Documenting mom life, one nap at a time

Baby Registry: Save, Spend, Splurge

Baby Registry: Save, Spend, Splurge
This is the list of resources I send to my pregnant friends whenever I find out they are expecting! You can view all of the other sections through these links: Pregnancy ResourcesThe Baby Stuff List, What Do I Really Need?Nursery GearFor BabyBig PurchasesFor Mom, Save, Spend, Splurge!, After the Baby Shower, The Baby is Here
 
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Etsy has a wide variety of wall maps (pictured above) to help customize nursery decor!

Save, Spend, Splurge!

I recently helped a friend build and edit her baby registry! Her beautiful nursery is pictured above & featured in this post! What an overwhelming process creating a registry and sorting through all.the.baby.stuff can be for moms-to-be! There are so many products out there, and each one varies so greatly when it comes to price, features, and more. It’s hard to know which things to choose. One thing that helps is to talk to moms who have just had a baby — they will be able to tell you what they used most and didn’t use! They will also be most up-to-date with the latest & greatest, as new baby items come out all the time!!

Here are some of my picks of popular baby items in 3 categories — save**, spend, and spluge — followed by a very comprehensive list of what I have found useful in every registry category over the past 4 years! Be sure to join my Facebook group for updates on new products and what’s on sale today!

**For the biggest savings, look for used items on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and Facebook Mom Groups! Amazon Warehouse Deals also often has open box specials!

And, a side note about where to register — My favorite registries have been Amazon, Target, and Nordstrom (you can make a Wish List on their site!) Nordstrom is awesome for their return policy — no questions asked and you can return any time, there is no specific return window. They also sell a lot of higher-end baby items worth checking out! Target is great because of easy returns or exchanges in store, and Amazon is great for quick delivery, competitive prices, a wide selection of items, and the completion discount (Target has one too!) oh, and also the nice welcome box from Amazon is also a bonus!!

 
Item
Save
Spend
Splurge
Play Mat
The Play Mat is something I decided to splurge on, and am so happy I did. I get a lot of use out of our play mat, and love that it matches our decor!
Activity Gym
We went with the Infantino activity gym and it was great. I liked the design and both of my babies enjoyed it!
Infant Car Seat
We used a Britax seat that came with our B-Agile travel system! The Doona is definitely a cool splurge, since it is a car seat that is also a stroller, very inventive!
 
I recommend picking out a stroller + car seat together, as in the beginning it is useful to be able to attach your car seat to your stroller! If you choose the Doona for a car seat, it’s not necessary to pick a stroller that connects to a car seat since the Doona is a car seat that turns into a stroller!
Stroller — infant car seat compatible

If you really want to save on a stroller in the beginning, you can get a snap-n-go frame to put your car seat in. We opted to go for a mid-range Britax stroller and were very happy with it for the first year (more info on our stroller choices in the full registry list below!) For those who want a luxury brand, I know many people who love their UppaBaby stroller! Since originally publishing this list, I have acquired a second-hand Bugaboo Donkey and I LOVE it! This may be my best free stuff find ever! Best stroller ever, though has a very high price tag!!
 
The strollers listed above are all compatible with infant seats. Another consideration when choosing a stroller is how you want to use it past the infant stage. We ended up switching strollers after the infant stage as our needs changed with getting a second child, and before that, I realized that I needed a bigger basket for our city life.
 
How you will use your stroller every day really makes a difference in which stroller you will want to choose! Things to think about include: space it takes up in your car, weight and ease of fold, weight limit and how long you plan to use the stroller, basket size, car seat compatibility, whether or not you want a jogging or all-terrain stroller, and what type of style/design you prefer.
Stroller — travel & toddler

 

Mountain Buggy Nano
GB Pockit
Zoe
YoYo
Minu
Depending on the stroller you choose for the infant stage, you may want to choose a lighter more portable stroller for travel or public transportation use (this depends on your personal living situation and how you will use a stroller and also your budget!) We have the Baby Trend one linked above and it’s been great. I created a longer list of travel strollers organized by budget here. 
Changing Pad
I have found having a changing pad on top of a dresser very useful, but you can actually get by without a changing table per my mom’s advice: “we always just changed you on the floor!!”
Sound Machine
We started out with a fan but then were gifted a sound machine and never looked back! When we travel, we use a free app I downloaded on my phone that supposedly sounds like the Dohm!
Cloth Diapers
 
We splurged on a full set of BumGenius Freetimes and never looked back. The full set and all accessories cost between $400-$600 but has been well worth it for us because they have lasted us through 2 kids, and I love using them. I am a HUGE fan of the all-in-one cloth diaper, but other people enjoy using inserts, so do a little research and decide what is best for you. What was key for me in my cloth diapering success was waiting to start until around 6 weeks old, and also being flexible and doing disposable diapers when needed. More on how I use cloth here.
Diapers
I am a part-time “sposie”(short for disposable diaper) user, and have almost exclusively used Up & Up for about 4 years. I mainly use cloth, but have found Up & Up to be great — I use their wipes too.  
Baby Monitor
We use a security camera that has an app on our phone that we use to view the video feed.
High Chair
Be Mindful
Ingenuity Trio
Zoe 5 in 1
I love the IKEA high chair and have purchased multiple chairs to keep at relatives’ homes since it is so affordable! If I had unlimited funds, I might consider a Tripp Trapp, they are very nice!
Pack N Play
I love our Nimble Nook because it is smaller than a traditional pack n play and so it fits through the narrow bedroom doors of our apartment which means I can wheel it from room to room! It also has a bassinet attachment so I was able to use it next to my bed for the newborn days!
Swing
If you don’t want to pay the high price of a swing, you could get a bouncer instead. A swing can do more as it includes rocking motion! Things to consider: size, footprint, batteries vs plug-in, and style/design. Neither of my babies loved anything other than me holding them 🙂 but the swing was helpful for 20-minute stretches here and there!
Bassinet
I used the bassinet that came with my pack-n-play! For my first baby, I used the rock-n-play, but that has been recalled and is no longer recommended. Note that the Snoo contains a positioner which is not recommended for safe sleep by the AAP.
Nursing Pads
 
I exclusively used Bamboobies with my first, and they are very soft and very nice, but when I needed more and bought some random bamboo cotton ones, I was almost just as happy with them!
Portable Lounger
I had the Lullyboo lounger and loved it! I’m pretty sure that when I had my first baby the Dock-a-Tot wasn’t a thing yet, but it truly seems to be a marketing marvel (as with so many high-end baby products these days!) I haven’t tried one, but so many people rave about them as a must-have! Note that the AAP does not recommend you use them for sleep.
Diaper Bag
I have never found a diaper bag that I was completely in love with, but I haven’t tried spending more than $50 on one! So maybe the splurges are worth it… I’ve found that I’m most happy with a simple backpack that has lots of pockets & storage and cup holders on the sides.

 

My Registry Recommendations & Notes!

 

Crib – I wanted a modern, simple, low-cost crib, and we are happy with the one we got. We have now had it for almost 4 years (I can’t believe it!!) and it’s still going strong! We’ve used it for both kids! 

Mattress – We are happy with this mattress, too. We even bought a second one for my son’s toddler bed! 

Mattress pad – We have 2 waterproof mattress pads which we use under the crib sheet. I purchased two because if one is in the wash, the other is on the crib! Especially in the beginning, babies nap so frequently, and if you plan for your baby to nap in the crib, you will need multiple changes of sheets. 

Crib sheets – We have 3 crib sheets but I have a favorite one that I usually keep on. I change the sheets less often than I should, whenever they seem dirty… 

Dust ruffle, bumper, etc. – The AAP says you’re not supposed to use crib bumpers so I didn’t have one at first but once my little guy started being a maniac in the crib (sticking legs/arms through the slats) around 6 months, I did end up getting one, but I don’t recommend this to anyone else. I think we kept it on for about 6 months and then took it off when we thought he might use them to climb out. The dust ruffle on a crib isn’t necessary, although it does look nice, and keep in mind that you will start with the crib level high and eventually have to move it low once the baby is standing or pulling up. This seemed to go fast, and now we don’t even use the dust ruffle anymore because it fit better with the crib in higher setting.

Dresser / Changing table – We have the IKEA Hemnes dresser with a changing pad on top. It works great and is a good height. I personally think a changing table is essential. The dresser is an added bonus because once we are diaper-free we can keep using it! We got a second changing pad for our bedroom when we had baby number 2 and I’m so happy because it’s very useful not to have to bend down when changing diapers.

Changing Pad / Cover – I like to have the fabric cover with another liner on top to protect it because it’s easier to change just the liner than the whole cover if it gets a little stain on it. I have two fabric covers because they do sometimes get sprayed or dirty… The oval shaped liners are useful in the beginning so you don’t have to wash the fabric every time it gets dirty. 

Glider/Rocker/Ottoman – If you are breastfeeding, you will spend decent amount of time sitting to breastfeed, so whatever you feel comfortable in (with arms) should work. I liked how my rocker had sides that came out where you could rest your head if baby was sleeping while you rock. We chose this rocker and this ottoman

However, my babies did not really like rocking in the beginning, they both liked BOUNCING on the yoga ball!! So we have gotten a lot of use out of the yoga ball!

Absolutely Essential

Diapers – We used Pampers Swaddlers and Target Up & Up when our babies were newborns and liked the wetness indicator line. We have used Target Up&Up when traveling and found them to be good too. Mostly, though, we use cloth diapers (click here for more info on that!)
Wipes – I use the Target brand unscented ones if I need disposable wipes. I’m sure many others are fine too!
Blankets – You will need at least one blanket to lay your baby down on the floor on top of or use in your stroller or car seat, etc. I really like these muslin blankets and also these that are even softer. However, you may not need to purchase any blankets because people love to give them as baby gifts. We have so many blankets and rarely use many of them. 
Layette (clothes/cloths) – People seem to prefer to buy babies clothes over any other item, so you might want to wait to stock up on clothes, but here is a general outline of things you need. I also recommend exchanging small sized gifted items for larger sizes, because we ended up with so many newborn/3 month outfits that our babies couldn’t even wear them all even though I tried to put them in all of them. They would have had to wear three different outfits a day.
  • Hooded bath towels – it really doesn’t matter if they are hooded, but there are some cute ones. You really only need one or two.
  • Washcloths- you really don’t need specific baby ones. You can just use whatever washcloths you already have. I ended up getting this silicone fish and like it a lot because it doesn’t get musty. 
  • Burp cloths – I liked the Gerber prefold diapers as burp cloths. My sister helped me upcycle them by sewing cute fabric down the center. They turned out really cute! 
  • Side snap shirts – These are useful for easy changes – you don’t have to pull them over the baby’s head!
  • Footie Sleepers/PJs – Just a note that zippers are so much easier than snaps!
  • Onesies and pants
  • Swaddles or Sleep sacks (see descriptions below under optional items)
  • Hats
  • Socks
  • Bundleme or Bunny suit for winter

Feeding Supplies:

  • Bottles – I used the Medela ones from the starter kit very rarely – I didn’t like pumping so I didn’t do it much since I was able to be with my baby all the time.  
  • Bottle Sterilizer / Brush / Drying rack/ Dishwasher Basket – I sterilized bottles in boiling water and also used the dishwasher basket occasionally. A drying rack could have been useful but isn’t necessary. This one is very popular among all of my friends/family. 
  • Formula – We didn’t use formula or ever have any on hand, but some people think it is a good idea to have some as a backup. I knew if I ever needed it, the store is not too far away.

Toiletries, Creams, Medicine, etc:

  • We use Grandma El’s diaper rash cream because it is recommended for cloth diapers. We like it and it smells nice. Aquaphor has worked great for us when we use disposable diapers. Aquaphor is also great for skin rashes, etc. We use it a lot. Especially in the winter on red skin.
  • I used to use Burt’s Bees baby shampoo and lotion on him and I always got compliments that he smelled nice. Now we have decided that it’s too pricey so I found this Suave brand baby shampoo from Target that is so much cheaper and also smells very nice!
  • Vaseline – You will need this if you have a boy and choose to circumcise. Get a tube because it will be MUCH easier to apply than in the tub. The small tubes would be best, though, that have a small opening for the Vaseline to come out of.
  • Infant Tylenol – good to have on hand just in case. We rarely gave it to our babies but did use it a few times. As they get older, Infant Ibuprofen was useful for teething pain. (Only for 6 mos and up)
  • Thermometer – we use a forehead thermometer and we love it. It is easy to use and has seemed to be accurate.
  • Gas drops – I used these a lot for a while and I think they helped our son’s gas but I’m not really sure. They seemed to make him less fussy so I think they worked. Both of my boys have had gas issues as newborns.
  • Vitamin D drops – to supplement if exclusively breastfeeding. I was not/am not good about being consistent with these. I’m not sure how important it is because no one mentioned it to me at the hospital or our first pediatrician visit. The family doctor mentioned it at my first son’s 2 month appointment so that is when I started.
  • Baby nail clippers – nice to have because nails are always growing and always seem to need to be clipped!
  • Nosefreida


Optional Items

Noise Machine – We started out using a fan, but now we are fans of the white noise machine. It really helps with establishing a routine because the baby will associate the sound of the machine with sleep. It also drowns out street noise and noise from other rooms since we live in a small apartment. 
Baby Monitor – I recommend this monitor that has wifi so you can see it on your phone. We have two of them and I can view them both from the same app. Everyone will have a different preference, though – I rarely watch my children streaming live on it, I just periodically check in on them. Even at night. If you want to be looking at the baby constantly, you may want a system that has a separate monitor from your phone.
Diaper Pail– We have the Diaper Dekor Plus and it works with Planetwise liners for the cloth diapers. The actual refills are quite expensive so probably just using trash bags is more economical. You could also just purchase a trash can or use one you already have. 
Pacifiers – I have always used the Wubbanub, which is a popular option. They are very cute and have the soothie pacifier attached to them. My first child did not really take a pacifier much, but my second will use it occasionally. I never tried any others but I have noticed that some other brands that my friends use stay in better than the soothie does. 
Laundry Detergent – We don’t use a special baby laundry detergent. I now use All for my household wash and it works great on everything, including cloth diapers.
Nightlight – We have some night lights and occasionally use them. Around 7 months we started using the “twilight turtle” and that was really soothing. It is also good for travel (although it is big) because it doubles as a soother/sleep association/night light. 
Mobile – We have one just for show. He loves looking at it though!
Swaddles – For my first son, the Summer Infant SwaddleMe swaddles were our favorite for naps. I didn’t really like them at night because it was impossible to change a diaper without completely unswaddling. We used the Woombie a lot at night, which you can change the diaper in without taking it completely off. My first son hated it for a while, though, because he liked having his hands touching his face. Hence why we didn’t use it for every nap! But my second child has done great with the woombie for all naps and night sleep! I also used the Halo swaddling sleep sacks for both of them once they got bigger and started rolling.
Sleep Sack – We used sleep sacks once we stopped swaddling. I wish we had more of them because I should probably wash them more often. When my first son was 4 months old, we very often used Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit, and he slept 7 hours in a row for the first time when we used it. It only helped for about a month, though. 
Bath Tub – We used the Bloomin’ Bath and we liked that for sink bathing. Then we pretty much went straight to co-bathing. It works well for us. I find that bathing with my babies provides good and consistent skin to skin time and it is a time when they are usually happy and calm. I really enjoy our bath time together. Also, munchkin makes an inflatable duck tub that is good for travel. I think many of the baby tubs are bulky and difficult to use. We did also have this Boon tub for a while and it takes up so little space! If you are looking for a baby tub and don’t want it to be super bulky, check it out! I liked a bath ring seat for the 5-10 month stage as well, so that might be something to add to your registry if you are thinking ahead! Also, check out my 10 Bath Time Tips here!
Humidifier – We have a very simple humidifier that we used when he was sick. Note that Cool Mist humidifiers are recommended (the one I have is not cool mist.)

Bigger Items

Car seats – We use a Britax infant seat that came with our original stroller, the Britax B-Agile Travel System. I like how it easily clicks into Britax strollers. We don’t use it much though since we don’t have a car, but when we do use it, it is great how it clicks into the Britax Affinity we have now. 
Since we don’t have a car, when we needed a convertible car seat, we got the Cosco Scenera Next. It is so lightweight and easy to travel with. 
Strollers – I would recommend trying them out and seeing what you like. There is a lot to consider (comfort, weight, storage space, collapsibility, ease of use, etc…) We chose the Britax B-Agile as our first stroller. I liked it a lot because it was easy to fold, and it was great as an everyday and travel stroller, but I didn’t like the small basket. We also tried out a Maclaren and I didn’t like how it folded or pushed. For my everyday stroller, I ended up upgrading to the Britax Affinity and LOVED it. It pushes like and has features of a high end stroller but it was only $200 from Albee Baby. Overall, I don’t think any stroller is perfect, and everyone has different stroller preferences/needs so try them out and see what you like.
Our current stroller is the Mountain Buggy Duet (we need a double now) and I absolutely love it! 
We also have the Babytrend Tri Fold Mini as our current lightweight/travel stroller. I like how it folds and pushes, and the Cosco Scenera Next can sit in it for ease during travel. Get more ideas for lightweight strollers here!
Jogging Stroller – If you need one, try them out! We don’t have one.
High Chair – You don’t really need this until 4 – 6 months. We have the IKEA one. It was $20 and is not an eyesore. It works well and is easy to clean! 
Floor Chair – We used the Fisher Price Sit me Up, and it was very useful. We started using it around 2-3 months. It is great because my babies have always wanted to sit up and look around and the sit me up is great before the baby can sit up on their own. It doesn’t give them too much support or put them in a weird position but it lets them sit up and see what is going on around them! 
Jumperoo – We did not get one of these. We got the exersaucer instead. 
Exersaucer– Our babies loved the saucer. We started using it around 3-4 months and it was a lifesaver because they would sit in it and play while I did dishes, cooked, etc. It is big, bulky, and ugly, but very useful. 
Pack N’ Play – We got the Nimble Nook. It is skinnier than regular pack n plays so it fits through hallways and doors. It has been good for traveling, too. It also comes with a bassinet option for newborns.
Swing/Bouncer – If you have space, both a swing and a bouncer could be useful. Note that the swing has more motion options, but also pretty much has to stay where you plug it in. A bouncer can easily be moved around the house. I have never used a bouncer, but I did get a lot of use out of the Rock ‘n Play which has since been recalled and is no longer available. I had a swing with my second baby and found it useful. Which will be more useful for you both depends on your baby & also how much other stuff you have (See baby loungers in the Save/Spend/Splurge section above!) Neither of my babies really were able to fall asleep in the swing. And it would be hard for you to know if your baby will like the swing unless you try it. 
Baby Carrier –  I have and love the Beco Gemini. It has lumbar support for you and the baby can face in or out. I use it a lot and really like it since it is so easy to put on. If I was going to splurge on a second carrier, I would get the Lillebaby complete. I tried it out and liked that it had a pocket although I like the simplicity and ease of use of the Beco! (update – Beco has such great customer service and they replaced my original carrier when it got a tear in it. The new version has a pocket so I was very excited!)
Diaper Bag – I’ve used a lot of different diaper bags and ultimately, I would suggest a diaper bag backpack. It allows you to be really mobile and have your hands free to do whatever else you need to do! The thing I have found most essential to look for is lots of pockets and side cupholders on the outside of the backpack. Also, I really only use the diaper bag if I am going out without the stroller because I use two stroller organizers (this one and this oneand keep all of the diaper stuff I need in the stroller all the time. 

I do highly recommend this diaper clutch, as we have used it when traveling, for on the go, and even for a portable around the house changing
station for the first few weeks at home! 

Breastfeeding

Lactation Consultant – I found the hospital one to be great after my first birth, but it is not a bad idea to have one in mind who you could call to come help you at home if needed. Breastfeeding is tough and you need support.
Breast Pump – My insurance the first time around provided the Ameda Purely Yours. I didn’t use it very much but it worked fine with the Medela accessory kit. The second time around I got the Spectra S2 and like it better than the Ameda, and it still worked with all the Medela accessories.
Breast milk storage bags – I ended up mostly storing in bottles because I didn’t build up a “stash”. However, I can see that they would be useful for a “stash”.
Lanolin – Absolutely necessary in the beginning, just keep in mind it stains. It’s like chap stick for your nipples. I went back and forth between liking the Lanisoh brand and Medela… I think I was just using too much in the beginning. The Lanisoh is clear and the Medela is darker… but they both seem to stain. Don’t use too much, but I definitely needed this the first time around! The second time, I didn’t really need it after the first week which was surprising but good because I hated having greasy fingers. 
Nursing Bras – I got these from Target and really like them. I was able to wear them during pregnancy as well. I have read that nursing moms should wear wireless bras but I really prefer bras with a wire in them. However, in the very beginning of my nursing journey, the two times I used the underwire ones, I got chills and started getting a fever that almost let to mastitis, so I just stuck to the no wire ones for a while. But after that scare and the second time around, I have had no additional issues so I’m not really sure if the chills were just caused by something else… 
Nursing Pads – I started out with and still use Bamboobies. They do what they need to do, but they are relatively expensive. I needed more, so I bought some random reusable bamboo cotton ones on Amazon and like them. I seem to leak more the second time around for some reason. The first time, I only needed them with my non-padded nursing bras because I didn’t leak that much. 
Nursing Pillow – My Breast Friend was great in the beginning as it gave a lot of support and set me up in the correct position for nursing, but I only used it for about 6 weeks and then I just held my little guy. The Boppy is great for propping the baby up and putting behind a baby who can’t sit up. Second time around I haven’t used one at all! We use the Boppy for propping up baby but that’s it. 
Nursing Tank Tops – I have purchased some various nursing tank tops, but I also wear normal spaghetti strap tanks that can be pulled down. There are some I got from Old Navy that are silky and soft and I really like them. If I am going somewhere, I use the two shirt method and wear a tank top with a normal shirt on top and pull up the normal shirt. 

Postpartum Belly Band – I used this for a couple months post-baby and thought it was useful.

Unpleasant things to stock up on
  • Maxi pads (super with wings) You need super absorbent ones. I even used depends for a while because I didn’t want to ruin my underwear.
  • Tuck’s medicated pads – a must, very soothing on top of a pad post-birth, the nurse at the hospital showed me how to use these. Also, after both births, the hospital gave me these so I did not need to buy them. 
  • Stool Softener (Colace)
  • Motrin/Advil 


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