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. Which is why we’ve compiled the ultimate baby registry checklist, so you don’t forget a thing.
What Is a Baby Registry?
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 present gifts to the parents-to-be. 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.
When to Register for Baby?
While you can create a baby registry at any time, most moms-to-be start going through their baby registry checklist when they’re about 12 weeks along. That may seem early, but building a baby registry can take some work—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 baby registry essentials. (Plus, your guests will need some time to browse through your registry and pick out the perfect gift!)
Best Baby Registry: Where to Register for Baby?
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 perks you’re after, some choices are better than others. Here are some of the best places to register for baby:
The beauty of an Amazon baby registry is that it’s universal, meaning you can pick and choose 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.
Pottery Barn Kids
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.
Buy Buy Baby
Buy Buy Baby boasts everything from cleaning materials to baby clothes and car seats. When you register, you’ll get a goody bag filled with samples and coupons. And you don’t have to build your registry alone—friends can pitch in with suggestions from their own registry!
Crate & Kids
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 registry for baby.
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!)
What to Register for Baby?
Now comes the slightly harder part—figuring out which are the baby registry must-haves. 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 medical director of Gramercy Pediatrics in New York City, on what those must-haves might be. Here’s what she finds hugely helpful, along with some of our own must-have baby registry items:
- Infant car seat
- Stroller or baby carrier
- Layette (aka set of newborn clothing)
- Crib, mattress, mattress cover and crib sheets
- Baby monitor
- Bottles, a breast pump if breastfeeding, formula if not
- Bibs and burp cloths
- Newborn-size disposable or cloth diapers and wipes
- Baby bath tub and toiletries
- Baby first aid kit, rectal thermometer and nail clippers
- Baby bouncer
These are some of the top baby registry essentials—see below for a complete baby registry checklist.
Second baby registry
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. There are certain products that are generally safe to reuse—assuming they’re still in good condition and meet current safety standards—including:
- Cloth diapers
- Glass bottles
- Baby carriers
- Baby monitor
That said, you’re still going to need a bunch of baby registry essentials for your new addition, such as disposable diapers and wipes, bath supplies, bottle nipples and pacifiers, even a car seat (since they expire). And while you may be able to reuse your stroller, a double stroller or one that can accommodate multiple kids is a smart buy. “It’ll make everything easier,” Hes says. Other baby registry must-haves ? Big brother and big sister explainer books, like Sesame Street’s Welcome Baby! book.
What not to registry for
There are plenty of must-haves to add to your baby registry checklist, but what are those baby items that you can actually skip? Here, a few products you can safely pass on:
• Crib bumpers. “They’re a hazard, because kids can gets their heads wedged between the bumpers and the bars,” Hes explains. The AAP strongly advises against the use of bumpers, saying they pose a risk of suffocation, strangulation or entrapment.
• Wipe warmers. In the end, baby’s bottom will be clean regardless of whether the wipe is warm or cold. If you think it’s 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 or socks for now.
Baby Registry Checklist
There’s a seemingly endless list of baby registry items that could land on your checklist—so which products actually deserve a spot? Here, your ultimate baby registry checklist for the necessities you’ll need to have on hand when baby arrives. Happy shopping!
- 4-8 onesies (wide head openings and loose legs)
- 4-8 undershirts (snaps at neck or wide head openings, snaps under crotch)
- 4-8 one-piece pajamas
- 2 blanket sleepers for winter baby
- 1-3 sweaters or jackets (front buttoned)
- 1-3 rompers or other dress-up outfits
- 4-7 socks or booties (shoes are unnecessary until baby walks
- 1-3 hats (broad-brimmed for a summer baby, soft cap that covers ears for a winter baby)
- No-scratch mittens
- Bunting bag or fleece suit for a winter baby
- Crib, cradle or bassinet
- Firm, flat mattress that fit snugly in crib (less than two fingers should fit between mattress and crib)
- Rocking or arm chair
- Baby monitor
- A cool mist humidifier (warm mist can breed bacteria in the humidifier)
- Toy basket
- 1-3 washable crib mattress pads
- 2-4 fitted crib sheets
- 4-6 soft, light receiving blankets
- 1-2 heavier blankets (for colder climates)
- Changing table or cushioned changing pad for low dresser or bureau, with safety strap or railing
- Diaper pail and liners
- Diaper bag
- Diaper cream
- Unscented baby wipes (causes less irritation)
- Soft washcloths
- 6-10 dozen cloth diapers and 6-8 diaper covers, or 2-3 large boxes of disposable newborn-size diapers
- Baby bathtub
- Baby soap
- Baby shampoo
- 2-4 soft towels or hooded baby towels
- Baby hairbrush
- Soft washcloths (use a different color or pattern than your diaper washcloths!)
- Gentle laundry detergent
- 10-16 bottles and nipples, both 4- and 8- ounce (if fed strictly by bottle, baby will go through about 10 in the 4-ounce size per day)
- Pump (if you plan to breastfeed)
- Milk storage bags (if you plan to breastfeed)
- Nursing pads (if you plan to breastfeed)
- Nipple cream (if you plan to breastfeed)
- Nursing pillow (if you plan to breastfeed)
- Bottle brush
- Dishwasher basket for small items
- 4-8 bibs
- Burp cloths
- 2-4 pacifiers
- Formula (if not nursing)
- Baby nail clippers or blunt scissors
- Baby thermometer
- Petroleum jelly and sterile gauze (for circumcision care)
- First aid kit
- Infant or convertible car seat
- Stroller or infant carrier
- Baby swing or bouncer
- Playard with bassinet
- High chair
Missed something on your registry? Look for it on our deals and offers page.
Published July 2017