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Baby Registry Guidelines

Baby Registry Guidelines

Some people find the baby registry process to be fun, I found it overwhelming.  I didn’t know many young moms at the time and we really had no idea what a newborn did and did not need.  I’m frugal by nature but all that marketing really gets you and soon you start to think your child can’t be born until you’ve amassed several rooms full of baby paraphernalia.  After Luke was born I was shocked at just how little we actually needed – a few soft blankets, a bunch of onesies, a bassinet, and lots of diapers.  This made me mad at how many things were presented as “absolute necessities” which turned out to be luxuries at best.  Here’s an overview of the items we found helpful as well as reviews of many of the specific products we used:

Baby Registry Suggestions:

Out and About

Beds and Linens

  • Pack and Play or Bassinet
  • 2-3 fitted pack and play sheets
  • Crib and mattress
  • 3 fitted crib sheets, a mattress pad or two
  • 3+ receiving blankets – square ones with a little give are great for swaddling
  • 3-4 swaddlers or sleep sacks – particularly helpful with winter babies.  I prefer the sleep sacks because their arms can be free and they make a good extra layer during the day

Diaper duty

  • If using disposables:
    • At least one package of newborn diapers (don’t go too overboard on this size in case you have a big baby).
    • Size 1 and bigger – as many as you can get…  We averaged about 10 diapers a day in the beginning, you do the math!
    • Brands we like: Earth’s Best and Nature Babycare:
  • If you’re using cloth: 12-24 diaper sets (pocket diapers or all-in-ones)
    • Brands we like: Fuzzi Bunz, BumGenius and gDiapers: Review to come
  • Changing table or pad that can be attached to a normal dresser
  • Diaper pail
  • Diaper bag – this one is really personal preference.  The two main things I’d recommend are multiple pockets and sturdy material.
  • Wipes – You’ll use a ton of these.  We went through a 70 pack per week in the beginning.  My favorite brand is Earth’s Best because they’re pretty sturdy and have good moisture content.  Plus they’re unscented and chlorine free.
  • Coconut oil – we used this as an all-natural alternative to diaper rash ointment. For other all natural ideas see:

Clothes – only register for clothes or specific items that you really really want.  People love to give baby clothes as gifts.  Between your shower and the gifts you’ll get once the baby is born you’ll probably end up with more than you can use, especially in the smaller sizes.  If you’re baby is due in the fall or winter you’ll want to have a bunch of cozy sleepers with attached feet (fleece ones are nice).  For warm weather babies onesies will be your best friend.  So just register for some basics (sleepers, onesies, pants) in each size and trust me you’ll be more than covered.  People are amazingly generous when it comes to babies.

The clothing items I would recommend registering for are your outwear because you’ll probably have stronger opinions here and these items are also more likely to get overlooked:

  • Several baby hats – for some reason everyone remembers to give cold weather hats but summer hats are important too.  Bucket hats are great for keeping the sun off baby’s neck and head in the warm weather and they look great in pictures.
  • Bunting or jackets– If your baby is born in the fall or winter I recommend using a bunting.  Jackets are awkward on newborns and can be drafty.  A bunting is basically a big, wooly sleeper with a hood and hand flaps – it keeps them really warm and is super helpful for cold weather newborns.  Both my kiddos are winter babies and we got a newborn and a 0-3 month size.  It would still be helpful in the 3-6 month range after which jackets are probably more practical.

Chow Time

  • If you’re breastfeeding:
    • 2+ nursing bras – I was told to add two sizes to your pre-pregnancy size but that was a little off – I’d get one now then wait until after baby is born to ensure a good fit.  And don’t restrict yourself to standard bra styles which can be expensive and cumbersome.  My favorite nursing bra is sports bra style.  This is particularly helpful if you’re a night time leaker because it’s far more comfortable than a normal bra.  Camisoles with wide necks are another great option – just place your pads inside the built in bra and you’re good to go!
    • Breast pads – I got 10 or so of the washable kind and they worked great.  They’re softer than disposables, less wasteful and best of all they don’t leave fuzz on your nipples!
    • Breast pump – if you work outside the house I’s seriously consider an electric pump (many hospitals will let you try out or even rent theirs so it’s worth asking about).  If you stay at home, a manual pump is usually adequate.  I used the Medela Harmony Manual Pump and was pleased with it: Review to come.
    • (4) five-ounce baby bottles with newborn nipples (get a few extra if you’re bottle feeding).  (2-4) eight-ounce bottles for when they’re older.
    • 12+ old fashioned cloth diapers – they make the best burp cloths

Clean and Shiny

  • 3 towels – the hooded ones are really cute and look great in pictures, but any soft towel works
  • 4+ soft washcloths
  • Gentle body wash – there are lots of great natural options nowadays without sodium laurel sulfate or chemical fragrances
  • Light all natural moisturizer – I use oils such as coconut, olive or sweet almond – no parabens or nasty stuff to sink into baby’s skin.  Here’s an overview of the oils I recommend:
  • Baby nail clippers or small blunt tip scissors – at birth Luke’s nails were long enough to scratch himself so this is a good purchase to buy now.  I preferred the little scissors at first but now that I’m used to it I mostly use the clippers
  • Soft hair brush
  • Low chemical laundry detergent – I wash all of our laundry with this since he is constantly exposed to our clothes as well

Medicine chest

  • Thermometer
  • Bulb syringe
  • Saline drops
  • An infant pain/fever reducer such as Infant’s Tylenol
  • A baby antihistamine such as Baby Benadryl


  • Baby monitor – I have to be honest, I don’t use a monitor.  Our kiddos sleep in our room the first few months.  After that we’re on one level and always in close enough proximity to hear any significant commotion.  I found that hearing each and every peep stressed me out more than it helped!  That being said, most moms get a lot of relief from their monitors.  If you fall into this boat, my main advice is to get a reputable model because the static on the cheap ones is horrible!
  • 3+ pacifiers – the hospital sent us home with a Soothie brand pacifier and that became the only brand Luke would use.
  • Bouncy seat – this is really nice when they’re little.

Extras: Nice but not necessary

  • 3+ Long sleeve white onesies (or other plain color) – these are helpful in cold weather.  They’re great for layering for extra warmth or to put underneath all those cute short sleeve onesies that are otherwise too cold for winter
  • Small bathtub – you can make do with just a sink but a little tub can be nice.  I’d pick this out in person because internet pictures can be misleading.  When choosing a tub, remember to take space/storage into consideration
  • A rocker or glider
  • Infant swing – Luke hated his swing, but a lot of babies love theirs.  If you have the space (they’re big!) it’s worth considering.
  • Night light – ours attached to the bassinet which was nice when you inevitably peek on them in the middle of the night
  • Bundle me – a zip up blanket/bag made for stroller or car seat.  A blanket will do the same thing for cheaper but this is pretty nice.
  • Insulated bottle holder – this is just a small, inexpensive thermal sleeve that keeps your bottle cool.  It’s helpful to toss in the diaper bag if you frequently feed the little one on the road, especially in hot weather
  • Boppy nursing pillow – I used this a lot when we were first getting the hang of nursing but rarely to never once we mastered the concept.
  • Nursing shield – if you want to nurse in public without flashing people this is pretty handy.  Honestly a blanket will do the trick but the shield is a little easier to maneuver.

What we didn’t use:

  • Newborn shirts – I strongly prefer onsies, especially if you have a winter baby.  The shirts were always getting twisted and exposing his belly
  • Diaper rash ointment – full of ingredients that can cause more harm than good.  There are lots of natural alternatives that work well.  Here are my suggestions:
  • Bottle drying tree – um can we say drying rack?
  • Bottle brush – the dishwasher is easier and works better
  • Wipe warmer – no comment

Random Advice

  • Our hospital’s sanitation policy required them to discard any opened packages, even if only one item in the pack had been used.  So when Luke was born I went home with armfuls of diapers, pads and bottles they’d have otherwise thrown away.  Ask about your hospital’s policy and you may get some free stuff!
  • Buy a pack of overnight menstrual pads.  I had no idea how much or how long you bleed after birth (why don’t people tell you this?!).  They give you GIANT pads at the hospital but they feel like diapers and once the bleeding slows you’re gonna want a smaller, more comfortable version.
  • If you want to get great stuff for really cheap, check the internet for baby consignment sales in your area.  Here is a national website that lists some of the bigger sales:  Consignment stores are hit or miss, but the sales tend to be really good.  I’ve been to about a dozen of them and with one exception they were all great.  They’re typically held twice a year in the spring and fall at churches, schools or community centers.  Some of them are massive and the prices tend to hover around 75% off.  Most of them are really strict about item quality – they don’t accept anything stained or worn out or otherwise defective.  In fact many of the things I bought still had tags on them!  We ended buying some duplicate baby gear (like an extra pack and play and car seat) for our parents so we didn’t have to lug so much stuff when we went to visit.  Now that I’ve seen how much good, inexpensive stuff is available, I may never pay full retail again!

For additional posts pertaining to baby and family, please see:

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