I’m a mom of two with a third on the way. I’ve tried and researched a lot of baby products. There are so many products, it’s really hard to know which is right. Hopefully this post can break it down for you a little bit and make it easier for you to create your own registry.
DISCLAIMER: Every baby is different. Every family is different. This is the best I can do sharing my own experiences. There are many other great products I’ve never tried. And, there is never any guarantee a certain product will work for you. This is why there are so many baby products. I just wanted to share my experiences the best I could, to help you make more informed decisions.
There’s really no right answer here. It’s something you have to buy for what makes sense for you. We got this basic one from Target and will soon be using it for our 3rd baby. So, certainly, you don’t have to get anything super fancy.
The first time around, we just went for a standard foam crib mattress (and to be clear, it was totally fine). But for Finley, we got a Newton Crib Mattress when I worked with them and I have been very happy with it. It costs about 3-4x more than some other crib mattresses, but it’s exceptionally safe and insanely easy to clean. It’s also 100% recyclable.
Crib mattress pad and sheets
This will protect your mattress from any wet leaking onto it. You’ll want two of these (I get this 2-pack) for the inevitable in-the-middle-of-the-night messes, so you can just swap out and worry about washing in the morning.
For crib sheets, I’m definitely all about less is more. You want just enough to have one in the wash and 1-2 that are clean. I’ve ordered Little Unicorn crib sheets for the past few years and have been pleased with how they held up.
I’m a big lover of using a regular dresser and affixing a changing pad to it. I like having a full-size dresser for storage, and then you can easily take off the pad in a year and just have it be a regular dresser. There are a lot of choices for changing pads, from splurge to budget. Honestly, you’re just changing a diaper and I don’t think this is necessarily somewhere you need to break the bank. I used this basic one for both of my babies, and it was just fine.
I know moms-to-be that obsess over the rocking chair. With my first, I used our rocking chair ALL THE TIME. I used it for all middle-of-the-night feedings and more. For my second, I tended to just nurse her in my bed instead. So I only used the rocking chair when she was a tad older for contact naps. It’s kinda hard to know exactly how much you’ll utilize it. But I do think it’s a worthwhile product for nursing or rocking a tired baby. Some things to consider would be to get something roomy enough that you can easily sit back and nurse in (it gives you enough space for a nursing pillow if you want.) And go for a hearty fabric that’s easy to wash because babies spit up…a lot.
Side Table or Caddy
Kinda random, but you’ll want some type of table or caddy next to your regular nursing spot. If that’s in your rocking chair, then maybe a side table. If the bed, maybe a utility caddy like this. You’ll need a place for extra burp clothes, your haaka or pumps, water bottle, snacks, etc.
Shop this section
For newborn swaddled, I personally like the Sleepea swaddle, the Ollie Swaddle, and the SwaddleMe swaddle. I use the Sleepea and Ollie as my go-to swaddles and keep a 3-pack of the SwaddleMe ones available for downstairs naps or if the others are dirty.
Once you are ready to transition your baby out of the swaddle, there are a lot of sleep-style sacks to consider, and I don’t necessarily suggest registering for these as it’s best to wait and see what type of sleeper your baby is (some prefer arms up, tighter swaddle, etc.) For my first born, I used the Magic Merlin Sleep Suit and then Halo Sleep Sack and Ktye Baby Sleep sack (keep in mind these come in different weights depending on the temperature where you live). For my second, we used the Nested Bean Swaddle to transition and then moved to Kyte Baby. Other great considerations are Dreamland Baby Sleepsacks which are pricy, but weighted and really nice.
Personally, I suggest the Halo Bassinest for a stationary bassinet in your bedroom. It is very easy to swivel right up to the bed, and the side pushes down for easy access to take baby out. I tried out the Snoo with my second as she was not a good newborn sleeper, but honestly just didn’t find it worth it. It saved me maybe 5-6 times from having to rock her, but not nearly enough to justify the price. I know some people swear by it, but in my personal experience, it just didn’t make that big of a difference in the grand scheme. I’ll be going back to my Halo Swivel Bassinet for baby three.
Bassinet Sheets I suggest at least three because accidents happen in the middle of the night! Like with swaddles, you want one to use, one to wash, and a spare.
White Noise Machine(s)
A white noise machine mimics the womb and leads to better sleep. Trust me, you want it. I highly suggest one for in the bedroom, we love Hatch ones and own three. I also think portable ones are lifesavers, and I use them for stroller/car seat naps and just to help calm babies in tricky situations (I have two of this one). I don’t know why more people don’t use them; I’m always surprised when I’m at the pediatrician, and they are like, “what’s that noise?” I just assumed everyone uses one because they are lifesavers.
AHHH, the baby monitor. It might be one of my top 3 products I get asked about. This comes down to preference, and there isn’t some perfect one. We all have different wants/needs here. Personally, I like a stand-alone unit that doesn’t need WiFi and that can pair to multiple cameras. I’m not overly concerned about getting 4k imagery, I just wanna be able to see and hear them. I’ve been using the BabySense since Finley was born, and it’s perfectly fine. It’s not a perfect picture, but it does what I need – I can see both kids and switch between them automatically or see them both at once. I have had to replace the handheld portion once, but I did it with our old monitor, too. I feel like they really only last so long.
1-2 Receiving Blankets
You’ll likely be gifted blankets whether you register for them or not, so I wouldn’t worry about them too much. But, you want something on the smaller side that you can drape over your little one when they are in their lounger/rocker/stroller. Possibly registering for ones might make you more likely to get styles/colors you like. Personally I go for more muslin swaddles/clothes instead of actual blankets, for newborns. I love the Little Unicorn ones and the Copper Pearl ones.
Shop this section
I tried two pumps and ultimately went with the Spectra S2 with my first because it was the quietest, and I’d be pumping at work. (Check with your insurance because you should be able to get one for free.) I then used the Motif for baby 2, and it was equally as quiet and I liked it just as much. Highly suggest both. For baby three, I plan to go back to the Spectra because I can buy this portable pump which will allow me to pump without being tied to an outlet.
Haaka: If you plan to breastfeed I do suggest getting a Haaka. It allows you to express milk without a pump. Mainly I use it on one breast while baby feeds on the other to grab a little extra milk to store for later. I also find them INVALUABLE if your breasts are too full (for example, if baby slept an extra long stretch or you are weaning) because you can pop it on to relieve a little pressure.
I didn’t buy a nursing pillow with my first and regretted it, so I did with my second and used it ALL THE TIME. I suggest this one because it also doubles as a baby lounger. I also suggest you get a second cover. This way, when the baby has a big spit-up all over it, you can wash one and still have a clean one.
2-3 bottles with nipples
I suggest you don’t buy a ton of bottles immediately because some babies prefer specific brands. You also can’t know how much bottle-feeding your baby may or may not need early on. Try getting just a few at first, and then order more once you know what your baby likes.
Here’s my thought on burp clothes, the little ones (the standard size they sell) aren’t really big enough. While I find the littler, standard-size ones can help with small spit-up messes, you’re going to want the bigger ones for throwing over your shoulder, over the lounger, over your lap, etc. Babies are very good at getting spit-up everywhere it’s not supposed to go, and it’s incredible how far it’ll travel The little burp cloths are way too small to protect you/your clothing from that. I like using these Little Unicorn muslin clothes as my burp clothes, and some of the larger 10×20 burp clothes like these.
Picking the right highchair can feel intimidating. I really leaned on this post a lot to help me. We use the Abiie Beyond for all our babies until about 12 months. I find this to give really good support, versatility, and the tray is so easy to clip on and off. I also love that the tray has a clip on cover so you can quickly pull away a mess when needed. But, once they are old enough and more secure in their eating, we swap it out for our Lalo Highchair. We really enjoy this highchair because it not only looks really nice in the dining room, which doesn’t hurt, but it’s also SO EASY TO CLEAN. Like, WAY easier than the Abiie. The only thing I wish it did was I was the tray could push closer to the child when he ate (which is part of the reason I don’t love it until about 12 months).
Other baby feeding considerations optional):
- Bottle brush- I liked having a bottle brush because not only are baby bottles hard to clean, I preferred having a “baby-only” brush that was just for bottles and no other dishes, to keep things a little cleaner.
- Bottle drying rack – This is one thing you may not need immediately. Again, if you plan to exclusively breastfeed at the start, you might not use this right away. But if you end up having to pump for a nanny or daycare or end up having to supplement with formula for many various reasons, it’s helpful to have. I used and liked this one.
- Milk storage bags: I highly suggest you don’t go crazy here. You aren’t totally sure what your supply might be and if it’s not huge, you won’t have a freezer stash full of milk. Personally, I had a lower supply and never had more than maybe 20 extra ounces available in my freezer at once, and so I just froze it right in bottles. I had bought a box of 150 storage bags and maybe ended up using 10 of them.
- Nipple Cream – I liked this one. Again don’t go crazy. You might need it a ton the first week or two, but usually after the first few weeks your baby and your nipples will have adjusted to everything and they shouldn’t be sore. If they are, you should check out a Lactation Consultant because it may be a latch issue.
- Nursing Pads – These help to prevent any “leaking” from getting all over your bra. You can get disposable ones or reusable ones. Again, you may really need these all the time, or if you have a lower supply you also might not. I only really needed them for the first 4-5 weeks. I had bought disposable ones the first time, thinking it’d be easier. But they were actually kind of a pain and got these reusable ones the second time around and they were way better.
- Formula – I planned to exclusively breastfeed both my babies, but things don’t always go precisely according to plan. When my first was born he didn’t latch and when he was 2 days old I was faced with making a decision of how to feed him since my milk wasn’t fully in for a pump. I was very underprepared. It’s not a bad idea to have a small can of formula just in case. We use Bobbie and LOVE it. It’s the first European-style formula made in the US, pasture-raised, organic, rigorously tested, and no corn syrup or palm oil.
- Nursing Cover – I’m personally more comfortable nursing in public if I have a cover. To each their own and I think people should be able to freely breastfeed anywhere, anytime. But if I’m in public like a restaurant or mall, I prefer to not have my boob accidentally exposed. With my first I LOVED this one because it actually has a small, rigid piece at the neckline allowing me to easily see baby the entire time he fed. This was especially helpful since my first had a lot of issues with latching. With my second both she (and I) were more comfortable with breastfeeding, and I mostly used loose ones like these Copper Pearl 5-in-1 covers or even just a large muslin swaddle cloth (again I like these ones)
- Nursing clothing – check out my postpartum post for my favorite nursing stuff.
Shop this section
Stroller and accessories
A stroller is something people obsess over. And for good reason. It’s one of the bigger ticket items for a baby and there are A LOT of choices. I think you should really think a lot about what your lifestyle is like and pick one that fits that. If you’re someone who is out and about a lot, goes walking/jogging, or lives somewhere you walk often, you definitely want to invest in something of quality. If you live somewhere more rural and don’t go for a lot of walks and only need it a couple times a month, you can save here. Another consideration is if you’ll be using it mainly from your home or if you’ll be putting it in and out of the car a lot. We use our stroller 3-5 times a week, but 90% of the time it’s right from our home. So, something that’s super lightweight isn’t as important as durability.
There are just A LOT of choices, and many are good ones. We have the UppaBaby Vista because it’s very durable- we use it many times a week, and it’s still in great shape for baby three. It also grew with us, allowing us to add on two seats for when my second was born, and we can add the kickboard so it’ll hold all three kids. It is slightly bulkier in size than others, but you get amazing durability and it’s still very easy to fold up and down to travel.
Our second stroller is the Zoe Tour, which we use for air travel because it is lighter, folds down super quickly, fits into a backpack bag, and fits in the overhead bin. I’ve traveled with it a few times, and it’s ideal for travel.
These are just the ones I use. There are a lot of other amazing choices. Just make sure you’re taking your own lifestyle into account when buying. When you get your stroller, note what it comes with. Some come with all the accessories included, while for others, you need to buy things like a snack tray, cup holder, rain cover, etc.
Infant Car Seat
Like strollers, there are many options, and many are very good. Considerations, again, are lifestyle and car/home situation. We opted for UppaBaby for the first two kids since it fit into our stroller perfectly, which was terrific. But, with baby three, we need a more narrow option and went for Clek and will have to get an adapter for our stroller. Another consideration would be the Doona which is a car seat that flips into a stroller. This would be amazing if you lived in an apartment or city, or just do a lot of walking right from your car and don’t have older kids who would also need to be in a stroller.
Car Seat Cover
A car seat cover slides over the car seat. To be clear, I don’t ever use these IN the car as it’s not considered safe for driving. But I use them when I’m walking with the car seat or have the car seat in our stroller (which I do a lot). It covers and protects the baby from sun, wind, rain, strangers with germs, etc. Also great for on-the-go naps. Definitely a must-have for me. I like ones like the Copper Pearl 5-in-1 covers since I can use them as a nursing cover, as well.
I have a newborn carrier I swear by, and it’s the Baby Bjorn Mini. It really is the GOAT for the first few months. So easy on/off and the perfect size for little newborn bodies.
I also like having a more wrap-style carrier in my arsenal as well. I use the Boba, but many very similar ones do the same thing. My second baby went through phases where she only liked the carrier and then only liked the wrap, so it’s nice to have options. Once they hit about 6 months, I moved out of the Baby Bjorn Mini into the Lille Baby which can handle 6 different ways to wear, including back wearing. I’ve been happy with my Lille Baby for two babies now. I might try something new this time around simply so I can report back on my preferences.
I also own a WildBird Ring Sling, which I like for when they are a little older. It’s quick on and off for when they are just feeling clingy or you need to run a quick errand with them.
Long story short, I’m a big believer in babywearing. It’ll save your sanity in a lot of ways. So I like to have a few kinds of carriers.
I’m a big believer in backpack diaper bags over anything else. With a baby, you want to always be hands-free and a backpack is the way to go. Plus, it’s better for dads, too. I’ve used this budget one and it was great. But ultimately ended up getting a Freshly Picked one when my son was 1 year and have been using it for 3-1/2 years now with two babies and it’s been amazing.
I also cannot recommend the Kibou fanny pack diaper bag enough. Once you’re out of that newborn stage and don’t need to carry quite as much with you, this is a fantastic, minimalist diaper bag to have. It has a pouch for wet wipes and even a built-in changing pad. Both those features have saved me multiple times.
Travel Crib and accessories
I don’t know that you need to rush to get a travel crib ASAP unless you know of a time you’ll be traveling with baby in the first few months. However, a travel crib is a helpful item to have for vacations. It can also be handy to have as a spare bed at home (we use ours when guests come to stay). For baby three, we’re actually getting this travel crib + changing table combo to keep in our downstairs to use for the first few months.
The travel crib we;ve been using up until now and like a lot is this one. I also always highly recommend the SlumperPod to use over a travel crib. It’ll allow you to darken or blackout the travel crib so it’ll make naps and room sharing with your baby on the go A LOT easier.
If I had to say to get just ONE of these, I’d pick a rocker. But, if you have the room and ability, having each isn’t a bad idea because all babies are different in what they prefer. My first LOVED his swing and it allowed me a lot of hands-free time early on in the newborn days. My second hated the swing. So, it’s hard to know. If possible, try borrowing one from a friend, because the reality is you only really need it a couple of months.
If you do plan to buy/register for them, my best tip on swings and rockers is that they are all pretty similar. There are some with hefty price tags and I find what you’re mostly paying for is aesthetics. Which, maybe be worth the extra cash for you. I have definitely bought baby products just because they look nicer in my house (still don’t understand why a newborn needs everything to be designed to look like a zoo animal.)
For a rocker, if you’re looking for the nicest looking, in my opinion, that’s BabyBjorn, but you’re paying for the looks. But the actual rocker isn’t going to soothe your baby anymore than one that’s less pretty. A decent dupe is this Baby Delight one, which I used with baby 2, and that’s still pretty nice looking. This Dream On Me Rocker is quite nice looking, too.
For swings, this gets crazy because there are SO MANY OPTIONS. And truthfully some babies just hate or love certain ones. I spent a lot of time looking at swings when I had baby two and the top contenders for the mass population tended to be the Graco DuetSoothe AND the 4moms MamaRoo. The Graco is a bit bigger in the amount of space it takes up, but it’s also a better price point. One other consideration that’s a little on the smaller side is this Ingueity Swing.
I honestly think most loungers are gonna give you what you want: somewhere you plop down baby. We’ve used DockATot Deluxe with all our babies because we got it at our baby shower and it does a great job as a lounging spot for a baby. But the Snuggle Me lounger is another option and slightly more affordable. You could also totally get away without one, but personally, I use mine ALL THE TIME in the first few months. Before my baby is taking their naps in the crib, I love being able to plop them down next to me on the sofa to nap or have a safe place to put them down on the floor while maybe I’m helping one of my older children.
Whichever you get I do suggest a second cover. When there is a mess it’s nice to have a spare when you’re washing the main cover. I shop on Etsy for them, as you don’t have to get them directly through the brand for covers.
I’ve personally used the Lovevery Playmat for all babies and have been very happy with it. But, there are certainly others out there that are also good. I don’t necessarily think this is a make-or-break item. Pick something that you don’t mind sitting out in your living room.
Jumper and/or Activity Table
Once baby can sit up you may want a bouncer or activity table. Like many other things in this section, there are A LOT of options and many are perfectly good. By this time they will have mostly grown out of their swings and bouncers, so this kind of replaces that. Your baby will be busier and more attentive, so these types of items are good to have. You can opt to register for it, or wait it out and order something once you get to know your baby.
Shop This Section
Kinda a no-brainer, but registering for some diapers and wipes is nice since you’re covered for the first month or so. I suggest a mix of newborn and size 1 diapers. Personally, I use Mama Bear diapers and have with all my kids. They are a great price point and I’ve almost never had any leaks. Plus I can set them up on Subscribe & Save so they just show up on my doorstep every month. We use Pampers for wipes.
A diaper caddy isn’t a must-have item but I do find them helpful. It’s nice to have a tote stocked up with the diaper essentials to either keep near the changing table or even to grab on the go (when my kids are little older like 6 month+ I keep it in the trunk of my car for emergencies).
Also a good time to mention that I think Burt’s Bees makes the best diaper rash cream of them all. Just my two cents.
As I mentioned above in the nursery section, I’m a big fan of using a dresser and getting a changing pad to put on top. Other considerations would be a fold-out changing pad (I usually keep this one in my diaper bag) for on-the-go or even just quick living room diaper changes. For changing pads make sure you get a handful of changing pad sheets since newborns love to pee during diaper changes. And for boys, I highly recommend these pads to use under every diaper change since they are 20x more likely to pee on you during a change.
Wash and Lotions
This is really a personal preference. I personally love the Tubby Todd products for everything and SWEAR by their All Over Ointment for baby redness/bumps/dry skin. (I also swear by it for my own skin to be honest).
I cannot tell you how much time I have spent googling and researching newborn tubs. It’s honestly probably my most searched item. What I’ve ultimately decided is just the basic ones really tend to be the easiest. I do like this Frida Baby one since it grows with the baby and is easy to hang to dry/store. But, you’ll want to think about where you’ll be doing your infant washes (kitchen sink vs in an actual tub) and try to find something that works there. There are some tubs designed explicitly for sinks vs. in tubs vs. both.
Do yourself a big old favor and get this electronic nail filer and just thank me later. (Also grab a pack of these newborn files to throw in your hospital bag because sometimes the babies come out with dagger nails and most hospitals don’t have baby nail files).
SnotSucker & Saline
It’s gross, but you are gunna need a SnotSucker. It’s probably one of my top 10 baby items. And get the saline mist to go with it or it’s kinda pointless. You’ll give the nose a spray of saline then suck away.
Shop This Section
This isn’t a must-have product by any means. We didn’t have one at all until our second. Especially if you live on one floor, it might be just as easy to just throw away in a trash can in the kitchen. Surprisingly baby diapers don’t smell THAT bad, and even if it was particularly bad you’d probably just take it right out to the garbage anyways cause who wants that sitting around fermenting (ew.). I could see it being more beneficial in an apartment, perhaps, where it’s not as easy to just take it right out. I got one for my second baby just because I’d have two in diapers and we had a two-floor house, so I wanted somewhere for diapers upstairs. I went for the cult favorite Ubbi and have been very happy, still using it 2 years later.
It’s not too bad to have. Wet wipes can be chilly on baby bottoms. But, you can also just throw a wipe over your shoulder to start to warm when you start a diaper change and by the time you need it it’ll be warm-ish. I found some babies are just more sensitive to cold wipes. My first HATED cold wipes while my second couldn’t care less.
You’ll likely get gifted A TON because people LOVE buying baby clothing. (And hopefully, your friends and family have good taste and get you some nice things.) Either way, I highly suggest you refrain from buying too much clothing until after your shower, that way you can just fill in missing pieces. This way you don’t end up with 30 newborn-sized onesies.
That being said, I know I wondered “how much clothing do I really need for each age!?” So, here’s a good general outline. (Keep in mind this is just what you NEED. Obviously, we all end up buying a few extra cute outfits for our babies because it’s just too tempting. Also, it may vary slightly depending on the weather where you live. The below outlines about what I buy for each of my babies, and usually do baby laundry 2-3x a week.
Newborn TO 0-3 month sizes:
- 7-10 pairs of footed pajamas – I highly suggest ones with built-in mittens for newborns to 3 months,
- 7-10 onesies – sleeve length depends on the weather where you are. If it’s transitional weather, get a variety.
- 3-5 pairs of leggings/sweatpants (skip if a summer/warm climate baby)
- 2-3 lightweight shirts or sweaters
- 1-2 warmer jackets or sweaters for cooler climates
- 1-2 pairs of baby slippers – these booties are my holy grail baby foot product. Babies can’t kick them off, and they keep little feet warm.
- 1 hat if cooler climate
- Full-body snowsuit for a winter baby. Pick something with built-in mittens like this (remember this isn’t safe for the baby to wear in the car seat so it’s for stroller walks etc. )
- Swimsuit, rashguard, and a sun hat for summer babies
- Short-sleeve rompers – for summer babies, I love short-sleeve rompers, they are basically sleep-n-plays without the legs/arms. Super easy all-in-one outfits.
- Shoes – personally, I find baby shoes totally pointless. The baby isn’t walking, they are never sized right, and they fall off TOO easily. That’s why I suggest baby slippers like these.
Shop my favorites