I noticed so many of my couples were starting their families and wondering what to register for. I’m sharing what worked well for me, especially since I have done it two times around. Keep in mind, this is just what worked for me. Our house is on the smaller side, and I don’t really like buying a lot of “stuff” in general. Babies truly outgrow everything SO FAST. You’ll be shocked at how little you may use some items! I tried to categorize things into what you should buy, register for, and skip. I hope this is a helpful starting point for some of you new moms!! 🙂 Photo below by Katie Lamb.
Travel + Sitting
Skip: Swings, fancy rocking things, bibs
I loved the Chicco Keyfit System. You can buy on Amazon or go into Babies R Us to make sure you get everything that fits together. If you start looking around at little kids while they are out and about, you’ll notice so many parents using them! They are so convenient. We were awful at installing our car seat. Make sure you do this weeks before your due date because struggling with it while you are at a hospital or birthing center is not fun. We just bought the one car seat and put a base in each of our cars. (However, for as often as we’d forget to leave the car seat with the baby, in retrospect, I wish we’d just bought both!)
For the high chair or booster chair- don’t get one that is covered in cloth. It’ll be easier to just wipe down rather than have to wash since babies are so messy. We used a cute and simple on from Ikea. Summer was such a neat eater that she didn’t even use a bib! I guarantee at least one person will buy you bibs, so don’t buy them.
Swings can be expensive and take up a lot of room, plus they outgrow them soooooo fast! Once they are mobile (around 5-6 months) you won’t even use a lot of the swings or bouncers, so don’t spend a lot on them. If neighbors or friends pass them down to you, take them. I just wouldn’t spend extra money on them!
Marie Kondo’s Nightmare– Soooo many clothes!!!
Buy on your own: One or two very special outfits that you love. Even better if they are gender neutral and can be used again.
Register for: Bigger than 0-3 newborn clothes (all soft) and register for only a few
Skip: Newborn clothes
You truly will not need much newborn clothes! I recommend purchasing a special “going home outfit.” I was happy that Phil and I picked a cute gender neutral outfit. Both girls wore it, and now that is one of the very few items we saved so that perhaps the girls can put it on their own baby in the very distant future. I promise people will buy you five million newborn outfits (whether you’ve registered for clothes or not)! Even though it’s so fun, go easy on the clothes shopping! J You’ll have many more years to enjoy shopping (hello, Old Navy and H&M)! Also, don’t spend a lot or register for a lot of fancy clothes to take your baby out in. She’ll be in cuddly onesies and soft comfy clothes since you’ll have her in the house mostly. They grow out of everything so incredibly quickly.
Baby Bed + Bouncers
Buy on your own: Simple crib, mattress, and fitted sheet
Register for: Sound Machine, blankets for swaddling, a few books
Skip: Blankets, stuffed animals, lots of toys
With both girls, I used a sound machine. I think they are a must-have for babies! We still use it for Summer and she’s three!
I recommend a baby bouncer and/or play pad, so your baby can relax out of your arms and get some kicking time in! We borrowed a Rock n Play for our second baby, and I think that would work well for parents who want to sleep with their baby in their room. On that note, I could NOT sleep with our babies in the room and we have a small house, so I could always hear my babies. (If you are in a bigger house, I’m sure you’d want a monitor. We never used one.) We had a convertible crib for Chloe, but didn’t even convert it for Summer. Instead, we just put her in a Big Girl Bed when she was three and got rid of the crib (so I don’t think I’d pay extra for a convertible one.)
I swaddled up my girls (have your nurse, midwife, or doctor show you exactly how to do it!), and the girls went straight into a simple crib with one fitted sheet on it. (I think I just bought a basic one from Wal-Mart or Target. You only use it for two years.) No need to purchase extra blankets—beyond what you will use for swaddling—since you can’t put anything in the crib anyway. People will give you tons and tons of blankets, so I wouldn’t even register for them.
In addition to clothes, blankets, and diapers, people love giving you books as presents! For that reason, I would register for a few but resist buying them. That’s what the library is for! My girls’ favorites when they were small have been I love you Forever, The Going to Bed Book, Brown Bear, and anything with noises, flaps, or things to touch.
Buy on your own: A few weeks before baby is born, assess what size diapers you need
Consider registering for: Diaper Genie and replacement bags
Skip: Newborn size diapers
For diapers, we went through about 4 or 5 packs of newborn ones before we moved on to size 1. I’d wait and see what everyone buys you before you buy your own! With both girls, I used the Target brand diapers. They were incredibly absorbent and didn’t leak at all. I have also used the HEB brand, and those are pretty good too. My favorite wipes are the Huggies brand because they come out of the container connected to one another.
I used a Diaper Genie with both girls. While I like it, I’m still trying to decide if it’s a rip off because the diaper trash bags are pretty expensive that you have to use with it. You quickly learn to ball up the diapers as small as possible to take up less space in the bag. We just use it for dirty ones and put wet ones in a small trash can. Some people just put all the diapers in a regular trash can, so I know you can do without it.
Phil bought these super cute towels from Pottery Barn kids, and at first I was kind of annoyed because they are so pricy! However, I realized how much use they get out of it since they are bathing so often. I ended up enjoying them and using them a ton. We didn’t even buy any baby wash for Summer—she just used the Dove soap we all use. Photo below by Katie Lamb.
Buy on your own: Lanolin
Register for: Avent Bottles, various flow nipples
Consider registering for: Boppy nursing pillow (I used this with Chloe, but then I discovered nursing while laying down on my side and didn’t use at all for Summer.) Maybe just a few baby spoons.
Skip: Pacifiers, baby food, baby food containers, baby food blenders
I was primarily breastfeeding but needed some bottles. The best bottle in my opinion is Avent because it is supposed to be the most like breastfeeding. Register for a couple and get various size nipple. Even if you aren’t breastfeeding, I really think you can’t go wrong with the Avent bottles.
This definitely may be tmi, but if you are breastfeeding, get lanolin and breast pads. I actually recommend putting on a little lanolin before you even give birth! This is tmi again, but you will need the extra moisture to prevent cracking. By the way, your insurance should cover you for a free pump!
I would not buy any pacifiers until your baby arrives and you are trying to find ways to soothe her. Neither of my kids used them.
We really never used baby food. We just mushed up our own food once she was ready to start solids. Don’t spend any money on baby food, baby food containers, or any contraption to help make food.
Pack your baby’s going home outfit, a few extra soft outfits, diapers, wipes, and bum cream. I also liked having soft, low cut V-neck shirts so I could pull my boobs out for nursing. Sorry, tmi!! 🙂 Bring PJs that you like but are not overly attached to. You basically wear what is like an adult diaper and now have a newborn with fluids coming out. Lol. Sorry, tmi again!! Get ready to do lots of laundry when you get home! I am not a robe person, but I liked having a robe on in the hospital. Bring lanolin. 🙂
If you have an “easy baby” (like my second), thank your lucky stars! If yours is “tricky” (like my first), I recommend the Happiest Baby on the Block. Basically, you need to make the bedroom pitch black, crank up the sound machine, swaddle the baby like she’s in a strait jacket, and give her vigorous movement! We used a bouncy ball for 15 months of her life! Lol! Summer was way easier. There are a lot of sleep strategies out there, so talk to friends and research to find out what fits your style. (We eventually had to do some sleep training for both girls once they were around one year old.)
Lastly, give yourself—and your spouse—as much grace as you can. Marriage, pregnancy, birth, newborn years—none of it is easy. It is an incredible high to have this beautiful little person to look at and care for, but it also comes at a time when you are struggling to get sleep, struggling to get your body to feel comfortable, and possibly struggling through how you’ll organize childcare (cue all the Mom Guilt). One of my main ways of self-care is to exercise, but I couldn’t really do that immediately after having the baby. I had to remember to be patient and know that I would be able to enjoy working out later. I really had to keep in mind that many of the struggles that come with having a baby are temporary. Eventually your baby WILL sleep, you WILL be able to exercise again, you WILL be able to feel comfortable leaving your baby and going on a date night. Hope this helps a little bit! 🙂
I included a few photographs from our newborn session with Photography by Amber Lee below. 🙂 If you are looking for a newborn photographer in the Austin area I highly recommend her as well as Amy Odom Photography and Rebecca Dyan Photography. 🙂 Amy is amazing at newborn and Rebecca Dyan specializes in motherhood. 🙂