When I created a baby registry for my first son, I did a TON of research. I read every blog and pin that I could find, I looked through pregnancy magazines, I looked at registry examples, and I asked other parents for advice. Overall, I felt like I had a pretty good handle on what I wanted and needed for baby. Now I am getting ready for baby number two, and I have the chance to go through my new baby checklist all over again. My thoughts and opinions have changed a lot in the two years since I wrote this post – as all experienced parents tend to do. I thought this would be the perfect time to re-vamp this post a little bit so that I have it ready when friends come to ask for baby registry advice. Keep reading to learn how to create your own new baby checklist (I’ve included a template for you!), and see what you need to include in your baby registry.
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The biggest thing that I have learned in my 2.5 years of mothering experience is that every mom and every baby are different! Go to any mom group on facebook and ask “what are the must haves for baby?” and you will get 2098759375 answers that are all as different as can be. That’s absolutely amazing and absolutely overwhelming all at the same time. When I was getting ready for my son, I created a “New Baby Checklist” to make sure that our home was baby ready. I’m including it here as an editable sheet so that you can change everything up to meet the needs of your family.
To create your own new baby checklist, use this link here to view the template in Google Drive. Use the “file” menu and select “make a copy.” There you go! You now have your very own new baby checklist to keep track of your preparations for baby.
Creating a Baby Registry
I had registries on Target and Amazon for both pregnancies. I chose Target and Amazon because you get a welcome kit full of samples and coupons from each and both have a 15% completion discount. Target and Amazon seem to be favorite registries of moms across the board.
Quick note – At Target the completion discount is good for one trip to the store and one purchase online for ANYTHING on your registry. Keep that in mind when you register and make sure to sneak a few items for yourself on there even if they are only semi-baby-related. I suggest things like coffee, laundry detergent, household cleaners, nursing bras/tank tops, and parenting books. Basically, you can use your one trip to finish off your new baby checklist and do a little bit of stocking up.
What to Include in your Baby Registry
As I said previously, every family has different needs and different favorite products. You will get plenty of recommendations across the board if you just ask any mom for an opinion. That’s why I share the new baby checklist in a customizable format. Do a little research to see which products fit your family best, but don’t worry about it too much. You won’t know how individual products work for your baby until he or she is here anyway.
Just want to hear the must haves? Checkout 40 Moms Favorite Must Have Baby Registry Items here.
Now, here is my personal opinion and recommendation for nearly every item on the New Baby Checklist.
General Baby Care
Burt’s Bees Baby Shampoo has ended up being our favorite. We tried the “bedtime” washes and lotions in the beginning, but our baby’s skin was too sensitive for the fragrance. The Burt’s bees makes him smell amazing without artificial fragrance.
Our doctor steered us away from lotions because they contain too many alcohols and can be drying. Lotions were contributing to our son’s excema, so we switched to an Aveeno Baby cream. It makes his skin feel noticeably softer and doesn’t cause bumps.
The forehead thermometer is great for a quick check to make sure that baby doesn’t have a fever. The problem is that a doctor or nurse will tell you that it is not very accurate. If you do get one, you will want a regular thermometer to use as well.
We have this forehead one: Safety 1st Forehead Thermometer
Baby powder can be a little controversial. I have seen research telling moms not to use baby powder because it has been linked to respiratory problems. Obviously, this is a very serious concern! I do still use baby powder because my baby’s skin reacts much better to the powder than it does to diaper rash cream. It helps to keep him dry and clean in his leg creases. I am just very careful to not get the powder near his face. I tip the container over to spill a little bit of the powder into my hand. Then I use my finger to dab it onto baby’s skin.
I love the Burt’s Bees Baby Dusting Powder. It is all natural and smells great!
Kneeling pad for bath tub
This is one of the items that falls into the category of wants and not needs for many. We have this mat from Amazon and I really like it. Aquatopia Deluxe Safety Easy Bath Kneeler
Everyone loves buying baby clothes, so you don’t really need to register for them. If you are worried that you won’t get enough clothing, just add a few basics to your registry – onsies, pajamas, socks, bibs. Babies don’t need anything fancy, but people will still buy you the cute stuff. 🙂
Swaddlers are great since you shouldn’t use loose blankets in baby’s crib. Our son slept in a Halo Sleepsack every night until he was close to a year old. These are nice because you can leave his/her arms out and just velcro around the tummy.
There are a lot of baby-specific laundry detergents on the market, but I personally don’t think they are worth the money. You want to use a scent-free, dye-free detergent for baby’s clothing, your clothing, and any blankets that baby will use. You don’t want baby to be allergic to your snuggles because you use a different detergent for your laundry.
Laundry detergent is a great thing to buy using Amazon Subscribe and Save, a free service that works with your Amazon Family account. You can check out some other great products to buy from Amazon Family here.
Here are some cleaner options for liquid, powder, and pod laundry detergent.
all Mighty Pacs Laundry Detergent, Free Clear
all Liquid Laundry Detergent, Free Clear, 2X Concentrated
Biokleen Laundry Detergent Powder, Free & Clear, Unscented
We used disposable diapers, so my list is going to skip over everything that you will need if you chose to go the cloth route. Diapers are an important part of the new baby checklist, and I do recommend including them in your baby registry – I had 2,051 diapers before my son was born.
You can check out The Complete Guide to Building a Diaper Stockpile here.
Diaper Pail and Liners
My husband and I disagreed on whether a Diaper Genie was a complete necessity or not. We did end up getting one, and it is great at keeping the smell in. I would call it $25 well spent.
We have this version:
I use Up&Up brand liners because they are cheaper. There is also an Amazon Brand equivalent that is available on Amazon Subscribe and Save.
I know…this sounds ridiculous. I had a mom tell me while I was pregnant that I need a wipe warmer because anything that will keep baby from screaming in the middle of the night is worth the investment. Apparently a cold wipe during a three am diaper change will make baby scream. I wouldn’t call it a necessity, but I do like my wipe warmer. It seems like the warm wipes do better at cleaning and obviously they feel better on my skin and baby’s. I especially appreciate the warm wipes on days that I don’t have time to shower.
Munchkin Warm Glow Baby Wipe Warmer
Your needs for feeding will depend on if you breastfeed or bottle feed. Be prepared that your plans may change once baby is born. I do not recommend stockpiling formula because your baby may have specific dietary needs. Here is a list of feeding basics to get you started.
Let’s start with the breast pump because it will lead to more…
Your health insurance must cover a breast pump, so look into this before you do anything else. If you are having trouble finding this information, just call and ask. You want to know what kind of pump you will be getting as well as when, where, and how to get it.
Here is part of why you wanted to know what kind of breast pump you will have. I would suggest getting bottles that can hook up to your pump. I had this set from Medela plus extra bottles for storage. It will cut down on dishes if you can pump, store, and feed from the same containers.
Other than a set of those, I would skip the little bottles altogether. Our son outgrew the 4/5oz bottles by about 2 months old, and you can always put less milk in a bigger bottle.
We LOVED these Dr. Brown bottles. They help cut down on gas and spit up, and the nipples never get sucked in and stuck like some bottles do.
You can never, never, never have too many burp cloths when you have a baby. They don’t need to be anything fancy, they just need to be absorbent. The same goes for bibs, especially once baby starts teething. Cloth diapers, dish towels, and swaddling blankets all make great burp cloths.
When I made the new baby checklist for myself, I left the nursing pillow labeled as a want. Now, I can’t imagine not having a Boppy Nursing Pillow with a newborn. It was great for nursing, bottle feedings, and as a place to lay baby. We kept our son inside of his Boppy on the couch (not unattended of course!) or floor anytime that he wasn’t in our arms. As a six-month-old, he would sit inside of it while he was learning to sit on his own. We also inherited a second cover which was great for laundry.
I skipped this one. From what I’ve read a bottle warmer doesn’t work any better or any faster than heating up a cup of water in the microwave and letting the bottle sit inside of the water for a few minutes.
I spent the money to buy a couple of good, underwire nursing bras while I was pregnant. After giving birth, I hated them and didn’t ever wear them because they didn’t fit well. I would recommend the softer, more comfortable styles that fit like sports bras. This one was my favorite – Medela Seamless Nursing Bra.
I didn’t like the idea of disposable nursing pads because they are not cost-effective or environmentally friendly. I bought two packs of these Avent Washable Nursing Pads. Think about how often you want to do laundry to decide how many to buy. Plan to go through at least one pair per day in the beginning while your milk supply regulates.
This one is a matter of personal preference. Some people like to have baby in Mom and Dad’s room to start out with. We put our son in his crib from day one. The only thing that matters is that baby has a safe place to sleep. For our daughter, we’ve decided to try a bassinet in our room. I did some digging and found this Dream On Me Bassinet to be the most cost effective and portable with great reviews.
Sheets and Sheet Liners
In the beginning, we had trouble with our son leaking through diapers at night. Fortunately, a friend gave me this piece of advice: layer baby’s sheets. His mattress was layered waterproof liner, sheet, waterproof liner, sheet. That way I could just pull off the top layer when he wet through at night.
Also, I was paranoid about my water breaking and ruining my mattress when I was pregnant. I ordered this sheet protector that I used in my bed and then moved to baby’s crib once he was born.
These are another thing that you can probably leave off of your registry. They are on the new baby checklist because you definitely need blankets, but you will likely get plenty! Just make sure that you have a few swaddling blankets.
We had a Summer Infant 5 Wide View Baby Monitor. It worked well…except that the screen went bad after several months. The company was easy enough to deal with in getting a new one, but the same thing happened a few months later. Now we have this Babysense Video Baby Monitor with Two Digital Camerasso that we have one in each kid’s room.
These are all a matter of parent and baby preference. Our son was entirely dependent on the Nuk brand pacifiers when he was a newborn. If you do use pacifiers, attach them to your baby when you go out in public. A few of these will save you a lot of trouble.
We were fortunate enough to be hand-me-downed a whole travel system. We had a car seat with two bases and a stroller that it fit into, and it was absolutely fantastic! The car seat is a great place to keep a sleeping baby when out and about. Unfortunately, our car seat expired, so we had to get a new one for baby number two. We went with the Graco click connect which fits into this awesome stroller that has 12 different ways for two kiddos to ride.
We loved our Boba Air carrier after our son got to be around 6-9 months old – so much so that I wrote a review, you can check it out here. The downside is that you can’t carry a newborn in it. This time around, I have a Baby K’tan so that I can carry my newborn around the house while I chase my toddler and maybe attempt some house work.
For our first son, I skipped out on a swing/rocker for when he was little. Instead he spent a lot of time in his Boppy or in my arms. This time, we bought a Graco Simple Sway Baby Swing since our hands will be a little more full with two babies.
We do also have this Little Einstein Activity Jumper, which I was able to keep our son in while I showered until very recently. He loved jumping in it as an infant.
Things like Baby Tylenol, gas drops, outlet covers, teething toys, baby gates, and drawer locks you can just get as you need them. I added all of these things to my baby registry because I figured it wouldn’t hurt to have them already in stock.
Baby furniture can be as simple or as decorative as you want it to be. I was very lucky that my mom lent my brothers’ baby furniture to my cousins with the condition that my aunt and uncle keep it all until I wanted it. I received a crib, mattress, changing table, and dresser out of this deal. It’s all a little beat up after going through 5 babies, but it is a really great furniture set. I would recommend hand-me-downs or buying used baby furniture to anyone! Just think about how short an amount of time each baby will utilize their furniture. In all cases, make sure that you check that furniture is safe for baby!
Shop Used and Discounted
On that same note, I am a huge advocate for buying used baby gear in general. Things like bottles, hygiene products, and a car seat you want to get new for safety reasons, but other than that save yourself some money.
The first time around, I bought a lot of my maternity clothes from swap.com. They have a lot of baby stuff as well. If you use this link, you receive 20% off your first order.
For my second pregnancy, I worked with thredUP – you can check out that experience here.
I see baby clothes and other baby items listed on Facebook free and for sale pages all the time. Consider posting in your local groups to find things that you are looking for to save some money.
If you are looking for more ways to save for baby, check out Amazon family! You get 20% off diapers when you use subscribe & save.
Any new parents should also consider getting a Target REDcard. You receive 5% off of each order and they even have a debit card option. Target’s website subscription service is the only way that I buy formula. Learn how and why here!
Completing Your New Baby Checklist
Preparing for your new baby’s arrival is a very exciting time! There is so much STUFF that is on the market that it can be entirely overwhelming for parents. Remember that babies really only need to be cared for, fed, clean, safe, and loved. Everything beyond that is just a convenience and matter of personal preference. I hope this new baby checklist helps you to feel a little more on top of the physical preparations that go along with getting ready to meet your new family member.