25 best baby registry must-haves
Getting ready for your little one to make their entrance? There’s so much to do — and so much to plan. Creating a baby registry takes one giant task off your shoulders by organizing all the items you need (and an opportunity for well-wishers to buy them for you) in one convenient place. Discover 25 of our picks for the best baby registry items your growing family needs once baby arrives.
Why do I need a baby registry?
A baby registry is a list of items you need or would like to have for baby’s arrival. These registries are mainly organized online and are hosted by a number of websites, including baby-focused retailers and platforms like Babylist dedicated to baby registries. Once you create your baby registry list, you can send the link to family and friends so they know what you’d like to receive as a gift.
If you’re a soon-to-be parent, here are all the reasons why you should consider creating a baby registry.
- You’ll get the gifts you actually need. There’s no guesswork — and no pile of gifts you can’t use (expecting parents don’t have time for returns!). A baby registry lets you link precisely what you want, making gift-shopping easier for loved ones and ensuring there’s nothing you can’t use in the mix.
- You’ll cut down on duplicate gifts. Once someone buys one of your listed registry items, it’s marked as purchased. You won’t need to adjust the list, either — it updates automatically.
- It centralizes gift organizing. Instead of telling everyone separately or texting folks a list, you can simply share your link, which can go on baby shower invites or shared if friends and family want to chip in for a group gift.
- It keeps you organized. Even if you don’t expect well-wishers to buy some of your big-ticket items, add them to the list anyway. This way, you can easily keep track of everything you need before baby’s arrival. And you never know — maybe someone will spring for that dream gift!
The 25 best baby registry items
From a baby crib to burp cloths, here’s everything that should make its way onto your baby registry first.
Newborns spend a lot of time sleeping, upward of 14 hours a day. In their earliest months of life, they’ll wake up several times a night to eat, too. A bassinet keeps baby close to your bed so they can sleep soundly and safely without you stumbling to the nursery in the middle of the night. Most babies transition from a bassinet into the crib between 3 months to 6 months.
2. Crib and crib mattress
Once baby graduates from the bassinet, they’ll head to their own crib. Look for one that matches your desired nursery decor aesthetic. Think about features that make it easy to pick up and put down baby (your back needs all the help it can get!), as well as change the sheets. And don’t forget the mattress, too! Choose a high-quality, firm mattress that lets baby sleep comfortably on their back. The mattress should fit snugly against the edges of the crib, too, so double check that the mattress and the crib of your choice work together.
3. Fitted crib sheets
To complete your crib setup, you’ll need a variety of fitted sheets. Choose sheets that fit snugly against the crib mattress, with no extra adornments. And prepare to register for multiples — you’ll need backup.
Just because crib sheets need to be simple for baby’s safety doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be colorful. Nanit’s collaboration with Rookie Humans reimagines ordinary crib sheets as backdrops for baby’s adventures. And if you plan to use Nanit to track baby’s growth, our Smart Sheets are ready to go out of the package.
When it’s time to run errands and go out and about with your baby (and one day, toddler!), you’ll need a reliable stroller to make these activities as seamless as possible. Choose a stroller that balances a few key features, including plenty of storage space, ease of folding and unfolding, and most importantly, one that keeps baby protected and comfortable. You can also look for models that easily adapt for infant carriers or car seats.
5. Car seat
You can’t leave the hospital without a car seat, so make sure this is a top priority on your baby registry. There’s no shortage of car seat items out there, but the key is to buy new: Believe it or not, car seats have expiration dates! Organizations like the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) publish recommendations you can consult as you search for the perfect model.
6. Diaper pail
Although a diaper pail might not be the most glamorous gift on your list, you’ll be thankful you have one after baby’s first… incident. The convenience of a diaper pail right next to the changing table, not to mention its odorproof design, will quickly bump this baby registry gift to the top of your list of favorite items.
7. Baby monitoring system
Watch over your little one as they sleep. The right baby monitor helps you keep an eye on baby during naptime and nighttime, but the best systems do so much more. The Nanit Pro Camera has many of the standard camera features, like night vision settings and two-way audio, but it can also play white noise or nature sounds. Plus, it’s equipped with features that monitor baby’s breathing and measure height and weight, when used with Nanit Smart Sheets.
8. Baby carrier
As much as you’ll love holding your baby as close to you as you can, you can’t hold them all the time. Get the best of both worlds by adding a baby carrier to your registry. This way, you can still keep baby close while keeping your hands free. Trust us, this is invaluable!
9. High chair
Although they won’t need it for a while, a high chair on your registry ensures baby has a place to sit as they explore delicious new foods and flavors. As you search, make sure your choice of high chair has up-to-date safety features. Look for reviews that note its durability and longevity (these chairs take a beating!), as well as any features that help the high chair fit in your home, like foldability. One that’s easy to clean is ideal as well! You can even look for models that grow with baby that convert into furniture they can use as they get older.
10. Diaper bag
Between wipes, diapers, rash cream, an extra change of clothes, and bottles, having your own dedicated diaper bag is worth it. These specialty bags have plenty of dedicated storage pockets for everything baby needs, even on the shortest of excursions out of the house. There are plenty of options that fit your style, too, so you can find a sleek model that looks more like a handbag than a bag for babies.
Whether you opt for disposable or reusable, you can never have enough diapers. Add diapers in varying sizes and styles so you can try out a few models to determine which is best for baby. This very important gift will go far in your home!
12. Onesies aka body suits
You can never have enough body suits in your baby’s closet, between the spit-ups, blowouts, and the inevitable few that get lost in the wash. This cute and fun gift gives your loved ones a budget-friendly option that you’ll get lots of use out of. Register for a few colors and sizes, so baby can grow into their onesies.
13. Burp cloths
Just like diapers and body suits, you can never have enough burp cloths during baby’s first few months. You’re going to experience plenty of spit-up all over your clean clothes. Save yourself from multiple clothing changes later and add several burp cloths to your registry now.
14. Baby bottles
Even if you’re nursing, you’ll need a few bottles on hand so your partner can tag in on the late-night feedings (and pump for later feedings to maximize your supply). There are glass and plastic bottles, and each are available in several shapes and sizes, including ergonomic designs and varying nipple sizes. You can register for a few and try whichever model baby likes best.
15. Breast pump
Breast pumps are a must to help you produce milk when baby isn’t ready to eat. Available in plug-in and rechargeable models, the right breast pump is portable, comfortable, effective, and doesn’t sound like a freight train running through the nursery.
16. Nursing pillow
A nursing pillow gives baby a comfortable place to rest while you nurse — not to mention giving your neck, arms, and shoulders a break. Nursing pillows can support you in whichever position you’re nursing in, whether you’re upright in a glider or lying down in the middle of the night. Look for a model made of high-quality materials and that has a zip-off, machine-washable cover.
17. Sleep sack
Since newborns can’t have any pillows or blankets inside of their crib, add a sleeping sack to keep them warm and cozy all night long. A sleep sack keeps your baby nice and snug while they sleep through the night. Look for full-length zippers so you can easily change baby.
18. Nursing bra
Don’t forget to add a present for yourself on your registry — and this is one you’ll definitely need. A nursing bra makes feeding time that much easier, without removing your clothes or needing to change. Many models are designed to open at the front or offer other features for ease of access.
19. Baby food maker
A baby food maker is essentially a blender that purees baby’s food, but it does much more than an ordinary blender. Many models have features that can puree tough food like meat or grains, with interchangeable discs that let you create a wide range of foods. Some offer steamers that cook the food in the same appliance.
20. Footie pajamas
Everyone lines up to get baby cute outfits, pajamas included. Adorable designs and sweet little footies keep baby comfy throughout the night. Add Nanit sleeping wear to your list, made from 100% organic cotton and with accessible zippers from neck to foot.
21. Changing table with storage
Changing tables make diaper changing time a little easier. This dedicated space means you won’t need to crouch down on the floor to change a diaper, while the table itself often has storage where you can put extra diapers, wipes, and outfits. Plus, they’re easy to wipe down if diaper changing goes awry.
Settle down in a glider for feedings or to help put baby back to sleep. Gliders move differently than their rocking chair cousins: You’ll slide in a back and forth motion instead of swaying. It feels more smooth as you soothe baby.
23. Children’s books
Ignite baby’s love of learning from day one! Begin building baby’s first library by adding childhood classics to your registry. Encourage friends to get creative and send you some of their favorites, too.
Pacifiers help baby soothe themselves when they’re feeling uneasy, so add several to your baby registry. You’ll find yourself needing more than one as your little one finds creative ways to hide their pacifier.
Whether for tummy time or just to give your arms a break, an interactive, brightly-colored playmat gives baby a safe place to explore. A playmat will last months as your little one learns to roll, reaches for objects, and starts to play with the toys built into this mat.
How to choose where to open a baby registry
Whether you choose to make your baby registry online or through a local store, here are some things you should first consider before starting your registry.
- Easy to use. Before you choose what registry you’d like to use, play around with a few websites to ensure that they aren’t difficult to set up. Additionally, you want to ensure that your family and friends can easily navigate through your registry.
- Pricing. Choose to open a registry through a store that offers a variety of price points. This way, loved ones can buy you the perfect gift without worrying about going over-budget.
- Most wanted items. Choose to open a registry on a website that offers a wide variety of baby items you love. You can also work with a site that lets you list gifts from multiple websites.
- Return process. Some stores provide you with an extended return policy if you choose to open one through their website. Read the fine print to see what you’re entitled to when you open your registry.
- Discounts. Some websites offer discounts to soon-to-be parents so they can buy the rest of the gifts that weren’t bought off the registry. Others might also offer free samples or coupons when you choose to register with them.
- Personalization. Some websites make it easy for you to thank all your loved ones by tracking who bought what gift.
The bottom line
A baby registry helps you organize what you want and need for your new arrival. This handy source helps friends, family, and other well-wishers guide their shopping choices, so they’re only sending gifts that you’ll actually use. And with features like thank-you cards and automatic registry updates, you won’t have to do much else once your registry is live. Our recommendations for the best baby registry items can get you started on this exciting new journey!