Baby Registry Essentials

When I was pregnant with my daughters, the notion of a baby registry for essentials didn’t even exist. In fact, the same year that my first daughter was born, I published a book about newfangled bridal registry programs.

Baby registries? Never heard of them and they never would have crossed my mind.

My how times have changed. These days, you don’t want to plan a baby shower without setting up a baby registry first.

Baby registry essentials

So, what are some baby registry essentials? Well, diapers and wipes, of course. However, there are other necessities that you should add to your baby registry.

And since it’s been years since I had a baby, I turned to other bloggers to get their feedback.

These real-life parents know the tried and true products that can help you get through those sleepless nights and exhausting yet exciting days of having a new baby. This is especially helpful if you’re juggling it all as a single parent.

After that, I’m going to outline some of the best stores where you can register for baby goods. (Too bad Buy Buy Baby has gone out of business; they were pretty great.)

Why are some of these stores so great? One, they’re nationwide and convenient. And, two, many offer special freebies for the parents and even a free welcome box filled with samples and goodies.

Basics for a baby shower and registry

So, as you get ready to register for a baby shower, of course add these basic essentials to this list:

  • Diapers (in various sizes)
  • Wipes
  • Car seat
  • Stroller
  • Crib
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You can save money by buying store brand diapers at Costco. In fact, back when Toys R Us was around, we would buy all of our diapers with the Geoffrey Dollars we’d earned with our Toys R Us credit card.

Of course, as you know, Toys R Us is now a defunct store as are so many.

But back to baby essentials. Here are other items that are sure to make life with a newborn just a bit easier.

Side snap onesies

A young pregnant woman receiving gifts from her pretty friends at her babyshower.
Photo credit: Yayimages.

Believe it or not, putting a shirt over a newborn’s head can freak them out. Maybe it’s a flashback to the birth canal experience. 

To make undressing and dressing your baby less stressful for everyone involved, choose side snap onesies or bodysuits for your baby registry. Their design ensures that nothing has to go over your baby’s head while getting dressed.

Memory book

You’re sure to be taking lots of pictures of your baby. However, have you thought about how you’ll capture what you’re thinking and feeling as you snap those pics for Instagram?

That’s why Jessica Haggard of Easy Homemade Life recommends adding a memory book as an essential to your baby gift registry.

“There are so many new experiences and memories that happen in the first days and years of having a new baby that it’s impossible to remember them all,” she says. “Having a place to document all the best ones becomes a valuable momento to the whole family as time goes on.”

Why a baby carrier is a registry essential

Why is a baby carrier a registry must have? Because it lets you, basically, strap your baby to your chest. 

Isabelle Frederick of Mama’s Buzz discovered early on how essential a baby carrier could be. 

“I always thought a stroller would be the way to go when I was out and about with my baby,” she says, “but there have been so many times a carrier is more practical and keeps my baby more content.”

That’s because some babies just want to be held all the time, which is sweet but also impractical.

Isabelle discovered that “using a carrier frees up your hands so you can hold them while doing other things. Wearing your baby in a carrier can also be an easier way to help them nap when you’re away from home.”

Her baby carrier of choice? The Ergobaby Omni Breeze. They’re even made to fit dads, too.

Infant car seat stroller combination 

Speaking of napping babies, they are notorious for falling asleep in the car. And the last thing you want to do is wake that sleeping baby when you take them out of the car.

So, a must have on your registry is an infant car seat that snaps right into a stroller. That way if the baby is sleeping when you get to your destination, you can transfer them from your vehicle into a stroller without having to unbuckle them from the seat.

When looking to add this item to your registry, keep in mind that different manufacturers call this product by different names. So you might see it listed like this: 

Baby registry essentials for nursing mothers

If you choose to breastfeed, you’ll need to stock up on additional necessities. So, consider adding these breastfeeding must-haves to your baby registry.

Breast pump and bottles

Even if you plan to breastfeed exclusively, there may be times you will want to pump. For example, what if you want to hire a babysitter that will overlap with your baby’s feeding time? So, it makes sense to invest in a breast pump so your baby has milk to drink while you are away.

Today’s breast pumps are mobile and dual action. That means they can pump both breasts simultaneously, which reduces the time you’re attached to the machine. 

Also, breast pumps and the various essentials that go along with them are an approved FSA or HSA expense.

Of course, you’ll need to add bottles to your baby registry, too. Be sure to choose BPA-free ones.

Nursing scarf, blanket or cover up

Woman is breastfeeding her child in a park, sitting on bench, hiding behind a stroller.
Photo credit: Yayimages.

You should feel free to nurse your baby whenever they need to eat. However, you may want a smidge of privacy if you’re out in public.

Therefore, it’s smart to ask for a nursing scarf or blanket so you can cover yourself up if you so please.

Micah Klug of Home Faith Family calls nursing scarves “a practical and versatile baby item to add to your gift registry,” she says. “Nursing scarves are usually made from soft, lightweight fabric, making them comfortable for both mother and baby. They’re easy to pack and take with you on the go, and they can be machine washed for easy cleaning.”

In addition to providing nursing mothers with privacy while breastfeeding in public, they can serve a range of other purposes. This includes:

  • sunshade for a sleeping baby
  • light blanket
  • carrier cover

I found a bunch of fashion-forward nursing scarves on Etsy.

Pretty nursing bras

Gone are the days of ugly, white utilitarian nursing bras. Plenty of stores, including Amazon, now stock pretty nursing bras and bralettes.

Some of these nursing bra options qualify for Amazon’s Try Before Your Buy program.

Finally, many of these bras are even designed for women who need bras for big busts.

Nursing pads

If you happen to experience let-down–it’s a tingling feeling when your milk releases from your breasts–without your baby around, you could end up with stains on the front of your shirt. The sound of another baby crying can even cause an unexpected let-down.

That’s why it’s a good idea to add nursing pads to your baby registry. Nursing pads go inside your bra to catch any liquid release. You can choose reusable nursing pads or disposable ones

Large reusable water bottles

One of the essentials for keeping your milk supply up is to stay hydrated. So, if you don’t already have a large, dishwasher-safe reusable water bottle, add it to your registry list.

Better yet: choose a brand that offers a lifetime guarantee, such as the Hydro Flask.

Delivery services like GoPuff can help you get your baby essentials, too. Got a tiny human? Then here’s a big deal: Save up to 30% off select baby essentials at Gopuff.

Baby registry must-haves for the first year

In addition to all of the above, here are some other items to add to your baby registry, that you’ll use later in the first year or beyond:

Stores with baby registries

So, now that you know what essentials to add to your baby registry, you may be asking where you should register.

In my opinion, there are two terrific places to set up a baby registry. One is Amazon. The other is Target. And now there is an Etsy baby registry, too.

Amazon Baby Registry

There are a couple of reasons that Amazon’s baby registry is so popular with soon-to-be parents. One is simply how ubiquitous Amazon is; it’s everywhere for nearly everyone.

Two, like the Amazon Wedding Registry, the baby registry is a universal gift registry. That means that you can add essentials not just from Amazon but really any store.

And, three, you can qualify for the free Amazon Baby Registry Welcome Box. This occurs when the following happens:

In addition, baby registry owners enjoy a 15% discount when shopping off their registry.

Finally, you may want to add some music to your baby registry — especially if you’re kicking it old school with vinyl records or CDs. We loved playing everything from Raffi to Simon and Garfunkel for our babies. Here are some suggested songs to sing to your baby.

Target Baby Registry

I’m a big fan of Target. Then again, you probably know that if you’ve read my articles on Ulta Beauty in Target, the Target Circle App and City Target locations.

It’s also why we signed our daughter up for the Target college registry before she moved into her dorm for her freshman year at college.

So, I wasn’t really that surprised to learn how popular the Target Baby Registry is among soon-to-be parents.

A baby registry here comes with lots of benefits. These include:

  • A year of exclusive deals through the Target Circle app
  • 15% off registry coupon
  • Free registry returns or exchanges for up to a year

Finally, like Amazon, Target has a free welcome kit. However, unlike Amazon, you don’t have to jump through a lot of task hoops to get it.

After setting up your Target baby registry, all you need to do is stop by the guest services desk at a store and request it. The Target free welcome kit contains up to $100 worth of freebies, coupons and deals on baby essentials.