This was a daunting task, putting together a registry for what I thought we needed for our baby. My aunts were so gracious to throw me a baby shower and I was overwhelmed when we started looking into all of the stuff we thought we should have and needed for our little girl. Clothes, toys, diapers, crib, stroller, car seat, swing, bouncer, walkers, blankets, changing pad, bath, feeding supplies, the list goes on. That’s why I made this list of baby registry must haves. It might simplify for you what you really need and what you can find or acquire later.

There are also lots of options of locations to get baby registries set up. Buy Buy Baby, Amazon, Target, Walmart, Pottery Barn, and Baby List are a few. Be sure to look at freebies they give out too. Target does samples and coupons and Amazon does a box loaded with goodies. Plus they have completion discounts too, so look into which will give the best discount on items of interest. Make sure when you are figuring out your baby registry must haves, you also determine what store(s) you will use for registry. 

Baby Registry Must Haves by Category

1. Nursery essentials
  1. A crib –  If you are smart, find a convertible crib that can transition into a toddler bed to save some money down the road!
  2. A crib mattress – this was surprising to me, but you typically buy the mattress separate. 
  3. Crib sheets and mattress protector – I’d suggest getting at least two sheets for the nights when leaky diapers happen. 
  4. Optional but suggested – a bassinet of some sort. There are stand-alone options, attach to the bed options, and on the bed options. That said, you can start baby in the crib right away too.
  5. A changing pad – You need to change diapers somewhere. 
  6. Storage for baby’s clothes/towels/blankets – dresser, cube storage, boxes, storage containers, hangers in closet, whatever you choose, you’ll need something!
  7. Baby monitor – get one! It doesn’t have to be fancy, they still make sound only monitors. But you’ll want something to keep an eye on baby while they’re sleeping, or even playing in the pack and play.
Baby getting a bath
2. Bath Supplies
  1. A baby bath or safe place to bathe baby. We liked our baby bath tub and honestly are still using it (our daughter is a little bit of a peanut for her age). 
  2. Baby towels or small bath towels – this one is really optional but recommended. Get at least 3-4. As she grew we used 2 per bath. 
  3. Soap/Wash and Moisturizers – we opted for aquaphor and aveeno products with the sensitive skin in our families. Aquaphor products are recommended by dermatologists! 
  4. A brush or comb – this will help with any cradle cap that baby develops early on, and essential once that hair starts growing!
baby clothes
3. Clothing Items
  1. Sleepers – 4-6 per size, get only a couple newborn size as many kids skip this size or are only in it a couple of weeks.this was and is still our #1 used clothing item. Especially with cold winters, we use these all the time. 
  2. Onesies – 6 per size at least. We had a lot of issues with blowouts so there were days we’d go through at least 3 just from poopy diapers. If you get more, the less you’ll have to wash clothes.
  3. Pants – you’ll probably only need a few pairs per size (4-5) if you’re doing laundry pretty frequently. 
  4. Socks – Get a few packs in different sizes. I didn’t really think these would be that important, but we used socks ALL the time. 
  5. Swaddle sacks – one or two of these for nighttime sleep. Halo sleep sacks are a great option to keep baby wrapped tight. 
  6. Sleep Sacks – Recommend 2 of these in bigger sizes (6-12 month). Once your baby is transitioned out of the swaddle, they may need something safe to stay warm at night.
  7. Fleece bodysuit – skip newborn and get one per size up to 12 months. Especially if you live somewhere where it gets cool or cold, these are great for in the carseats. 
  8. A sweatshirt or jacket – Get at least one per size of a sweatshirt or light jacket and a snowsuit or thick bodysuit in a bigger size (6mo and 12 mo or something like that). Unless they’re in them everyday, it’s probably not worth it to get every size.
  9. Shoes – The fleece velcro shoes are a great option for early infancy. You can also get one pair of shoes around size 3. They’ll likely fit for a few months while they’re walking.
  10. Hats – get at least one hat for when they’re newborns, and one if you live in a cold area for when they’re going out in the cold. But don’t overdo it, our daughter hated hats so we literally never got to use them.
  11. Accessories – this isn’t a must, but for little girls, who doesn’t love the little headbands. For little boys, a bowtie or hat can be so cute for pictures.
baby wearing a diaper
4. Diapering
  1. Diapers – get lots of sizes. It’ll be so nice that you don’t have to go buy diapers. We recommend a couple packs of newborn size, a box of size 1, a couple boxes of size 2+. You can always get more if needed, but having a supply is really nice! Think ahead if you want sensitive skin diapers. Diapers are really a top baby registry must haves because you can’t get enough!
  2. Wipes – this is one of those things that you can’t seem to have enough of, which is they they’re included in the baby registry must haves. We stocked up and have yet to need to buy more. Keep in mind if you want the sensitive wipes or water wipes before asking for a stock of them.
  3. Diaper Rash Cream – whether it be butt paste, aquaphor, zinc oxide, or whatever you find, get some of this. It’s almost inevitable that you will deal with diaper rash at some point. Be prepared.
  4. The changing pad (listed above) and cover – don’t forget a cover. When you get nasty blowouts, it’s much easier to pull the cover off and wash it than try to get the smell out of the pad. Get at least one cover.

Optional items we didn’t use: 

  1. Diaper pail – we have one that a family member gifted us but honestly never use it. Our changing area is right next to the kitchen so it’s easy enough to use that garbage. If it’s in the nursery though, you may want one.
  2. Changing table – we saved space using some of our dining table for this, but if you want a changing table, it may be nice and convenient in the nursery.
Take baby to storytime or the local library
5. Toys and Books

Right away this may seem like a foreign concept, but it won’t be long before your little one is busy getting into everything. Stock up now and you won’t be stuck buying everything at the time.

  1. Books – we recommend getting a few board books or indestructible books (chew proof, rip proof). We stocked up at library sales, garage sales, and thrift stores, but are a great thing to ask for at a shower too.
  2. Toys – get some small toys like blocks, leap frog interactive stuffies (Scout), a baby xylophone, stacking rings, and rattles are some good ones to start with. 
    1. Other ideas for down the road include a bouncer or exersaucer, interactive learning toys (leap frog, vTech), a play kitchen, walker toys, poppers, activity tables, push walker toys, and tons of others. 
  3. Playmats – this is great for early on all the way until they can crawl. Play mats are great for tummy time as well as laying on their back while they’re young. There are a few different styles out there, but great to stimulate baby.
Baby eating, baby led weaning foods
6. Feeding Supplies
  1. Bottles – If you are breastfeeding you’ll want 4-6 bottles, if you’re formula feeding you’ll want between 6-8. Also if you’re formula feeding, get the larger 8oz bottles too. We recommend trying a few different brands before stocking up, but make sure if you get bulk of anything to get receipts in case baby doesn’t like them. Some favorites are the Dr. Browns, Avent, Platex, and Tommee Tippee. 
  2. Breast Pump – most likely you can get this through insurance, but if not, you’ll still want one if you plan to breastfeed. 
  3. Haaka Pump – These are used to collect milk that lets down from the other breast while you’re nursing. Lactation raved about them and I’ve seen many moms review these as a must have.
  4. Nursing pads – If you are nursing, you’ll want nursing pads. There are reusable options as well as disposable. I tried both and preferred the reusable, but both work well. I got by with a set of 8 reusable sets but if you use disposable you’ll need quite a bit. Realize you need to change these similar to how you change feminine products for your period.
  5. High Chair – you won’t be feeding your little one milk or formula forever. You’ll need a safe way to feed them. You can get a full sized high chair, or one that connects to a chair. 
  6. Eating supplies – we recommend getting a set of baby spoons (4-6), a few plates, 3-4 sippy cups, and a few plastic bowls. Sure baby can use yours but if they’re breakable, you may want plastic, silicone, or metal.
  7. Bibs – unless you want to change baby after every meal, we recommend getting a few of these. At least 4 of them. 
  8. Boppy pillow – if you are breastfeeding, you’ll want one of these. There are other brands, but they are SO handy, especially when baby can’t support their head.
  9. Nipple Cream – Breastfeeding must! Lanolin and nipple butter are two good options.
7. Miscellaneous Items – Baby Registry Must Haves
  1. A car seat – this is a MUST. You can’t leave the hospital without it. We recommend an infant rear-facing seat with a removable carrier. You’ll need to size up later, but it’s so much easier than taking your newborn in and out of a convertible right away. 
  2. Pacifiers – We tried a few brands before we found one that she really liked, but once we found one she liked we got 8 or so. They seem to disappear all the time! Trick – get glow in the dark for an easier time finding them at night.
  3. Teething toys – There are tons out there, the raspberry pacifier, refrigerated chews, teething gloves, etc. Get one or two. You’ll appreciate it in a few months.
  4. Blankets and Swaddles – Recommend getting 4-6 at least. Early on our baby lived in swaddle blankets. We doubled up when it was cold.  Go for different thicknesses too for varying temperatures. 
  5. Drool bibs – you can get a 5 pack for $5 and it’s highly recommended during teething. These are a great way to prevent a change of clothes every few hours.
  6. Pack and Play – some parents use these for sleeping areas for infants, others use them just to keep baby in for playtime or nap times.
  7. Stroller – We recommend getting a stroller that is infant seat compatible if you plan to be out and about with your baby and want to keep them in the car seat as a little baby. If not a stroller with bassinet attachment is also a newborn friendly option.
  8. Baby carrier – there are TONS of options out there; structured carriers, slings, wraps. Most are friendly to infants down to 7-8 pounds. We have had a BabyBjorn that worked well until she outgrew it. Then we upgraded to a Lilébaby all seasons that works well and has several positions. 
    1. Wraps are usually a hit with newborns. They keep baby cozy and allow for baby to sleep tight with mom.
    2. Structured carriers are nice because they generally work in multiple positions (forward facing, rear facing, back, side, etc.). Some carriers are friendly to newborns, some aren’t. Others like the Ergobaby require an insert for infants. Do some research and look for local babywearing groups. You may be able to try before you buy!
  9. Diaper bag – this one is going to be important for you when you are going anywhere. You don’t need anything fancy, but something to hold diapers, wipes, change of clothes, and other essentials. We recommend a backpack style for easier transport.
  10. Bumbo chair – recommend one if you spend time in the kitchen often. Baby can supervise while you make dinner and sit supported.

Of course this isn’t an all-inclusive list, but it is a good start. There may be things on here you don’t need, and things you want that aren’t on this list. But I know going into this adventure, I had no clue what I’d need or want so referencing other people’s baby registry must haves really helped me. Anything missing on this list? Anything you felt isn’t really important? Let me know in the comments below!