Monday, July 11, 2011

Baby Registry 101

Last year at this time, we were registering for the wedding. I now find myself faced with the familiar task of registering for gifts, only now I don't have a clue as to what I'm doing. Wedding gifts are simple - I knew I needed, for example, a coffee maker, and I knew the desirable qualities of said coffee maker. But baby stuff...yeesh. First things first - I am not whining about "having" to do this. I have several generous and sweet friends and family members who are throwing us showers and would like a guide as to what is essentially our parenting style. Do we want modern stuff or would we rather have old fashioned toys? Do we plan on co-sleeping and will we be using a monitor? These are questions a registry answers. And B and I have been grappling with these questions for the past few weeks with only some conclusive results. So I'm tackling this as a challenge, and I've solicited the advice from a handful of very informative mommies. I asked about 5 moms for a list of essentials and non-essentials. I want to share what I've learned, and also beg for any more ideas. They agree on some stuff, but as you'll see, opinions vary widely.

Buy, buy, buy

1. "Big stuff". All moms agree that you need the biggies: a stroller and car seat. This is a given. No one really 100% endorsed the stroller th
ey got; a couple of the moms even said it is essential that you get one catered to your lifestyle. They also said that you shouldn't buy a stroller sight unseen, and that you have to push it around a bit to ensure your comfort with it. Sounds like great advice. Some endorsed ones include the Graco Metrolite system and Bugaboo Bee, as well as anything on the lighter side. I haven't heard much about car seats, just to get one (and to think about whether or not I want an infant or convertible one).
2. Swaddling blankets. Three moms said this is a good idea to have on hand, even if you don't end up needing to swaddle your kid. I guess they are just nice as a backup, and I'm guessing you can re-purpose them as a burp cloth (can't most anything be re-purposed as a burp cloth?!) in case you don't need them, or save for the next kid.
3. Changing pad and baby as well as adult mattress covers. One mom recommends these highly for when your child inevitably pees all over your nice new stuff. Another recommended the latter in case your water breaks while you're in bed. Joy.

4. Pack n' Play. Moms say this is great for traveling. We plan on traveling a lot in baby's first year, and I'd like a really compact one, though it seems the less cumbersome, the higher the price.

5. Bumbo chair/ exersaucer. I had no idea what this was until I talked to mommies. The bumbo is a neat little chair that kind of looks like a booster seat. It's no fuss, plain jane, and a place to put baby while they eat or while you entertain them. An exersaucer has more bells and whistles but is essentially a baby holder. One mom swore by it.
6. Sleep Sack. A few mommies adamantly swear by the sleep sac
k. These are apparently great, as babies aren't constricted but still get the comfort of a blanket. Some have velcro, some don't. I've heard great things about the Aiden and Anais Target ones.
7. Burp Cloths. Re-purposed or not, moms say you need these.
8. Bibs. Only one mom said to register for
bibs. Maybe because they are so cheap you can get them yourself? I like the Baby Bjorn ones with the little catch-all. Who knows how well they work, though.
9. Baby Carrier. Two moms swear by the Baby Bjorn, and another really loves her Baby Hawk. The mom I know who has the Ergo Baby likes, but doesn't love, hers. I just want to be able to use the same one for both me and B. And I want back/front, forward, backward facing options. Somehow I think this is too much to ask.

10. Breast Pump. Pretty mu
ch all the moms I talked to needed one of these. A couple brands I keep hearing about are Ameda and Medela. If you're anything like my husband you don't want to know more about these conversations. So that's that.
11. Board books. B's mom is a librarian and B and I were both English majors. Not to mention the fact that B is a teacher and I am studying school psychology. There will be books a plenty.

12. Mobile. Highly recommended by one mom, but I'm not buying because I'm making one m
yself :o)
13. Towels and Washcloths. Makes sense.
Bottles. Like the stroller, everyone has their opinions. But the resounding one is that your baby may "take" to one kind more than another, so don't buy a lot of one kind just in case you need to switch it up. I've heard Playtex, Born Free, and Dr. Browns are good brands, though the latter is said to have too many small parts.
15. Diaper bag. One mom said it's essential to get one that is dad-friendly. I registered for a plain black one, so B will have no excuses not to carry it.

16. Bottle brush and bottle rack. I hear this helps keep bottle parts in order and separate. And clean.
17. Boppy pillow. For breastfeeding but can also double as a seat/cushion for baby. One very generous mommy friend lent me hers. So...check.
Mommy stuff. I like hearing advice about what mom needs. I've heard it's essential to have a place (like an easter basket) for all things mommy (wallet, cell, other personal items), to register for a spa day, and to request freezer food for both mom and dad when baby comes. My pregnant friend also told me about the southern tradition of the husband getting the wife a "push present". Um, yes please!

No, No, No

1. Clothes and shoes. All moms said people will buy you onesies like it's their job. My mom recently told me she has compiled 30 outfits for her grandchild. Noted.
Bottle and Wipes warmer. These things are apparently a luxury.

Mixed Reviews

1. Bedding. Oddly, only one mom said to get bedding. It sounds like something you need, but perhaps something you can buy yourself?

2. Bassinett. Two moms said buy this but second hand, as baby won't need it for long.

3. Bathing tub. Two said yes, one definitely not. She said she just gets right in the tub with baby and holds her the whole time.

4. Bath toys. One mom said these
get moldy and gross. Another told me these are fun and that you can get a neat holder to contain them all so as not to clutter your bathroom.
5. Special Diaper Trashcan. One mom swore by her Diaper Genie, but another did the same by her Diaper Champ since you can use your own bags, not refills. Another mom said these things are a waste of money.

6. Swing and Bouncy Chair (e.g. entertaining baby holders). One mom said your baby may like a swing, another said her baby hated it. Reviews of swings online show generally positive results, though my close friend said her baby seldom uses hers. So who knows. Same for the bouncy chair. The unifying idea is that it depends on the kid so you never know. Great.
It sounds like I should make a choice between the swing, chair, and exersaucer. Because how could you possibly need all three??
7. Tummy Time Entertainment/Play Mat. One mom said her baby gets a lot of joy out of their little play gym, while another says it's just as easy to put baby on a blanket with toys just out of reach.

8. Crib. One mom said her kid seldom sleeps in the crib and another says you certainly don't need it right away. Weird. I would have thought this was an necessity.

9. Changing table. One mom told me this is silly and to change my baby on my own bed. Another mom told me the changing table is essential.

As you can tell, I've given this a hefty amount of thought. We'll be registering for some stuff and buying other things on our own. I'm sure you can overthink some things, but I'm just trying to make the most use of space, money, and efficiency. My little babe will be loved no matter what, but as a first time mother, it's only natural to want to be prepared, and to have the best things for baby. I would love more advice, conflicting or not. I've already made some decisions about some stuff (my stroller came in the mail today!!!) but would love to hear whatever anyone has to say - especially if other new moms could use the wise words.


  1. hey, meant to show you this earlier. maybe it'll help you.

  2. If you're at all interested in my point of view, I've got some great tips that I figured out along the way. I have very high expectations and requirements for strollers... who'd have thought that Leigh Pellom would have become a self proclaimed "baby gear expert"? Enjoy this time, it's so much fun!

  3. Would love your advice! I'm gonna hit you up on facebook. And by the way, your daughter is a cutie!