Whether you’re about to become a mom for the first time, or even if you already have children, deciding which baby products to register for can be tricky. Many new parents become overwhelmed by the abundance of advice from well-meaning friends and family who insist that they “need” a slew of particular products in order to raise a happy and healthy baby. While everyone’s needs are different, the products at the beginning of our list are the ones consistently cited by new moms as unnecessary. And to make things even easier on you, we’re also including some items that *are* universally considered must-haves for new parents. So don’t panic – read this list and enjoy the process of creating your baby registry!
Designer Diaper Bags
We get it – it’s hard to resist those adorable and stylish designer diaper bags that come along with steep price tags (sometimes over $1,000+!). But consider not only the short time you’ll actually use the bag – a couple of years, tops – but also the wear and tear that bag will endure while it’s in use. It will be spilled in, dropped on filthy floors, serve as storage for dirty diapers, and probably end up covered in spit-up at least once.
Resist the urge to splurge and register for a good quality, but moderately priced, diaper bag instead. Skip Hop offers a cute Duo Signature Diaper Bag, which comes complete with a matching portable changing mat, for only $52.
Of course, your baby will eventually need a place to eat. But there is no reason to invest in a bulky, standalone high chair. They take up valuable space and your child will only use it for a short time. Instead, opt for a space-saving version that allows your kid to eat right at the table with the rest of the family. Hidden bonus to this: your child can start learning good table manners sooner! There are some stylish versions out there such as this Tavo chair, which is compact and stores right under the table. It includes a safety T-bar and seatbelt.
Plush Crib Bedding
Did you know that doctors advise against crib bumpers, pillows, and other plush items in your baby’s crib? Yes, it’s true. Although those items can look adorable in a crib, they are actually downright dangerous. Crib bumpers and the like can cause suffocation and may even be linked to deaths from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). It’s still safe to provide a fitted sheet and a crib skirt, so stick with those accessories instead. There are hundreds of cute designs out there to choose from. Just be sure that the sheets you choose closely fit the crib’s mattress.
Of course, you’ll need a place to change your baby’s diapers (and get ready, because there are going to be a lot of them!), but you don’t need a dedicated changing table. A dresser outfitted with a changing pad on top will suffice, and will save you a lot of space. Since you need to have a dresser in the nursery anyway, why not make it do double duty? There are a variety of inexpensive universal dressers available that will transition from changing table to clothing dresser as your child grows up. Just select a changing pad (and some cool covers like these patterned ones) to put on the top, and an organizing accessory for powder, wipes, and all the other items you’ll need quick access to.
Diaper Genies and other similar products have been staples on baby registries for years, so it’s easy to assume that they’re necessities. These products seal each used diaper individually into a lightly scented film, which will supposedly diminish germs and odors. But the truth is that no matter where you put them, dirty diapers are going to stink. In fact, many people who claim that they love their Diaper Genies still say they need to empty the cans when they’re halfway full or less to avoid the smell. Here’s our tip: wrap up used diapers tightly and take your trash out frequently. There’s no need for another ineffective gadget taking up space in your nursery.
Baby clothing is one of those things that people are going to buy you a ton of, whether you want them to or not. Those cute little outfits are hard to pass up. They’re also usually pretty reasonably priced, making them a perfect gift or add-on to a larger gift. You’ll receive a mountain of clothing for your baby already, so there’s no need to register for more. Not to mention, babies grow so quickly that those tiny little outfits will probably fit them for only a few weeks at most. If you do wish to register for clothing, choose size 12 months or up, so your baby can grow into them.
The ads for all those educational DVDs are compelling. Brands with names like like “Baby Einstein,” “BabyGenius,” and “Brainy Baby” claim that the videos can help develop babies’ senses, improve their speech and language abilities, and generally “stimulate whole brain development.” These assertions make the DVDs appealing to many parents. However, many studies show that the videos have no beneficial effect on babies, and in fact it could be harmful for babies to watch television at all. One Harvard research team found that babies who watched more television had lower motor and language skills than babies who watched no TV. You can leave these videos off your registry.
Wipe warmers are one of those products that makes perfect sense in theory. No one wants to startle their newborn with an icy cold wipe on that adorable little bottom during a diaper change. But parent after parent have reported that those fancy gadgets called wipe warmers are a complete waste of money. Here’s why: the warm, moist environment inside can provide a breeding ground for germs, heat ends up drying wipes up faster than usual, and babies’ bottoms can tolerate room temperature wipes just fine. Also, more than 500,000 wipe warmers were recalled for shock hazards from 1997 to 2001. This is definitely one to leave off the registry.
Here’s another entry that’s so adorable it’s hard to pass up. But let’s face it — your baby won’t need shoes until it’s around nine months old. Ask away for socks and booties, especially if your child will be born in colder months. Socks make excellent registry add-ons, as they’re so inexpensive and there are so many cute ones out there to choose from. But hold off on requesting baby shoes. Trust us, you’ll be buying your child a lot of shoes in the future. Wait until they’re actually needed.
Yes, formula is expensive and it can be tempting to include it on your registry. But unless you know for certain that you absolutely won’t be breastfeeding (no judgment here), save purchasing formula until you actually need it. Most formulas have a relatively short shelf life, so you risk wasting all that product (and money) if you don’t use it. Another reason to leave formula off your list? There’s often a trial-and-error process to find a formula that works with your baby’s unique digestive system. So there is no need to ask for a ton of food your child won’t even be able to eat. And yet another reason not to ask for formula? Many hospitals send newborns home with a few days’ worth of formula anyway. Save your registry for items that won’t expire and that won’t potentially cause a bad reaction with your child.
And next are some products you’ll want to be sure to include on your baby registry!
A car seat is not optional; you have to have a (properly installed) infant seat in order to leave the hospital with your new bundle of joy. So there’s no question if you should include a car seat on your registry! Safety and comfort are the top concerns when narrowing down your choices. To transport such precious cargo, we’d go with a seat that appears on Consumer Reports’ current list of the safest infant seats. One top-ranking model is the Britax Marathon Click Tight convertible car seat. Retailing for $272, this sturdy choice will ensure your child’s safety. Added bonus: Consumer Reports indicates that this is one of the easiest models to install, which is an important factor to consider.
A bouncy or activity seat is an excellent addition to any baby registry. What a great way to keep baby entertained while you’re freed to take care of nearby tasks or chores. They can range from as simple to ornate as you’d like (one controversial model even comes with an iPad mount), so just look for the features you want. Fisher-Price makes a popular bouncy seat called the Infant To Toddler Rocker, which is intended to transition as your child’s activity levels change. This one, which has a soothing vibrating base, also includes toys and musical elements. It can accommodate children up to 40 pounds.
Hands-Free Pumping Bra
Many new mothers become frustrated at the process of pumping breast milk. It can be difficult and extremely time-consuming. Luckily, there are a lot of high-quality hands-free pumping bras available for new moms. Trust us, you’ll want one of these on your registry. The Simple Wishes D Lite Hands-Free Breastpump Braprovides both comfort and freedom. This model is adjustable, with a Velcro panel in the back to ensure a perfect fit no matter the changes your body will go through. It is also compatible with all the major breastpump manufacturer brands. This is a must-have!
Pack ‘N Play
The Pack ‘N Play, and other brands of “play yards,” are one of the greatest products out there for parents, especially for people who travel frequently. A Pack ‘N Play does quadruple duty as a portable bassinet, crib, playpen, and changing table. In fact, the Consumer Product Safety Commission now considers play yards to be the safest every night sleeping option for babies. The Graco Pack ‘N Play comes with a reversible napper, which is a cozy and secure sleeping area, and a changer which can easily be wiped clean. The unit is designed to transition as your child’s needs change.
Unless you’re as strong as the Incredible Hulk, you’ll need a stroller to get your kiddo from point A to point B. In fact, it’s one of the most important things you need before bringing baby home. There are some key factors to look for in a stroller, like budget (they range widely in price), comfort for you and the baby, its weight, and any other features important to you. One top-rated stroller that appears on many registries is Graco’s Roomfor2 Click Connect Stand and Ride, which also accommodates Graco infant carriers. This is a great option for a stroller that you can use as your child grows. It’s up to you if you want a separate stroller for particular activities like jogging. There are a variety of excellent ones out there for all you runners. The Baby Trend Range Jogging Stroller is an affordable option that will help you stay in shape even with baby in tow.
Baby Food Making Products
If you’re like many parents, you want your child to get the healthiest and most nutritious food available. Making your own food might be the easiest way to do that. By making your baby’s food, you get to choose exactly which ingredients are included (and which are left out). It’s also more economical than buying commercially-produced baby food. There are a variety of products out there to help you in the process of making food at home, including baby food pouch fill stations, which help you funnel the food into convenient, portable, reusable and BPA-free pouches.
A special infant tub is one of those things that many parents find very handy, but that others think are unnecessary. We believe that for new parents, at least, a baby tub is an easy and convenient way to bathe an infant. One sleek and stylish option is the 4moms white baby bath. This counter-top model fits right into any double sink and comes with a built-in digital thermometer for temperature safety. Other tub varieties include features like mesh slings and headrests for comfort, and many come along with mildew-resistant pads. We highly recommend choosing your favorite baby tub and adding it to your registry!
Breast Pump Quick Clean Micro-Steam Bags And Disinfecting Wipes
You’ll want to include these necessities on your list if you’re planning to breastfeed. Medela makes a line of breast pump accessory products including the Quick Clean Micro-Steam Bags and Disinfecting Wipes. The steam bags are a quick and easy way to disinfect bottles, nipples, pump accessories, cups, and pacifiers. All you need is a microwave and water to remove 99.9% of the most common bacteria found on these accessories. And the disinfecting wipes are perfect for on-the-go cleaning. They can even be used on toys and tabletops – perfect for traveling with the baby!
“Babywearing” is a carrying technique that humans have practiced since ancient times, but the method has achieved a resurgence in popularity recently. Proponents of babywearing believe that the constant motion babies experience while being carried this way stimulates brain development and leads to higher intelligence later in life. It’s also a simple but effective way for parents to bond with their children. If you would like a convenient alternative to a stroller, you should add a baby carrier to your registry. Although there are several different styles of carriers, slings, and wraps, BABYBJORN Baby Carriers remain a popular choice for many new parents. They’re convertible to two different ergonomic carrying positions and will fit your baby from infancy to 15 months.
A baby mobile is perhaps one of the most fun items you’ll receive at your shower, so be sure to include one (or two) on your registry! Many people hang these decorative items above baby’s crib as well as over the changing table. Mobiles add color and style to the nursery, and give your infant something interesting to look at while they’re engaged in otherwise boring activities (being changed or laying in their crib). Many child development experts maintain that the high contrast between black and white is beneficial to early visual development, so some parents opt for black and white mobiles for their babies. Amazon offers a version called NoJo Good Night Sheep Musical Mobile, which fits all standard cribs. There are also some really clever and colorful options out there.