I’m not a person who wants or needs a lot of *stuff*, and would consider myself a minimalist. I have to be, because our modest home holds four kids, my husband and I, and our golden retriever. However, thinking back over my first year with adding baby number 4 in our home, there were certain items that just made my life so much easier and we really could not have lived without. I also loved any items that helped me to stay fit and baby to stay healthy. Here is my baby registry checklist of my favorite items!
(I highly recommend Amazon Baby Registry! So easy for your baby shower guests!!)
Happiest Baby on the Block – Priceless research-based information on the best ways to calm your baby, establish good sleep habits and patterns.
Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding – Ina May Gaskin is one of my heroes in the world of birth, and she nails it again with this gentle, informative guide to nursing.
The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby from Birth to Age Two – So comprehensive, this book was my bible for Austin’s first year and beyond. Dr. Sears believes in and popularized attachment parenting, but is non-judgmental and open-minded with his recommendations and advice.
Medela Breast Pump – if you’re planning on nursing at all, you will want to invest in a high-quality breast pump, because pumped milk = FREEDOM. Whether you’re working and pumping all day or just pumping here and there so others can help you feed, you want the most efficient pump available so you’re getting the highest possible output in the least amount of precious time. This pump is the best you can buy without going hospital grade.
Dr. Brown’s Bottles – we loved these bottles for pumped breastmilk, they really did help eliminate gas and spitting up. The starter pack was perfect for all our needs.
Bottle Warmer – If you’re going to be pumping, you’ll also need a bottle warmer. We thought we’d save the money and space at first and just heat our bottles up old-school in hot water on the stove, but the very first time we tried it, we both almost had panic attacks listening to our baby wail while we waited. and waited. and waited for the water to boil. This warmer is compact enough to easily throw in a diaper bag to take on a trip or to Grandma’s house.
You! Lingerie Nursing Bra – I am a lover of beautiful lingerie, and always hated switching to ugly nursing bras when my first 3 kids were born. Imagine my giddiness when I discovered, during my last pregnancy, that beautiful nursing lingerie now exists!
My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow – If you’ve never breastfed, you may not realize how much you’re going to be sitting and nursing. You think you know, but you don’t, I promise. I had the Boppy nursing pillow with my older kids, but scored this one this time and I ADORED it. Your core is still recovering after pregnancy, so that extra little back support makes a world of difference to your comfort. My husband used it to give bottles as well.
Mesh Feeder – This was so awesome for teaching our baby how to eat solid foods! You can put a banana or avocado in and baby can just gnaw on it and make a giant mess 🙂 Pro Tip – freeze a cube of breastmilk, pop it in the mesh, and you have a great teether.
Food Processor – I did not buy conventional baby food because it was so watered-down that it hardly qualified to me as food. Instead, when I cooked healthy meals for us, I threw extra into the food processor and made large batches of purees for baby. These could then be stored (see below) and frozen. Do yourself a favor and invest in the more expensive, less noisy options. We went cheap and have regretted it every day since: I can’t tell you how many smoothies I’ve made from the back patio because the baby was sleeping.
Baby Food Storage Trays – pour in the extra food, freeze, and you have perfectly portioned sizes ready to be squeezed out and individually thawed. Genius.
Jogging Stroller – A good jogging stroller will save your life as an active mom. I used ours for interval running at the local trail, and my husband goes on long walks with our son in it every morning. Lifesaver.
Moby Wrap Baby Carrier – My son was a particularly snuggly baby, refusing to sleep without touching one of us for the first 4 or 5 months of his life. Daytime naps were always in the Moby, which was fine because I LOVED it. I would get all sorts of things done with him curled up in my chest, including cleaning my dirty house. It’s that comfortable.
ErgoBaby – When he got a little bigger, I switched to the Ergo, a really supportive, well-made carrier. It’s also easier than the Moby to just throw on if you’re running in somewhere. It’s also great because you can wear baby on your back! We love to hike and take camping trips to hiking locations all the time with Austin in tow, but we absolutely could not do it without the Ergo. This summer we logged 30+ miles of mountain hiking with Austin on our backs.
Nursing Sports Bra – This Motherhood is the best sports nursing bra I’ve found (although it still doesn’t compare to the likes of my Nikes). I’m a very active person, and it has kept up with my intense workouts pretty well.
Mom and Baby Water Bottles – I have loved my Camelbak Eddy water bottle since forever, because I swear to you it makes me drink triple the water I normally would. I don’t know how. But Austin started drinking from it at around 7 or 8 months old, so for his first birthday I got him one of his own.
Cloud Baby Monitor App – Instead of shelling out big bucks for an expensive monitor system, we just bought this app for $4 and used two iPhones. The only drawback is a lack of night vision, but everything else is there – I can turn on a nightlight, music, or speak to the baby with a speaker right from my phone, and it has cloud capability so I can tune in from anywhere in the world.
Stability Ball – Is there anything this ball cannot do? I used this ball for exercise pre-pregnancy, then for comfort and labor during pregnancy and birth, and postpartum it was a MIRACLE for calming down a fussy baby. You sit on it with baby in arms and just bounce softly, boom! Instant calm every time.
Co-Sleeper – 3 of my 4 babies slept in bed with me for many months, but it wasn’t until my 4th that I found great products like this to keep baby safe in between us at nighttime. Austin just wouldn’t sleep in a bassinet or crib until 8 months, so this was the alternative to him sleeping in my arms and neither of us really sleeping.
Pretty Pushers – I had a natural birth in a birth center, and can’t tell you how much time I spent stressing over what I was going to wear in labor. I wanted something I could wear once and not have to worry about ruining or getting wet in the birthing tub, but would look pretty for the pictures, and also be easy to slip on and off. I, of course, came across these AFTER I gave birth and thought, well, that was exactly what I wanted! Check them out, they’re definitely pretty but also practical.
Coconut Oil – If you have coconut oil, don’t bother with expensive lotions and diaper creams. I used it for pregnancy to prevent stretch marks, nursing to prevent cracked nipples, and now I use it as lotion and diaper cream for Austin.
Earth Mama Angel Baby – I found this company using the Environmental Working Group’s database of safest baby products: they get the highest grade of any company. Must haves:
What were your must-haves for your baby registry? (Don’t forget to register here!!)