Baby Registry Tips

My second pregnancy is wrapping up so I’ve been taking an inventory of all the stuff we have for newborns. With the first baby, there is so much to buy, but the second time around we’re pretty much all set. While it is nice to know we’re totally ready for the newest member of our family, I kinda wish there was some preparation I could do!

With that said, I thought I’d list out baby registry do’s and don’ts based on my experience. There are so many useless, silly, ridiculous, and unnecessary things that people buy in preparation for their babies. While I am sure all of this is purchased with only the best intentions, the amount of stuff that quickly accumulates during baby’s first year is staggering and overwhelming. If all this stuff was really necessary you’d have to wonder how parents managed to raise children for the past 40,000 years.

I remember when I registered two years ago that I was nervous I would fail to register for some product that would make life with a baby so much easier. But, once Evie was born I soon realized that less really is more. The basics that have kept babies safe and comfortable for generations are all that is really necessary. So, in addition to a carseat, a dozen onesies, some soft wash cloths, blankets and swaddlers, a few different kinds of pacifiers (if you plan on using them – Evelyn didn’t like them), and a crib, here are the things you need (and some things you definitely do not need):

Must Haves
1. For the first year, the only stroller we needed was a simple stroller frame system that accomodated our car seat. This is great for city living – easy to take in and out of the subway, and the carseat is always on-hand for cab rides. Whenever we’d head out to the suburbs to see my sister or the country to see my parents, this stroller was easily transported and very durable. I took plenty of long walks and Evelyn was perfectly snug and comfy for all of them.
2. A good breast pump. I nursed Evie for an entire year, and I plan on doing the same with #2. My pump is a nice hand-me-down from my aunt and it works great. Don’t skimp on this purchase, especially if you don’t plan on using formula. And, please stay away from plastic bottles. Good old-fashioned glass bottles work just fine and don’t leach any questionable chemicals into the milk you so lovingly prepared. And, a Hooter Hider is essential for nursing in public when you want to be discreet. For good tips on breastfeeding, click here.
3. Cloth Diapers. Save yourself $3000, be kinder to the planet, and protect your baby from dangerous chemicals and ingredients found in disposable diapers. Seriously, be brave and give them a try!
4. A baby carrier. I used a Baby Bjorn handed down to me by my aunt and a Hot Sling. Moms tend to have very strong preferences about which baby carrier works best, so try out a few.
5. Books! We loooooooove books in our house. Author Sandra Boynton’s little board books have been a hit with Evie since she came home from the hospital.
6. A swing. There are lots to choose from. Based on my experience and what my mom friends have also found, swings work for 3-5 months. After that, babies kinda outgrow them.
7. An organic crib mattress. After researching “regular” mattresses there is no way in heck I’d ever put my baby on anything other than an organic mattress. Conventional mattresses are made primarily of man-made materials derived from nonrenewable resources such as natural gas and petrochemicals, while organic mattresses are made with natural materials that are grown, processed, and manufactured without toxic chemicals. We bought Evie’s from OMI (and we also bought a king size one for ourselves, too!). I have personally met the owner and founder of OMI and he is very sincere and honest in his approach to business. I can sleep easy at night.

Unnecessary Space Fillers
1. Wipe warmers – This might win the award for most useless baby invention ever. C’mon, people! Babies are babied enough – they eventually have to learn that life is sometimes a little bit cold!
2. Grocery cart liners – While I make an effort to regularly wash hands and keep things clean, I’m definitely not a germaphobe. Lugging a big padded cart liner into the grocery store (in addition to a baby!) sounds like an absolute nightmare to me!
3. Fancy bottle cleaning and drying systems – Trust me, the dishwasher does a fine (and easy) job of cleaning bottles.
4. Special lotions, soaps, detergents, etc. – My husband and I use only fragrance free, paraben free products on our bodies, and I make a very simple and basic homemade laundry detergent. Think about it: if something is too harsh for a baby, it is too harsh for you, too! So, save yourself some time and money and have the whole family using the same products.
5. Fancy crib linens and a bumper – First of all, bumpers are NOT recommended by pediatricians because they may increase the risk of SIDS. Same thing goes with blankets and pillows. All that you need to keep your baby safe and comfortable at night is a tight fitting sheet and snuggly pajamas.

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10 Comments for this entry

  1. Ebelegy Blog says:

    I agree 100% Maureen! Great post! Love those cloth diapers!

  2. Erin says:

    look at your cute baby bump!!

    while we don't have children yet, i went to baby's r us last month to get a shower gift for my cousin….talk about overwhelming!!! there's so much to choose from. when my day comes, i'm lucky to have babysat for oodles of babys & tried out their gear in the process!

  3. Courtney says:

    I agree 100% with the "less is more" mindset when it comes to babies and toddlers. Charlie always prefers things we already have around the house to expensive toys, and when he was little, we quickly learned that if it didn't fit into the diaper bag, it didn't need to come along. While getting ready to welcome baby #2, the only thing we bought was a double stroller. It's the kind that can accommodate an infant carseat and has a place for Charlie to ride standing up. I can't wait to use it!

  4. Noah Brown says:

    Hi Maureen,

    Great list, I think you hit all the big ones. Thought I would put in a plug for the things we have used a lot. In terms of swaddlers, I am a believer in the Miracle Blanket. It worked great for us until Ben outgrew swaddling altogether. We also liked the Aden and Anais muslin blankets, great for summer babies.

    We really like the Skip Hop Duo Deluxe diaper bag because it hooks onto the stroller. Obviously personal taste is a factor here, but we tried out a lot of bags and kept coming back to this one.

    Another must-have for us was the Ergo Baby carrier. A sling might be better for newborns — the Ergo needs a special insert for tiny babies, and that part is a little awkward — but once the kid is old enough to go in normally, the Ergo is amazing. The baby can ride in the front, on the back, or in a side-slung position (riding on a hip), and it is possible to nurse a child in the front position. Very flexible and easy on the back.

    And of course the obligatory Pack n' Play. A wise man once told me (actually, it was Shane) that all you really need to have in place to bring your baby home is a car seat and a Pack n' Play, and especially in the early days I think there is a lot of truth to that. We got the cheapest P n' P and have not missed the other options.

    Also, would recommend people register for a few of those waterproof flannel liners to put on top of the changing pad. Inexpensive and a life saver for when things get hairy…

    As for must-not-gets, I agree with your advice. Wipe warmers are ridiculous.

  5. Anne & Ben says:

    Maureen, were you able to use glass bottles to collect your milk when you pumped? I have a medela breast pump, and have only found plastic bottles that are compatible with the pump (for collecting the milk).

  6. HomemadeMother says:

    Hi Anne – yes, I was able to use glass bottles with our Medela pump. I think we bought Evenflo brand, but I'll double check once I unpack all that stuff when #2 arrives.

  7. Gloria says:

    If someone wants an organic cotton mattress that's easier on the budget than OMI, they might check Naturepedic crib mattresses. They're recommended by Healthy Child Healthy World, and certified by Greenguard. Also, they don't contain wool or latex – which some kids could be allergic to.

  8. The Butlers says:

    You look adorable!! These are great tips 🙂 thanks!

  9. Kristen says:

    I agree 99%! We purchased a crib…but my daughter HATED it from the second I placed her in it. She knew that being with mama is what she needed. A swing was equally useless in our house. The Moby carrier on the other hand, best thing we had.

    If I were to have a 're-do' – I'd buy a few jammies & buy what we *really* needed after baby was here.

    Happy Mommy-ing!

  10. Anonymous says:

    My son never really went for the swing either. I did buy a bumper but it was the breathable kind (not the pillow type). I felt like there wasn't a risk of suffocation but it would help keep everything in his crib 🙂

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