DoSayGive’s Essential Baby Registry Checklist

HALO Sleep Bassinet

It’s finally here! DoSayGive’s must-have baby registry items! With four children, I’ve learned what you absolutely need (and what you don’t!). It’s a long post – everything from nursing essentials to stroller opinions. 

When possible, I linked to Amazon for easy ordering (or if you want to use Amazon’s Baby Registry). And I’ve put an asterick next to items that are the best gifts to buy off a mom’s registry.

Feeding

Nursing PadsThese cold silicone pads are great for sore nipples; these are great for leaking. (Note: I preferred the washable kind versus the disposable kind which I found scratchy). Good news, new moms, the pain and leaking gets better with subsequent children!

Nursing Bras – This set of 3 bras on Amazon is one of my faves for everyday wear. They don’t make them anymore but I think these Target nursing tanks are similar. You are going to want some kind of nursing tank top in the early weeks and some pretty nursing-friendly pajamas (will make you feel better, trust me!). These nightgowns from Target are my fave! These pajamas from Nordstrom are great with a nursing tank top.

Nursing Cover – I use Aden + Anais Swaddles which are so versatile. They are big and drape well. NO need for an extra cover.

Burp Cloths – I received so many cute monogrammed burp cloths as gifts. I save those for special occasions. For everyday use I like the standard Gerber cloth diapers.

Breast Pump – My advice with breast pumps is: wait until after you have the baby. Or at least don’t open it up until you need it. I rented the hospital grade breast pump for the first month and it just works SO much better than the kind you buy. (Retail value is like $6,000 but you can rent for about $75). Anyway, if you have supply issues this will help so much more than any other pump. Plus, it’s faster (I think). If for some reason, breastfeeding is not for you you will not have spent $200-300 on a pump. If it is then, you can purchase or use one you got off your registry. Medela is by far the best brand and the Pump in Style is probably your best best, but it really depends on your needs, another reason to maybe wait and see on this purchase.

Breast Milk Storage –

Cleaning Wipes – When I was pumping nonstop in the NICU these Medela Wipes were a lifesaver to clean off pumping parts. (The NICU nurse said give them one good steam clean a day using the Medela bags (linked below) and then the other times you can use these wipes or just soap and water).

*Bottles – I have used Avent and Dr. Brown’s with my children. For children with terrible reflux, I would recommend the Dr. Brown’s, HOWEVER I am thinking about trying these new Joovy Boob bottles. They are pricey but can be turned into toddler cups when you are done with bottles. They have the same flow technology as Dr. Brown’s without all the parts. Yay, right? I hate touching all the Dr. Brown’s bottle parts when putting them back together, feel like my hands need to be super sterile. Don’t have to worry about that with the Joovy. They also offer them in glass which I like.

Dishwasher Set – Any standard dishwasher parts basket will do, unless you do Dr. Brown’s bottle then I highly recommend this basket.

Steaming Bags – These Medela bags were a lifesaver, are a lifesaver. I used them for pumping parts and now use them for bottle parts when I’m in a hurry.

Drying Rack – I use this Boon rack.

Pacifiers – I think every mom buys at least four brands of pacifiers for their baby to try to find the right ones! I don’t think I can spare you from that hassle but if your baby is having trouble with a pacifier here are some recent reader tips: Nuk makes a 0-2 months pacifier (not sold in stores) that is great for newborns and babies with small mouths. A lot of babies like the Wubanubs but my mom says she cannot let her grandbaby go around town with an animal in her mouth all the time – ha! For a more breast-like feel, try these more natural Hevea pacifiers.

*Nursing Pillow – I did not like the My Breast Friend. First, I hate the name. Second, it wraps all around you and buckles – made me feel trapped! Boppy all the way for me! Not only is it good for nursing support but you can use it to to prop baby up and do tummy time.  Pottery Barn Kids has the cutest Boppy covers and you can get them monogrammed! Side note: Boppy has a new lounger pillow but don’t think you need it if you have the Dockatot. Just one more thing!

Bottle Warmer – don’t need in my opinion. Fill up a cup with warm water and let warm water run over it.

High Chair – Ikea all the way. Might have to put a little pillow in there when they are still floppy

Blender – Seriously don’t buy a Baby Blender. One more thing on your counter. This is where you really buy yourself a nice blender. Our Vitamix was one of the best purchases we’ve made and I made all our baby food in it. Actually, I made all my second baby’s formula in it. I know, crazy. Another story for another day.

*Formula Mixer – I have not needed this Baby Brezza but my friends who have said it’s a revolutionary product for formula feeding moms. It’s like a Nespresso for babies! Definitely add this to your registry if you plan to formula feed.

*Baby Plates – I think these Avancy baby plates are so cute and would be such a great gift.

 

Hygiene and Laundry

Soap – I was always a Johnson & Johnson’s girl (or Aveeno) but now I am loving Beautycounter’s Gentle All Over Wash as well as the Honest brand shampoo/wash.

Baby Lotion– I really like Beautycounter’s Baby Soothing Oil which is great for after bath and baby massage. It does not make them feel greasy. But if you are wanting a tried and true baby lotion, I’d go with Honest or Aveeno.

Diapers – Pampers Swaddlers are what we always used for newborn to size 2. After that, usually whatever was on sale! A friend gave me this Honest Diapers and wipes gift set (which contains trial sizes of all their baby products). I love everything about the diapers – the design, the shape, how they don’t smell like other diapers. They are pricey but you save 20% when you sign up for a monthly subscription.

Wipes – Whatever is on sale:). Obviously if your baby has sensitive skin you are going to buy fragrance-free wipes (which I tend to anyway). Or if you do the Honest subscription above it comes with wipes.

Wipes Warmer – Don’t need it! This is an eyeroll product in my opinion.

Diaper Cream – I’ve tried just about every one ever made. Good ole Desitin is tried and true. Right now I like the Beautycounter’s Diaper Rash Cream. By the way, every household needs Aquaphor and A+D ointment. For absolutely terrible diaper rashes (the worst!) this Triple Cream has worked for us. And if your baby has horrible horrible diaper rash, call your pediatrician and a local compounding pharmacist can make a really thick prescription-grade paste. (And letting them go commando as much as possible.)

*Diaper Pail – I have tried a different one with every baby – Diaper Genie, Diaper Dekor, just to name a few. But they all left a wafting aroma of something you don’t want wafting around. Yuck! But this Bubula diaper pail does NOT give off any smell. Bonus: you can use regular trash bags. Something I’ve learned through the years: always get the bigger size diaper pail.

Changing Pad – Have always used and been happy with Pottery Barn Kids pad and cover.

Nursery Care Kit – Any of the kits like that will do the trick. This Summer kit comes in blue and pink,

Laundry Detergent – I’ve always used Dreft with my newborns but, honestly, is it really safer than All Free & Clear or any of the other “gentle” detergents? I don’t know. Now I really like The Laundress detergent. I am only using it because it was gifted to me (not sure I would spend that much normally) but it’s something you might want to add to your Amazon registry. And their spray is like a clean version of Febreeze. Spray on changing covers, bedding, etc. Two other “clean” and gentle brands that get high ratings are the Honest detergent and Whole Foods brand detergent (which you can get on Amazon!).

Mustela No Rinse Micellar Water – Several readers told me about this as a cure to baby acne. I can’t make that claim but this is one of my favorite baby products. I keep the pump on my changing table and rinse her off with a washcloth on days when she doesn’t have a bath or baby spits up a lot on herself. So great!!

Baby Bathtub – This really depends on whether you plan to bath a baby in the sink, on the counter, or in a real bathtub. This Eurobath is great for countertops for both infant and babies who can sit up, the Skip Hop is what we use on both the counter and in the bathtub . I like that is has a sling for infants. For kitchen sink bathing, I’d recommend this bathtub.

Towels –  Pottery Barn Kids hooded animal towels are the best, last through multiple children, and make great gifts!

Wash cloths – These Gerber washclothes ($5 for a pack) are so gentle. I keep some in my changing table and use them to wash her down with the Mustela water mentioned above.

Bath cup – Totally not a necessity but I like this one.

Bath toys – For cute gifts, Pottery Barn Kids has the cutest bath toys.

 

Sleeping 

*Dockatot – Asterik, asterik, asterik. I thought the Dockatot was just one more baby item I didn’t. But it is actually the greatest baby invention in recent history. I don’t know why because it looks like a glorified pillow, but babies love the coziness of it. We carry this all around the house with us so Louise can be wherever we are. She sleeps in it and does tummy time on it. We can even prop her up in it. Definitely a registry must-have. There are such cute covers, too!

*Bassinet – So some people will go sleep using the Dockatot. I am paranoid about my husband or I accidentally rolling over on the baby so we use a bassinet (as I have with all my babies) next to our bed. With my first three I used a pretty bassinet, this time around I am using a functional bassinet. The Halo bassinet swivels almost 360 degrees for easy access. I keep it right next to my bed at night and lean over to pick up her for middle of the night nursing sessions. The side is flexible for easy reaching and the border is mesh so if they scoot up next to it you don’t have to worry about suffocating. I bought mine second-hand and it’s in great shape. Definitely something you can resell or pass along when you are finished using it. It’s spacious  for a growing baby if you want him/her in your room a long time. Note: I have the basic model and it’s great. Don’t need the bells and whistles. (

*Newborn Swaddling Blanket (with velcros) – I don’t have an absolute favorite. The Miracle Blanket and Swaddle Me are both great.

*Swaddle Blankets (natural) – Must-have because they are so versatile. Aden + Anais  are by far the best and Nordstrom has a good selection of pretty patterns. And last forever. I use them as a nursing cover and drape them over the car seat as well. Target carries Aden + Anais as well and you can find them at Homegoods, too, if you’re lucky!

*Sleep SacksHalo are the best in my opinion. You can find them on Amazon but Nordstrom has pretty patterns. When you are transition from the velcro swaddle blankets, this version is helpful. Wrap the velcro part around their waist when they no longer want their arms swaddled. Halo come in cotton, muslin, and warmer versions.

halo sleep sack

*Blankets – Honestly, you are going to receive blankets regardless if you register for them, so I wouldn’t bother. But if you want to know my favorites for tummy time or strolling outside: Pottery Barn stroller blanket, Roberta Roller Rabbit blankets, Hip Hip Hooray has a blanket where you can get the baby’s name embroidered all around the border (great gift!), and every baby needs a good quilt. Henry and Bros. has some darling ones.

Pajamas – Kissy Kissy and The Beaufort Bonnet is my favorite boutique brand. Carters is my favorite Target brand (not Little Me so much as they are too wide for my babies).

Noise Machine – I have mixed feelings about noise machines. We made the mistake of always keeping it super quiet with our first (or drowning out noise with a machine) and it was so stressful. Louise (our preemie is almost immune to noise because she has been in the NICU with constant talking, beeping, and buzzing – which has been a blessing since our house is pretty loud with four children! Regardless, the good old white noise machine from Dohm is our favorite.

Mattress – I really liked this Pottery Barn Kids mattress – one side for infants and one side is for toddlers. Waterproof, too!

Rocking Chair/Glider – I loved my Pottery Barn Kids glider, but I’ve heard the Target ones are great, too, and a better price.

 

Out and About

*Infant Car Seat – I really LOVE the ease of this Chicco Fit2 Infant Seat that Chicco gifted me. So much more than all the Gracos I’ve had in years past. I almost went with the Nuna car seat and stroller and if it was my first child I probably would have splurged. Great reviews on both. The Nuna is very light and can be used with jogging strollers.

*Toddler Car Seat – I am so sad the Dionos have been recalled because they were my favorite. They aren’t bulky and you can fit three carseats across in a back seat. I need to do my research on these for Louise but Britax is always good. I have a Graco and it just so bulky. Although I think a cupholder is a priority and the Britax don’t always have them.

*Strollers -Note: I had a Bubagoo with my first (that lasted for three children) but if I was a first time mom now I’d probably get the Baby Jogger City Select because you can buy a second add-on seat later on with your second child. Great ratings! With my fourth my needs are different. I am not walking all over the neighborhood like I was before going to Starbucks and the park for playdates. Nope, I’m in my car most of the time and don’t have a need for a second seat. So I got the reasonably priced Chicco Bravo car seat/stroller set. This cuts out the need for a Snap and Go because the stroller part folds up so small. If I didn’t get this, I’d probably have gotten the Baby Jogger City Mini (or the Nuna as mentioned above). The Nuna and Chicco car seats can both fit with the Baby Jogger. Side note for first time moms: this Austlen stroller could be an alternative to the Baby Jogger option. It is BIG, but look at all the ways this thing can be used. Pretty awesome!

*Jogging StrollerBOB all the way. Our double has lasted so long and you can resell it when you are done. So basically I keep my Chicco in the car and for walks I use the jogging stroller.

{Optional} Stroller – My husband used to scoff that we had so many strollers so I hate to plant one more in your head. But if you are big travelers, you might want to add this Doona car seat to your registry. It has legs that pop out to make it a stroller – genius!

Umbrella Stroller – At some point you are going to want/need an umbrella stroller so if you are going to register for one, I’d say a Maclaren. If not, just grab a cheapie one at Toys R Us when you need it.

*WrapSolly Baby Wrap. Hands down the best. The fabric is so light, so much better than the one I had four years ago. And so many cute fabrics.

solly baby wrap

*Ergo  -The Ergo serves as different purpose than the Solly. For longer, more rugged outings. And you can fit toddlers in them! I think this is something you can borrow for trips or as needed unless your family is really active and outdoorsy.

Stroller Accessories – Here’s a standard organizing case here and this ring was helpful.

*Diaper Bag – Fun to get one with my first, now I have my purse! Buy Buy Baby has cute ones (see this post) and Barrington Gifts has one you can customized the fabrics you can get monogrammed.

Shopping Cart Cover – Had one with my first two, by the third, nope! Probably will with Louise though. But someone did send me this Binxy Baby sling and it looks awesome.

copper pearl

*Car Seat Cover – The Aden + Anais swaddling blankets work fine for covering infant carriers. But Copper Pearl sent me this car seat cover and I’m hooked. I love how it fits snugly on the car seat and you can peek inside using the slit in the top. Perfect if you are a germaphobe like me (I have to be with a preemie!) and want a secure cover. They come is so many cute patterns, too! Great gift in my opinion.

*Travel Crib/Playyard – I would buy something that functions as both. We always had Graco with my others and it did the job. Chicco gifted us this playyard with a lot of bells and whistles. It’s great if you want second sleeping/changing station (say downstairs if the baby’s room is upstairs). But the Nuna or 4Moms are more simple in design, both offer a bassinet insert, and can function as both a playyard and travel crib. They don’t offer an area for supplies but I don’t think that’s really necessary. Moms: really use your playpen. Our generation doesn’t do that as much for it’s good and okay for babies to be confined like this so you can get some things done!

Health & Safety

*Video Baby Monitor – With my first two we had a Summer Video Monitor. Worked fine, but scratchy (that was ten years ago though!). With my third, y’all, this is funny, but I just bought a $30 noise-only monitor like our parents used. But because our fourth baby is a preemie I really wanted a nice video monitor that I could trust so I did a lot of research on this one. Now there are so many neat baby monitor systems out there that you can put on your phone (Nanit for example) but I wanted an actual monitor. Why? I am on my phone a lot! Now if I was working outside the home I might want Nanit or NEST. But I went with the Motorola MBP855 Connect. Its a monitor and you can put an app on your phone so you can view through wifi (even when not at home). It’s not scratchy and has worked well so far. It’s one of the best-selling ones at Buy Buy Baby. Note: Amazon has a good price on one with two cameras.

*Owlet Baby Monitor – This is a pulse oximeter much like what they use in the NICU (not hospital grade, I am sure, but it sure feels like it). It measures baby’s heart rate and breathing rate and alarms and send an alert to your phone if either one of those drops. Now I would never have bought this for my healthy third child (see note above about monitor!). But because I had such a traumatic pregnancy, and almost lost her several times, I had such anxiety about bringing Louise home. So this let me sleep and not be tempted to watch her all night long. Honestly, I didn’t even set our video monitor up until recently because of the Owlet (and she hasn’t been in her crib much!). But even a video monitor – no matter what they claim – cannot accurately tell if a baby is breathing properly or not. (Note: The Owlet is way more accurate than the Angelcare that you put underneath the mattress to track breathing). Summary: not necessity unless you cannot sleep at night because you are tapping your baby constantly to make sure they are still breathing.

*Thermometer – We have had several varieties of temporal thermometers. (I like the Exergen brand). I’d register for one, but when your baby has a really high fever you are going to want a more accurate reading so have a simple digital thermometer on hand. There’s one included in this Nursery Care Kit I linked above under hygiene. This time around I am debating buying this Smartech themometer. I think it would be good for older kids, too. Your phone will alert you if their temp spikes in the middle of the night.

*Humidifier – This is one item I wish I registered for but didn’t. One night your baby is going to get sick and can’t breathe. Out of desperation you’ll send your husband to CVS to buy a humidifier, but will wish you had bought one earlier, one you really want. This Crane humidifier is a great price, is easy to clean, and a best-selling item at Buy Buy Baby. And it comes in several colors. Another option when you have a sick baby is to run a really hot shower (not with the baby in it, of course!) to steam up your bathroom. Then sit with your baby and let her breathe in the moist air to help clear up her lungs.

Nasal Aspirator – When you leave the hospital, be sure to take the hospital grade bulb they give your baby (otherwise they just throw it away!). There’s also one in the kit listed below. Otherwise, try the Nose Frida contraption.

Hand SanitizerBabyganics all the way! Love that they have individually wrapped wipes to stick in your purse. All my girls have a mini pump in their backpack.

Vitamin Supplements – My doctor recommended my preemie get iron supplementation but the Polyvisol from the store just tastes horrible! She wouldn’t take a bottle when it was in there. So I researched and found these drops. Also, for breastfed babies that require Vitamin D supplementation, these drops are better than what you find in store. Made with coconut oil and you just dab a drop on your nipple before breastfeeding. And it lacks all the dyes.

 

At Home

*Swing – Mamaroo all the way! Swings have gotten so much better than when my oldest was born. This is the only swing they will use in most NICUS by the way. The gentle, natural movements are soothing for preemies and all babies really! And it’s really quiet.

Bouncer – Didn’t get one this time around. Now if you have a really fussy baby and need a lot of “activities” in your arsenal then maybe get one. But I don’t think one is better than the other.

*Rocker – I love the Rock N Play.  Most people will tell you they love it, too. It folds up and can be transported easily. I keep  my Mamaroo Swing downstairs in the den and this upstairs. It’ s not expensive and great for grandparents’ houses, too. Buy Buy Baby has a Jonathan Adler one that is super cute.

Rock N Play

Playmat – Don’t have one for my fourth.  If I want to put her on the floor I just lay out a quilt with some toys. Babies are supposed to be on their tummies as much as possible when awake anyway. However, if you want a playmat, I would splurge for one that has lights and sounds like this Fisher-Price mat. The minimalist ones are pretty but they don’t so much to entertain/distract etc.

Toys – Babies don’t need many toys. You will get some as gifts regardless so I wouldn’t register for a ton. But a few that are essential for my babies: this  Baby Einstein crib aquarium. My girls loved this until they were out of the crib! They eventually self-soothed with it when they were old enough to hit the buttons themselves, Sophie the Giraffe of course for teething, some plastic keys. And board books galore. I have our favorite classic board books listed here.  This was my daughter’s favorite lovey A cute toy that Louise likes on her carrier is this musical toy that she can tug on (and she does!).

Update: Bumbo – I forgot about this until Louise got to be around 4 months. They are really wanting to start to sit up more around this age but need help. If you have a fussy baby this might make him/her a bit happier to see what’s going on in the world! It’s worth getting the tray for them to easily with play with toys and look at books.

Clothing Favorites – My favorite boutique brands are Magnolia Baby, Lullaby Set, The Beaufort Bonnet Company, just to name a few. I also like daygowns for easy diaper changes (they are for both boys and girls).

Diaper Covers (girls) – LZ Monograms on Instagram is who made mine.

Socks – I’m sorry I just don’t like socks that look like shoes (on babies). I am old-fashioned that way (and odd, I know!) but for plain white socks that don’t slip off, Jeffries are great.

Shoes – I don’t put my tiny babies in shoes that often, but when in doubt I would get something soft and white at Hip Hip Hooray (they ship!). Also, Freshly Picked sent me some adorable white moccasins that Louise is just fitting into.

Baby book – I love the Emily Ley book but also this Artifact Uprising one is a pretty minimalist book. And this Peeps book is very simple but oh so pretty.

 

 

 

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73 thoughts on “DoSayGive’s Essential Baby Registry Checklist

  1. Expecting baby #4 and this list couldn’t have come at a better time! It is amazing how much baby stuff changes and SO quickly! Thank you.

  2. Such a good refresher! It’s been almost 4 years and it’s crazy how many new things there are in just a short amount of time!

  3. I love mustela products so much , and love the shea moisture baby bath stuff too! Smells amazing ! I am a sucker for the warm wipes 😜 but I eye roll bottle warmers ! Funny how we all have our own things 😍😍 great read ! Thanks lee

  4. Reading your list as I sit here in postpartum after having twins that wanted to celebrate Halloween instead of Thanksgiving like they were supposed to! Hoping they don’t have to spend too much time in NICU, but glad to see I have picked some of your favorite products!

    1. Congrats to you! I know you weren’t expecting them early but I am so happy they are doing well and hopefully will be going home soon!

  5. I have followed you for a while on IG and today sent your baby list to my daughter who is having my first granddarling in March. She said it was the best, most helpful list she’s seen. Bunny, my grandma name, is getting educated, too. Your children are just darling.

  6. Lee, I’m a mom of three (and done!) but I wanted to say that you nailed it! Every go-to tip that I have, you listed. 👏🏻👏🏻One minor thing I would add is a clip-on high chair (inglesina brand on Amazon) for counters, in addition to the IKEA one. It’s a bit more snug for the earlier days and more convenient when everyone isn’t around the dining table.

  7. Thanks for sharing Lee. We are 4 months into our second set of twins. This time we have girls! We are recycling all the baby gear from when I had my boys four years ago but definitely going to splurge on a few new and helpful items you mentioned!

  8. Expecting baby #4….this is perfect! I need a few new things- including a diaper pail so I will be taking your advice. Thank you!!

  9. Great post, passing this on to all my friends who are expecting and plan to get some of the items still with my 7 week old. Already got the micellar water thanks to your earlier post!

  10. I love these posts, they are so help to people who are just starting out like myself. I’ve made so many notes haha. Thank you!

  11. I am currently pregnant with my first girl and have spent hours perusing friends’ registeries, but yours was so helpful!! And I appreciate that you have had multiple children so have much more experience with the products than a lot of my friends! Would love to win a Halo sleep sack!

  12. great post! I have to say I have loved my Milk Snob combo carseat cover and nursing cover. it is so soft and provides great coverage/privacy for a modest mom like me.

  13. This was so very helpful to me!! I am pregnant with my 1st and the registries are so overwhelming. Thanks for doing this!

  14. Thank you, Lee. I found everything in your post so helpful. Our new grand baby Eloise would love to try the Halo sack. She is our first!

  15. Thank you for all the recommendations! It is overwhelming trying to register/buy items for baby girl due in February. Good to have a real mom’s advice on what is needed vs. what we can go without.

  16. Love your blog and this post! Just had my 3rd child. I was familiar with some of the things you mentioned, but you introduced me to some new products that I plan to try out. Thanks!

  17. We loved Halo sleep sacks for our daughter, and now that we just welcomed a baby boy, we are updating our collection with cute new boy-friendly patterns. Would love to win this giveaway. 💙

  18. Oh my goodness! Such great stuff! I’m pregnant with my third and am bookmarking this list for my registry! Thanks so much!

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