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Baby Registry Essentials

two women at a baby shower

Getting ready for your baby’s arrival is an exciting time, and a baby shower is the perfect opportunity to register for the essentials. But before you head out to the nearest baby emporium, look over this checklist so you don’t get overwhelmed by the choices and hypnotized by all of the literal bells and whistles.

The Clothing You Really Need: 

Don’t worry about registering for cute outfits, you will get plenty of those since people can’t resist buying the adorable ensembles that fill the racks. Instead, focus on the basics you will inevitably go through every day.

  • 8-10 snap bottom onesies.
  • 8-10 one-piece pajamas or gowns that allow for easy nighttime changing.
  • 10 pairs of socks or booties and a mesh laundry bag to try and keep track of them
  • 2 hats if you’re having a winter baby
  • 2-4 sleep sacks. Blankets are a big no-no in the crib, so sleep sacks are a great way to keep baby warm without the worry.
  • Packs of burp clothes. You can never have enough of these inexpensive cloths for burping, wiping away spit up, and soaking up spills!

Infant or convertible car seat:

You cannot bring your baby home from the hospital without a car seat. This is one item you will want to buy new. Do some research and make sure you register for a car seat with solid reviews. Install it right after your shower so you have time to make sure it's done right. Visit a local firehouse to have someone check that you’ve installed the base correctly. 

Infant Care Essentials:

The last thing you want to do is run to the drugstore at 2am the first time your baby runs a fever. Ask your guests to put together a basket of healthcare products like a digital thermometer, medicine dispenser measuring spoons, a nasal aspirator, fever cooling pads, and baby nail clippers or blunt tip scissors.

A crib and bedding:

Make sure to research your crib options and check for recalls online. While you may not put your baby in a crib right away, it’s the essential piece of furniture you will use for the first few years of your baby’s life. Make sure to check the US Consumer Product Safety Commission's Safe to Sleep website for the latest recommendations. You will also need a firm, flat mattress and a waterproof mattress pad to protect it. 

  • 2-4 fitted crib sheets for the crib
  • 4-6 soft, receiving blankets 

Diapering Necessities:

  • Changing table pad
  • Baby wipes and pack of soft washcloths
  • Unscented baby wash/shampoo
  • Newborn and size 1 diapers (your baby will grow quickly so you'll want to have the next size up ready!)


You may not be sure if you will be exclusively breastfeeding, so you may want to have at least 10 bottles in the 4 oz. size, with nipples.  Even if you are breastfeeding, there may be times when your baby will use a bottle after you’ve pumped.  You can always return the bottles if you keep them unopened.

  • Bottle sterilizer


Your stroller will be the piece of gear that gets the most use.  It’s great to get one that allows the car seat to snap right in, so you don’t have to wake a sleeping baby when transferring to and from the car.  You will also want an easy to collapse, but sturdy stroller for when your baby gets a little bigger and starts sitting up. This will become your everyday stroller.

Activity Mat: 

Babies love soft activity mats with fun features to interact with.  While you may not use it during the first month, soon enough your baby will be cooing and smiling while engaging with the world around them.

Play Yard: 

Also considered travel cribs, a play yard is a small portable crib, playpen and nursery center that can be used in any room or when you travel. They often have a changing station built in and come with a mattress. It’s great to have when you take car trips or visit friends and family, and can also come in handy if you’d like another enclosed area for your baby in the house.

Filling out your registry should be fun and exciting. Be sure to save all of the gift receipts in case you don’t use items you thought you’d need, especially for clothing since babies often outgrow outfits before they’ve had a chance to wear them!  When your baby comes home, you will begin to see what you really use and what you can return or resell to other local parents.

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