Mom Life

Baby Registry Checklist and Tips for New Parents

I remember being so excited to start building my registry as a first-time mom. The first few things I added were cute clothes and toys. Once it came down to really needing to add the must-have baby items to add to my baby registry though, I started getting so overwhelmed! There’s SO MUCH out there. This baby registry checklist lets you know what are the absolute baby registry items you need to add. Don’t forget to also read through the tips at the end of the post on what to pack in your hospital bag and the right newborn apps to download.

General Baby Shopping Tips

  • Identify some items you’re willing to buy used. For example, larger, more expensive items like high chairs, dressers, changing tables, baby carriers, and Jumperoos could be good items to purchase used from other moms/parents or from consignment shops/fairs. What’s great is if you keep the items in good condition or don’t end up using them much, you can likely sell them back for very close to what you paid for them.
  • Be sure to get your free registry gifts from Amazon and Target! From Amazon, you only need to spend $10 on items from your registry to get their registry box for free. For Target, you just create your registry and let the Customer Service desk know and they’ll give you a nice bag of goodies.
  • Take advantage of 15% off registry coupons. For any items not purchased from your registry, Amazon and Target will give you 15% off to purchase any of those items.
  • Sign up for Amazon Subscribe and Save! You can save up to 20% off on wipes, diapers, and other essentials by grouping everything together. With this discount, it really doesn’t make sense to buy these goods at Target or any other big box store. I’ve found that the prices typically can’t be beat. Just try to stay on top of this (Amazon will usually send you a reminder email before your monthly subscriptions ship out) so you don’t end up with an excess of a particular product.
  • An unpopular opinion, but don’t wash everything beforehand. I made the mistake of washing all clothes before baby was born. She ended up not wearing a lot of them. I probably could have returned or exchanged sizes for items she ended up not wearing if I hadn’t washed and had left the tags on.
  • Related to the above point, keep in mind that Amazon and Target registries allow you to return items up to 365 days from purchase! Even with this somewhat minimalist baby registry below, you will very likely not end up using everything. Keep packaging and receipts and return what you can!

Baby Registry Checklist: Must-have Baby Items


– Short sleeve or long sleeve depending on the season. I think 5-7 total would suffice, especially if the weather is a little colder because if it is I would opt to get more zippered pajamas instead (see below)
– I like Carter’s, Target, and Gap brands best
Zippered, footed pajamas

– I like Carter’s Sleep and Play ones. Target’s Carter brand, Just One You, is also great. Be sure to look for the ones with the dual zips, which have zippers that can be zipped from the toe up (instead of from neck down) for easier diaper changes. Old Navy is okay for smaller sizes since you likely won’t use them much, but don’t expect them to last very long.
– I would get only 2 newborn size ones, 3 in size 0-3 month, and 5 in 3-6 month size. Our September baby lived in these until she was six months old.
– No button-up PJs! There will be some super cute, tempting button-up footed PJs. Steer clear! We learned this the hard way after having our first daughter. Nine times out of ten you will not align the buttons correctly! You’ve been warned. 🙂
Zippered swaddles

– I like these for the newborn stage, but they could potentially be skipped and you could go straight to the Velcro ones like below.
– I like SwaddleMe Pods brand for these.
swaddle pods
Velcro swaddles

– I like SwaddleMe Original Swaddles best. These are a must-have.
Love to Dream Swaddle UP

– These are another must-have. Both of my babies slept so well in these. Once your baby is a little too big or strong, or you notice that they no longer like sleeping with their arms down, I highly recommend trying these swaddles. These are great for transitioning your baby for sleep training. Having access to their hands gives your baby the chance to try to self-soothe.
– I would get one small size (don’t open it until you know for sure you’re ready to move your baby to this; by this point your baby may be too big for the small size) and then one medium transitional one (the little arm sleeves come off for transitioning to not having arms swaddled down); you can buy the large later down the line once you know your baby likes it
Swaddle Me Up small
Bandana bibs

– We had a very drooly baby pretty early on and ended up needing a ton of these. I like bandana bibs because they look more like they’re part of your kid’s outfit as opposed to making them look like they’re ready for dinner all the time.
– Copper Pearl probably makes the nicest of these, but they’re a little pricey. Other “Amazon” brands work just as fine.
Backpack diaper bag

– Even if you’re trying to convince yourself you’ll be fine with a non-backpack bag, get a backpack diaper bag. I bought a fancy shoulder strap one, but it just ended up being too inconvenient too carry no matter how much I wanted to use it because it was fancy.
– I like this one from Jujube. It’s machine washable and has a lot of pockets.

2020 update: The Caraa Diaper Baby Bag is THE BEST diaper bag out there. Read my full review here.
diaper bag backpack
Caraa baby bag
Stroller frame or, even better, stroller-carseat combo

– For the newborn/early months, you’ll want a stroller you can put your car seat into. You don’t want to deal with trying to transfer a sleeping baby from their car seat to a separate stroller seat.
– We had the Orbit Baby system (the older version), but I’ve liked the look of the Chicco KeyFit Caddy.

For our second child, we splurged on the Doona Car Seat, which is a stroller-carseat combo and it’s AMAZING. We plan on having more kids (1 or 2 depending on if I can convince the husband), so this was worth it for us. The Doona makes it so you don’t have to carry a separate stroller. You just push a button and the wheels come down. So great for me because I get so much anxiety trying to get our big stroller out of the trunk and all assembled by myself.
Car seat

– For Baby #2, (before we got the Doona above) we got the Nuna Pipa Lite LX (I believe the new version is now called R)–super light and fits on our Veer Wagon (review coming soon).
car seat
Baby monitor

– I would advise against Wi-Fi-based baby monitors and cameras that you connect to an app on your phone. I really like having a dedicated monitor so you don’t worry about spotty connections.
– We’ve been really happy with this Hello Baby brand monitor. It’s not fancy, but it does have one key feature we use daily: VOX mode. The voice-activated monitoring feature means it can turn off automatically if all is quiet but then turn on to alert you if it detects sound. We use this so we don’t have to listen to the white noise coming from our daughter’s room, but we get alerted if she cries.

2020 update:
– Our Hello Baby monitor finally died but only because we cracked the screen somehow. It still works, but there’s a black gash in the middle of the screen. Audio works fine so we were using it just for that (I need it so that I can wake up in the morning when baby does). We did end up getting a new one since we know we will be using this for the next baby/babies. It’s that good!
– We also did end up getting Nest Cams for all our rooms. You can’t beat being able to check your cameras when on the go. This has been useful for my husband to check in on the baby while he’s out doing toddler drop-off while I’m home working in the office.
baby monitor
Hatch Baby Rest+

– We think playing the same songs and white noise every time helped establish our night routine. We still use this nightly for our toddler. We had the original version, but now have three of the Rest+ (two for the kids and one for myself because I love the white noise!). I would recommend the Rest+ as it has Wi-Fi so you can change the sounds and lights from anywhere and a nice digital clock feature. The Wi-Fi feature is nice because if I’m downstairs and the baby wakes up, I can turn on her night light so she knows I’m coming and this buys me a few minutes to finish up whatever I was doing before going up to grab her.
Hatch Baby Rest
Baby K’tan Carrier

– This is a GREAT carrier for the newborn/early months. I had one and so did my husband. Was great for letting baby see the world while awake but then being able to quickly convert the carrier into a “hammock” for naptime.
ktan carrier
Ergobaby Omni 360 Carrier

– I tried about three other structured carriers (Lillebaby, Beco Gemini, and MiaMily Hipster) and always came back to the Ergobaby. It was the easiest to put on and felt the most comfortable. The Omni 360 model allows for front-facing, which was how we used it about 95% of the time. This model also makes it so you don’t need an additional infant insert for the early days. It has a hip belt pocket and a front pocket too.
ergo carrier
Boppy Lounger

– Our baby spent a lot of time in this lounger. It was just a nice place to set her down. This was especially great for feeding a baby while pumping. This is a definite must-have.
Boppy Pillow

– Good for nursing but also for tummy time
Boppy pillow
Breastfeeding supplies (if you plan to breastfeed)
Breast pump

– I rented a Medela Symphony for Baby #1, but this time around I plan to use the Spectra S1.
breast pump
Milk storage bags

– I’ve found the Lansinoh brand to be the best, but they’re all pretty similar. I would start out with a small number (50 or so).
milk storage bags
Hands-free pumping bra

– I like the one from Simple Wishes a lot and purchased two of them (one for home and one for work). It fits a wide range of sizes (XS to L).

2020 update: The Kindred Bravely pump bra is THE BEST. It’s comfortable to wear all day and there’s no need to switch to a different pumping bra when you’re pumping. Great if you pump at work.
pump bra
Everything else

– Would not recommend buying too many to begin with because you don’t know if your baby will be picky or not. Ours tended to not be, fortunately, so I just used simple Medela bottles.
Premie nipples

– These Dr. Brown’s Premie Nipples were a lifesaver for us. These are probably the slowest flow nipples you’ll find. Even other nipples called “Slow Flow,” weren’t actually that slow at all and our daughter would chug down milk too fast with them. If you end up needing to supplement with formula or bottled breastmilk but want to avoid nipple confusion, these nipples are super useful as your baby doesn’t get used to the ease of bottle-feeding. These nipples make it so there’s still a little more work involved to get milk out, similar to nursing.

Crib/place to sleep

– We started with a bassinet, but our first daughter didn’t like it much. We ended up co-sleeping for the first five weeks, with her in her DockATot (note this is not really meant for sleeping). Eventually we moved her to her own crib and she’s been there for the past 20+ months.
– We’re happy with Delta crib. Baby #2 is currently using it and it’s still in excellent shape.
– For Baby #2, we did get a used SNOO bassinet for the early days. I read so many great things about the SNOO, so I thought we’d give it a try. Supposedly it can help your baby fall (back) asleep easier. What’s great about buying it gently used is even if our baby ends up not liking it, we can sell it again for almost the same price we paid for it.

2020 update: SNOO didn’t work out for us. Baby had a little bit of reflux, so the swaying motion of the SNOO made her throw up a little. We ended up selling ours. For baby #3, I plan to get the Halo Bassinest. Likely will look for one that is gently used.
Halo Bassinest
Glider/rocking chair

– I actually liked the simple rocking chair-like one they had in the lactation department at the hospital (not the prettiest but the most comfortable one and the one I was able to nurse the best in–maybe because it is more narrow and I was actually able to rest my arms on the armrests)
– If you do get a recliner, I would suggest one that is power-operated and not a manual recline. It’s hard to manually recline the chair if you’re holding a sleeping baby. We have this one and it’s okay for the most part, but never use the reclining feature because of how hard it is to use. I also am not a fan of how deep the seat is (I’m 5’6″ but have short legs 🙁 ).
Changing table

– We like having ours built into our daughter’s dresser, but if I could do it again I would get one where the changing pad part is removable so it turns into a proper dresser without it.
changing table
High chair

– Our baby wasn’t great about sitting in a high chair for more than a few minutes, but it was still helpful to have one. We like this one from Baby Bjorn because the tray can be pushed in to be very close to baby’s body (meaning less food that falls into their lap). The only weird flaw I found was that to take your baby out you need to fold the tray down, which means any crumbs on the tray fall on the floor. I guess you’re supposed to wipe off the tray before you do that, but who has time to do that every time you need to take your baby out? I would probably still get the same one if I had to do it over again though (2020 update: Looks to be discontinued now). I also hear great things about the Stokke Tripp Trapp, which grows with your child.
high chair

Not really furniture, but this Fisher-Price swing saved us with our second child. She loved being in it. This is a must-have.
Other Essentials

– Newborn size (no more than 50) and size 1 to start
– We prefer Huggies even though it seems most hospitals use Pampers. Once your baby starts sleeping through the night (around size 3 or 4 or so), definitely get some Huggies Overnights. We have had very little leaks once we moved to these for overnight wear.
Huggies Overnights

– I like these generic Amazon ones (scentless, hold up well, and cost-effective).
Changing pad liners or a wipable changing pad

– You WILL have blowouts. These make it so you don’t have to wash your changing pad cover as much.

2020 update:
– The liners got kind of annoying after a while as they kept moving around. This is a little bit of a splurge, but we love this Keekaroo changing pad as it’s wipable.
changing pad liner
Baby tub

– We were fortunate to pick up one of these 4moms brand ones at a consignment sale (believe it’s discontinued now) and it’s cool because it shows the water temperature. It beeps and the display goes red when it’s too hot! A simpler one would be just fine too, but as first-time parents it was nice to have that assurance.
baby tub
Tub sponge

– This tub sponge thing from Summer Infant made me feel like our baby was a lot more comfortable in the hard tub. It also helped not having to worry about her slipping. This is another must-have if you have a hard plastic tub that doesn’t have some kind of soft interior piece.

– Any kind of washcloth will do really, but we picked these ones from Burt’s Bees. One tip I learned was to keep a warm, wet washcloth over your baby’s belly during bathtime to keep them from getting cold.
Burp cloths

– These are a must. I would suggest at least five.
burp cloth
Swaddle blankets

– These are another must. Get three, but maybe no more than that. These are great for throwing over baby’s carseat, as a nursing cover, a blanket for tummy time, or as burp cloths if you don’t have one handy. Because you will use these so much, I would suggest splurging on prints you really like. I regret not doing so starting with our first kid. They will be in all your pictures, so it’s worth finding nice ones that you’ll keep around for future kids as well. Aden and Anais has nice muslin ones. I also like Copper Pearl swaddle blankets for their stretchy material and beautiful prints.
swaddle blanket

Baby Registry Checklist: Nice-to-have baby items

DockATot Deluxe

– This is a great place to keep baby in during the early days. It’s great for bringing to grandparents’ houses.
Medela sterilizer bags

– These help you quickly sterilize bottles and breastpump parts. They can be used 30 times or so before you need to replace them. I honestly don’t think I sterilized that many times.
sterilizer bag

– This didn’t get a ton of use, but it was still useful to have somewhere to put baby for a few minutes to get a quick break or do something around the house.
Activity mat

– It’s nice to have a place to entertain the little one in the first few months before they can sit up. I would try to get a gently used one if possible and just wash it before using.
activity mat

Baby Registry Checklist: What you can skip

  • Wipes warmer
  • Bottle sterilizer
  • Mamaroo
  • Bumbo/Sit-me-up chair

Hospital Bag Checklist

  • Must-haves
    • Car seat
    • Going-home outfits for you and baby
    • Phone chargers
    • Snacks
  • Things I brought that were helpful
    • Velcro/zip-up swaddles (2-3)
    • Boppy pillow (for feeding and also just for easier baby holding for you and for guests)
    • GoPro with tripod
    • Pro tip: Thank you baskets for the doctors, nurses, and other staff!
      • All the staff was so nice to us, really think these helped us win some points with them 😉
      • Keep in your room and offer to nurses/staff that actually assist you! We made the mistake of putting it out at the nurses station and stuff was gone within minutes.

Download a printable version of the thank you card we used here:

thank you card
  • Things I didn’t bring that I wish I did
    • Nicer robe to change into (I stayed in my hospital gown the whole time and it was not great) or maybe a button down pajama top (easy to open for breastfeeding)
  • Things I brought that I didn’t need
    • Makeup (I did put on eyeliner though)

Baby Apps to Download

  • Get this app: Baby Connect
    • Set up accounts for you and your partner.
    • This has been a must-have for my husband and I for tracking feeds and sleep. We still use it for our two-year-old!
      • This is especially great because you can both stay in sync on what’s going on with your kid (it also can track multiple kids at a time!). For example, I take the morning shift with our toddler and my husband usually checks the app first thing in the morning to see what time she woke up just to get a sense of when she’ll need to nap later in the day (usually she’ll nap around the same time, but it can be shifted forward or back half an hour or so depending on her wake time).
      • In the newborn stage, the app was great for tracking feeds. If I was up all night with the baby, my husband would take the morning shift so I could sleep in. By tracking her feeds during my shift at night, he would know what time she needed to feed next during his shift without me having to sleepily try to give him those details.
  • Set up a TinyBeans account for sharing pictures of your baby with family and friends
    • This is especially useful if you don’t plan on sharing everything on your more “public” social media accounts. TinyBeans lets you share with just a select few relatives and friends. 

Please let me know if you have questions about any of the items or tips! Good luck!

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