My friend L is having a baby in July and asked me to write her a list of things she should sign up for when she makes her registry. I made a list of needs and wants based on my own experiences as a new mom.

Needs:
Changing table – Bending over a bed to change the baby gets really tiring on your back. Some people have a changing station on top of their dresser in their bedroom, which could work, but I recommend getting a separate table. We have the most basic model (Sniglar) from Ikea and for us it is the best thing ever. It’s small, so doesn’t take up a lot of space, and has a shelf underneath to put diapers and wipes, etc. New it’s $40. I found one on Craigslist for $15 and just bought a new pad for up top. We use ours at least 5 times a day, more when V was a newborn.

Bassinet – This is a little bed that baby uses after he or she comes home, until about 3 months. A Bassinet is much smaller than a crib and can go right next to your bed. They also sell a “Moses basket” which is also good, but then you’d have him in the basket on the floor and I didn’t like that idea. You will only need it for 3 months and that time goes by fast. It’s also good because the baby monitor slips easily and comfortably under the mattress. It even has wheels which is good because often we would move it to the living room during the day when she would nap, and then roll it back to our room at night.

Graco Angelcare Movement Sensor With Sound Monitor– This one is sooo important and it’s really a great product. We are very happy with ours. Not only does it have a monitor for listening to the baby, but it has a pad sensor that you slip under the mattress and the monitor will beep if the baby stops breathing. You will sleep so much better at night not having to worry if your baby is breathing or not.

Swaddle blanket(s)- Swaddling is important. Baby will be swaddled probably for the first three months. I wasn’t really a believer in this at first, but after learning that new babies like to feel as if they are still warm inside the womb, and after seeing that V really slept better when she was swaddled, I became convinced. You will need a good blanket (the correct size) or two to have on hand. I like these ones: Receiving Blankets.

Lots of bibs – Not much explanation here, but some bibs are a better quality than others. I recommend Carter’s Dribble Happy Bibs that have a plastic lining between the cloth material. That way whatever is wet won’t leak through and make the baby wet. I have about 9 small ones for the drooling and 9 large ones for when she was eating.

Plain cloth diapers as burp clothes – You will need a lot of these. We had at least 16 at one time because you will go through about 5 to 7 of them in a day. You will need them close at hand when baby burps up or to put over your shoulder when you are burping him. I even put one in the bassinet for V when she was drooling a lot. Gerber Cloth Diapers are basic ones that are a very good size and useful.

Fitness Ball – This was great for gently bouncing the baby to get her to fall asleep and man, did we use this a lot in the first months! It was the equivalent of having a rocking chair. I also used mine in the hospital and also used it for stretches before and after the baby was born.

BABYBJÖRN – We preferred to use a carrier rather than a stroller. It was just so much more convenient and I think it was healthier for me too to get out of the house and go for a walk with the baby in the carrier, rather than push the stroller. Bjorns can be expensive but to us it was worth it. My husband wore it most of the time though I was comfortable wearing it too. There are several different models that you might want to review before you choose. We have this one and it’s very good.

Baby nail clippers – I never would have thought of this before V was born, but luckily my mom had bought them for her and boy, do we use them often for her. Her hands are so small and so the nails grow what seems to be very quickly. Nail Clipper is what we use and not expensive.

Bath tubFisher-Price Bath is the one we use for V. V is 10 months old and still using it, though I have the feeling we will have to change that soon. She’s getting very big for it. It’s nice because it fits over our kitchen sink so it’s very comfortable for us to reach her and bath her. Of course, one of us is always next to her to keep her from moving too much.

Also, a good thermometer is important. My husband researched them and bought Braun Thermoscan Ear Thermometer. My mom is a nurse practitioner and this is the same model that she uses. They are great because it reads the temperature from the ear and takes only 4 to 5 seconds. That’s great when you have a squirming baby that doesn’t want to hold still.

Obviously you’ll need a car seat and stroller. There are hundreds of models. This is a personal choice.

And I haven’t even mentioned clothing or diapers, imagine? That will be totally up to you, which brands you want.

Wants:
Play gym – Actually, for me this would be a “must”, but since it’s technically a toy, I have it under this column instead. V was under this, looking at the toys and playing with it from 2 months until 7 months. It really was a super toy for her. It kept her entertained for such a long time. There are many models but I think Tiny Love makes the best. We have Tiny Love Gymini and it was perfect.

Swing– This is nice to have. When you are tired and the baby is fussy, put him in this, turn it on and it will calm him down. V liked hers so much that she became addicted to it and couldn’t fall asleep unless she was swinging in her swing. Finally my husband said enough is enough, no more swinging (because we couldn’t get her to fall asleep in her bassinet anymore), so be careful with this one 🙂 My brother gave us this one: Fisher-Price Cradle Swing

“White noise” sound machine – V still uses this every day for taking a nap and going to sleep at night. We play the nature sounds ( crickets or waterfall) and it helps her sleep because it is not so quiet in the room. There are probably better ones than this one, but Fisher-Price is durable (V bangs it up a lot) and works really well for us:

Sleep sack – After baby grows out of the swaddle blanket, a sleep sack is very good. This is the “wearable blanket”. V still wears these to sleep at night and probably will for another year. Now when she rolls around we don’t worry that she gets tangled in a blanket. She sleeps comfortably and is warm. Having 2 of these in one size on hand is good: Halo SleepSack

Exersaucer – This is another “toy” but very useful. V is in hers 2 to 3 times a day, every day after she eats. She’s in there for about 10 minutes or however long she lasts. She started using it from 3 months I think. Evenflo makes the most popular models: Evenfo Farmyard ExerSaucer

I’m sure I’ve missed other important items. Readers, let me know what else has been useful to you.

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