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The Ultimate Baby Registry Checklist: Must-Haves and What you Don't Need for First Time Moms | Words from a Mama
Disclosure: The links below are affiliate links. This means at no additional cost to you, I earn a small commission if you decide to click through and make a purchase. So you are expecting a new bundle of joy and are trying to figure out exactly what you need! Congratulations!! With over $70 Billion worth of baby products sold worldwide each year, there is no shortage of baby items to choose from. It can be completely overwhelming knowing what you actually need versus what is a luxury. It ends up taking a bit of trial and error and word of mouth through mommy friends…and quite honestly, it’s easy to end up wasting a ton of money on baby products that you won’t use. Not to worry though, after much research and testing, I have created a complete checklist of baby items to purchase (or register for) and categorized them into Must Haves, Nice to Haves, and Splurges. Must haves are those things that the vast majority of people will need to purchase for a baby. Nice to Haves are things that you could get by without, but they bring added convenience, peace of mind, or comfort, so I feel that they are worth the investment. Finally, splurges are things that are completely optional and dependent on your lifestyle. I’ve also included some of my personal recommendations and advice to help you navigate the ever-expanding market. For an FREE printable version of the checklist, download below: Also, if you are planning on creating a Baby registry, I recommend creating an Amazon Baby registry. Mostly because Amazon has the largest selection by far, but they also have some great perks. There is a 10% completion discount (make that 15% for Prime members), easy returns for 90 days, you can add products from any site (not just Amazon), and they provide free shipping over $25 (or free two-day shipping as always with Prime). Additionally, Prime members get a free welcome box, valued up to an estimated $35. It’s worth considering, especially now that Babies R’ Us is out of business. The Ultimate Baby Registry Checklist for First Time Moms Nursery: Must Haves: Crib A crib or a bassinet is the safest place for a baby to sleep, and you will definitely get a lot longer use out of a crib compared to a bassinet. It will also be easier for you to get your child sleeping in their own bedroom if you make the transition while they are still an infant. You will want to make sure that whatever you purchase meets the current safety standards: no drop-sides, slats no more than 2 3/8″ apart from each other, and no broken pieces. Don’t use a hand-me-down from another generation, you should look for a crib manufactured at least within the last 10 years since safety standards have changed so much. My Recommendation: Go with something that fits with your budget and your style (and meets safety standards). We have and LOVE the Tatum Convertible Crib from Pottery Barn; their furniture is always well-made, delivery is on-point, and their items are impeccably designed. So you can’t go wrong if you choose something from them. Fitted Crib Sheets (x3) You will obviously need some tight-fitting crib sheets for the cribs, and I highly recommend purchasing multiples. Many babies spit up frequently, so it’s great to always have a clean sheet on hand. If you are super on top of laundry, you will only need two, but what real-life mom is? My Recommendation: These Burt’s Bees Organic Crib Sheets are super soft, hold up through many washes, and are easy to get on and off of the mattress. They also come in a variety of colors and patterns so you can easily match your nursery decor. Crib Mattress Crib mattresses should be firm and fit tightly into the crib. You will want a mattress that leaves no more than 2 fingers worth of a cap between the sides of the crib. Many crib mattresses today have a firmer side for infants and a cushier side for toddlers so that you can simply flip it over as baby gets older. My Recommendation: This Sealy Soybean Core Hypoallergenic mattress is a great non-toxic option that is Greenguard Certified. Dresser You will of course need a place to store all of those cute baby clothes (and burp cloths and blankets and diapers and the list goes on and on). I recommend investing in a dresser that will grow with them through the years. Nice to Haves: Mattress Cover/Pad If you purchase a waterproof crib mattress, these are not completely necessary; however, they will help with preventing stains if you plan to use with multiple children (and through potty training). Look for something lightweight (no padding) and breathable. My Recommendation: The iLuvBamboo Crib Mattress Pad Protector is a great choice that will hold up through many washes and is soft and breathable. Changing Pad While not an absolute necessity (you could change baby on a towel on the floor or on the bed), changing pads are super convenient and worth the investment in my opinion. My Recommendation: Ditch the soft changing pads with covers and liners and invest in the Keekaroo Peanut Changer. You can find my full review here, but I think it is worth every single penny. Diaper Pail This another that you could live without, but likely won’t want to. It’s a pain to run every poopy diaper out to the trash, so having something that contains the smell a bit so you can extend time between taking the trash out is well worth it in my opinion. My Recommendation: I would say that the Ubbi and the Munchkin Step are both fantastic diaper pails. You really can’t go wrong with either of them, but the Ubbi is the winner for me because you don’t have to purchase special expensive bags. Read my full comparison of the two here if you are interested. Glider/Rocking Chair Unlike the phrase “I slept like a baby” suggests, most babies do not in fact sleep soundly for extended lengths of time. It’s great to have a rocker of some sort to rock them back to sleep and to feed them in right in the nursery so that you can quickly transition them into their crib as if you were holding a bomb that might explode at any minute. Look for a chair with high arms so that you can rest your elbow when holding baby. My Recommendation: I prefer Gliders for aesthetic purposes; this Noami Home Odelia Swivel Rocker Recliner is a great choice. It is comfy, has high arms, rocks smoothly and it reclines so that you don’t have to buy a separate ottoman (saving you space and money). Blackout Curtains Having blackout curtains will help you keep the room dark during nap times and help to keep baby from waking super early in the morning when the sun first starts to rise. My Recommendation: Get whatever goes with your style preferences and fits the decor of your nursery. These Nicetown Blackout Curtain Panels come in many colors and sizes and are truly blackout curtains, so that make a great pick. Baby Video Monitor Even if you plan to have baby sleep in your room, during nap time it is super handy to have a video monitor to keep an eye on baby. If you do choose to purchase a WiFi monitor, make sure it is secure. There have been reports of monitors being hacked and creeps talking to babies over them. SCARY! My Recommendation: Given my note above, we elected to go with a non-WiFi monitor. After purchasing two Samsung monitors, the third time was the charm with this CasaCam Video Baby Monitor. The 5″ monitor actually has the same user interface as Samsung, plus it has a temperature monitor, automatic night vision, two way audio, lullabies, a nightlight, zoom, and a HD pan and tilt camera. It also comes with a handy docking station for the monitor. We love ours and highly recommend it. Sound Machine Sound machines can really help to drown out outside noise for your baby to keep them from being awoken. It’s also really soothing for them and can help them to fall asleep easier. Many of them have built in night lights as well. I turn this on at night so that I can see to feed my son….so it’s a great feature to look for. My Recommendation: There are so so many options out there, and honestly most any of them will work fine so don’t stress over this one. I do recommend finding one that you can run by plugging into the wall or with batteries so that you can easily take it with you when you travel. Splurges: Mobile Full disclosure, I purchased a mobile for both of my children because they are adorable, and I really enjoyed designing a nurse for each of them. This was a final touch that just makes it look complete. With that said, my children didn’t give a hoot about their mobiles. They preferred staring at the wall and crib slats over it (and they even played music!). Mobiles are also quickly outgrown, so just keep all of that in mind if you do decide to purchase. Bedding Set (Crib Skirt, Quilt, etc.) You don’t have to have any additional bedding items to what I outlined above. A bed skirt will make many cribs look nicer when the mattresses sit up higher (you can’t use when they are lowered down), and a quilt can be nice for when baby becomes a toddler. Bumpers are safety hazards and are no longer recommended. My Recommendation: Buy a crib skirt now and buy a quilt with their favorite character on it when they are old enough to care (and old enough to use it too). Bassinet Buying a bassinet is not truly a necessity. Many people choose to have baby sleep in their crib from the start or use a pack-n-play in their room until baby is ready to transition. However, many bassinets are convenient if you have the extra money to spend. Bassinet Sheets If you do go the bassinet route, make sure you buy extra sheets for those middle of the night blowouts or frequent spit up episodes that babies just love to have. Changing Table Buying a specific piece of furniture for changing baby is just simply not necessary. Most people these days opt to use a dresser with a changing pad or change baby on a bed. Baby Movement Monitor There are tons of baby monitoring devices that track heart rates and oxygen levels coming on to the market these days (this Owlet smart sock is one example). The reason I say these are splurges is that evidence suggests that these devices cause parents more harm than good by causing unnecessary concern with false alarms; some of them have high levels of inaccuracy (missing low rates that should be alarmed) since they are not independently tested. Furthermore there is no evidence that they reduce SIDS risk. If you do decide to purchase one of these devices, research the accuracy and false positives. Otherwise, you may just be buying yourself more worry. Bathtime: Must Haves: Baby Tub This one would be pretty difficult to live without until a baby is able to sit up on their own. It’s pretty hard to hold a wet, slippery fragile newborn and wash them at the same time, so I think it’s worth investing in something. If not a full blown tub, then at least an inexpensive bath sling. My Recommendation: The Munchkin Sit and Soak Baby Bath Hard Tub, a simple lightweight bath tub that has exactly what you need for 0-12 months. It keeps baby warm by having them tilted at the right angle so they aren’t exposed. The handle doubles as a hook for storage and easy to clean. Baby body wash Look for something...