For All the Pregnant Ladies: A Guide to Registering and Buying Baby Stuff

After a long and busy weekend, I am busy recovering and getting my week’s To Do list together.  Unfortunately, this means that I did not have time to put together my Week 26 photos yet.  However, I did get to add more information to a list of things to register for and buy that I have been compiling for a while after a baby shower I attended this last Saturday.  If you’re pregnant, just had a baby, or have had a baby for some time, I’d love for you to check this out and comment on what I’m missing.

Happy baby in a Graco car seat

I did some research in a number of different places in order to get this information on the things that you need when you have your first baby.  I asked four friends who recently had babies what they loved, what they thought was necessary, and what they thought was useless.  If people thought something was useless, it isn’t on this list.  However, this list is structured based on a list that compiled from Kathleen Huggins’ book The Expectant Parents’ Companion:  Simplifying What to Do, Buy or Borrow for an Easy Life with Baby.   Huggins offers advice on the absolute essentials and then points out everything that you can borrow or forget about.  I highly recommend checking out her book.  When I list features that you should look for, they come from either Consumer’s Reports Buying Guides or Consumer’s What to Look For sections.  They are not complete lists, as I whittled them down based on what was really important to me.

With that in mind, if you think something is missing from this list, I would love for you to share!

Car seat

Recommended Features

-Should have a 5 pt. harness that is ez for us to use but hard for the baby

-Canopy:  Try to get one that is reversible (moves 180 degrees) and has a window

What Friends Said

Two votes out of four for the Graco travel system until month 8 or so, Graco Snug Ride in particular.  Chicco brand is popular.  Two more votes out of five for the Peg Perego infant car seat.  Also mentioned:  Sunshine Kids seat for the second car.

Toddler car seats that people have mentioned loving:  Britax.

Strollers— I want one reg, one jogging

Different options of stroller packages:

-Travel systems are popular.  They come with a stroller frame, an infant car seat and the car seat base for the car.  Pros:  These tend to be on the cheaper side.  They are decent quality and easy to use.  Cons:  You have to like both the stroller and the car seat if you decide to buy one of these systems.  Many of the stroller frames are heavy.

-You can also buy a light stroller frame that fits multiple types of car seats.  Pros:  They are much cheaper than the travel systems.  They tend to be very light and easy to use.  You can buy the car seat that you like the most.  Cons:  Some of the strollers aren’t as sturdy, so if you plan on walking a lot, they aren’t the best option.

-Another configuration:  Stroller base that fits many types of seats and can accommodate toddlers and doubles.  Pros:  You can buy the car seat that you like the most.  They are flexible and useful for a long time.  Cons:  They can be really expensive.

Recommended Features

-Wheels:  One sign of good construction is wheels that sit on the floor uniformly when a baby is inside.

-Leg holes:  Carriages and strollers designed for newborns or young infants, which fully recline, must have leg holes that close so an infant can’t slip through. Manufacturers use mesh or fabric shields or hinged, molded footrests that raise and clamp over the leg holes

-Brakes:  One-touch brakes work quickly for added safety.  Avoid models that can hurt your feet when you engage or disengage the brakes with light shoes or bare feet. In addition to parking brakes, most jogging strollers have bicycle-type hand-operated brakes–important to help you slow down when cruising at a fast clip. Some pricier jogging strollers have hand-operated brakes on the front or rear wheels.

-Handlebars:  Reversible would be nice.

-One handed folding mechanism:  Should be easy to fold closed using one hand.

-Cup holders are nice.

-Large shopping basket.

What Friends Said

Two of my four friends have an Uppa Baby stroller.  It’s a little more expensive, but it comes with a toddler seat and a bassinet (it’s the third configuration I describe).  Though you probably won’t use the bassinet on walks (this comment was made by a mom in the store where I checked out the Uppa Baby in person), it’s helpful to have around the house.  The stroller is pretty versatile and allows for expansion with a second child.  It also works for toddlers which is an advantage over some of the travel systems.  One of my friends really likes having just the stroller frame (the second configuration), and the other has loved her travel system.

My thoughts: There is no perfect stroller.  You really have to think about what is most useful to you and make a decision based on that.

Baby bed –

Newborn:  In bed with you,  Pack n’Play, bassinet, co-sleeper (bed that attaches to your bed), crib

Infant:  Pack n’Play, Convertible crib (crib that grows as the child does, turning into a toddler bed and then a full size bed)

Recommended Features for cribs

-only needs 2 mattress height options

-opens on 1 side or not at all: make sure that you can open the gate one handed and quietly if there is one

-don’t worry about drawers underneath

-simple cribs are best

-crib is good until about age 3, and then it’s necessary to convert to toddler bed

What Friends Say

One friend never used a crib.  She continues to use the Pack and Play for her toddler.  Another recommended using a bassinet when the baby is an infant and then switching to the crib later.  Both women slept with their babies during infancy.  Another friend said that you have to be flexible because every baby has its own best sleeping place…so be ready for anything!

Noise maker for baby’s room


2 waterproof sheets (flat),

2 mattress pads (avoid fluffy ones),

4 fitted crib sheets (flannel or jersey knit)

Layette items (baby clothes):

-3-6 receiving blankets (for swaddling, nursing)…waffle weave is good.  One friend recommends muslin for the summer, specifically Aden and Anais muslin swaddle blankets.

1-2 hooded towels

2-4 washcloths

3-6 undershirts

4-8 body suits

2-4 rompers (short sleeved)

2-4 infant gowns with elastic (you may not want to have the elastic, though.  One friend warned me that the elastic can make for a challenging diaper change in the middle of the night)

2-4 blanket sleepers

1-2 sweaters

3-6 socks/booties

2-4 hats

Shoes to keep socks on.

Cloth and disposable diapers—Check out the group Elimination Communication for potty training ideas.

Changing table stuff-Changing pad, changing pad cover (at least 2), waterproof padding to protect the pad

Potties: Baby Bjorn potty is supposed to be good.

Diaper Bag: Good idea to get a portable pad…and just carry a couple of diapers along with you.

Baby care supplies:

baby bath

baby wipes

baby wipe warmer

baby soap and shampoo

diaper rash ointment (Recommended brand: A&D)

cotton swabs

baby thermometer

petroleum jelly

fine toothed comb

manicure items (nail clippers, scissors, file)

baby oil

front-back carrier (Recommended brand: Ergo)

High chair:

Recommended Features

-Open and close the fastener on the seat’s safety harness:  Try it one-handed to make sure it’s easy to use. If it’s not, you might be tempted not to use it every time your child is in the seat—which is a must.  5 point harness is better.

-Test the tray: It should be easy for you to engage and disengage, but not for your baby. Ideally, tray latches shouldn’t be accessible or visible to your baby.

-Check for a crotch post:  The voluntary industry standard requires high chairs to have a passive crotch restraint, which is usually a fixed crotch post that may be attached to the tray or the seat of the chair. —-Adjust the seat height to see how well that mechanism works:  Not all chairs have this feature, but some come with as many as eight possible heights. Adjustable seat heights can accommodate parents of varying heights and allow the high chair to be used at the level of your dining room table, so that your baby can eat with the rest of the family.

-Assess the seat cover: Look for a chair with upholstery made to last. It should feel substantial, not flimsy. Make sure that upholstery seams won’t scratch your baby’s legs. Seat covers should wipe clean (preferred) or be machine washable.

-Make sure that wheels can be locked:  If you’re buying a model with wheels, they should lock or become immobilized by the weight of your baby in the seat.

-Watch out for rough edges:  Examine the underside of the feeding tray to make sure there’s nothing sharp that could scratch your baby. Look for small holes or hinges that could trap little fingers.

-Check for small parts:  Make sure the caps or plugs that cover the ends of metal tubing are well secured. Parts small enough for a child to swallow or inhale are a choking hazard.

-Try folding it:  If you plan to fold up your high chair as often as every day, practice in the store. Some chairs that claim to be foldable can have stiff folding mechanisms. Technically they may be foldable, but they’re not user-friendly.

-Give the chair a good shake: Push contenders around to see how well they hold their ground. A chair should feel stable and sturdy, not wobbly. Look for a high chair with a wide base for stability.

Baby proofing supplies

Soft cloth carrier: Ergo is what I like.  Highly recommended to find something with a breathable material since the baby will be up against you, and your combined heat won’t like unbreathable material.

Play yard – Pack n Play is good

Soft lighting for the night

Glider: Highly recommended by one of four of the interviewed parents but not by the book I referenced

Recommended Features

Test it in the store. This is an item you don’t want to research solely on the Internet (although you can certainly buy online if you know what you’re getting). Sit in the chair and rock or glide away. That’s the best way to tell if a chair’s seat fits your bottom and if it’s comfortable.
Determine the model, then finish, fabric, and whether or not you want an ottoman. Making your buying decisions in that order may make shopping easier. If you’re looking for a glider, here are some basic questions that can help you find the right model for your needs: Do you want it to recline? Swivel? Do you want a traditional look, or sleigh-style? Then focus on finish (white, natural, maple, and cherry are common finishes), then fabric, and so on.
Go for a darker color. Stay away from natural beige or pastel fabrics. Furniture fabric can appear soiled from just normal wear and tear. And, of course, washable fabrics are a plus.
Check under the seat. “You want to make sure the fabric underneath the seat cushion has springs attached to it,” says Seth Berger, director of operations of Kids Home Furnishings, a baby-to-teen furniture store, in Stamford, Conn. You may find four small springs that secure a bottom piece of fabric to the chair frame. That’s good. The underbelly of the seat shouldn’t be just fabric glued to a frame. You won’t have much support or shock absorption.
Ask about warranties. If you choose a glider, you’ll want to know if the bearings, which run the gliding mechanism, have a warranty. They take the brunt of a person’s weight over time. Ten years is a good warranty length, although a lifetime warranty is better (although that’s not the case for all baby products).
Get a rocker or glider with a generously wide seat and arms that won’t hem you in. Both these features are especially important if you plan to use a nursing pillow (a Boppy). And with a baby on board, you’ll need the room. Practice in the store with a display-model nursing pillow or your baby to make sure you’re both a good fit in the chair. Well-padded armrests on a glider may be all you need to support and comfortably feed your baby, negating the need for a Boppy.

breastfeeding supplies

booby cream (your nipples get really, really sore in the beginning)

subscription to a mindless magazine (again, if you choose to nurse)

nursing pillow:  Lunalullaby

nursing stool : if your glider doesn’t come with one)

nursing cover : Bebeaulait

laundry hamper

trash can


sleep training book

swing for the baby

bouncy/vibrating chair and/ or birthing ball


Clothes for baby:  Milk Factory (Canadian boutique) is good

1 thought on “For All the Pregnant Ladies: A Guide to Registering and Buying Baby Stuff

  1. More suggestions from my Facebook posting of this article:
    -Go to the La Leche League meeting to learn more about breastfeeding.
    -The Papasan swing is soothing, comfy, and vibrates.
    -Nursing pillows: Boppy is a good one.
    -Nursing con’t: Hooter Hiders, a nursing coverup that attaches around the neck and has a flexible opening at the top so you can see your child but stay modestly covered
    -Diapers: pros and cons for both disposable and cloth
    -Car seats: When picking car seats know that babies tend to out grow their car seat in length before weight. Don’t buy the convertible until you’re done with the infant one. Seats are only good for about 5 years from the manufacture date.
    -Crib: Before you buy a crib decide how many kids your having. It does make sense to spend a ton of money on a convertible crib if a new baby is going to be in it in two to three years. Buy a basic and then buy a nice bed.
    -Pillows: Nippy and Boppy
    -Strollers: The Maclaren, says one person, was worth every penny.

    Things to buy on the cheap: Swings and bouncy seats.

    Then: A babysitter, maid, personal chef, masseuse, wet nurse, Tivo, and patience.

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