I gingerly sorted through my baby registry as I sat in the hospital waiting room. Christmas was over and it was time for me to kick it into gear. My baby was due next month!
As added all of the last-minute items I thought I needed and completed my order for diaper wipes, bottle soap, and baby hand sanitizer….Do babies need their own hand sanitizer? And what was I really supposed to do with a white noise machine?
I heard my name called and quickly submitted my order, hoping I had everything. And If I didn’t, I still had time….
It’s hard to know what to buy as a first-time mom. There are so many “must-haves” for first-time moms that really leave most of us feeling dizzy, lost, and ready to pull our hair out.
Maybe you’ve been avoiding building a registry because all of it seems like a headache and you really don’t even know where to start. But, I know better than anyone, that your baby is coming whether you’re ready or not.
When You’re Out of Time
For me, it turned out I didn’t have anymore time. My appointment quickly went south and led to me being wheeled off to labor and delivery to be induced.
Some of the items I really needed, I had to do without until they arrived weeks later (like a rocking chair). Others that I had purchased ended up serving very little purpose (like baby hand sanitizer).
So maybe you have plenty of time, like I thought I did, or maybe you don’t. Either way, this list of first-time mom registry must-haves is here to help you sort through every item you need and every one that will just collect dust in your nursery.
30 First-Time Mom Registry Must-Haves to Ease Your Anxiety
What You Can’t Live Without
If you like to go on serious walks, a good stroller is worth investing in. If you plan on having more kids soon (less than three years apart), I’d suggest the City Select Stroller, because you can add or remove an extra seat. You do need an adaptor for your car seat.
Tip: Skip the car seat adaptor altogether and just wear your baby for walks until he/she is old enough to sit in the stroller–around 4 months.
If you aren’t a big walker and don’t plan on having another baby soon, one of the Chicco travel systems might be a better option (you get the car seat and stroller at a discounted price). With the travel systems, the car seat clicks right into the stroller.
Crib & Mattress
Babies typically sleep in a crib from 6 months-3 years (most also convert to toddler and full-sized beds). You can get a really nice one, but a basic one like this will do the job.
(Do your own research, start by reading this article about harmful chemicals in baby mattresses.)
The swing can be a lifesaver if your baby hates to be put down (which is the case with most newborns). You only use them for the first 6 months or so. This is not the item to splurge on.
If you can borrow one, great! If you plan on having more than one child, it might be worth just buying one that will get you through all of them. But remember you’ll have to store it between kids.
You need somewhere to place the baby while he/she sleeps at night and during the day. There are a lot of different options for this and the one that works for you really depends on you and your baby. You can use a bassinet, a Dock-A-Tot (which is not recommended for unsupervised sleep), Co-sleeper, or a pack-n-play.
The one that works for you is going to depend mainly on your preference and you want your baby to sleep and how determined you are to have them in their own sleep space.
A rocking chair is a must-have for any new mom. You need somewhere to feed your baby even if you decide not to rock him/her to sleep. I also recommend one that has an ottoman or a way to discreetly put your feet up. Sometimes things get rough in the middle of the night and you end up sleeping in the chair.
I would suggest getting a quality baby monitor that you can add an additional camera to if you plan on having more than one child. There’s nothing more annoying than a bright light on a baby monitor or feedback from a cheap monitor while you’re trying to get a precious few hours of sleep.
I love my bebcare baby monitor (you can use my link or the code librarianmom to get 10% off). It’s an emission-free baby monitor. Plus, you can buy a breathing mat to go with it that alerts you if there’s a change in your baby’s breathing.
You want a diaper pail to help keep the smell out of your space. I recommend the Ubbi Diaper Pail because it just uses kitchen trash bags so you don’t end up wasting money on expensive refills.
Some moms aren’t fans of wearing their babies and others love it. I wore mine when they were newborns because newborns like to be held 24/7 and I wasn’t great at sitting still all day. I used the Lillebaby Complete Airflow. The company also has YouTube videos that walk you through how to use it in each of the carry positions.
Feeding Registry Must-Haves for First-Time Moms
You need at least one bottle even if you’re breastfeeding so that someone else can feed your baby once in a while. I like the Comotomo bottles. This set gives you two of each size (5 oz for younger babies and 8 oz for older babies).
A nursing pillow is one of the first-time mom registry must-haves for moms who are breastfeeding (see my other breastfeeding essentials in this post). You basically need more hands than you have to feed a newborn and they nurse for about 30 minutes. This nursing pillow is recommended by lactation consultants and it was my favorite of the three I tried.
Milk Storage Bags
If you need to go back to work or if you just want to build up a freezer stash of breast milk, you’ll need some milk storage bags. I like the Lansinoh bags because you can pump directly into them (see my post, on pumping for new moms if you need help with pumping supplies).
Newborns spit up, some more than others. Either way, you’ll want a good stock of burp cloths. These are really cute, but most will do.
Clothing Essentials for the Minimalist Mom
Sleep and Plays
Get newborn sleep and plays with 2-way zip and mittens. 2-way zip means they zip open from the bottom and top so you can quickly change a diaper in the middle of the night without completely undressing your baby. And you want them to have mittens built-in to keep Baby from scratching him/herself.
As far as sizes go, you really never know. My babies were born early and wore “newborn” for 4-6 weeks, but some babies that are born big only wear “newborn” for a week or so. I’d recommend buying at least a few items in “newborn” and some in 0-3 months. You can always buy more after your baby is born, but you need enough to get you through the first week or so.
Most baby mittens constantly fall off. These stay on. I recommend two pairs so one can go in the wash.
These also stay on and come in a lot of cute colors.
Cooper Pearl Hats stay on, are adjustable, and come in cute colors that can also match their swaddle blankets.
Must-Haves to Keep Your Baby Clean & Healthy
This bathtub grows with your baby.
Every item in this kit is something I rushed to order at some point with my first baby. They are all great and all must-haves for first-time moms. You’ll be glad you have them when the time comes.
What First-Time Moms Need to Get Some Sleep
White Noise Machine
These help drown out noises to keep babies asleep. I like this white noise machine because it can be used as a nightlight too or to distract a fussy baby long enough to calm him/her down.
I like the Aden + Anais sheets because they’re breathable and keep Baby cool.
First-Time Mom Registry Must-Haves to Make Diaper Changes a Breeze
You want something that has a lot of open pockets so you can sort and quickly find items. It should open up fully so you can see everything. It also needs to have the option of being a backpack because what mom has an extra arm to hold a bag? I have the Fawn Design Original Diaper bag, but there are a lot of options on Amazon, including the Miss Fong dupe for the Fawn Design bag. If you want a more basic backpack style, this is their current best seller and this one also includes a space to lay your baby and anything you could need from a diaper bag.
Tip: I also put my babies in Huggies Overnites once they could wear a size 2 (I put them in size 3 Overnites, which is the smallest size they make) so they wouldn’t need a diaper change during the night (or fewer diaper changes during the night).
For a Newborn, you should use Water Wipes since they only contain water and a small amount of fruit extract.
Last Minute Items to Add
Lounger or Baby Seat
You need something to quickly set the baby down in if you need to go to the bathroom or take a shower (or do anything else that requires you not to be holding a baby). You can use a Dock-A-Tot, a lounger of some sort, or a bouncer. Whatever works for you. You just need something for this purpose.
I really like this Take Along Mobile. You can clip it anywhere and a mobile is a great way to occupy a baby while you fold clothes or work on something in their room (after they‘re a few months old).
Play gyms are great for occupying a baby who’s a few months old. They love looking at the toys and practicing rolling.
Extras that Aren’t Worth It
Before you start thinking that you need everything, let’s touch on some of the items you really don’t need and will probably regret buying. Again, this can be different for every mom, but here are some of the classic things that we waste money on.
Too many diapers in small sizes
For some reason, everything you read about babies says to stock up on diapers like crazy. Yes, it’s great to have diapers, but babies go through those first few sizes crazy fast. And remember that every baby grows at his/her own pace, so there’s no formula to how many of each size you’ll need. Ask for receipts and don’t save more than one box in each size (until size 4).
Diapers from brands that don’t work for your baby
Again, diapers. My baby leaked out of certain brands of diapers so bad that I decided to just stick with what worked. So don’t stock up before you know what works for your baby.
Outfits in small sizes
When your baby is a newborn, it isn’t easy to change his/her clothes. You also have to change their diapers often and taking off shoes, socks, pants, and unsnapping a onesie, gets old. Plus, you don’t leave the house very often. Get a few outfits in those first few sizes for pictures and taking your baby out, but don’t overdo it. Plus, they grow fast! They’ll be in the next size before you know it.
Baby shoes can be expensive and most of them just fall off anyway. Save your money and buy one or two pairs of booties in a size up so they can wear them for a while. They don’t really need shoes until they start standing and walking anyway.
Multiple Loungers/Sleep Spaces
I saw tons of people talk about how useless the Dock-A-Tot was to them, while others raved about it. What was the difference? The people who found it useless, had no use for it because they had tons of similar items. You don’t need a crib, Dock-A-Tot, bassinet, pack-n-play, and three baby loungers. These can all serve the same or similar purposes–setting/laying your baby down. You need a sleep space and something that can be moved around the house with you.
Stuff you don’t want to use
If you don’t take walks, you probably don’t need an expensive stroller. If you hate the idea of strapping your baby to you and rarely leave the house, you probably aren’t going to use a baby carrier. Be realistic about who you are and think about what you’ll use. If something changes, you can always buy those items later on.
There you have my list of things first-time mom registry must-haves. Don’t forget to grab your free Baby Registry Checklist! If you’re a first-time mom, I hope you find this list helpful. Save this post or send it to a friend who’s a first-time mom and needs help with her registry. Also, check out my post on Everything You Need to Know as a First-time Mom to help you navigate this exciting and anxiety-causing time!