Ready or not, baby’s on the way! One of the most important (and fun!) ways to prep for your little one is to create a registry filled with ALL the essentials. Building a registry is not only practical, it can also help you mentally and logistically plan for the major life change that’s about to take place. Many parents-to-be actually enjoy the process–research, read, ask around, and (once gifts start coming your way) get excited and organize it all for baby’s arrival. But just when you think you’ve got everything you’ll ever want or need, we’re here to tell you that you’re *probably* forgetting something. Trust us–ask any parent how they’d change their registry if they could do it over again and they’ll likely have some thoughts!
With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of items likely missing from your baby registry.
Your baby arrives all teeny tiny, sleepy, and hungry. Know who else is ravenous (with literally zero time to cook)? The parents (especially mama!). You can AND SHOULD register for some good eats!
Here’s how to get the nourishment and noms you need:
- For the days when you can’t even? Ask for food delivery gift cards, such as GrubHub, UberEats, or ChowNow.
- For days when you want to avoid the grocery store (and bringing your infant into one!): Ask for Instacart gift cards or subscriptions to online retailers like Thrive Market, Imperfect Foods, Daily Harvest, or (even better!) a local co-op delivery box.
- For days when you want to cook, but with less effort? Meal kits to the rescue! Ask for gift cards to places like Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, or Daily Harvest.
PS: We wrote an entire blog post on how to feed yourself postpartum. Check it out for some other great ideas!
While you may remember to register for things like Shampoo & Body Wash, lotion, baby powder, and diaper rash cream, there are other skin situations that you’ll want to be prepared for. Request a healing ointment (but avoid traditional petroleum jelly!), baby massage oil, a silicone brush (for cradle cap and eczema), wound repair spray, plus gentle wipes for hands, noses, and neck creases.
#3 Baby Medications
What’s worse than your baby coming down with a fever or cold? Being completely unprepared for it! Stock their medicine cabinet now with all the sick day and wellness essentials. Even if you plan to use home remedies for most of your baby’s ailments, it never hurts to stash away some OTC relief just in case.
Some items to consider:
- Infant-formulated meds like acetaminophen, saline spray, cough medicine, and mucus & cold relief.
- Soothing solutions for tummy troubles like gripe water, simethicone, and constipation drops. The verdict is out on whether these more natural remedies always “work” but lots of parents swear by them.
- Support for teething pain like gum massage gel and teething pain tablets.
- Natural remedies like Epsom salts, baby-approved essential oils (for use in a diffuser), and chest rub.
- Immune support like Vitamin D drops and probiotics.
PS: Always, ALWAYS, ask your pediatrician before administering any of these. And triple check the age and dosage requirements. For example, many meds aren’t approved for babies under 6 months, or your doc may advise you to skip the fever reducer unless your baby is too uncomfortable to eat or sleep.
PPS: For any of these treatments, choose brands that are formulated without artificial sweeteners, flavors, or dyes.
Maybe you’ve registered and received ALL the physical baby things you’ll ever need. Consider asking for educational resources that’ll give you the gift of preparedness, confidence, and knowledge! Whether you want to consume your information through an online course, in-person guide, or an old fashioned book, there is plenty of useful information available!
Here are a few ideas:
- For feeding your little one: Register for a post-birth lactation consultation, Solid Starts courses, books like Feeding Baby Green, or a subscription to Chop Chop Magazine. Your baby’s first bite of “real” food will be here before you know it!
- For the gift of rest: Register for a newborn sleep program or online course because the chances that you’ll have an amazing sleeper are slim to none (sorry to be the bearer of bad news!). There are many different sleeping approaches and philosophies out there, so do your research! (And maybe ask a fellow parent who shares a similar parenting-style as you.)
- For ultimate peace of mind: Register for an infant CPR or Health & Safety course.
- For pre-birth planning and support: Register for a birth course. Many hospitals, OBGYNs, and midwives suggest that you take one (especially if you’re a first timer!). Maybe you’d like to learn about a specific birthing approach such as Lamaze, Birthing From Within, or Bradley Method. Don’t forget that there are some helpful and empowering books to check out like the Mama Natural week-by-week guide or Mindful Birthing.
#5 Dollars for Diapers
You’re about to spend a disgustingly large amount of money on diapers…unless you register for them! Enter our very own Diaper Registry Fund where friends and family chip in on your personal diaper fund and YOU have control over the sizes, order dates, and (squee!) adorable prints that’ll adorn your baby’s booty.
PS: Registering for diapers in this way just makes sense, as you have no idea what diaper size your baby will need as a newborn or for how long they’ll stay in certain sizes.
#6 Multi-Use Cover
You’ll be glad to have a multi-purpose cover when you bring your baby out in public for the first time and wish you could cover them up in the car seat for a nap or as a shield from the sun (or people!). It also acts as a nursing cover, baby blanket, scarf, or cover for restaurant high chairs and shopping cart seats.
#7 Postpartum Supplies
While your hospital or birthing center will send you home with plenty of postpartum provisions, it’ll never be enough. Start your self-care planning now and register for alllll the post-birth products (it’s nothing to be self-conscious about) and organize everything in a basket behind the toilet.
- For personal care: Postpartum undies, mesh underwear, maternity pads.
- For soreness: Peri bottle, flushable wipes, sitz bath salts, sitz spray, ice packs, witch hazel pads. Note: You’ll likely be prescribed pain meds, stool softener, and topical numbing cream. If not, be sure to ask your doctor before leaving the hospital!
- For breast care: Nursing bra (register for a couple different sizes), washable breast pads, nipple cream, breastfeeding pillow.
- For physical, mental, and emotional support: A local postpartum doula service. Whether you had a doula during your birth or not, this service is especially helpful for new parents without family nearby.
#8 Sound Machine
A white noise machine is worth its weight in gold! It’s one of the must-have additions to any nursery and nighttime routine. Some parents leave it off their registry as they plan to use a sound machine app on their phone, but we’d suggest getting one specifically for your little one. Be sure to try it out beforehand to make sure you like the sounds, settings, and volume options (and return it straight away if it’s not a good fit!).
Pro hack: Don’t forget to bring it with you to the hospital for post-birth nights and naps. Hospitals are noisy and you’re gonna need every wink of sleep you can get before heading home.
You’ve registered for lots of nifty gifts that require refills or replacement parts. Register for those, too, so you aren’t caught empty-handed! Remember that a snot sucker requires replacement hygiene filters, your diaper pail might need special garbage bags, and air purifiers need new filters every so often.
#10 Laundry Care
Don’t assume that you can wash your baby’s clothes in your usual detergent. That newborn skin is soft and sensitive, and it can’t handle harsh irritants found in most regular formulas. Register for lots of plant-based detergent created specifically for babies (you can’t go wrong with fragrance-free!). Between drool, spit-ups, blow-outs, and potty accidents (yep, they happen!), you’ll be doing countless loads of laundry in those early days.
#11 A Baby Hang Out Spot
It’ll be awhile before your wee one can sit up independently. Until then, you’ll need a safe space to lay them down so you can take care of yourself–go to the bathroom, brush your teeth, get dressed, EAT. You won't want to carry your baby around during their every waking second–that's just a back ache waiting to happen! A baby lounger, seat, swing, or bouncer will be a major sanity-saver.
#12 A Comfy Chair
If you don’t already have a cozy chair for feeding, rocking, and bonding with your baby, add one to that registry! Opt for the most comfortable (which is not always the most stylish!). You (and your rear end!) will be grateful for it during those late night waking hours.
#13 Room-Darkening Solutions
One of the best pieces of sleep advice you’ll receive is this: baby’s sleep best in a dark environment. Make sure their sleeping space is ready-to-go with blackout curtains, blackout shades, and light-blocking stickers (for electronics).
#14 Clothes in Larger Sizes
You’ve probably already registered for all the sweetest newborn baby clothes. But think beyond those first 6 months and order onesies, jammies, booties, and pants to fill their first 18 months. Keep the time of year in mind, so you can request seasonally-appropriate outfits in the sizes you’ll need!
#15 GIFT CARDS
The most practical gift of all? Gift cards to places like Target, Walmart, and Buy Buy Baby (and also, Hello Bello!). When someone asks you what you need for the baby, let your default response be “gift cards, please!” Plan to use them on things you may be waiting to purchase like baby carriers, toys, formula, front-facing car seat, special swaddles, a travel crib, plus extra burp cloths, bibs, wipes, and clothes!
Baby registry anxiety is a thing! With so many baby products out there, how do you know what’s actually essential for you? Truthfully, you won’t know until your baby arrives and you’re in the thick of it all. It’s why gift cards are such a practical request!
Bonus Baby Registry Tips:
- For first-time parents starting from scratch, creating a registry can be daunting! While there are plenty of resources online to help you decide what to add, we love the guides that Babylist puts out.
- Wipe warmers, diaper cream spatulas, diaper pails, and eating smocks. What do these products have in common? Some parents swear by them while others consider them a useless waste of money. Remember, it’s all subjective! Ask some fellow parents about their must-haves to get an idea. And when in doubt, don’t register for it, knowing you can always buy it yourself or put a gift card to use.
What would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments below!