Thursday, April 24, 2014

Baby Registry

This latest baby boom among my friends has left me plenty busy with attending baby showers, helping with registries, holding new babies, and answering panicked phone calls of new parents. As much as I love staying busy and being my friend's "go to mommy," I decided to tackle the biggest question of my expectant friends "what should I put on the baby registry???" I have to say, after attending many showers in the past several weeks, I have noticed many friends not register for the appropriate or most needed items.

Coming from a mommy of 3 and daycare provider to lots of little ones, I must say that the simpler the better as far as baby products go. I've seen so many people register for what I found to be unnecessary items or infant devices that are so similar they'll never be used.  Or the devices are much too complicated, especially for busy rock star mommy's like my friends. Another big tip, people usually only want to buy fun, cutesy items for your baby, which means you'll probably get tons of clothes. Many people only think to buy small sizes (newborn/0-3 months sizes) so when registering for clothes, aim for larger sizes. Your baby registry should include all items to get you through your child's first year of life. Meaning, don't put a toddler bed (and coordinating bedding) on your registry. For reals, this was on a registry and actually purchased by a guest......although the parent to be also received a new family friendly car at this shower so I shouldn't have been surprised.

Don't be afraid to put everything you need and give guests lots of buying options. You have no idea what guests/friends/family price points are so think the lowest of lows and the highest of highs when registering. Here is a list of "must haves" on your registry:

Baby Gear:

  • Infant car seat/Travel System
  • Stroller: Think jogging stroller or umbrella stroller
  • Infant Swing: Go for simple, nothing extravagant. Keep in mind, most of these items will only be used a few months at best.
  • Bouncer: go for simple that vibrates (helps break up gas--I swear it), baby sits at an incline, and one that has a few toys on it
  • Play gym: go for one that has lights and sounds and that can be used for tummy time as well as on the back playing.
  • Highchair
  • Rock n' Play: Highly recommend this product for babies with reflux. Baby sleeps at an incline safely. My third child had horrible ear issues until she was able to get tubes in her ears at 6 months old. From the time she was a newborn until her tubes were put in, she slept in her Rock n' Play. I don't know what I would have done without it.
  • Baby carrier/sling: Makes life soooo much easier to get things done when baby just wants to be held and comforted. I was never a sling wearer, but we did use a baby carrier for our walks, hikes, grocery shopping, and middle of the day snuggles when laundry must get done as well.
  • Pack N' Play: Highly recommended if you need to do any kind of overnights with an infant or toddler. Also, we used a Pack N' Play with a bassinet instead of a regular bassinet. Saved space and money
  • Baby monitor: Splurge on a video monitor. We still use our video monitor in the boy's room and they're nearly 6 and 4......and I can see just who got out of bed and hit the other.
  • Jumperoo and/or Exersaucer.

Feeding:
  • Bottles: Register for several different brands and varieties. I hate to break it to you, but very few babies just take any bottle you give them. Parents usually have to experiment with a few different types of bottles before finding the right one for your baby.
  • Formula: Even if you plan on breastfeeding, it's always good to have some on hand. Another breaker, sometimes breastfeeding just doesn't work out. If it does, great. You can always donate or sell unused formula on Craigslist. It's always good to be prepared for any situation.
  • Bibs: Babies eating (whether it's breast milk or formula) can be messy eaters. To protect their clothing (yes, both formula and breast milk can stain) have lots of bibs on hand and put on for feeding time. Also, register for plastic bibs for when babe's starts eating food. Clean up is a breeze with the plastic food catching bibs.
  • Burp clothes: There are so many cutesy patterns and cutesy animal burp clothes out there! Word of advice, skip those and get Gerber cloth diapers (the original). Those things are sooo much more absorbent than any other burp cloth made. They also make the best kitchen hand towels.
  • Bottle drying rack.
  • Bottle brush.
  • Breastfeeding supplies: Don't be shy, anything you will need for breastfeeding should go on here too. Breast pump, nursing cover (although a blanket works too), breast pads (I recommend disposable for the first few weeks and then reusable ones after), nipple cream, milk storage bags, extra pumping bottles. I was told not to put these items on baby registry because these items are "too personal" but I think these are perfect items to put on a registry.
  • Pacifiers: Just like bottles, register for many or all kinds of pacifiers or binkys (or whatever you choose to call them). You never know what kind your infant will accept, but sucking is so important those first several weeks/months that you'll want to find one your baby likes.
  • Sippy cups: Just a few different beginner cups will do.
  • Feeding spoons, utensils, and bowls/plates for early stages of table food eating.
  • Mesh feeder: Great when beginning table foods.
  • Baby Bullet/Blender/Food grinder: Only if you plan on making your own baby food.
Bath Time:
  • Infant tub or sling: after using a tub sling for our third, I prefer it over the plastic infant tubs that are extremely popular.
  • Infant wash cloths.
  • Hooded bath towels.
  • Bath wash/shampoo: I highly recommend Target's Up & Up brand Baby Wash and Shampoo. It's hypoallergenic, comes in a pump bottle (extremely important for squirmy babes), and decently priced.
  • Lotion: Skip all of the Johnson & Johnson scented lotions as they can actually aggrevate infant's skin. Instead go with Aveeno Baby or Aquaphor.

Diapering Needs:
  • Diapers: Get a wide variety of diapers--try all available brands and get all different sizes. Get very few newborn size diapers because most babies outgrow those in no time.
  • Wipes: I recommend Target's Up & Up brand non-scented hypoallergenic baby wipes.
  • A & D: My favorite diaper rash cure.
  • Diaper rash creams: I have yet to encounter a baby whose diaper rash hasn't been helped by A & D ointment, but all babies are different, so I recommend on stocking up on all different types/brands. Buy the smallest tubes or containers until you know what works for your little one.
  • Changing pad: For changing table or to secure on top of a dresser.
  • Changing pad covers: Register for 4-5 covers. As soon as the diaper comes off, bodily fluids start coming out. You'll want lots on hand.
  • To Go Changing pad: It should go without saying, that once your baby can roll over, a changing table is no longer an ideal or safe changing place. Register for a To Go Changing pad and you can easily change baby on the floor without making a mess.

Hygiene/Personal Care:
  • Cotton balls
  • Q-tips
  • Antibacterial hand soap: skip the hand sanitizer and buy lots of hand soap.
  • Infant nail clippers
  • Nasal aspirator: I recommend the Nose Frida.
  • Vaseline: Can be used on baby's dry skin, for diaper rash, or so many other things. Also a must have if you have a boy you plan to get circumsized.
  • Gauze pads: Always good to have on hand anyway, but a must if you'll be having a circumsized boy
  • All Free and Clear laundry detergent: If you're an expectant parent, you most likely think Dreft is the infant detergent of choice. In reality, Dreft is full of harsh chemicals--too harsh for most babies sensitive skin. Choose a Free and Clear hypoallergenic detergent so you can stay clear from skin issues (speaking from experience).
  • Gas drops/Gripe water: from 3-6 weeks, your baby's GI tract does some major changing and developing. This is also the most common time for infants to develop gas issues. I highly recommend Mylicon gas drops (we used with all 3 of our babes) or Gripe water to relieve gas.
  • Baby brush/comb.
  • Cool Mist Humidifier: You'll be happy you were prepared when baby's first cold strikes.
  • Infant Tylenol, teething tablets, and teething gel.

Accessories:
  • Diaper bag
  • Car seat toys
  • Car seat mirror (so you can see baby in rear view mirror)
  • Infant toys: Baby Einstein or teethers is about as far as I would go in the toy department.
  • Car seat cover for winter.
  • Swaddler.

Nursery Items:
  • Crib
  • Blankets: You can never have enough blankets. Receiving blankets, fleece blankets, a large tummy time blanket. Also, register for varying sizes of blankets. My kids (the oldest is almost 6) still have all of their fleece blankets from when they were babies and only recently became too big to cover up with them.
  • Sheets: Another thing there can never be enough of. You'll thank me for that when the first stomach bug hits. Also, instead of registering for pack n' play sheets, register for extra crib sheets. The pack n' play sheets strink too much to be used numerous times (and they're not exactly cheap). A regular ole' crib sheet tucked firmly around the edges works just as well. 
  • Breathable Crib bumper: Padded bumpers are not recommended, but we loved our breathable crib bumper. Pacifiers easily fall out the slats of the crib and this bumper prevents parents from searching for a paci in the dark at 3 a.m.
  • Any organizing systems or decorations for the nursery: In my experience, most guests will not be buying these things for you, but by all means, put it on the registery.
  • Noise machine.

Clothing:
  • Sleepers
  • Onesies
  • Socks: Just a few pairs for the first several months (or until baby starts walking). Baby's have a habit of kicking off their socks and losing them. New mom's fear their feet will fall off from being cold. I'm hear to tell ya, it's nonsense. Skip socks all together and just keep baby in sleepers if you're that worried about it.
  • Pants/leggings: Try Carter's onesies and pants/leggings sets.
  • Snow suit (if baby is born in winter months)
  • Sun hat (if baby is born in spring/summer or lives in warm climate).

Seem like a lot??? Let this list be a minor example of how expensive kids are (but worth every penny, I promise). I recommend registering at at least two different places. Some people have done three to give out of town guests more options. My personal favorite places to register are Buy Buy Baby, Target, Babies R Us, Wal-Mart, and Amazon. Happy registering my friends!

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