Everything you need to know about building your baby registry, including all the must haves!
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Pregnancy Pillow: I loved my pregnancy pillow (so much so that I brought it on our road trip to Montana when I was 7 months pregnant!) It's not a deal breaker if you prefer stuffing pillows between your legs, but it did make life a little easier (and comfier) for me.
Water Tumbler: Highly recommend getting a LARGE cup or water bottle at some point during your pregnancy. Not only will you be drinking more while pregnant, but postpartum breastfeeding will have you feeling like you are in the middle of the desert chugging water. This one is awesome and I fill it up before bed every night to leave on my nightstand.
Rebozo: My doula introduced me to the rebozo (which you can use a sheet or scarf instead) but it does amazing things for a pregnant women with relieving discomfort in pregnancy and labor!
Breathing Strips: Breathing is important eh? My husband and I wear breathing nose strips to bed every night but I highly recommend them when you're pregnant to ensure you're getting some good nasal breathing in. Research Nasal Breathing to learn why!
Nausea Remedies: I've got a whole blog post dedicated to these things alone. Check it out!
The list for "postpartum must haves" can get quite extensive but with Amazon being available to most people, I recommend waiting to see what your recovery is like before buying TOO much. (I know its hard to not plan out everything before) Here is my list of what was beneficial for me!
I had a relatively easy delivery, and normal recovery. In the hospital, I lived in a robe that I brought with me, a comfy nursing bra, and the diapers that the hospital provided. *these nursing bras are my favorite because they are so comfortable and I still wear them 7 months postpartum!
When I got home I lived in that same robe and same nursing bras. Your boobs WILL leak while they figure out the right supply, so you'll need some type of nursing pad (either reusable or disposable). I started with the reusable hoping to love them but they absorbed less, I had to wash these often, and when they got full of milk they would get tough and scratch my nipples. Once I figured this out, I switched to these disposable ones and they were much more gentle (and less work since I could just toss them in the trash).
Instead of the diapers that the hospital provided, I wore depends diapers (which were SO MUCH MORE COMFORTABLE), and would line the diaper with witch hazel pads that you CAN buy off amazon but I took home with me from the hospital. I also had purchased ice pads ahead of time but never used them because inflammation is good for healing!
Next to my bed I had a cart with everything I needed for me and baby. This was really helpful because like I said, I spent a good two weeks hanging out in my room loving on my babe. This video shows exactly what I kept on my cart!
Eventually I started getting out of bed and even leaving the house. That's when I switched to large underwear with large pads or leakproof underwear (which was a lot less noticeable). I wore clothing that buttoned up in the front or was a crop top so that I could easily access my boobs for breastfeeding, but didn't buy any "nursing clothing" specifically.
Chair (Rocker or Glider): I originally had a lazyboy recliner in the nursery (and I did love it) but it was huge and didn't leave us enough room for activities.. so I found this glider by Dutalier and its small but still so comfortable. ( I'm 5'9 so I needed something that could comfortably fit me and still be cute). You can definitely get away with nursing on the couch or in bed, but I do really love having the chair as an option.
Dresser/Changing Table: We tested out lots of dressers to find one that was tall enough for us to comfortably change Adalynn's diaper on top (my husband is 6'2 and I'm 5'9. This dresser from IKEA was perfect, plus I was able to organize it with these drawer organizers so it's an incredibly efficient system!
Rug: I wanted the nursery to feel bright and open (even with the lack of sunlight) which is why we opted for white everything.. EVEN OUR RUG! This one is from Ruggable and is stain resistant and can be washed in the washing machine! Use my code FUNJESSICAH10 for 10% off at Ruggable.
Black Out Curtains: I HIGHLY recommend having black out curtains in your babies room (and yours if you are room sharing). I'm all for baby learning to sleep in bright lights as well, and napping in the sunlight during the day. But at night you want baby to sleep in a DARK room without flashing lights from police cars, fireworks, or any other light pollution that most of us experience. *not to mention they may sleep longer if its dark in there.. Addy sleeps in till 8:30am!
Decor: The nursery is one of my favorite spaces in our home because I was very intentional about the decor. I wanted it to feel bright and open so opted for white furniture and darker accents. I tried to incorporate the toys into the decor on the shelves and blend in some plants (lack of sunlight meant mostly faux plants). I found a beautiful caddy to keep on top of the dresser to store diapers and wipes. I also tried to make even the ugly things pretty; like our white diaper pail, using a wicker basket as a hamper, and hiding the cord to our baby monitor with this amazon purchase!
Sound Machine/Nightlight: We used the Hatch which is a combo of both a sound machine and nightlight and our favorite for nighttime sleep. The nightlight is perfect for middle of the night awakenings and the white noise is adjustable so you can make it the perfect volume. It plugs in so no need to worry about it dying and shutting off in the middle of the night like wireless ones do!
Storage for Everyday Items: I'm all about creating successful systems so I invested in baby hangers, size dividers, drawer organizers, stacking drawers, and labels. The system was thought about carefully so that it was established in a way that was easy to modify (like easily switching labels) and also would grow with Adalynn as she gets bigger and her needs change.
Storage for Less Used Items: We have bins established in the top of her closet for items that we don't need easy access to like memorabilia, outgrown toys & clothes, and clothes that don't fit yet. I use these fabric bins from amazon and these label clips.
Storage might not be a NECESSITY, but I promise you if you establish a successful system your life will be a lot easier.
There's a few different approaches that you can choose when it comes to baby sleeping but in any situation you NEED a safe space for baby to sleep.
1. Co-sleeping (meaning you are sharing your bed with baby!)
2. Room Sharing (meaning baby is sleeping in the same room as you!) If you pick this scenario you have a few different options. Baby can sleep in a bassinet like this one, baby can sleep in a bedside sleeper like this one, or baby can sleep in their crib that you have moved into your room. Whatever option you choose you will need a mattress protector and two sets of fitted sheets incase of any accidents!
3. Nursery (meaning baby goes straight to sleeping in the crib in their nursery!) This option you would just need a crib (or safe sleep space) and then I highly encourage you to get a mattress protector and 2 sets of sheets.
In our home we used the halo bassinet with this mattress protector and these fitted sheets. I also had a heating pad on hand to use during those first few weeks... and here is how I used it! Baby would always fall asleep nursing, so while I nursed I had the heating pad in the bassinet warming up the mattress. I would remove the heating pad and then lay baby down on the warm surface (which mimicked my body heat and made transferring into the bassinet a whole lot easier!
In terms of clothing for sleep.. you have a LOT of options.. but don't "lose sleep" over it! There are lots of good choices! The most important thing is baby temperature... Feel the back of their neck to make sure they aren't too hot (sweaty, clammy) or cold to touch. If they feel warm and are sleeping well, chances are they are good to go. Research TOG ratings and know the temperature of the room baby is sleeping in to easily figure out what will work best for baby.
Some clothing choices you have are
Swaddling Blankets or Velcro Swaddles
Sleep Sacks & Alternative Sleeping Suits
Adjusting room temperature so it's warm enough for baby to sleep in jammies alone.
When we brought baby home from the hospital we continued to swaddle in a muslin blanket like the hospital did for weeks! As baby got bigger we switched to the Halo Velcro Swaddle which made diaper changes so much easier. Eventually Addy got to the age that she no longer needed to be swaddled (and was rolling around) so we switched to the Kyte Baby Sleep Sack (after trying LOTS of other options including the Magic Merlin sleep suit, Nested Bean weighed sleep sack, and Love to Dream Swaddle UP but Addy didn't love them!) Every baby is different so it make take a few tries to figure out what works for them, and for YOU!
You might be shocked to hear it but you don't "need" anything for bath time. We don't use a baby bath tub, or faucet cover, or a mat, or soap, or lotion, or hooded towels... Bath time for us means filling up the tub and mom and baby climbing in and bathing together. When Addy got bigger we started putting just a couple of inches of water on the bottom of the tub and laying her down so she could kick around (and keeping a very close eye on her).
I do tend to take HOT baths, so I invested in a thermometer to make sure the temperature is SAFE for baby. We also use wash cloths to get hard to reach places (like under her chin) but one pack of 3 was more than enough. If baby has dry skin, we turn the bath
into a milk bath (using my breastmilk *especially if any was left out for too long and baby can't drink it) and treat it that way instead of using topical lotion.
A couple of other "bath" items we DO have is a brush/comb and TOYS!
This is a bit of a minimalist approach, but my "registry checklist" includes the normal bath items that you will want to consider!
I'm not an expert in bottles, formula, or pumping because we did 99% breastfeeding in our home. So I'll share the items that made this a million times easier, although the PDF checklist will have all the items for any way of feeding you choose!
Feeding Pillow & Cover: I can't recommend just one because both of these pillows made SUCH difference for me. The first being the Boppy and the second being the My Brest Friend. The Boppy pillow is much more flexible so its GREAT for nursing older babies, propping them up, supporting them as they learn to sit, AND travels well. (We took it on the plane with us to Florida!). The My Brest Friend is VERY structured and supportive which made it easier to nurse my newborn. It also has a clip and attaches around your midsection so you can stand and nurse or even just use it to support the weight while rocking baby to sleep. If possible, I highly suggest purchasing both of these products. Yes you could use pillows from around the house but you spend SO MUCH TIME NURSING, and these will make it so much easier and put less strain on your body.
Bottles & Nipples: We used one single bottle that came in a registry completion kit, since we rarely bottle fed I never purchased more. I also never needed a bottle brush, drying rack, or bottle warmer either. Don't feel like you NEED to have tons of these items right off the bat, wait to see what approach works for you!
Cleaning: We did have things to clean and sterilize but our dishwasher had a sterilization feature and that's what we used. It also had a small top rack so we never needed a dishwasher basket, just used the top rack for small items like pacifiers. When using the dishwasher we ALWAYS choose a safe, non toxic dish detergent (these our my current favorite from Puracy).
Burp Cloths: We used these white cloth diapers as burp cloths because they are SO SOFT and so absorbent. I kept them near the bed, on the couch, in the nursery, in the diaper bag, in the car, and really anywhere I ever went. While these are amazing, you can definitely save money and rip up an old T-Shirt to use as a burp cloth though it won't be nearly as absorbent.
Nursing can be a breeze for some and literal torture for others... but there are some items I think everyone will get good use out of.
Nursing & Pumping Bras: A few good, comfy nursing bras are a must, like these ones! But no need to go overboard. 7 months postpartum and I'm back to wearing normal bras and just pulling my breast out to feed. Also, their is a super cool trick to use a normal nursing bra to pump (but if you plan to pump often, I highly recommend a good pumping bra!)
Nursing Covers: Breastfeeding is natural and beautiful and I'm all for embracing that, so I never used a cover.. but if you are more comfortable WITH a cover then find a nice big one that allows for some room for baby.
Nursing Pads: Your boobs WILL leak while they figure out the right supply, so you'll need some type of nursing pad (either reusable or disposable). I started with the reusable hoping to love them but they absorbed less, I had to wash these often, and when they got full of milk they would get tough and scratch my nipples. Once I figured this out, I switched to these disposable ones and they were much more gentle (and less work since I could just toss them in the trash).
Nipple Cream: Pick something non-toxic and natural, cause your baby WILL be ingesting it while eating .I used Earth Mama's nipple butter the very few times I ever needed it. (I only used it maybe a total of 5 times!)
Milk Catchers: We used the Haakaa and the Haakaa ladybug and I liked having both (but I also leaked ALOT in the beginning). I mean I was leaking the month before even giving birth LOL. When Adalynn was eating from one side, I would have either the ladybug tucked in my bra or the Haakaa attached to the other breast so that I wasn't wasting everything that was leaking out. This is actually how I gathered most of my "freezer supply". Speaking of freezer supply, you'll need some type of storage for the freezer. This can be disposable plastic bags, reusable storage bags, or you can freeze your milk in cubes like this and then store them in containers! It all depends on your feeding/nursing/stash situation and what works best for your family.
Pump & Accessories: On very few occasions (4 times in 7 months to count) I needed to pump. I was gifted a Medela In Style Pump and it worked great, although I have nothing to compare it to. I definitely could have hand expressed or used a manual pump but since I had an electric pump on hand it WAS easier to do that way. Obviously, if you are strictly pumping than you'll want to put a LOT more emphasis on these supplies!
Diapers & Wipes: So we've all heard of the "Diaper Raffle" at baby showers right? Well I'm here to advise you against it!! We did it and here is what we ended up with: A bunch of diaper brands that we weren't comfortable using with our daughter (dyes, fragrances, & other toxic ingredients) and a CLOSET FULL of diapers that took up SO MUCH SPACE. Instead, ask for books or teethers that you WANT a variety of. For diapers and wipes, we've used Hello Bello's subscription service and its been so easy. They are quality diapers, delivered right to your door. Use code JESSICAH for 30% off!
Changing Pad (Covers & Liners): We love this Bumbo changing pad because we don't have to worry about a cover or liner- plus its cute! We simply wipe it down once a day to sanitize it, and we're good to go.
Diaper Pail & Refill Bags: The big debate... a diaper pail or no? Yes, you can use a normal trash can but we opted for a diaper pail and here is why.. we have a dog! I didn't want to risk having a poopy diaper ripped open and spread through the house.. plus I like the sleek design, and that it keeps (most) of the smells in. This is the one we use and love!
Diaper Caddy: We change Adalynn right on top of her dresser (that holds diapers and wipes) but we STILL have a diaper caddy up top. When you have your hands full with a poopy diaper you want everything to be very easily accessible, and a cute caddy like this will do just that.
Wipe Dispenser: Another big debate.. you don't need it! We just wanted it, LOL! I hated the idea of putting a cold wipe on my newborns bottom in the middle of a cold Chicago winter so we bought one and used it for the first 6 months of her life. It wasn't necessary but I'll spoil my daughter any day. Here's the one we got.*NOTE: you need to use a specific type of wipes that come out continually instead of just one wipe at a time.
Diaper Rash Cream: We haven't used diaper rash cream yet (she's 7 months old). If there is any discomfort down there I use breast milk and if we NEEDED a cream we have one little jar of Earth Mama's diaper rash cream which is made with quality non-toxic ingredients.
Car Seat & Base: This is a must have item if you have a car and will be using it to travel with baby. Car seats expire and also have to be replaced if in an accident so be careful using second hand. We chose our car seat based on our stroller because I wanted a full travel system (a stroller that allows us to attach the car seat directly to it). We ended up getting the Bugaboo Fox 3 Travel System that comes with a bassinet, normal stroller seat, and a car seat that are all interchangeable which makes a new moms life so much easier.
Stroller (Travel System): We have the Bugaboo Fox 3 Travel System that comes with a bassinet, normal stroller seat, and a car seat that are all interchangeable which makes a new moms life so much easier. It's an all terrain stroller and I can confidently say the best stroller out there! Although while I love the stroller, I'm not a huge fan of the accessories that come with. Instead I use this caddy and its perfect because it doesn't shift or slide down and holds everything I need easily.
Diaper Bag- This is one of our most used items and I truly do love the Itzy Ritzy diaper bag. It's an organized moms dream, with all the pockets to hold everything you could ever need! Check out this video to see what I store in the diaper bag and how I organize it.
Baby Wrap & Carrier- I am a HUGE SUPPORTER of baby wearing. I never wanted to put Adalynn down, but I still like getting things done so this was the best of both worlds. Now there are lots of different wraps (and as an influencer I was lucky enough to get to try a variety so I'll share my thoughts)
Moby Wrap: I love the way this wrap tightly held my newborn that was just a few days old. Unlike other wrap this completely conforms to the baby for a super snug, tight fit. It's a learning curve and make take a few times to get the hang of it but its very worth it.
Ring Wrap: The ring wrap was my second investment because of how easy it is to put on. It snug, just like the Moby but can be put on in seconds which is great for when you need to get baby on you quick for short periods of time (like running into a grocery store!) The downside is that it doesn't disperse the weight as well as the Moby since its on just one shoulder, so short times under 30 minutes is perfect for the ring wrap. Oh, and did I mention they are beautiful?
Ergo Carrier: This seems to be the most common of all the wraps, and we love it with our older baby. I started using this around 4 months, once Addy was really strong. I never felt that it hugged my baby enough to use when she was itty bitty but now that she's 7 months we use this one whenever we will be baby wearing a long time. Its super supportive and easy to put on, plus allows you to wear forward facing and on your back as baby grows older. Click here for the Ergo Carrier we use and love!
Swing/ Bouncer/ Activity Gym/Mat: We borrowed the Mamaroo from a friend (which I highly suggest for these more expensive items because you use them for such a short time!) I don't think we used it enough to justify the price tag, and we also didn't use the bouncer a whole bunch but that's mostly due to the fact that both my husband and I were home so Addy was typically held or in supervised tummy time. The activity gym is a fun addition around 6 months, but to encourage proper hip development we only use it 1-2x a day for 10 minutes- like if we have to hop in the shower! Typically, if baby isn't being held.. we encourage time on the floor. When it comes to an Activity mat, we used this Lovevery one and its great!
Travel Crib & Sheets: When we traveled to a hotel, we used the crib that they provided for free and just brought are own sheet.. however, that isn't always an option! We invested in the Guava Travel Crib and are so happy that we did. We not only will use it for nighttime sleep when traveling but also at friends homes, outside as a play space, and a shaded area on sunny days! Its SO light (only 14 lbs), carries like a backpack, and is insanely easy to set up and take down.
Nail File: Nail clippers are terrifying, Instead I use this electric nail file to easily and safely trim babies nails without the worry of clipping too far.
Pacifiers: Babies all have different preferences, so I would encourage you to buy a few different kinds. Addy loved the Nanobebe pacifiers.
Air Purifier: Babies are sensitive (especially if you haven't made the switch to a non-toxic household) but an air purifier can really help. We have 2 Blue Air Purifiers in our home and its incredible how much they help the air quality.
Humidifier: Especially during the winter, and when babies are sick... you'll want a good humidifier. This one is my favorite because its EASY TO CLEAN and believe me you need to be cleaning your humidifier very frequently.
Nasal Aspirator: The hospital will most likely send you home with a bulb syringe which does work when your in a pinch... I keep mine in the diaper bag just incase! But the real game changer is this electric nasal aspirator that *lightly* sucks everything right out of babies nose! Use in combination with Saline Spray or breast milk to loosen up the mucus before sucking out.
Nose Picker: I know this sounds useless, but sometimes those boogers will be taking over the nose and your big fingers won't help at all. A nose picker is a safe way to remove the boogers from the nostrils (as long as you are carefully using it to remove without going too deep).
Thermometer: When baby needs their temperature taken.. it NEEDS to be right. Imagine you are taking their temperature to decide if you need to contact the doctor, or head to the hospital! You can't be depending on a wonky thermometer that gives you a different reading every time. This is a great forehead option, and this is a great ear option.
Medications- A few places I love for medications and supplements is Earthly Wellness and Dr. Green Mom because they make everything without any harmful additives and quality ingredients.
Smoke Detectors & Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Thought I would add this one in because its so important! Make sure you have these checked and working!
You would be shocked by the amount of things you DON'T need for baby. I ready every article saying that you'll need a huge stack of white onesies and they will wear them all the time.. but my baby has never once worn one. Adalynn lived in a diaper for the first month of her life. I'm not kidding. She didn't wear pajamas, she didn't wear any "cute outfits"- It was all skin to skin.
My biggest recommendation is to wait. As baby grows you'll learn more about what you like to dress them in, what fits well, etc. So get some basics and throw some cute outfits in but wait to go crazy- plus they really do grow so fast and don't need much.
For our little one we had 5-7 sets of footies that she slept and played in (I HIGHLY recommend bamboo footies. Not only are the so soft and cute but they also last forever and are a way better investment. We went through a new size of footies every single month but our bamboo ones lasted from newborn till 9+ months... she's still wearing the same size!), along with a few cute outfits. We never did socks or mittens but I did love and recommend these little booties.
Just like clothes, don't go crazy with the bows or bibs. Addy never wore bibs because she wasn't a big drooler, and the bows I liked as a newborn didn't
look cute on her at 3 months old so we definitely didn't need a pack of 30.
Now something that you DO need, is a non-toxic detergent and stain remover. Don't buy the garbage marketed towards babies.. instead invest in a good option that is safe for the whole family. Brands like branch basics, mollys suds, puracy are wonderful and safe for baby. Then for stains you HAVE TO BUY THIS STAIN REMOVER. I swear its magic.. I've used it on every type of stain imaginable and it's worked on it all. (including a poopy set of pajamas that I left in a bag for 3 months and then washed)
Developmental toys: Even though I minored in early childhood educated, I HATED the pressure of getting toys that would work for each stage of Adalynn's development. This is why I love Lovevery so much because they have the PERFECT play kits for every age!
Books- Babies put everything in their mouths so we loved the chunky board books (rhyming was most enjoyable for me) or the indestructibles that baby can chew on and they will never rip! Here is my list of most recommend baby books to add to the nursery!
Teethers- Every baby is different, but here are the teethers that Addy loved!
Our main goal for Adalynn's first summer was to keep her in the shade as much as possible, but we also bought breathable clothing that would keep her from getting too hot and sweaty.
For time in the water we needed
*Sunscreen (we personally don't use sunscreen and instead take addy out in early morning light and evening sun, and keep her in the shade during peak sunlight)