I'm not kidding when I say that for me, one of the hardest parts of expecting a baby was figuring out what to register for. It was a whole new territory for me and there were SO many things to choose from. It was overwhelming, to say the least. Also, I'm not a researcher. At all. I just wanted someone to tell me exactly what I needed. (In fact, I assigned this "task" to one of my accountants and she made a List of Things to Register For for me. Thanks again, Allyson!) Several of you even gave great recommendations after I practically begged for help! So, in case any of you readers out there are like me and totally clueless about what to register for, I'm here to help! But first, here's what you need to know about me: I consider myself a very laid back mom. I don't need the very top of the line products. I don't need food that will make my baby poop out gold or things that will have her passing a calculus class by the time she's 4. The baby items I buy need to 1) be easy (easy to buy and easy to use) and 2) work for my baby (keep her safe, keep her healthy, keep her happy).
Disclaimer: Yes, I know that every baby is different. So is every mom. These are all my own opinions for what works with our laid back lifestyle and my relatively easy baby. At the time of writing this, she's only 4 months old so these are all items needed during the infant stage. I'll have to do another one later on for older baby stuff. Every product on this list is something we own, unless stated otherwise, and almost every product can be found at Target or Babies R Us. All pictures are from Google Images.
Baby's Gotta Eat
1. Medela Pump In Style On-The-Go Tote - I did not nurse or pump for very long, but when I was pumping, this was the pump I used. It was awesome. Super easy to use, not hard to learn at all. And the on-the-go tote made getting out of the house easy. It plugs into the wall, or you can get a car adapter or use batteries. It also has a pocket where you can store bottles, bags, and other accessories so that it's all there together when you're out and about. Kinda pricey, but worth it if you plan on pumping.
2. Simple Wishes Hands Free Breast Pump Bustier - This goes along with #1. If you're gonna pump, you're gonna want one of these. Obviously, it frees up your hands while pumping. You will look and feel ridiculous, but it's awesome to be able to be productive while pumping!
3. Burp Cloths - This is a no brainer. The ones pictured are 3 Marthas. I got several of this brand as gifts and they're really cute and durable. Not sure where they can be purchased though, probably at boutiques and gift shops. Of course, any brand will do, just be sure to have lots of these on hand!
4. Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Feeding Bib - I had no idea I'd need bibs so early; I thought they were for older babies that have started eating food. Nope - even infants need a bib. They dribble milk from their bottle everywhere! There is nothing cute at all about the Closer to Nature Feeding Bib (found at Target) but it's pretty awesome because it fits a small neck and it has an "absorbent dribble catcher." Obviously any bib will do, but I was pretty pleased with the two of these that we have.
5. Medela Feeding Set - I bought one of these feeding sets when I was pumping. It came with storage tubes and bags for breastmilk, as well as three 5 ounce bottles. Katie had no problems with the bottles and I loved how small they were when packing the diaper bag, so we stuck with these for the first 3.5 months.
6. Enfamil Gentlease Single Use Packs - These were so handy when we were on the go! It's very much like using a Crystal Lite packet or something like that...pack the bottles with water already in them, then just open a 4 ounce pack, pour it in, and shake it up! And they take up hardly any room in the diaper bag. Unfortunately for us right now, they're harder to use since Katie's taking 5 ounce bottles. I think once she's at 6 ounces we could use them again and do one and half packs per bottle. In the mean time, we use this Philips Formula Dispenser.
7. Avent Bottles - Now that Katie is eating a little bit more, we have moved up to these 9 ounce Avent bottles. They are good, plain and simple bottles. And they come in pink! We've moved up to a faster flow nipple too and she's had zero problems with these bottles.
1. Munchkin Steam Guard Microwave Sterilizer - I love this sterilizer! Seriously, it makes sterilizing bottles, pacis, and everything else SO easy. You just wash your bottles, load them into the sterilizer, add a little water, and pop it in the microwave. They come out nice and steamy and clean!
2. Boon Grass Countertop Dryer - I've come to terms with the fact that my counters will always have bottles drying on them. But at least with this Grass Dryer, they can do it in style! The one I have pictured above is actually the Lawn. Had I known about it, I would've bought it instead since it's bigger. We just have the square grass. This is nice because it holds anything, regardless of the size; you just stick it down in the blades of grass.
3. Munchkin Precision Bottle Warmer - I'm not sure that warming a bottle could be any easier when you have one of these. For a while, we were holding the bottle under a stream of hot water, and that took forever! With this, you just pop the bottle in it and press start. 2 minutes later your bottle is ready to go!
4. Bottle Brush - Necessary for washing bottles. We use the Munchkin Bottle & Nipple Brush but I'm sure there are lots of good ones.
5. Boon STEM Countertop Drying Rack Accessory - Since we have the Grass and not the larger Lawn, we bought one of these flower accessories. It stands up in the grass and is great for piling on the bottle tops and nipples to make more room.
Clean Up, Clean Up
1. Wash Rags - No link necessary here. Just get some soft wash rags, kay? Baby needs to be scrubbed! (I mean, not really. Baby needs to be gently wiped and patted down.)
2. Hooded Towels - For now, we use the thin, soft towels from Target because they seem better for her delicate skin. We'll switch to the thicker terry cloth ones when she gets a little older.
3. Blooming Bath - I've said it before and I'll say it again, I LOVE our Blooming Bath! Not only is it uber cute, but it's also really soft and comfy for Katie's sink baths. There are some downsides compared to more traditional style baby bathtubs...it's not free-standing and it takes much longer to dry. But there are pros too - it's not cold, hard plastic for her to lay on and it's really easy to travel with since you can squish it into a suitcase.
Mama Needs To Sleep
1. Nap Nanny - These have been recalled and are now out of business, and what a shame! We would not have survived the first few months with a newborn without our Nap Nanny. If I were you, I would search high and low and find one of these! Used properly, I think they are 100% safe for a baby. And they are incredibly lightweight and easy to move from room to room.
2. Miracle Blanket - I know there are tons of different swaddle blankets out there, but this one came heavily recommended by several friends so it's the one we went with. It really is a miracle worker! I credit this blanket with our baby sleeping through the night as well as she does. In fact, we only had one and I started having nightmares about it getting pooped on and being in the laundry when nighttime came, so I frantically ordered another one so we'd never be without. The one time that actually happened was the day Miracle Blanket #2 arrived in the mail. Close call!
3. Graco Imonitor - We opted against a video monitor, and have been pleased with this Graco one so far. It has two parent units and all three parts are rechargeable so they don't have to be plugged in all the time.
1. Playtex Diaper Genie - I hesitated adding this to the list because while I do think you need something throw dirty diapers in, I'm not 100% sure that this is the best candidate for the job. It's what we have and while I will say it's really easy to use and not horribly ugly sitting in the nursery, it doesn't really do a great job of masking the dirty diaper smell. Maybe something like this Munchkin Diaper Pail with Arm and Hammer bags would be better?
2. The First Years Sounds For Silence Premium Sound Machine - This is the one we have and it's fine. I'm sure there are tons that are just as good. I think a good white noise works wonders for keeping a baby asleep.
3. Changing Pad Cover - If you have a changing table in your nursery, you'll obviously want to put a changing pad on it. I bought this 3-pack of changing pad covers and am really glad I did. I have not had to strip off my pink pad cover at all, but I have thrown that smaller white pad in the wash several times. The 3-pack is good so I can put another one on it while the dirty one is getting cleaned.
1. Fisher Price Jumperoo - We received this as a gift before Katie was born but just got it out of the box about 2 weeks ago. So far, Katie seems to love it! And we definitely love having a place to sit her down to play while we get things done around the house. She is still a little small for it so I think we'll have a good amount of time to use this toy.
2. Comfort & Harmony Cradling Bouncer - This bouncy seat came in very handy during the first few months, and we still use it some now. It plays music and vibrates so Katie is usually content to sit in it if I need to get something done. She usually falls asleep too and will take a short nap in it.
3. Books - Every baby needs some good books! One of Katie's current favorites is Fuzzy Bee and Friends, I'm sure because it's crinkly and noisy.
4. Bumbo - This is another recalled item that I think, when used properly, is fine for a baby. We let Katie sit in this while we eat meals or cook in the kitchen. She likes to feel like she's in the middle of everything. We also have the tray but haven't used it yet; I'll have to give my review of it later.
5. Infantino Twist and Fold Activity Gym - This play mat is great for tummy time. And playtime on her back too. Katie loves looking in the mirror and playing with all the hanging animals. I love that it's collapsible and easy to take with us to other places. I also love that the mat can be thrown in the washing machine when it's covered in spit up.
On The Go!
1. Baby Trend Expedition ELX Travel System - I love our travel system! We registered for the whole set - car seat, base, and stroller. The car seat is pretty light weight, as far as car seats go. It has the triangle handle so it's pretty easy to carry, even for a weakling like me. I'm not sure there's much to say about the base except that we've bought 4 of them. I have one, Doc has one, my mom has one, and now the babysitter has one so Katie can ride in lots of different cars! I love the stroller. I really wanted one with all-terrain wheels instead of those small plastic ones. It navigates really well and has cup holders and speakers for any MP3 player. Right now her carseat snaps into it but when she's bigger, she can ride in it without her car seat. The only thing that I don't love, love about it is that even after it's collapsed, it's still kinda bulky to get in the car. It won't fit in Doc's trunk at all. I have no idea how it compares to others though, so that may be pretty standard for strollers. Very pleased with this travel system.
2. Arm and Hammer Bags - These are great to throw in the diaper bag for diaper changes on the go. And they're scented too! You can get a holder for them, but I broke the one I had so now I just have the roll of bags. Works just as well.
3. Brica Baby In Sight Mirror - This is a must-have for in the car. It helps put your mind at ease when you can just look in the rear view mirror and see her in her mirror. Plus, it makes finding her mouth for the pacifier while at a red light much easier.
4. The Mommy Hook - This isn't a necessity, but is nice to have. It's a hook for the arm of your stroller so that you can hang your purse or shopping bags while out with the baby. Comes in handy.
5. Diaper Bag - The number one thing you can't leave the house without when you have a baby is a diaper bag. I have this Petunia Pickle Bottom Touring Tote, but it's probably not the best one out there, especially for new moms. I say that because it doesn't hold a whole, whole lot and I'm sure most new moms tend to overpack (like how I'm not including myself here?! I tend to underpack - oops!). Find one that works great for you. Or actually, find more than one so that you can have one dedicated just daycare.
Keep 'Em Healthy
1. Baby Tylenol - We've been blessed to have a healthy baby, so we haven't need much medicine. This is good to have in our medicine cabinet just in case, though. We've only had to use it for the first set of shots, so far. Hopefully it won't have to come out often!
2. Thermometer - Important to have, as your supposed to take a new baby's temperature often. I can't say that I do it all that much, but I have a few times. We have several different thermometers that all seem to work fine. I'm pretty sure they're all from Target - not the cheapest ones but nothing fancy either.
3. Butt Paste - Katie has only had two, maybe three, bouts of diaper rash and every time, a swipe of butt paste clears it right up. It's gone within a day.
4. 0.5% Hydrocortisone Cream - I took Katie to the doctor when I was sure she was having an allergic reaction to something and had a rash all over her face. Turns out it was just cradle cap. The doctor recommended hydrocortisone cream. I was amazed at how fast it disappeared! Anytime I see bumps ("baby acne") pop up, I put a teeny dab of this on and it's gone. I prefer the cream over the ointment because it's less greasy.
5. Nose Bulb Syringe - Take the one they give you at the hospital, it's the best.
6. Gas Drops - I think we actually bought the generic kind but I'm sure they're all the same. If the baby's fussing and you know they're not hungry, hurt, or need a diaper change, try the gas drops. If they have a bloated tummy, it'll help. And even if they don't it won't hurt them. I think, if anything, it distracts them from crying and they start licking their lips from the flavor and will usually take a paci (at least that's the case with Katie). We don't use this too often, but it's good to know it's there.
Overrated? (Things we didn't end up using.)
1. Munchkin Standard Wipe Warmer - We used this for the first pack of wipes we went through, and while the thought of a warm wipe is nice, I found that it ended up drying them out. Not all of them, just the top one or two. So you'd have to pull out more to get a wet one and that's just wasteful. Plus, I like to pull out a couple wipes and have them ready before I even open the diaper, so by the time I got around to using them they weren't really even warm anymore. We don't use this anymore.
2. Dr. Brown's Formula Mixing Pitcher - This is for making a bigger batch of formula at one time. I can see where some people would really like this, especially if they're at home all day, but since we were on the go so much this didn't get much use. I didn't see the point in making a full pitcher of formula (that doesn't last very long) if I was going to be grabbing my travel packs to use on the go most of the day.
3. Dr. Brown's Bottles - Everyone told me these were THE bottles to have, so we got some. We also got the Dr. Brown's drying rack, and dishwasher rack, bottle brush, and every other accessory. But Katie had no problems with the Medela bottles we started with and transitioned easily to the Avent ones too. To me, Dr. Brown's just seemed like a more expensive bottle with a lot more pieces for me to wash (that does not meet my "easy" requirement). Of course, we haven't been fighting colic or lots of spit up, so maybe we'd try these if we did. All I saw when I looked at my unopened Dr. Brown's stash was a bunch of money, so I took them back to Target and cashed in.
4. Boppy and Boppy Cover - I'll say it again, I did not nurse for very long. But even when I did, I did not really use my boppy. I think I used it two times total. For some reason, it didn't fit right and feel comfortable to me. It was easier for me to just use my lap or a pillow to prop the baby. I know some people can't nurse without them, though.
5. Munchkin Arm and Hammer Disposable Changing Pads - I bought a box of these thinking I'd need these for any diaper change that happened when we weren't at home. There were 10 in the box and I think we've used 1. My diaper bag came with a changing pad in it so we use that. Plus, I sure as heck didn't want to have to carry that box around with me. I already have too much stuff to hold!
6. Fisher Price Cradle N Swing - This is the baby swing we registered for but didn't receive it. We debated whether or not we should just buy it ourselves since SO many people said their babies started off sleeping best in a swing. But, with so many other places to lay the baby (crib, bassinet, Nap Nanny, bouncer, play mat) I couldn't see us needing one more thing. I'm glad we didn't get it because we haven't missed it at all. Of course, if you didn't have the bouncer or Nap Nanny you'd probably definitely need this. I'm just not sure you need ALL of them.
7. Moby Wrap - I heard from so many people that love this and use it all the time, but I just didn't. Still don't. It's come out of the package one time. Maybe I didn't do it right? Maybe I just don't go enough places where I need to wear my baby in a wrap? To me, it seemed silly to wear it in the house when I could lay her down somewhere. I know some people have babies that have to be held all the time though, so maybe I just got lucky.
I really, really hope this is helpful to at least one person, especially since it took me forever to put together! I literally walked through every room in our house looking at all the baby items, so hopefully I didn't miss anything. Well, besides the obvious items like clothes, diapers, and soap/shampoo. Surely you know you need those, right? Now, we're about to embark on a whole new world of baby items...spoons and bowls, high chairs, teething toys, rattles and toys, baby bjorn, and who knows what else. Maybe I'll do a Part 2 someday.