Building a baby registry should be fun, not daunting. But with so much gear out there and so many opinions on what the baby registry essentials are, it can feel like a lot of work. Take a breath, after two kids and countless inquiries on what to and what not to put on a baby registry, our resident gear expert Kristin Hood has you covered.
"I think the most important thing is to really think about your space and your lifestyle," says Kristin. "Do you live in a house with multiple floors and won't want to walk up and down stairs or move things around, do you have a garage where you can park a full size stroller, or do you need a bathtub that can fold down and be stored when not in use?"
Just because an item is needed, say, a breast pump, that doesn't necessarily mean it belongs on the list. Some things are best to acquire after you meet your kid and find out what you both need. Taking this all into account, read on for the best way to create a modern baby registry that focuses on less-is-more and eco-friendly decisions.
The Essential Baby Gear
The top three items Kristin puts on any baby registry is a good carrier, newborn lounger and a stroller that fits your lifestyle. For a carrier, it's important to figure out what kind of device works best for you. Check out Kristin’s baby wrap reviews, read our guide to baby wraps vs. carriers vs. slings or ask a friend who has or had a baby if you can try theirs out. From there decide if you want something easy to put on and go, like the Baby Bjorn, which comes in multiple sizes and has adjustable straps to make your little one snug and secure. There's also the wrap method, which takes a bit more finesse to master and requires room to do it in. The soft Moby Wrap is a popular option that tailors to the baby and the body wearing the baby, making it fit snuggly and work for multiple members of the family. Both these options can be found gently used and in open box condition. Learn more about baby carriers and how to wear them here.
The other mode of transport for newborns, all the way up to around 5-years-old, is a stroller. This can range from the high-end models that grow with your child through all the stages, such as the UPPAbaby Vista, all the way to less expensive brands and models you can just throw in the car without care, such as the Chicco Bravo. There is no wrong answer, but when creating a baby registry it's best to try and get what you really want. A stroller is also a great item to get gently used, or, in the case of many of Goodbuy Gear's UPPAbaby and Mockingbird strollers, open box. Saving money and product waste is good for everyone, and for many strollers you’re making an investment in a piece of baby gear that will carry your family for a long time.
The other item on Kristen's must-have list is the newborn lounger. Recently the popular Boppy Newborn Lounger was recalled and is no longer deemed safe for infants. But that doesn't mean there aren't other options. The Dock-a-Tot is a durable and popular choice, with optional cute covers and/or a carrying case so you can schlep it to your parent's house without worrying about it getting dirty. Snuggle Me makes an organic lounger too, at a fraction of the cost, that looks just as cute in the nursery and works for your baby just as well. And, maybe you want two of these loungers, one for the downstairs, and one for the bedroom.
Baby registry essentials can be good for the environment too, especially when you make a list featuring gently used and open box gear. Fun fact, reusing an item rather than buying it new can reduce its carbon footprint by up to 82%. The other great part about buying and selling second hand, when you're done you can resell many of these items for close to what you paid and another family can benefit from it. Not only does this help our chronic waste problem, but it can save you money during the expensive act of raising children.
For example, there's little reason to shop for a new bassinet when getting a second-hand, perfect-condition Halo BassiNest Swivel Sleeper costs 70-percent less. The Arms Reach co-sleeper is another item that's often sold gently-used, and since a baby only spends about three months of its life in it, there's no need to pay full price.
Infant swings are another baby registry essential, and one that can be shopped for with the environment in mind. The Ingenuity InLighten Cradling Swing is a simple answer to this device, and offers many modes of movement and noise to help lull little ones to sleep. Stop used ones from going in the landfill and purchase second hand or open box for around $80, saving $60 off the retail cost.
And don't pass up a sound machine, it's one of the best and simplest tools to help babies sleep. Add a high-tech one like the Hatch Baby Rest and Sound Machine with Audio Baby Monitor to the registry ($23 off the retail price), or go for something easy that can be thrown in a diaper bag such as the Cloud b Sleep Sheep Sound Soother, which is over 50% off in open box condition on our website.
What Not to Put On Baby Registry
There are plenty of things to skip when creating a baby registry. For starters, any clothes that are under six months in size. The truth is you don't know how big or small your newborn will be when born or during whatever season the outfit is geared for. Often those cute little knickers or holiday dresses are never worn. Same thing goes with shoes and booties, and honestly, unless they are a newborn, babies won't keep anything but snug socks on their feet.
Depending on space, don't put a highchair on your list, it's not a baby registry essential for the pure fact that no one will use it for at least four to six months. High chairs are bulky too, and take up space in an area that already has a ton of baby gear floating about. Instead, add the Inglesina Fast Table Chair on your list, it’s smaller than a regular highchair and is also portable and can clip onto the table. After you know your baby better, then invest in a larger piece of feeding gear.
Another item to skip is all those little things you think you need. Pacifiers? Nope, you don't know if your kid will even take to one, so it's best to start with the free paci from the hospital and go from there. A cart cover is nice too, but not needed for months, or ever if you decide to get your groceries delivered. And while bottle warmers and sterilizers are nice, unless you know your child's feeding journey, sometimes these things are never used.
Now for the poop-y side. A changing table is helpful to have, but until the nursery is set and you're ready for a big piece of furniture, just use a floating pad to change a diaper. The Keekaroo Peanut is one of the best on the market, and it’s pricey enough that anyone will feel that gifting this item is appreciated. Plus it doesn't need any sheets or covers, you just wipe it clean. Bonus, the Keekaroo does come in gently used from time to time, and if you see it, snatch it up right away. Not only does this save money, but as long as the item is still in good condition when you’re done it can resell for close to the same price you bought it at.
No matter how you choose to put your baby registry guide together, know that as long as your child is healthy you have what you really need. And, there are tons of things to buy, but few items that will actually be used in those first few months. Except for diapers, you will need a lot of diapers, which should be at the top of every baby registry essential list.
Check out our baby registry guide for more inspiration.