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On the hunt for a baby registry checklist PDF?
Well, you’re in luck, mama.
When my husband and I first started putting together our baby registry, we were – of course – so excited to add every single teeny, tiny t-shirt to that list –
until we realized the store we were doing our registry at didn’t even *have* a baby registry checklist we could use.
I mean, how the heck were we supposed to know what we actually needed for our baby? We were first time parents!
And so, I set out to solve that problem and put together this super comprehensive baby registry checklist for expecting, new parents, just like you.
In this guide, I’ve done my very best to outline what you’ll need each item for, which brands or types I’ve found work best, where to save and where to splurge.
My hope is that all of this info helps you feel just a *bit* more confident in putting your baby registry together, and choose items that you truly love, and find very useful.
Let’s dive in –
If you just want the printable baby registry checklist, without all of the explanation, grab your copy here:
Yep, baby’s gonna need somewhere to sleep.
The good news?
Many modern cribs are actually convertible, meaning that in addition to being able to lower the mattress as your baby grows, you can also remove the sides, turning your crib into a toddler bed.
More bang for your buck is always a good thing, right?
I *love* the minimal, natural crib that we went with, but there sure were some gorgeous ones that I found while I was planning our nursery.
If you’re looking for some inspo, I put together a list of the most luxe cribs I’ve come across (some of them are – surprisingly – actually affordable!).
Out of all of the items that you’ll need for baby, this is absolutely one of them that I would recommend considering investing in quality for.
There are two really high-quality crib mattresses that stand out above the rest, and are worth mentioning – the Newton Crib Mattress and the Nook Sleep Air Crib Mattress. Both mattresses are definitely the gold standard.
The Newton Crib Mattress is incredible in that not only is it completely breathable (hello, peace of mind for us new moms!) but it’s actually also *washable*.
The Nook is another really high quality crib mattress – not only is it breathable (surprisingly, the majority of baby mattresses can’t make this claim) but it’s incredibly soft, non-toxic, and it’s made from GreenGuard-certified, organic materials. Lastly, the Nook’s unique raised pebble design actually allows for air flow around baby, helping them keep their temperature better regulated.
Waterproof Mattress Protector
A waterproof mattress protector is important to protect your baby’s mattress from accidents and spit-up.
I recommend buying two sets of crib sheets so that you’ve got a back-up for when one gets wet.
Changing Table or Dresser
While changing tables used to be the gold standard for nurseries, they have been on their way out for years now.
The much more common (and convenient, and stylish IMO) option is to put your changing pad on top of the dresser, and keep your diaper changing must-haves in the top drawer.
While many cribs come with matching dressers that you can purchase, I personally love the look of a crib and dresser set that work together, but aren’t a set.
Whatever you choose, we have a 6-drawer dresser, and I really prefer it over the 3- or 4-drawer options, because it gives you enough room to keep a box of wipes, hand sanitizer, and a few small decor items if you like, too.
Choosing a glider is one of the decisions I recommend you actually spend some time on, and invest in.
I had my heart set on the Paxton recliner from Pottery Barn ($1,000+), but after much thought & deliberation, we opted for a “dupe” from a Canadian kid’s boutique, West Coast Kids ($500).
Whatever your budget is, I recommend *investing* on your nursery chair, and cutting costs elsewhere to make things work!
An ottoman was one item we never ended up purchasing before our baby arrived because he was so early, and I definitely do not recommend going without.
Both my husband and I have had sore calves from reaching our legs down to push off the ground to rock, and have woken our little guy up a number of times because we’ve had to shift around in our glider while he’s napping on us.
Consider looking for a glider that comes with a matching ottoman – many even have ottomans that include storage, which is super handy.
If you find a nursery chair you love that doesn’t come with an ottoman, you can try looking for a pouf instead, though I would try to find one that’s fairly large and firm, as some poufs can be very low.
You’ll probably be spending plenty of time in that glider feeding, rocking and reading your little one, so you’ll definitely want a small side table that you can reach easily to set your phone, coffee and books down on.
There are a few important safety considerations you’ll want to be mindful of when choosing a table, so I’ve explained that and put together a whole list of my favorite nursery side tables to get you started – 11+ Gorgeous, Practical Nursery Side Tables I Love (For *Every* Budget!)
Sound Machine & Night Light
A sound machine not only helps baby fall asleep, as it mimics the sounds he became so used to while in your belly, but it also helps to minimize things like that loud garbage truck or dog barking that could wake your little one.
You’ll also want a low, dim light that you can have on for middle of the night feedings and diaper changes (a normal lamp will be way too bright).
We have The Hatch Baby Rest and absolutely love it – definitely another one in our top 10 most used baby items.
The Hatch is a two-in-one sound machine and night light that you can adjust with either an app on your phone, or by tapping it.
I love that you can adjust the brightness from 1 to 100, and the dryer and bubbling brook sounds are sooo calming.
I like to keep pajamas, pants, onesies, and socks in dresser drawers, and to hang sweaters, vests, overalls, on hangers in the closet.
These velvet baby hangers work really well because instead of slippery plastic, the velvet helps keep those tiny pieces of clothing in place.
These cute sunshine closet dividers are really useful to be keep the baby clothes in your closet organized – especially when you have 4 or 5 different sets of sizes.
I love this adorable teddy bear laundry basket for a nursery!
- Changing Pad
- Changing Pad Covers
- Changing Pad Liners
- Diaper Pail
- Bum Balm
- Hand Sanitizer
Swaddle blankets, which are just called swaddles, receiving blankets, or muslin blankets, are light, small, thin blankets that are used to wrap neworn babies up snug and tight, which comforts them, as it mimics the womb.
In general, swaddle blankets will either come in cotton, a bamboo blend, or muslin.
Swaddle Sacks & Sleep Sacks
These are definitely essentials – I wrote an entire guide on which types I recommend, and how many of each you’ll need, take a peek: How Many Swaddles Do You Need for a Newborn Baby? . Wondering – why use a sleep sack for baby? This really awesome guide by Pomegranate Mom explains it all.
I spent way too long researching baby monitors.
In the end, we got a just a basic video monitor for about $100, and it definitely does the trick.
I personally opted for a baby monitor that does not use wi-fi, for two reasons. I not only wanted to avoid the possibility of someone being able to tap into the network and see my baby, but I also wanted to be able to do. things on my phone while using the monitor.
The features that ours lacked, and that I recommend you look for, re the ability to pan from left to right, up and down, and to zoom in or out from the parent unit.
Around the Home
A newborn lounger is incredibly useful those first few months, and I definitely recommend having one around.
The two most popular loungers are the Snuggle Me Organic and DockATot, and I reviewed and compared both of them here – Snuggle Me Organic vs. DockATot Lounger: Which Is Better? [Review]
A baby bouncer is another spot for your baby to hang out before they can roll over, but it allows baby to be a bit more involved in whatever you’re doing, as it allows baby to sit up instead of lay down.
Babies also love gentle movement that mimics what they were used to in the womb, and a bouncer allows you to gently bounce them up and down.
A baby swing is similar to a bouncer, but it is electric, and swings your baby back and forth. Many of them allow you to adjust the angle that your baby is laying at, so it is usually safe for them to nap in the swing (but they shouldn’t be left in the swing unattended or overnight).
An activity gym is usually made of either wood or a plush material, and is an arch that suspends small toys above your baby while they lay on their back.
Some activity gyms, like this popular one, come with a plush play mat for baby to lay on while they play, but other activity gyms, like this pretty wooden one, don’t come with anything at all, so you’ll need either a thicker blanket or play mat to lay underneath.
Besides a mat, baby could be in their lounger, or a woven bassinet.
A play mat is another important baby must-have. Besides being used for baby to play on when they’re old enough to sit up and support themselves, it’s also a good place for them to begin to crawl, as they will often fall over sideways onto their head when they’re just getting started.
An activity centre – is similar to an activity gym, but is used when baby is a big bigger, and is able to demonstrate strong head control.
The Jolly Jumper’s definitely a classic, though it’s important to only use it in moderation (too much dependance on baby gear can hinder your little one’s development).
For bathing your baby, there are essentially two options – you can either simply choose an insert that keeps baby at an angle that you can put into your bath tub, or kitchen sink, or a self-contained tub that you fill with water, that also includes an insert.
I personally prefer the standalone baby bath tub because it uses a whole lot less water than filling the whole bath tub.
We had this one and it worked well, but I did that Hudson would slouch or slip a little bit in the hard plastic insert. This one, however, has a soft, mesh insert that looks like it hugs baby a bit better, so I plan on using it for our next baby.
When it comes to soaps, shampoo and lotions for your baby, there are, unfortunately, so many low quality options that actually contain some potentially harmful ingredients.
We absolutely love this super gentle, non-toxic baby wash. We use it as an everything wash – both soap and shampoo.
It’s got super clean ingredients and is developed by a team of skin docs – very legit.
This is one item that is absolutely on my top-1o favorite baby products list!
What we found, after buying them all, is that most of the wash cloths at the big box baby stores are really not so soft and super tiny.
Instead, I recommend these super soft (and affordable!) baby washcloths that are similar to microfibre, but much softer. They’re a bit bigger than those teeny, tiny, baby washcloths, while still having a fine weave that’s great for your baby’s precious little skin.
I also really love these adorable, bamboo washcloths from Kyte Baby (they come in the most pretty shades!)
For the first number of months, you won’t be needing any bath toys, but soon enough, your little bub will become more active and love having something to play with.
But, you don’t need much to get you started – I would say 3 bath toys is plenty, especially for the first while.
Our little guy loves to play with these stacking cups in the bath.
If you’re not a first-time parent, I definitely don’t think you’ll be adding a bath thermometer to your list, but when it’s your first time around, you really have no idea what temperature the water should be for that tiny, precious little babe.
We used our bath thermometer religiously for the first few weeks and months and I really think it was worth having, because it gave us peace of mind knowing the water wasn’t too hot, or too cold, for our little guy.
Aaand back to Kyte Baby we go.
The little animal ear bath towels available at the big box stores are cute and all, but they’re tiny and get rough after just a few washes.
I definitely recommend spending a few extra dollars to get one of these cozy hooded baby bath towels that actually wear really well, and are a few inches bigger, too!
On The Go
- Car seat
- Car seat mirror
- Car seat cover
- Baby wrap
- Stroller toy
- Stroller organizer
- Diaper bag
- Portable changing pad
- Portable noise machine
Here’s are some of the common newborn challenges we dealt with in the first few months:
- Stuffed up nose
- Clogged eye duct
- Bum rash
- Gas pains
- Teething pain
So, here’s what you’ll need:
- Diaper Rash Ointment
- Oogiebear (Nose Hero)
- Saline Solution
- Nail Scissors
- Baby Thermometer
- Infant Tylenol
- Belly Drops
- Baby utensils
- Baby plates
- Baby cup
- Silicone feeders
- High chair
When choosing a breast pump, you can either opt for an electric, or manual, and either a double or single.
Personally, I recommend a double electric breast pump like the Spectra or Medela, or hands-free model like the Willow or Elvie.
Here’s why –
Double vs. Single Breast Pump
A double breast pump pumps milk from both breasts at the same time, whereas a single just pumps from one breast at a time.
Because a double breast pump is pumping from both breasts at the same time, it gets the job done quicker, which gives you more free time.
Manual vs. Electric Breast Pump
A manual breast pump requires you to hold it on and manually pump the lever to remove breast milk, whereas an electric breast pump has a motor that runs either off of electricity from an outlet, or a portable battery pack, which is why I recommend opting for electric.
Not only does squeezing the pump yourself require more of your energy (which is very limited in those super tiring newborn days), but it also ties up your hands the whole time –
that means less time for refuelling, having a sip (chug 😅) of water, or answering a quick text message.
Extra pump parts
Each time you pump, you will need to thoroughly clean the flanges, pump parts and bottles, which is why I recommend getting a second set of pump parts (like this).
This way, you buy yourself a bit of extra time and sanity because you can just put the set you just used in the washing machine and run it with the next load, instead of having to hand-wash it each time (because you’ll probably need it again before you have a full load of dishes).
Breastmilk storage bags
If you are planning on breastfeeding, I recommend getting a few inexpensive baby bottles to get you started, instead of spending upwards of $100 on a set of premium full-sized bottles (like I did, lol).
These ones are really great because they are super affordable, lightweight and easy to handle, and are compatible with many breast pumps (connect right on directly).
You’ll need a few of these nipples, too.
While you’ll probably be feeding mostly directly from your breast, these bottles can be used if dad pops in to take on a feeding, or if you’re out and it’s easier to offer a bottle of breastmilk instead during those first few weeks (you’ll need full-sized bottles if you plan to continue bottle feeding past then).
Breastfeeding can be quite demanding those first few weeks, and your nipples can get sore, cracked and dry, so you’ll definitely want to make sure you have some nipple butter or balm on hand.
Nursing bras are definitely a must-have. I would recommend getting 3 or 4 – between the postpartum night sweats, leaky boob let-down, and baby spit-up, there’s plenty of bodily fluids that those nursing bras will be soaking up.
And there you have it. The A-Z of all things baby registry checklist.
At the end of the day, every expecting parent will have different assumptions about which baby registry essentials are actually a must-have and which ones they are find to go without – so if you do decide to unpackage it all before baby arrives, it’s a really great idea to keep the packaging in case you end up wanting to return or exchange it.
Now, what’s next?…