Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Baby Registry Tips, Must-Haves, and Skips

I have a few friends riding the pregnancy train right now so I thought I would offer some tips on what items I found useful (and what items I could have done without). There is SO MUCH information out there and I feel like the baby websites have lists full of things I found to be useless or much less important. I spent a lot of time on my registry and I thought I would share my baby registration wisdom with all of you. I have not been compensated in any way for product reviews. All thoughts are my own opinions. I also want to say that this is what has worked for me and my little Patsy girl. Every parent and child is different so please feel free to add if there is something on this list that did or didn't work for you.

For those of you that aren't pregnant and/or don't really know what to get for a new parent, check out Michelle's (aka Crazy Running Legs) blog post that I found to be very accurate. If you have no interest in pregnancy or babies, um, why are you reading my blog?

Kelly's Registration Tips

1) Don't register too early. I know it is super exciting to have a baby (speaking from experience) but I think it is important to wait until closer to your shower (a month or two) before registering. I registered early and then by the time my shower rolled around, items were discontinued or no longer available.

2) Talk to your friends to see where they registered. What was their experience like when it came to returns? How is the store's return policy in general? Is the website easy to use? Do they have coupons and/or accept competitor coupons? These are all great questions to look into before deciding on where to register.

3) Spend the time and effort researching the right car seat/stroller/travel system that works for you. This is probably one of the largest and most expensive items on your list (other than the crib) so it is important to find a good fit. I went with Graco for mine because I loved the style of the system and it was reasonably priced without being too cheap or too expensive. Many of my friends purchased Britax strollers and enjoyed them. You have to find out what works best for you (and what is worth spending money on)
Out for a walk with my baby in my travel system

4) If you plan on having more than one child, be sure to chose gender neutral big-ticket items. We didn't know what we were having so we purchased everything gender neutral. I would recommend have fun picking something like bibs or burp clothes that are gender-specific as those things might not last until you have a second baby.

5) If you haven't checked already, talk to your insurance provider about the possibility of them providing a double electric breastpump free of charge. MOST insurance companies do, but some don't. Some insurance plans also let you upgrade to a better pump and you pay the difference. Check out your options beforehand. (This link has lots of information on your available options.) I didn't know as much back then as I do now about my options. I chose one of the pumps my insurance offered and it turned out to be a pump that wasn't able to keep pace with a full-time working mom. I ended up purchasing one out-of-pocket and now my insurance pump sits at home, tucked away, as my backup. If you have any questions about breast pumps, do not hesitate to email me. If I don't know the answer, I can help point you in the right direction. I'm mentioning this in the registry section so that if your insurance doesn't cover the cost of one, you can add one to the list. I received the Ameda Purely Yours from insurance but now use the Medela Pump In Style Advance. It is like night and day. The use of a good pump can make a big difference!

6) Take a look at all the baby carrier options and find what works well for you and your spouse. This is something that I didn't really do. I just assumed that there was no difference between carriers other than price and so I just went with the Baby Bjorn. Well, turns out that there are lots of options available!!! I now own the Baby Bjorn, Moby Wrap, and Ergo. I like them all for different reasons and I like having a variety. This site has info on a variety of carriers so you can chose one that works well for you.
Left: Patsy snuggled up in the Moby Wrap. Right: Dad babywearing Patsy in our Baby Bjorn at the zoo

Must Have Items

Laying on Mommy's Boppy inbetween meals
1) Boppy and several covers. This is a staple in our house. I use it while breastfeeding our little girl (in both football and cradle positions) and Dad uses it to support his arms when she falls asleep. The Boppy can also be used during tummy time and to help sit her up. As spitup is something that is pretty frequent, I recommend having 2-3 covers as you never know when you might need one!

2) Rock N Play Sleeper. This was something I didn't register for but my sister-in-laws purchased for me. Oh my god, this is the best device ever! I don't know what I would do without it!! Patsy slept in this for awhile, we use it now to put her in as I'm getting ready in the mornings. I can safely have her right outside the shower playing comfortably. It is easy to move from room-to-room as well, especially if she is sleeping in it.

3) Exersaucer. This device says 4 months and up and I'm so glad I read that when she was just over 4 months old. This is also one of the greatest inventions ever. Patsy absolutely LOVES her exersaucer. It is a great place for her to learn and play while also keeping herself occupied.

4) Burp Cloths. I didn't register for many of these and then I had to go out and buy a bunch. You can never have enough! And get the good ones too, that are sturdier. I have some that are flimsy and they don't work very well. I really like the Aden + Anais one that I have although it is a bit pricier.

5) Video Baby Monitor. I love this! We aren't using it right now because we are co-sleeping (um not what I had planned on doing, but it is what we're doing now) but I loved this! We will be using it again once we start sleep training but it really is quite amazing. I went by recommendations from my SILs that worked as nannies as well as a co-worker's recommendation.

Nursing Patsy at the Ann Taylor LOFT outlet!
6) Nursing Cover. If you plan on breastfeeding, this is a MUST. I know there are many women out there who don't like to breastfeed with one or their baby refuses. I've been using one with Patsy since she was just a few days old and she doesn't mind it at all. I think it helps to get your babies used to it in the beginning so that they don't hate it later. Every mom thinks differently, but this is what has worked for me. I ended up buying a 2nd one to keep in my pumping bag in case I ever need one when I don't have my diaper bag with me.

7) Sleep Sheep. This is something else I didn't register for but love! It is a great white noise maker that works well for both parents and baby. When she first came home, I think she had trouble sleeping in silence so we used the heartbeat option. Now that she is a little older, we use the "soft rain" sound. Pepper did not like the whale sound.

8) Pack N Play. We got one with the newborn napper and changing station. We used the newborn napper until she got too big and we moved her into the rock n play sleeper. The newborn napper was nice because she was elevated. With my c-section it was difficult to move around and get up at first, so the elevated newborn napper made it much easier to access miss Patsy. I never used the changing table option, but it was nice to know it was there. Now, we have taken off the newborn napper attachment and we will be transitioning Patsy to sleep here soon.

9) Sophie or Kiki (Target's version). Patsy absolutely loves her Sophie. She is teething very badly and gnaws on that thing like it is going out of style. She is not necessarily partial to Sophie though as she also loves her Kiki too.

Nice and toasty, unzipped in her bunting.
10) Carseat Bunting. No matter what time of year your baby is born, you will probably need one of these at some point. It is AMAZING!!! It helps my little girl stay all snuggled and warm when we go from place to place. It has been especially helpful during this 5 month long winter we're having here in Chicago.

Items NOT Worth Registering For

1) Big Bedding Sets. Most of the bedding sets come with many things you don't need such as a bumper (these are not recommended for babies under 1 year of age due to SIDS risks), valance (we are decorating our room on our own template), bed skirt (ugh I hate these things)... All I wanted was the comforter and matching sheets, but that is impossible to get. You have to get the whole package together. It is a big scam by the bedding companies if you ask me... I just got some sheets and a few throw blankets. I figure once she is older and sleeping with her own blanket (around 1 year), we can get something custom that she likes.

2) Wipes Warmer. I didn't really see the need for this. I have heard it dries up the wipes faster. As our baby is passed around from house to house while I'm at work, it just didn't make sense for me to get one at home if she's going to be using non-warm wipes for all of the non-home diaper changes.

3) Training Potty. These are adorable but won't be used until your child is 2 or 3 years old. It seemed silly to me to buy one of these just to put it in storage for a long time.

4) Baby food making system. I use a hand immersion blender for purees (for $25 from Target) and some food cups I got at Marshall's and Target... But we've been doing Baby Led Weaning with our little girl so the need for a large amount of purees isn't there.

5) Bottle warmer. As I've mentioned before, I'm a breastfeeding mom. When she gets bottles of my cold or frozen milk, her caregivers run the bottle under warm water and it seems to do the trick. Bottle warmers are $30+. In my opinion, there are other things worth registering for that are worth $30.

6) Clothes. People are most likely going to get you clothes whether you register for them or not, so I think it is best to offer up other options.


  1. Great list! Thanks for the advice!

  2. Thanks for the well thought out list. You probably think we our crazy, but one of our most used baby items is a Robosmart LED bulb which connects directly to our smartphone. The bulb can be dimmed to a very low level, like 3%, and used as a night light that can be set to turn off using the built-in timer. It can also detect when you are nearby so when our child wakes up in the middle of the night, the light can switch on at 3% as I approach the room. It keeps me from bumping into things and since the light is so low, we are not blinded by the light and can fall back asleep quickly. It works well for my wife during her middle of the night breast feedings.

  3. I didn't even think about a lesser light bulb, what a great idea!

  4. Can you direct me to this when I finally decide to have a baby! lol
    So glad you like the Sleep Sheep. My cousin recommended getting you that because her babies loved them! I brought her with me to shop for you! Ha! I know nothing about what mothers might need!

  5. "Pepper did not like the whale sound." I would like to hear more.

  6. Haha. We tested out many of the baby items on Pepper before Patsy arrived, just to help lessen the sensory overload. Pepper already doesn't like stuffed animals that do things (she's terrified of the turtle with a top hat that plays "putting on the ritz" that we have for under the Christmas tree). So a sheep that moans? She growled at it and would walk back, afraid. It was quite comical. Therefore, we don't use the whale sound. :)

  7. Of course! That is also why I include Michelle's link as I thought it was a great guide for people that don't quite know what to buy for a new mom. :)

  8. Heather BarnsteinMarch 26, 2014 at 3:24 PM

    Miles has lots of pink stuff because we only thought we'd have one little one, so yes...definitely agree. Gender neutral for the first baby haha, unless you don't boys in pink :) He rocks his pink car seat though, just sayin'!

    So, something not on this list - tell me about your jogging stroller? Is the BOB really worth all the extra money, as in save up to get this and don't bother with others? Or is it like a luxury car versus a compact? The weather is getting nice and I want to get outside with Miles!

  9. Thanks Heather! :) Oh that little boy in a pink carseat? How cute!

    I don't have comparison of the BOB stroller versus another jogging stroller. I talked with other moms in my running group and they felt the BOB was worth the extra money. For me, personally, I felt that I would get a lot of use out of it. Being a working mom, I plan to take Patsy out for runs with me when I go to get maximum time together, especially during the week. I already feel like I'm getting good use out of it so I definitely feel it was worth the extra money.

    Alternatively, I know some moms have registered for the BOB Revolution (with the swivel front wheel) as their only stroller. They use it for everyday use as well as running, instead of registering for a travel system and separate stroller.

  10. Heather BarnsteinMarch 26, 2014 at 3:52 PM

    That's what I keep hearing. I want to marathon train this year so everyone says "get the bob!" They are so pricy though - they look -really- nice but I'm afraid that if I wait until I can afford it I may as well wait until next year. I don't use a stroller much for regular use, I usually babywear, so he actually has never been in a stroller at all yet!

    There's a used jogger I'm eyeing on craigslist and I'm so nervous to pull the trigger haha. Thanks for your input!

    And I think he's cute in it! He gets called a girl a lot, but I figure, it's not like he knows the difference.

  11. Michelle @ Crazy Running LegsMarch 26, 2014 at 4:16 PM

    Love this -- and look at all the cute Patsy pictures. It's crazy how fast they grow, right?? :)

    I definitely agree with all of the things you should not even BOTHER registering for. Even the training potty. We have one that we've never used because they kids were afraid of it. They liked the ring around the toilet -- which is like $5 at Target. Lol.

    Thanks for mentioning me!

  12. Oh yes, it is CRAZY how quickly they change too! I see her every day so sometimes I don't notice the change, but looking at photos it is CRAZY!

    I LOVED your list so I felt the need to mention it. I wish I would have seen it before I went to my first baby shower or two. I was completely clueless on what a mom needed. Not that I'm a pro now or anything (what mom is a pro anyways?), but I definitely know what did and didn't work for us.

  13. If you plan on marathon training with one, I say it is worth the investment. If it makes running fun and easier for the both of you, why not splurge a little. Whatever is the motivation to get out the door!

    Target has a big stroller sale a few times a year. My MIL got the BOB Ironman on sale for like $380 or something like that (plus used her 5% off pharmacy rewards and her Target red card for an extra 5% off)... Many places exclude BOB from their coupon discounts...l

    You're totally right. Meh, by the time he realizes it, he'll be out of the infant carseat. We have a gender neutral carseat and if our girl doesn't have a pink bow on her head, people always say "What a handsome boy."