Do a quick search on Pinterest and you will find a ridiculous number of “must have” posts for your baby registry! From generation to generation, mothers across the ages have prepared for the arrival of their babies…some more than others. With all the trends that come and go, there are some essentials (necessary or “nice to have”) that remain the same. Again, a quick search on Pinterest and you’ll find plenty of opinions on what those things are. Here’s mine. It’s probably not worth the paper it would take to print it out, but I offer it all the same.
- A car seat: You cannot drive away from the hospital with your baby without one. Whether you choose the infant carrier or an all-in-one convertible seat, be sure it meets all the latest safety standards. There is a plethora of options so do your research and consider your immediate needs and your best guess as to where you will be in a few years. Then make sure your baby’s seat is installed correctly. I understand there are now people you can hire to do this. Or you can swing by the local fire department and have them double check the job.
- A safe place to sleep: The choices here are larger than I thought back when I was picking out cribs. We personally went with the convertible crib-toddler-full bed option. (My son is in the full-size bed and the old changing table is his dresser.) But I have friends and family whose babies would not sleep in a crib and others who chose not to have their baby sleep in another room. Again, do your research and choose what fits for your family.
- A baby carrier, stroller, or both: Getting around with your precious little bundle quickly becomes a lot of work. I was surprised with each baby how quickly 8 pounds of infant tires out the arms, shoulders, and back! The infant carrier I had with my youngest was a lifesaver when navigating the grocery store with him and his older sisters! The jogging stroller I had was wonderful for getting back to my fitness goals, but it did not navigate well through store aisles when shopping for ways to keep all three growing kiddos clothed. Which brings me to…
- Baby clothes: Stop right there. Do you have pictures of ruffled dresses, smocked rompers, and baby jeans going through your head? Those are cute and, yes, you probably do want them, but trust me, you do not need to register for those items. Everybody loves to buy cute, fashionable baby clothes. You’ll get them. Don’t waste the registry space. Instead, COTTON ONESIES and ZIP-FROM-THE-BOTTOM SLEEPERS (trust me…middle of the night diaper changes are just easier with no snaps and not completely undressing Baby.) Let Grandma and Great-Aunt Betty shop for the high-fashion. Use your registry to remind them to not forget what Baby will actually live in.
- Diapers and Wipes: ‘Nuff said…
Well, maybe not. From cloth to eco-friendly to traditional Pampers, Huggies, and Luvs, you have more decisions to make. Just don’t open everything you get before they are needed. I did not do my research and missed the whole new world of cloth diapering…and services. I had pictured cloth diapering as the old-school foldable cloths, big safety pins, and rubber pants. And I may have still gone with disposables if I had known of today’s cloth diapers. But each baby is different. My oldest could only wear Pampers. Huggies leaked and Luvs gave her a rash. My middle was a Pampers and Luvs wearer. And my youngest only wore Huggies. For him, Pampers leaked and Luvs exploded. So wait until you learn what is going to work long-term for your little one before you open all the packages. Plus, most retailers will allow parents to exchange unopened packs for a larger size. Take my word for it. Your tiny little bundle is going to grow right before your eyes!
- Feeding essentials: Whether you choose breastfeeding or bottle, you will need some supplies…breast pumps and milk storage bags…a couple different bottle styles (It’s amazing how picky some babies are! After all my research, only one of my babies approved of my choice.)…Nursing cover? Nursing pillow? We are all different and I don’t tend to criticize a mother on how she chooses to feed her baby. But whatever you choose, Baby is going to need to eat. Be prepared…and flexible.
- Baby First Aid Supplies: Take it to the bank…Baby will wait for Friday night or crack of dawn Saturday morning to get sick. Make sure to have a baby thermometer, Baby Tylenol, nasal aspirator, etc. on hand.
- Diaper bag: All the items above have to go somewhere! Find a style bag that works for you and make it quality because it is going to get used and abused.
- Changing pad: Be sure to include an easy to clean changing pad in that diaper bag. Public places (and the backseat of the family car) are gross, not to mention what those used diapers will be holding.
- Professional Photography Service: I know, this sounds very self-serving (what else would you expect from a photographer), but hear me out. Your personal cellphone and camera are perfect for day-to-day moments. I use my cellphone to snap pics of my kiddos all the time. But there are some things taking photos with your camera/phone cannot provide. For starters, either you, your spouse, or someone else who is part of the moment has to take the picture and, therefore, not be in it. Hiring a professional photographer allows for all those participants in either the birth or welcoming Baby to fully embrace and focus on the moment at hand. Another reason to consider is what quality of images would you get on your own compared to what a skilled professional will produce? Which images would you prefer to place in frames and albums around your home? As a consumer, I understand what an investment in a quality professional photographer is. That’s why I am making provision to offer birth and newborn session registries. Of all the items listed above, which will last longer than beautiful portraits of your birth/newborn story? Possibly the convertible crib…if your babies are gentler on furniture than mine.