Registry checklist: New baby essentials

Baby Registry Checklist

Many of you have asked about our registry, and the items we have found most valuable thus far. So with the giant caveat that we’re only a few months in on this whole “Oh my goodness, we have a son!” bit, here’s my list… which has now been completely updated! 


Crib: Remember the closet that became the nursery? Only this crib

would fit. So we were so grateful to get one used, with lots of the accessories (you need a mattress, 1-2 mattress pads, and 2-3 fitted sheets), at a bargain. But, good news: there’s now a less expensive (similar) mini crib at BuyBuy Baby! That said, we only started using our crib recently. After a few nights home, we rushed out to buy a Summer Infant Sleeper
; he slept in it, between us, for a couple of months. We also used the co-sleeper on trips in lieu of a travel crib. Update: when we moved to California, we bought Hudson a convertible crib from Target, and bought Skyler a crib from Ikea. 

Swaddle Blankets: We chose Aden+Anais

 muslin blankets and have loved using them… for most things besides swaddling. For that we use the Miracle Blanket
. Hudson was like Houdini with everything else and slept twice as long as usual on the first night we tried it. We bought a second one immediately. Sleep sacks come in handy when they start to roll over, and our favorites are the Baby DeeDee ones with the shoulder snaps (winter and summer weights).

Bouncy Chair: We borrowed the Oeuf Bouncy chair. I think the Bjorn Balance

or the Maclaren would also be good options. At first, I wasn’t sure this would be very useful (he couldn’t make it bounce and it was too upright for him)–but now he uses it all the time. He loves to sit in the center of the action and look around from his chair and I love knowing that he’s safely strapped in. Update: We registered for and were gifted the Bjorn Balance for Skyler and have been so glad to have it. 

Swing: This is a gray area. We thought we were firmly in the no-swing camp (especially since we have no space). But a few nights of Aron swinging the car seat back and forth to calm Hudson down sent us scurrying to the store for a small, slightly hideous swing

. It had none of the calming effects of the dad’s car seat swing, but it did distract him for a while. Still, we ditched it last week after only a handful of uses. Who knows if a larger swing would have been the answer or whether a rocking chair would have been a great addition—I did inflate the birthing ball
for some bouncing on occasion—but we just don’t have the space (and have luckily moved out of the need-to-be-bounced-to-sleep stage). Update: We’re borrowing a large Fisher-Price Swing
 with our second, Skyler, and its powers are magical. Plus, it broke once and I called Fisher-Price in a panic and they overnighted me a new one at no charge—even after I told them it was borrowed and many years old. 

White Noise: A friend recommended the Marpac SleepMate. I like that it stays on all night and makes us feel more comfortable moving around the apartment after he’s asleep. Update: We bought a Conair one after a few years, for Skyler, and it’s lighter for travel. Both work great. 

Fan: We didn’t move Hudson into his crib until we had one. Good circulation reduces the risk of SIDS.

Baby monitor: We got ourselves a video monitor—and I’m hooked!


Stroller: Bugaboo Bee (along with the Maxi Cosi car seat adapter

, infant cocoon
, Think King hooks
, and Cup Holder
). I feel like coming to a decision on a stroller is a post in itself. More to come. Update: Since our second, we have grown to an entire fleet: three Bumbleride
strollers—an Indie, a Flite, and the double—and can vouch for the Quinny Yezz and Summer Infant as great for travel. 

Car Seat: We borrowed a Maxi Cosi

infant car seat from friends. I especially like how easily the Maxi Cosi car seat adapters attach to (and detach from) the Bugaboo Bee Base, and how light it is if you’ll be lifting it in and out of the car a lot. That said, some friends have mentioned that other car seats have easier buckle mechanisms. I can’t say we tried any others after learning we could borrow this one. (Also for the car: Sunshades
and a rear view mirror
; and for the car seat on the stroller: UppaBaby cabana .) Update: We bought that same Maxi Cosi for our second (it’s the lightest infant carseat, and that matters when you’re carrying it around on your forearm). 

Carriers: Ergo Baby Carrier

(with infant insert
), and Sakura Bloom Ring Sling in Linen. Hudson was born in July and it was was over 100 degrees in the shade on the day of his first pediatrician appointment, so we were really happy to have the linen sling those first few weeks. I would alternate between the stroller and the sling, but often found wearing Hudson to be easier than pushing him on crowded New York sidewalks (and you can nurse discreetly in the sling–even while walking!). Once he got heavier and the days grew cooler, I found myself using the Ergo more often. It keeps the weight on my hips and can be used on the front or back once he’s older (though he can’t face out). I especially appreciate that it has zipper pockets for me and a little hood for shading him. Update: The new ErgoBaby 360 has a front-facing option! We use it with Skyler. 

Travel Crib: We love the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib

 (be sure to add a fitted sheet). Update: More on travel gear for babies and tips for flying with babies


Breast Pump: I have the Simplisse Double Electric Pump

, but find that I generally prefer to use my small, Medela Manual Breast Pump
on occasions when I want to express. I’m sure I would feel differently if I needed to be apart from Hudson more often. Update: though the hand pump was enough with Hudson, I’ve rented a pump from the hospital for Skyler and use it with a hands-free pumping bra.

Bottles: We have the Born Free bottles with air vents for gas. I’d love to get some of the glass ones. Update: Born Free is great, but we switched after a while to Tommee Tippee

. I liked that there were less parts to clean and keep track of.

Pacifiers: Not all babies like pacifiers, but Hudson used to need them to get to sleep (and still likes them when napping on-the-go); we have liked GumDrop Newborn. Confession—we tried Mommy’s Bliss Gripe Water to see if they’d ease his gassy tummy and found them to mostly useful for causing him to suck harder on his pacifier (very soothing). The combination of a few drops of Gripe water and a pacifier was a lifesaver on our road trip, helping him to fall asleep in the dreaded car seat.

Burp Cloths: It seems we can never have too many of these. Cloth diapers work great, but we also have these super-soft ones from Giggle and a set from Aden + Anais (their Burby Bib

) that can become bibs when he’s older. They are my favorite–big and very absorbent—but the cloth diapers are more cost efficient.

Breastfeeding pillow: I can’t imagine doing without the My Brest Friend 

pillow, lent to me by a friend. It made things so much easier. Now Hudson sits on my lap or lays beside me, but I used that pillow non-stop in the first few months.

Highchair: We have the Inglesina Table Chair

 for clipping onto our dining room table, and for going out. Update: Once we moved, we got the Stokke Tripp Trapp Highchair
(love it!) and find ourselves using a totseat fabric chair for traveling.


Diapers: We were glad we had a box of Newborn diapers waiting for us at home, even though we still needed to place an order with almost immediately (you fly through these). We use free & clear wipes, Aquaphor, and recommend Triple Paste


Diaper Bag: With Hudson, I used a purse that I converted into a diaper bag by adding a Skip Hop Pronto Changer. Here’s what I kept in my bag. (This one would be good for dads.)

Diaper pail: We registered for (and were given) a Diaper Dekor with Hudson, but ended up returning it when we saw how huge it looked in our apartment. Also, there was a trash shoot in the hall, just a few doors down. We didn’t miss it, but we did get one for Sklyer and it’s definitely convenient.

Changing table: We didn’t have one with Hudson (no room!) but were very excited to have one for Skyler. With Hudson, we brought home some of those waterproof pads from the hospital (we’re lucky that Aron could exchange them) and used the bed or floor as a changing station. We also used these for an easy-to-wash addition on many surfaces. Bending down got tiring, but you can make it work with or without a changing station.


First Aid: We registered for the Safety 1st Grooming Kit

. I use the nail clippers all the time, always while he’s eating. It takes forever to clip his nails because he flexes his hand constantly, but I love holding his fingers around my thumb and being his salon. We have Infant Tylenol on hand for vaccinations and Vitamin D supplements (as recommended by our pediatrician). We also have a humidifier and a Nosefrida (the best).

Bath: We borrowed the Puj Tub

from a friend. I can see why people love this easy-to-fold, easy-to-store tub, but the truth is—Hudson didn’t love it. We think he got too cold being so out of the water. Instead, I get in the tub with him and we have bathtime together. I also don’t bathe him that often and I think his skin looks great. We have two super-cute robes and some great Mustela bath products, but sometimes I just use Cetaphil and a bath towel. If you’re going to be holding them in shallow water without a baby tub a lot, I’d consider a kneeling pad. Update: For Skyler, we got this Boon Collapsible Bathtub

Clothes: We didn’t register for any and still got a ton of clothes–far more than we needed for the summer. Most folks can’t resist picking out cute outfits for babies, and who can blame them? The only thing I might do differently? I might keep the sex of the baby a secret until after the shower. You might feel totally differently, but I’m not big on extra-gendered clothes (and actually love it most when babies wear white onesies). Hudson got a lot of shirts declaring him a “little slugger.” I was especially happy to have some kimono-style shirts on hand for times I didn’t want to tug something over his head (like these Giggle Better Basics short sleeve onesies).


Toys: Skip Hop Activity Mat, Activity Mirror, and Sophie

the Giraffe. He loves his activity mat (even the crazy, ugly squirrel), and I’ve loved watching him bat at, then grab for the little dangling “friends” above. He has some other toys (we put him to sleep with a stufffed pal, like Mr. Elephant), but we have tried to keep toys at a minimum—especially since he doesn’t take much interest in the ones he has yet, and we have zero space left in our apartment. In theory, I would love for him to have only beautiful knit and wood toys, but we found ourselves in Babies R Us buying the most hideous butterfly with dayglow and rings and black and white stripes and mirrors and… all kinds of stimulating devices… not too long ago.

Books for Hudson: We didn’t register for any books, but I was still surprised that Hudson didn’t get very many. I wish he’d gotten more books and fewer clothes, but I’m not sure how one influences such things. I went out and got him The Very Hungry Caterpillar

board book recently and he seems to really like it—especially because he can turn the thick pages. Our neighbor got us Goodnight Moon
and we read it before bed every night. I can’t imagine our bedtime routine without it. So far the baby books we have are my favorite toys, and I’d suggest getting at least a handful of board books.


Baby Timer: If you have a smartphone, there are half a dozen apps. We use Baby Connect on the iPhone and I’m hooked. I no longer need to keep so close an eye on his feedings or diaper changes, but I am obsessed with tracking his sleep patterns. It’s great to have something like this for when the pediatrician asks you about details.

Books for us: Like most new parents these days, we are big fans of The Happiest Baby on the Block

. We also have about half-a-dozen books on sleep that we read/skimmed trying to figure out where we stood on the whole parent-led/baby-led sleep issue (Ferber’s descriptions of sleep associations were most helpful in getting our bedtime routine down). We’ve also like Jo Frost’s
book and the What to Expect the First Year
(both gifts), and I would recommend a book on breastfeeding if that’s your plan. I’m often skimming books at Barnes & Noble or looking at AAP or Mayo Clinic or Baby Center online regarding milestones and care guidelines. Update: I’ve written a detailed post about my picks for best books during the first year of parenting.

Memory keeping: We have been enjoying using this box. I also bought myself the 5 Year Diary

which has small boxes for daily entries; I figured the limited lines would take some of the pressure off and make it easy to jot down simple notes like “Found toes!”

Tech: A really good camera and an iPhone. I couldn’t do without our camera. And the iPhone is what I use for all of those pictures and videos I take when I can’t grab the camera. I love being able to access the internet and read the newspaper with one hand. It’s better for consuming content then creating it, but I love it. I’m also incredibly grateful for AppleTV and streaming Netflix.

Bonus: It’s so awesome when friends and family help feed you in those first weeks. Our good friends sent us grocery delivery and we were so grateful.

P.S. Maternity clothes and packing for the hospital.

[Images: Hudson and Skyler, with products from Target]

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