Preparing for the birth of your sweet baby also means making a registry that includes everything you need when they arrive. But how do you know which items are essential and which ones to skip? With so many baby products on the market, creating a baby registry checklist can feel overwhelming.
Before you start clicking “add to registry” there are a few things to keep in mind. We talked to Katie Montell, founder of The Baby Planner, to find out what you need to know. As someone who helps parents-to-be create their registries, so she knows a thing or two about what you’ll need, and what you can leave off your checklist.
Founder of The Baby Planner and based in Atlanta. Katie offers custom baby planing services and maternity consulting. @thebabyplanner.co
What is a Baby Registry?
In the simplest terms, a baby registry is a list of items you need for your arriving little one. Family and friends can purchase items from this list as gifts for your baby shower, or any time before or after your due date. You can include anything you’d like, from baby essentials to a future college fund. There really is no limit to what you can add to your registry.
How to Create a Baby Registry
You can set up a registry through many popular stores and websites that sell baby items. Babylist, Amazon, and Target are just a few options available. Once you set up your baby registry, add items while you shop in the store, or online from the comfort of your couch.
There are many baby registry options to choose from, so do your research and decide which is best for you. We recommend having at least one option that offers in-store shopping for loved ones who don’t enjoy shopping online. Don’t forget to share your baby registry information so everyone knows exactly what you need.
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Tips for Creating a Baby Registry Checklist
There are a lot (and we mean a LOT) of baby items out there. From essentials for baby and mom to items that look cute but you really don’t need. Keep reading so you can create your baby registry checklist with confidence and not feel overwhelmed.
Must-Have Baby Registry Items
While creating a baby registry checklist, Montell said her clients are usually familiar with the basic must-have items needed for a newborn. These items can include:
- Crib or bassinet
- Swaddle blankets
- Feeding essentials
When setting up a baby registry, Montell encourages parents-to-be to take a minimalist approach as much as possible.
“I’d say simple is usually better,” she said.
Montell is a fan of items that baby won’t outgrow in less than a year. That includes convertible car seats and a crib that converts to a toddler bed.
“Buying things that can grow with baby and have multiple steps is really helpful,” she said. “The more space you can save and the less you have to manage the better.”
Other Items to Consider
Babies often fall asleep during a walk in their stroller, that’s why Montell recommends adding a bassinet stroller attachment to your registry. This way they are lying flat when they fall asleep and there’s no need to move them to their crib or bassinet when you return home.
Another item to consider is mesh feeders that provide a way to safely introduce new foods to your baby. This is also a tasty teether option when those first baby teeth start to emerge.
Not adding enough of something or too many of a certain item is a common mistake when creating a baby registry.
“I usually only see a couple birth cloths,” she said. “As a new parent, you don’t realize how much babies spit up.”
She also recommends adding more zippered footie pajamas than you think you’ll need. It’s a great one-piece outfit that keeps getting dressed simple. Montell said you can dress them up with a cute bib or a bow when you’re going out.
There’s also too much of a good thing when it comes to building your baby registry. Montell often sees way too many newborn diapers on registries. Babies can grow out of a newborn size quickly, sometimes within a few weeks. That’s why it’s important to include diapers in various sizes so you always have the next size up when you need it.
What to Skip on Your Registry
There are so many cute items you’ll be tempted to add to your registry, but it’s likely you won’t need, or use, any of them when you have your newborn. Some of these items include baby shoes, fancy crib bedding, dressy outfits, and socks.
Montell said socks don’t have much use until baby can start pulling themselves up to stand on their own. Plus, they’ll likely kick them right off anyway.
“Just do the footie pajamas and you’re good,” she said.
She added hard shoes aren’t needed until much later, and soft shoes are better when baby is learning how to walk. Fancy crib bedding can be dangerous for newborns. All you need in a crib is a fitted sheet. Dressy outfits might not get much use either, especially with the multiple outfit changes babies can go through each day.
Pro Tip: Another item you might want to skip is a wipe warmer. While it seems like a soothing addition to your nursery, it may cause you headaches later on.
“If a baby uses warm wipes, they’re going to get cranky every time you’re out,” Montell said.
There are also items you can skip for now and purchase later to keep life simple in the beginning. Babies don’t usually start playing with toys until 6 to 8 months old, and they won’t need a highchair until around that time as well. Some parents also wait to purchase a crib until their child reaches their first birthday.
Don’t Forget About Mom
Many parents underestimate how hard postpartum can be. That’s why postpartum necessities are just as important as having essentials for your new baby. This can include a breast pump, ice packs, nursing pads, and other items to make mom more comfortable. If having certain postpartum items on your baby registry makes you uncomfortable, Montell suggests creating a private list for yourself so you don’t forget these important supplies.
Along with physical items, Montell strongly suggests setting up a support system before baby arrives. She recommends hiring a night nurse, a lactation consultant, and a postpartum doula, if possible. This is especially important for parents who don’t live near their family, or who have aging parents.
“Prepare for that first three months to set you up for success,” Montell said. “Get everything you need…and get a support system put in place.”
To further help parents navigate the first few months of postpartum, Montell launched The Village. This online membership offers access to a library of resources to help parents prepare for life with a baby, and connect with an inclusive network of other moms and dads.
Take a Deep Breath
Creating a baby registry often comes with a feeling of overwhelm. So before you start choosing which items will go on your list and which won’t make the cut, take a deep breath.
“There are so many things to look at, so many things to know, and so many products to look through,” Montell said. “It’s new to you; it’s like starting a new job.”
Ultimately what goes on your baby registry depends on the needs of your family. It’s also comforting to know that you don’t have to include everything your baby will need in their first year and that some items can wait until later. Simplicity is key when creating a baby registry checklist.
Montell added there are many “rules” found online that can add to the stress of being a new parent. “Really, most things you choose are fine,” she said. “You can choose to sleep train or you can choose to have your baby near you at all times. Either way is fine. You just have to do what’s right for you as a parent.”
Plan Your Shower with WebBabyShower
Once you create your baby registry checklist, you’ll want to share it with friends and family. When you plan your shower with WebBabyShower, your guests can see important information, including where you’re registered. That way you get everything you need for your first months with your precious baby.