Baby Registry Must Haves and Must Nots

February 14th, 2011

I’ve learned a lot in the nine months I’ve been a mom. A lot of what I’ve learned saves me time and money, two things I do not have a lot of extra to use all willy nilly. See, when you spend $20,000 out of pocket on IVF, a year-and-a-half later you’re still rather strapped for cash. The only thing I’ve really blogged about since Paisley was born is her. Which, given that this site was created about her, makes sense. However, I’ve kind of let that connection to other moms online go by simply bragging about my daughter’s endless epic accomplishments.

So last week when a mommy-to-be friend reached out asking if there was anything I thought she absolutely needed on her baby registry and what she didn’t need to waste her time on, I quickly hammered out a list. I don’t think there’s ever been an easier list for me to put together, it just flowed out of my fingers. I remember registering for three hours at Babies R Us and another almost two hours at Target (not to mention all the time I put in on our Amazon registry) and then later realizing it was such a waste of time!

There are things that are essential, and I’ve listed them here, all based on what I actually registered for and what I actually ended up not being able to live without. I’ve also included the things that you don’t need, that the marketers are trying to take advantage of your tender, emotional state. Who the hell needs a $6 pacifier carrier?? Stick it in your pocket! Germ-phobe? Plastic baggy.


Diapers and more diapers. Register for a lot of these. I’d focus on size 1 and some NB, they won’t be in those for too long. We didn’t have to buy our first box of diapers until Paisley was 4-months-old. Save the gift receipts from showers and don’t open the diaper boxes until you’re ready to use them, that way you can return them to store to swap sizes later.

*** On the note of diapers. I’ve only ever bought them from For us they’ve always been cheaper than BRU, Target, Sams. Your first purchase is 15% off w/ my code BabyOrBust (and I get $10) and I think you get 15% cashback on diapers for 3mo. That’s also where I order my formula. I order it by the case, again, cheaper than anywhere I’ve found per-ounce.

Nipple Shields. Avent makes them. If you plan on nursing you will want these. Paisley fed better w/ them and I didn’t hurt hardly at all (where as w/o them I cussed like a sailor and begged her not to be hungry!).

Changing Pad (not a table). We just put the changing pad on top of a chest of drawers. One less expense, piece of furniture and saves space. Also, 1-2 changing pad covers with a handful of the flat changing pads.

High Chair. We got the “Fisher Price SpaceSaver,” it’s a seat that goes on our dining room chairs. So again, less money, saves space, and it can go where we go if we need to. We love it!

Cloth Diapers. One package of these will go a long way for burp cloths. We also laid them under her head during naps so she wouldn’t spitup on the couch.

Boppy and 1-2 covers. This should be on your hospital packing list. It’s a GOD send! Great for supporting baby and your arms during nursing, safe place to prop them up on the floor. Pais used to take naps in hers, and now it’s where I lay her to feed herself. My niece also uses it as a booster at the table. You’ll get a crazy amount of use out of it.

Bumbo. This is the foam seat w/ the “horn” on the middle. This we use almost daily. She can sit in it on the kitchen counter (corralled in a corner of course), on-the-go high chair, or if you just want her to sit in one place for a minute. They’re kind of pricey so if no one gets it for you, look for used ones at consignment sales. I think we got ours for $10. (You do not need the tray.)

One or Two good play things. i.e. a swing, playmat, bouncy chair. But you don’t need 10 of these. Also a good consignment sale find, or a borrow from friends who have moved on and theirs is gathering dust.

Stroller. I could honestly go either way on this. I kind of regret spending the $300 on the big fancy infant-seat stroller, instead of just getting a really nice umbrella stroller for a lot less. We’ve rarely used it w/ the infant seat, she usually lays or sits in it. So that’s kind of a judgment call on how much you think you’ll be out and about. End point: You’ll need a stroller.

Bibs. These are surprisingly pricey, so scan 2 or 3 of the big jumbo multi-color packs and you’ll be set. We started using ours at a month or two – great for catching bottle dribble.

Thermometer. A nice digital, and by nice not ridiculously expensive. We have one that you press on her temple, press a button, and 2 secs later it shows up.

Baby monitor. Something with a decent distance on it. Unless you want it, video isn’t necessary (especially given the recall this week!).

2-3 crib sheets and 1 mattress cover. Always have a clean spare and one in use.

Baskets. I got a bunch of matching large baskets from Target. One holds blankets in her closet, one holds toys in her closet, one is for laundry, one keeps diapers, wipes, lotion, nose sucker, etc on the changing table and one stores toys in the living room. You will find lots of uses for them.

Humidifier. We run Paisley’s nightly, helps w/ her congestion and winter dry skin. Doc’s orders.

Steamer and Food Processor. I make my own baby food. I do it for a lot of reasons, and by no means “preaching” except to say that I paid pennies per meal as opposed to $1 per meal on jarred foods. Not to mention, I control what she eats. Think about this now, because it means putting a good food processor, countertop steamer, about two dozen plastic ice cube trays on your baby registry. YOU DO NOT need special containers, cookbooks, etc.


Clothes. You’re going to get so many anyway, and what you scan is rarely there when people go back, so just skip it. (This goes for shoes too!) Use returned gift credit and gift cards to get onesies and socks that may not have been gifted.

Special baby laundry soap. We use no-dye, no-scent, etc. Target-brand All.

Expensive toiletries. I bought the biggest bottle of Target’s yellow baby wash and we still haven’t used all of it, and I think it was $2. I’ve never used powder once. I do, however, have a big jar of Boudreaux’s butt paste for diaper rash that’s the best! And she uses baby Aveeno lotion.

Towels and washcloths. A couple are fine, but you don’t need a ton. Pais is 9mo and is pretty much outgrowing her baby towels, and it’s usually easier to just reach in the cabinet and pull out one of ours.

Expensive bottles. We started off w/ Avent bottles at like $10 a piece (and you constantly have to replace the expensive nipples). Then we switched to the Playtex “VentAire Avanced” – it’s like $8 for 3 or something and they’re perfect. So yes you need bottles, but not pricey/fancy ones.

Miscellaneous Crap We didn’t get the fancy travel changing pad, I usually keep one of her receiving blankets in the diaper bag. (Which I just have a cute canvas “beach” tote from Target instead of one of those HUGE diaper bags – a don’t need.) We didn’t get the fancy little pacifier carrier. Basically, skip the super specialty items, you really don’t need them.