Dear Registry Building Parents,

Guess what? There will be a day when you emerge from the black hole of Babies R’ Us victorious.

It probably won’t be today. But someday.

Welcome to the newest time suck of your life: the baby registry. You may feel the need to read every review of every item you are the least bit interested on Amazon, compare it to Babies R’Us, followed by a quick browse of Target reviews. But you don’t have to do that. You, and your baby, and your ten thousand pounds of tissue paper and gifts will make it through to the light side.

I promise.

I’ve only had two kids, so you may not consider my list of items comprehensive, but I’m about to give you the bare necessities of life with baby. Ready?

I mean, if this is your first kid, of course you’re not ready. You won’t ever be ready. Read this anyway.

DUH ITEMS: 

Car seat.

Crib/sleeping arrangement

Stroller.

Diapers and wipes. (This can be as simple or as complicated as you choose, and I’ll go in to that later. But, you’ll need them.)

Ok, now that you can leave the hospital and have a place to lay that infant down, even though she will never actually sleep, we can begin.1ESSENTIALS FOR THE FIRST SIX MONTHS:

  1. You need a baby carrier. If you ever want to take a walk, or pick up around the house, or leave the house, or if your baby has colic, or if you have an older child and need to be on the go, you need a baby carrier. Baby wearing saved me when Jack was born. I could keep up with Carl, and keep Jack close to my heart. You need a baby carrier.
    1. When baby lacks head control, consider a wrap. Choices in this abound. I had a Moby which, although great for my winter baby, made us all a hot, hot, hot mess with my summer child. Consider something made from a breathable cotton or linen, or a ring sling.
    2. I love my soft structure carrier (SSC). I have a Tula, which comes in baby (15 – 45 lbs) and toddler sizes (25 – 60 lbs). The baby size also has an infant insert (required for infants 7-15 lbs), which solves all your problems. Target now carries several well known SSC brands, such as Ergo, Lillebaby, and Tula. The price tag will only slightly shock you, but when you use it every day for 1 to 3 years, it’s worth it. It’s basically a car seat for your body.  SSCs are ergonomically developed for you, which means that your back will thank you.
  2.  You need a place to put baby in quick moments: bouncy chair, or swing, or play mat. My boys outgrew their swing after 3 months (my kids are monster babies), but I know swings for bigger babies (that will last you longer) exist. Consider a portable one, for ease of storage and ability to move to different rooms easily as you adjust to life with baby in your house.
  3. If you plan to travel with baby, a Pack n’ Play (PNP) is essential. In fact, I consider this an absolute necessity. It’s a super safe place to put baby, and it adapts as your child grows. Our particular PNP has a changing table and infant sleeper that converts to a bassinet, followed by the playard option. I didn’t think I would use this, but it has been invaluable.  If you have space (and a nice baby shower or three), I truly recommend asking for a crib, bassinet, and Pack N’ Play. If you’re considering co-sleeping, you might look at one of the co-sleeper baskets as well.
  4. We actually don’t use a changing table and pad at all (much to Brandon’s chagrin, since he spent weeks building a changing table/bookshelf for the boys). Instead I use a grab and go changing pad, which you can put on your bed, or couch, or floor. I love this, because it can be easily wiped down, and your toddler doesn’t rip it open and eat the stuffing out of it the way they might an actual changing pad. (I’m not saying we’ve experienced such a thing, but…it could happen.)
  5. If you plan to nurse, look in to nursing pillows. We received a Boppy for Carl that we used to death. Literally, the stuffing was coming out in several places due to my washing it so much. Jack got a new one. There are multiple types of nursing pillows, so you might consider requesting more than one kind. Plus, it never hurts to have these for a couple different rooms in your house or at least one for each story. (You do not want to be searching for your only Boppy at 2 in the morning with a squalling newborn. Promise.)
  6. A few burp cloths will be essential. Carl threw up ALL THE TIME. Like, for real, spewing lava.  But I can count on one hand how often Jack spit up. It’s also good to have random towels, receiving blankets, and burp cloths all around the house. because you never know what fluids might be headed your way. Aden & Anais make a burp cloth that converts to a bib for when your child starts eating purees/solids, and you will want multifunction. Because baby crap will have taken over your life.
  7. Swaddling saved us at night.  I love the Aden and Anais swaddling blankets, but am also a huge fan of sleep sack swaddles. We have several with velcro tabs, which are so much less frustrating to reattach in the middle of the night.
  8. Lots of wash cloths and a few bath towels specific to babies.
  9. If the thought of washing your baby in your kitchen sink makes you nauseous (like me), you’ll want a tub of some sort.
  10. And when baby starts teething (around 6 months, but sometimes sooner), I found a food grade, BPA-free teething necklace or bracelet to be invaluable. You might feel silly about the bulk, but you will likely be unable to wear any other jewelry for baby’s first year, so find something cute.
  11. Baby Medicine:
    1. Saline nose drops
    2. We’ve always used a bulb syringe, but (if I ever did this again) I’ve heard that the NoseFrida is ah-maz-ing-a for snotty noses. Just seeing the bulb syringe from a distance makes Jack poop his pants.
    3. Infant Tylenol, and Infant Ibuprofen (for when baby is a bit older)
    4. Thermometer. I am forever grateful that we have a temporal thermometer, so I can check temps when baby is sleeping without disrupting them.
    5. In case your kid gets cradle cap (again, and again, and again) you need a soft baby brush and some oil. I prefer cocoa butter oil, but any baby oil will do.
    6. Nail clippers, although, honestly, whether you clip their nails or not, they still have wolverine claws at all times.
    7. Cool mist humidifier. Cause SNOT happens almost as much as poop.
  12. Nursing (I could write about nursing for weeks on end, but this is just a registry) requires a few items:
    1. Pump: If you plan to breastfeed and work, you need a double electric pump. Wait to buy bottles until you have purchased your pump, because you want them to work together. Wait to purchase a ton of bottles until you know that that brand of bottle will also work for your baby.
    2. Even if you do not plan to nurse, or you will be home with baby around the clock, consider a hand held pump. Engorgement is a bitch, and hand expressing is a nightmare. Plus, you might want to leave the house at some point, and your babysitter will need some boob juice.
    3. Nursing bras, for both day and night.
    4. Cotton or bamboo nursing pads. Because your boobs now leak.
    5. Let’s be real, for the first six weeks, everything leaks. Plan accordingly.

And so it begins. 

P.S. Baby items procreate like bunnies. So, good luck with that.

PPS. For things that you want, but aren’t gifted to you, buy used from local consignment shops, or search Craigslist. Babies grow so quickly that some items are barely used, but the affordability is (obviously) better at a second hand store.

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