Shopping a baby registry lately had my head spinning. This was a modestly short baby registry on Amazon, and it still had 90 items listed. There are so many innovative and seemingly useful products, but how do you figure out what baby gear you really need for your first baby?
For a start, you can always ask a veteran mom. We have wisdom to share and we are happy to share it!
It helps to categorize baby gear into must-haves and nice-to-haves. And keep in mind that ALL. THE. STUFF. has to be stored until baby has grown enough to use it.
Here is my veteran mom’s list of the 10 Must-Haves for your first baby:
1. Appropriate car seat/baby carrier
You will need to have an infant car seat/baby carrier so that you can transport your newborn safely. Practice installing the car seat/carrier and removing it a few times before the baby comes. You don’t want your first time to be in the heat/rain/wind/cold on the day you bring your precious newborn home from the hospital.
A bassinet covered with tiers of white lace is the iconic first baby bed for many newborns. Besides the typical bassinet, there are sleepers, “pack-n-plays” with a bassinet feature, and side-sleeper devices that literally hook up to the side of your adult bed. The recommended use of bassinets and the alternatives is to have your newborn baby sleep in the same room as you, but separately, for six months. Read more about safe sleep practices here.
3. Baby bathtub
From sink inserts to rigid mini-tubs, you have many options to choose from. They will all help you keep a grip on your slippery little nipper at bath time.
4. Baby skin products
Sensitive baby skin really does require special treatment. Besides baby shampoo, baby bath wash, baby powder, and baby lotion for moisturizing, you also need diaper cream. The first month, your baby will go through 7-10 diapers a day. Diaper cream is one item you never want to run out of, so go ahead and stock up on it.
5. Flannel lap blankets or diaper cloths
You will need an ample supply of flannel lap blankets or cotton diaper cloths. Humble but versatile, you can use both of these items as a lightweight blanket, as burp cloths, to put over the baby carrier as a lightweight sunshade, and to put under the baby at nap time to catch diaper leaks.
6. Video or audio baby monitor
A monitor will let you keep an eye and ear on your baby during naptime, and eventually when the baby is sleeping at night in her/his own room in a crib.
7. Portable crib or “pack-n-play”
These are great for day trips as well as overnight stays, and to give baby a safe play enclosure as he/she begins to roll over and become mobile.
8. Baby thermometer
You will want to have one of these on hand soon after your baby comes home. If your baby starts to run a fever and you call the pediatrician, the first question will be, “What is the baby’s temperature?” Options for baby thermometers include digital ear thermometers, forehead thermometers, and rectal thermometers.
9. Breast pump kit for nursing mothers
More than anything else, having a high-quality breast pump got me through breastfeeding. If you are going back to work after the baby is born, and you still want to nurse, you will need an efficient pumping system. Or if you start to feel that you are not making enough milk, a high-quality system can help to stimulate more milk production. You may be able to find a rental breast pump program locally, rather than purchasing one.
10. Guide Book – What To Expect The First Year (Murkoff, Mazel)
This specific book and similar parental guides are like an owner’s manual for your new baby. They will cover developmental milestones, safety advice, and what to do when things don’t follow the usual path of development. Your new baby will be changing and growing every day, and this comprehensive guide will keep you one step ahead of all the incredible changes.
“Nice-to-have” baby items:
- Baby swing or bouncer seat
- Rocking chair or glider for Mom and Dad
- Sling-type baby carrier
- Warm thick hooded bath towels
- Changing table/stand with storage
It’s OK to wait on these:
- Cute baby outfits (comfort is key for newborns)
- Baby shoes (socks and soft slippers are good)
- Activity mat/mobile/toys (baby’s eyesight will be able to track a moving object at about two months old)
- Full-size crib, matching bedding and blankets (bare is best)
- High chair (baby will sit up at about 4-6 months old)
Whether you are registering for baby products or just buying them yourself, it’s nice to know ahead of time what baby gear is truly essential.
That way you can focus on other important things – like welcoming your new baby!