6 Baby Registry Must-Haves
If you’re expecting, there’s just no way around it: there will be stuff, lots of it, coming into your home. It’s unavoidable. Why not get ahead of the game and make some solid choices so that friends and family know what to do come shower time? It helps you, and it helps them. To get you started, here are six items you must absolutely have in hand before your due date:
I have heard many friends over the years sing the praises of the Baby Bjorn, and I too shared their enthusiasm when my own kids were small some years back. And mine was the classic model, which is practically a dud compared to today’s Baby Carrier One, a marvel of versatility and ergonomic support whether you’re carrying a newborn nestled next to your heart or a toddler who prefers riding piggyback. ($190)
Everybody needs a diaper bag, and many folks will tell you to choose one that you can pass off as a “normal” handbag. So yeah, go ahead and get the sleek black tote from Coach or wherever. Or you can embrace the brilliant colors and quilted fabrics of Vera Bradley’s Make a Change model ($118). This bag features all the right compartments and you can throw it in the wash. Oh, and it also comes in black, if you insist. Don’t want to be so weighed down? Get a clutch. The Skip Hop Pronto Changing Station, for one, accommodates the essentials—a few diapers, some wipes, maybe a small tube of diaper cream—and also doubles as a mat so you can get down to business. ($30)
This is one item you definitely shouldn’t skimp on, especially if you’re heading back to work while still endowed with a full milk supply. Even if you plan to stay home, try pumping and storing at least once a day to give yourself a break and other family members a chance to do a feeding (how about the 1 a.m.?!) and bond with the baby. The compact, lightweight Medela Freestyle Breast Pump ($300 on sale) works beautifully; it runs on a rechargeable battery, can be operated hands-free, and two different expression modes mimic natural nursing.
Long gone are the days of crackling audio feeds that make normal, steady breathing sound like a tornado has entered the baby’s room. Now you can have the visual too—and so much more. Levana’s own Sophia Video Baby Monitor ($80) features night vision, temperature monitoring and two-way communication so you can sing an emergency lullaby from the kitchen or couch. The system supports up to four cameras, and power saving “PEEP” mode provides 48 hours of battery life. For a look at all Levana products, click here.
Of course you could plop your tiny son or daughter into the kitchen sink for a wash. But infants are so slippery and squirmy, you’re better off with a tub expressly designed for tiny babies, especially those who can’t sit up yet. The Naked bathtub from Boon ($70) expands and reclines for optimal positioning and support, and collapses flat for easy storage. And it’s an Alpha Mom favorite!
You might register for some bath toys and baby shampoo while you’re at it; a baby bathtub makes a great gift basket.
Infant car seat and compatible stroller (a.k.a. travel system)
An infant car seat and stroller set is the bulkier choice, to be sure. But when you’re in a sleep-deprived fog, you’ll want to be able to let sleeping babies lie—and it’s the travel system that lets you transfer from car to sidewalk with ease. Prices for these sets can fall anywhere between $150 and $350; Britax, Graco and Evenflo are among the most popular brands. Do yourself a favor and test-drive the equipment at a Buy Buy Baby or other retail store before you commit. And be sure to keep tabs on any product recalls by subscribing to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s email alerts. (you can specify infant/child products).
A final tip: All our favorite items are available at amazon.com; Amazon’s baby registry service lets you list products from other websites and takes returns on purchases within 90 days.