Your Ultimate Baby Registry Checklist
With a baby on the way, you may feel like there are a thousand to-dos. But one of the most important? Putting together your baby registry. Friends and family members will be eager to pick out presents for you and baby, so you may as well direct them to a list of items you actually want and need (and trust us, you’re going to need a fair amount). But with so many baby essentials to pick out, it’s hard to know where to begin and exactly what to register for baby. That’s why we’ve compiled the ultimate baby registry checklist, so you don’t forget a thing.
A baby registry is a list of baby products from a retail store that you’d like to stock up on in preparation for baby’s arrival. Anything you’d like can be included on your baby registry checklist, from smaller items like onesies and thermometers to big-ticket items like cribs and strollers. Just like a wedding registry, you can then share your baby registry with family, friends and baby shower guests eager to buy gifts. It’s up to you how many stores you create registries with—or you can opt for a universal baby registry that pulls products from various stories into one master list.
While you can create a baby registry at any time, most parents-to-be start going through their baby registry checklist when they’re about 12 weeks into the pregnancy. That may seem early, but building a baby registry can take some work—and infant care tends to call for a fair amount of stuff.
If you’re waiting to find out baby’s sex, you might want to hold off on creating your baby registry until you hear the news (which usually happens by 20 weeks), since it could influence which designs and color choices you go with. But don’t wait too much longer—you want to give yourself plenty of time to research the gear you’ll need and decide which items you’re going to count as top baby registry essentials. (Plus, your guests will need some time to browse through your registry and pick out the perfect gift!)
When it comes time to build your baby registry, you’ll have plenty of options available to you: Tons of stores offer registry set-up. But depending on your style, price range and the type of registry deals you’re after, some choices are better than others. Below are some of the best places to register for baby. (And check out this handy chart, which highlights some benefits and freebies for each.)
The beauty of an Amazon baby registry is that it’s universal, meaning you can pick and choose must-have baby registry items from any retailer, giving you endless product options. And if you have Amazon Prime, you can have it all in two days—with additional discounts to boot.
PB Kids has mastered the art of creating sweet nursery decor with sophisticated touches, like boho-inspired quilts, gilded mobiles and organic collections. There’s also personalization available for many of the items to add that extra-special touch. Plus, those buying for multiples get a special 10 percent discount.
While Target offers a huge selection of baby products, it’s especially good for finding colorful clothing and fun nursery accents. You can also add items from other retailers via their universal feature. Plus, enjoy a 15 percent discount on any of your remaining registry essentials.
Crate & Kids has design-forward specialty items galore. They even offer free nursery design services (because every baby deserves a Pinterest-worthy bedroom). And with a multiples discount and 10 percent registry completion discount, it takes the hassle out of deciding where to register for baby.
Known for its amazing discounts, Walmart is the perfect place for you to build your baby registry. “Hoo the owl” will guide you through the registry building experience, and based on the questions you answered at sign up, you’ll receive a pre-populated registry to help get you started. The items can be edited, so if you don’t like what you see, you’re free to change it up.
Love all these retailers but want to condense your registries into one comprehensive list? Check out The Bump baby registry. We sync your registries from your favorite stores within 24 hours, making it easy to share just one registry with your shower guests. (Fun fact: 80 percent of all moms in the US host their baby registry on The Bump!)
Now comes the slightly harder part—figuring out which are the baby registry must-haves. There’s a seemingly endless list of baby registry items that could potentially land on your checklist—so which products actually deserve a spot? When it comes to creating a baby registry checklist, there are no right and wrong answers—what you put on your wish list is completely up to you. But there are some things that are going to be crucial when caring for a newborn. We quizzed Dyan Hes, MD, the director of pediatrics for Concorde Medical Group, on what those top baby registry essentials might be. Here, your ultimate baby registry checklist for the necessities you’ll need to have on hand when baby arrives:
If this is baby number two (or three or more), you may not need to add as many items to your baby registry checklist, especially if you saved stuff from when your older kids were infants. But while certain products are safe to reuse, you’ll still need a bunch of new baby registry essentials for your new addition. These baby registry must-haves include:
Wondering what products are generally safe to reuse—assuming they’re still in good condition and meet current safety standards? These include things like clothes, bedding, cloth diapers, glass bottles, strollers, baby carriers, high chairs, baby baths, bouncers, swings and toys.
Crib bumpers. For years the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has strongly advised against the use of bumpers, saying they pose a risk of suffocation, strangulation or entrapment. They were finally banned in May 2022 with the passing of the Safe Sleep Act. “They’re a hazard, because kids can gets their heads wedged between the bumpers and the bars,” Hes explains.
Wipe warmers. In the end, baby’s bottom will be clean regardless of whether the wipe is warm or cold. What’s more, if baby gets accustomed to always having warm wipes, changing baby when you’re out of the house (and away from the warmer) will quickly become a headache. If you think the wipe is too chilly for baby’s comfort, hold the wipe between your hands for a couple minutes to heat it up (without drying it out).
Baby shoes. It doesn’t get much cuter than baby shoes, we know. But the truth is that infants just don’t need shoes—after all, baby’s not exactly walking anywhere, and your child is pretty likely to just kick them off. Stick with inexpensive booties, baby moccasins or socks for now.
Formula dispensers. Though they may sound great in theory, some automatic formula machines have been reported to add too much water to powdered formula while making prepared bottles, which is dangerous for babies, as it could lead to water intoxication.
Baby walkers. As exciting as it is to see baby start to walk, baby walkers are actually very dangerous to use and could actually wind up delaying baby’s progress. Plus, they pose big safety issues, as baby could accidentally roll down stairs or—since they’re seated higher in walkers—grab dangerous things that would otherwise be out of reach (like a hot drink on a table).
Teething gels. Teething gels that use benzocaine for pain—like Anbesol and Baby Orajel—not only lack major benefits but they also pose serious safety risks for babies. You’ll also want to avoid amber teething necklaces as they aren’t all that effective and actually pose a strangulation and choking risk. It’s best to steer clear and stick with safe teething toys instead.
Now that you know what to register for baby—and what to skip—start to check off items from your baby registry checklist! Trust us, when it comes to baby prep, this is one thing you’ll want to do sooner rather than later.
Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.
Dyan Hes, MD, is a pediatrician based in New York City and the director of pediatrics at Concorde Medical Group. She earned her undergraduate degree from Johns Hopkins University, her medical degree from Tel-Aviv University and completed her pediatric residency at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Healthy Children (American Academy of Pediatrics, How to Safely Prepare Baby Formula With Water, May 2022
US Food and Drug Administration, FDA takes action against the use of OTC benzocaine teething products due to serious safety risk, lack of benefit, May 2018
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