Updated: Mar 29, 2021
Figuring out what to purchase for your first baby falls into the category of 'holy crap this overwhelming!' I remember feeling like my head was spinning doing research and thinking, "What could 5 more swaddle blankets hurt? Should I buy every nipple possible for my bottles in seven sizes?"
I am hoping my guide can help you cut through some of the challenges and give you a place to start that isn't so overwhelming. I have done *a lot of research*, and have sent my lists to countless friends and family members to help while they were pregnant, so I figured, why not help others too?
Also, remember to take a deep breath. You can *always* buy something you need once the baby gets here.
YOU'VE GOT THIS!
A QUICK DISCLAIMER: I cannot attest to the safety of every single item listed; I can only tell you that they worked from my personal experience. Every baby is incredibly perfect, but incredibly different! Be sure to listen to your pediatrician, best safety practices, and your mama instinct.
WHERE TO REGISTER
A good rule of thumb is to register somewhere friends/family can buy things online and somewhere they can buy things in person (i.e. Amazon, then Target or Buy Buy Baby). Check for completion discounts offered by retailers as well. (This is a one time discount for purchasing items after your shower that you didn't get.) I love Babylist because it allows you to compile items from anywhere on the internet in one place *and* links to your other registries.
Here is my registry checklist, followed by a few of my favorites/notes in each category! I have the PDF checklist available here to download.
MY FAVORITE BUYS & SHOWER GIFTS
I am linking everything by category/recommendations below, but my favorite gifts/must haves are here first. These include my favorite blanket, bottles, pacifiers, all over cream, burp rags, travel stroller (it fits in a plane's overhead compartment!), travel crib, baby swing, memory book, and more. These are the things I buy for showers and recommend the most to my family and friends.
CRIB + MATTRESS + MATTRESS PROTECTOR
Unless you are a magical, swaddling genius, I recommend a velcro sleep sack for keeping your baby warm and safely bundled up for sleep. Once they can roll over, the zip up versions (arms out) are perfect.
SWADDLING & RECEIVING BLANKETS
This Nordstrom blanket is my absolute favorite. It is easy to wash, not too expensive, and super soft/snuggly. It also makes a great shower gift. I also love these lightweight swaddles. The quality and stretch is great! Plus, there are lots of fun patterns.
I got a Jolly Pop pacifier in the hospital and it became a quick favorite for both of my girls. It doesn't cover a newborn's nose like some brands. The Baby Einstein sea dreams is also a family favorite for distracting older babies and helping them go to sleep. It latches inside the crib and plays music.
I absolutely love the Nest video camera which connects to an app on my phone (I have other Nest cameras around my home too and it integrates so well). For an audio monitor, I use this inexpensive monitor so I can hear what is going without the Nest app open.
The Nose Frida is a MUST HAVE item. It might seem gross, but it is so effective and easy to use/clean. Just trust me on this one.
SOUND MACHINE + NIGHT LIGHT + HANGERS
As part of our sleep hygiene, each girl has had a sound machine in her room since birth. I also linked a portable version, as well as my favorite plug-in night lights. (We have these all over the house now-- they aren't too bright, but make it great to get around for late night feedings, using the bathroom, etc.!)
ROCKER OR CHAIR
I definitely splurged on my rocker, but I love it and have used it nearly every day for three years. The performance velvet is stain resistant (wipes right off), and I also love that this chair can be moved into another room without screaming 'this is baby furniture'. We currently have ours in our loft and it fits right in with our modern furniture.
While not an absolute necessity, memory books are so fun to keep for your little one, and these ones are the cutest. I print photo stickers through Fox Print from Instagram, which makes the process a lot easier.
BATH TUB + KNEELING/ELBOW MAT + BATH RINSER/CUP
We used this in-sink tub when the girls were little, but honestly would have been fine with the bigger tub we use now. It has two sides as they grow for a better fit and sits inside our big bath tub at home. Don't forget something to help your knees!
BABY SHAMPOO/WASH + BABY LOTION + ALL THE GOOD CREAMS
I live for Tubby Toddy all over ointment since both my girls have dry skin, especially on their faces. For newborns, this Mustela No Rinse water is great for quick cleanings and helps prevent and treat baby acne. I also linked my favorite lotion and baby shampoo.
This swing is my favorite and I am not sure how I lived without it!
There are lots of cute and functional activity gyms these, days, but both my girls did great with the classic kick 'n play piano. It really is a great value.
DIAPER PAIL + DIAPERS + WIPES
I love this diaper pail, which actually keeps the smells away. I use Pampers Swaddlers for Newborns/Size 1, and then Pampers Cruisers when baby starts to crawl/move more. If your baby is peeing through their diaper at night, try nighttime diapers or the Sposie pad inserts, which were a lifesaver for us and super easy to use in any diapers you already have to double their size.
DIAPER CHANGING PAD + LINERS + DIAPER CADDY
CUTE DIAPER CHANGING PAD COVERS
STROLLER + INFANT CAR SEAT + BASE
Researching strollers can drive a person insane. We did a lot of online research, then tried strollers at Buy Buy Baby in person (pushed them around, folded them, etc.) before we committed. I recommend that. We ultimately picked out the Uppababy Vista after hours of research. We really LOVE it and I would buy it again in a heartbeat, even after using it with two babies.
It comes with a bassinet that both our girls slept in while they were newborns (we bought this stand to set it on). With a few parts this stroller can covert into a stroller for two kids (which we do now) and you can buy an awesome skateboard attachment (which we also have!). There is TONS of storage underneath. Because of that, it does lean toward the bulky end of strollers, which is something to consider. The car seat we bought is also from this brand (easily clicks in) and we also bought a travel bag that guarantees any damage done to the stroller while traveling. We also purchased an extra car seat base for my husband's car. (A fun fact is all baby stuff flies free-- strollers, car seats, travel cribs, etc!)
BOTTLES + BOTTLE CLEANING + BOTTLE EXTRAS
I absolutely love Comotomo bottles. They are easy to clean and babies love them. A drying rack and sterilizer are very useful as well. We usually clean with this organic baby soap, put in the drying rack, then sterilize every other day or so. You can start with the 0-3 month nipples that come on the bottle, then upgrade to faster flow versions as your baby gets older.
Both of my girls have been primarily formula fed and while pricey, the Baby Brezza is an absolute life saver for formula mixing and bottle making. Kit used this formula, and Max had terrible reflux/spitting up so we used this specialized formula.
BURP RAGS + BIBS
I hope your baby doesn't throw up as much as my sweet second daughter Max did (reflux is the worst!), but these burp rags are far and above the most absorbent around. And we have tested their limits! I would recommend stocking up on at least a few sets, with plans to buy more if you find yourself running out as quickly as we did.
If you made it through this post, I truly hope you found it helpful. I will try to keep it updated as frequently as possible with new finds and favorites. Best of luck and welcome to the crazy journey of parenthood!