Building a registry was one of the first things I started doing when I found out I was pregnant. Since I was a little gun-shy after the miscarriage last year, I didn’t necessary build the registry right away, but I knew there were going to be tons of research to be uncovered and decisions to be made, so I started very early digging into the pros, cons, nice-to-have, and absolutely necessary things that would eventually make my list.
I am one of the last of my friends and family to have kids, so I am also lucky that I had a lot of really good advice from those close to me on what was really needed. That being said, there are also going to be things that I like just because I like. Similarly, there are things that I have very detailed and specific reasons behind my choice and other things that fell into the category of ‘anything will do’.
I hope that if you’re in the throes of registering or buying for someone close to you, this guide can help you to understand the thought process of a first time mom. There are also things that aren’t pictured, but are in the descriptions, so be sure to read through each section to get more info as well! I won’t explain every piece, because we don’t want to be here all day, but I’ll go into detail on things which I did a lot of research.
I also did a lot of research on registries themselves. I realized that a lot of the baby stores didn’t have things that I was after or had very limited selections of other things. If you’re not finding out the gender of your baby, the gender neutral selection in these stores is dismal. I also didn’t want to register at every store in town. For this reason, I used Babyli.st. Not only can you put ANYTHING on there, but they have a really great app and I think the platform is very streamlined and simple to use. I do have a very small selection at Buy Buy Baby as well for folks who don’t shop online, but Babyli.st is my most comprehensive registry. I love the site and hope friends and family like using it as well!
Let’s start with the nursery. I shared my decor scheme here, but while I don’t want to register for decor, I focused on registering for the functional pieces that will make the nursery work well for us and for Baby Souder.
Chair – This is one that gave me a lot of grief. Most nursery rockers and gliders fall into one of two categories – either terribly ugly or terribly expensive (or both!). I wanted something that looked normal, was that too much to ask? Then, one day, I get this brilliant idea that I think I want a recliner. I get this idea because I hear lots of stories of moms sleeping in their kids rooms (as opposed to kids sleeping in the parents room, more on that to come), breast feeding while sleeping, etc, etc, and I think, “A recliner would be nice to get in a quick snooze during a feeding, no?” But, if you thought finding a non-ugly rocker was hard, finding a non-ugly recliner that also rocks is like finding a needle in a haystack. I gave up on this quest until I came across the Piper recliner from Target. It’s got a modern style, it’s not a stupid pattern, it doesn’t have tell-tale recliner tufting. Best of all, it’s just over $300. I think I won.
Crib – lots of folks told me to bypass the cribs that transform into every bed humanly imaginable and just get something functional that will work for the baby years of any kids we plan to have and then be done. Based on this advice, I chose a middle-of-the-road crib that I felt would last through more than one child, but wouldn’t be so pricey that I felt like bad getting rid of it after the baby years. The Baby Mod Marley Crib from Walmart was just over $300 and has a really beautiful mid-century design that I love!
Humidifier – I care very little about this and did basically no research. I just scanned the first thing I saw at the baby store. If you have something else that you highly highly recommend, let me know in the comments!
Swaddle blankets – I’ve had multiple friends tell me that the type of blanket/swaddle/burpcloth/whathaveyou doesn’t matter as much as the quantity. One friend said that you can never have enough of these easy, light muslin type blankets and she finds herself always reaching for one. I’ve tripled down and registered for about a bazillion including these.
Changing Table/Dresser – I DIY’d mine! Take a look at the tutorial and transformation over here in this post.
Mattress – This is another area I did a ton of research. I wanted something that wasn’t made with all of the chemicals of most mattresses and I also wanted something breathable to help prevent SIDS. It was a lucky extra that the Lullaby Earth 2 Stage Breathable mattress I went with ended up also being super duper light, making those sheet changes easier. Also, going with a lower priced crib made me feel a little better about the splurge on this mattress. It’s all about peace of mind for me.
Diaper Pail – I researched diaper pails and knew I wanted something that wasn’t ugly, could potentially just be used as a regular trashcan later, took regular bags, and kept the smell neutralized. The Ubbi diaper pail met all of these criteria.
Changing Pad – So many people told me that they used their changing table very rarely (typically opting for the floor or an ottoman). So I just didn’t feel like this was a necessary splurge. I went with a very inexpensive pad and actually have a changing pad cover DIY coming up soon. But, I do have a Burt’s Bees changing pad cover that I like on my registry as well. Oh, and I went for some of the washable, waterproof liners as well, because, you know… bodily fluids abound here.
Monitor – I outsourced this task to Matt. He works in the technology field and has a lot more security issues that I typically do, so I thought this was a good thing for him to do. We did end up going for a Wifi enabled model which I know people have LOTS of opinions about. Really, when you have a super duper secure connection like we do with 3rd party routers/modems, we felt like it was going to be ok.
Mittens | Bear Hat | Knot Hat | Onesies | Long Sleeved Zip Sleeper | Long Sleeved Onesie | Shoes (no longer available in this color, other options here) | Knot Gown | Striped Gown | Sleep Sack | Hoodie | Bloomer Shorts | Bandana | Socks
Since we aren’t finding out the gender of this baby, the clothing options we have are fairly concise. I included a little guide on how many of each thing I am registering for! There are two schools of thought here. Some people have recommended only getting about a weeks worth of basic clothing for each size, then washing often just due to the sheer speed at which they grow out of them while others have been like, “you can never have enough! You need a bazillion onesies!”. I decided to go with the former and keep it very simple.
Mittens – 2-3 pairs, not because they get dirty, but more because they get tossed and lost.
Hat – 1-2, mostly to keep that new head warm and because they’re adorable
Onesies – I consider these to be the basic, go-to outfit. Of course after we find out the gender, there will be some legit outfits in there, but here is where I’m starting: 8-10 basic short-sleeved, 4-5 basic long sleeved. Pair with some leggings. I used this ‘formula’ for each size up to 1 year, so 8-10 short sleeved onesies in NB, 8-10 for 0-3m, etc, etc. Really, I feel like that gives you a little less than a weeks work of outfits considering blowouts and whatnot.
Sleepers – 2-3 for each size up to 1 year.
Gowns & Sleep Sacks – 2-3 for each size up to 1 year.
Something Fun – I just really liked this little hoodie sweat set. I thought it was adorable and even though we don’t know the gender and can’t buy super specific clothes, I thought this hoodie was something fun I could throw on the babe with leggings in those first few weeks if we needed some layers.
Bandana – Hey dude! It’s just fun and doubles as a bib.
Socks – You’ve got to keep those tiny toes warm. I went with a really basic set in white.
Also need: Bottle Brush | Drying rack | Pump Accessories (specific to whatever pump you use) | baby food freezer trays
FIRST FEW MONTHS:
I intend to try breastfeeding, so one big thing that isn’t pictured here is the pump or pump accessories. Above are a few other things that aren’t pictured, but I think are necessary for the registry.
Bottles – I opted for glass. There is something about running plastic through a warmer or dishwasher umpteen times that sits the wrong way with me. I am going with a less but better mindset here. Just a few glass bottles that I can use as needed and wash often.
Breast milk storage bags – Everyone says that these bags are great because you can pump right into them and they lay flat in the fridge/freezer. I am going with plastic here because they’re a use-once type thing and don’t get heated and reheated for months on end (like bottles would). I also registered for the entire Kiinde set because it got RAVE reviews. The bottle warmer that comes with the set also got fantastic reviews, so I might swap out the philips one shown above. We’ll see.
Nursing Pillow – There are a few big brands out there and I read extensive reviews on all. It seems that people didn’t feel that the Boppy was tall enough for comfort and I felt like the Breast Friend pillow was very intense. I felt that the Bebe au lait pillow struck a good balance and it got great reviews for being firm enough and supportive. I’d love to hear any of your thoughts here.
I am a neurotic 3-4 week at a time meal planner for Matt and I and cook myself breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day, so I think my baby food strategy should be no different. I read Bringing up Bebe and one of the things that stuck with me the most was the difference in how French babies/kids eat versus American kids. I could get on a soapbox about nutrition here and based on my college degree in nutrition and biochem (my first job out of school was a food chemist), I have some strong feelings on the topic… but I’ll spare you. Food for the baby is one of the things I am very very focused on doing a certain way… and I know this is going to be a place I will likely have resistance with our supporting friends/family. I’m preparing myself already for this. I intend to feed the baby mostly what we eat and whole foods. I’ve heard great things about this book which (similar to some meal plans I do) takes a day to prep a months’ worth of food. I’m excited to give it a try, but also want to mix in some meals where I simply puree whatever we’re eating as well.
Bassinet/Travel Crib/Play yard – I had strong feelings on this one. I wanted something that could legitimately be used primarily for travel and was very light and easy to set up and tear down. I was not looking for something to use as a temporary nursery in our room because I am going to try to go straight to crib and bypass the bassinet in our room. I know that this might not happen, so I am happy that this Guava Family Travel crib converts nicely into a bassinet that also rocks. If I do end up with the baby in our room for a few weeks, I have the choice of using this or the Rock ‘n Play (shown below). In my opinion, this travel crib covers a lot of bases. This is such a personal decision in how you want to sleep train or co-sleep, so to each his own! Make the choice that works best for you.
Stroller/Travel System – Of all the research I did, I spent the most time on strollers. I started out reading probably every review on the internet, then read the Baby Bargains book, then finally finished it all up with several side-by-side comparison YouTube videos. I kid you not. I was able to easily narrow down the search based on several friends’ recommendations that if we plan on having another child fairly soon, then we should get a stroller that coverts to a double. After all of my research and this realization, I narrowed to two strollers, the Baby Jogger City Select and the UppaBaby Vista. We ended up going with the UppaBaby Vista purely because we managed to get the Uppababy Mesa Infant Carseat for really cheap on a local auction site. I’ve heard great things about both strollers, however.
Infant Carrier – Again, I researched every wrap on the internet. The K’tan carrier seemed the most secure and got really great reviews. Plus, there isn’t any tying involved. I plan on using this myself around the house or during short errands. We also registered for a heavier duty Ergo carrier for things like hikes, travel, and for Matt to wear (since the one pictured is sized for me).
Diaper Bag & Baby Changing Mat – Instead of a traditional diaper bag, I just plan on using a simple backpack that either Matt or I would be ok carrying around. Since the backpack has a laptop compartment, I thought that would be the ideal spot to put a changing mat! I like this Skip Hop mat for size and portability.
Health & Bath
Bathing – We have a giant farmhouse sink which I’m anticipating using for the newborn bathing. Although I love the Puj insert, it is too small for our sink and this soft and cushy floral insert is pretty large, but still lays flat to store and dry. We have such limited bathroom and kitchen space that I couldn’t imagine using one of the large plastic tubs…it would literally have nowhere to live outside of our one shower.
Safety – The Owlet monitor is somewhat new to the market, and I’ve heard good things from those who have it. It’s a little sock that is also an oxygen and heart rate monitor for quelling SIDS fears. It’s a bit pricey, but I think it’s a better option than driving myself crazy spying on a sleeping baby to see if they’re breathing. Although certainly not a necessity, it’s one of those things I researched well and landed on wanting for us.
Not Pictured: Swing/Bouncer (I’m getting a passed down 4moms Mamaroo)
Relax & Play
I am fairly ruthless about extraneous toys. With Perry, she gets just one or two new toys for Christmas & Birthday and each time she gets a new one, we get rid of an old one. Therefore, we never have more than and handful at any given moment. Of course, I am aware that a dog is different than a baby, but my toy pruning will be in full effect nonetheless. Starting out, I plan to do a few rattles, books, a play gym, and that’s about it. Seeing as how Christmas will come along when the babe is 4 months old, I’m confident that he/she will get her fair share and won’t need to depend on the registry to fill that category.
There are a few things that have come highly recommended by friends, however, that we’re definitely registering for – The rock ‘n play was the #1 most recommended thing from all friends and family and the Wubbanub came in as a close second. I am waiting on a bouncer or swing soley because I have lots of people willing to pass theirs down and I’ll test out some of those instead of buying new. My sister-in-law is bringing her 4moms mamaroo, which I’m excited to give a try as well.
Well, there you have it, friends! This list is about as minimal and practical as I could keep it for myself. Of course there are things you could go over the top with much more than I did and other things that I want which aren’t totally necessary, but if you’re at a loss for where to start, this is a great framework for a registry, then you can branch off from there based on your own needs and wants.