A mixed bag of emotions. Excitement at planning for your sweet, bundle of joy. Terror at the sheer amount of stuff that babies need.
My husband and I started our baby registry around the 20 week mark of our first pregnancy. We carefully chose a store, walked in, and plopped down with a consultant. It was all a bit of a blur, but there is one thing I remember very vividly: I was given an entire booklet of items that I had to have for my baby. Not a list. A book. All I could think was, “thank goodness we have this wonderful tradition of baby showers! Otherwise, I really would go poor trying to take care of a baby on my own!”
Then, I started reading through the list. I quickly realized – I don’t need half of the crap that they put on those lists!
I’m currently expecting my second baby, and a question I hear constantly is, “do you need anything?” I’m blessed to be able to say “no.” We were gifted everything we needed with our first. And now that we’ve had the opportunity to raise a baby from birth through three years old, we have the gift of hindsight telling us that we didn’t really need half the stuff we were given in the first place!
So, allow me to drop some second-time-mommy reflections about what you really need, what you shouldn’t waste your money on, and how to maximize your registry.
Absolute must-have, can’t-live-without baby items that need to be on your registry.
- A safe car seat.
- A stroller and/or a baby carrier. Truthfully, I used both. The stroller was great for long walks. My son lived in his wrap until he got too big for it and we upgraded to the more structured “backpack.”
- A way to feed the baby. If you’re planning to breastfeed or pump, this may mean a pump, nipple pads, bags to store milk. If you plan to formula feed, you’ll need bottles and formula.
- A place for the baby to sleep. This looks different for every family. A crib? A bassinet? Maybe you intend to bed share and don’t really need anything.
Things that you’ll need, but everyone will already buy for you, so you don’t really need to register for them.
- Clothes. People LOVE buying clothes. If you want something specific, register for it. But don’t worry about the 30 white onesies that the book tells you to get. Trust me, you’ll have plenty.
- Blankets. See above!
- Bath materials – specifically, towels and wash cloths. Again, see above.
The loooooooong list of things that they’ll tell you that you need, but you really don’t. Trust me. Most of these were a waste of money.
- Wipe warmers.
- Bottle warmers. We got one. It never worked properly. Waste of money, and very frustrating when waiting (and waiting) with a hungry, screaming baby.
- Baby food makers. Do yourself a favor, and get yourself a nice blender. Mine makes smoothies and butternut squash soup, and the occasional zucchini puree.
- Swings. This one might be controversial. So many moms told me that I wouldn’t be able to live without one. My son never cared for it. Some babies LOVE theirs. I suggest borrowing one. They aren’t exactly cheap!
- Mittens to prevent scratches. They just fall off. Surprisingly, socks stay on much better!
- Coats. Huge safety no-no in the car seat. Just use all those blankets that your family and friends will buy you.
- Shoes. Babies don’t walk. And, if your baby is anything like mine, he’ll come out with monstrous feet, necessitating toddler shoes from the beginning.
- Diaper bag. We had one that I found more annoying that anything else. I ended up using a tote that I already had lying around the house, and it worked great.
- Bouncers/bumbos/jumperoos. They are marketed to new parents as tools to help babies sit, stand, etc. But, if you ask the experts, they generally cause more problems than they “solve.” We were gifted a Bumbo, and we donated it. We were also gifted a jumperoo, and we limited baby’s time in it to just 10 minutes a day.
- Toys. Babies don’t play with toys.
- A changing table. I don’t get these things. A piece of furniture that is really only functional for a couple of years? We used a towel on the bed until baby could roll, and then we moved it to the floor.
- A glider or rocker. You might like to rock, and that’s fine! If you’re like me, the bed or the couch is just fine. No need for another piece of expensive furniture.
Unconventional items that you might want to consider.
- A carpet cleaner. We ended up asking for this for Christmas, and it has been my most prized possession ever since! We have a small spot cleaner, and it has saved my carpets and my couches from dog vomit, baby poop, beet root puree, and crayons.
- Mason jars. There are plenty of cutesie-pie food containers and baby-food making systems out there, but nothing works quite as well (or is quite as cheap) as mason jars. They come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, and you can also find plastic lids. They stay sealed – unlike Tupperware, which can pop open! If you’re a canner, you can preserve your own baby food (yes, I did this, and it was so convenient).
- A good blender. As I mentioned above, a good blender will make baby food for your precious babe, AND it will make tasty food for you. I bought a system that came with single-serving cups for smoothies, a blender, and a food processor that has a dough attachment.
- Mama’s post partum supplies. This is my go-to gift for new mamas. Tux, large pads, Colace, alive, coconut oil, oatmeal-based breakfast bars for snacking, a new water bottle, an extra long phone charging chord.
Those are my thoughts. What are yours?