*This page is under construction! There is a list below of 12 things we absolutely loved, but I’m in the process of making a more thorough baby registry guide. If you want to know when it’s out, sign up for my free mom life email course and you’ll hear about the registry as soon as it’s available! Sorry for the delay!
You’re glowing with excitement about a new baby, so naturally, you walk into Babies R Us, or hop on to Amazon, or Google “must haves for new baby,” because you’re going to channel all of your desires to be prepared into that darn baby registry. And the stores and websites tell you that YOUR BABY NEEDS ALL THE THINGS. It’s understandably overwhelming to do a baby registry, because it’s so hard to know what you’re really going to need or want. After having 3 babies in under 4 years, we quickly figured out what the must haves for new baby are and what you really don’t need.
The categories in this registry list are:
- Snuggle, Sleep & Clean
- Toys & Play
This list won’t be the universal must-have list for every parent because everyone has different preferences. Although we are not hard-core minimalists, this list is relatively minimal, compared to what’s out there.
But, I think if you were to put every single one of these things on your registry, you’d be pretty darn prepared for all the tears, sleepless nights, and bodily fluid coming your way. (And the joy! Because parenting is a beautiful mess and immense privilege.)
(Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. You can read what I do and don’t promote here.)
MUST HAVES FOR BABY: GEAR
1. A portable basket for baby to sleep in
We put it on the floor in our room at night, moved baby around as needed for naps, brought it outside for baby to sleep while toddler played, or put it up on a table during the day so toddler couldn’t attack
2. Carseat with base
We liked the Chicco Keyfit 30 because it’s the narrowest on the market and it’ll fit 3 across in the backseat when placed next to other narrow carseats. We originally registered for it as a “travel system” that included the stroller, but we didn’t end up loving the stroller that came with it.
My preference is to skip the travel system stroller and pick a different stroller that’s more flexible. I love my Phil & Ted’s. It’ll fit with any carseat and convert to a double stroller later on…. or a triple if you really squeeze them in there
3. We LOVE LOVE LOVE these velcro swaddlers
I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to swaddle a blanket tight enough to keep those little arms in, but both our girls loved being wrapped up in these the first few months. This one has a zipper for convenient diaper changes and this one has snaps instead of velcro.
True confessions – I didn’t buy a baby book for our second kid. Poor Emma. I thought I would keep track of all the milestones digitally instead, but, nope. Never happened. And suddenly she was 18 months old. Woops. I went back and made her baby book just in time for her second birthday, but it was missing a lot of the cute firsts and notes.
I used this one for baby #3. I suggest ordering one before baby comes and keeping it easily accessible that first year. Then, you’re way more likely to fill it in.
With an AC adapter because the batteries run out FAST. Both of our kids loved the swing, but I know some kids don’t… if you buy one new for $100+ make sure you keep the receipt in case your baby hates the swing. Or, borrow from a friend who has one in storage. Or buy one used on craigslist and then resell it when baby outgrows it, which is what we did both times so far.
6. Nursing tanks & bras
I have one in black, white, and grey & live in these for the first several months post baby because honestly, I just wanted all that tummy flab tucked in. This one from target comes in tons of colors and is on sale for $18. You’ll want some nursing bras too. I got 2 at Motherhood and 2 at Target, and the Target ones were more comfortable for me.
7. Diaper bag or mom tote of some sort
This blue backpack comes with a portable changing pad, is water proof, not too girly (meaning dad can carry too), comes in other colors, and is only $35. I had a backpack with the first, a purse with the second, and a combo with the 3rd.
I got this wallet/clutch/purse thing for Christmas after our 3rd baby was born, and it has been awesome!
I want to gift one to every mom I know. It holds my keys, phone, money, chapstick, etc. Everything I used to go digging for in my purse. If I’m just running with the kids into 1 store, I grab this and go. When we go to church, I toss it in a tote.
Then, I pull it out when I leave the tote with the nursery workers. I’ll spare you more details, but it’s super super convenient for all your mommy stuff in combination with whatever diaper bag you end up with.
Brand doesn’t matter. With the first, the boppy is nice for having a place to kinda rest baby while you get situated nursing – nursing can be awkward!
With the second and third, it helped me nurse semi-hands-free since I usually had a toddler hanging on me while feeding.
9. CJ’s Butter
An all purpose cream. I don’t usually care about going all natural or organic when it comes to lotion/ skin care, but I LOVE this stuff. A friend gifted me a sample size container with our first and it was awesome. It smells great, fixed every diaper rash & is cloth diaper safe. You can use it for other stuff too – dry or itchy skin from pregnancy stretching, eczema, cradle cap, cracked heals, whatever!
We had a changing pad on a dresser with our first, but just changed our second on the floor. I know that changing on the floor works for some people, but not me. Because when you combine an infant poop explosion with a curious and clumsy toddler nearby, well, let’s just say… it’s gross. The third time around, we’ll change baby on a dresser. [insert poop emoji]
11. Blankets (1-3 is my max)
I really liked the aden + anais swaddle blankets for my summer baby. Plus they come in tons of colors and patterns. With my winter baby, I used this heavier blanket around the house, and this carseat cover for when we were out and about.
12. Shampoo, lotion & paci
I don’t really care about brands for any of this stuff. Buy some that’s tear-free and infant-skin friendly. And your baby will be fine whether or not you use a paci, regardless of what those well-meaning nursing experts tell you. I’m very skepitcal of “nipple confusion,” because, well… one produces milk and one does not.
That list isn’t totally comprehensive… Eventually, you’ll probably want a bigger bed and whatnot. But those are my favorite newborn essentials. The things I made sure to have ready when we walked in the door from the hospital.
I mean, really, all you need is love. Oh and a carseat, diapers, wipes, a couple outfits and a blanket. Everything else is extra anyway.
DON’T FORGET TO BUDGET FOR IT ALL…
While all the tiny things are so fun to look at, it’s so important to budget for all the upcoming expenses!! Click here to read my how-to-budget-for-baby guide that includes a price list & free downloadable spreadsheet for you to calculate expenses in.
What’s on your newborn essentials list?
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