Hey there, friend! I was scrolling through facebook the other day and saw a post from another friend of mine expressing her intense anxiety over what to put on her baby registry. Obviously, no one wants an expectant mother to have any more anxiety than she is already dealing with, so I have compiled a list of my top must haves (I am sure there are a few I am forgetting) that you might not have thought of when putting together your own baby registry. I have included affiliate links for your convenience. You can find out more about my disclosure policy here. Thank you so much for your support! Now let’s get started.
My favorite mommy must have is a way to hold baby hands-free. A carrier, kangaroo shirt, some way to hold your little bundle close to you for some skin to skin time, while still keeping your hands free will make keeping your home, while having a new baby, much easier, especially if you have other kiddos running around. With Gracelynn, I used a moby. You can use it for carrying your baby until they weigh 35 pounds, but after 15-20 pounds, it starts to hurt your shoulders. If the idea of wrapping is overwhelming, a baby k’tan is an excellent substitute. It has the same finished wrap look when you’re wearing it, but you just slip it over your head.
Snuggles For The Win!
Next on my list I bought more for my own sanity, than anything else. After I had Gracelynn, the plush toys started multiplying like rabbits! I used a toy hammock for awhile but then I switched to this toy chain. I prefer the chain because you can see them all at once! It helps me to rotate the plush toys for playtime so we always have something “new”. Having a hamper or small basket for my living room like this one is a totally cute way to contain extra blankets, toys, etc. I took mine up and down the stairs with me each day so that I could rotate those toys too. Rotating your children’s toys will help save soooooo much money in the long run because they won’t get as bored with them as quickly and they tend to last longer without losing pieces. We have since graduated to a larger storage solution. I love these toy boxes because they have removable compartments for easy organization. They help prevent toys from ending up all over the living room because Grace and Anna can find exactly what they’re looking for.
Keeping your baby clean
Another must have I initially thought would be just a “luxury” item, was a diaper genie. I have changing stations set up on both floors of my house and having a diaper genie for each location helps keep my house from smelling like dirty diapers. You don’t need the latest and greatest model, this one works just fine for us.
Speaking of the latest and greatest. I saw this spa tub at Babies R Us and just HAD to have it. I used it a handful of times before I just took the insert out and used it in my kitchen sink. It was soooooo much easier on my back and knees to not have to bend over the tub. I suppose I could’ve had it sitting on the counter, but hindsight is always 20/20 right. 😉 Anyway, I decided this tub would have been best for us in the long run. The waterfall helps to keep a contant stream of warm water down baby’s back so they don’t get a chill, this made bath time MUCH more pleasant for everyone in my house.
More “bath time” must-haves I liked for my girlies were aveeno conditioning shampoo. Both my daughters have curly hair and I think I tried a million different shampoos before finally discovering this one and I will never go back. It makes the girls hair so soft and the curls soooo beautiful. Because it’s a conditioning shampoo, it makes brushing Gracie’s “Rapunzel hair” as she calls it, much easier than washing with your standard Johnson & Johnson; it tends to cause more tangles than anything for my girlies). For brushing (baby) hair, I used this brush set. The bristles are so incredibly soft on the baby hair brush; much more preferable than the prepackaged “medi kits” like this one. Those bristles are a hard plastic and baby’s heads are so sensitive. Parent to parent, just avoid them, okay? 😉 Anyway, the other brush and comb works very well in Gracie’s hair now that its longer.
Just because I said to avoid the medi kits, does not mean that you don’t need one. I found that the one I pieced together myself for Arianna got a lot more use than the premade one I bought for Gracelynn. Things I included were butt paste, I used this every diaper change to help protect my baby’s bum from waste and rashes, and max strength desitin for when we did get rashes. I like the max strength better than the regular strength because it clears the rash much faster (often within one diaper change!) I spread the cream with this spatula so I don’t get it everywhere, it was a total game changer for me. I like this one too because it has a little case, great for the diaper bag! A nail file. I prefer the glass ones because you have more control. My favorite for the diaper bag is this one because it has a little case too! I am a sucker for having individual cases/pouches for things that are contained in a bigger bag, it really helps keep me organized.
I keep a thermometer in our medikit too, after trying about a billion, I discovered the kinsa thermometer. Cue the hallelujah chorus, that is how much I love it! I can set up individual profiles for both of my girls, track meds, dosages, temperatures, symptoms etc on the app on my phone. It even has a little bubble game to keep your child (or you) busy while it reads the temperature. You can take temperatures orally, underarm and rectally, and it will indicate whether or not a fever is present and prompt you further. It has really come in handy for those out of the blue fever spikes that always seem to happen in the middle of the night. A couple of times I couldn’t get the fever down and took my daughter to the emergency room. They ask you about a gazillion questions upon intake and if you’re a parent that has ever been in this position then you know how difficult it is to answer those questions when you’re freaking out on the inside for your child. I was able to hand my phone to the nurse, app open and she had all the information she needed without asking me a thing.
I used to keep an extra pacifier in the kit too, the soothie was the only paci both my girls took so I invested in a wubbanub for Arianna. Also a must have that I initially considered a luxery item. I was like, for real? A paci for $15 and you can’t even swap out the paci? No way. I finally bit the bullet when I could get it on sale and yep, totally worth it. Having the small plush on the baby’s chest helps keep the pacifier up and in their mouth, especially when they are sleeping and need the extra suckle reassurance. However, the little plush toy does not keep the pacifier from being intentionally spit out if baby doesn’t want it. When it gets dirty, like all stuffed animals do, throw it in the washer and let it air dry and you are good to go.
The Nose Frida. Yep. When I first saw it while I was shopping for our baby I said “no way”. Literally sucking the snot out of your child’s nose, with your mouth? Gross. We got desperate though and made a midnight run to CVS to buy one after I posted in my mommy’s group looking for an answer to relieve my child’s stuffy/running a mile a minute nose. Everyone said the nose frida. Up until then, I had used the bulb style and I will never go back. The tip in conical so it works for newborns through adult hood (yes, I have used it on myself. Again, I was desperate. :D) Because of the way it’s designed, you can never suck the mucus up enough to actually get into your mouth. As many times as I have used it, I have never seen the mucus go further than 1-2 inches up the tube. It also is so much faster, less invasive and therefore less painful for your child than a bulb style snot sucker. I like to wiggle it around a little to make sure I get everything and don’t create too tight a suction on my baby’s nose.
I keep the medikit in our diaper bag. It took forever for me to decide, but I finally chose this one:
The other, super cute contenders were:
They were all ones I was debating between when looking myself. I was recently sent this one to try, and so far, so good. There are so many colors available!
Keep in mind though, when shopping for a diaper bag, you do NOT have to limit yourself to just diaper bags. Oversized purses work great, sometimes even better than diaper bags for me! It really depends on your personal preference and what you are leaving the house for. Now that my girls are older and we need less stuff, I primarily use this changing clutch when we are making quick trips out because my kiddos are older and it holds enough diapers and wipes for a day of errands. Not to mention, it has a built in changing pad so that you don’t have to lay your baby down on the one that has had a million and one diaper changes on it in the bathroom.
My absolute favorite carseat of the three that we have had is the Graco All-In-One. We purchased it when Gracelyyn outgrew her bucket seat in our travel system stroller and bought another when we had Arianna because it’s small enough to fit newborns as well. Gracelynn has grown with hers for the last 2 ½ years and it has held up beautifully. It’s super easy to take apart and wash, something I have had to do coutless times, and still looks brand new when I put it back together.
Despite having the all-in-one for Arianna, I just couldn’t get away from the convenience of a travel system, at least until she didn’t fall asleep every single time we put her in the car. After the winter months, we switched to the all-in-one and I carried her in my tula while we were out. Super convenient. When we had Ariannna, we purchased the Britax B-Ready stroller, and I LOVE IT! It has so many different configurations; including adding a second seat to make it a double!
Our Chico Keyfit Carseat fits right in. I have gotten coutless compliments on our Britax stroller since we bought it. Some things to consider when looking for your stroller is how comfortable it is over bumpy terrain, I never thought I would need that, but I did, as well as how easy it is to get things in and out of the basket underneath. The B-Ready has an adjustable handle, the shorter setting works great for me, while the taller setting works great for Dave. If you or your spouse is taller, you don’t really want to be pushing a stroller that’s too short for you, it’s very uncomfortable. Since it was winter, I got a carseat cover to help protect my girlies from the elements.
When you have a baby, the amount of space in your home decreases substantially, keep this in mind when you are shopping for larger items like a swing, bouncer, toys, activity mats, etc. Have a swing/bouncer combo is an excellent idea to battle the insurmountable piles of kids stuff that will take over your life soon enough. Also, speaking from someone who has bought and subsequently returned a mamaroo, it’s not worth it.
Next on my list has to be a nursing pillow. Whether you breastfeed or bottlefeed, a nursing pillow makes a world of difference. I went through 3 different ones before I found My Brest Friend. The extra back cushion offers great lumbar support while feeding your baby and is great to use as a lounger for your baby. You can add a small blanket under baby’s thighs and they can kick against the back cushion without slipping down like they wood in a boppy.
Let’s talk in the nursery. The crib is the first thing that comes to mind for me, but for at least the first couple of months, your baby will be sleeping in your room. I love love love the arm’s reach cosleeper because you can collapse it down and take it with you so your baby always has their own bed to sleep in, even when traveling. When graduating to a crib, a convertible crib is an excellent idea because they can use it till they move out. I add puppy pads between the crib sheet and mattress pad just in case we had any leaking diapers (or middle of the night accidents) as well as to my changing mat.
This saved me from doing a million loads of laundry a week. Sizing up for night time diapers has helped alleviate any leaking overnight in Arianna’s diapers. I stationed my changing pad on top of the dresser for both girls because it saved us so much room in our tiny nursery. You can find dressers with changing pads built into the top like this one as well as convertible cribs that have the changing station built into the side like this one which are also great space savers.
Lastly, my absolute most important must have is a Netflix/Hulu subscription, a good water bottle and healthy snacks. Now that you are entering into the world of parenthood, your social life will become non-existent for awhile and Netflix will be there to comfort you. I say healthy snacks because you will forget to eat. As long as you are snacking throughout the day and drinking a bunch of water, you will drop that baby weight like no body’s business. Don’t be like me though and get so wrapped up in getting back in shape that you forget that it took you almost a year to gain all that weight and you need to give yourself at least that much time to lose it too.
By the way, did you know that you can create a baby registry on Amazon? Doing so could earn you free diapers and wipes on Amazon when you start a registry with them. I wish I had know that when I put my own together!
I hope my mommy must haves have helped give you something to think about as you begin your parenting journey and start shopping for your little one. Always remember, you are not alone. Parenting is HARD! Don’t be afraid to ask for help, because it really does take a village.