You don’t generally get to have a registry and multiple baby showers for a child that isn’t your first. I know some people have a “sprinkle” the second (or third…) time around with a few close friends, especially if they’re having a baby that’s a different gender; but that’s usually more to get “fun” gifts like clothing and diapers –not the whole mess of gear and accessories you register for the first time around.
But really, building a registry would be so much easier if you could do it after having a kid. Because do you need a wipe warmer? Should you splurge on the stroller you really want or register for the more economical option?
I’m firmly planted in the “less is more” camp when it comes to baby gear, but even “minimalist” babies need quite a bit of stuff. Now that I’ve got two kiddos, I’ve revised the list of what I would register for if I could do it all over again. Here are my thoughts for all of the major categories to cover in your baby registry.
(There are tons of awesome options for each of the categories below, my recommendations are just based on items I’ve used or seen and really like.)
I like to keep the products I use on Prim as natural and basic as possible, but she’s developed a bit of eczema which tends to flare up in the colder months, so just anything won’t do for bath time. I use the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database (there’s also an app) to see which items are low-hazard and will work for her sensitive skin.
Diapering and Health/Safety
I used cloth diapers on Prim until we moved to Amsterdam and absolutely loved them. Unfortunately, cloth diapering in the Netherlands is a bit trickier (I still can’t find cotton prefolds here) and there’s no service available like there is in California to come pick up your soiled diapers, so I would have to do all the washing myself if I were to continue using them. Given that our washer/dryer fits like a single shirt at a time and takes approximately 1,000 years to do one load, I’ve made the switch over to disposables (but honestly, I would switch back to cloth in an instant if it weren’t such a giant hassle!)
If you deliver at a hospital they should provide you with a standard rectal thermometer, which is why i would recommend registering for an ear thermometer if you decide to put one on your registry.
When looking at diaper pails make sure to note whether you have to buy special bin liners for the one you want (looking at you, Diaper Dekor). We registered for the Ubbi even though it was more expensive because you can use regular garbage bags in it, which actually makes it cheaper in the long run, especially if you are planning on having more than one kid.
*The Keekaroo changing pad doesn’t require a cover, so you could avoid buying covers and liners if you register for that option.
I ended up going with the Kiinde bottle warmer after doing a bunch of research and finding out that it’s the best bottle warmer for use with breastmilk because it uses water rather than steam to warm the bottle. It takes a little longer than other bottle warmers because of this, but I like knowing that it’s maintaining as much of the nutrients in the breastmilk as possible since it’s not heating too quickly or getting too hot. If you’re going to be heating up formula, I’d recommend a different bottle warmer (one that’s cheaper and faster) because formula isn’t as easily compromised by heat as breastmilk is.
The nursing pillow was really helpful with Prim, but I have to admit I haven’t used it once since having Lark, so if you can borrow a friend’s that might be a better option than adding it to your registry.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the size of your registry, feel free to cut out things related to feeding baby solid food. Babies don’t start solids until 4-6 months, which means you’ll have plenty of time to buy baby food-related items yourself during the first few months. I do recommend putting a high chair on your registry though — you get a completion discount on remaining items not purchased from your registry, so given that it’s a higher-priced item it’s nice to have the discount!
We try to stick to toys that are made from natural materials like wood, natural rubber or food-grade silicone, since we know that most (or all) end up going in the kids’ mouths at one point or another. We ended up buying the IKEA play gym on a whim shortly after Prim was born, as I wasn’t really into the crazy neon play mats/play gyms I saw everywhere else, but also didn’t want to spend $150 on a beautiful wood one. The IKEA one ended up being an awesome purchase (it’s only $30!) — Prim still plays with it, and I love that it’s not a hot-pink eyesore in the middle of the living room.
Out and About
I think there are plenty of strollers out there that are awesome, and what works for you is really personal. You should research strollers based on what you like to do and your family’s living situation. Someone who hikes frequently or runs outdoors is obviously going to have different needs from someone who needs a stroller for a tight, urban environment (hello, Amsterdam). We wanted a general, all-purpose stroller that was both compact and easy to maneuver. We ended up choosing ours because I have severe restrictions on how much weight I can lift due to my bad back, and our stroller was the lightest all-terrain, urban stroller we could find. However, now that we have two kids under two, if I had to do it over again I would register for a stroller than can convert from a single to a double (like the Uppababy Vista or City Select). If you plan to have more than one kid but think you’ll space them out a bit, a single stroller with a ride-on board is a good option. (If Prim were a year older, I’d hang onto our current stroller and add this.)
I’ve already posted about baby wraps here. As for structured carriers, we initially got the Ergo 360 carrier, but I couldn’t put the freaking thing on by myself (which, uh, is kind of a deal-breaker), so we returned it and tried on a bunch of other carriers. I liked the Baby Bjorn, but we ultimately chose the Beco Gemini because it fit KC better. The Beco is really comfy and easy to use, and it’s awesome that it has the option of four different positions (front facing in, front facing out, side carry, and back carry).
I registered for two mattress protectors and three crib sheets when I was pregnant with Prim, which, I will admit, at the time felt a little bit greedy. Now that I’ve been through a night with a puking child, I know that this is the absolute MINIMUM amount of bedding you want to register for. Just trust me on this one.
Also, I felt like the bedding we registered for (aside from the crib) was somewhat pricey, but now that I’m almost two years into parenting, I totally see the value in spending money on your kid’s sleeping situation. They spend so much time sleeping on those sheets and mattress that you really see your return on investment on those items. So if you’ve got your eye on some pricey, well-made sheets for baby’s crib — I say go ahead and go for it.
You’ll notice that I didn’t include any baby clothing on my registry, because whether or not you have clothing on your registry people will buy it for you. If you’re really committed to a certain outfit or aesthetic, you can obviously add those to your registry, but I don’t really think adding clothing to your registry is necessary.
After the jump is the full registry list with links sans comments in case you want to print it out or copy/paste it into a Word doc as a checklist. The items in bold I think are not strictly necessary — they’re either “nice to have” or could be purchased after baby is born.
Happy registering! read more