As an expecting parent, you’re excited to be showered with love. Before your baby shower, however, you’ll want to develop a gift registry that includes items you’ll need when your bundle of joy finally joins your family.
Depending on your perspective, creating this registry can either be thrilling or a highly dreaded task. Either way, the registry can relieve much of the financial burden of having a child — so plenty of thought should go into what, exactly, you include.
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Which Items Do Most Baby Registries Include?
While every baby registry looks a bit different based on the needs of the parents-to-be, just glancing at a few registries will reveal a definite pattern. Typically, products from every price range are included to accommodate various guests’ budgets.
Don’t assume that an item should be left out simply because it only costs a few dollars. These essentials add up over time — and some guests like the idea of contributing but may only be able to afford smaller items.
No matter the style or cost of the products you hope to include on your registry, the process might feel overwhelming as you’re initially setting it up. To help you determine what to include, we’ve divided the essentials into a few basic categories:
Diapers & Wipes
Once your bundle of joy arrives, a significant share of your baby budget may be dedicated to diapers and wipes. For this reason, some parents almost exclusively include these on their baby registries.
The downside to this approach? You might realize that a particular brand is a bad fit for your baby after you’ve received several boxes.
If you plan on using cloth diapers, do some research to determine which approach you want. There are many different types of cloth diapering systems and brands, so you’ll want to make sure that you’re consistent; if one person sends you pocket diapers from one brand, liners from a different manufacturer might not fit.
No matter which approach you prefer, you can make a huge dent in the upfront cost of cloth diapers and save a ton of money compared to buying endless boxes of disposables. Consider also adding reusable wipes to the mix, as these also represent an eco-friendly and cost-effective alternative to typical baby wipes.
The diaper category should also include some sort of pail or another system for addressing the smell. While wet and soiled diapers from breastfed newborns aren’t all that stinky, this will quickly change as they start eating solids.
Some parents prefer to purchase furniture on their own, as this forms the basis of the nursery — and setting it up in the last few weeks of pregnancy might prove difficult. For others, however, this is a critical component of the baby registry, as even “affordable” cribs, changing tables, and glider chairs can cost hundreds of dollars.
Before adding furniture or nursery accessories to your registry, check that all products are safe. Certain swings or pillows, for example, may hold hazards that you find unacceptable. Some parents also prefer to use green products that minimize off-gassing.
Finding the right balance of clothing can be tricky, in part because so many new parents receive hand-me-downs from loved ones. The other problem? Parents-to-be often have no idea which products they need or how many.
A lot depends on the size of the baby and the season in which they’re born (a summer baby is fine with just onesies, while one born in the winter might need warmer clothing). Typically, however, the following balance of clothing items should cover basic needs:
- 5-7 pairs of socks in each size. Typically, these are designated as newborn, 0-6 months, 6-12 months, and 12-24 months. Ideally, these will all look the same, so you don’t need to search for tiny matches.
- 7 onesies in each size. But if possible, skew towards 0-3 months and older.
- 2-3 swaddles. Include at least one warm fleece swaddle for winter, and one lighter cotton swaddle for summer.
- 3-4 pairs of pajamas in each size. Many parents prefer zipped pajamas, as buttons can be difficult to fasten when babies squirm.
- 2-3 pairs of pants for newborns and young infants. 5+ pairs of pants for older babies. In the first few months, pants are just for fun — but they become more important as babies learn to crawl and, eventually, walk.
- 2-3 sweatshirts in each size. More may be necessary for certain sizes depending on how old you expect your baby to be when winter arrives.
- 2-3 t-shirts or long-sleeve tees for older babies and toddlers. Just ask for a few, as you may need more or less depending on your baby’s size during various seasons.
- A winter coat or snowsuit. Include one for newborns, one for babies up to six months, and one for older babies and toddlers.
- Use your discretion with slippers and booties. Babies don’t really need them if they have footed pajamas. In fact, some are almost guaranteed to kick them off.
- A sun hat for summer babies. This provides valuable protection on bright days.
- Bows or headbands if desired. Keep in mind that some bows can actually be dangerous for babies.
As you add clothing to your registry, be aware that you’ll probably receive far more onesies than you actually request. Friends and family love to select cute outfits, with little thought for whether they’ll actually be used. Hence, the stereotypical problem of receiving dozens of newborn outfits that ultimately are donated. As such, it’s worth your while to focus on clothing in larger sizes.
Books & Toys
While newborns don’t particularly need a lot of toys, this will change quickly. Something to make tummy time a bit more enjoyable could be helpful. Otherwise, be prepared with toys catered for babies who develop the ability to grasp objects. Rattles and playmats, in particular, are useful. Depending on which experts you ask, walkers are either unnecessary or should be avoided at all costs.
Books are valuable from the get-go, as experts recommend that parents begin reading to newborns as soon as possible. Look for high-contrast board books with simple rhymes. During their first few months of life, infants are most intrigued by black and white books.
Not sure which titles to include? These favorites will delight parents and babies alike:
- Goodnight Moon
- Guess How Much I Love You
- Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
- Anything by Sandra Boynton
Items for New Mothers
After the challenges of delivery or adjusting to breastfeeding, new moms will be thrilled to have supplies on hand. These can take many forms, such as:
- Cookies, granola bars, tea, or other supplements to boost breastfeeding supply
- Lanolin or coconut oil
- Gift card for a massage or other spa service
- Gift card to the local coffee shop
- Breastfeeding pillows
- Breastfeeding tank tops or bras
- Trendy diaper bag
There’s no one correct way to develop a baby registry. Don’t get too stressed about adding products. Remember: this is a tool to help you, but it’s impossible to know exactly what you’ll need or what will prove most valuable until after your baby arrives.
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