9 baby registry MVPs

When I first pulled together the baby registry for our first child, I spent hours researching the best products and reading blogs like this one. Once our baby arrived and we had a chance to put everything to use, I realized there were gaps in the list and things that would work better for our family. I’ve created a list of registry must-haves; some you’ll find on other lists because they’re flat-out amazing and some you might not…at least I didn’t. That said, all babies are different and your needs and routines will be different than ours, so what works for us might not work for you!

  1. Treatments for mom. I deeply regret not including gift cards for massages, chiropractic work, physical therapy and/or acupuncture on my registry. It’s a lovely, thoughtful way to recognize mom and give her a nudge to do something for herself. By including it your registry, you help shift the perception that these treatments are necessary for healing and recovery, not luxuries. A healthy mom is the best foundation for a healthy baby.
  2. Help with the household. Keeping a household running with a newborn around is tough.┬áIn the early days as a new mom, I would’ve traded all of the outfits and swings and blankets we got as gifs for a warm meal and a hot shower. Unless you have an actual village to help you with meals, cleaning and errands, I recommend adding gift cards for food delivery, cleaning services and (if you’re really lucky) a postpartum doula. If you do have a village nearby to support you, here’s some advice on getting help from them.
  3. Homeopathic remedies. I wish that I’d spent more time researching and buying homeopathic options so that I had them on-hand when I needed them. Our daughter suffered from colic during the first two months, and this Colic Calm Homeopathic Gripe Water was a miracle. It gave our baby instant relief within minutes and also helps with gas, upset stomach, reflux and hiccups. We recently purchased Camilia Boiron Teething Treatment as an alternative to Motrin Infant Drops; we’ve had to dose her more often with the Camilia drops but they’re a lot more gentle on her digestive system than Motrin was. And so many parents rave about Dr. Singha’s Mustard Bath for boosting immunity and neutralizing colds and flu before they start. Here’s a great article on DIY therapeutic baths for kids.
  4. Sensory and developmental toys. One item you won’t need on your registry is stuffed animals; my daughter received dozens of stuffed animals as an infant, including at least six white bunnies. Don’t get me wrong. I adore stuffed animals, and they look precious in her nursery, but she’s seven months old now and has never played with one of them. Do yourself a favor and register for toys that promote your baby’s learning and development.
  5. Board books. Speaking of things you won’t need on your registry: any books that aren’t board books. Your baby will be rough on books, rip the pages and chew on the covers. While it’s tempting to get all of your favorite kids’ books now, you won’t be able to enjoy them until much later. I’ve also been surprised at how much our daughter craves variety with the books we read to her; she definitely gets board with repetition. I highly suggest focusing on board books and stocking up on them.
  6. Kyte onesies. Kyte onesies are our absolute favorites. They’ve got zippers instead of snaps, the fabric is super soft and they’re lightweight enough to wear under swaddles and sleep sacks. This is all you need for the first three months!
  7. Wraps and carriers. We’ve gotten so much use out of our Solly Baby wrap and Ergobaby carrier. The wrap was great to wear around the house; my husband carried our daughter constantly in her newborn days, and it helped so much with their bonding. It settled her, and I’m convinced she got some of her best sleep in it. Once she grew out of the wrap, we started using the Ergobaby carrier more (around four months) and are still using it now (seven months).
  8. Swaddles, sleep suits and sleep sacks. We swaddled our daughter from the very beginning, and it was a life saver for getting her to sleep. (Here’s a great step-by-step video we used.) A friend of mine recommended the double-swaddle method, which we eventually used because our little one was very skilled at breaking free of her single swaddle from a young age. Around three months, she graduated from her cloth swaddle and we started using the HALO Micro Fleece Sleepsack Swaddle. It mimics the feel of a swaddle, but it’s got velcro and a zipper, making it easier to take on and off for diaper changes in the middle of the night. We used it for about six weeks until she was able to pull her hands out. The final transition outfit we used was a Baby Merlin’s Cotton Magic Sleepsuit. She wore it for about a month until she was able to roll over in her crib, but during that month, we absolutely loved it.
  9. Soaking tub. We took friends’ advice and didn’t buy a traditional newborn bath tub. Baths in the early days were typically fast and functional, so we just laid her in the bath tub on a folded towel until she was starting to sit up more independently, around five months. By then, she was loving bath time and her bath toys, so we wanted to spend longer and needed a better way to keep her warm and comfortable. I got a Munchkin Sit and Soak Baby Bath Tub that we absolutely love. It was a built-in seat with back support so my husband and I can focus on washing and playing instead of trying to keep her in a seated position. She’s sitting upright, so she can play and splash, and it’s easier to keep her warm because she’s more submerged. It also saves water because we’re filling up a mini tub. She squeals and gets so excited for bath time every night.

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