Forget the Cookie Cutter Registries, Here’s What You’ll Really Need Those First 6 Months to a Year.

Creating a registry is a lot of pressure. How are we supposed to know what and how much we need when we haven’t done this before? As a mom of three, I can assure you that so many of the things we are told we need, we don’t. Sometimes those things even make life more complicated. 

Before you load your registry up with items you may never use, consider these things:

  • What is your due date and what weather will your baby experience in those first 6 months? (If you’re in the northeast and approaching winter, clearly you’ll need a few items that someone delivering in warm weather will not.)
  • What is your budget and what is the budget of those who will be gifting you the items you’re registering for?
  • Will you be nursing and/or pumping?
  • Have you tapped into your mommy network yet? (So many items are perfect to be handed down and if you can get a bouncer or wipe warmer from a friend, do it!) 

Some of the must-haves that I could not live without for the first 6 months to a year:

Blankets Blankets Blankets (and sleep sacks)

You will need plenty of these. Those hospital blankets are somehow the perfect size for swaddling, tummy time, cleaning, and using as a burp cloth so grab as many as you can. Lightweight blankets are also great for draping over the stroller or car seat to block the sun, providing privacy as you nurse in public or protecting the baby from a hot car seat buckle.

You don’t need to spend money on expensive swaddling blankets or floor mats. Simple, flat, cotton, and easy to wash blankets are best, and just have enough to cover the poop explosions and spit up messes that you know are coming. 

Sleep sacks are great once your baby graduates from a swaddle. I highly recommend having a few in your rotation.

Clothes…but don’t go crazy.

Depending on your climate, you’ll have a different range of clothing needs but for practical purposes, your newborn will end up in pretty simple onesies most of the time. (It all comes down to easy bum access.) If there’s an accident, you want something that can be removed without spreading that mess all over your baby so easy on and off without having to go over his or her head is key and machine washable is a must. I’d invest in plenty of simple, cotton onesies that either button at the bottom or up the belly – just get a variety of sizes. Most children won’t stay in the newborn size long (if at all) and they grow so quickly so size up! (If it has too many buttons or has to be hand washed, save yourself the trouble.)

If you’re in a cold climate, invest in a car seat muff. Most newborns will be in their newborn car seat for months – either latched into a stroller to be pushed or carried to and from the car. The muff is like a little cocoon for the baby and will save you tons of time because you can keep the baby pretty lightly dressed but know they will be nice and warm inside there. It’s a cost-effective and convenient way to avoid expensive and difficult to manage (and clean) one-piece snowsuits.

Bottles, Pumps, Storage Bags…oh my

Yes, you need a bunch of these. But keep it simple. For example, you don’t need a sanitizer machine. A pot and some boiling water are the perfect sanitization device.

Avoid spending money on too many teethers, or pacifiers too. Your child may or may not like the first one you give her so try one at a time and give her a few chances to accept it before you buy another brand. 

Seated Bouncer

This is a great thing to get from a friend and if not, definitely add it to your list.  A seated bouncer provides your baby a solid leg workout once they get to 6 months or so and it was the only way I took a shower when I didn’t have help. I’d move that bouncer in the bathroom and let my son work those chunky thighs while I lathered and watched him from the tub.

Splurge on Safety 

As always, safety is most important so if you are spending more money on anything, do it on a reliable baby monitor, thermometer, smoke and Carbon Monoxide detector, and some baby-proofing materials like electrical plug covers. You can likely skip all the kits and corner protectors. I found it way more efficient and it gave me more peace of mind to keep my little ones safely contained and entertained on a mat inside a small baby enclosure. But once he or she starts crawling and pulling himself up, absolutely secure that furniture to the wall. 

A few other things I couldn’t live without:

  • Baby gates 
  • Desitin and Aquaphor (Tubes, not tubs. Tubs are germ magnets, especially when you’re using them on little bums.)
  • Wipe warmer
  • Boppy or other nursing pillow
  • Dishwasher basket for bottle parts
  • Appropriate carriage for your lifestyle (and accessories – attached hand muffs/warmers were a game changer while pushing a stroller through an NYC winter.)
  • Diaper Dekor or trash can with a cover 

It can all be overwhelming but the best advice I received is to focus on the necessities and think about what is most important to you. Use your mama network, and listen to your maternal instincts.

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