Baby Registry 101

I remember the day like it was yesterday: pregnant with my first child, hand cradling my new baby bump, registry gun in hand…completely overwhelmed. Surely, if all of these products for babies existed, they existed for a reason, and I needed one of everything. Like all first-time moms, I went a little overboard with the registry because baby stuff is adorable, and shopping without spending money is really, really fun.

Five years, three kids and three registries later, here is my advice for new moms. 
First child (aka one of everything)

There really should be a “select all” option for new moms. You will want it all, you will register for it all, and you will likely be gifted most of it. Your home will be overflowing with bouncy seats, bottles, pacifiers, onesies, and blankets as far as the eye can see. And as much as I want to tell you to put down that registry gun, I didn’t and you won’t.  So, enjoy the excess and whimsy that will only accompany your first child. Having said that, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • pproach your registry based on your baby’s major needs: sleeping, eating and pooping. Once you have those functions covered, the rest is just accessorizing.
  • If you plan on having multiple children, register for gender-neutral baby gear.
  • When it comes to linens, register for multiples of your favorite items. You will change crib sheets and changing pad covers more than you care to imagine.
  • Don’t bother registering for clothing. Yes, you need it, but people tend to skip the registry and buy whatever they think is cute.
  • Resist the temptation to judge your readiness for a baby based on the amount of stuff you have. At the end of the day, you need very little to keep baby healthy and happy.
Second child (aka been there, done that)

Take the registry from your first child and promptly cut it in half. Re-register for items that get a lot of wear and tear such as towels, washcloths, and bed linens. You will also want to seize the opportunity to ask for items you wish you had the first time around. With a smaller registry, you are likely to get exactly what you want.

Third child (aka the bare necessities)

If you register with your third child (baby showers typically stop after baby number two), or are simply making a wish list for friends and family, heed the advice of moms of multiple children everywhere and simply tell everyone you want diapers and wipes. When your hospital stash runs out (oh, in about a week) you will not regret putting these staples on your registry. Now is also a great time to check the expiration date on your car seat (yes, they do expire) and to make sure all of your big ticket items are still in great shape.

While you are at it, go ahead and live a little and register for a few cute items like that over-priced-but-oh-so-cute diaper bag. Just because you are an old pro at this whole motherhood thing doesn’t mean you still can’t have some fun!

Megan’s must-haves (and what to skip)

Can’t live without

Car Seat: Because they won’t let you leave the hospital without one, and because you will eventually want to leave the house again.

Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play: Register for one for each room of your house. No seriously, do it. It can soothe even the fussiest baby. It changed my life.

Boppy Pillow: Great for nursing, bottle-feeding, tummy time, assisted seating, etc.

Muslin swaddling blankets: Super versatile! Use as a blanket, swaddler, burp cloth, changing pad and all-purpose baby mess cleaning cloth.

10 one-piece zip front sleep ‘n play outfits: Because no one wants to mess with buttons at 4 a.m. Two per weekday means laundry isn’t a daily necessity.

Bouncy seat: It’s hard to believe at the beginning, but eventually you will want to put that adorable baby down.

Diapers & wipes

Hand sanitizer


Nice but not necessary

Play mat

Burp cloths

Diaper pail

Diaper bag

Breast pump, milk storage bags and a hands-free pumping bra (if you plan to breastfeed)

Drying rack for bottles

Rocker/recliner for nursery

Hooded bath towels

Baby bath



Just don’t do it

Bottle and/or wipe warmers: Once that baby’s bottom encounters a warm wipe, the precedent has been established, and there’s no going back. Same for the bottle.

Pee-Pee Teepees: They don’t work. Trust me.

Bedding sets for cribs: Not only are these really just unnecessary, but best practices for safe sleep actually recommend avoiding crib bumpers or anything other than a bare, fitted sheet.

Newborn hats: You will receive at least twenty. You will put one on your baby’s head before they no longer fit.

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