I wrote First Time Baby Registry – Made Simple almost two years ago, and since then it’s received quite a bit of traffic. With many of my friends currently having babies, I’ve been asked for my “must-haves.” Since my original post was written prior to having my daughter, I thought it was a good time to clean it up to share what we actually use (instead of what I thought we’d use).
Side note: If you compare this list to the original list, you’ll notice I’ve removed items we didn’t get/use, and have added in the ones we didn’t originally ask for but ended up getting.
Another side note: links in this post are not sponsored.
My criteria when shopping:
- Looks – First, I need to like how it looks.
- Price – Second, it needs to be in my pricepoint. Otherwise, I’ll feel guilty for overspending, or asking someone else to overspend.
- Reviews – Third, I check reviews. If other people don’t like it, I probably won’t either.
If all three criteria are there, then I choose it.
If I only get to choose two of the three, I go by price and reviews. I can handle ugly if it is functional and reasonably priced.
If I only get one, reviews are most important. I don’t care how cute it is if people say it stinks, and I’ll pay a little more for something of better quality.
- Crib (1) – We use the DaVinci Emily 4-in-1 Crib (with toddler rail). This has worked out great. We’ve had to take it apart numerous times to get new carpeting installed and I can disassemble and reassemble it by myself. (We had to get the toddler rail separately so if you can get it bundled, it’s a smart idea.)
- Changing Table (1) – We use the DaVinci Monterey Changing Table (in white). What was important for me in this item was the open front and sides. It makes quick grabbing of necessary items that much quicker.
- Dresser (1) – Already owned – Malm by IKEA.
- Bookshelf (1) – Already owned – Avdala by IKEA.
- Glider and Ottoman (1) – This one I’ve linked to looks like an updated version of the one we have (and cuter fabric too). It was very difficult to pick one of these out online but I had no interest in shopping in stores. I didn’t want an expensive one, and I didn’t love how many of the others looked. Since this one was in our price range and had an ottoman, we got it. I’ve made it my own with taller pillows on either side so it’s easier to rest my arms, and a few blankets to give me a height boost, and now it’s a great place to sit.
- Lamp with dim lightbulb (1) – Already owned from IKEA – Instead of turning the overhead light on during nighttime changes, I use a lamp with a very dim bulb. It’s enough light to see what I’m doing but doesn’t disturb my sleepy babe.
Bedroom Furniture Accoutrements:
- Crib Mattress (1) – This one is a medium-priced one with good reviews.
- Fitted Sheets (6) – We have 6 fitted sheets. In the beginning we were changing sheets almost daily, so 6 was a great number to have.
- Fitted Waterproof Crib Mattress Cover (3) – We didn’t get this exact one, but I’d suggest having a few of these on hand. Changing the sheet usually means changing the mattress pad.
- Crib Quilt and Crib Skirt (1 each) – Not necessary but definitely cute. Note as the mattress moves down, the crib skirt becomes less and less necessary, so don’t spend a ton of money on it since it’ll go in the closet soon enough.
- Waterproof Pads for the changing table (2 sets of 3) – YES YES AND MORE YES. Get a few packs of these. Babies pee everywhere, and if you’re not in the habit of getting a diaper under that butt before you take off the old diaper, you’ll go through many of these quickly.
- Hamper (1) – We bought the one I’ve linked to, but after my daughter started walking she was eye-height to those pokey wood edges. I put this away and now use two Dollar-Store hand baskets. Those work just as well, but if you’re looking for a hamper I’d suggest one that doesn’t have things poking out from it.
- Garbage Can with lid (1) – Perfect for smelly things. We grabbed a cheap one (in white) at IKEA and use it with odor controlling garbage bag liners.
- Baby Gate (1) – We got one of these (used from another family) to put at the top of the stairs once my daughter started to crawl. I had looked at the extra tall ones, but this works out just perfectly.
- Fabric Storage Boxes (2 sets of 6, white) – So helpful to keep things separated and in easy-to-move containers.
Carrying Baby and Baby’s Things:
- Lightweight Stroller (1) – This stroller has worked out well, but if I ever get another I’d get a three-wheeler so it’s easier to maneuver.
- Stroller with Car Seat (1) – We use the Graco Fast Action Fold Click Connect system. This comes with a stroller, an infant carrier, and a car seat base. This worked out great, until my daughter grew out of the infant carrier at 18 months.
- Additional Car Seat Base (1) – This was helpful to have in our other car, but since it was rarely used, I wouldn’t suggest it unless you’re moving the carseat from car to car very frequently.
- Front Facing Car Seat (1) – We asked for and received a 3-in-1 carseat for when my daughter turned 2 (or became too big for her infant carrier). It turns out the latter came first, and we moved her into a forward facing seat at 18 months.
- I would suggest to new parents to get an all-in-one car seat that is rear AND front facing, like the Graco 4ever All In One Car Seat. I didn’t realize my daughter would grow out of the infant carrier before the AAP recommended 2 years to move her to a front facing seat.
- Pack ‘N Play (1) – The Graco one is cheaper than the original one we received (read my comparison), and it’s better.
- Pack ‘N Play Mattress (1) – The Dream On Me Safety 1st mattress is inexpensive and works perfectly.
- Pack ‘n Play Sheets (2) – It has been incredibly difficult to find sheets that fit well (always a bit too tight), so I’m not going to recommend any. Instead, I will wish you luck. If you find some that work well, please let me know.
- Bouncer Seat (2) – We received one as a hand-me-down and it worked so well for us we bought another at a mommy-go-round store so we could have one on each level of the house. We’ve used multiple types of these and the most important things were the vibration and the sound effects.
- Boba Wrap (1) – This was great when my baby was an infant. They say you can use it up to toddler age, but I never got comfortable enough with my wrapping abilities to carry a heavier child.
- Ergo360 plus Infant Insert (1 each) – This has been a wonderful carrier, and the infant insert was very helpful.
- Ergobaby Teething pad/bib (1) – Not necessary, but it is helpful.
- Diaper Bag (1) – The Matt and Nat diaper bag is vegan leather and looks fantastic. I’ve received so many compliments on it. However, it limits my ability to carry a ton of things in it because it’s not very flexible material.
We use cloth diapers 99% of the time, but use disposables when we travel.
- Organic Cloth Diapers, Newborn (30 total) – Unfortunately we started these too late and her butt was too big. But if you’re going to use cloth from the get go, the newborn size is more manageable for that brand new bottom than the size 1.
- Organic Cloth Diapers, Size 1 (4 packs of 6 – 24 total) – We use prefolds with covers, and these have worked well. I washed diapers every other day when she was in this size.
- Organic Cloth Diapers, Size 2 (4 packs of 6 – 24 total) – I have washed diapers every 2-3 days since she’s been in this size.
- Cloth Diaper Covers, Newborn (6+) – We didn’t actually use these, but I’m guessing you would probably need more than 6.
- Cloth Diaper Covers, Size 1 (6)
- Cloth Diaper Covers, Size 2 (8) – We have gone through more covers more frequently in this size, so we increased the inventory to 8.
- Newborn Diapers – We didn’t go straight to cloth because we had been gifted a number of these. We ended up using them all so I could become comfortable with changing a baby without worrying about laundry too.
- I suggest to have a pack of size 1 paper diapers on hand as well since those little butts grow quickly.
- Reusable Flannel Wipes (3 sets of 12) – I bought the ones I’ve linked to here, but ended up getting some wipes as hand-me-downs and then making my own out of nicer materials. So while these work, I’d suggest purchasing nicer ones or to just make your own.
- Wipe Juice (1) – We used this for a while and then stopped a few months in because it was very potent and didn’t seem to be doing much. Since then, we have just used water with the flannel wipes.
- Small bucket (1) – I keep the wipes in a small bucket next to the changing table. You could also use a deep plastic container.
- Butt Paste (1) – This is the only stuff that’s worked for us, but there are a lot of good things out there so see what works for you.
- Wet Bag (2) – A small one for the bedroom, a large one for the bathroom.
- Diaper Sprayer (1) – Attaches to your toilet to use with the diaper bucket.
- Spray-Pal (1) – This keeps the spray and poop and whatever else from flying all over. Get one.
- Plastic Garbage Can (1) – We have a small lidded garbage can we use with plastic garbage bag liners to house the soaked diapers (that I’ve sprayed) in between washes.
- Breast Pump (1) – I used the Aveda Purely Yours breastpump because it was free from my insurance. It worked great.
- Pumping Bra (2) – Totally necessary. Get a size bigger than you think you’ll need because milk boobs can get uncomfortable.
- Nursing Bra (2) – These were the only bras I wore for over a year.
- Twist Breastfeeding Starter Kit by Kiinde (bottles, etc.) (1) – While this system does work well, the bottle that came along didn’t work so well for my daughter. The nipples require the bottle be held a certain way, and she didn’t want to hold it that way. And, while the bags do attach right to the breast pump, they suggest not to reuse bags so if you only pump a teeny bit from one breast, you essentially waste an entire bag.
- I found the best thing to do here was to pump into the regular bottles that came with the pump and then combine that milk into one storage bag.
- Twist Pouches – Milk Storage Bags (2 packs of 40) – Stores the milk and then attaches right into the Twist bottles.
- Como Tomo Bottle (2+) – Once I realized the Kiinde bottle didn’t work for my daughter, I did some research on bottles that were more breastlike. I bought a few and looked at them in person but ended up going with the Como Tomo. She loves it.
- HPA Lanolin (1) – Yes.
- Nursing Pads (1 pack of 100) – Yes.
- Reusable Nursing Pads (2 sets of 2) – Once your breasts have calmed down a bit, I’d suggest switching to the washable pads.
- Frozen Portion Trays – (2)
- 3-in-1 Activity Seat (1) – This was the perfect seat for my daughter to use when she started solids but wasn’t big enough for the high chair yet.
- High Chair (1) – I chose this one for multiple reasons. First, it is (in theory) easy to wipe down and keep clean. Secondly, this transforms into a toddler chair as the child grows. In reality, there are a bunch of crevices under the colored cover that collect bits of food during every feeding. A good hose spray or sharp knife can get those bits out.
This is just a sampling of the clothing we had.
- Pajamas with Full Zippers (9) – These are helpful because they’re easy to remove at night.
- Shirts with Side Snaps (4) – Another product made for ease of removal.
- Shirts with Mitten Cuffs (9) – Most important feature – mitten cuffs.
- Socks (Newborn and 1-3mo) (12 pairs+ each) – Socks seem to be one of those universal gifts. I think we received more socks than anything. So, maybe don’t buy yourself any socks.
- Longsleeved Onesies (12+) – She went through these very quickly. And, even though she was born in summer, she needed the longsleeved ones for a while.
- Pants (Newborn and 1-3mo) (6+) – My daughter wasn’t in pants much, but they were good to have.
- Swaddlers (3 sets of 4) – From my personal experience, and everyone else’s experience, Aden and Anais swaddlers are the best. I have at least 12 on hand and they come in handy for numerous baby tasks (in addition to swaddling).
- Pre-swaddled Swaddlers – (2) Sometimes your child is Houdini reincarnated. These help keep their arms contained, at least a little while longer. These are also good in larger sizes for when your child is really good at getting out of the swaddle but you still need to swaddle them.
- Burp Cloths – (3 packs of 4) I used these to put on my arm under my daughter’s head while I fed her to keep her neck free from heat rash.
Things to Bathe/Groom Our Child
Because apparently the kitchen sink just isn’t good enough anymore.
- Baby Bathtub (1) – We received this as a hand-me-down and it worked great. The infant sling was very helpful, and we didn’t need anything fancier. We only used it for a few months before I started bathing with her in the tub.
- Faucet Cover with temperature gauge (1) – I thought this would be overkill, but it was very helpful to get a feel for the appropriate water temperature.
- Washing Soaps/Creams/Etc. (1 each) – I used a variety of baby soap items and they all worked fine. We’re currently using Honest Company’s Sweet Orange and Vanilla shampoo/body wash.
- Grooming Kit (1) – As a kit this is nice, but I have used 2 things from it. I’d suggest getting these things instead:
- Baby nail trimmer
- Nail files
- Soft brush (I used the one from the hospital until her hair was thick enough to use a comb)
- Humidifier (1) – This spouts cool mist – not warm/hot. And, get one without a filter. SO much easier.
- Monitor – Audio + Video (1) – At the beginning I had a hard time deciding between a monitor with audio only, or a monitor with both audio and video. Since having a monitor with video, I would never go to an audio online monitor. This allows me to keep tabs on her and learn her sleep patterns without constantly bursting into her room at every little noise. I can see if she’s just moving around or fully awake. I have a few issues with this one, but I haven’t found another that has the things I’m looking for so until then, this one works just fine.
- Temporal Artery Thermometer (1) – I have this and use it, but don’t love it. I take my temperature as a baseline first and it always tells me I’m in the 97s.
- Motrin Infant Drops (1) – I’d suggest keeping one on hand because by the time you need this, you REALLY need it.
- Pedialyte (2) – Same with this item. Keep a few on hand because it’s no fun having to run to the store when a baby is sick, especially if you’re by yourself.
That may be it. I might have missed something. But, this’ll keep you occupied until your next Target run.