I spent a lot of time scouring the web, trying to figure out what I actually needed vs what people thought I needed. I ended up registering for a lot of things that I ended up returning or won’t ever use. Here are my “expert” thoughts on what you really need.
Don’t register for blankets. OK, register for blankets wisely. We found the Aden and Anais to be the best blanket for swaddling. The were large and a little stretchy and just oh so cute. You’ll get a TON of blankets, lots of them beautifully homemade, but most of them will be too small and you won’t use them very much. When looking for blankets, you want something big (the Aden and Anais is 47 x 47 inches) enough to swaddle as well as cover the little ones when it’s cold.
Layettes (or baby clothes):
You just don’t know what size that little munchkin is going to be once they show up. My OB was guessing an 8 – 9 pound baby and my baby girl came out at 6lbs 11oz. The clothes I brought to the hospital were HUGE on her. I would get 3 or 4 newborn outfits and 3 or 4 0-3 month onesies and ONLY wash those. Once you know what size your baby is, you can wash all the clothes you have in that size (or get your husband to do it). Remember, you can’t return anything if you take the tags off so if you end up with a monster baby, you may want to exchange those newborn onesies for something larger. Also, for the first few months, your little one is going to live in those onesies. Don’t worry about some elaborate wardrobe out of the gate.
Car seats and Strollers:
We got one of the Graco Safe Seat car seat/snug ride stroller frames combo sets and have enjoyed it. It’s worked well and is pretty functional. However, if I were doing it all again, I would make a couple of changes. First off, the Safe Seat is one of Graco’s larger car seats which translates as heavier. Given the option, I would have gone for a car seat/stroller combo that allows you to use the stroller without the car seat for when the bambina gets a little bigger. A travel system like the Graco Stylus Travel System – Galileo options would have been much better for me and cut back on the number of strollers I now own (3 and counting).
There are a TON of options out there for you, ask your friends and read the reviews. Carrying those babies around in the carseat is a real pain in the back, literally. You may want to carry those car seats around the store and load them with 10 pounds of crap to see how they feel. I would also see if you can’t take them out to your car and see how they fit (with the base). Our car seat took up a TON of space in the back of my Acura TSX, so much space that no one could really sit in the front passenger seat.
You can spend a ton of money on car seats and everyone has their opinion, go with what works for you. Remember that this is just the first of several car seats you’ll own.
We registered for one of those baby tubs with the built in thermometers, Cleanwater Infant Bath Tub with Digital Thermometer,
and never used it. We’ve always bathed our baby girl in our big tub and I ended up returning the plastic one. I know the thought of bathing that itty baby in a the big bathtub intimidates many parents but consider it an option.
I can’t recommend this strongly enough. We LIVE and DIE by our Conair Sound Therapy and Relaxation white noise machine. For the first few months, we could go anywhere and no matter how loud it was, our baby girl would sleep everywhere (although, that could have been the newborn thing). Now, the doorbell can ring, the dog can bark, we can have a huge thunderstorm and our girl never wakes up.
We went the Diaper Dekor Plus route. It has a foot pedal to open it up and doesn’t require much involvement from your hands. It also holds the stank really well.
Monitor vs Video Monitor:
I registered for just a regular monitor but my other half, being all technical and stuff, wanted the video monitor. I thought it was an unnecessary expense and no one would buy this for us but went ahead and registered for it anyway. Turns out, I love it. We went with the Summer Infant Color Video Monitor and it’s worked really well for us. I’m very reassured being able to see baby girl sleeping and I don’t wake her up by having to open up the door and peak in at her. I know a lot of people with regular monitors and they have all loved their monitors but I’m really happy with the video version.
There is a TON of info out there about baby carriers. We went ahead and registered for the BABYBJÖRN Baby Carrier Original. I haven’t had any issues with it (until recently) and baby girl has liked it. However, doing it all again and going the Baby Bjorn route, I’d probably register for the Synergy Baby Bjorn or one of their other models that has more support in the back.
Our baby girl is now 18 pounds or so and I find that the Bjorn really drags down into my shoulders and I can’t carry her for all that long. I recently bought the Ergo Baby Carrier carrier and I LOVE it. It’s easy to use and baby girl seems to be pretty comfy. I can throw her on my hip or back and carry her that way, which is really easy on me. The only thing I DON’T like about it is that she can’t face forward and she loves to face forward. Unfortunately, most of the carriers don’t allow you to face the baby forward (the Bjorn does).
There are a million more items you can register for or people will tell you that you’ll need. Honestly, for the first couple of months, you don’t need much. We set up a changing station on the first floor and one in our room (where baby girl slept for the first 4 months) and as a result, I hardly ever went in to her room.
Swings and bouncy seats
Often times the best place for the baby is down. As in, not in your arms, not on your person, just down. Some babies are fine with swings and/or bouncy seats, and am some are not. Our baby girl did well in either the swing or the bouncy seat. We were fortunate that she was a decent sleeper and only spent a short amount of time in either the swing or the seat.
In looking for the a baby seat, look for something that vibrates. There were some bad nights where I’d put baby girl in the bouncy seat, next to the bed, and I DIDN’T have to bounce her because the seat did it for me. Trust me, at 4am, you’ll take all the help you can get. I liked the Fisher-Price Rainforest Bouncer seat. They also come in really handy when you need to take a shower, just pop them in the seat and take 5 minutes to yourself!
We didn’t use our swing a ton either, but it did come in very handy when I wanted to pee or make dinner. On some occasions, she’d fall asleep in it but it mostly went unused. Again, there are babies who will ONLY sleep in the swing or the bouncy seat, so it may help to have one on hand. There are tons of swings out there, Fisher-Price Papasan Cradle Swing, is a nice swing. Our swing only went forward and backwards but there are swings that go side to side also. In the grand scheme of things, this wasn’t the most important thing for my registry. If I hadn’t gotten this as a gift, getting it on consignment would have been just as good.
Where to register?
Babies r Us
We registered at Babies r Us as there’s one close to our house, they’re national, and, well, they’re huge. It wouldn’t have been my first choice but I knew they’d be affordable and people could shop online and almost anywhere geographically. BRU is VERY strict about returns though, especially if you don’t have a receipt or the item wasn’t on your registry. Make sure you keep the tags on all items. Also, we had a lot of problems with the registry remaining current and I ended up having to bring things back all the time. A little trick I ended up having to do several times: I would add an item to my registry if it wasn’t on there simply so I could exchange it for something else. Oh, and they’ll close your registry about a month after your due date on their website. I found that even a couple months after baby girl was born, I’d have to return things and they were kind of a pain about that. Give me a break, I’d just had a baby and really wasn’t able to lug all kinds of crap to the store with a newborn. These things take a while.
I didn’t register here so I can only offer so much wisdom. However, their prices are pretty good (although, they fluctuate by day of the week and hour of the day) and items are usually in stock. But, if you need to return things, there’s that whole thing about the mail and post office and all that.
I didn’t register here either but will give my opinion anyway. The actual baby section here is pretty small but the online section is much larger. They’re pretty good about returns though. I do find that now I go to Target for more baby stuff than I do at Babies r Us.