November 17, 2011

Baby Registry Musts!

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I have several friends expecting (or recently received) bundles of joy and they asked about ideas for their registries. I was so excited to put all the cool shiny objects on my registry, but I would have really appreciated someone telling me to focus my funds on the crucial things. Sure, registries are the place for both the 'nice to haves' and the 'must haves' but no one needs to end up with 6 strollers because each was slightly different then the other.

So here is my suggested list:

SUSAN diaper bag
from 1154 Lill

diaper bag  We initially bought a pretty big one (we designed our own SUSAN from 1154 Lill ... they have good deals out occasionally that we waited for). The side pockets were the perfect size for my nalgene bottle. However, now that we don't need to carry so many 'baby' things around (our guy is 1) we pretty much only use the free one we got from the hospital with formula samples. It's a one-shoulder black bag with side pockets that hold M's nalgene bottle and the camera perfectly. The diaper bag makes a pretty good carryon for me now, though.

breast pump  Medela Freestyle. It comes in its own relatively discrete bag (except for the dried milk droplets mine acquired, as one pal pointed out) and hands-free attachments (you can fondly refer to the whole getup as your 'robo-boobs'). If you go with this one, it mates well with the Gerber brand bottles (because you will need more than the 4 it comes with, and the Medela bottles are more expensive). Also you'll probably want breast milk freezer bags and our favorite were the Gerber brand as well.

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pacifiers we actually really only used the one they gave us in the hospital (a Soothie brand, which we bought a couple more of)... and we didn't think we even wanted to use one at all before he was here. He used it about 3 or 4 months and now occasionally finds it in the toy box, plays with it for a second and throws it back. But you'll probably want to have one or two handy when baby arrives.

swaddle blanket: I recommend your favorite pattern of the ones from aden & anais and you probably don't need to register for any other 'swaddle' or 'receiving' blankets, if you ask me.

miracle blanket this may be the exception to the swaddle blanket rule, but we only used it at night (though, thinking back on it, he may have been a better napper if we had used it during the day, too). It looks like a baby straight jacket, but it works like a charm (it was a gift to us from from a family member who also raved about it).
Halo sleepsacks  So for when baby outgrows the above (around 4 months) you'll still want him/her to be warm, but loose blankets are not allowed in the crib for a while. Our guy still sleeps in one at 15 months (in fact, any suggestions for transitioning to a blanket, now that its safe?)

Ergo Baby Carrier
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baby carrier  So far, the ergobaby (with infant insert). I wish this was the first carrier I'd bought because I LOVE it now. I actually can't speak to how well it does with the really wee ones, since we just recently got it, but it is so comfortable for the wearer (really). We tried a Moby wrap (ridiculously too hard to manage a 10-foot piece of fabric), an Infantino carrier (just awkward to put on, and only holds up to 25 lbs) and a sling (which actually was great for a while, good for naps on the go, since baby can lay down, but M has outgrown it, too)

travel changing pad - we liked this one from First Years which holds everything you need, and we keep it stocked with wipes and a couple disposable diapers (we carry them around, 'just in case' though we primarily use cloth diapers.Tthe wipes and pad are always handy!).

video monitor - any brand is probably fine (we have the Summer Infant), but being able to SEE baby is so helpful, especially when you go the 'cry it out' route, you'll need the reassurance that they are OK. Plus, we've learned, if he's crying and not standing up, he'll likely go back to sleep. Once standing, nap is officially OVER.

car seat (+Snap n Go stroller) - All new car seats on the market pass crash test requirements, so this is mostly about style and budget, in my opinion. If you have the funds, go as crazy as you want. You definitely want the kind where the carrier can snap out of a base (which means you'll have to upgrade to a stationary one at a certain age/height/weight - around a year or so, and then to a booster seat even later - like 3 or 4). We went with the Chicco because it came in orange (the color of our alma mater). Also we got the matching stroller, but I wish we hadn't. It is cheaper and equally as functional, in my opinion, to get a Snap n Go that the carrier can fit into. When baby has outgrown the carrier they are officially big enough for an umbrella stroller, so spend your extra money on a more stylish, souped up one of those.

First Years travel changing pad + wipes case
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boppy for nursing, and helping baby sit up, and for tummy time, etc. boppy link some people swear by the 'my breast friend' brand.

diapers (disposable and/or cloth) we didn't do cloth until our son was about 3 months old. I think it is one less thing to have to master in the first few weeks (not to mention that even one-size cloth diapers are too big for newborns, so you'll need a different size for the new one) so you'll probably want some size N and 1's at least. Pampers brand (we tried an off-brand and they were awful). I have to say that cloth diapers actually held in big messes better than disposables, so that is reason enough to use them, as many times as I was pooped on...

crib bedding  At least sheets, 2-3 of them, the bumper isn't necessary, but is usually the cutest part of the set, though you don't use it very long. Maybe a crib skirt? The other parts in a set (including pillows) are really suffocation hazards until after baby can roll over, and has good head control.

crib mattress  This and bedding is pretty standard size, so I don't think you have to pick a crib first, and surprisingly they don't usually come with the crib.

car seat mirror  so you can see him from the front seat, since he'll be rear facing for a while?

changing pad and covers  You know, those curved foam pads you'll keep on the changing table in the nursery? The covers are like sheets for those... you'll probably want 2-3 covers.

umbrella stroller  as I mentioned above, Umbrella strollers fold down really small, and you can use them without the carseat/carrier as soon as baby has good head control. Baby can't really sleep in one (a toddler may, if you get one that reclines enough... the one we have - doesn't... but it DOES have cupholdlers)

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clothing  Even if you don't know your baby's gender, you'll want some pjs for sure  and some onesies! At least a few in basic white. I'd put a few newborn sizes, 7 of them? You'll go through probably 3 per day, but also probably doing laundry once a day, and many 3-month sized ones, 10-15? I guess folks will give you some they picked out, too, so maybe just register for the basics and anything you absolutely fall in love with. definitely socks and hats.
high chair/shopping cart cover  if you fear germs, and I would for the tiny ones!

high chair booster seat  We have used this one from Fisher Price since his first food. I feel like its economical, and allows our son to sit at the table with us. It travels with us, too.
pack n play/play yard if you have a two-story house, this is nice to keep on the opposite floor as your real crib, for naps. And, of course, this is great for traveling to Grandma's or even just over at a friend's house while you watch a football game. here's one from Chicco, that may match your carseat :)

night lights  put them in the nursery, and the bathroom and the hall... for middle of the night navigation. (ones with autosensors)

bottles and nipples  Whatever bottles you chose, have the next flow-size up on hand. I never even thought of this until we got to this stage, but once babies get good at feeding, they don't want to wait on it. Bottles usually come with slow flow nipples on them. There's also medium and fast flow, and then you go to sippy cups. We bought the Gerber nipples to go with our Gerber bottles (see above). They aren't fancy, but you need a lot of them, and these are inexpensive, work great, and work with our breast pump directly.

bottle brush  for getting those nooks and crannies clean

baby bath tub  worth the backache for an inexpensive tub, for countertop baths

baby wash and lotion We have enjoyed Aveeno and Burts Bees

diaper ointment  we like the A&D ointment - not cream its more like vaseline than a lotion/cream, and is medicated. for cloth diapering we love CJ's BUTTer.

baby wash cloths and towels it's nice to have baby-sized versions of these, and the towels usually have a little pocket for junior's head. its cute, and useful :)

nursing cover  Can use to cover up when pumping, too, if you choose. I used one from Bebe Au Lait.

Also add on any favorite books from your childhood. You can start reading to him/her now if you want (like, 'Guess How Much I Love You)! And textured links are the best $3 one will spend (you can attach any toy to the diaper bag, stroller, carrier, or make great toys themselves). Any keepsakes you especially want?

Maybe also a baby book? For recording milestones? We loved this baby tracker for minding our pees, poops and sleeps for the first couple of months home (it was a great gift).
You could think ahead, too, and put some sippy cups and toddler spoons/forks/plates on your registry. Our favorite first sippies are the Born Free, without the 'spill proof' parts in them (we just take them out, which is a shame since that is probably what makes them pricey... but all the other ones leak or are in some other way impractical). But after that, the Take n Toss are most practical, and what they use at daycare.

Have I left off anything essential, Mommas?


  1. We love the Born Free Bottles for the reflux baby! And they convert to sippy cups. :)

  2. I love the Ergo Carrier... we got it right way and used the infant insert when Kate was only a week old she loved it (she still loves it at 14 mo). We called it the baby nap machine b/c she would sleep when we put her in it as a baby. It is really comfortable for you and baby. only down side is that they cannot face out when they get older but no big enough for the back.