room smelling nice! It’s easy to use and, for us, was well worth the price (we would have had to buy a trash can for the room anyway), and I like that you can open it with your foot (versus your hand). Whether you need one of these might depend on what type of trash disposal you have (we can only take out our trash twice a week), and if you already have a good foot-pedal trash can.

Diaper Dekor bag refills — Just extra trash bags for the dekor.

Diaper rash cream — For diaper rash (which pops up now and again) or random irritation down there, we use the very gentle, all natural Honest cream.

Maxi pads — Most moms bleed lightly for the first month or so (no big deal), as your uterus goes back to its normal size (yay), so you’ll want some maxi pads on hand.

Changing pad — We didn’t get a changing table, but instead just put this contoured changing pad on the top of a dresser. (We hooked it on with a strap and sticky pads for safety.) It works really well and also saved money. Whatever works best for you!

Changing pad cover — Lots of cute styles out there!

A few packs of cloth diapers— When Toby was little, we used these for EVERYTHING and had one hanging over the arm of pretty much every chair in the house! Great for cleaning random spit up, using as a burp cloth, shielding baby’s head from the sun when you’re walking around outside with him (they’re very light, thin and breathable). FYI, you can wash and reuse them.

Diaper bag — It’s great to have a dedicated diaper bag (when Toby was a newborn, for example, I carried diapers, wipes, a cloth diaper for burping him, and a water bottle). The diaper bags in baby stores are fine but aren’t always that cute. I use Moop’s market bag, and I love using it everyday.

Storage bins — We got some basic bins and drawers from the Container Store to put under the crib. We also got an amazing Dwell storage bin for storing all his toys and blankets (and it looks good on the floor!).

Saline drops — Saline drops are just plain salt water. Pretty much all new babies have stuffy noses, and you can drop this salt water into his or her nose and then it will loosen up the mucus and he’ll either sneeze it out or swallow it. We use it all the time :) Great for when he has a cold, too. You can also use the aspirator, below.

Aspirator — Also called a bulb syringe. This is for sucking snot out of a baby’s nose. :)

(P.S. Have you seen this?! I’ve never tried it, but people swear by it:)

Baby nail clippers. (Update: We got baby nail clippers for Toby, but for Anton, we just use our adult clippers and they actually work fine!)

Digital rectal thermometer — Good to have on hand, for when you think your baby might have a fever. (I heard a great tip: if you think your baby might have a fever, kiss his forehead to see if it feels warm; it’s an easier way to tell than using your hands.) you put vaseline on the tip.

Baby acedominophen — This can be good to have in the house in case your baby gets a fever or is in pain for some reason. (FYI, our doctor said not to give a baby any medicine before he’s two months old, so you might check with yours.)

3 thin, soft blankets — People like giving blankets as gifts, so you might wait to buy these until right before your baby is born, since you’ll probably get them as a present. We used ours for tummy/floor time during the day with Toby, and also we put one in the diaper bag, so he can lie on it if we go to the park. We also use it to drape over the stroller on sunny days or when he’s napping in the stroller. (We don’t use blankets in his crib, though, since experts advise against it.) If you do buy some, I’d recommend Aden & Anais muslin blankets, which are light and lovely.

3 swaddles — We LOVED swaddling!!! Toby slept much, much better (and longer) when he was swaddled, since his wriggly arms didn’t startle him as a newborn. We swaddled him for naps and nighttime until he was 5 months old. Many experts and doctors recommend swaddling newborns; it’s wonderful and super cozy, like being in the womb. We tried a bunch of different kinds — velcro swaddles, the hospital blankets, Aden & Anais swaddling blankets… our FAVORITE by far was the Miracle Blanket, which helped Toby’s arms stay put (meaning: he didn’t bust out of it in the middle of the night). I would highly, highly recommend it; we loved it.

6-8 T-shirts and 6-8 onesies — Toby was born in the early summer, so he didn’t wear very many clothes as a newborn — usually just a diaper or cotton onesie. The tees and onesies from babyGap, Gerber and Carters all fit well and are easy to snap. (FYI, everyone loves to give baby clothes as gifts, so you might be surprised at how many cute clothes you’ll get from friends and family:)

2 pairs of pajamas. When Toby was teeny, he slept in just a diaper and his swaddle. But once he hit five months and wasn’t swaddled anymore, we dressed him in these adorable pajamas by Dwell. He’s since outgrown them, but Alex jokes that we should frame them, since they remind us of how heartbreakingly sweet he looked sleeping as a little baby (with his butt in the air:) We also love, love, love Hanna Andersson pajamas, which are more of a splurge, but so soft and last forever.

Gentle laundry detergent — We like Mrs. Meyer’s Baby Blossom detergent, which is gentle for sensitive skin.

Puj tub — We LOVED this tub. You can easily put it in the sink with one hand, and it’s very soft and comfy for a newborn baby to lie in (versus hard plastic tubs). The absolute best part is that it stores FLAT, so that you can stick it in a closet when you’re not using it.

A duck hooded towel. So cute, it hurts. (Here’s Toby wearing his.)

Baby washcloths — We just got cheap ones from Carters, and they work well. (And the designs are sweet!)

Baby shampoo & body wash — We use Honest.

Teethers — Every baby I’ve ever met loves Sophie the Giraffe (made in France!), and Toby also spent some happy time chomping on this Lifefactory teether.

(P.S. Here’s Toby hanging with Sophie in California:)

*****

If you decide to breastfeed:

My Brest Friend Pillow — I LOVED LOVED LOVED LOVED LOVED this pillow, which made breastfeeding soooooo much more comfortable. The pillow supports your lower back and helps position the baby at chest-level, so your back and arms don’t ache. Just makes your life easier and more comfortable. (I used it many times a day until Toby was big enough to sit on my knee during feeds, probably around 4 months.) I LOVED it!

An extra slipcover for the My Brest Friend Pillow — The pillow comes with a slipcover, but I found it helpful to have an extra one when washing the original one.

A breast pump — We had the Ameda double pump, and I really liked it. It’s great to have pumped breast milk in the fridge, so that your husband can feed the baby a bottle at night while you get extra sleep; or if you go out to dinner or to a movie, your husband/mom/babysitter can feed the baby a bottle. (P.S. breast pumps look intimidating, but I was relieved to find that it didn’t hurt at all.)

Lansinoh milk storage bags or bottles — You can store your pumped breast milk in these and pop them into the fridge or freezer. Super easy to use!

Bottles — Babies seem to prefer certain bottles over others, so you might have to experiment to see what your baby likes. We love this glass bottle from Lifefactory (I liked the idea of using glass better than plastic).

Lansinoh breast pads — Your breasts might leak for the first few weeks/months (mine leaked like crazy!) so you can just pop these pads into your bra and they absorb the milk. Comfy and great. (FYI, I pretty much wore a nursing bra all the time—even to bed—along with these pads to absorb leaks.)

Lansinoh nipple cream — To help soothe nipples when you’re first breastfeeding (note: your baby can drink from your breast even if you have lanolin cream on your nipples; it’s 100% safe and natural for babies and they don’t even notice it).

Nursing bras — In NYC, there’s an awesome store on the Upper West Side called The Upper Breast Side that will do bra fittings and has a great selection. The nursing bras I liked best were the pretty lace ones by Elle MacPherson.

Nursing shirts — If you’re nursing at home, you can just pull a regular shirt up or down, or take your shirt off, of course, but when you’re in public, it can be nice to wear either a V-neck shirt or a nursing shirt for modesty. You can buy them at lots of places (Gap, Target, etc.), and I LOVED the ones by the brand Boob; they’re super cute.

*****

Some extras:

Books — We love board books, like The Runaway Bunny and Good Night, Gorilla.

A play gym — My mom sent us one, and at first I thought it was the most hideous thing…but my mom was right: Toby loved it. :)

Nightlight — If the nursery is dark at night, you might like a nightlight. (For us, the street light outside the nursery window let in enough light for us to see our way around. We do have this amazing egg nightlight, though, because we love it.)

Formula — Again, how and what you feed your baby is a very personal decision, but here’s what we did: Even though I was breastfeeding, we found it helpful to have some formula on hand, in case you’re away from the baby and he suddenly gets hungry, or if you find yourself super tired and would like your husband to feed the baby while you nap, etc. We chose Similac Advance Early Shield.

Travel crib — If you travel a lot, you might want to register for a travel crib. we did a bunch of research and, while there are cheaper options (Pack n’ Play, Phil & Ted), the crowd favorite BY FAR was the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light, so we decided on that and love it. It packs up into a super light little suitcase for carrying through airports, etc., and it’s comfy, safe and amazingly easy to use.

Car window sun shade — Newborn babies’ eyes are really sensitive, so it’s great to get a sunshade for the car window/s. We don’t have one because we don’t have a car, but other moms seem to love it. (Note: the car seat will face backward for the first year or two, so a shade for the rear window is great.)

Rearview mirror for the car — We don’t have a car, so we didn’t get one of these, but other moms seem to love them, so you can see the baby’s face while you’re driving.

Pacifiers — Many of my friends swear by pacifiers for their newborns, since it helps them soothe themselves and stay calm during naps and while on outings, etc. Toby didn’t like pacifiers (he just spat them out time and time again:), but you might try them out, if you’d like.

Moms and dads, do you agree with these? What would you recommend? I would love to hear! And, most of all, congratulations to the new parents out there!! xoxo

(Photo by June Hong)

  1. Rayan_ says...

    Yes, it is very helpful guide. Thanks!

  2. Thanks for great list of preparation for my baby, I have bought most of these, clothes, mattress and others.

  3. Emily says...

    AceTaminophen (not a “d” 😉)

    This list is so helpful, I will be back!

  4. Obsessed with this! So cool!

  5. Erica says...

    This list literally just saved my life, as I am trying to register for my baby that is due in April! WOW! Thank you!!!

  6. Thank you SO SO SO MUCH for putting this together… I had a breakdown last night trying to figure out what I need, because I really have no idea where to start. There are so many choices and brands and things I didn’t even know existed or needed prior to this week! Seriously… thank you!

  7. oh and comically we have the Olivia crib from wal mart too! I found it on pinterest and LOVED the style and the price tag! Whodda thunk it! WALMART?!

  8. THANK
    YOU
    THANK
    YOU!
    I’m a soon to be new momma, in 10 short weeks, and we’re not finding out the gender of our baby, so it’s hard to get a full registry for my baby shower next month, and it’s hard to know what to register for! I changed a few things on my amazon registry because of this post! And the links straight to amazon are perfect! THANK YOU!

  9. Rachel Joyce says...

    I am so grateful to you for this list. My husband and I are planning to start having kids in a couple of years, and I was wondering how I would even start on a registry. I really appreciate you putting together this list. p.s. I absolutely love your blog. Read it weekly from Nashville. Thanks for having a fun place to go during downtime!

  10. Jamie says...

    My best friend is looking for help with her registry, she can’t buy everything but was trying to get a checklist in case people wanted to help. Babies R Us #56199488. Does she need to add anything?

  11. Thank you so much for writing this post and sharing it with all of us!!! The registry is definitely a big task, trying to make sure there’s nothing missed yet not too elaborate! I love your list, it’s so helpful :) ~Leah

  12. What a nice record! A few matters to add..
    I advocate a impartial looking diaper bag so that your husband won’t be ashamed to hold one and my contemporary discovery with my 2d one is the Wubbanub Pacifier. My first was no longer into the pacifier but my second, she loves it! And wubbanub is nice on account that truly there is a little stuffed animal hooked up to the pacifier. So when she was swaddled, it will rest on her body and if she spit out she would nonetheless be competent to search out the nipple because it essentially rested on her body. Now that she’s rolling around, she will be able to in finding the pacifier in her crib and put it back into her mouth. And this isn’t a have to have however each my kids cherished it. It is a hideous and monster dimension contraption called the excersaucer. My 5 yr historical nonetheless gets into it to play! And one other thing, i’ve been capable to seek out a lot on the record used or as hand me downs! There is a treasure trove of used youngster objects available in the market! Baby Furniture Store.

  13. THANK YOU!

    I am newly pregnant and I feel like I’ve been tossed into the deep end of the pool. I am also a NYer and while there are MANY options for everything… it’s become seriously overwhelming. I’ve been reading your blog for a while – but never really adventured into the motherhood section, LOL. This list just made my day.

  14. These are some great tips and suggestions. My wife is pregnant with our fourth child. She has been through this before, so she has things figured out, but is always looking for new supplies that will make her job easier.
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  15. Can I please just tell you how grateful I am for this post!! I’ve been searching for a comprehensive list to no avail * then I found this one!!! THANK YOU!!!!!

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  19. A friend recommended your website & I am so thankful! We’re having our first baby (boy!) in April and I’m a little overwhelmed with registering. Your list has been a HUGE help.
    Thank you!

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  34. First time expecting NYC mom and this list made me feel so much better! Any thoughts on a bouncer/rocker/swing with apartment living?

  35. Hello! Thanks for this wonderful list. I’m wondering whether you could recommend an all natural house cleaning spray that is safe to use of toys and high chairs. Thanks!

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  45. What do folks think about nursing chairs? due in oct, and thats the only thing i note missing from this list! :)

  46. Thank you, thank you for this post and for taking the time to link things! We are expecting our first baby in June and are living in Japan with the military so I don’t have the luxury of going to Babys R Us or Target to shop in person. All my shopping is online. You have been beyond helpful and I am so thankful!!!

  47. Alex says...

    Thank you so much! I stumbled across this website from a Pinterest pin and your matter of fact, straight forward details are so helpful. I was feeling overwhelmed as I prepare for the arrival of our first, but you post helped so much (even almost a year later!).
    Thanks!

  48. This is a great list Joanna. I have a 5-month old and spent many hours researching products as well. Wish I had your guide to start with – it would have saved me time.

    I would like to add that I used babylist registry
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    to register for things from all retailers in one place and gave family and friends our link and it was awesome. Much better than individual registries and you are able to buy a product at the best price. Congrats on Toby, he is a beautiful boy.

  49. Anonymous says...

    I recommend not buying too many items before you have the baby in hands. You’ll think you’ll use all those products but until you’re actually being with your baby and finding out what it likes and you like, save your money and time. And there is a lot of time once you have baby!

    -We chose to co-sleep, eliminating the crib and accessories.
    -We have a small house so decided not to use a baby monitor.
    -Also used a fold up clip on high chair (which is easy to take to friend’s houses, etc).
    -We chose a convertible car seat that we’ll use until we switch to a booster seat. Carrying your child around in the car seat is actually bad for the baby because research shows it reduces the amount of oxygen baby is getting the longer they lay in that position.
    -We used a baby carrier instead of a stroller when she was a baby (babies feel more confident and content and learn more from the parents interactions this way)
    -We got a small stroller later for travel into the city. But i’m now wishing we got a stroller that reclined all the way back (so your child can nap in the stroller comfortably). Something like this http://bit.ly/yVCLmH And now that we’re expecting our second baby and my first will be 3yrs, i wish we thought about a stroller that allowed for an inline second seat.
    -I recommend a Jolly Jumper (once baby can hold their head up) One that fit’s onto a door frame to safe space.
    -We used a travel change pad on our bed to change diapers instead of a change table and change pad.
    -I used a cloth bag to hold diapers, wipes, soother, etc. And just through it in a large purse instead of buying a “diaper bag”.
    -I found “What to Expect While Expecting” to be a helpful book. I especially liked reading about my baby growing while in utero and the developmental stages of my baby and things to expect in the upcoming months after she was born.
    -We used natural soothers and BPA free bottles (much better for babies health)
    -We breast fed but had issues in the first 2 months so i would absolutely recommend an electric pump if you can afford one. It was fast and comfortable and saved me from many many frustrating hours.
    -Now that’s we’re expecting a second baby i will absolutely get a small bouncy chair that sits on the floor.
    -We didn’t use an infant bath tub, instead we chose to bath with the baby in the big tub. ( you can put a bouncy seat or car seat beside the tub for baby so you can wash your own hair, or pass them off to the other parent)
    -We chose as many Organic and used clothing and bedding options we could. Babies are far more sensitive to chemicals then we are.
    -We asked our family to send money to help us buy them items we needed… it seems harsh but it’s really just practical.

    I think i’ve said my part. Hope it was helpful!

  50. stassja says...

    My baby is 12 weeks today and although we did pretty well in the shower / registry process, here’s what I can’t stop buying because you can never have enough:
    – burp cloths / cloth diapers (good to have some nicer burp cloths for guests who want to hold your spitty baby)
    – blankets. We have about a 10 and I am always searching for one to lay him down / cover him up.
    – pacifiers. If your baby uses them you will lose them. get 10 because the last thing you want is to be cursing your husband for losing the pacifier while the baby is screaming.
    – more sheets. And something called “ultimate crib sheet” which can protect those nicer sheets from all baby bodily functions. You can always take them off when company comes around.
    – a second changing pad – we used it downstairs (up and down stairs is annoying, especially when you’re recovering from birth).

    And the things I didn’t think I needed but then found that if I ever wanted to accomplish anything I needed:
    – bouncer. We bought the baby bjorn babysitter and LOVED it. More importantly he loves it.
    – activity gym – loved the infantino vintage boy. He loves the mirror and the animals.