The First 3 Months: Baby Registry Essentials

You are a brand-new parent and have just walked into Babies R Us for the first time. The sight of the long aisles and shelves full of items of all types and styles is too overwhelming. Perhaps I can help. You see, I made this trek only about 9 months ago. I have seen the items we used, the items we returned, and the items we wish we returned. I have seen this list change over the months. For this reason, I will start with roughly breaking this into a list for 0-3 month olds. Stay tuned for the list of essentials for older ages. In fact, why not break your registering up into a couple of trips? (you may need more than 2 trips if you are like me!)

Here are the essentials:

A place for the baby to sleep — I highly recommend at least a pack and play. They are small enough to fit in a master bedroom. They can be easily moved into another room later on. They are transportable. And they often have bassinette and changing table insets. The changing table will be your best friend. We loved having it downstairs and even after our son moved upstairs to a crib, I fought taking down the pack and play because I loved the changing table so much. (great height, can change the baby facing you rather than sideways like most changing tables, etc…)3+ crib/pack and play sheets — we managed with 3 pack and play sheets and wished we had had a few more due to frequent leaky diapers.

Diapers — Either cloth or disposable. Count on at least 7 dirty/wet diapers per day for this time period, and quite possibly a few more. Stock up on these when they are on sale beforehand. I actually put larger sizes on my registry since I did not want everyone buying newborn (which some babies never fit. My son wore these for about 2 months after weighing 8+ pounds at birth, but he grew very slowly and was very small for his age at 2 months old).

See also  Diaper Genie or Diaper Champ?

A carseat — the hospital will not let you go home without one. We opted for a newborn carrier carseat as part of a stroller travel system, but as your baby will need a full-size carseat at some point, you could think ahead and save some money by buying just a full-size car seat and propping up your newborn with blankets, head cushions etc…

Some sort of carrier — by that, I mean one of three things: either a sling (a piece of fabric with or without rings/clips that swaddles the baby next to you and leaves your hands free), a baby carrier like the Bjorn, or a stroller. We had all three. In the first three months, I used almost exclusively the sling for shorter walks and shopping expeditions and the stroller for the occasional longer walk.

Formula — only if not nursing. We have discovered when we started formula at 4 months that the Sam’s Brand, Member’s Mark, works just as well for his little system and is half the price of the name-brands. It contains all the same vitamins etc…(since that is a regulated requirement)

2-3 Bottles — even if you are planning to nurse, you would be wise to have a couple of bottles for times that you are required to pump and feed the baby later or times that you will leave your newborn with a caregiver. If you are planning to feed bottles exclusively (like us as of 4 months old), you will still find that 2-3 bottles will probably be sufficient.

A Bottle Brush — it is useful to have a larger one for the bottle and a smaller sized one for the nipple.

Bibs — I only used these once we began bottle-feeding. They seemed to serve very little purpose before then.

Burp Cloths — we did not use these until about 4 months old since my son rarely spit up. I have heard the same story from others, but do not be deceived. You will need these sooner or later probably!

A Diaper bag this could be left off the registry, if desired, since your pediatrician or hospital are likely to give you a neutral one for free.

See also  To-Do Checklist: What You Need Before the Baby Comes

5-7 footie sleepers — size dependant on the size of your baby–we found 0-3 months to be biggish on our son who was over 8 pounds when born, but…he quickly grew into them and newborn would have been too small very quickly. If your child’s diapers do not leak and you do laundry regularly, you will find that 5 will be more than enough. But, be prepared to have leaky diapers (even with the expensive brand diapers). Having a few more sleepers will save you from doing laundry every other day or more often.
Note: I highly recommend the zipper sleepers. Forget that many of the cutest sleepers are snaps. In the middle of the night with a squirmy baby, you will rue ever even considering the snap sleepers. *unless you have a hot-natured summer baby (like ours)–in which case swap out the footie sleepers for 5-7 side-snap shirts. I would probably add a few pairs of socks though then, just in case. The side-snap shirts are breeze to put on and also (unlike onesies) do not rub the umbilical cord stump that all babies have for a while.

Blankets — again, the hospital may give you several of these (which are wonderfully large!), but be prepared to need 5-7 of these as well. I liked the flannel ones. They were easier to swaddle.

A Bathtub — while the sink can be used, an infant or convertible (to toddler) tub is very helpful when bathing your newborn once you can give him a full immersion bath. We found the sling that stretches on some baby tubs not too helpful. There was not enough contact with the water. Instead, I used a baby tub and just held my son to keep him from slipping.

Baby Shampoo — this suffices as body soap too.

2-3 Bath towels — we like the built-in hoodie towels.

2-3 Washcloths

Baby Thermometer — I only put this on here for wisdom’s sake; we have yet to use ours.

See also  Cake Decorating: How to Create Edible Pictures

Baby Nail Clippers/File/Scissors — I use the nail clippers.

And these items are not essentials but might well be considered so by you once you experience them:

Pacifier — we opted to use one with our son, and had we wanted to save money, we could have used the one the hospital gave us.

Bouncy Seat — our son loved to sleep in this seat as it vibrated and played sweet lullabies.

A Swing — our son never liked this, but I know many people could not live without this item.

A Playmat — wonderful especially if your child is a slow crawler. It might keep him entertained for hours.

A Boppy — quite useful to prop your newborn while feeding, no matter whether nursing or bottle-feeding. However, washable extra throw pillows can work just as well.

A Diaper Pail — we use the Diaper Champ, and I highly recommend it since it uses regular kitchen trash bags instead of the expensive refills that other brands use. However, I made this an optional item since it would probably work just as well to use a step-open trash can and empty it regularly.

A Hanging Car Toy — I would recommend at least one, we always have 2-3 clipped onto our son’s carseat to keep him quiet and entertained while riding backwards in the car, something that many babies do NOT like.

Small grip rattle — meaning, a rattle which has a small diameter grip; your baby’s hand will be small and probably thus prefer the smaller items to grasp. A good example of this is the classic teething keys.
Stay tuned for a list of non-essentials as you are registering.