Note: this post was originally published in January 2018, but after having been through the newborn stage, I’ve updated and refined it!
advice before building your registry
keep this in mind: you won’t know what works for your baby until the baby arrives. there are many things that people will tell you “you must have!”, but the truth is, they may not work for your baby. just like one face cream may work for someone and that same face cream might make you break out, babies are their own individuals and simple items like swaddles aren’t one size fits all!
I’m merely providing OUR must-haves, the things that really helped US as new parents. these are all Luca-approved, but they may not work for your baby! who knows, maybe they will! I always say, in that newborn haze, everything is worth a try, haha.
what this list doesn’t include
this list doesn’t include the obvious like diapers, baby wash, crib sheets, etc. this list includes products you may be debating over or might not have thought to add to your list (I’m pretty sure you have a crib, changing table, and crib sheets on your registry list!)
but in case you want to know what we use, here’s a brief list:
- Babyganics foaming bath wash (and when we run out, Honest baby wash)
- Babyganics body moisturizer
- Babyganics diaper cream (we only use this if he has any irritation from his diapers, which rarely happens – we still have the same tube from the day he was born!)
- Babyganics eczema cream (Luca gets a little eczema behind his knees!)
- Earth Mama Organic Baby Face Nose & Cheek Balm (lifesaver in the winter with all the chapped-ness and runny nose dry skin!)
- Seventh Generation or Pampers Pure baby wipes
- Seventh Generation and Honest Baby diapers (just depends on what the store has!)
- Babyletto 3-in-1 Hudson Convertible Crib and you can see the rest of our nursery furniture in this post.
- Lullaby Earth Breeze crib mattress
- Dreamtex mattress pad covers
1. dockatot: when Luca was first born (I’d say, for the first 6 weeks), he was always in this. he slept in this next to me all the time (while I was binge watching Netflix). I couldn’t have lived without it – it was a safe spot to put the baby down when I needed to do something, like get changed, brush my teeth, or make lunch. then, we used it when we bathed the baby – we put a towel in it and used it to transfer him from tub to towel. he loved it! I just got one of these moses baskets so that I can make the dockatot a bit more portable, because it’s hard to move when the baby’s lying in it as is.
2. fisher price rock n play: while this was key in the beginning for daytime naps (and night time!), once he outgrew that stage (since he hated being on his back), we used it during the day for playtime – with this little mobile attached to the top! we can read books to him in it and rock him to keep him soothed.
3. baby shusher: OMGGG. life saver. when Luca was fussy in the early days, I’d rock him in my arms with the shusher on (or put him in the rock n play) and he’d pass right out. now, I put it in the crib when I put him down and leave the room, and 5 minutes later, he’s in a deep sleep. it’s lovely. and travel friendly!
4. bunny footed one-piece: I literally buy new zip-up onesies every time GAP has a 40% sale (which is like, every other week haha). with a newborn, you don’t want to fumble in the middle of the night with clasps and buttons – you want changing to be quick and easy, so you don’t frustrate the baby. these are way I sleep Luca in every single night!
5. wipes warmer: this is something that I wish I had registered for, but I didn’t, so I had to buy it later. everyone said “oh, it’s a waste of money!” BUT it’s not, especially if you have a winter baby – Luca used to scream when I’d change him in the middle of the night and then I got a wipes warmer and no more screams! I think he didn’t like the shocking cold of the wipes (who would?!)
6. polka dot swaddle blanket: sooo I SUCKED at swaddling. I sucked so much that I ended up using Halo Swaddle Me swaddle sacks, because I couldn’t figure it out. THEN, I pulled out this blanket that I think I got at an event and it’s made of a perfect material – stretchy enough to tuck tightly in a swaddle. it’s literally the only blanket I was able to swaddle Luca with! I use it now just as a light blanket to put over him while he naps.
7. aden and anais burp cloths: I’m putting these on even though it’s an obvious one, because if you have a baby that spits up a lot, these are life savers – they’re long enough to go over your whole shoulder, they’re super absorbent, and they’re cute! I have probably 12 of these, haha!
8. baby bjorn bouncer: Luca started using this around 6 weeks, so it’s not a necessity for newborns, but just want to put it on your radar – he LOVES it and we are so happy we registered for it, because once the time came, we had it. I used this every single day – it’s a great place to put the baby down so he’s safe – I’d put him in the kitchen while I cooked and he just watched me walk around and I’d talk to him and he’d be happy! update: I bought this blush cover for baby girl!
9. crib mobile: it’s hard to select a mobile – there are just so many out there! a friend recommended this and a few of you have bought this from my recommendation and it seems to work for everyone! Luca loved it – it has so many settings depending on what you want it for (soothing, play time, etc).
10. play mat: for the first 10 weeks for play time and tummy time, we loved this! it’s super portable and there’s plenty going on to stimulate the baby.
11. boppy pillow: after using both the my breast friend pillow and the boppy, I like the boppy the best. the my breast friend is a little cumbersome (and doesn’t fit in all rocking/glider chairs) and the boppy is just more comfortable.
12. ergobaby carrier: another lifesaver item – something we use every time we leave the house! Luca loves being carried in this and in the beginning, when I couldn’t get him to nap, I’d just strap him in and wear him until he fell asleep, then lay down on the couch, unclip him, and he’d stay asleep on me. THE BEST. I actually miss those days! now, we use it when we go into stores and go for short walks, especially if it’s around nap time. it was also easy to breastfeed in!
13. ergobaby infant insert: you’ll need this for the little baby with the ergobaby carrier!
14. sollybaby wrap: SO, now having gone through newborn, infant, and toddlerhood, I can confidently say that the solly baby wrap is the best for those first few months (month 0-3 specifically), and the Ergo Baby is best afterwards, when you need more support, because the baby is heavier, more wiggly, etc. I find the solly baby wrap to be so easy to, well, wrap, and they have such pretty patterns.
15. lansinoh soothies: if you try to breastfeed, you may experience what many mamas experience – terrible nipple pain! like, cracking nipples. oh, gosh, I don’t miss this at all! this was definitely the worst part about newborn life. these were incredible. after breastfeeding, I’d put them on my nipples for immediate pain relief and leave them on until the next time I nursed. I’d put on nipple cream too and they’d still adhere, because they’re big enough. the best.
16. uppababy vista stroller: can’t say enough great things about this stroller! so much storage space, easy to travel with (it folds up well!) and sturdy for city streets! Luca loved the bassinet, he slept in it so well.
17. mesa car seat: this is the car seat we went with for the newborn stage. Luca never loved the car seat in general, I’m not sure if it was this car seat or he just hated it at first, but this one kept us safe, is narrow enough to not take up your entire backseat of the car, and has excellent safety ratings. it’s also compatible with the uppababy! after about 3 months, he didn’t mind the car seat, but he always cried in it in the beginning.
18. nest camera: I am going to write a full blog post on this soon, because we have been through every single baby monitor out there (okay, only like 4 or so models) and they’ve ALL broken. except for the Nest, of course. we’ve had it from day 1 and it’s never failed us. read more about this here.
19. stroller caddy: although the uppababy has great storage below, you need a stroller caddy for quick grab items. this is the BEST stroller caddy!
20. diaper bag: I have a few diaper bags, but my favorite so far is the Leaderbag Co diaper bag. it’s easy to organize, comfortable to wear as a backpack, and totally fashionable. it has great neat compartments, I’m really love it. you can see me sporting it here. use code INSPIRALIZED for 15% off!
21. diaper trash bags: you wouldn’t think to register for something like this, that’s why I’m putting this on the list. when you change the baby on the go, you need garbage bags and they can get lost in a big diaper bag. I love having them on a hook like this for quick and easy (and cute!) access.
22. NoseFrida: I use this every day! especially in NJ where it’s so dry, I use this to get his snot out and it works like a charm. easy to use! can’t say enough good things about it.
23. Fridababy Windi: I’m putting this one on here because when Luca hit his extremely gassy stage (at around 4-6 weeks), we used these twice and it literally saved the day. he was so fussy, screaming uncontrollably, because he couldn’t pass gas. one use of the Windi and he literally smiled after! it saved us in two scary situations and for that, I’m putting it on the registry list.
24. baby bath tub: I read so many reviews on bath tubs and I’m so glad I got this one! especially when Luca was tiny, the infant insert works so well keeping him safe. he loves his bath!
25. wabi bottle sterilizer + dryer: I love how easy to use this is – after I pump, I put all my pump parts in here and just sterilize! no waiting for boiling water to boil, no bringing out pots and pans. this lives on my counter, and I use it for pumping – and when we use the occasional bottle. if you’re someone who bottle feeds, this would be a lifesaver too!
26. spectra s1 or s2 pump: I found spectra to be the best pump on the market. either the s1 or s2 is great – the s1 is battery operated, the s2 you have to plug into an outlet, so you’re a little more “tethered.”
27. spectra 9 for travel pumping: I also bought the s9 for travel and ended up using this pump exclusively in the end. it’s SO efficient, small, and you can literally put it in your back pocket and move about the house and pump. I loved it!
28. bottles: bottles are SO baby specific, but we used the Lansinoh Momma bottles (our lactation counselor told us they were the most breast like) and he never had an issue with them, he loved his bottles! obviously, start off buying the 5oz and when the baby is older and drinks more milk, get the 8oz bottles.
30. sound sleeper white noise app + iPad: you can’t really register for this, BUT you asked me for my white noise machine advice, so here’s what worked for us. for Luca’s white noise, we downloaded the Sound Sleeper app on a basic iPad that we had and never used and now, it lives in his nursery and this is what has lulled him to sleep since his newborn stage! we have the App on our iPhones also, so when we are in the stroller, we’d play that and sync it up to a mini bluetooth speaker and place it in his bassinet so he’d fall asleep to a familiar noise.
31. pack and play: we’ve only used this maybe 3 times, but we loved this pack and play.
32. 4momshq high chair: this is the high chair we use with Luca. you don’t need this until at least 6 months in, but if you want it to be gifted instead of having to buy it later down the road and have space for storage, do it!
a note on our bassinet situation
also, as as side note, we had the Stokke bassinet, and it never worked for us. our son was NOT a back sleeper and thus, he’d be wiggling all night long, get his hands caught in the rails of the bassinet, and in general, he didn’t take to this bassinet. we tried so hard to make it work, especially because it was gifted to us and didn’t want to have to buy something. luckily, he slept well in the rock n’ play so we used that until we transitioned him to a crib around 7/8 weeks.
for baby #2, we are going to try the Halo bassinet, but can’t give it any reviews yet, because ewe haven’t tried it! I’ll definitely report back. we bought this mini crib for our bedroom for once it’s time to transition to the crib!