When we found out we were pregnant we had that go crazy moment that every couple has, dancing in the bathroom, lots of hugging and high-fiving! After the excitement, the joy, the shrieking, the crying, and the “OMG! We are having a freaking baby!” settled in, I settled down and instantly began making the LISTS. Thats me, the list maker. My brain never stops running through lists and lists of things to do and make and see. So my mind was instantly flooded with lists I needed for this baby journey we were embarking on. What should I be eating? What should I not be eating (sadly, no more sushi)? What should I be reading? And what about ALL the stuff this baby is gonna need? I spent most of my pregnancy searching the internet for baby gear, reading best baby guides and mommy blogs. I'm pretty sure I read almost every Amazon baby product review ever written… ok, maybe not but atleast 80% of them.
We found out we were having a boy and immediately hit the big baby stores. Armed with our scanners we rolled through the aisles as I read through my lists and scanned stuff other mommy's swore by. Meanwhile Dave kept himself entertained by pretending we were playing laser tag. I felt so confident with my choices and happy with the things we selected.
Flash forward a couple of years and we are now the proud parents of an amazing 18 month old. We've conquered the birth, the all-nighters, the breast feeding, pumping, bottle feeding, bathing, introducing food, teething, toys, crawling, walking, running….. Only thing I can't give you my mommy POV on is potty training at this point. And if you've got some advice for me on that one, please please share!
If I had to do it all again, I'd do it differently. So many things we didn't need, so many things we really did. And most of all I would have used Pinterest to organize all my new mommy madness. Building your baby registry with Pinterest is so much easier for you and all your friends and family that want to buy you something. People freak out over babies! They want to buy you stuff, so you should point them in the right direction.
Why Pinterest is AWESOME for building a baby registry?
- It's visual! People love pictures. They want to scroll through and see something cute.
- You can leave a comment on why you need this or think it would be perfect. Like “We are painting the nursery blue so this organizing bin will match perfectly”
- They can leave a comment. As a mom I would love to be able to say “Hey we used that swing and Brady LOVED it!” It's encouraging and helpful to new mommies to know you agree with their picks.
- You can add things that are not in the big baby stores. This is such a big deal. There are tons and tons of adorable baby things from cute little boutiques and Etsy shops. Great personalized gifts people would love to give. Pinterest can point them right to it. Gift givers can mark in the comments that the item has already been bought to be sure you don't receive more than one.
- You can keep your Baby Registry Board up forever and share it with all your future mommy-to-bes. How great! I would have loved to just pop on my favorite mom friend's Pinterest board and browsed through what she registered for.
Tips on Baby Registry– Register for a lot of items, more than you think you'll even need. If you don't and theres nothing left on your list people will start buying you random, terrible useless things… and baby clothes with cheese sayings. You don't want or need that, so best to avoid it by asking for what you actually need. Also, make sure you can return a large portion of the things you register for. So many things you will find you won't actually need, won't really like, won't work for your baby or will have already outgrown by the time you get to it.
Here is my Ultimate Baby Registry list of things I would register for, knowing what I know now, starting with
The Baby Registry Must Haves
- Diapers- Your gonna need them, a ton of them, so go ahead and add a jumbo pack in every stage to the list.
- Wipes- same rule as above
- Bottles– We tried Dr. Browns first but ended up switching over to Avent. I like that the Avent bottles are wider just felt more natural to hold. Plus the Dr. Brown's had an extra piece to clean. You'll be washing a million bottles, one less piece is always better.
- Pacifiers– B was never super attached to his pacifiers, but they were essential the first few weeks. We used Avent soothies and they seemed to help calm him and help with sleep. Later we switched over to the Wubbanubs. They are pacifiers attached to little stuffed toys. We had the ducky one and he loved it. These things come in handy! After you are down on the floor searching for a pacifier that seems to have vanished for the 1000th time, you'll really appreciate this thing.
- Burp Cloths and Bibs– We used Aden + Anais burp cloths and bibs and loved them! They are super soft.
- Swaddling Wraps and Blankets– Swaddling is so important for baby sleep issues. We found that a good swaddling helped our little guy sleep longer and much more comfortably. The Halo Sleep Sack swaddle blankets are awesome for the first couple of months. They are simple, quick and easy with velcro closures so you can get a good, snug wrap. They are great for dads who might be a little less getting a squirmy newborn in a solid swaddle quickly. The Aden + Anais swaddle blankets are amazing as well. They are big so you can use them as your baby grows, super soft and breathable so you don't have to worry about the top part covering baby's face a bit. Plus they are cute and work great as thin blankets in the summer, a mommy scarf, a beach wrap, to cover carseats while baby sleeps, sun protection….. We still use ours on a daily basis.
- Sleep Machine– I love the Cloud B Sound Machine Soother. It's cute and has 8 sounds. These really do help and they are great for blocking the little noises and squeaks that will wake a baby up in a dead quiet.
- Nose Frida– Just get it! It looks really weird and you think, Oh god, I will never do that to my baby until its 3am and your little one sounds awful because they are so congested and miserable. This little guy will suck all that yucky stuff out. It works wonders!
- Baby carrier– I think this one is a little bit personal style/personal preference plus your baby. Some are better for bigger, squirmy babies. Some work better for smaller babies, calmer babies. We used Bjorn mostly with B. He was a big baby, more long than chubby, but he didn't like to be wrapped up. He loved to be face out so he could see everything. The Bjorn baby carrier is quick and easy and feels safe and secure. I could never get B to be still long enough to do the wraps and they always felt slouchy and wrong in areas. But some people love and swear by them. I also tried and liked the Ergo baby carrier and have lots of girlfriends who swear by it. Regardless, you need a carrier so you have a few hands free minutes everyday. It's great too for getting back in shape, doing walking workouts with baby.
- Rocker or Glider– It's an investment piece but you are gonna be rocking this baby (and maybe more!) to sleep many, many nights. Spend a little more, get a good one. Make sure it isn't too squeaky, has good support, reclines, and is easy is easy to clean. Also consider the color if you plan on having another baby. Go with a neutral one that will work for boy or girl.
- Highchair– We have a Boon Flair and absolutely love it! It looks a little more modern and trendy, you can change out the color of the seat padding, adjustable height, easy to clean and most importantly quick and easy to get baby into. I've used other highchairs when visiting family and friends and hated trying to snap the tray on without pinching baby arms or legs. This one has an easy, one handed click-in that is a game changer. Oh, and wheels. You need the wheels. I pull B so he can eat while I make dinner, or into the living room if he wants a snack while I'm trying to check emails quickly.
- Pack N' Play– we didn't use this so much at home. My munchkin hated to be left alone or put down so it didn't work for us in that way. But it was great when we travelled. You need a place to put baby down for nap or at night and know they are safe and won't roll or squirm off a bed. They take under a minute to pop out and put away.
- Baby Monitor– Or an old iPhone or iPod. Have one of those laying around? I was constantly forgetting the baby monitor, misplacing it or letting it run out of battery. I found the Baby Monitor app and it has been AWESOME. Download it to your iPhone and to the old one and your set. Plus it has Wifi so you can watch baby if you have to leave him with someone (very comforting to new moms!). I bought a mini tripod (you can get it here) for the iPhone and set it up on a shelf.
- Nursing pillow- I tried the Mumbo and the Boppy, liked the Boppy best.
- Bouncer Seat– We used the Fisher Price Rainforest bouncer and it was awesome.
- Diaper Pail– I like the Diaper Dekor because it looks like a simple trash can and can be used as a trash can after your done with diapers. Doesn't require special bags, you can just use small garbage bags.
- Baby Bathtub– First Years Infant to Toddler Tub– This is the one we use and it's got a ton of great reviews on Amazon. Has a removable sling so you can bathe a newborn comfortably and remove the protective mesh piece when he outgrows it.
- Changing Pad– We went with this one because it was also an Amazon mom's favorite and it's worked out great- Summer Infant Contoured Changing Pad
- JJ Cole All Purpose Blanket– This is an essential that you will keep and use forever. I keep mine in the trunk of the car. When B was small we pulled it out and put-it down so he'd have a comfortable clean area to play indoors and out. You don't have to worry about whats on the floor (especially with pets), its easy to clean and folds up quick and compact.
- Swing– We were given a Fisher Price Cradle n' Swing and it was such a wonderful gift. B napped in it and slept in it more than once when we were having a rough night. He really loved the mobile and grabbing at the shapes as he started to develop motor skills. It's a great baby soother.
- Fisher Price Rock n' Play Sleeper– This thing is awesome! I bought it for myself. As your baby adjusts and you start to develop a sleep schedule you'll hit some bumps. I read to give this a try if your baby seemed to sleep better with a small incline. This rocker was the only thing B would sleep in for weeks! It's light and folds up easily so I could bring it downstairs for naps during the day and then back up at night. Also helped that I could have him right by my bedside and just rock him a bit with my hand.
- Co-sleeper/Bassinet– Brady was a long baby, 99% for height so we outgrew the Rocker pretty quickly, and I wasn't quite ready to move him to the nursery crib. We used the Arm's Reach Co-sleeper bedside and it was perfect. Also helped to have him right beside me for nighttime feedings so I didn't have to get up and go across the room.
- Travel Diaper Changer Set- you need something thats quick to fold out with one-hand, spacious, easy to clean and fold back up. I had the Skip Hop Pronto Changing Station and it worked great
- Thermometer– We tried using the scan the forehead the thermometer but Brady absolutely would not let me touch him with it, let alone hold it on his forehead for ten seconds. This no touch infrared thermometer solved that problem.
- Baby Gates– This one will all depend on your home and your needs. We used the Summer Infant Multi Use Deco Extra Tall Baby Gates and they were perfect.
- Stroller– We used the Britax B Agile and B Safe system, again based off lots of great mom reviews on Amazon Mom. I really like that the carseat was easy to carry and quickly(and quietly, so important) snapped into the base.
- Car Seat– Britax B Safe for infant carseat was our choice. We loved it! However, I unfortunately cannot recommend a great toddler carseat because our current one I'm not a fan of. I can tell you what to keep in mind while shopping based on my frustrations. Something easy to snap in place, with an easy to remove and clean cover, lots of side support for napping toddlers and cupholders that are not removable.
Things You Might not Think of (or I didn't atleast!)
- Baby Mittens– I had no idea babies were born with claws that regrow every night, and that they love to scratch away at their cute little faces. The last thing you want to see is a boo boo on sweet baby. These will keep them protected.
- Bottle Dryer– Nope, didn't even think about how many bottles we would be washing or how to spread out all those separated parts to dry. Get a bottle dryer ( I really like the First Years Spin Stack Drying Rack) and this Boon Drying Grass for the nipples and pieces.
- Backseat Baby Mirror– Didn't think I'd freak out the first time I took B out for a drive. I was nuts! I drove 5 miles under the speed limit and stayed 20 feet back from every car. And I panicked every 5 minutes because I couldn't see or hear him. I made a detour to the baby store and bought this baby car mirror. Peace of mind is priceless and you will feel so much better just having your little one in sight.
- Window Cling Shades- While we are on the baby in cars thing, you'll need a few more must-haves, like this car shade. I like the Britax EZ Cling Sun Shades.
- Car seat protectors– But wait, my baby won't be a messy monster, you're thinking. Or, I won't be feeding my child in the car. Suuuuure! Go ahead and bookmark this page so you can come back and read through all the things you don't think your child will do (just like I did). Soon enough your sweet baby will be a wild-eyed one year-old with an ear splitting scream, convinced he will not survive five minutes without an apple sauce packet or a bag of cheddar bunnies. Then flash forward to when you take your carseat out for a cleaning and gasp in horror at what applesauce+snacks baked onto your once lovely leather seats looks like. Save yourself the trauma and trouble. Get these. And soon enough you'll need the kick mats too so you might as well go ahead and register for those too.
These are more Splurge than Necessity, but very nice to have
- Matching Nursing Gown and Receiving Blanket– You want your first moments captured with your new love to be cute, or at least as much as you can manage given that you'll be exhausted and in recovery. This is a sweet gift that any friend or family member would love to give you. You can have it personalized with name or initial. Or you can save it and pass it down to the other women in your family so you have an heirloom keepsake. There are lots of styles on Etsy. I especially love these made by MoreThanMaternityLLC
- Jogging Stroller– We have the BOB (BOB Revolution SE Single Stroller) , we LOVE LOVE LOVE the BOB! This was a very sweet gift given to us and it has gotten so much use. It's great for runners, so easy to manage and maneuver. Has awesome traction and shock system, very nice when you strolling around a sleeping baby. My husband loves that it looks “tough and manly” apparently with the big tires. He also says it has a more natural reach and stride than our day-to-day stroller, which he bumps into constantly. We love ours so much we even take it on vacation. It is bigger and bulky, but once you get it unpacked it works great in places where you'll do a lot of bumping around and sight seeing.
- A DSLR Camera– It's an investment but it will change the way you feel about photography and snapping pics. If you don't like taking pictures but want some lasting memories of your little ones, check out a professional photographer like olgatopchii.com who can take some beautiful pictures of you and your newborn! Kids on the go are hard to snap, and thats where a DSLR will give you those quick, sharp beautiful pics you'll be posting all over Facebook and Instagram. You don't need to know anything about photography, they feature an auto setting that will get you rolling right from the start. But once you see the difference in quality of your family photos your gonna want to learn the ropes. Start with a camera bundle– I love my Nikon DSLR set, or a less pricey good starter is this Nikon D3200 bundle. Once you've been bitten by the shutterbug and want to start exploring bokeh (the pretty blurred background in images) and other fun photography stuff, think about adding on a few lenses. I started with the Nikon 50mm f/1.8D AF and added on this Nikon Prime Lens I love shooting with. If you want to start learning your way around your DSLR I suggest reading some of Ken Rockwells free tutorials. He has amazing tips on how to use your DSLR and which lens to buy.
- Kids Step Stool with Safety Rail– I would happily have traded half the toys we outgrew so quickly, extra baby blankets and useless baby items for this in a heartbeat. It's another one of those pricier items that you don't realize is so helpful until you have a child. The baby stages come and go so fast, but you'll have a curious toddler in the kitchen for a few years. This makes it easy for them to climb up to wash their hands, help with meal making… all the daily tasks they'll need you to booster them for without it. Or they will whine and cry and roll around on the floor in total agony like mine does when he can't reach the snack cup.
- Amazon Moms Prime Membership– There are so many amazing benefits to the Prime membership
* 20% off diaper subscriptions
* 15% baby registry completion discount
* free two day shipping
*prime instant video (this is great for the beginning when you'll be couch bound and restless, perfect time to start catching up on tv shows you've missed. Plus there are a ton of free kids shows for when your little one is older)
* prime photos- BIG! Unlimited photo storage. Download the app and it will automatically back up all your photos to your amazon photo account. This is huge, bc your phone is gonna fill up quick with a million baby pics.
*prime music- listen to streaming music, unlimited and ad free. You can make playlists of nursery songs and fun kid jams, or just your own personal prefs.
Register for a $100 Amazon Gift Card and note that its for the Amazon Moms Prime Membership