9 Must-Have Baby Registry Items (And 5 to Avoid)
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Do we really need all this stuff?
The world is filled with products to make parenting easier, so you’ve got to be wondering which baby registry items are must-have and which are best avoided if you’re having a baby, thinking of having a baby, or know someone who’s having a baby.
We asked well-seasoned and newbie moms about the products they absolutely couldn’t live without, along with all the gifts they regret ever asking for. What did they say?
Read on for our list of “must haves” and “don’t bothers”!
9 baby products to definitely have on your registry:
It’s a big investment, but strollers make traveling around with your baby SO much more convenient. They are a pretty big ask for a registry as they can be expensive, but don’t let that deter you from adding a nice stroller to the list. Often, multiple people may want to go in together and give the stroller as a group gift to lower their individual expense.
“Some blogs say that strollers aren’t worth it, but I totally disagree. I think they have a ton of value, especially if you’re having more than one kid. It’s nice to get one that’s light and easy to get into the car! I love my stroller!” — Kelly
“A stroller is an absolute MUST for any active mamma. I love my jogger as it’s newborn friendly now with the car seat and will continue to be functional through my little guy’s toddler years! PLUS, it’s heavy duty!” — Amber
2. Nursing pillow.
This u-shaped pillow is probably one of the most functional baby products out there! Aside from providing support to your baby in a number of positions, you can buy a slipcover for the pillow that zips off for easy washing. They also come is a wide variety of colors and patterns!
“Boppy = GOLD! I love this for breastfeeding, tummy time, bottle feeding, etc. It’s just the best multi-purpose baby tool!” — Amber
“I bought a My Brest Friend from a flea market for $5, and it has been one of my absolute most valuable purchases. Dollar for dollar, it has outstripped every other baby-related purchase. I have brought this pillow on 13+ hour plane rides, used it to nurse in the front seat of my car while making a pit stop on a road trip, and use it six times a day every day at home. It helps me position my baby in a way I can stand without my arms getting tired or worrying about pillows and blankets slipping from underneath me. I have had an extremely difficult and painful breastfeeding experience, and I would not have been able to continue if I hadn’t had this pillow.” — Virginia
“I found the Leacho pillow to be better than the Boppy pillows for nursing. It is thicker, so the baby will be raised up a bit higher. This is really nice if you’ve had a c-section. I also find this one to be better at support a larger/older baby because of the bigger size.” — Erica
3. Diaper bag.
Heading out for the day with a baby can feel like packing for an extended weekend trip. That’s why having a bag that keeps you organized, comfortable, and generally hands-free is SO necessary! There are many styles and colors available, you’re bound to find a design that’s perfect for you.
“These bags are a game changer. You’ll stay so organized and they have awesome stroller straps, which are padded so they seriously feel like my Vera Bradley backpack. It’s been the best one I’ve had so far — my youngest is 18 months now and it is still going strong. Really no signs of wear at all. And, believe me, I am not gentle with it. Best diaper bag ever!
I also have a diaper clutch. It’s a little bag just for diapers/wipes which makes them so easy to find in the diaper bag, plus it has its own handle so it’s super easy to carry it alone, or just pull it out for changes and not have to tote the whole bag.”— Stacy
“I love our backpack diaper bag. It’s so easy for me when I am out and about by myself and have to carry the diaper bag, car seat, etc. Plus, there’s so much room for stuff in it!!” — Vanessa
4. Baby carrier.
When you bring your baby home, you’ll likely want to snuggle that little bundle of joy without interruption. However, we all know that life loves interrupting your favorite moments. With a baby carrier, you can go about your day whether it’s around the house or running around town. It’s a win-win for everyone!
“Back when my kiddos were babies (my youngest is 11 now! 😢), I literally carried them around in a baby sling ALL DAY LONG. They were literally always attached to me. It was such a long time ago, so I am not positive on the brand, but I think it was similar to these HotSling’s Baby Slings. Personally, I love that these slings are so simple to use and keep the baby so close to you, other carriers seem so complicated to me (but maybe I often think things are complicated? 🤔). When I bought mine, they had different size options and the one I purchased fit perfectly – no adjusted necessary. I also loved that I could easily breastfeed when I was out and about as there was enough material to easily cover myself.” — Collin
“I love the Baby Ergo Mesh carrier with the infant insert. It doesn’t get overly hot because of the mesh fabric. Plus it’s a lifesaver to have free hands around the house while still feeling like you’re snuggling the baby.” — Kelly
“LOVE LOVE LOVE my cloth baby carrier. It’s the perfect combo for a fussy baby and a mamma that needs to get some stuff done. It’s like a magic cloth, puts him right to sleep.” — Amber
5. Swing or Bouncer.
After rocking your baby until you’ve lost all feeling in your arms, a rocking swing will be your savior. They gently rock your baby and can mimic movements like riding in the car, bouncing on your lap, and more! Even better, there are models on the market that can be controlled by your smartphone so you can change the setting without disturbing your baby.
Similar to a swing, bouncers soothe your baby in a relaxing position, except they are a lot more portable! You can move them from room-to-room or bring them with you while you’re traveling. Many models also come with attachable play centers to keep your baby entertained.
If you don’t happen to get either item from your registry, don’t fret! A couple of Hip2Save team members have been able to find gently used items on the Facebook Marketplace — and at a steal!
“The Mamaroo Swings are the best. thing. ever! They have fantastic resale value — I actually bought mine on the Facebook Marketplace for $75 and sold it a year later when we were done with it for the same exact amount! Buying them retail costs more, but I honestly would pay for it.” — Stacy
“The BabyBjorn Bouncer Seat is our son’s favorite! I love that he is learning to control his motions since it is baby-powered. We like that we can watch him enjoy himself. The flatter setting allows us to easily bounce him to sleep in his swaddle before we move him to the crib. The fabric is easy to remove and wash, and it folds very flat when not in use.” — Nicholas
“This Bright Starts Bouncer is amazing for the price. It’s perfect for travel, fits easily in any suitcase. We initially bought it for travel, but I love it even more than our bulky swing / rocker seat we have at home.” — Natalie
So your newborn won’t need this right away, but teethers are good to have on hand for when those tiny little teeth do start popping in. They come in all shapes, sizes, and designs so you’ll have no problem finding one that you and your baby love the most! Some even have soft silicone “bristles” that can act like a toothbrush to promote good hygiene habits early.
“My baby LOVES this Banana Toothbrush teether! I bought it for him when he was 3 months old (he started teething around 2.5 months) but it was hard for him to hold things since he was just starting to grab. This banana teether was very easy for him to grasp and put in his own mouth.” — Melissa
“Every baby needs a Sophie Giraffe teething toy. I have given to each of my 3 grandchildren. It becomes an instant favorite. The smell and taste and softness of this toy is like non other. I highly recommend for your baby – it is the best I have found on the market. It is a little pricey but worth the money because of how it is so soothing and how your baby will be quickly attached and entertained by it.” — Kippee
7. Bibs and burp cloths.
Baby bibs and burp cloths are a necessity for any household with a little one. Bibs will help prevent your little one’s adorable outfits from getting sopping wet from formula, breastmilk, or spit up, which will save you an outfit change. Plus, as your baby grows and teething begins, your baby will become a drool machine, so you’ll want an absorbent bib that can soak up everything and dry quickly.
And, burp cloths are a must if you’re wanting to protecting your clothes from spit ups after feedings! A burp cloth can help spare your wardrobe – and keep you feeling and smelling fresh. If you’re just wanting to purchase one or the other, consider getting a Burpy Bib that acts as a bib and a burp cloth!
“Bumkins are the greatest bib in the history of bibs! Through the last 12 years of babies and toddlers in our house (six kids spaced two years apart), these are the only bibs to last the test of time. We can wash them and wash them and wash them and they still look like new.” — Brook
“I am in love with the Aden & Anais bibs/burp cloths! My only wish is that they weren’t so darn expensive!! But these work sooo well! First off I like their size, they are huge! I also like that they are dual purpose, serving as either a bib or burp cloth, the only thing that separates it from one to the other, is a simple snap clasp in the back. These are also really thick for being muslin material.” — MC
8. Swaddle or Sleep Sack.
A swaddle, sleep sack, or baby wrap is essentially a swaddle blanket that your baby can wear to keep them comfortable and safe at night. They are also great for helping keep your baby from scratching themselves. Plus, there is an array of different styles and materials out there!
“Our baby could get out of a swaddle (yes, including the velcro kind) from birth. We could not keep him swaddled, and his wiggling would wake him. We ordered the Love to Dream Swaddle Up on the recommendation of a friend and LOVED IT.” — K
“HALO SleepSack Swaddles were a lifesaver for me as a first time mom. We used them from birth until baby boy started rolling at 4 months, at which point we stopped and transitioned into the plain HALO SleepSacks.” — Emily
9. Baby monitor.
A reliable baby monitor ensures you’re able to safely and securely keep an eye on your baby during nap time, overnight, or any time you need to step away for a moment. There are a lot of baby monitors on the market with different features, including breathing monitoring, wi-fi capabilities, and apps that monitor baby using only your existing devices, like your phone, tablet, or even computer!
“I am a first time Mom and I was told I didn’t need a video monitor but they seemed so helpful so I did a TON of research for weeks and found the Infant Optics DXR-8 and thought it was the best fit for my needs. This monitor is absolutely AMAZING!” — Kristen
“The Infant Optics Monitor is an outstanding baby monitor! It has all the features we could want: pan, zoom, night vision, intercom. What I love most about this monitor is that the company stands behind their product and has excellent customer support.” — James
5 Baby products to definitely skip on your registry:
1. Diaper Genie.
In theory, a diaper pail makes sense, but in reality, they’re just a pain. As reported by our group of moms, the overpriced trash cans end up smelling (even diffusing foul diaper odors claims), and they require special trash bags. Worth the spot on your registry? We think not.
“Changing out the bag was the worst, so I gave up quickly.” — Angela
“I just repurposed grocery bags instead.” — Alana
“The diaper genie is useless (it’s an added cost because you have to buy special bags for it). I feel like it just creates fights of who’s going to change the bag of the gross diapers just sitting in there.” — Kelly
“I personally like the diaper genie because I can’t stand the house smelling like 💩 BUT it’s like it just sits in the bag and steams, so every time we open the lid, I swear I gag. So I could totally understand skipping it and reusing produce bags, grocery bags, etc.” — Stacy
“Waste of money. It takes up room in our nursery and it doesn’t really block the smell.” — Amber
2. Wipe warmer.
I get the idea behind the wipe warmer — what parent wouldn’t want their baby to feel their best when they’re getting cleaned up (in addition to not waking a sleepy baby with the shock of a cold wet wipe)? That said, this machine is just more trouble than it’s worth. Skip out on adding this to your list and replace it with something useful.
“It always dried out the wipes.” — Angela
“Who even has time to warm up baby wipes??” — Kelly
3. Baby shoes.
When browsing through baby clothes, teeny tiny adorable little shoes seem to steal the show. I mean, we can’t deny the heart eyes that happen when we see them. But don’t let the cuteness win you over. Even with your good intentions to show baby shoes off, you’re much more likely to forget you have them until they’ve already grown out of them.
“They are so cute but no baby needs shoes. They don’t walk and would just kick them off anyway!” — Kelly
4. Changing table.
This one might cause a bit of question because it seems absolutely necessary, right? That’s until you experience the day-to-day life with your new baby. Trust us — you’re not going to find it crucial to stop mid-play or mid-snuggle to relocate to your changing table to switch out a dirty diaper. All of the moms we talked to agreed that those moments just happen on the spot.
“I ended up changing my babies wherever it was most convenient just by laying down a diaper changing pad.” — Collin
“I never had a changing table and we’re all good!” — Alana
5. Bottle sanitizer.
Don’t get us wrong, clean bottles are a must! But whatever method you end up using to get them clean isn’t quite as important as long as it gets the job done. Sure, the sanitizer will take some of the work out of it, but if you have a dishwasher that performs this same function, then going that route is just as good.
“All you really need is just soap and water. Or you could be lazy like me and wash bottles in the dishwasher on sanitize mode.” — Kelly
What have been your favorite baby gifts to get (or give)?
Please let us know in the comments below!