Getting ready for a new baby means.. a lot of stuff. Like, a boatload. Some stuff you’ll hardly ever use, and others you just couldn’t live without.
Read on for some of our favorite baby registry must-haves - some will surprise you!
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- Coconut Oil - This will become your go-to every time baby has dry skin or a rash. It helps treat cradle cap, dry skin, various diaper rashes, and heat rash. It's is a natural anti-fungal and antibacterial so it heals, moisturizes, and helps keep the issue from coming back.
(FYI - coconut oil can be expensive.. the place where we've found the best deal has been in-store at Trader Joe's.)
- Aden+Anais Swaddle Blankets – nearly all babies love to be swaddled, and these blankets are perfect. They’re made of very breathable muslin which helps ensure baby doesn't overheat and are also over-sized so you always have plenty of material to work with.
When baby no longer wants to be swaddled, they make perfect lightweight stroller blankets.
- Sophie the Giraffe - I thought this was the most ridiculous thing at first (nearly $20 for a little rubber giraffe? Really?!), but our daughter absolutely loves it! It was one of the first toys she could hold and play with thanks to it's long neck and legs, and all of it's different parts and textures give her a lot of options for teething.
Now that she's crawling she loves holding on to Sophie and squeaking her against the floor as she goes along. It's become one of our daughter's favorite toys, though our dog did take some convincing that it wasn't for her.
- Convertible Pack 'N Play (with bassinet + changing table) - In the first few weeks when you're sore and beyond exhausted, you're going to want some place close to put your baby down or change her. These convertible pack 'n plays are ideal, but don't get too carried away with them! When we were first comparing all our options we were tempted to get the most expensive one will all the bells and whistles, but instead settled for a mid-range model and I'm so glad we did. Our little baby outgrew the bassinet within weeks so if we had spent extra money on one with an extra-fancy bassinet it would have been for naught. As a whole though these pack 'n plays grow with baby, so this is a purchase you'll be using for a long time.
- Insulated Lunch Box or Small Cooler - Bottle feeding or breast feeding, at some point you will need to take milk or formula with you. Whether you choose a novelty lunch box that will take your little one into daycare and preschool or an ordinary small cooler, having someplace to keep milk and first foods cold on the go is essential.
- Baby Merlin's Magic Sleepsuit - This is another one of those things I thought was a total gimmick at first but after weeks of our little one walking up no less than 15 times a night (oh how I wish I was exaggerating) and refusing to nap during the day, I gave it a try and it certainly was magical!
The Sleepsuit helps transition your little one when they no longer want to be swaddled, but are still being awoken by their Moro reflex. It allows them to sleep on their back in a stretched out position but the puffy padded suit helps "muffle" their startles, keeping them feeling cozy and safe and allowing them to fall back asleep on their own. The suit comes in two sizes (3-6 months and 6-9 months) and should no longer be used when baby is able to start to roll over in the suit.
For us this suit was a sanity saver and got our little one's sleep back on track. It also was instrumental in helping us establish naps and start our daughter on a schedule when she was a few months old.
- Stain Removers - Babies are messy, and you don't realize just how much so until you have one.
So far Seventh Generation Natural Stain Remover Spray has been able to take down every laundry stain we've thrown at it - even set-in stains that have already been through the wash once already are no match for this spray.
For the instances when baby poops, pees, or spits up on things that can't go through the washing machine (like the carpet or the couch) Bi-O-Kleen Bac-Out Stain and Odor Eliminator does a great job at lifting the stains and smells out.
- Jogging Stroller - It doesn't matter if you're or runner or have never worked out a day in your life - get the jogging stroller over the regular stroller with the little wheels.
After going for walks with friends that have regular strollers, it made me all the more thankful for our jogger! Our BOB stroller navigated the walking path and sidewalks with ease but for our small-wheeled stroller friends, relatively small cracks and uneven parts of the sidewalk became like hitting a brick wall with stroller, baby, and mom coming to an abrupt halt.
And don't let price and compatibility deter you - my sister-in-law found our nearly $400 BOB stroller on Craigslist for only $40, so don't be afraid to buy used! Also most joggers have car seat adapters available so you can still use your travel system like you would with a regular stroller.
- The Baby Book by Dr. Sears - Ever wish babies came with directions? This is probably as close as you'll come. This easy-to-read book covers all the basics and more and is a great reference for just about everything that will come your way.
While you're pregnant I also highly recommend reading The Pregnancy Book and The Birth Book (also of the Sears Parenting series). I read several pregnancy/labor books while expecting and these were the most thorough books hands-down. And while they were a little too "touchy-feely" for my taste at times, I felt as though they really helped me prepare for and understand my pregnancy and labor.
- Mattress Protection (for your mattress) - It's a given to get mattress covers for the baby's mattress, but until someone suggested one for our mattress too it never crossed my mind.
In your last trimester get a good-quality, non-crinkly mattress cover for your own bed. That way in case your water breaks in bed, you're protected. Then even after baby is born, leave it on because at some point baby will poop, pee, or throw-up in your bed. It will happen more than once, trust me. And do you really want to ruin that $400 mattress? Didn't think so.
- Fan - White noise can help lull a baby to sleep and good air circulation can help reduce the risk of SIDS, so having a fan near wear your baby sleeps is a great idea. Some people swear by sound machines to help their baby to sleep, but personally the thought of whale sounds going for hours on end gives me a headache.
Whatever you decide to do, have a little white background noise and make sure baby's room is well-ventilated.
- Infant Carrier – there are lots of great ones out there. I suggest going to a local Babies ‘R Us or baby boutique and try some on to see what features you like and don’t like. Some people really like a structured carrier (like an Ergo or Boba), and others prefer the ones made of stretchy material (like a Moby wrap). Personally, I prefer the structured carrier.. it’s definitely a lot easier to take on and off when you’re out and about. Just make sure not to get one that's considered a "crotch-dangler" - they're bad for baby's hips!
Whatever you choose, baby-wearing is not only great for bonding but it’s a HUGE sanity saver. It allows you to be able to still get things done around the house when your little one won’t let you put them down.
That's our list of our top baby must-haves, but of course there are a million other things you'll need - diapers, wipes, bottles, breast pumps, diaper pail, saline drops, co-sleeper or bassinet, crib, high chair, car seat... The list goes on and on but we hope we gave you some ideas for things that you might not have thought of.
It can be a hard and exhausting job, but motherhood is the most rewarding thing you'll ever do. Good luck, Mama - you'll do great!
Also - make sure to check out our post on Important Tips for Creating Your Baby Registry!