I spent months laboring over my baby registry. Everyone I asked had a different list of must-haves that I added onto my registry along with everything else. Right before my baby shower I realized the insanity of it all and cut my registry down by half. But let me tell you, there were so many things on there we never used. Either my son hated them or I just never pulled them out of the drawer. While every kiddo is so different, there are a few new baby staples that don't change.
Top 10 Registry Must-Haves
You know that a crib, car seat and stroller are must haves, so I won't even mention them below. These are the items we consistently used and are must-haves in my book.
Portable crib The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) says, “infants should sleep in parents’ room, close to parents’ bed, but on a separate surface designed for infants. Ideally, for the first year of life, but at least for the first six months.” With that in mind, the safest place for baby to sleep is on a firm, flat surface, near your bed so you can easily access baby for middle of the night feeds. You truly don't need anything fancy, in fact you don't want fancy because it's distracting to baby when they're trying to sleep. It doesn't need to vibrate, play music, have a nightlight, or display stars anywhere. TRUST ME that you actually don't want any of those features anyway. Choose a simple, basic bassinet or portable crib with a bassinet insert. We used the Baby Trend for my son and it served us very well. We still travel with it too!
Bassinet If a bassinet is more your style I would recommend one like the Halo Bassinet. While a bedside sleeper may be tempting, they are not considered safe due to the potential risk of baby becoming trapped or falling between the crack between mattresses.
Baby K'tan Hands down the BEST wrap. This thing was a lifesaver for us when my son was a newborn. I wore him in it for hours a day during those first 4 months and then pulled it out again anytime he just wanted to be close or anytime he needed a nap on the go. I kid you not, this things was amazing. We even got one in my husband's size so I could have a break.
Ergobaby Carrier Okay you guys....I tried so many carriers and spent way too much money trying to find the perfect one. This is the one I consistently pulled out to wear because it provided the most support for my baby and was the most comfortable for me to wear. One thing to keep in mind is it's definitely warm. So if you're in a hotter area I would get the Cool Air Mesh version. As a side note, if you're alone with baby a lot and can't get into the Ergo on your own without help (me!), I recommend a Happy Baby Carrier. You've gotta buy it straight from their website, but it's super lightweight and I can still get my 25 lb toddler into it on my own. I didn't love it when my son was itty bitty because I felt it wasn't supportive enough for him, but after 6 months old it was the one I kept in my car to throw on when running errands. Also they're ridiculously gorgeous and have a crazy cult following.
White noise machine Another must have and I prefer the one linked over the Hatch to be honest. You really don't need all the features that come with the Hatch. Baby is used to all the white noise occurring inside your womb. When outside the womb white noise continues to help soothe, but also drowns out external noises and signals to baby that it's time to sleep. Use white noise for all sleep periods and for the entire duration. Should be between 50-65 decibels and no louder. Think the volume of if you had the shower running in the same room.
Video Monitor This is not optional. You must have a video monitor, even if baby will be sleeping in your room. You need to be able to see baby clearly anytime they are sleeping, and if he is napping in your room and you're in the living room, you can't see him. It's essential to be able to see what baby is doing, if baby has rolled over and gotten stuck, and if you have an older baby you need to know what they're doing in their room or crib. If you're going to be sleep training, this is a requirement for all of my clients.
Swaddles and sleep sacks A good swaddle is a must have for any new baby, followed by a great sleep sack when baby is ready to transition out of the swaddle. See this post for my favorite swaddles and sleep sacks, and WHY they're so important.
Boppy pillow Whether breast or bottle feeding, this positioner is an extra set of hands for holding baby on your lap even when not feeding. It can be used for tummy time too!
Gentle skincare for baby I personally love the Arbonne Baby Care Set. It's safe and gentle enough for daily use on sensitive skin and formulated with the best combination of naturally derived plant-based ingredients and essential oils. We use it on my son and it's fabulous.
Baby Bjorn Bouncer Okay, this one is iffy and I'll be honest that I haven't tried this particular bouncer. We had a more reclined one that my son sort of liked. He also hated his swing so I'm not even including a swing recommendation because I don't have one. But I always wanted to try this bouncer because of the more upright design and I know many people who use them and love them. If you try it let me know how you like it!
What NOT to add to your registry
Baby wipe warmer - Luxurious and oh so excessive. They also take up a ton of space and are completely unnecessary.
Crib bumpers - Cute, adorable and not safe so don't even risk it. Even the breathable mesh ones have had issues with babies getting tangled up in them resulting in strangulation. Just don't risk it.
Dock-a-tot - You guys, I wish this was on the must-have list for sleep because it would be amazing, but the US version is not safe for sleep. Period. It can be used to contain baby on a flat surface on the ground with you monitoring baby, however I truly found it pointless because my baby much preferred to be worn. For the price, I'd skip it.
Rock 'n Play Sleeper - Before I was a sleep consultant, and before I knew any better, my son slept in a Rock 'n Play for the first 8 weeks of his life. You guys...he slept in this deadly contraption that has since been recalled and is no longer on the market because it's a death trap. This is NOT SAFE. I don't care if your friend has one they're giving you for free. Do not put your baby in this. It has been linked to at least 32 deaths since 2011. Current safe sleep guidelines recommend baby lies on a firm, flat surface to minimize the risk of SIDS. The Rock 'n Play has baby sleep at an incline with fabric on either side that may or may not be breathable. This puts baby at risk of positional asphyxia where baby's head falls forward or to the side, compressing his airway. Please don't risk it.
Nightlight or anything that plays music or stars - These are distracting and interfere with sleep, and we love sleep. So don't waste your money.
Crib accessories - Again, distracting, not actually safe to have in the crib, and interfere with sleep.
Socks - Unless you want to constantly be replacing tiny socks on tiny feet and doing endless loads of tiny sock laundry, don't bother. Just buy footed onesies and thank me later. Little Sleepies and Burts Bees are my fav!
Cloth diapers - Everyone is different, but I'm here to tell you what I loved and what was a total waste of time for me. Before having a baby I had this wonderful vision of being the hippie mama who used cloth diapers and saved the earth. So I registered for a crap ton (sorry) of cloth diapers and we used them for probably about 2 months. Of pure hell. Do you like scraping poop off of things 17 times a day? Or washing things covered in poop in your washing machine? Because I don't. We finally gave in and went with good old disposables, and just like that, life was SO much easier.
Disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links. If you go through them to make a purchase I may earn a commission. All products recommended are based on my personal experience with them as a mom and certified pediatric sleep consultant,and are in no way sponsored by that company. Thank you for your support!