Welcome to the first post in our Minimalist Pregnancy Prep series. Every expecting mom loves planning for their baby’s arrival. Getting a baby registry together with all the items you’ll need is a fun and exciting way to prepare for your baby. Read on to find my top baby registry tips from a second time mom who’s been there and done that.
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The absolute essentials:
clothes (launder only a few outfits and leave the rest with the tags on and receipt attached just in case)
Red light: What you really don’t need and won’t use:
Hear me: YOU DO NOT WANT YOUR BABY GETTING ACCUSTOMED TO WARM WIPES. Trust me on that. This will cause all sorts of fun changing-room drama when you’re out and about and dare to put a room-temperature wipe on your little one’s butt. DRAMA. No thanks. My babies both survived on room-temp wipes (shocking, I know) and your baby will, too!
Bottle warmers are super aggravating to me. They take up valuable counter space and they really are not worth their weight. The thing I disliked most about my bottle warmer was that it took a ridiculous amount of time to heat up the bottle to the “perfect temperature.” It also made the outside of the bottle pretty warm. Too warm, in my opinion, to put near my infant. I ditched the bottle warmer fast and never looked back.
SAY WHAAAAATTTT? Yes, I am telling you not to buy diapers. Don’t register for diapers. Don’t have a “diaper party.” I hear you. You’re saying, “Why in the hell would I not stock up on those expensive little disposable butts????? Do you know how much those things cost?!?!?” Yes, I know. I have 2 in diapers right now. I KNOW. HOWEVER….. I have a lot of good reasons, and you can read in depth on why you shouldn’t start a diaper stockpile here.
Even more than my (excellent and convincing) reasoning above for diapers, do not buy formula in advance! Formula allergies and sensitivities are even more prevalent than diaper allergies and sensitivities. I don’t even remember how many types of formula we tried with our first son before settling on the only one he would tolerate: Enfamil AR. We threw out A LOT of basically full containers of formula because our son couldn’t eat it and we didn’t have anyone to give them to. Luckily we found that our pediatrician had sample cans of a bunch of different formula brands and types and would give us one to try so we weren’t constantly buying cans to try and then ultimately throw out.
Crib bedding and bumpers
Don’t do it! Babies should sleep alone in their crib without crib bumpers/pads, bedding of any kind, or stuffed animals. The American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines say a baby should be in a crib with a firm mattress and well-fitting fitted sheet ONLY. NOTHING ELSE!!!! I know crib bedding and bumpers are adorable and can make the nursery look just so, but the beauty of it is not worth the risk to your baby.
We see gorgeous nurseries on Pinterest and in magazines all the time with bedding and bumpers. I see crib bedding and bumpers in all the baby aisles. But I have never owned any and never will. God forbid something terrible ever happen, I would never forgive myself. The potential risk is far too great for me to even consider using any of these products. I have adorable fitted sheets, and that’s perfectly good for me.
I also don’t think you need to buy waterproof crib mattress pads. Almost all crib mattresses are waterproof and can be cleaned off with mild baby-safe cleanser. Or my favorite: castile soap.
Boppy or other nursing pillows
I won’t try to hide it: I really loathe the Boppy pillow. It seems like every pregnant person in the last two decades has put this on their registry, but I am not sure why. When I was breastfeeding in the hospital, the lactation consultant didn’t come waltzing in hailing the Boppy pillow. We rolled up some hospital pillows and called it a day. Once I was home, I actually found that a rolled up throw blanket worked the best for me and was easier to manipulate to the exact shape I wanted when I was nursing. The Boppy has been upstairs in a closet where I move it around every so often and swear about the space it takes up.
The Cadillac of portable cribs
Portable cribs come with some crazy stuff these days! Adjustable heights for newborns, newborn changing tables, mobiles, mirrors, diaper caddies, newborn napper, etc. You honestly don’t need any of these things. Plus when your newborn outgrows all of it and you just want the actual crib part, you are going to have to find some place to store all of that crap. I do recommend having a portable crib, but just something basic like this.
Yellow light: Not necessities, but things you may want to consider:
I’ve heard people say you can just throw diapers in the garbage. That is absolutely true, but if you don’t want to live in a house that smells like baby poop 24/7, I highly recommend making the small investment into a Diaper Genie.
These things really do contain the odor (and I don’t even use the odor-neutralizing pouches). Plus they have a small footprint and are easy to use. Replacing the refill bags is super easy and if you have a BJ’s membership, you can almost always get at least a $4 coupon off the refills. Also big box stores like Walmart and Target sell store brand refills that fit the Diaper Genie on the cheap.
This is something with a relatively low cost that is worth every single penny. That coming from a mom with 2 babies in diapers. Check out the one I use here.
It’s expensive. I’ll give you that. But the convenience cannot be matched (especially at 3am). I am an enormous fan on my Keurig, and the Baby Breeza is basically a Keurig for babies. It has a water tank that keeps the water constantly heated to the perfect temp for bottles, and it has a 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 ounce setting. You can put the powdered formula in a reservoir in the top, and it will mix the right amount of formula and warm water and pump out the perfect ba-ba. You can also use spring water or filtered water if you don’t like using tap.
To be honest, I don’t put the formula in mine simply because I don’t feel like cleaning it. We use our Baby Breeza just for the perfectly warm water on demand. This means no waiting for tap water to heat up in at 3am in the dead of winter, no microwaving spring/filtered water, and no bottle warmer. It is absolutely fantastic, and if you can afford it or are lucky enough to receive it as a gift, you will love it, too. Check it out on Amazon here.
Something to set your baby in
I am not big on swings at all. I think they are a waste of money and space. We were gifted a swing that has been used MAYBE 10 times across two children. If you can get a swing on the cheap, then go ahead and try it, but I would not recommend spending $250 on a Mamaroo. Although in total transparency, I’ve never tried the Mamaroo, so who knows, it could be amazing. But it would have to be pretty great to justify spending that kind of money.
With that said, you will want to have something you can set your baby down in. With my first, we put a baby blanket on the floor and set him on it, and it worked perfectly. However, if you have other children or pets, you will want something more secure and out of the way. With our second, we set up the portable crib downstairs in the family room which worked perfectly. We already owned one that we used as a travel crib, and I am big on getting as much use as possible out of one purchase. That was a win for us.
Green light: The A List. The PLEASE-TAKE-MY-MONEY list:
There is a reason they give these out in hospitals and you hear parents raving about them: they are fantastic! With my first baby, I used a different brand which I liked, but after trying the Halo, I am officially converted. This sleepsack is amazing quality and most importantly: helped my infants sleep!
There are many things that contribute to great infant sleep and this is definitely one of them. Everyone knows swaddling babies helps them sleep better, but blanket swaddling takes some skill, and even then babies tend to wiggle their little arms and legs out. The shape of the Halo is perfect for keeping tiny limbs contained (which also helps calm a baby’s startle reflex), and the Velcro is plentiful and high quality. I have washed all of my sleepsacks a million times and they hold up perfectly.
These are also made in a variety of materials so you can get lighter or heavier weight fabrics depending on your climate and needs. This is my number one recommendation when people ask me what they should put on their registry. SLEEPSACKS! Lots (OK maybe 4 or 5) of sleepsacks. Check them out on Amazon.
I feel very strongly about abiding by The American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines which state you should not put anything in baby’s crib including blankets. However, we live in a cold climate and I am always worried about my baby being too cold.
This wearable blanket is the perfect solution. It is just like the Halo Sleepsack but without the swaddle. When your baby starts rolling, you don’t want to swaddle them anymore because it could pose a risk of suffocation. However, once you ditch the Halo Sleepsack Swaddle, you lose all of that comfiness and warmth it provides. Don’t be tempted to put a blanket in your baby’s crib at this point. Just switch over to the wearable blanket.
It keeps them nice and cozy warm and is available in different fabric weights just like the swaddle. It’s the perfect balance of safety and comfort. Check it out here.
When you have a new baby, there are a lot of things to keep track of. If you formula-feed, you will need to track feeding times, time between feedings, and feeding amounts. If you breastfeed, you will need to track feeding times, time between feedings, and how much time is spent nursing on either breast. Your hospital and pediatrician will also ask you to keep a count of wet and dirty diapers. And if you’re trying to adapt your baby to a specific schedule, you will want to track their nap times and length.
This is A LOT of information for an exhausted new mom to keep track of. I remember being so exhausted as a new mom that it was starting to affect my vision. Tracking so much important information (about 12-20 times a day) with paper and pen is a real challenge. It’s inevitable to forget to log something or lose the papers all together. After a few weeks, we found the most amazing (and cheap – about $35) solution to this problem: the Echo Dot.
I formula fed both our babies (the first one due to breastfeeding impairment because of my epidural) and we took shifts switching on and off to feed the baby overnight. Now let me tell you: when you are an exhausted, EXHAUSTED new mom and you get a few hours of sleep in a row because your amazingly fantastic, dedicated (and hot) husband is getting up to feed the baby, you do not want him waking you up to ask the time of the last feeding. And really, he doesn’t want this either because tired new moms can be cranky to say the least.
The newborn phase (especially for new parents) is this exhausted haze where you have no idea what time of day it is, you haven’t left the house in a week, and everything starts to blur together. Eat, wake, sleep, repeat on what feels like an endless cycle.
We used the Alexa Skill called Baby Stats to track everything (IT’S FREE!). Put the Echo somewhere convenient either in the kitchen where you make the bottles, in the baby’s room, or next to where you will be doing your feedings (or buy multiples and put them everywhere). Then you just ask Alexa to add a feeding or ask her when the last feeding was. It tracks it to the minute.
The Echo Dot is completely controlled by your voice, so you don’t have to keep a physical log.
Baby Stats skill tracks:
And you can get weekly pregnancy updates tailored to your due date. The Echo Dot has to be in my top ten list of things I have ever purchased. Trust me, just go to Amazon and buy it now.
I hope these tips help you craft the perfect registry for your baby! Keep in mind that you don’t need to own every baby product in existence to be a great mom and have a happy baby!
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