As your pregnancy progresses, it's time to start thinking about registering for baby items and your baby shower.
Getting organized and putting together a well-planned registry can make the difference between getting the right baby gifts and having to take a lot of things to the return counter.
Items for the Baby Registry
You'll want to register for a mix of items: some bigger and more expensive like strollers, mid-range items such as bouncy seats and mobiles, and smaller things including bottle racks and brushes. Some items that many new moms recommend for registries include:
- Big-ticket items including strollers, swings, baby monitors, and portable playpens
- Diaper bag
- Baby slings or wrap carriers
- Baby bathtub and bath accessories
- A “snap-and-go” type of stroller that's light and folds easily and that you can just pop into the car seat
- Nursing pillow
- Bouncy seat
- A white noise machine (some look like sheep or other cute animals)
- Swaddle blankets
- Portable, folding changing pads
- Formula dispenser for feeding on the go, and a dishwasher container for washing bottle parts and pacifiers
- Accessories including baby nail clippers, digital thermometer, baby wipes, and burp cloths
- Mesh feeders. These handy things look like extra-large pacifiers and come with a screw-off net. You put a chunk of solid food, such as an avocado or peach, inside and screw the top back on, and babies who aren't yet ready for solid foods can suck to their heart's content and enjoy the taste.
Items to Buy Yourself
Unless you have very generous friends or family that you trust to help you buy exactly what you want in plenty of time, you should probably buy these items yourself:
- Crib and nursery furniture
- Car seat. Something this important to your baby's safety should be something you pick out and bring home with plenty of time to spare before you're due. You can't leave the hospital without it! Iif you opt to put this on the register, make sure you list the particular make and model you want.)
- Breast pump and other breastfeeding products, such as nipple shields. Many people just feel weird about buying someone else's breast pump.
Items You May Want to Wait On
- Bottles. You will almost certainly need at least a few bottles. Formula-feeding moms need plenty, and most breastfeeding moms pump at least sometimes. But what kind of bottle? Baby's preferences can be very tricky! Rather than registering for the complete bottle set, wait until you see how baby feeds in the hospital and go from there. You may also want to get a few different bottles/nipples for your baby to try.)
- Bottle warmer. Some babies demand warmed-up milk, others don't care. Often, if you start your baby out without doing the warming thing, they'll never know the difference. Breast fed babies tend to know right away.
Items You May Not Need
- Wipe warmer. Ask 100 new moms what baby product they never used, and probably 90 of them will say the wipe warmer. Babies don't need super-warm wipes. And warmers tend to dry the wipes out, which can be inconvenient.
- Sterilizer. Bottles get as sterile as they need to be after being washed in a hot dishwasher (unless your pediatrician tells you that your baby has specific immune issues that require extra protective measures).
Items You'll Get Plenty Of:
You probably don't need to register for these items, because you are virtually guaranteed to get a truckload of them no matter what you do:
- Blankets, especially receiving blankets
- Onesies and other clothes in newborn or size 0-3. If you're a first-time mom or if most of your friends don't have kids, they won't realize that babies stay in this size for a very brief time. If you register for clothes, suggest items in the 3-6 or 6-9 month range.
- Stuffed animals and cuddly toys
- Copies of Goodnight Moon and Guess How Much I Love You
Items You Might Not Think to Register For
If your best friend is sending out shower invitations, they can include a note that says, "Besides being registered at Babies Are Cute, John and Jane have some other hopes for baby…"
- The services of a baby nurse or postpartum doula. These professionals are expensive, but many new parents find them to be a huge help. Think about getting friends and family to pitch in for a week with a postpartum doula.
- A diaper service
- A cleaning service
- Contributions to baby's first college fund
- A postnatal massage
- Mother-and-baby classes