The Baby Registry: What You Actually Need

Let me tell you about a very real stress for so many first-time moms. THE REGISTRY.


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Let me tell you about a very real stress for so many first-time moms. THE REGISTRY. I remember when I got pregnant, girlfriends sent me their “MUST-HAVE-LISTS” for the registry, which included everything from the type of bib, to the best clothes, and the preferred seats, bouncers, jumpers, creams, socks, shoes, sunscreen (but it’s February!), swim diapers (but they’re newborns!) and the list goes on. While there are a million things you could get, it’s most helpful to begin by getting into the mindset of what you’ll actually need (don’t worry - the wants can come later!). 

I’m here to tell you that you don’t need much. Let’s get into the right registry mindset by answering some questions:

  • Where is the baby sleeping?

    • Make sure you have a bassinet lined up - plan on having it in your room. Speaking of, you’ll want to have some items that help create a strong sleep environment for your child. This includes a white noise machine and blackout shades (or black trash bags!). 

  • Where am I changing the baby’s diapers?

    • A changing mat is a must, but a towel does work in a pinch.

  • Speaking of, do I have what I need to actually change a baby’s diaper?

    • Diapers and wipes are a must. The hospital gives you a few, but purchase size 0 and size 1 to begin. It’s not a bad idea to add in some diaper cream.

  • What is your baby wearing?

    • You’ll want some clothes, but don’t make them too cute or too pricey, because they will get ruined by poop, spit-up, milk, or all of the above. Highly recommend a killer stain remover too. You’ll need that.

    • Prepare for whatever climate you’re in. Do you need a heavier jacket or one-piece for walks outside? That’s a must. Fresh air feeds the soul, especially the postpartum soul.

    • Don’t forget swaddles. The cozyness of a swaddle mimics the womb and can help your baby to manage their primitive reflexes and neurological system at birth.

  • Where can you safely put the baby down?

    • Choose one item that you want to purchase that gives you a hands-free moment. A simple baby lounger will do. Try to avoid electronic equipment or anything with extra bells and whistles.

    • Highly recommend settling on a great stroller that fits your lifestyle (i.e. on a NYC sidewalk, in and out of a car, frequent jetsetter or all of the above). This is often a personal choice.

  • Will I ever leave my house again? And how will I do this with my baby?

    • Listen, this may or may not be your thing, but being prepared to give yourself a hands-free moment can feel empowering. There’s a ton of carriers out there - some with structure, some with less. All cozy. All give you your hands back. At least for a minute.

    • A car seat is a MUST. You need one to leave the hospital. There are some great car seat / stroller systems. Again, fairly personal depending on where you live.

  • Do you have a place to wash your baby?

    • Baths don’t need to happen frequently, but you’ll want to do them when you can (and possibly more, if you have a water baby). Nothing fancy here - any tub that can hold them (or check the dimensions of your kitchen sink!).

  • How will you soothe your baby?

    • Remember, in the early days, babies used crying as a form of communication. To help soothe them, have some pacifiers on hand. Sucking is one of the most powerful soothers we have, and research shows that even exclusively breastfeeding babies can use pacifiers once their latch is well established.

  • How are you feeding your baby?

    • Regardless of how you plan on feeding your baby, there are items you’ll want. If you’re breastfeeding, a breastfeeding pillow might provide helpful support. You may also want to find out if your insurance covers a breast pump before you deliver. Having one on hand can help if you need it quickly in the early days. If you're formula feeding, you’ll want formula on hand (get extra), plus bottles with appropriate nipple sizes. If you’re combo feeding, make sure you’re prepared for multiple options. Regardless, a bottle brush and soap is a must.

  • Have you forgotten about yourself? If you have, welcome to Motherhood and let’s reframe this experience by remembering to take care of ourselves.

    • Do you have what you need for your recovery? Loose pajamas, robes and some nursing bras? Ice packs, disposable underwear (one of our personal favorites), and a cooling eye patch?

    • Have you joined a Coop Group? We are your village, and we are here for you. Parenting can be lonely, but it doesn’t have to be. Start your journey off with other parents who are right where you are, and an expert who speaks your baby’s language.

For more specific product recommendations (plus things that are NOT developmentally appropriate), stay tuned for Part 2!