Baby registries. They seem like fun until you realize you have absoutely no clue what you need. There are countless articles written about this topic, and most of them seem to be written by either a) people trying to sell you crap or b) the world’s most intense helicopter parents. Here’s my slightly more practical guide to registering for baby stuff. I’ve linked to the version we use/like where appropriate.
Babies don’t really give a damn about anything except eating and pooping, but the baby shower is your opportunity to get stuff that matches your decor (sort of not really) instead of “whatever is on sale when I realize I need it”.
These are the best swaddling blankets. They are also astronomically expensive. That’s why they go on the registry.
My daughter also enjoyed a variety of baby straightjackets, particularly the Woombie and Swaddle Me although she usually escaped the Swaddle Me.
If you want to wear your baby around, the Ergo carrier was the most versatile for us. I still throw my toddler in it sometimes. They make a newborn insert for it, which I affectionately call the “baby taco” but honestly you don’t need it long and can probably use a rolled up towel to the same effect. Put it on the registry if you’re good on closet space.
A pack n play with a raised “newborn crib” area makes for a handy makeshift crib wherever you are. We also got a lot of use out of bouncy chairs and slings. Basically for the first 6 months you are constantly in need of somewhere you can set the baby down without it screaming. The baby never seems to accept the floor for this purpose.
I suggest baby toiletries and baby sized nail clippers. I tried cutting Bitmap’s nails with a normal pair of clippers and felt like I was going to cut her whole finger off. WHY ARE THEIR NAILS SO CREEPY AND TINY?
Get a changing table, changing pad, and like 8000 extra covers for the damned thing. Oh while we’re at it, waterproof crib mattress pads (plural). And at least 2 fitted sheets. More is better because babies leak. Babies aren’t allowed to have top sheets so don’t worry about those. All cribs and changing tables are pretty much the same so get whatever you think looks the least awful.
I really liked having a baby bath tub. It doesn’t need to be fancy. Holding them in the sink is harder than it sounds. To those of you who had no trouble bathing your infant in a sink/bucket/natural flowing river, just shut up and let me have my baby tub.
Register for clothes in the 6-9 month range. Everyone will get you a million newborn outfits, which your child will outgrow in approximately 3 days. 6-9 month clothing will get you through to the first birthday, where you’ll get more clothes.
If you feel like making your kid their own baby food puree pouches, infantino makes a “Squeeze Station” I find really handy. I still can’t get Bitmap to eat vegetables in any other form. Don’t get their blender though, it’s garbage. Get one of those mini cuisinarts or an immersion blender.
If you plan on breastfeeding, register for some hippie nice lanolin cream for yourself. Or just the Lanisoh stuff, whatever. DON’T ASK WHY JUST DO IT.
We have a standalone high chair and I like it because honestly it’s kind of like baby jail. I can put Bitmap in it, give her dinner, and then go cook mine without her under foot. She still uses it even though she is way too old to need it, I think she just likes having a chair that is hers. Ours is super easy to clean and has a cover we can throw in the laundry. This is not unimportant. We also have a portable booster seat which in theory we take when we go to friends’ houses but in reality we always forget to bring.
We have literally FOUR different strollers. Two joggers (I like the Baby Trend Expedition just fine), a stroller frame that her infant seat straps onto (super handy), a folding “umbrella” stroller that is quite frankly way too heavy. Definitely test drive the strollers in the store. If you actually plan on jogging/running, and not just walking in yoga pants, the bigger the wheels the better and a locking or fixed front wheel is essential. Unfortunately the strollers I can actually stand running with tend to be kinda big for navigating malls and other places.
Also, this thing has come in EXTREMELY handy.
One last note on car seats
The car seat thing seems confusing by design, and apparently now kids have to be in some sort of seat/booster/whatever until they’re 25. I jest, but here in Pennsylvania the law says 8 years old or 80 pounds.
There are four basic types of car seats:
Infant buckets – these are just what they sound like. They have a handle and usually clip into some sort of base for easy removal
Convertible seats – These are huge but go all the way from rear-facing (birth to age 2) to front-facing 5 point harness (ages 2 to 4).
High Back Booster – These come in two flavors: 5 point harness (ages 2+) and “belt positioning.” (roughly ages 4+) The ones with the 5 point harness usually convert to a belt positioning later, and most of them also convert to backless later.
Backless booster – This is just a foam wedge to raise your kid’s butt up. Some have cup holders. This is what your svelte 7.5 year old is gonna be surreptitiously sitting on.
At a minimum you will need two of these. You can get away with skipping the infant bucket, but they’re considerably more convenient for popping into the store with a sleeping baby. The car seat models seem to change hourly so I’m not going to link any, but having shopped for 4 of the damned things here’s my advice:
Infant bucket: go with something light. Moving these from car to car isn’t too bad, you can probably live without the extra seat base.
Convertible seats: these things weigh a ton and can be a pain to move between cars. If you don’t want to buy a million different car seats, look for one that will last you until you can switch to a backless (i.e. cheap) booster. The maximum height/weight should be listed in the product details.
High back booster: get one that covers 5 point, belt positioning, and backless booster stages so you don’t have to own a small army of car seats
Backless booster: as far as I can tell these are all pretty much the same. And mercifully much cheaper than the others.