Monday, March 24, 2014

What Should You Register For (That You'll Actually Need)

Back when I was pregnant...two years ago...I had almost no knowledge of baby gear. Some people say that, but it my case it was the truth. So, I borrowed a book (Baby Bargains, loved it), scoured the internet for reviews and, mostly, relied on friend's recommendations. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most thoroughly researched purchases, I hit an 11 on most items. I over did it a tad.

Yet, even with all that prep, I still made a couple bad picks. But, more than bad picks, I got things that I didn't end up needing. My daughter is well into toddlerhood and I still have unused baby shower gifts. I know, shameful. I should have returned or regifted or donated by now.

Between looking at those medicine dosage kits that are still in the original packaging and a recent slew of newly pregnant friends who have asked me for advice (full circle moment), I was inspired to write a sample registry. My sample registry includes the necessities, not the luxuries and not the fun stuff like clothes, books and toys (though I'll address that at some point). Because just the necessities are plentiful, this will be a two part post with today's part handling the Furniture, Sleeping, Gear and Diapering needs. Part Two will include Feeding, Bathing, Health & Safety needs.


  • Crib - I've previously written posts about choosing the right crib for your needs (here) and about the crib that I chose (here).
  • Crib Mattress - Considerations here are the materials that it's made of and how much it weighs. By total and awesome accident, I got a lightweight mattress. Changing the sheets, whether at 3 am or 3 pm, is a piece of cake.
  • Changing Table or Dresser - You don't need a piece of furniture that is specifically called or designed to be a changing table. You do need a piece of furniture that can store the babies clothes, diapers, ointments, sheets, towels, blankets, etc., and possibly be a surface for diaper changing.
  • Changing Pad - You can change your baby's diaper anywhere: on your bed, on the couch, on the floor, on your dog...wherever. Nowadays, I almost exclusively change my daughter's diaper on the floor because she's too big and wiggly to do it at any elevation. But, in the beginning, we used a changing pad on a dresser. Changing a diaper at dresser height is so much easier on the back than other options. If you plan to use a dresser or changing table, you'll want a changing pad to cushion the baby on the flat surface and because changing pads are curved to help prevent the little guy from rolling off. 
  • Changing Pad Cover (2+)

TIP: Bassinets and co-sleepers are not necessities in my opinion. You can set up a crib in your bedroom, you can use the bassinet that comes with your stroller (if your stroller comes with one) or you can use a portable crib (which I do think is a necessity).

The Bugaboo Donkey comes with a bassinet that's perfect for strolling and perfect for bedside sleeping.
(image source)


  • Mattress Pad - You don't need a fancy one, but an extra absorbent layer is a good idea. The mattress will be waterproof, which is great, but it is the multiple layers of absorbing fabrics will help prevent the baby from actually sleeping in a puddle of her pee or spit up.
  • Crib Sheets (2+)
  • Portable Crib Sheets (2)
  • Wearable Blanket/Swaddle Blanket (2+) - Some like to swaddle, some don't. Some like to be swaddled, some don't. Whatever yours and your baby's preference, you'll probably need to give the baby layer of warmth while she's sleeping. I say probably (and not definitely) because it'll depend on the weather in your part of the world and because I have friends who just layered their little ones with more or less clothes and never used a blanket. 

TIP: White noise machines are great, for some babies. If you think you want to use one, borrow before buying to make sure that it'll be worth the money.

Cloud b makes this plush sheep sound machine as well as a giraffe, monkey, sea turtle and a bunch of others.
(image source)


  • Car Seat - Assuming you have a car, you'll need a car seat. It's the law. Most kids will be in a car seat until 4 years old and then in a booster seat until 8 years old.
  • Car Seat Stroller Adaptor - This is a bar that allows you to attach your car seat to your stroller. Technically this isn't a necessity because you can just remove your baby from the car seat and put him/her into the stroller. But, 9 times out of 10 your baby will fall asleep in the car seat and 9 times out of 10 when you make this transition you will wake up your sleeping baby (*statistics are based on personal experience and not scientific research). The adaptor lets the baby stay put, and sleeping, in the car seat while you get on your way with the stroller.
  • Stroller - Whether you live in the city or the country, the north or the south, the mountains or the ocean, you probably want a stroller. For some, it'll be your primary means of traveling with the baby. For others, you'll stroll for leisure or weekend trips. Either way, it's a great parenting tool. If you are one of the parents who will be using it day in and out for everything from grocery shopping to daycare drop offs, you will probably want to spring for a pricier model that has some bells and whistles. If you will use it once or twice a week or mostly in the summer, then a modest model will be fine.
  • Rain Canopy for Stroller - This is only a necessity for those city dwellers and individuals who plan to stroll on a daily basis. But, even if you think you'll use the canopy sparingly, it's a pretty cheap buy (as low as $9). If you end up using it just once, it'll be the best $9 you ever spent. Check before registering because many strollers come with this accessory.
  • Carrier - I think it is a necessity, but I might lose a debate on the topic. Whether to hike or shop in stroller-unfriendly places or be hands free around the house while enjoying some snuggle time, carriers are great. There are many different kinds of carriers with many different prices points, so think about your needs before automatically registering for the Baby Bjorn. 
  • Portable Crib - If you plan to travel with your baby overnight, you'll need one of these. Again, you can use the bassinet that comes with your stroller (if you stroller comes with one), but that'll only be good for a few months. 

TIP: Certain strollers are more (and less) compatible with certain car seats. For example, the Graco Snugride and the Baby Jogger City Mini don't work well together. Do your research for these items in tandem.

This is the Graco Snugride in Pasadena (Pasadena refers to the the fabric pattern). If you're shopping on Amazon always check the cost of each fabric pattern, some are inevitably less expensive than others.
(image source)


  • Diapers - People are shy to register for diapers. Why? Whether you're going the reusable route, the semi-resuable route (i.e. gDiapers) or the disposable route, you will need diapers. Actually, I take that back. I recently heard of a potty training method that begins at birth, it's called Infant Potting Training or Elimination Communication. 
  • Wipes - These might be wash clothes or pre-moistened packaged wipes. Either way, you'll need a bunch.
  • Ointments - This include Aquaphor, A+D, Balmex, Desitin, Butt Paste and a host of others. You don't need all of them because you don't know which will work best for your baby. Start with one or two options.
  • Diaper Pail - Any old trash can will do, but a diaper pail is designed to be odor blocking and, sometimes, it actually is. If you go with a diaper pail (i.e. Diaper Genie or Diaper Dekor), make sure to stock up on the special bags/liners that fit in them.

TIP: Not all disposable diapers are the same. I was very surprised to learn that disposable diapers "work" very differently brand to brand. Talk to friends about their preferred brands before buying any economy sized box.

These are gDiapers. If you're thinking of reusables, but a little intimidated, check these out. They are a hybrid.
(image source)

That's all for today. I'll finish this up later in the week. Happy registering!

What other products do you consider 100%, absolutely necessary? Your credibility is shot if you say Sophie the Giraffe...even though I kinda agree. 

1 comment:

Mary O. Hakes said...

There are many information about baby product. It helps a mother to buy baby gear. Thanks for your post.