About halfway through my pregnancy last year, I started a detailed registry on Amazon. First, I surveyed moms I trusted to get an idea of items we simply had to have and items to avoid. Next, I went through the list we got from my doctor of crucial items for the first days and weeks at home. Finally, I created the list.
Throughout my pregnancy, until my shower, and even in the weeks following my son’s birth, the registry was a living document, constantly updated with our changing needs.
Nearly a year into this whole parenting adventure, it has become clear that my child has particular needs. I have a wealth of items he loves and another supply of barely used items. Every child is different, some love pacifiers or others, like mine, spit out every single one with vigor, but here are some tips on what to add to and what to leave off the registry.
Top Four Items We Use
1) Boppy Nursing Pillow – Yes, a regular pillow works, but the comfortable shape of this pillow has transitioned nicely from the days when my son was just a tiny, helpless creature on my lap to his more burly days as a twenty-one pound ten month hold, with a heavy head to hold up while he nurses.
2) SwaddleMe Velcro Swaddling – From his first hours, my son wanted to be swaddled tightly. From his first days, he kicked off any swaddling that wasn’t velcroed shut, swung his fists into his face and cried as loud as he possibly could. Velcro stayed in place, and we still use these blankets, in a larger size, velcroed under his now self-managed hands.
3) Cloth Diapers – Whether you go disposable or cloth, the old fashioned cloth diapers cannot be beat for use as spit rags. I keep a constant supply all over the house and in the diaper bag.
4) Highchair – Whether you go for portable or freestanding, the highchair is a crucial item on the baby registry list. We chose a freestanding chair, because our dining table only seats four. If we ever wanted more than three adults at the table, our son needed his own chair. If you have a chair to spare, portable chairs are also great for visits to family and friends.
Top Four Items We Never Used
1) Swing – I have heard this described as the “Mommy and Daddy Sanity Saver,” and for babies who love it, I’m sure it’s true. The most time my child ever spent in the swing without screaming was 45 minutes, and it took 20 minutes of screaming to get there. My son is generally a pleasant, calm child, so this clearly did not work for us. If you believe you’ll need one, I’d say buy one used, or borrow one from a friend before committing.
2) Bottles in Every Shape and Size – I am still pumping at work, and my son goes to daycare with the same Medela bottles I’ve used since I first had to return to my job. These bottles fit the pump well, and they have proven the test of time. Experiment with bottles from a store with a good return policy!
3) Puj Bathtub (or any other fancy infant bathtub) – This foldable bathtub for sinks had excellent reviews, but it did not properly fit our sink. We chose a much cheaper plastic model that also made the transition from sink to tub a lot easier. Now our son is solid enough to bathe without any support, and I am grateful I only spent $12 on a tub!
4) Velcro bibs – My son not only can easily rip off velcro bibs, but if not used carefully, the velcro tabs rubbed his perfect little neck absolutely raw. Snap-closure bibs not only stay on better but also present no issues for sensitive skin.
All of the items on this list apply to my child, in particular, but for pricey items like a swing or bathtub, I now realize I should have bought used or borrowed from another family. Borrowing worked especially well for quickly outgrown items like the Bumbo seat, and it can work well for other big-ticket items. Good luck on your own adventure!