To Register or Not to Register

Registering for your baby shower as a new mom can be extremely overwhelming and not like registering for wedding gifts at all.  Registering for your wedding was easy!  Fun, even.  You just get better versions of stuff you already use as an adult, and presumably you already know how to adult.  Easy, peasy. But the baby shower gifts are another story.  You register for supplies for a baby you’ve never had, in order to go through your days trying to keep the tiny human alive and comfortable, but you have no idea how.  For me it honestly made me feel every bit of unpreparedness I had.

You have the given stuff like feeding supplies, bedding, stroller, car seat, diapering supplies, bathing supplies.  That’s hard enough with different brands and styles to choose from.  But this is where it gets trickier.  Do you need a wipes warmer?  Would you ever use a baby carrier?  Bottle warmer? Changing table?

I’ve gotten together with other moms and compiled a list of things that we think you’ll use versus things that are nice, but rarely used.

  • Changing table: This is one thing that, if I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t get one.  I had two babies in quick succession, so a table was needed for both and for number two I put a changing pad on the dresser, a box of supplies beside it and used one drawer in it for diapers.  Now that number one is potty training, I don’t have a use for the one I have.


  • Bottle warmer/wipes warmer: Never had, didn’t use and we were fine.  If you think you’ll use it, definitely register for it, because, hey… free.  I have two boys who now giggle when I wipe them with a cold wipe.  As a tiny baby, I could see how the wipes warmer would be appreciated, but we didn’t use one and they seemed fine with it!  The bottle warmer that I forgot we had never got used and I gave it to my sister, who also didn’t use it.

  • Baby Carrier: Yes, yes, a hundred times yes!  Whether you like the wrap kind like the Moby or Boba or a more structured one like the Baby Bjorn or Ergo, I think this is a must.  Grocery shopping, hiking, just getting in and out of places without taking the car seat every time or carrying your floppy-headed newborn is so much easier with a baby carrier.  Personally, many carriers hurt my back, because, amazing shape that I was in, eleven pounds of baby was too heavy.  I ended up with the Ergo, and it was wonderful.  T. says that the Beco carrier worked well for her, as she’s on the short side.  She also recommends going to boutique stores or BuyBuy Baby where you can try them on with a fake baby to see which one feels the best.

  • Bassinet: We used the Fisher-Price Rock n’ Play for the first several months for both boys and it was amazing. They are so snuggly in it, not adrift on their back in a giant crib.  It’s also great for babies with reflux, like my number one.  I know certain people would recommend against the Rock n’ Play for long (like Judgey Von Home-Nurse who said, in all innocence, “You’ll be moving him to a crib soon, right?” to which my answer was a surprised, “No!”  She encouraged me to do so very soon, and I ignored her advice because number one slept in the Rock n’ Play for four months and he was fine.)  Either way, bassinet or Rock n’ Play, they are good things to have.

  • Swing: Yes. I loved our swing because it helped my babies nap (and thus myself nap) for many months.  I was worried that they would never nap in their cribs because they were so used to the swing, but they did.  Fussy baby?    Need to set him/her down so you can accomplish something? Swing.  Need to take a nap longer than twelve minutes because you were up four times the night before?  Swing.

  • Bathtub: Personally, I’ve never used a bathtub that sits on the counter. I was given a little bath chair that sits in the bathtub and that’s all I used.  It worked well for baby one but baby two was more adventurous and tried to escape.  Some chairs have belts, but mine didn’t.  I do think, however, in the tiny, fragile newborn stage it might be easier to have a countertop bathtub.  T. says she had a chair for the sink and a countertop tub and preferred the tub.

  • Cloth diapers: This is a personal choice.  I know lots of mamas that love, love, love them.  They are kinder on baby bums and far better for the environment.  In an attempt to save some money and lean toward green, we registered for some cloth diapers.  We used them for a while, and then maybe we wouldn’t get to the washing in time and we’d switch to disposables, which frankly, are way easier to deal with.  We’d be using disposables for a while and then say to ourselves, “We’ve got to use those diapers.”  And we’d use them again for a month or so, then fall off the wagon again for convenience sake.  Ultimately, we may have saved some money, but not near what we would have if we’d been consistent.  I hate laundry and its stupid never-ending qualities, so it might have been dumb of me to think that I would magically love washing diapers every single day.  I didn’t.  But as I said, I know lots of mamas that love them, so if you think it would fit into your lifestyle, go for it!

  • Sleep Sack: The Halo sleep sack was an essential in our house. It is an easy way to make sure your baby is sleeping in the proper no-loose-covers, no-stuffed-toys way. You just zip them up in the sack and they stay cozy and warm and safe. Our kids used them until past their first birthdays.

This list may not be complete and you might have more questions about the use of some things, but hopefully this will help get you started!  Also, if in doubt, register.  Because…free, right?


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