Whenever I was pregnant with Morgan, I realized I knew NOTHING about baby gear. I was like 'okay so I need a crib, stroller, and bottles right?'
Tiny humans require more gear than a person climbing Mt. Everest. Registering for baby stuff can be overwhelming, especially if you spent your entire life avoiding anything having to do with babies (like me). I realized I was absolutely clueless when it came to babies, so I reached out to my mommy friends for advice. Then it was my turn to help my pregnant friends when it came time for registering (baby wipe warmer, meh, not really; margarita maker, yes definitely). I have sent several emails to friends consisting of 'the list' and now I'm going to blog it for everyone.
Items will be listed as they randomly come to mind (as I look around my house, which looks like a Fisher Price / Graco monster barfed all over)
SWING - it is a MUST. I have a Graco and it has survived two chunky babies. It has 5 speeds, reclines for when they are lifeless lumps that just stare at the ceiling, has a tray and safety belt for when they are crazy and need to be restrained for a few minutes while you run to the bathroom, plays music and makes weird sounds that babies love, like a heart beating.
TRAVEL SYSTEM - 5 years ago I would have been like uhhhh what? A 'travel system' consists of a stroller, carrier, and carrier base. I'm on my 2nd travel system, buying Eddie Bauer both times. I love EB strollers. Loved the first EB carrier we used for Morgan but not as crazy about the one we had for Jack; they changed where the slots are located on the bottom making it hard to put in shopping carts. You don't necessarily need an extra base for addition cars because the base is easy to to pop in and out. Just make sure you install it correctly. Or you'll have carseat Nazis hexing you; trust me, there are plenty of them out there.
CAR SEAT - After your bundle of joy graduates from the carrier, you will need a car seat. You need one that is rear and front facing, because children are supposed to be rear facing until they are about 5 and front facing until they are 18 and ready for college. Wait, that's not right. Rear facing until at least age 1 and 20 pounds (I think? It depends on your state law) and front facing until 40 lb 40 inches then they can graduate to a booster seat. We have an Eddie Bauer car seat that we LOVE. We used it for Morgan until she turned 4 and now Jack uses it.
UMBRELLA STROLLER - because sometimes you just don't want to take the 'monster truck stroller' as I call it.
CRIB - We bought one of those cribs that you can turn into a bed but honestly I'm not sure if it will actually ever be used as that; nobody wants a headboard with teeth marks all over it. Our crib and matching dresser came from JC Penney, we used it for Morgan and now Jack is using it. Make sure your crib passes all current safety standards.
MOBILE - because the kid needs distraction as you sneak out of the room. Keep it simple; try to remember this is the place where your child is supposed to sleep, not party.
BLANKETS - about 5 basic thin blankets, 3 soft bigger blankets, and hopefully you know somebody that can crochet because they make the BEST baby blankets (*cough* I sell crochet baby blankets...)
SHEETS - about 3-4 sheets, I recommend white so you can bleach them.
CRIB SET - some people are against bumpers...I'm not. Morgan had the thickest bumper I've ever seen. Both of my kids had bumpers. Their sets were ordered from Amazon. Sets usually include: sheet, blanket, bumper, and dust ruffle.
BOPPY PILLOW - it's a U-shaped pillow that helps you hold your baby and that you can use to prop your baby up...especially to take pictures.
BOPPY PILLOW COVER - yeah...because who wants a naked pillow?
BREAST PUMP - ya know, if you're into that kinda thing. I highly recommend Medela and Ameda.
BOTTLES - for Morgan I had to use Dr. Brown bottles (good for colic and acid reflux babies) but they are EVIL to clean - they have 7 parts to wash! For both kids I used Medela bottles. For Jack I use Gerber bottles with Dr. Brown nipple. A lot of people really like the Playtex bottles with liners - you just throw the liner away and don't have to wash the bottle every time it is used. I also have used Ameda bottles and liked them, but they only hold 4 oz.
BOTTLE BRUSH - you need at least 2 of them, because they don't last forever!
BOTTLE WARMER - mehhh, I used one with Morgan for a while. With Jack I just used the microwave.
BREAST MILK STORAGE BAGS - any of them honestly, I used them all and I just recommend going with something cheaper.
BOTTLE DRYING RACK - get one that looks cool because it takes up space on your counter for a year.
BABY SPOONS - I love the longer ones by Munchkin because they fit down into the jar without getting my fingers nasty.
SIPPY CUP - I like Tommee Tippee.
PACIFIERS - these can be tricky; you don't know if you're little one will be picky. Morgan only liked Soothies. Jack would only take the NICU Soothie that you CAN'T BUY ANYWHERE! for months but now he takes whatever. I like Avent the best.
PACIFIER CLIP - because you really don't want that thing to fall on the floor / ground if possible.
HIGH CHAIR - ours is by Graco and we've used it for both kids. I really like it. My mom has a high chair that straps to a dining room chair which is pretty cool, because you can take it with you to places that might not have a high chair.
PACK N PLAY - it's the modern version of the playpen. Ours is by Graco and we like it. It's easy to use and it folds up small and stores under a bed.
CLOTH DIAPERS - to use as burp cloths!!!
DIAPER BAG - I am currently using a thirty-one bag and I really like it.
JUMPAROO - once again, 5 years ago I would have been like whaaaat? But now I know it can be a parent's BFF. You stick your baby in it and he/she jumps and you watch and laugh. And eventually you realize you can stick your darling in there and go get something done, like use that margarita maker. Ours is by Fisher Price.
EXERSAUCER - sort of like a jumparoo but the baby doesn't jump; it just allows baby to stand upright, pivet around and play with all the attachments. I like these because you can take them to the yard and stick your darling in it while you pull weeds or drink that margarita.
DIAPER GENIE - not sure what it's a 'genie' exactly, because if you rub it nothing exciting happens. It's basically a special trash can that you shove dirty diapers into and it contains the smell. You will also need diaper genie refills - the plastic bags that hold the dirty diapers. Arm & Hammer also makes one.
BATH TUB - believe it or not, your baby won't be able to sit up for a while. Lame right? I mean come on, baby horses are like running around and hour after they are born. So you need a special tub. Ours has a little sling that fits inside it for infants, then you can take the sling out and baby can sit in it (or try to stand...or take a poop...)
BABY WASH CLOTHS - you need at least 10
BABY HOODED TOWELS - don't get a bunch because they outgrow them quickly; maybe about 3-4. Then you need toddler hooded towels (we have several Jumping Bean brand from Kohls and love them).
BABY TOILETRIES - Desitin / A & D ointment for diaper rash (I really like creamy Desitin); Johnson & Johnson head to toe wash (it's very mild, I use it on both kids; don't use things with lavender in them and so forth until you know your baby doesn't have allergies or sensitive skin); baby lotion, Aquaphor (for all the random skin issues your baby will have, I love this stuff!), baby powder.
THERMOMETER - I have an ear one and a forehead scan one and I use them both every time I check the kids temps.
NAIL CLIPPERS - their nails grow crazy fast and you need special ones.
NOSE SUCKER THING - yeah I'm not sure what it's actually called, but you know what I mean right?
BUMBO SEAT - most babies love them, mine didn't...their fat legs got stuck in them and it was just nothing but drama.
BOUNCER SEAT - back to that whole issue of your baby not being able to sit up for a while...the bouncer seat is awesome. You can carry it around the house (not with your baby in it!!) to use in various situations...'here baby watch me wash dishes...here baby watch me use the toilet...here baby watch me make margaritas...' ours is by Fisher Price and it vibrates and has an attachment with dangling things on it.
PAPASAN SEAT - or whatever they are called now...it's a snugglier version of the bouncer. Morgan actually slept in one for 3 months; it really helped her acid reflux. And it vibrates; just make sure you have plenty of batteries, otherwise you'll be shaking that thing at 3am trying to get your baby to sleep...
BABY CARRIER - sometimes you just want to be hands free! I have an Infantino one for Morgan but she hated it because she got too hot...and because basically she hated everything...and for Jack I used a Moby wrap - those things are really cool!
FLOOR GYM - sounds intense right? Got a mental image of your baby doing squats? Well it's not really a 'gym' at all; it's basically something to stick your baby in that has a light show, music, and random things hanging down for baby to play with (sounds more like a Phish concert than a gym).
TUMMY TIME MAT - you'll learn quickly that tummy time is important.
GLIDER CHAIR - make sure it's comfy because you'll be spending a LOT of time in it.
DIAPERS - various sizes from NB - 5; Huggies, Pampers, Luvs - you might as well register for brand name diapers because when you're buying them on your own you'll learn which generics work best. We use Member's Mark by Sam's Club.
WIPES - anything unscented. Your baby's skin is so sensitive! We love Member's Mark by Sam's Club over anything else. I use them for everything...wiping butts, faces, hands, cleaning my couch, getting stains out of shirts, cleaning out my oven...
GOWNS / SLEEPERS - gowns are AWESOME for the first few months. It is much easier to pull a gown up at 3am and change a diaper rather than wrestle with snaps on a sleeper. But you will need sleepers too.
MONITOR -We used a basic one that just picks up sounds. Some people have high tech ones with cameras and tv screens so they can monitor baby from their iPhone. It's just really whatever you feel like you need for your own sanity.
BASSINET - Don't go buy one, but if somebody has one you can use, borrow it. For Morgan we used the one that has been passed down in Michael's family and she hated it. For Jack we decided we didn't have room for it and we used a Fisher Price Rock and Play instead, which he loved, and we loved because we could easily move it around the house and travel with it.
I feel like I'm forgetting stuff...I just told Michael I was writing a blog about what baby gear I recommend to new moms and he snickered and said 'liquor.'
Seriously, we are awesome parents. Don't call a social worker.
There are lots of other little random things like teething rings, rattles, rubber duckies, but I tried to cover the big stuff and the necessities. Do not register for clothes because clothing is usually seasonal and hard to find.
And if you have the opportunity to use hand me downs, do it! Babies don't use this gear long enough honestly, and most of it is still basically brand new looking when you're finished with it. Never use previously owned car seats unless you are 100% sure it has never been in an accident, and make sure it hasn't expired. All carriers and car seats have an expiration date on the bottom. And everything on baby gear comes apart to be washed and cleaned.
Okay...so now go register!