Our five must-have baby registry items

5 June 2017

My dear friend Kristin (she of the recent baby shower) recently asked for my thoughts on our five must-have baby registry items, as well as five items we wish we hadn’t registered for. I’ve written several posts about our baby favorites (six weeks, five months, eight months, one year, fifteen months), but it was a fun challenge to narrow things down to the absolute essentials! Since Kristin is having twins, I’m sure it feels like extra pressure to choose the right things (times two!), so I was happy to offer a few opinions. Here they are, and I’d love to hear what you think, too!

ergo 360

Five must-have baby registry items:

1. An Ergo. From her fifth day of life to about a year old, June rode in our Ergo 360 several times a week, if not every day. It was our baby wearing apparatus of choice by far – comfortable for both John and I to wear and satisfactory to June. She even rode in it at several photo shoots!

2. A Rock and Play. The Rock and Play has been called baby crack, and I don’t disagree. June slept in this for almost all naps and overnight from birth to about five months, and I credit it with forming solid sleep skills from the start. I was worried that the slight incline and vibration would spoil her for crib sleeping, but when it was time to transition, she did so with nary a peep.

3. Water Wipes. My sisters-in-law recommended these super gentle wipes as being perfect for the first few weeks, but we’ve been using them for 17+ months and are still going strong! I love that they are literally just water and some fruit extracts, and they never pill or tear.

4. Swaddle Me swaddles. After we stopped swaddling June in the hospital blankets, we moved on to the Swaddle Me. I’m not convinced it’s the best option out there, but it’s the best one we found and I’d definitely recommend them! We did have to buy a new one each month because the velcro wore out and she was able to bust free, but they’re priced reasonably enough and work well enough that we were willing to do it.

5. The Ikea high chair. To me, this high chair is pretty much the apex of form, function, and price. It is sleek, not overwhelming in a space, super easy to clean, and $20 (!!!!!). Winner on all fronts. There are lots of cute stores on Etsy (like this one) that sell cushion covers and tray place mats if you want to jazz it up a little, too.

Honorable mentions: Our stroller (we LOVE it, but I think strollers really need to fit your lifestyle and so I wouldn’t necessarily recommend ours to everyone), the Lotus travel crib and bassinet conversion kit (again, LOVE it, but maybe only worth the investment if you travel a lot!), and these cloths (love them, but, well, they’re just cloths :))

Ergo

Five items we wish we hadn’t registered for:

1. Cold weather gear. We registered for (and received) a fleece bundler, several hats, several mittens, and a fleece car seat cover. We live in North Carolina, for goodness sake! While we did use the hats and mittens, we never needed the bundler or car seat cover even though June was born in the winter. I think they were purchased because they were so darn cute, but I kind of wish I’d prioritized registering for items that we would have used more often.

2. Wubba nub. June never seemed to need a pacifier, so the cute Wubba Nub we registered for and received is still in its packaging. I know tons of folks love these guys, but we clearly could have waited to see if it was necessary instead of registering for one.

3. A kind-of-ugly activity gym. We got this one, which is fine and June liked it, but there are much prettier ones out there! If I had a do-over, I’d definitely go for this Land of Nod one.

4. Velvet hangers. We fold almost all of June’s clothes, so we very rarely use hangers — and when we do, I prefer plastic or wooden, because everything gets stuck on the velvet ones (which I know is the point, but turns out it’s annoying in practice!). Lesson learned: try to decide how you’ll set up the nursery before you register.

5. Diaper pail. When we didn’t receive the pail we’d registered for, we decided to forgo one altogether. All diapers go in our kitchen step trash can, which has worked perfectly for us!

Kristin and I would love to hear your baby must-haves, if you’re a mama!

27 Responses to “Our five must-have baby registry items”

  1. Kelly Strawberry

    We also never bought a diaper pail and I have never needed it, so I second that! Funny that you listed Ergo first. I bought that and the Baby K’tan thing. I never used the K’tan and have only used the Ergo one time at a football game.

    My must-haves:
    1. Rock N Play
    2. Halo swaddle wraps
    3. Boppy Lounger

    Splurges that just make me happy: Dreft Laundry detergent, grape-scented Boogie Wipes, Kissy Kissy brand clothing :)

    Em

    We used Halo swaddles after graduating from the Swaddle Mes, but only for about a month! I’m curious whether we’ll use them more with a baby number 2!

  2. A few thoughts:

    1. I think you’ve inspired me to write my own post like this!
    2. We loved Swaddle Me also… and since Beau was only swaddled for three months we somehow stretched that velcro the whole time and then chunked them!
    3. CONTROVERSIAL (just kidding.. haha!!!) but I would include our diaper pail as one of my top things! We started off without one, then felt like we needed one so I bought the cheapest thing possible which turned out to be a money put for weird trash bags, and I ended up getting a nicer model that has been amazing and we haven’t looked back! I wonder if this is one of those things that depends on where you’re doing diaper changes and your house layout too!

    Em

    Haha I love the controversy! :) I completely agree that it really matters where you do your diaper changes – we did almost all of ours in our master bedroom, which is on the first floor and just a short walk away from our kitchen trash can. I think it would have been totally different if we’d been doing them upstairs!

  3. Megan

    Thank you for this, Emily! And congratulations again and again to Kristin! I’m due with our first little one in January (!!), so although we are JUST starting to think about baby essentials, I’m sure this will come in extra handy when it comes time to start building a registry. Thank you!

    Em

    Best wishes, Megan!! So exciting!

  4. Lisa

    Hi Emily!
    I’m expecting my second child this summer and so love posts like this as I re-evaluate what I have/need. I’m planning on getting an Ergo 360 and so am happy to see it on your list! I am wondering if you found it hot at all in the summer? I’m having a summer baby and so am considering getting the Air version, but am unsure if it’s worth the extra cost.
    Thanks! :)

    Em

    Hi Lisa! Congratulations on baby number two!! It definitely was hot at times in the summer, but I think that would be the case with all carriers. That didn’t necessarily stop us from wearing her, even in July and August, but we did sometimes opt for the stroller more than we did in cooler months! Not sure about the Air as I haven’t had personal experience with it.

  5. This was so fun to read because it was further proof to me that no matter how similar some parents are (ahem :)), babies can be wildly different! My top five I sent Kristin:
    1. UppaBaby Vista stroller (plus, and this is very superficial, haha, the new fabrics are SO chic)
    2. Solly wrap
    3. Rock and Play
    4. Little Unicorn swaddles
    5. UppaBaby Mesa car seat
    And to forgo:
    1. Snuza monitor
    2. A baby monitor–the Nest cam + an old iPhone has worked great, and we use the same app as y’all for traveling!

    Em

    I was almost SUPER controversial and put the Solly wrap on my “items we wish we hadn’t registered for” list just because we never really got into a rhythm with it, but I resisted :) Maybe a June sibling will like it more!

    Lisa

    Haha! Well, one further reason to get a Solly: the Caitlin Wilson collaboration!! HEART EYES ;)

  6. Emma

    Love this! Especially given that I have a 6 week old and have been think what have been our Necessities so far. Plus I used your lists a lot as reference while registering so thank you!!

    Here are my top 5 after 6 weeks:
    1. Guava lotus bassinet-I saw this from your post and we’ve used it as our bassinet at home and while traveling. Love it!!
    2. Front snap tees- we have gerber ones borrowed from family in short and long sleeve. She sleeps in them for enough warm and easy diaper access at night
    3. Dreft stain remover spray- baby spit up and poo are non stop and diy and usual stain removers didn’t cut it. This one has gotten almost everything out on the first try and if it’s still there I try another wash. Note I didn’t buy dreft detergent, I just use our normal detergent since I’m usually mixing loads anyway!
    4. Salt rock lamp- random one for sure but I saw this as a recos on someone’s list and have loved it! We use it as a light on my nightstand nearby the bassinet and changing table and it allows us to only turn on a slight amount of light for evening wakes and bedtime routine. They also have a night light version we got for near our rocker.
    5. Aden and Anais swaddle blankets-I heard from so many people NOT to register for these bc your get tons and I ended up on getting one two pack. Our little girl was a peanut at only 5lbs so when we got home the swaddles we had were way too big and we resorted to swaddling Witt the A&A blankets like at the hospital. We’ve since tried the swaddleme, halo, woombie, and love to dream swaddles and every time returned to the A&A ones. With twins and the possibility of smaller babies you might look into premie size swaddles, I should have done that but all worked out!

    Honorable mention to water wipes, butts bees clothes like Emily said, and our stroller m/car seat which I also love–the baby jogger city select.

    Good luck, I can only imagine with twins what one likes the other may not! And I’ve been reminded how little they need, we rotate through 5-6 onsies/outfits and otherwise most of what we use is listed here!

    Em

    So glad to hear it, Emma! :) I’ve always been so curious about the salt rock lamps so I’m glad to get a little explanation from you.

    mary

    Totally agree on the salt rock lamps! I always forget about it, but we’ve been using them for both kids and so great for those early days when you’re up throughout the night changing diapers and nursing. :)

  7. Bethany

    Great post! I have a five month old, and it’s interesting to see what others use/don’t use! I would say my top five items are:

    1) Rock and Play – my daughter napped in this for the first three months or so and loved it! We didn’t even use the rocking function, ha.

    2) Medela breast pump – I exclusively pump, so this item has gotten A LOT of use. We got a free one through our health insurance company.

    3) An Amazon subscription for diapers and wipes – we have never had to go out for a diaper run, and it’s much convenient and cheaper!

    4) Halo sleep sacks

    5) 4moms infant tub – this tub is great because it has a temperature control to let you know how hot the water is.

    Em

    We also got a Medela pump for free through insurance, and it was great!

  8. Megan

    I have a few friends who have sung the praises time and time again of the magic Merlin sleep suit and the dock a tot!! I would be interested to try both next time (and sell my mamaroo-because, while that was nice to have, eh?), considering the RnP transistion to the crib was rough here! Heard they were both worth every penny. I second the uppababy car seat & stroller! LS never liked the wubanub, but loved (and still does) the avent pacis!

  9. Emma

    I really enjoy using the diaper genie. We got it at a garage sale for $10. While it probably doesn’t matter which disposal option you choose, I would definitely recommend keeping the can next to the diaper changing station! I don’t know how you’ve managed to walk your diapers to the kitchen each time!
    I also recommend registering for the O-ball products or O-ball gift set: http://www.target.com/p/oball-rattle-roll-spin-gift-set/-/A-44361117. They are fun to play with and are good for baby’s development!
    Also, Costco for diapers and wipes!

    Em

    Haha! We did almost all of our diaper changes in our master bedroom, which is on the first floor and just a short walk away from our kitchen trash can. I think it would have been totally different if we’d been doing them upstairs! We also LOVE the o-ball – I included it in one of my other “favorites” posts after we bought it on our physical therapist’s recommendation!

  10. I love this post! Mostly because of the second part. I just wrote a post about our one year baby favorites (https://kerstinthomas.com/2017/06/06/one-year-baby-favorites/) and by the time I was finished, I was thinking: Now I need to write a post about the things we wish we hadn’t bought. Maybe that would be even more helpful :-)

  11. Congrats Kristin! Three things I found to be lifesavers with baby/to register for…1) Fisher- Price Rock ‘N Play, 2) Stokke Flexi Bath (+ Newborn Support Insert) and 3) Solly or Boba wrap (just practice before the babies arrive). Also, all three of these things store flat, I just realized, which I love! Honorable mentions go to aden + anais BAMBOO swaddles. And if you don’t have a great food processor, I suggest registering for a really great one – it will come in handy for making baby food! Cheers!

    Em

    Yes! The food processor we received as a wedding gift went into overdrive around June’s eight month birthday!

  12. Fun post! My must-haves are:
    1. A baby carrier of some sort (we used a Moby in the early days and now an Ergo).
    2. A Medela pump (I use an electric and a manual one).
    3. City Select stroller (I love that it converts single to double!)
    I can’t even think of two more because for everything else, I can’t regard them as “must-haves” as it has varied between my two kids.

    Both of my kids have tolerated their Rock N Plays for short periods…so I’m jealous that so many parents can get their kids to sleep in them through the night! For our daughter, the Arm’s Reach Co-sleeper has been great for night time though.

  13. Love this list! I have a 14-month old and you covered a lot of our must-haves, but I would add:

    1. White noise machine (we use Dohm and it’s not too loud, but provides enough noise to cover everyday sounds) – I’m sure this comes down to parenting styles/beliefs about sleep props but we’ve had white noise on for naps+bedtime since day one and it is a lifesaver, especially when you have pets or other kids who obviously won’t stay completely quiet while the baby is asleep!

    2. Muslin swaddle blankets (aden and anais are my favorite for a reasonable price and good quality) – I consider this the most multipurpose baby item we own – I used it as a swaddle, stroller cover for nap times on the go, burp cloth, nursing cover…you name it, I probably figured out how to use it, haha.

    Em

    I considered adding our white noise machine – we have a LectoFan Jr. and love it! And yes, totally with you on the A&A muslin blankets, too!

  14. Victoria B

    I am only 7 weeks into parenthood but I agree on the Ergo 360 and water wipes. I also love our Halo Bassinet, the dohm white noise machine, Aden and Anais swaddle blankets that can be used for everything, and our diaper trend diaper pail that takes regular trash cans – so helpful in the middle of the night.
    On my disappointment list is my solly wrap (my baby just does not like it), the sheep sleep or any white noise machine that is not continuous, the cheap swing (again he just does not like it), and fuzzy polyester baby blankets.

    Em

    You may have read above that I teased Lisa that I almost added the Solly to my “no” list, because we also never got into a rhythm with it! But I know other mamas swear by it!

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