Baby registry must-haves that every parent should own

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Don’t let your baby shower date sneak up on you before setting up a registry for these infant must haves. More stores than ever offer baby registries, which make it easier on you to register and the people who want to buy you gifts. 

While you probably know about stocking up on diapers and wipes, there are other baby necessities that may come as a surprise that you really need — especially for a first-time parent.

multiracial group of women gathering for a baby shower.
Photo credit: Yayimages.

Baby registry must-haves

Retailers like Target and Amazon may have suggested items to add to your baby registry. However, real-life parents know the tried and true products that can help you get through those sleepless nights and exhausting yet exciting days of having a new baby.

These items really are must haves, especially if you’re juggling it all as a single parent.

So, as you get ready to register for a baby shower, of course add these necessities to this list:

  • Diapers (in various sizes)
  • Wipes
  • Car seat
  • Stroller
  • Crib

You can save money by buying store brand diapers at Costco.

However, don’t forget to add some of these other items that are sure to make life with a newborn just a bit easier (and if you want to have some fun, why not play baby shower pictionary)?

Side snap onesies

A young pregnant woman receiving gifts from her pretty friends at her babyshower.
Photo credit: Yayimages.

Believe it or not, putting a shirt over a newborn’s head can freak them out. Maybe it’s a flashback to the birth canal experience. 

To make undressing and dressing your baby less stressful for everyone involved, choose side snap onesies or bodysuits for your baby registry. Their design ensures that nothing has to go over your baby’s head while getting dressed.

Memory book

You’re sure to be taking lots of pictures of your baby. However, have you thought about how you’ll capture what you’re thinking and feeling as you snap those pics for Instagram?

That’s why Jessica Haggard of Easy Homemade Life recommends adding a memory book to your baby gift registry.

“There are so many new experiences and memories that happen in the first days and years of having a new baby that it’s impossible to remember them all,” she says. “Having a place to document all the best ones becomes a valuable momento to the whole family as time goes on.”

Special laundry detergent

Newborn skin can be sensitive skin. So, you’ll probably want to wash your baby’s clothes, towels and bedding separately and use a special laundry detergent made for sensitive skin. Look for the dye-free and scent-free kind.

Another option? Make your own DIY powdered laundry detergent

Baby carrier

What is a baby carrier? Well, that’s a bit of a misnomer.

Why? Because a baby carrier is actually something that helps you to wear your baby.

You may have heard of brands like Baby Bjorn. These baby carriers let you, basically, strap your baby to your chest. 

Mother with a baby in a carrier backpack stands near the gate in the yard.
Photo credit: Yayimages.

Isabelle Frederick of Mama’s Buzz discovered early on how invaluable a baby carrier could be. 

“I always thought a stroller would be the way to go when I was out and about with my baby,” she says, “but there have been so many times a carrier is more practical and keeps my baby more content.”

That’s because some babies just want to be held all the time, which is sweet but also impractical. Isabelle discovered that “using a carrier frees up your hands so you can hold them while doing other things. Wearing your baby in a carrier can also be an easier way to help them nap when you’re away from home.”

Her baby carrier of choice? The Ergobaby Omni Breeze.

Infant car seat stroller combination 

Speaking of napping babies, they are notorious for falling asleep in the car. And the last thing you want to do is wake that sleeping baby when you take them out of the car.

So, it makes a lot of sense to ask for an infant car seat that snaps right into a stroller. That way if the baby is sleeping when you get to your destination, you can transfer them from your vehicle into a stroller without having to unbuckle them from the seat.

When looking to add this item to your registry, keep in mind that different manufacturers call this product by different names. So you might see it listed like this: 

  • Car seat and stroller set
  • Car seat stroller combo
  • Travel system strollers
  • Baby stroller 3 in 1 with car seat
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Must haves for nursing mothers

If you choose to breastfeed, you’ll need to stock up on additional necessities. So, consider adding these breastfeeding must-haves to your baby registry.

Breast pump and bottles

Even if you plan to breastfeed exclusively, there may be times you will want to pump. For example, what if you want to hire a babysitter that will overlap with your baby’s feeding time? So, it makes sense to invest in a breast pump so your baby has milk to drink while you are away.

Today’s breast pumps are mobile and dual action. That means they can pump both breasts simultaneously, which reduces the time you’re attached to the machine. 

Of course, you’ll need to add bottles to your baby registry, too. Be sure to choose BPA-free ones.

Nursing scarf, blanket or cover up

Woman is breastfeeding her child in a park, sitting on bench, hiding behind a stroller.
Photo credit: Yayimages.

You should feel free to nurse your baby whenever they need to eat. However, you may want a smidge of privacy if you’re out in public.

Therefore, it’s smart to ask for a nursing scarf or blanket so you can cover yourself up if you so please.

Micah Klug of Home Faith Family calls nursing scarves “a practical and versatile baby item to add to your gift registry,” she says. “Nursing scarves are usually made from soft, lightweight fabric, making them comfortable for both mother and baby. They’re easy to pack and take with you on the go, and they can be machine washed for easy cleaning.”

In addition to providing nursing mothers with privacy while breastfeeding in public, they can serve a range of other purposes. This includes:

  • sunshade for a sleeping baby
  • light blanket
  • carrier cover

Pretty nursing bras

Gone are the days of ugly, white utilitarian nursing bras. Plenty of stores, including Amazon, now stock pretty nursing bras and bralettes. Some of these are even designed for women who need bras for big busts.

Nursing pads

If you happen to experience let-down — it’s a tingling feeling when your milk releases from your breasts–without your baby around, you could end up with stains on the front of your shirt. The sound of another baby crying can even cause an unexpected let-down.

That’s why it’s a good idea to add nursing pads to your baby registry. Nursing pads go inside your bra to catch any liquid release. You can choose reusable nursing pads or disposable ones. 

Large reusable water bottles

One of the keys to keep your milk supply up is to stay hydrated. So, if you don’t already have a large, dishwasher-safe reusable water bottle, add it to your registry list.

Better yet: choose a brand that offers a lifetime guarantee

Leah Ingram is the author of 15 books, including “Suddenly Frugal: How to Live Happier and Healthier for Less” and “The Complete Guide to Paying for College.” She shares shopping advice for getting the most value for your time and money at 

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