Preparing for a baby is nerve-wracking enough for new parents. Adding the chore of creating a list full of baby registry essentials just adds more fuel to the fire.
How do I choose what brands are best for baby? What is actually essential, and what will I never use at all?
In the internet age, it's both a blessing and a curse to have unlimited reviews and feedback at our fingertips.
If you are starting to pull out your hair and just want a real mama to hand you her shopping list and baby registry, look no further.
When I started researching our new baby nursery items, my husband liked to remind me that people have successfully raised generations of children far before they could research which baby shampoo was truly the most gentle on baby's hair and skin.
But still – we all want what's best for baby. And even if you are trying to find a low-cost option, you want the BEST and SAFEST for your budget, right?
So like many new parents planning for their first child, I obsessively researched the market. I read every mommy blog I could find. Even that didn't seem like enough feedback.
That's why I compiled my list here, just for you, new mama (or pops!)
Oh. And I am not an influencer for any of these, so you can trust that these are 100% unbiased decisions.
Need more help beyond just baby registry essentials? Visit my post, How to Prep for a Baby: The Complete Guide for Clueless New Parents to get your house, job and finances in order.
Here I'll tell you what we chose, why we chose it, and what the other top contenders were. Eventually, as we start using all of the products (considering baby isn't here at the first edit of this post) I will update with reviews and feedback, and let you know whether we think we made the right choice.
Let's get to it.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. If you find my content valuable and make a purchase through one of my links, I will make a commission at no additional cost to you, which helps me keep this blog going, so I can help you even more! I only recommend products I trust and/or use myself, and all opinions expressed are my own. Read full disclaimer here.
Nursery Furniture That Grows With Baby
- Transitional Crib: Childcraft Legacy Westgate
- Why? Most cribs on the market today are 4-in-1 options. They allow you to go from crib to toddler bed to a twin or full-sized bed over time, so you get great usage out of your purchase. We made a purchase based on personal preference and quality of the design because it seemed like most cribs on the market had the same features. Note that our crib (and I believe many of the competitors) do not come with the transition pieces for toddler and full-sized bed, so you may have to include those costs separately as you budget your furniture. [We found this set on Wayfair and lucked into finding it at Target.com as well. It wasn't even at the other popular shops!]
- Dresser or Changing Table: Childcraft Legacy Westgate Dresser with Changing Table Topper
- Why? Because it matched the crib – and the plan is to keep this whole furniture set for years as he grows into it.
- Nightstand or Side Table: Depending on the space you have available, you may want to purchase a matching nightstand if you are planning to keep the furniture set for years to come. However, this is an easy piece of furniture to skip if you are low on space.
Baby Bedding and Linens Registry Essentials
- Crib Mattress:Newton Baby Crib Mattress and Toddler Bed
- Why? This baby registry essential is one I researched a lot. Ultimately, I loved several features about it.
- 100% Breathable (Proven to reduce suffocation risk) — Huge thumbs up for a new mom!
- 100% Washable (The only mattress you can wash from cover to core.)
- 2-Stage for Baby and Toddler (So when they get old enough for a softer mattress, just flip it over.)
- No foam, glue, latex, or springs.
- Why? This baby registry essential is one I researched a lot. Ultimately, I loved several features about it.
With the Newton Baby, you don't need to buy a crib mattress pad like you would need to for a standard mattress. (You know, the additional cotton cover that's thick enough to prevent pee stains… and worse… from ruining the mattress for good.)
Newton Baby Product Photos courtesy of Amazon
- Bedding Set: Remember, babies can't sleep with comforters and blankets for a bit, so it's really all for decor here (except the fitted sheet.) We opted to buy a matching set with a whale themed blanket, sheet and matching plush stuffed animal. However, I also bought some breathable crib sheets to use while our baby is small and still within the SIDS age range. Plus, you'll need more than one crib sheet when it's time to wash them, right?
- Changing Pad & Covers:
- BlueSnail Waterproof Changing Pad Liners – I tried both their rectangular Quilted Waterproof version and their rounded waterproof bassinet pad liners and love both
Clean & Sanitary: Baby Registry Essentials
- Bottle Drier & Sterilizer: Baby Brezza One Step Baby Bottle Sterilizer and Dryer Advanced
- Bottle Cleaning Supplies:
- Boon Cacti Bottle Cleaning Brush Set, Terracotta
- Boon Desert Countertop Drying Rack
- Boon Grass Countertop Baby Bottle Drying Rack – in White, Green or Gray
- OXO Tot Bottle Brush with Nipple Cleaner and Stand
- OXO Tot On-the-Go Drying Rack with Bottle Brush (for traveling / diaper bag)
- Dapple Baby, Hyopallergenic Bottle and Dish Soap
- Dreft Stage 1: Newborn Hypoallergenic Liquid Baby Detergent
- Dreft Stage 2: Baby Hypoallergenic Liquid Detergent
- Dreft Laundry Stain Remover & Portable Stain Pen Bundle
- Surface Cleaners
Health & Hygiene
- Fridababy everything:
- Health & Hygiene
- Little Remedies New Baby Essentials Kit
- Digital Thermometer for Babies
- Safe Baby Nail Clippers I love the ones with a small light attached. Mine are out of stock as of this posting, but hopefully they will be listed again soon… here's the link to check!
- Hatch Baby Rest Sound Machine Night Light & Time to Rise – We went with the original (not the new version that is more expensive.) Loving this machine, and not missing the upgraded options one bit!
Baby Travel Gear: Safety is Essential
A stroller is a stroller, right? You push a baby around on a few wheels so you can travel around without carrying them. How could they be that different?
At least, that's what I thought, until I walked into Buy, Buy Baby for the first time. It felt like at least one-third of the store was dedicated to strollers and carseats! How are you supposed to know what's what?
Luckily, there was a very helpful – and patient – sales woman to guide new parents through the buying journey.
Sure, it's likely that her goal was to steer us towards higher priced items. But, it's also her goal to get good customer feedback and ultimately make any sale she can. (So, if she's pushing the Rolls Royce of strollers and it's not in our budget, it's not very helpful, right?)
IMPORTANT: Make sure your Stroller and Car Seat are compatible if you are buying different brands.
- Stroller: UppaBaby Vista V2
- Why? As a “luxury brand,” this stroller is pricey but for good reason. The materials are high-quality and there is a lot of versatility in use. You can face a single child in various configurations, but also easily convert for use with a second child. If you are planning to have another child, the cost may cover itself if you will need to buy a new double stroller in a few years.
- Additionally, my husband and I are tall. Another tall female customer was in the store exchanging her stroller purchase and replacing it with the UppaBaby Vista because she hadn't thought about the need for higher extension options on the push bar, or the benefit of no cross bar to bang your shins as you walk.
- Don't forget about all of the optional accessories that go along! This specific stroller has items like a carry-all organizer, cupholder and snack tray that come separately.]
- Other things to consider: Are you planning to do a lot of outdoor walking or running with the stroller? Apparently cheaper tires will be fine on smooth surfaces like the grocery store, but will quickly wear down on gravel. Plus, there are 3-wheeled strollers better for runners who need the agility – but the balance may not be ideal for others.
- Car Seat: Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 Nido Infant Car Seat (Bonus Tip: Order an extra base if you have 2 family cars you'll be using frequently!)
In our case, there is a special adapter to buy for the UppaBaby Stroller that specifically allows for the Peg Perego Car Seat to comfortably sit on the stroller.
Here is where I got confused for awhile.
Yes, many people register for or buy a matching car seat and stroller at the same time. The car seats are made to pop out of the base (which stays in the car) and perfectly pop right in to its stroller counterpart of the same brand. It makes sense for newborns, who are likely asleep after a car ride and are too small to sit up or face forward in the stroller yet. (Seems obvious, unless you haven't been around babies in awhile!)
When we shopped for our baby registry essentials, we wanted the safest newborn carseat on the market. We were shuttled straight over to the Peg Perrego, and didn't question much else. (Oh, but also it was lightweight, which is great because I forgot how much strength I lost while not working out pregnant.)
- Safety Car Mirror for Rear Facing Infant (Two of these for two cars!)
- Multipurpose Car Seat Covers:
- There are tons of these on the market, and it's all really about patterns and designs you like. One quick hint – search for them under several different categories and names, including: Car Seat Canopy, Nursing Cover, Multi-Use Cover, Breast Feeding Scarf
- Stomach/Back Carriers:
- Travel Play Yard:
- Graco Pack and Play with Changing Table and Travel Bassinet
- Fitted Sheets (just search for “mini crib” or “play yard sheets”)
Baby Gear & Diaper Bag Supplies
- Swing and/or Rocker: Munchkin Bluetooth Enabled Baby Swing
- Burp Bibs & Drool Cloths:
- Swaddles, Sleepsacks & Blankets:
- Babylist Pacifier Box
- Philips Avent Soothie Snuggle Pacifier Holder
- Pacifier Clips
- Ubbi On-the-Go Pacifier Holder
[Update: Only ONE pacifier has worked for our baby. Read my post “The Best Pacifier Brand for Our Baby” to see which one!]
- Boudreaux's Butt Paste Diaper Rash Ointment
- Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment
- OXO Tot On-The-Go Wipes Dispenser (2)
- Wipes [We're starting out with Pampers Sensitive Baby Wipes]
- Diapers [We're starting with a box of newborn sized Huggies and a box of size 1 Pampers]
- Ubbi Retractable On the Go Bag Dispenser
- Travel Changing Pad
- Ubbi Diaper Pail & Ubbi Biodegradable Plastic Trash Bags
- OXO Tot Perfect Pull Wipes Dispenser
Mom's Personal / Breastfeeding Registry
- Breast Pump: Spectra S1
- Did you know insurance can get you a FREE breast pump? A friend sent me to Aeroflow and it was easy as pie. Some models are completely free, others may cost a small up-charge (like my Spectra S1) but it's definitely smart to check out before you pay out of pocket! https://aeroflowbreastpumps.com/qualify-through-insurance
- Breast Pump Bag: Mommore Breast Pump Bag with 15 inch laptop sleeve
- Breastfeeding Supplies & Accessories:
- Lansinoh Breastfeeding Starter Set for Nursing Mothers
- Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags
- Lansinoh Soothies Breast Gel Pads
- Medela Disposable Nursing Pads
- Ameda ComfortGel Soothing Breastfeeding Pads
- Earth Mama Organic Nipple Butter
- Memory & Milestone Photo or Scrapbook
- Baby's First Christmas Ornament
- Baby Handprint and Footprint Kit
Teething & Feeding
- Bottle Warmer: Tommee Tippee 3 in 1 Advanced Bottle & Pouch Warmer
- Babylist Bottle Box (5 Different bottle brands)
- Philips Avent Natural Baby Bottle 4oz
- Silicone Waterproof Baby Bibs
- Washable Fabric Baby Bibs
- High Chair: Graco Blossom 6 in 1 Convertible High Chair
- Transitioning to Whole Foods
Bath Time Essentials
- Towels & Washcloths
How can you choose just a couple when there are so many cute to choose from?!
- Soaps & Shampoos:
- Burt's Bees Baby Nourishing Baby Oil
- CeraVe Baby Moisturizing Lotion
- Mustela No-Rinse Cleansing Water for Face and Diaper Area
- Aveeno Baby Essential Daily Care Baby & Mommy Gift Set
- For the Tub
Baby Bath Safety Essentials
- Fisher-Price 4-in-1 Sling ‘n Seat Tub
- Munchkin White Hot Safety Duck Bath Tub
- Infant Baby Bath Floating Toy Safety Temperature Thermometer Duck
- Ubbi Baby Bathtub Spout Guard Faucet Cover (Pro Tip: There are other brands of cute animal-themed spout covers, so take a look around depending on if you want to keep a clean, adult-friendly look or make it a fun, kid-friendly tub!)
Toy & Book Baby Registry Essentials
- Tummy Time Mat:
- Baby Einstein Music:
- Stroller and Travel Toys:
- Motor Skills Development:
- Fisher-Price Rock-a-Stack and Baby's First Blocks Bundle – This bundle is an Amazon exclusive, so grab it while it's still around!
- Soft squeeze baby blocks with numbers, shapes, animals and textures – lots of cute colors and styles of these on Amazon, too!
- Baby's First Teddy / Stuffed Animal
- Lovey – Blanket with Animal Attached
- Fisher-Price Soothe ‘n Snuggle Otter
Baby Book Registry Essentials
- Books: Like toys, you will surely find plenty of books either gifted, passed down, or for amazing prices at local consignment shops, so no need to make a list here. Of course, there are a couple I had to add to start our baby's little library! [Fun Tip: If you are having a baby shower, consider an invitation that requests to bring and sign a book instead of a card. Even more memorable for baby as they grow up!]
Clothes & Accessories
Baby clothes and accessories aren't truly essentials of a baby registry, considering friends and family are likely to rush off to gift adorably small outfits to your newest family member.
Of course, you'll need some 0-3 month sized Onesies. (Pro tip: “Onesie” is a brand name made by Gerber. If you are happy with any similar brand – or if you are searching somewhere like Etsy, look for “baby bodysuit” or “one piece.”)
You will also want a few Sleep & Play rompers and a pair of pants or two. [We are SO glad we had pants and long sleeves for part of our son's hospital coming home outfit. I would have never thought about his sweet little legs rubbing against the car seat straps!]
Baby clothes are subjective and some of the most gifted or handed down items. You know what you like there – don't overthink it!