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Baby Registry Checklist: Must-Haves for a Newborn

Learning that you’re going to have a baby is a magical, exciting time—for about 30 seconds, before the doubt kicks in. There’s nothing like the impending need to support the life of a tiny human to make you feel overwhelmed. Babies need so much—so much care, so much attention…so much stuff.

Enter the baby registry checklist. Armed with a list of baby registry essentials to support a newborn in every aspect of life, a checklist can help make at least one piece of the new-parent puzzle a bit less puzzling.

When should you make a baby registry?

There’s no wrong time to start creating a baby registry (although, since many registries ask you to list a due date, you might run into some logistical hurdles if you’re planning a registry before there’s a pregnancy).

It’s common for parents-to-be to begin building a registry around the same time as they announce the happy news, which is often around week 12 of pregnancy.

Around week 20, when many parents-to-be learn the sex of their baby, their registry-building kicks into a higher gear as they decide on nursery decorations and clothing to add to the baby registry.

Check out more of our tips on when to make a baby registry here.

Find a baby registry: Where to register?

Many stores offer the ability to create a baby registry, so before you start registering, you’ll want to think about how to maximize your registry strategy. Different stores have different advantages and disadvantages for specific needs, such as budget, available product brands, and ease of shopping in-store or online.

For example:

  • Amazon has a huge variety of products but can be less appealing to someone who wants to see and touch what they’re buying.
  • BuybuyBABY is a great one-stop shop for everything on your newborn must-have list, but the small number of stores scattered throughout the country can be limiting.
  • Target has great prices but frequently discontinues merchandise, meaning you’ll need to revisit your baby registry often to make sure that items are still available.

There’s nothing wrong with creating two or even three baby registries at different stores to fulfill different needs.

Baby registry ideas

Here’s your list of baby registry essentials covering the first year of your child’s life. Keep in mind that you’ll also need items like baby gates, drawer latches, and other babyproofing equipment a bit later in life, once your baby becomes mobile. You can register for these and other toddler gear like utensils and sippy cups—if you don’t mind storing them for a year or so. Whenever you see something on the baby registry checklist that’s washable, like crib sheets or swaddle blankets, you’ll want to register for 3–5 of that item. (For clothes, make that 10–12 complete outfits.) Spit-up and diaper blowouts happen, and you want to have enough backups on hand to make a quick change and get back to comforting that kiddo, without worrying about constantly doing laundry. (Don’t forget to pretreat the stain with Dreft Laundry Stain Remover, though.)

Clothespin diapers dry

Baby furniture:

Babies need plenty of special furniture to fill up their nursery. Here are the baby registry essentials.

  • Crib
  • Crib mattress
  • Changing table
  • Dresser
  • Rocking chair or recliner (if you have space)
  • Bassinet
  • Rocker
  • Bouncy seat
  • Activity mat

Bedding and baby sleep:

Give both your child and yourself the gift of an ideal sleeping environment with these must-have baby registry items. (If they’re still up all night screaming, at least you’ll know you’ve done what you can.)

  • Crib sheets
  • Crib mattress pad
  • Bassinet sheets
  • Swaddle blankets or swaddle sacks (if choosing swaddle sacks, select varying sizes to grow with the baby)
  • Monitor
  • White noise machine
  • Blackout curtains (for parents’ bedroom and nursery)
  • Pacifiers
  • Board books
  • Night light or dim lamp (for middle-of-the-night diaper changes)

Bathing:

Whether you’re bathing a one-week-old in the kitchen sink or watching an older baby learn to splash in the tub, these are your bath-time baby registry essentials.

  • Nonslip mat for tub (for use when baby is old enough to sit up)
  • Temperature gauge for water
  • Faucet cover
  • Tear-free formula baby shampoo/body wash
  • Baby lotion
  • Washcloths
  • Hooded towel
  • Safety cotton swabs
  • Simple bath toys, like rubber ducks and pouring cups

Clothing:

Honestly, you probably won’t need to register for much clothing because people love to buy baby clothes without you even asking for them—but here are the overall types of clothes to consider for your baby registry checklist.

  • One-piece footie pajamas or “sleep-and-plays”
  • Onesies (short- and long-sleeved)
  • Pants (soft and stretchy)
  • Socks
  • Jacket
  • Swim outfit
  • Sun hat
  • Winter hat
  • Mittens
  • Snowsuit or snow sack
  • “Special occasion” outfits (holidays, church, etc.)

Feeding:

From breastmilk or formula to cereals and purees, the items on this baby registry checklist will keep your little one eating right.

  • Bottles
  • Bottle brush
  • Bottle drying rack
  • Bottle warmer
  • Breast pump (if breastfeeding and not covered by insurance)
  • Nursing pillow
  • Burp cloths
  • High chair
  • Bibs
  • Long-handled spoons for feeding
  • Silicone teething toys

Diapering:

Keeping baby’s butt clean and dry is a job all its own, with the gear to match. Whether you choose cloth diapers or disposables, when making a baby registry checklist, don’t forget these.

  • Diapers (cloth or disposable)
  • Diaper pail
  • Wipes (disposable or reusable)
  • Diaper rash cream

Travel:

When you’re out and about with baby, you’ll need some equipment to keep them safe and make your life easier. Here are your baby registry must-haves.

Health and safety:

Sometimes kids get sick. Sometimes they need grooming. That’s just the way it is. Add these items to your baby registry for good health.

  • First aid kit
  • Baby thermometer
  • Rubber bulb for mouth
  • Snot sucker for nose
  • Nail clippers
  • Comb

Laundry

Washing baby clothes is a little different from your weekly round of washing and drying. That’s partly because of the stains (baby poop, baby food, baby oil, baby everything), and partly because you need to use a hypoallergenic detergent that’s gentle on baby’s skin. As the #1 pediatrician-recommended baby detergent, we feel pretty confident you’ll want multiple Dreft products on your baby registry, plus a few more items that will make your baby laundry routine a breeze.

What not to put on your baby registry list

It’s easy to get carried away with your baby registry ideas, but there are a few things you can leave off your baby registry.

  • Crib bumpers: While crib bumpers were popular baby accessories just a few years ago, they’ve been linked to suffocation deaths and are banned in some states.
  • Baby shoes for newborns or young babies: The current understanding of baby shoes is that they can derail foot development if used when babies are too young. You can put shoes on your newborn for photos if you want, but stick to bare feet and socks most of the time.
  • Wipe warmer: This seems like a great way to make diaper changes more comfortable, but that’s only until you have to change a diaper on the go and your child can’t handle a room-temperature wipe. Worse than that, warmers can dry out wipes, giving them a shorter shelf life.
  • Baby food making kit: Register for specialty kits if you must, but it’s really not necessary; most purees can be made in the blender or food processor.
  • Baby clothes: If there are specific clothes you want, go ahead and register for them, but you’ll find that many people will want to pick out their own baby clothes and give them to you regardless of whether they’re on your registry.
  • Baby toys: Just like baby clothes, people love to give baby toys—plus, most kids aren’t all that interested in toys beyond rattles and teethers until they’re in the toddler stage.

While we aim to give you the ultimate baby registry checklist, you might discover you need more, fewer, or different items than what appears on this list. Every family is different, and you can always request gift cards to your favorite stores or return items you discover you don’t need.

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