I have been working on this Baby Registry Essentials List for over a year now {since I was pregnant with Mara}! My goal was to have it published before the end of 2017, so here I am with two days to spare! 😉

I know having a new baby can be SO overwhelming. When you walk into a baby store to register and see the wall with 197 bottle choices, it makes you want to give up & leave that place crying.

I am here to help you by sharing all the baby essentials that I have used with all four of my babies over the last 6 years! We try to be as minimalistic as possible, so I’ve kept this list as short as I can while still being helpful! {Be sure to check out my Thriving Postpartum: What To Expect and Essentials for Mom post too, which are all the things that make the enormous change of having a new baby easier for you and I}!

The most important thing to remember….

Your baby can survive with some warm clothes and mommy’s love & milk. So these are just things that have made our lives so much easier.

This is a comprehensive Baby Registry Essentials List from a mom of four! All the items I couldn't live without and have stood the test of time! #babyregistry #essentials #babygear #babymusthaves #newborn #newmom

 Baby Registry Essentials List: Baby Care/Gear

I know it may seem weird to register for things like diapers and wipes, but with each child we added to our family I would get more excited about opening a box of diapers than a cute outfit!

DIAPERS Galore! Unless you have a super tiny baby (5 lbs and under) your little one will grow out of the Newborn size very quickly! I usually just buy a small package of newborn diapers and stock up on Size 1 and size 3/4 (they are in size 3 for a long time). You can never have too many diapers.

WipesYou never want to be without wipes!

Diaper genie + refills….we didn’t register for one of these, but within 2 days of bringing Bethany home Ritch went out and bought one! Especially when you are waking up in the middle of the night and changing diapers, you don’t want to have to deal with the smell! This item was even more essential when we had Bethany because we lived in a condo and couldn’t just throw diapers away in the garbage outside!

Burp cloths. I recommend the lightweight flannel ones because you can also use them to cover up when nursing

Clothes: Baby can’t be nakie all the time. 😉 If you have strong opinions about your baby’s style, then registering for clothes you love is a great choice! Also, if you have friends who are a bit ahead of you in the baby phase and they offer you hand-me-downs…accept them! I didn’t have to buy clothes for Bethany OR Gabe until they were like 4 because of generous friends who gave me all their kids’ old clothes!

Gentle laundry detergent: you don’t necessarily need a detergent that’s made for babies, any free and clear laundry detergent is a great choice! However, I love Dreft detergent. The newborn baby smell is my favorite {like I wish I could bottle it}. And to me, Dreft is a huge part of that. So I buy it for the first year of my babies’ lives…and I’m pretty sure once they’re grown and I miss the baby phase I’ll start washing my own clothes in it…. 😉

Baby soapBasically from birth we bathe our kids every night. We like to think the bath signals that it’s bedtime. This Aveeno Lavender soap and lotion {below} is what I have always used, and I think also contributes to the amazing new baby smell.

Baby lotionYour baby will shed her skin in her first month of life, it’s totally normal! However, it always makes me feel better to lotion them up to keep their skin baby soft!

Baby grooming/safety kitThe essential items in this kit are the nail clippers and files, nose sucker and baby brush! I used one set for two kids and then someone got me a refresher for baby #3! It’s awesome having these items on hand all in one place!

Gear

Baby MonitorBefore we had Bethany I thought parents with a video baby monitor were a little bit cuckoo! However, after we bought one for $15 at a garage sale my life was forever changed. I LOVE being able to check in on my babies without going into their room. We actually bought a security camera that we can view on our phone instead of a baby monitor.

The only downside to the security camera we use is that you can’t leave it on all night next to your bed. After we had Mara we bought this audio monitor for $15 just to be sure we could hear her in the middle of the night. It’s SO powerful we had to cover it with a pillow lol!

On the go: 

 Diaper BagI waited until baby #3 to get a Petunia Pickle Bottom diaper bag and I wish I didn’t! I LOVE it SO much I can’t even tell you! After two years of use it still looks as amazing as the day it arrived on my doorstep! I couldn’t recommend their products any more highly! I especially recommend one that can become a backpack because the more kids you have, the more important “hands free” becomes! It’s machine washable too which is a major plus!

Infant carseat with baseBritax is by far my favorite car seat company. All of our older kids are sitting in them and I almost bought a new one when I was pregnant with Mara! However, I don’t think you need anything fancy, they’re all pretty comparable. I suggest buying a gender neutral color if you plan on having more than one kid!

Stroller: I only have the BOB strollers (double and single) and the car seat attachment so I can easily put the car seat in it. They are literally the only strollers we have and will ever own.

Baby Carriers

I am a carrier junkie, they make life so much easier. Plus if you have a baby who likes to be held it gives you the freedom to do other things while holding them (Gabe would ONLY sleep on me for the first two months of his life lol). These are my two favorites:

Solly Baby WrapI discovered this wrap when I had Mara and I wish it didn’t take me until my fourth baby to learn about the wonders of the Solly Baby Wrap! It’s my ALL TIME favorite carrier {and I have used them all}. It’s so soft and breathable! Plus it’s super comfortable, I have worn Mara all day long and I don’t even think about it!

I toss Mara in the wrap everywhere we go. Wether it’s grocery shopping, a trip to the children’s museum or on a walk around the neighborhood, she’s always right there with me. I am a firm believer in the idea of the “fourth trimester,” when your baby still feels like you and her are one person and she needs lots of extra snuggles. Why oh why would I leave my baby strapped into her carseat when she could be snuggled up with me?! I will never understand that, but I digress! 😉

Ergo: This was my favorite all around carrier before Mara. Honestly I haven’t used it yet with her but I know I will now that she is getting to the point where she can bust out of the Solly! It is great on your back and you can carry up to a 2 year old in it. I use this one for hiking.

Somewhere to set your baby down! 

Even though I wear my babies a lot, having somewhere to put them instead of your arms or a carrier is super helpful. You do NOT need all of these, but I wanted to give my thoughts on each option:

Pack ‘N Play. This is great for traveling. You don’t want to be stuck without being able to put your baby down for her nap. I have friends whose babies sleep in one of these for the first year of their lives! However since we are all about the crib, I can honestly say we don’t use this very much, but we’re glad to have it!

Bounce seat or swing: We have a bouncy seat  that I love and use all the time, but only until my babies are about 3 months old. It’s just nice to have a place to put the baby while you cook or go to the bathroom! We never used a swing but some people love them.

Activity Gym: I bought this one when we had Mara {because the other one was worn out after three babies} and I LOVE IT! It’s so soft and SO SO cute! They only use them until they can crawl/toddle around, but it’s a great way to entertain your baby for a little while.  My older kids love laying on it with the baby and playing with her!

Walker : I like the walker because your baby can move around and be part of the action! Mara hasn’t warmed up to ours yet, but Naomi and Gabe both LOVED it!

This is a comprehensive Baby Registry Essentials List from a mom of four! All the items I couldn't live without and have stood the test of time! #babyregistry #essentials #babygear #babymusthaves #newborn #newmom

Baby Registry Essentials List: Feeding

Bumbo with tray. We love our bumbo and use it all the time. It’s a great place to feed your baby solid foods if they’re too young for the high chair! It’s also wonderful to toss in the back of your minivan to bring along when you have dinner at other people’s homes who might not have an extra high chair for you to use!

Bottles: I have used the Tommee Tippee brand with all four of my kids and have really liked them. I don’t use them very much because I exclusively breastfeed. We do make sure that I pump and feed our babies bottles before they are 6 weeks old, because we didn’t do that with Gabe and he never took a bottle {read: I could never leave him}. I literally only own three and that’s plenty!

High chair. We have a wooden one and love it. I highly recommend purchasing a model with a removable tray because it makes cleaning SO much easier. Also, you definitely want one that you can wipe down easily {i.e. NO fabric high chairs}!

Bibs! These waterproof bibs with a “crumb catcher” ROCK. We can’t believe it took us 4 years to find them. I love that I can wash them with soap and water after each feeding and they dry super fast too!

Breast Pump. Once my baby is sleeping from 9 PM-5 AM I start pumping and storing milk. During the 5 AM feeding I pump on one side while I nurse on the other. I also use it to pump when we go on dates {I have pumped in some strange places. Most recently and notably a skybox at a Jazz game LOL}. I have the car adapter because sometimes it’s easier to pump and feed the baby a bottle, like if we’re going out to dinner or have another activity where I want to be fully present right at nursing time. Getting used to pumping really allows nursing mommas some invaluable freedoms!

Breastmilk Storage Bags. I stockpile milk in my freezer in these bags. Like literally right now {Mara is 8 months old} half of my standing freezer in the basement is full of breastmilk {TMI?!?!}! I love having the freedom to go on a date with Ritch knowing I have plenty of milk for my babies on hand. I also have been able to still feed my babies my milk for almost a month after I wean them because of my supply.

Spoons/bowlsI just discovered these Avanchy bowls and spoons and I love them! I really appreciate that the bowl suctions to the table and the silicone spoons make scraping Mara’s face clean a breeze! I prefer these smaller spoons than the wider ones that come with the bowl FYI!

VitamixAre you surprised this is on my list?! I hope not! LOL! I bought my first Vitamix to make baby food for Bethany…and the rest is history.

Silicone ice cube traysI use these to freeze homemade baby food in after I make large batches of it. I couldn’t live without them!

This is a comprehensive Baby Registry Essentials List from a mom of four! All the items I couldn't live without and have stood the test of time! #babyregistry #essentials #babygear #babymusthaves #newborn #newmom

Baby Registry Essentials List: Nursery/Sleeping

Babywise. Training your kids to sleep is SO IMPORTANT I can’t even tell you. All of my girls have slept through the night {8 hours} by 6 weeks old. This means that I am not a sleep-deprived zombie for the first year of my baby’s life and I get to actually enjoy it. Seriously just read this book & do what it says {while remembering that your baby is not a robot and will not behave as one}! I recommend this to every parent I meet!

Crib: I am a lucky lady and my husband is a master woodworker…so he built the crib all of our babies have slept in! {and the dresser, and the nightstand…} If you plan on having more than one baby, I recommend investing in a crib that is built to last!

Crib Mattress & Mattress Cover: We put our babies in their crib on day 1, so a quality mattress has always been really important to me. We bought a dual-firmness mattress thinking we’d be using it on a toddler bed one day…well 7 years later and that day has never come because we keep having babies! For the safest sleep be sure to buy a very firm mattress. Also, a machine-washable mattress cover is worth it’s weight in gold {even though they’re only like $15}! Our mattress is still in like-new condition after four babies have slept on it because we always keep it protected!

Swaddle blankets. I am a huge advocate for swaddling. All my girls loved being swaddled! And I enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing they won’t wake themselves up by involuntarily hitting themselves in the face! 🙂 This Miracle Swaddle Blanket is absolutely my favorite one. I know it looks like a straight jacket {LOL} BUT it works SO well and your baby won’t be able to bust out of them until they are old enough to roll over and graduate from the swaddle all together!

LOVEYI could go on and on about how important I think it is to give babies a lovey. As soon as we stop swaddling our infants we give them a lovey, but only when it’s time to sleep. I even put a little breastmilk on it so it smells like me & they become attached to it. That paired with putting them in a sleep sack {see below} are the cues that it’s bedtime. Literally within seconds of each one of my kids being handed their lovies they calm down and start snuggling to go to sleep. The one we use for our kids {and I stocked up on} was discontinued…but this one is close to it!

Sleep sacks!!! Once your baby can has graduated from the swaddle, these are the best way to keep them warm. Loose blankets in the crib are a big no-no. So a pair of footie PJs and one of these will ensure that your little one is toasty warm all night. My kids literally sleep in these sleep sacks until they are 18 months to TWO years old {<~Gabe LOL}!

White noise machine. Every room in our hose has one of these Dohm white noise machines. It helps me relax knowing that my kids are less likely to hear loud noises while it’s running. I love this one because there is an actual fan inside, not just a digital recording of soothing sounds!   

Changing pad/coverYou’ll be changing lots of diapers, it’s important to have a safe, cozy place to do that!

Glider!!!! Ok you will spend a TON Of time in your glider. Even if you don’t nurse you will be rocking your baby and feeding her bottles in the middle of the night. I got one like this from a friend second hand for $100 after I had Gabe and I absolutely couldn’t live without it. The reclining feature is KEY. It has saved my neck and back SO MUCH. I know it’s SO expensive but it is seriously it’s SO worth it!!!!  THIS is where I’d invest serious money if I had to choose one item!

Cribs/crib sheets. Make sure you have at least two sheets for the inevitable spit up and poop incidents in the middle of the night.  I do NOT recommend the whole crib bedding sets. They are really just for looks. The bumpers and quilts are actually dangerous for your baby. They are crazy expensive and unnecessary and go against all the sleep “rules” (i.e. who would put a heavy quilt in their newborn’s bed?!) You can decorate their nursery in other ways and it’ll still be adorable! These sheets from Burt’s Bee’s are SO soft and stretchy and are by far my favorites!

 

Baby Registry Essentials List: Older baby/kid needs

The next car seat you will need! I love Britax! We transition to the Britax Marathon when they graduate from the infant seat.  And from the marathon they go to the Britax Frontier. They’re so comfortable and safe, but they’re a bit pricey so if you could register for them, by all means do it!

Clothes of all sizes. I know it seems funny to register up to size 2T but you will be so thankful. They don’t really need many NB-size 6 month clothes because they grow SO FAST, but they stay in sizes 12M-18M and 2T for longer.

Gro clockLiterally the BEST PURCHASE EVER.  Once they get old enough and are switched to a big kid bed you will need to sleep train them again. We have used this clock since Bethany was 18 months old, and we taught her {along with all our other kids} that if it’s blue you stay in bed, when it’s yellow you can get up. Life. Saver.

Well that’s all she wrote. Again I can’t stress enough that you don’t need anything but a few onesies and a safe place for your baby to sleep…but all these modern inventions really make the newborn stage much easier!

Question: Is there anything I missed? What’s your favorite baby item?! 

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This is a comprehensive Baby Registry Essentials List from a mom of four! All the items I couldn't live without and have stood the test of time! #babyregistry #essentials #babygear #babymusthaves #newborn #newmom