With positive pregnancy test in hand, my husband and I looked at each other. Now what? It would be another few months before we’d venture into the store to actually start our baby registry. That first trip was overwhelming, for sure! Just what exactly did we really need? As first-time parents-to-be, we were clueless! While we had a great registry, looking back, there are definitely some items we could have used right off the bat that we never registered for.
Now that I’ve got my first full amazing year of motherhood under my belt, with time and experience comes plenty of mommy wisdom.
Here are the top 10 essentials I wished I had thought to add to my baby registry the first go round!
1. Ultralight Urban Stroller
Without a doubt, this is my number 1 essential I wished we had done more research on when I was pregnant. We have a full travel system stroller that includes a car seat and a very flimsy umbrella stroller that doesn’t offer anything in other than a fabric seat with straps. There have been plenty of times I wish I had the storage capacity and comfort of our huge travel system stroller without all the extra bulk and weight.
2. Travel High Chair
Between the trips to grandparents’ homes to the occasional overnight family getaway, baby’s still gotta eat – and we had a few trips where Judah ended up sitting in one of our laps as we fed him. Rookie parenting mistake!
3. Baby Glider Swing
There’s no denying that Judah, like any newborn, loved to be rocked and held. As a new mom, all the rocking and carrying took a toll on my shoulders, back, and arms and besides – it wasn’t realistic to carry him 24/7. I can’t believe that our son was almost three months old before we finally broke down and bought one for ourselves. When Judah developed colic, our gliding swing was a lifesaver.
4. Activity Bouncer
After a certain point, once baby starts sitting up but isn’t quite yet mobile, the swing just isn’t going to cut it anymore. They want to sit or stand up and look around, but you still need to have them within arm’s reach. We waited until Judah was probably five months before we finally got an activity bouncer for him and once we did, he loved it. Ours was portable enough and took up very little floor space, allowing us to move it from room to room as needed.
5. White Noise Machine with Timer
Establishing a bedtime routine is a must to help build good sleep habits. We were very lucky that Judah began sleeping through the night by the time he was three months old. Up until that point, we went through a very challenging time where we’d put him down asleep and as soon as his head touched the mattress, he’d wake up. We finally bought a white noise machine to soothe him to sleep as we put him to bed and then turned off after an hour of soft, gentle sounds.
6. Spinning Bottle Rack
Even when I was breastfeeding, I was shocked at the amount of bottles I went through in a day. We were meticulous about hand-washing them and it wasn’t long before we had a whole line of them across our very limited kitchen counter space. We ended up buying a small bottle rack, but if I had to buy one again, I’d have gone for the vertical, counter space-saving spinning rack, instead.
7. Zipper Closure Diaper Bag
When we registered for our diaper bag, my husband set a clear ultimatum that if he was out with Judah, he only wanted a diaper bag that wasn’t too feminine. We found a great bag and I still use it to this day – but the one major issue I have with it is that it’s open on top with just a single magnetic button to keep it closed. There is nothing more frustrating when you’re trying to get out the door and you accidentally drop or knock over the diaper bag, with diapers, toys, and wipes tumbling all over your driveway! I would give anything for our diaper bag to have a zipper top closure.
8. Small Packs of Diapers in Multiple Sizes
As Judah has grown, we’ve gotten a good sense of when it’s time to size up his diapers. Not so much however, when he made that first transition from newborn to size 1. It took entirely too many blowouts and leak-throughs before we finally figured it out! Sometimes, we’re not sure if he really does need a new size. Registering for the smallest pack available of diaper sizes through the first twelve months would have been the smart thing to do, allowing us to test out the next size up before committing to a bulk-sized box.
9. Children’s Lullaby and Nursery Rhyme Album
This might sound totally lame, but I don’t really know the lyrics to a lot of baby and children’s songs! Sure, I know the melodies, but after a few lines, I just go right back to humming or “la la la.” For now, I just fire up YouTube on my phone to find the songs I’m looking for as I teach Judah words and melodies, but it would be a lot more helpful if I could put on a CD or mp3 album of children’s music just for Judah.
10. Baby-Proofing Kit
Before you know it, baby goes from tummy time to crawling to cruising and walking – and it seems like you’re always playing catch-up! You can baby-proof your home from top to bottom, but what about visits to the grandparents, or overnight in a hotel? I wished we had registered for a total baby-proofing starter kit that we could just toss into our luggage or overnight bags and not have to worry about curious fingers and uncovered outlets.