We’ll never forget the day we started our registry – that neverending Google rabbit hole with so many options, so little explanation, and no way to stay organized! Now that we’ve been around the block a few times, we want to make the process as simple and as enjoyable as possible. So, here are our registry essentials, with all items broken down by category. With registries, it’s easy to overdo it. That’s why we’re sticking to just the essentials – these are items you’re going to love and get so much use out of!
Written by: Jessica Diamond, MPH, RDN
We’ll never forget the day we started our baby registry – that never-ending Google rabbit hole with so many options, so little explanation, and no way to stay organized! Now that we’ve been around the block a few times, we want to make the process as simple and as enjoyable as possible. So, here are our registry essentials, with all items broken down by category. With registries, it’s easy to overdo it. That’s why we’re sticking to just the essentials – these are items you’re going to love and get so much use out of!
You can already shop all our registry essentials by category here (and a full list on our Amazon storefront), but we wanted to add an article that explains what’s needed in each category as well as any tips we’ve picked up along the way! And just a reminder: many of the links are affiliate links, meaning, when you use them, part of the proceeds go to support Meaning Full Living at no charge to you! We so appreciate the support!
There’s not much you need for bath time. Our essentials are an infant bathtub that helps you securely give your baby a bath, some baby-approved skin care to soothe their sensitive skin, washcloths and a soft, hooded towel, a soft bristle brush (which can help with cradle cap!), and easy-to-use nail trimmers since babies need their nails cut frequently so they don’t scratch themselves.
Don’t overdo it with bath items in the beginning: as your baby grows you will continue to add to their bath selection.
This is where you’ll want to be most prepared so you can change your little one’s diaper quickly and easily. Diaper changes are typically a time where there is a lot of wiggling and crying, so having all the items organized and within reach is key!
We love a diaper caddy to organize all your diaper needs on the changing table. We also loved having a diaper pail, a changing pad with a couple covers, diapers, diaper cream, a bum wiper to spread the diaper cream, baby-approved lotion or oil (we like coconut oil for the early baby stage), and of course, wipes.
While we included a wiper warmer on the list (because we know they are popular), they’re really not necessary. Your baby will get used to the cold wipes, and if they get dependent on the wiper warmer, that will make diaper changes on the go that much harder.
Our two top tips for diapering are:
This category is pretty personal, so we included items that we thought are universally helpful. The most important thing is that your nursery feels calm, because there will be a lot of feedings and shushing and naps and late nights that take place there.
Our favorite items for the nursery are a monitor so you can keep on eye on your little one, a good sound machine (this will become you new BFF and a magical tool for sleep), a cool mist humidifier to help your baby breathe better when their nose gets stuffy, a mattress that will last into childhood, and black-out curtains (you want the room as dark as possible for sleep and naps). We also love the portable Mini Shhhh Noise Machine: we would swaddle our babies, sit on a birthing ball to bounce, and then rest that small noise machine on the swaddle or nearby to lull our babies to sleep.
For other tips on preparing for newborn sleep, check out our article, An Easy Schedule for Your Newborn’s First 4 Weeks, and our podcast episode, Getting Your Newborn to Sleep with Dr. Harvey Karp, the renowned infant sleep expert, the author of Happiest Baby on the Block, and the CEO of SNOO.
And as a reminder, babies don’t need anything in their crib. Dock-a-tots, stuffed animals, crib bumpers, extra blankets, and pillows are not safe for sleep and are not approved by the American Academy of Pediatrics. When it comes to the crib, less is more!
Now to the fun part of the registry – picking out cute clothes! We always recommend finding a couple outfits, PJs, and onesies that you like and putting them on your registry. Clothing is so personal, so we put a couple of our favorite items here, but pick what you love best! A few things to remember: babies are so messy and go through multiple outfits per day, so in that newborn stage, the more basic the outfit, the better. And be sure to get clothing in different sizes: it’s helpful to get both the newborn size and the size for 0-3 months.
Here are the basics that you’ll definitely need:
We’ve also included swaddles in this section because they are so important for sleep! Get a couple different ones to see which work best for your baby. Don’t forget baby-safe detergent and stain remover, because you’ll want to wash all the baby clothes and items before use and constant stains are just a new reality!
This is a big category and it can get pretty overwhelming! It’s hard to know which gear to buy when you’re new to breastfeeding and formula and can’t conceptualize what you’ll need. Luckily, this is our area of expertise, and we’ve tried to make it as simple as possible. There are items here for breastfeeding, formula-feeding, and undecided. If you plan to breastfeed, be sure to check out the breastfeeding section below as there are some specific items you’ll definitely want on hand.
When it comes to bottles and pacifiers, register for two different brands so you can test them out. There’s no one universally-pleasing bottle or pacifier – we’re all built differently! We included our favorite to narrow down the options. Just don’t open the product until you are ready to sterilize and use it so you can return it if the return policy allows.
You’ll also see cleaning supplies and sterilizers in this section. One of the biggest wake-up calls when we had kids is how much cleaning we had to do: the bottles, the pacifiers, the pump parts, etc. We’re absolutely obsessed with the UPANG and Wabi UV sterilizer. You can sterilize bottles, pacifiers, and really any item (including your phone!) in it. Germs are simply everywhere, so having a really good sterilizer is a game changer.
And once your baby is 3 months old, take our Feeding Your Baby Solids course, which you should also add to your registry. It breaks down everything you need to know to confidently feed your baby solids, and it will be money well spent, we promise!
Here are our go-to essentials if you’re planning on breastfeeding. Good nipple- and breast-care is a must from the start! Consistent care (and a good latch) will keep your nipples and breasts in the best shape.
You can check out our Breastfeeding and Pumping Essentials, which gives explanations for each item, as well as our Freebie download, Breastfeeding and Pumping Resources, which is a collection of all our resources on breastfeeding, pumping, and infant feeding. We cannot recommend downloading this enough!
Here’s where the majority of the big ticket items come from. Gear is what we need to get our babies around. Just like there’s no one right bottle, there’s no universally perfect gear for every family. We’ve included the options that have worked best for us, but if the item you’re leaning towards isn’t on this list, don’t worry! There are so many factors to take into account when choosing the right gear for you.
The Doona stroller is great for city living or lots of travel when your baby is under 12 months. It’s a carseat and a stroller in one, so it’s very convenient. We have both been obsessed with our Uppababy infant car seat and stroller, and we both got the Vista stroller because it has the capacity to grow with your family and carry multiple kids at once. We also love the Baby Zen Yoyo stroller; it’s pricey but it’s so light, fits in a plane’s overhead cabin, and works well as your baby grows.
You’ll see we didn’t include any infant swings on the registry: some kids love them and some don’t, so a lot of times they go unused. We both loved the Baby Bjorn bouncer and appreciated how it folds up and doesn’t take up a lot of space.
We personally LOVE baby wearing, so we highly recommend a carrier. It’s nice bonding time for parents and baby and a great way to carry your baby without tiring your arms out.
Getting your medicine cabinet stocked before the baby arrives is a must for us. You’ll never know when you need medications, and having all the items (including gas remedies and supplements) already on hand can be really helpful!
In addition to medications and supplements, we also recommend getting a cool mist humidifier, snot sucker, thermometer, gripe water,gas drops, probiotics, and the Frida Windi Gas Reliever (we know it sounds gross but is an amazing tool for gas!).The cool mist humidifier and the snotsucker are important to have because babies only breathe out their nose initially, so when their little noses get stuffed up, you want to be able to easily get that snot out.
It’s always fun to stock up on some toys and books before the baby comes. We cannot recommend the Lovevery Play Kits and Play Gym enough. Each kit is developmentally appropriate and will walk you through the activities you can do to promote brain and physical development.
Hayley here and if there’s one thing I’ve mastered, it’s managing kids on the go. We’ve done a tour bus, hotel rooms, and international travel with babies, and having the right items are crucial! Leaving the house with a baby is no easy task, so check out our favorites for making it just smidge easier. You should also check out our podcast episode, How to travel with kids, and our article, Traveling and Packing Essentials.
Gifts for mama are typically left off the registry, but we think they are so, so important. Stocking up on self-care items is essential to you taking the best care of your baby!