baby registry: what to put on the list.

Friends, I have produced six human people in my body.  I have had the privilege of raising five of them so far.  I have seen some stuff.  I have seen some absolutely pyrotechnic barf.  I have fished someone else's poop out of a bathtub drain by hand.  I have lived many lives worth of seeing some stuff.  And if I've learned nothing else, I've learned this:  BABY REGISTRY CHECKLISTS DO NOT VALUE YOUR BEST INTERESTS AS A PERSON.  They are trying to squeeze as many pennies from you and your loved ones as they can.  So let me set the record straight and walk you through the things I think you should register for, and the stuff I think you should skip.

Here are some things of the big things you really should have on your registry.  These are just the highlights I feel are worth mentioning, so this is not an exhaustive list.:

Car seat.  Crib. Mattress. Changing table/pad.  Etc. etc. etc.  You know, the basic 'keeping a person alive' stuff.

Baby carrier.  Even if "baby wearing" as a lifestyle isn't your jam.  There will come a day when you need two hands to do something necessary, and New Baby will be voicing their shrill opinions on being set down for two seconds. Enter: baby carrier.  You both will love it.  Do NOT get anything that puts all their weight on one shoulder.  Do NOT get anything that has tons of fabric you have to origami around yourself just to use it.  Ain't nobody got time for that. Get something that distributes the baby's heft evenly across your shoulders and your back, and can accommodate larger children so you can use it longer.  My personal recommendation is the Ergo, WITH the infant insert.

Stroller. Just a normal fold-up one that accommodates a carseat and fits in the back of your van when not in use.  Just ONE.  Not a jogging stroller - unless you're an actual jogger, and not just a person with good intentions of one day becoming a jogger.  You will not suddenly become more athletically ambitious once you have a stroller-aged baby.  Let's be realistic. 

Pack and play.  NOT a Moses basket and a bassinet and a pack and play.  Pick one.  ONE.  Of the three, I vote for the pack and play (with a bassinet insert) because it's portable, small to store, and accommodates kiddos up through toddler age.  Don't forget to throw some sheets and waterproof pads for this on the registry, too.

Glider rocker and ottoman.  I am on my sixth pregnancy and still dream of the perfect glider.  I don't care if it's ugly.  I don't care if I will never want to put it in my living room as regular furniture after I'm done nursing babies.  So. Many. Hours. are logged nursing that this is really necessary.

Nursing pillow.  I was at a garage sale with a friend when I was pregnant with Atticus, and she found a Boppy pillow for five bucks and was like, "OH! You NEED this!"  And I was like, "Great! I'll take it!  What is it?"  It's basically like a pillow-shelf to put your baby on while you nurse so that you don't get Hunchback.  Register for a cover, too, since it will definitely get covered in baby barf and you'll need a quick way to erase all evidence of the carnage that just came out of your baby's stomach.

Burp cloths (like a million).  Hooded towels and baby washcloths, if you're into that.  (Although normal-people towels and washcloths work just fine, too.)  Crib sheets and waterproof pads.  You know, baby linens.  You may be tempted to lump in receiving blankets or crib quilts with this set, but don't bother registering for those.  You will get so many unsolicited blankets that don't match anything else you've registered for.  You will have blankets coming out your ears.  Don't enable people by putting more on your list.

Muslin swaddling blankets.  Yeah, the really spendy ones.  They're that much better.  You need these.

One of those swaddly-wraps.  I like the SwaddleMe brand because the straightjacket arms are wide enough to keep those flailers in place, and the Velcro is seriously heavy duty.  I've heard Halo brand is good, too.  DO NOT GO WITH AN OFF-BRAND.  I made this mistake and they're absolute garbage.  And you might think you can get away with just the swaddle blankets OR the swaddle wraps, but this is false.  Babies have very specific opinions on how they like to be swaddled.  And they usually voice them in the middle of the night.  Don't be caught underprepared.

High chair.  The kind that straps to a chair you already own, not one that takes up its own valuable floor real estate.

Bottles of your choice.  Bottle brush.  Breastmilk bags.

Baby gates.  Baby monitor.  Outlet plugs so Baby doesn't end up crispy fried.  Cabinet locks are your choice - I'm more of the camp that would rather just train them to not dig through my cupboards than have to remember to 'unlock' my pans every time I need one.  But I also am of the camp that doesn't want to walk in and find my kitchen items strewn around, so I have gone both ways in the various houses we've lived in. 

Thermometer.  Tylenol, or whatever homeopathic incense your personal healer suggests.  Nail clippers.  (The kind with the bulby end.  Don't settle for anything other than the kind with the bulbous handle.)

Baby holding cells.  I mean... A swing.  An exersaucer OR a jumper-thing.  A bouncy seat.  I regularly use all three of these things with my kids, so this is a case where I think having 'more' can be justified.  Consider the footprint of each of these - they're all massive, so the smaller you can find, the better.  Also, one of those activity mat things - and make sure it's the kind that folds up and stores flat under the couch.

Clothing: The thing I will say about clothing is that people will pick whatever the heck cutesy outfits they feel like picking.  They will not care one iota about the specific jeans-and-sweater set you picked out.  They will get whatever catches their own fancy.  (Plus, seasons change so quickly that usually your registry picks aren't still available by the time someone's buying stuff for your shower anyway.)  So skip registering for too many actual 'outfit'-type outfits: jeans, dresses, sweaters, etc.  If it has suspenders or a bow tie, it fits under this category.  Save the registry for necessary clothing, and trust that people will fill in the gaps on their own - people love buying baby outfits.

Okay, so what is necessary?
  • At least two packs of white or patterned onesies in each of the following sizes: 0-3 months, 3-6 months, and 6-9 months.
  • Tiny pants in the same sizes.
  • Sleep suits or whatever they're called - those long sleeve, long pants onesie things.  The kind that ZIP from the foot to the neck, NOT the kind that button.  If there's one thing a new baby doesn't tolerate, it's you trying to snap twenty individual buttons while begging the baby to hold still.
  • Those blanket-bag jammies that zip over their normal clothes to keep them warm once they're done being swaddled.  Just like two of these to alternate between.
  • Heavy duty elasticized socks.  The kind that will stay glued to their tiny feet.

Pampers Swaddlers diapers in NB and size 1.  Normally, I'd say to just let something like this go to chance and not bother specifying it on your registry - diapers are diapers, right?  WRONG.  These diapers are so incredibly wonderful - snuggly, soft, good-smelling, with this weird net thing that keeps their booties a little drier, and as decent at stopping leaks as you can reasonably expect from a diaper on a baby that shoots out pure liquid poop 10-12 times a day.

And that is a basic rundown of the things I think you should include on your registry.  Tomorrow, I'll tell you about the stuff that I think you could probably stand to skip.  See you tomorrow!


Danielle Tiarks said...

This is gold. In my limited experience, you are spot on! Thankfully, I was pretty dang close to your list! I was SO minimalistic on our list that I barely had anything, but I was also unwilling to let someone pay top dollar for an exersaucer that was $100+ when I could get one used for $40.

The one thing I got completely wrong? The jogging stroller. I bought one (thinking I would start running after baby was born. HA.) and have huge regrets. I should have found a smaller stroller... Oh well. Learn and move on. I'm in the market for a small umbrella stroller now. But what are your thoughts on those stand/sit strollers? Friends have had them and they look amazing. One kiddo sits strapped in up front while the bigger kid can either stand or sit on a small seat because heaven knows they're wanting to get on and off the stroller constantly. They look awesome, but are they worth the hype?

todd said...

those little pacifier straps are invaluable as well. nothing is worse than waking up to soothe a baby who would have soothed themselves if they could have only found their nuk.

todd said...

and by the by, this week's posts should be made into a book for first time moms. for reals. so good. so well written. I never cease to be impressed by your ability to put wisdom and wit into words.

the jersk. said...

that's why i loved the wubbanubs! we got ruby like seven over all. so handy for her to reach herself and much easier to find in a car seat.

ohcitycity said...


I sat down to read this post with a notebook and pen, no joke. I took notes because THIS is what I have been needing in my life. There is so much information out there that it's easy to get overwhelmed, especially for a new mom with no experience.

paige said...

Yes! The pacifier straps! Worth their weight in gold!!

Ashley Hinton said...

Lol Danielle. I made the same mistake with the stroller with Chanel and am trying to sell it to recover some of the money I spent on a double wide that suits us MUCH better.

todd said...

you are following and taking notes from the right lady.

Madeline Marshall said...

The more kids you have, the more the stroller is for the older ones. I don't think my twins (number 3 and 4) have ever ridden in a stroller... I do babywear a lot, though. If you're minimalist or live in a tiny space, the high chair, changing table, and exersaucer/swing/bouncer are definitely optional. I don't like to have to cart big gear or go to a different room to change a diaper. Admittedly, though, I've never had a baby shower, so didn't have to deal with the whole registry thing.

paige said...

Dani, I don't have any experience with the sit and stands, so my opinion is only based on speculation. Our own personal experience has been that, with so many kids so close in age, the two in the stroller are always pretty young, so our bigger kids always walk (or cram themselves in the underneath basket- we did this once on a walk when Penelope got whiny!). I like that both riders can see what's ahead for, say, trips to the zoo or something. But other than that, if you've got a decent age gap between them, I don't know that it would be more or less preferable!