We are almost four months into this whole parenting thing and it’s hilarious to look back and think about the things I stressed over (the nursery) vs. the things I actually needed and use now! I don’t know about you, but I am more of an over-preparer (see also overthinker…oversharer…overwhelmed…lol) and I wanted to make sure we were ready for various scenarios. It was incredibly helpful for me to use my friend Laura’s checklist as a guide, so I thought I would do the same and put together a list for you guys! Since every family is different, I think it can be helpful to read what a few people loved. Now keep in mind that Quinn is under 6 months, which means we have not gotten to the solids stage and I don’t have a ton of insight on that! But I’ll include what we have to get started.
We used Babylist for our registry because it pulls things in from different websites and compares prices for people looking at the list. It also gives you the option to see what’s been purchased but allows you to keep it hidden if you’d like the surprise! Like most websites, they offer a 15% off coupon for you around baby’s due date, although one downside I found was that babylist either doesn’t have a lot of the stuff on their actual site (most items direct you to another retailer) or a lot of the things they do offer are not the best prices. Because of that, I also created small registries at Target and Amazon to get the coupons they offer! Just a little hot tip for my bargain shoppers out there.
Okay, so here we go…
Nursery and Decor
We were lucky enough to have our crib passed down from my sister- it’s a Young America brand, my sister did all the research on buying a crib with low tox paint (since kids bite the rails) and for that my exhausted mom brain is grateful.
Our changing table was also a hand-me-down. I painted it and changed out the knobs for a more boho feel, but if we had more space I would have just bought this Ikea Hemnes dresser, as it would remain functional when Q is out of diapers! You could also go with the more expensive Crate and Barrel kids option (I LOVE the green version) which we have in our master bedroom. I switched out the knobs for leather pulls and I love how it looks! We used it as a changing table until Q was 3 months old. I personally think it’s more useful to buy dressers and plop a changing pad like this one with a cute cover like this one on top!
A note: if you are looking for anything kid related, I highly recommend checking with friends whose kids are a little older or on Facebook Marketplace and Buy Nothing groups. Most people are more than happy to get rid of all the extraneous stuff that kids grow out of so quickly.
I will say- I stressed about how the nursery would LOOK more than I should have and I wish some things were more functional. Looking back, I would get a curved curtain rod and splurge on some true blackout curtains. Ours are decent, but could be better and since there is a split in the rod the curtains let a bit of light in the middle- not ideal!
Some things I love in our nursery:
This nightlight is clutch for overnight diaper changes- I love that you just turn it over to turn it on and off!
These shelves with some sentimental books, photos, and my dried wedding flowers
These frames displaying our maternity photos
These Caden Lane sheets were a splurge but I just love them- I was going for a neutral look with pops of mauvey pink and wildflowers so they were perfect
A sound machine is your best friend! I like this one because it’s simple and easy to use. We also have a portable sound machine and it has been one of our most used items. Great for the car, the stroller, and we clip it to her carrier when she naps on us.
We got this video monitor based on a friend’s recommendation and like it! We also have walkie talkie monitors and use them often. When she slept in our room, these were incredibly helpful! We actually do still keep one in her room so Tyler can grab it when he gets up before me and I can still have the video monitor when I wake up. I also think they’re helpful so you don’t go in to get baby at the first sign of movement on the monitor! Sometimes they’re just moving in their sleep and honestly I’ll obsess with the video monitor a bit vs. just listening on the walkie. They are also great for travel (local or far away- we’ve used them just going 20 minutes down the road at my sister’s).
Pack and Play
We have a hand me down pack and play like this one and put some cute gender neutral pack and play sheets on the registry. We set it up in our living room so we could have a place on the main floor to change her and put her down.
We actually intended to use the pack and play in our room instead of a bassinet, but ended up borrowing this one from friends! We liked it because it has a button you can hit and it will gently rock the baby. I also got some extra sheets for it because Q did poo through her swaddle quite a few times early on.
The Swaddle Me brand swaddles have worked best for Quinn- they are really simple and easy to undo and redo in the dark. They seem to also keep her arms down better now that she’s a bit more mobile and wants to suck on them (and wake herself up). We have a halo swaddle as well but it just felt like it had too much extra material. We will probably use the halo sleep sacks as she transitions out of swaddles.
You might think about putting a transitional swaddle on your registry right now in case baby starts busting out or fighting against it. Quinn is doing this now and the swaddle me brand works for the most part, but sometimes she gets PISSED. I wish we had a larger size Woombie (allows baby to move their hands/keep them up vs at their sides) to try. We did purchase the Merlin sleep suit and I know some people SWEAR by it but it hasn’t been magical for us! It does however help with her startle reflex when putting her down for naps. We haven’t tried it on her overnight because I got the fleece version, not realizing there is a non fleece, cooler option!
Another option for swaddling early on is these super soft Aden and Anis blankets. I love them because they can be used for so much! I’ll cover myself while nursing in public or roll one up to prop up Q while she’s feeding.
Places to put baby down
We have this bouncer upstairs for Tyler to use while he’s doing admin work or for me to bring in the bathroom while I’m showering. It’s simple and Q likes it!
So there are tons of fancy products out there- we were gifted the Mamaroo and while we really like it, I don’t think you have to get something that fancy. A swing is truly just a nice place to put them down where the dog can’t lick their face or step on them! Q has only slept in the mamaroo once, so it’s not a magical solution! I think a swing like this or this would be just fine.
Play mat or play gym
Our play mat has actually been really useful for us! It gives me and Q a place to “play” throughout the day and she honestly likes to just lay on it because she doesn’t want to be contained all the time. Do yourself a favor and get over wanting nice, neutral baby stuff and get one with bright colors and a piano they can kick.
We had a couple of soft carriers but I liked the Baby Ktaan the most. It was flexible but I still felt like she was secure in it. Now we use a more structured carrier like this for her contact naps.
So I don’t actually think this item is necessary but maybe it’s just how we used it. I never felt safe just putting her in this on the couch or table, but we did stick it in the pack and play when she was tiny so she was a little more contained. This baby lounger is cute and 1/3 the price of the doc a tot!
We have this stroller and it works great! We also have a hand me down BOB stroller for when she gets a little bigger. The biggest thing with the stroller is just to make sure it’s compatible with your car seat! I highly recommend getting a stroller fan, especially if your baby is born in the Spring or Summer. You’ll want to get out on walks but be afraid he or she will be too hot, so I think the fan helps to give that piece of mind. As a bonus, you can bring it to use during labor (though I did not end up busting it out)!
A hot topic for us as Q’s first month had a LOT of feeding struggles! You can read more about it in her birth story but basically my supply needed time and we ended up triple feeding (baby goes on breast, then gets a bottle, mom pumps ideally while she’s getting the bottle). It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but it helped me get familiar with all types of feeding!
I have the spectra S1 pump and I like it because it doesn’t always have to be plugged in. Pumps are typically covered at least partially by insurance, so be sure to check with your carrier to see what they will cover.
I have also found this Medela hand pump super helpful now that Q has been sleeping longer and sometimes through the night. It is much easier to hand pump for a few minutes to ease the pressure and fullness vs. set up the electric pump and go through that whole process.
If you’re trying to build up a milk stash something like the Haakaa is nice to catch letdown so no milk gets wasted. Now that Q is more mobile (and kicking more) I got an Elvie Curve that I can just pop in my bra to catch milk so I don’t have to worry about Q kicking the Haakaa off. And don’t forget the milk storage bags!
Although I registered for the Boppy, a friend gave me the Brest Friend and I think it is SO much better in the early stages. It clips right to you so there is no space for baby to fall through and you don’t need to keep adjusting it. My sister has said the boppy is better for when they get older though, and it has been great to use for tummy time! I also grabbed a couple of cute covers for it.
I have a bunch of these nursing bras and they work well. I prefer something that clips like these vs a bralette that I have to pull down because that gets a bit uncomfortable. Also, I saw an Instagram hack for using regular nursing bras for pumping (vs buying a separate pumping bra) and since I typically pump at least once a day this is mostly all I wear.
There have been occasions where I didn’t want the thick straps showing and I wore my Aerie nursing bra! I like it because the straps are thinner and more discrete but it’s definitely not as supportive as the other brand. I’ve heard good things about Bodily and Kindred Bravely and would be interested to try them.
Nipple cream was a genuine lifesaver when I first started nursing. I don’t need it now but sometimes if my skin is dry will put it on. You can also use soothing pads like these. If you’re really struggling with cracked nipples or a lot of pain, you can ask your doctor to write a script for prescription nipple cream! That really helped me at the beginning.
We have never had an issue with Q taking a bottle and have used a variety of brands, including Doctor Bronners and Evenflow. All seem to work fine for her! This bottle sterilizer has been such a time saver for us, especially when we were triple feeding.
We love these muslin birth cloths and keep one in almost every room in the house for our happy little spitter.
This towel is SO soft and who doesn’t love a puppy?!
We use a little bathtub that sits in our big tub for Q right now. We bathe her nightly as part of her calming bedtime routine but don’t wash her everyday. When we soap her up we use honest brand bath products.
We haven’t used them yet but I can’t wait to use these bath toys with her!
We have used the target brand diapers mostly (they are half the price of most other brands) but you definitely have to size up in them sooner and I will say they’re not the best at containing blowouts (though sizing up early helps). For that reason we’ve started to use pampers overnight and they are great for not letting her leak through as often! We still use the target ones during the day because we can hear her poop and prevent the leaking.
We like these Seventh Generation baby wipes– good ingredients and don’t rip easily.
So realistically, you do NOT need to put any clothes on your registry. People love buying baby clothes, and even if they get you something more useful they’ll often throw in an outfit or onesie with it. Plus, if you have friends who are done having kids and haven’t gotten rid of clothes, usually they are more than willing to pass them on! We were extremely lucky my friend Meg basically outfitted Quinn from birth to one year with her hand me downs. Combining that with my mom’s lifetime discount at Kohl’s as a former employee and we are SET.
That being said, you might realize you need a couple more of something in a certain size as you’re going through it, or you might come to find that your kid fits better in one brand over another. We have loved the Cloud Island and Carter’s brand zip up sleepers (both from Target). The Carter’s have a double zip, which we love! We also have a couple Burt’s Bees hand me downs that work well. They’re a little harder to get on but seem to fit our little string bean best, since she seems to grow in length faster than in width.
Health and Safety
Some products to have on hand just in case because you never know when you’ll need them:
Vitamin D: if you are breastfeeding, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend breastfed and partially breastfed infants be supplemented with 400 IU per day of vitamin D beginning in the first few days of life).
Nail Trimmer: I actually use this weekly, in my opinion it’s much better than clippers!
Infant Tylenol (we have used for Qs lip and tongue tie release and her two month shots so far)
Windi gas passers (they are so weird but they help)
Thermometer (we have one like this but she’s so squirmy I’d like to get one like this soon)
I’d also recommend taking a CPR course or refreshing your memory if you’ve taken one before.
Toys and Books
Again, people will probably give you these without asking! But here are a couple we’ve enjoyed and that she seems interested in:
We love Mortimer the moose
We got this cute little dumbbell set because…well it’s just so on brand
I love books with a positive message and have really enjoyed reading The World Needs More Purple People, I Like Myself, and of course Love-A-Bull (a book about how pitbulls get a bad rap) so far!
Babies love contrast so something like this black and white sensory toy might be nice!
Something that a lot of people might not think to put on their registry is the gift of a service or helping professional. Honestly, I feel that these options have helped us more than any other registry gift and would be an awesome item to add to your own registry! You could list them in the form of a gift card or cash fund if you’re not sure what provider you would go to. Some ideas:
Lactation consultant: our in person consultants were only $25 per appointment at the hospital we gave birth at. I also met virtually with Nest prior to having Quinn, which I found incredibly helpful for peace of mind. They also take insurance.
Cranio sacral therapy: this was a service we used when Q had latching issues. We absolutely loved Keri at Nurturing Touch and Wellness if you’re local to Northern Virginia
Therapy: individual or couples might be helpful!
Physical therapist or body work: my physical therapist, Kelly with True North Physical Therapy, has honestly saved me from so much pain. Again, a great option if you’re local to NOVA. You could also try massage or chiropractic care, I just find physical therapy to be the best of all of those worlds, plus she gives me “homework” that helps a ton.
Some things I thought we’d need but definitely didn’t:
- More than one “cute” newborn outfit. You won’t go anywhere to show it off and the zip up sleepers are so much more convenient
- Pants! Babies don’t need pants they just get in the way.
- We didn’t need pacis and I bought a ton! I think we have 10 and Q prefers her hands. I would get a two or four pack of the Phillips Avent and call it a day until you know if your kid is a paci or thumb sucker.
That’s it for now! Let me know in the comments or on Instagram if this was helpful, or if you’d like some updates once we hit the one year mark and toddler stage!