Preparing for the arrival of your first child can be one of the most overwhelming experiences in your life. Between trips to the toilet and trips to your doctor’s office, how are you supposed to find the time to figure out what to add to your registry? Don’t fret! Help is here.
Maybe you know the exact date, time and location of your upcoming baby shower; or perhaps your best friend has been dropping some not-so-subtle hints that it’s time to start planning a registry “just in case.” Either way, life is chaotic right now. The last thing you want to be doing is spending hours reading high chair reviews when you could be getting some of the last shut eye you’re going to get for a while once baby arrives.
So, to save you the headaches and stiff neck, here are some recommendations from a parent who has been there and done that–and is still using some of these awesome products.
I know, not very exciting. But you will need diapers and you will need a lot of them. Your friends and family can help you stock up on a variety of sizes so you can always have some on hand. Even if you decide to cloth diaper, it would be wise to have a box or two of disposables for those first few hectic weeks. Not only will you want to avoid staining your cloth with meconium (baby’s first tar-like poops), but dragging yourself to the laundry room to wash dirty diapers when you have a screaming newborn is the last thing you’re going to want to do. Trust me.
A Good Diaper Bag
Those teeny tiny humans require an insane amount of things. You’re going to want a diaper bag with a good amount of storage space and some extra pockets for your personal belongings, like a wallet and cell phone. I strongly urge you to consider a backpack diaper bag rather than an over-the-shoulder style. With my first daughter, we bought a classic black shoulder bag. Tons of storage? Check! Sleek and simple design? Check! Comfortable and easy to use? NO! What we did not consider was how incredibly annoying over-the-shoulder bags are when you are hauling a heavy car seat around. Every time you reach down to pick baby up, the bag slips from your shoulder and smashes into the car seat. And later, into your actual tiny human standing with outstretched arms. It is quite possible that I knocked my daughter over once or twice with that darn thing. Please, save yourself the frustration and get yourself a backpack like this stylish Skip Hop Duo version. You’re welcome.
Disposable Breast Pads
Whether or not you plan on nursing, your breasts will produce milk. And that milk will soak your bra. And your shirt. And your sheets. And your mattress. Stock up on nursing pads to avoid this unnecessary laundry– you’ll have enough to do as it is. These ones by Avent are super soft and comfortable to wear both day and night, and stick right on your bra so it doesn’t shift as you move around.
A Change Pad
A simple way to save space and money while getting ready for baby is to scrap the change table completely. Honestly, it is so unnecessary. Instead, grab a change pad like this one by Munchkin and plop it on top of a dresser. Put a basket beside it to store a few diapers, wipes and a tube of cream and you’re set. Just don’t forget to secure the pad to the back of the dresser so it doesn’t slide off. Once your baby has outgrown it, you can easily remove it to transition to a toddler bedroom. It would also be wise to add three or four change pad covers to your registry. In the early days, they will be soiled daily so it’s good to have some clean ones ready to go.
Cotton muslin swaddle blankets, like these by Aden and Anais, are incredibly versatile. Besides the basic baby swaddle, these blankets work perfectly as a car seat cover, sunshade or nursing shawl. You can also roll them up to support baby’s head in a baby carrier or car seat, or drape them over change tables in public washrooms. They’re soft, they’re large and they’re gorgeous.
A Few Quality Toys
The first year of your baby’s life will pass by in a flash. I know it’s a cliché, but blink, and you will miss it. For this reason, I recommend limiting the number of baby toys you accumulate. They will get very little use, take up a tonne of space and are usually pretty loud and obnoxious. Instead, add a few good quality toys to your registry that will grow with your child, like some wooden blocks. Your baby can start by stacking and knocking them down and later use them to build structures. Another great toy is this classic farm by Fisher Price. Use it to build your baby’s vocabulary in the early days by naming the animals and their sounds, then later for some intense imaginative play sessions.
A recent baby shower trend has been to forgo the classic greeting card in favour of a children’s book to add to baby’s library. I absolutely love this idea. It’s a fantastic way to build baby’s collection and gives guests an opportunity to share their favourite childhood books with your family. And crazy as it is, a board book actually doesn’t cost a whole lot more than a greeting card that you’ll probably just end up throwing away. But just in case anyone is stuck for ideas, you’ll want to add some classics to your list, like this one by Canadian icon Robert Munsch.
A Baby Gate
Before you know it, your baby will be on the move: rolling, scooting, crawling, climbing and eventually, walking. And when that day comes, if you’re anything like me, you’ll look around your house and find danger lurking in every corner. You’ll begin baby-proofing like a maniac, anchoring all your furniture to the walls and covering all those sharp corners with rubber. Depending on the layout of your home, one of the first things you’ll need to do is install a baby gate. This one is gigantic and great for open concept living rooms, which is hard to find.
You might feel a little hesitant to put more expensive items on your registry, but very likely, some friends or cousins are going to want to pool their money together to get you something really useful. This one by Fisher Price is amazing and gives you so much value for your money. It can be used as a classic, free-standing high chair or, if you’re low on space, you can strap it right onto your dining room chair. I find that most tots prefer the latter so that they can be closer to the rest of the family at the table. Later, you can throw it in the car and use it as a booster seat when you’re out for dinner. The best part? It’s so easy to wipe this thing down after a messy meal.
A Convertible Car Seat
You will likely want to purchase a bucket car seat for your infant since these are the easiest to use when transporting a tiny, sleeping baby. But once your baby gains a few pounds, carrying around that monstrous seat will become unbearable. When that time comes, you’ll want a good quality convertible car seat (one that stays put in the car). Diono convertible car seats like this one are fantastic. They are spacious and comfortable, and have higher weight and height restrictions than others, so they last longer. This is the one car seat that my four-year-old never complains about being in, even during long car rides.
There you have it: the top ten items you should add to your baby registry. Looking for more ideas? Check out PLN’s sample registry on Amazon for more awesome products you’ll want to consider for your baby.
*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Parent Life Network or their partners.