I built our baby registry on Babylist.com with absolutely no idea what we would need for our new baby. I used other expectant mothers' registries as a guideline, but had nothing to base decisions off of.
Some women swore that a bedside sleeper was an absolute necessity, while others never used it. A rocking chair seemed useful since it's in every nursery I've ever seen. A wipe warmer felt unnecessary. Until your little person arrives, you can't really figure out what's needed and what can be returned to Buy Buy Baby.
I've made this list of the few things my husband and I really needed for our new baby. He's 1 month old now and the must-haves are changing, but these items have been the most useful for our family so far.
This list does not include all the products we use for cleaning or breastfeeding! I'll have a list shortly of our favorite cleansers and diapering supplies, and another for all the items needed to make pumping easy and productive. Subscribe to get an update when they're posted!
The baby carrier was a must-have for my husband. On Black Friday, when six thousand moms are blocking the aisle with their bulky strollers, you could be leisurely walking through the store with your kid strapped to your chest.
Wearing baby promotes bonding and is a great way to get your baby off her back between naps, avoiding the exclusively western concept of "flathead syndrome". All over the world, moms have tied their babies to their body so they can move around and work.
There are so many benefits to baby-wearing. It gives your little person the ability to exercise her neck muscles without having to be lying down for tummy time. Some babies don't want to be put down and that can be overwhelming. My husband and I have worn our baby while sitting at a desk, starting a load of laundry, sweeping the floor, and I ate a baked potato right over his little noggin once. It feels so good to get things done with baby in a safe, comforting place. There are even baby-wearing YouTube exercise videos.
We received 3 baby carriers as gifts! We use two of them: the You+Me carrier which is lightweight and quick to set up, and the Lillebebe Complete All Seasons carrier, which has excellent back support and is great for travel.
Every list said "onesies, onesies, onesies," but no article of clothing compares to the ultra-convenient sleeper gown. We received these as a gift from our registry in size 3 months, which fit very well, even when using the sewn in mittens to protect our baby's face from his fingernails.
The best part about sleeper gowns are the convenience during diaper changes. The bottom is open so, it takes just a quick peek to see if baby has a wet or dirty diaper. Then, it just slides right up during a diaper change and slides right back down afterward- no buttons or zippers or pant legs to deal with. We have 2 baby gowns and I've considered buying a few more to replace the zip-up pajamas he wears when the gowns are in the wash.
BABY WASH CLOTHS
Baby wash cloths are ultra soft and have a bunch of uses! We put a wash cloth on our baby to keep him warm during bath times. We use warm wash cloths on his belly to help his digestion. I keep one by the bed to wipe his mouth after nighttime feeding.
I also keep a pile of baby wash cloths at my diaper changing station. My husband and I quickly learned that boy babies are like little fountains and can seriously pee like 4 times in the short span of a single diaper change. Now, we've gotten the hang of putting a wash cloth over his boy parts while we wipe his booty. This prevents him peeing on us or peeing on himself. Nothing makes you feel schadenfreude more than forgetting the cloth and your beautiful little boy peeing on his own head- it's funny, but it's a major fail.
Try to get the knit ones with borders. We found those to be the best as far as washing- some of the other types warped when washed and were awkward to use afterward. Ours were a gift from Target, but these Burt's Bees are a great choice, too.
Swaddles are another item with a myriad of uses. They're burp cloths, blankets, diaper change pads, tummy time mats, sun shades, and straight jackets all in one.
We have 5 swaddles and that feels like enough. I probably send 1 to the wash every day. My little man doesn't like to have his hands tied down, but he still gets his lower half wrapped up to keep warm on cooler days. These seem like they'll be useful for a long time and I'm glad to have purchased them.
We received 1 in our registry welcome box from Amazon, and we purchased this Aden + Anais set from Buy Buy Baby. They're a great size and come in gorgeous patterns.
CONTOURED CHANGING PAD / DIAPER STATION
Before our son was born, my husband thought a diaper changing station was a stupid idea. His thought process was correct- any place can be a diaper changing station. I set one up in our master bathroom anyway and we are both very happy that we have a dedicated place for diapering.
Diaper changing can be an eventful process. We've had a few diaper changes that end in everyone getting peed on. We've had others that were a whole different kind of mess, using several diapers and still requiring major cleanup. Maybe it's not the most convenient thing to walk to our bathroom to change his diaper, but it's much more convenient than changing our bedsheets at 3am because our dude had an explosive poop at the exact moment the dirty diaper was being pulled away. Cleaning the contoured pad and the countertops (and the wall and the floor and my baby) is so. much. easier.
It is super important to keep all your supplies organized and easily accessible. Under our bathroom sink is the diaper stash, extra packs of wipes, and plastic bags for the diaper pail (we used the Ubbi, by the way, and are very happy with it). On top of the counter is the contoured pad, a stack of baby wash cloths (mentioned above), and a baby wipe warmer, which we only purchased because our new little baby seemed traumatized by cold wipes on his giblets. It seemed a little frivolous at first but he's a much happier baby when his wipes are warm.
It doesn't have to be on the bathroom counter. It could be on a dresser or nightstand or any surface. It simply should be a dedicated space for all the supplies. My 4 week old baby recognizes the space. As soon as we lay him on the pad, he stops crying, knowing he's getting a fresh diaper.
This is another one that is interpretable. It doesn't matter what you use, as long as you have a dedicated bag for baby's things.
We love pockets. Pockets that organize your supplies make diaper changes quicker when you're already late to the chiropractor...
For our baby shower, a friend gifted us the Nanobebe Duet diaper bag, which came with a changing pad and a cooling bag for Nanobebe bottles. It has 3 compartments in the lower level of the bag, which I use to hold diapers or my breast pump. It also has a few pockets inside, which are great for packs of wipes and all the little things that would get lost in the bottom.
Don't just stash diapers in your car or in your purse. You'll be so glad you had a dedicated bag for an extra set of clothes or a swaddle blanket when you needed more than just a diaper.
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I bought a binkie for absolute emergencies. Sometimes babies cry without having an obvious reason and I hate the idea of letting him scream. Stress is hard on the body. We didn't use it for a couple weeks, but around 3 weeks of age, our baby was gassy and started trying harder and harder to pass stool. He was constantly upset about it. He would scream and cry, kicking his legs up and squeezing his abdomen.
Passing stool requires the abdominal muscles to contract while the pelvic floor to relax. Babies aren't born knowing how to poop. Often a newborn won't require a lot of effort to poop, but effective pooping is a learned behavior. When your baby grunts and bears down, he is contracting both sets of muscles, which is not efficient. He's simply making himself more uncomfortable and frustrated. This is one of the many causes of the dreaded colic.
The muscles in the jaw and those in the pelvis are physiologically connected. Suckling relaxes the jaw, which in turn relaxes the pelvic floor. Not only is the suckling reflex soothing for baby, but it can help baby pass gas and stool. This is why your baby often has a bowel movement while feeding.
If nothing else, it helps relax my baby. He sucks on it once or twice a day and spits it out if he's ready for a nap.
This is an item that we already had that gets much more use now that our boy is here! The one we have is a Google Home alarm clock that I cannot find a photo of or link to- here's a similar item that is compatible with both Alexa and Google.
It used to be an alarm clock. It chimed at 8am to wake us up for the day. This is now the only thing I don't use the Google Home for! I sleep right through that 8am alarm every single day.
I didn't bother putting a sound machine on our registry. I use an app on my phone to play rain sounds to drown out distracting night sounds and I figured I'd be able to do the same for our baby. I didn't consider, however, that you can't just leave your phone in the bedroom during all naps and the sounds come and go when you have a notification or phone call.
"OK Google, play rain sounds." It washes out all the background noise of dishes being put away in the kitchen, conversations being had in the living room, and all the other exciting sounds that can distract a baby from getting a good nap.
It's a great timer when I'm pumping breastmilk, especially if I'm working on something else and can't use my phone. Check out this post on medium.com on how to log feedings and diaper changes using Google Home. Even broadcast to other Google Home devices throughout your home, "honey, can you bring us a fresh swaddle from the laundry room?"
I've never used Amazon Alexa, but I am sure there are similar features to make your day easier with your little one.
These are the items that I've consider to be the most necessary. Everything else we have for our baby is simply nice to have.
Why isn't there a crib or bassinette on this list? We co-sleep. We didn't plan to co-sleep, but we do. I've mastered the cuddle curl (the position you slept in while pregnant) and Kabir and I both sleep well until he needs a midnight snack. He's also still too small to roll over, so he takes naps in our bed, too. My son has no interest in the crib yet and I like co-sleeping for now.
What about bottles or a breast pump? I intentionally didn't include feeding supplies on this list because everyone's feeding journey is different. I exclusively pump, but some moms exclusively breastfeed. Others use donated milk and others don't feed their child breastmilk at all. What is most useful to you will depend on how you ultimately feed your baby. Subscribe to get updated on my future post of most useful products for pumping moms!
I'd love to know which items you purchased or received that were your favorites! If you ended up with an item you never used or you could have lived without, feel free to share that too. Please leave me a comment below.