Editor's Picks: Top 10 Items to Add to Your Baby Registry
Most expectant parents start their baby registry early in the second trimester, when you’ve gotten through the uncertainty (and queasiness) of the first three months and can begin to wrap your head around the reality that this baby is coming. But with the amount of stuff babies need, curating your baby registry as a first-time parent can feel more than a little daunting. I get it—almost three years later, I still remember the late-night Googling as I researched the safest car seats and the softest crib sheets out there. My saving grace was hearing from other parents what they found to be must-have items. While this is far from a comprehensive list (for a complete registry checklist, head here), these are some things I think should be on every mom-to-be’s registry—all conveniently found on Amazon for easy registering.
Not only is this an essential piece of gear for life with a baby (since anytime you get into a car, be it your own or a taxi, you’ll need to use it), but you won’t be able to leave the hospital with your newborn without one. The good news is that car seats are federally regulated for safety, meaning every car seat sold in the US has to meet the same safety standards. Still, different car seats have different features (for extra safety, for easy install, for extended use, etc.), so it does behoove you to do a little research and figure out which will best fit your family’s needs.
A car seat I recommend is the Maxi-Cosi Mico Max 30. It’s super-lightweight (your back will thank you), compatible with a whole bunch of stroller brands, offers side impact and rebound protection and even has self-deodorizing, wicking fabric to keep baby dry and comfy.
My pick: Maxi-Cosi Mico Max 30 Infant Car Seat, $250, Amazon.com
Our baby carrier was one of the most-used items from my registry. I simply can’t fathom making it through the first year and a half of my daughter’s life without it. I put her in the carrier when I ran errands in the neighborhood, when I walked our dog, on public transportation (hauling a stroller up and down New York City subway stairs wasn’t all too appealing), on hikes through the woods and even around the house when she wanted to be held and I needed the use of my hands.
There are a bunch of different styles out there (wraps, slings, structured carriers, soft carriers, etc.). I own the BabyBjorn Baby Carrier One and absolutely love it; it’s versatile, machine-washable and easy to get on and off without anyone else’s help.
My picks: BabyBjorn Baby Carrier One, $190, Amazon.com
Even if you’re into the idea of babywearing, you’re still going to need a stroller, especially as baby grows. Long strolls and outings that involve things you’d otherwise have to carry (be it baby items or heavy groceries) definitely call for a well-built stroller. There are tons of options, of course. I recommend looking for one that’s sturdy with a smooth push, a big basket, a generous sun canopy and an easy fold as basic requirements.
Hands-down one of the best strollers on the market is the UppaBaby Vista. It’s pricey, but the quality is outstanding, the basket is massive, the multiple seat configurations are handy and the attention to detail is very much appreciated. Given that it can convert into a double stroller, you’ll get plenty of use out of it even as your family grows.
Buy it: UppaBaby Vista V2 Stroller, $970, Amazon.com
Yes you’ll need a crib, but unless the crib can fit into your own bedroom, I recommend registering for a bassinet as well. For the first few months of baby’s life, it’s not only safer for your child to sleep in your room (it lowers the risk of SIDS), but it’s way more convenient too. Baby is going to wake up multiple times a night, and it’s much more pleasant to lean over to a bedside bassinet to soothe or feed your little one than stumbling bleary-eyed down the hallway.
We had the HALO Bassinest Swivel Sleeper and were big fans. The mesh fabric lets you get a glimpse of baby at all times, the bassinet swivels and the side lowers so you can scoop baby up without getting out of bed, and it even has built-in vibration and lullabies.
My pick: HALO Bassinest Swivel Sleeper, $280, Amazon.com
For those first few baths, until the umbilical cord stump heals, baby shouldn’t be immersed in water—so it’s nice to have a baby-sized bathtub to put your newborn in while you sponge them down. Plus, when they’re wet, those floppy little babies get slippery. Rather than risk losing a grip on your little one in your full-size tub, nestle them into a baby tub, which is designed with a reclined backrest. I tell all my expecting friends about Skip Hop’s Moby tub, which features a mesh sling to cradle a newborn and can be adjusted as baby grows. We used it throughout my daughter’s first year.
My pick: Skip Hop Moby 3-Stage Smart Sling Tub, $40, Amazon.com
There are loads of amazing, development-boosting baby toys on the market. I registered for rattles, teething toys and books and was glad I did. But the plaything we got the most mileage out of, starting from day one, was the play mat. You can start practicing tummy time as soon as you get home from the hospital, and it’s helpful to have a cushioned place to plop down and stimulate baby with sensory play.
This play mat from Sassy has everything you could want: six play zones each with a coordinating toy to match baby’s progression by milestone, plus corresponding age-specific play tips; an overhead bar (that opens and closes) so baby can bat at dangling, detachable toys overhead; machine-washable fabrics and a design aesthetic that’ll fit right into your modern home. It’s reminiscent of the ever-popular Play Gym by Lovevery but at a significantly lower price.
My pick: Sassy Stages Developmental Gym, $70, Amazon.com
Not all babies enjoy being swaddled. But many, many do—and if your child ends up enjoying the feeling of being wrapped up like a burrito, having a swaddle on hand will make those newborn nights a whole lot easier. Swaddling mimics the snug, cozy environment of the womb and helps soothe babies and promote sleep. Securing baby’s arms also helps prevent their startle reflex from kicking in and waking them up. There are some beautiful swaddle blankets out there, but perfecting the swaddle wrap can be easier said than done, which is why some prefer swaddles with zippers or Velcro closures.
The Ollie swaddle was a big hit in our house, and judging by the near-five star review from more than 450 Amazon shoppers, we’re not the only ones. We got a tight wrap every time, and even my Houdini daughter couldn’t break free. Plus, the fabric is soft and moisture-wicking, so I never worried about it touching my newborn’s sensitive skin.
My pick: The Ollie Swaddle, $65, Amazon.com
Adjusting to life outside the womb is rough for newborns (they don’t call it the “fourth trimester” for nothing). So anything that reminds baby of their former home can be incredibly soothing. A lot of first-time parents assume the house needs to be dead quiet for baby to sleep, but in fact white noise is super-comforting for little ones. After all, all the gurgling and blood-pumping that happens in your uterus doesn’t make for a silent space.
You can find a white noise machine for baby’s nursery or even a white noise app for your phone, but I appreciated having a portable unit that could be used for overnight trips. The Marpac Hushh is just as powerful as the larger machines (and comes with three sound options and volume control), but it’s compact and lightweight enough to fit in a diaper bag and even comes with a hanging clip.
My pick: Marpac Yogasleep Hussh Portable White Noise Machine, $24, Amazon.com
Baby’s arrival isn’t the only thing a mom-to-be needs to prepare for: Recovering from childbirth, whether you have a vaginal or c-section birth, will take a lot out of you. And while all of your attention will be on your newborn, you can’t forget to take care of yourself. There are a bunch of items that prove useful for soothing your postpartum aches and pains (think: ice packs for your swollen vagina, maxi pads for the bleeding, a peri bottle for gentle rinsing, etc.)—but rather than buy them all piecemeal, consider buying a postpartum kit.
I, along with many other women, were pretty ecstatic when Frida Mom launched their line of postpartum products. They took basic essentials (usually found in pharmacy aisles and not intended for postpartum needs per se) and redesigned them specifically for new moms. So instead of trying to layer multiple round witch hazel pads on top of your ice pack on top of your maxi pad inside your stretched out mesh underwear, Frida Mom came up with a single witch hazel pad the size of your maxi pad, a maxi pad with a built-in ice pack, and disposable cotton underwear that’s strong enough to actually hold it all. You can snag these items (and more) in their postpartum kit. This wasn’t around when I delivered my first child, but as an expectant second-time mom, you better believe this is on my own must-have list.
My pick: Frida Mom Labor and Delivery + Postpartum Kit, $30, Amazon.com
Here’s another mom-to-be must-have. As you ready your hospital bag, you’ll see a robe listed on most packing checklists. Trust me, you’ll want one. Hospitals can get cold, and their blankets are thin. Plus, whether you’re pacing the halls during labor or shuffling to the bathroom after birth, it’s nice to throw a robe over your nursing tank and PJs and feel a little covered.
And its usefulness doesn’t stop there. Once you’re home with baby, it makes for great, breastfeeding-friendly loungewear. Mom tip: If you plan to nurse, get a portable breast pump that you can slip into your robe pocket. This way, you don’t have to be tethered to your chair while you pump for 20+ minutes, thinking about all the other things on your to-do list. I learned this the hard way.
My pick: Natori Nirvana Brushed Terry Bathrobe for Women, starting at $48, Amazon.com
Ready to register? Get started on Amazon here. Plus, more from The Bump: