Ten Baby Registry Tips and Tricks

Updated: May 19

The most important thing to get for your baby is not a Rock n' Play, nor a good set of swaddling blankets, nor a high-end stroller. The most important thing to get for your baby is a village. Your village will keep you afloat. They will carry you when you are tired, feed you when you are starving, forgive you when you are unkempt and hours late and a neglectful friend who can't remember to wear socks let alone whose birthday it is. They will love your baby when you are too tired or frustrated to hold her at the moment because you are imperfect and human and have imperfect and human failings. They will remind you who you are when you start to think your whole life is only about poop. They will lift you up.”

(10 True Things About the First Year of Parenthood, Karyn Thurston)

First off, I highly reading the article above in full for some really important practical-life information about what the first year of parenthood can be like for many of us in the West. I have also had a number of people thank me for sharing some of the physical things that I thought to be helpful in the first year of parenthood. Although there are ALWAYS new toys and gadgets out there, I figured I would at least share with you by category some things that I thought would be helpful that you can use to fill out your baby shower registry if that's helpful. Please please feel free to leave comments about things you also thought were helpful or other tips and tricks that worked for you. Enjoy!



Tip #1: Make sure to keep an organized place for your gift receipts so that you can use things as you need them and return whatever you don’t find helpful. It’s good to wait a little bit though, as you never know your parenting style until the day actually comes.


Tip #2: If you have one, your Flex Spending Account often covers lots of things for mom and baby. This counts even for the time that you are pregnant! If you have savings at the end of the year that don't roll over or you are wrapping up work, make sure to spend those resources on that nice pump, Vitamin D drops, bottles, baby healthcare items, breastmilk storage and the like!


Tip #3: Register at multiple places and not just Amazon. Make sure you know who your primary audience is and make sure to register for a physical store that's in their area. People want to bring actual items to a baby shower (especially older generations) and navigating technology can be tough for some. This is another reason why saving gift receipts can be helpful as sometimes stores make mistakes and people purchase multiple of the same thing.

Tip #4: Be prepared with post-partum supplies. Here is a list of things that I found to be helpful after having a vaginal birth with minor complications.


Postpartum Supplies for Mom

TO TAKE TO THE HOSPITAL

  • Bottom Spray -Used every time I went to the bathroom for almost a month

  • Smoothies/Berries to help with digestion

  • Nice Depends -these are MUCH better than the hospital underwear. I LOVED this particular brand, but c


ould only find small quantities of it at Target. You can also put pads and ice-packs inside of them. The nurses were super impressed, ha. I would get two boxes, and if your birth turns out different than expected, you can always return them (gift receipts, woot)?!

  • A nice black robe that has pockets (this is perfect to dress up when people visit you in the hospital, if you do a Fresh 48 session, or have visitors early on at your home).

FOR HOME

  • Sitz Bath- You will need one most likely if you don’t have one. Especially if you get stitches. Sometimes your hospital will provide you with one. This is something you can ask on your tour.

  • Bath Herbs for Sitz Bath- This was really nice to do once a week

  • Chia Seeds and blueberries to put in smoothies, yogurt, or anything. They are great for postpartum regulation. Don’t use a stool softener (although your doctor may prescribe you. one). This is much better and won't cause you to go in the opposite direction.

  • Large Extra Heavy Overnight pads


Tip #5: Check out the number of Apps there are for nursing and ask friends who seem to have a similar disposition what worked for them. There are lots of different personality types out there, but I found it helpful to have technology help me when I was running on very little sleep. I couldn't remember how many wet or poopy diapers I changed, how long I nursed, or from what side without my app. It helped me record these things and then served as a great resource for future feedings, baby's care, and for future lactation and baby visits. Note: I previously used the Glo Baby App, but who knows what's out there NOW?!

Tip #6: Have no shame in registering for breastfeeding gear if this is the direction you would like to go. You never know what your birth story or lactation story may be like, but it's nice to have the gear just in case.

  • Milk Storage Bags. These are awesome. It’s nice to have a storage bag organizer for the freezer too.

  • 3-in-one Breast Therapy These are helpful to assist with pumping/letting down, and also if you have any infections or pains. If you end up getting mastitis, thrust, or the like, these are essential.

  • Soothies for when you have more pain and want instant relief. These are amazing, but only last 72 hours. If you end up getting mastitis, thrust, or the like, these are also essential.

  • Disposable Breast Pads (you will want to change these frequently at first)

  • (reusable breast pads) are great for later on when you’re more established.

  • My Breast Friend pillow (way better than other nursing pillows I think, and very helpful for newborns, as they go higher)

  • Vitamin D drops for baby (needed for all breastfed babies)

  • Hands-free pumping bra, this is super helpful to be able to pump and fold laundry or whatever

  • Motherlove nipple cream OR Natural Nipple Butter, they are both great, I use the latter

  • Nursing tank tops - with bra support for out of the house and cotton for more breathability in the house - I wore these constantly for the first 2 months

  • Soft nursing bras you can wear while sleeping (note, don't purchase these until a month or so in as your size with change all over the place until your body and baby establish a sort of rhythm)

  • Cover for nursing - These sort of covers are big, provides great coverage, and allows me to see the baby and thus re-adjust. I also JUST got this one, now that we are a little more established. Think it will be helpful/give more coverage. I can let you know how it goes if you’re interested.

  • Mother’s Milk Tea

Tip #7: If you are indeed hoping to breastfeed register for some of your favorite healthy snacks (and then hide them from yourself until its time, hehe). You can't believe it until it happens to you, but you get HUNGRY!! You need to keep up your healthy calories and drink LOTS of water, so have your friends get you some yummy snacks that they can easily add into your baby shower gifts.

Tip #8: Know what are the essential non-gendered baby accessories. Here is a list of things that I thought were particularly helpful:


  • A wipe dispenser that actually works - this is very helpful (especially with the Water Wipes listed below)

  • Gentle Water Wipes to use while they are tiny and also when they get a bum rash so it doesn’t sting

  • Bum brush - This helps to prevent and to clear up diaper rashes. This makes it so much easier to apply the cream. Your hands stay clean and you get good coverage.

  • A & D Cream (Prevent) - We use this at night once she sleeps for longer stretches (6 weeks and on for us) so that we don’t have to wake her up to change her in the night

  • Changing pad liner (These are easy to clean and soft. Easier to quickly switch to a new one, vs. a whole changing pad cover)

  • Dekor diaper pail (awesome, and can be used for both regular and cloth diapers)

  • Pacifier (get 4, so you can leave one in the car and diaper bag always) and pacifier clips. This one is awesome because it also comes with a case, which is MUCH needed

  • One baby towel with hood, and multiple baby washcloths

  • Baby Soap/Shampoo (we personally love the gentleness and smell of the California Baby)

  • High capacity bottle drying rack - don’t get the grass, this is way better

  • Infantino gym - It can be nice to have a portable and washable one. We also had this one from IKEA and had her on a Boppy pillow under it. We used this many times per day

  • Car mirror

  • Warm Cover for infant car seat

  • 2 Baby Thermometers (could be normal digital, but one that's JUST for rectal temps)

  • Stationary Sound Machine, Traveling Sound Machine (for the car, etc.). We use this as a part of our regular bedtime routine (I turn it on during her last feeding right before bed). II also have this app (Sound Sleeper) that makes Shushing noises that’s ideal if you’re on the go and forgot another sound machine.

  • Baby monitors. We felt we didn’t need the video feature right now, and if we do someday, we will pay more later. For now, this is a great cheaper option with a good range (so I can garden out back while she takes a nap).

  • Baby Laundry detergent. This is expensive, so register for it!

  • Crane Humidifier

  • Black and whiteboard book that unfolds -this is a hit from the very beginning

  • Swaddleme Swaddle (we use every day multiple times a day) OR Love to swaddle -(daycares usually only let you use wearable blankets, not swaddles)

  • Lots of muslin swaddles/blankets - we have tons, and we literally use them for everything - swaddles, burp cloths, blankets, nursing covers, stroller covers, etc

  • Flat bassinet - This is a personal preference. We had the Arms Rest co-sleeper that was the perfect height to go right next to our bed, and we brought it near the couch, the kitchen, in front of the bathroom, etc, too. wheels that we can push around the house (works best if you have one floor/no stairs in your house). Some people like Doc-a-Tots, and others like Moses Backsets. The later looks great for pictures and is super transportable.

  • Glider Chair with cushioned armrests. We LOVE ours, but it was given to us used. If you can find one, it’s TOTALLY worth it.

  • I love this scripture music cd, nice scripture lullabies that will also hopefully get stuck in your head!

  • This huge travel changing pad is super helpful and actually covers the nasty changing stations at restaurants and airport

  • My little one loved these teethers for the first TWO years of her life.


Tip #9: Register for a lot of gender-neutral NO BUTTON/SNAP clothing. This will be huge if you are planning on having more than one child. The newborn stage passes by so quickly and sometimes babies skip sizes, don't need certain seasonal items, etc. The good news is, if you register for gender-neutral clothing, you may be able to use these items again and again OR gift them to another friend no matter the gender of their little one.


Tip #10 Plan ahead and register for things that you will need six months or more down the road!




Here are a few other creative gifts you can register for:

1. A newborn photography session with a local photographer (cough cough)

2. A post-natal massage or chiropractor appointment for mom (man, having a baby does a number on your body)

3. A pedicure (it's probably been a while since this is something that mothers-to-be aren't supposed to have) and it's also probably been a while since the mother-to-be has seen her feet :)

4. GrubHub gift cards (bring on the take-out)

5. A diapering service (cloth diapers are a HUGE money saver, but it can also be a lot of work, especially when your newborn poop every hour). Gifting a diapering service can be really nice for the first few months as you get yourself settled into a "routine".

6. A window bird feeder. Parents will be doing a lot of sitting, rocking, and looking out the window. This is a nice distraction and will be a great thing to watch with your little one as they get older.

7. A collection of Stuffed Animals with guesses of which one will become their favorite (Jellycat Bashful Bunny)

8. A Keepsake Box (could be personalized if the child's name is already known). This is a fun place to keep things like hospital tags, small trinkets, and other things over the years.



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Amy Coles Photography offers portrait and wedding lifestyle photography out of Portland, OR 

amycolesphotography@gmail.com