Money Smarts Blog

Baby Registry Essentials and Skippables

Apr 23, 2020 || Jamie Miller

Pregnant woman and partner looking at computer

Early in my pregnancy, I would think about registering, and I’d get excited. A list of all the adorable things my baby needs in one place. When I was about 20 weeks, I sat down to register, and I realized I had no idea where to start. It’s overwhelming, to say the least, so learn from my panic (which was completely unnecessary). Here’s a list of some registry items you should get, and a few you can skip, as well. 

Registry Essentials

Nursery furniture

Some new moms might have friends or family who can give them hand-me-downs, which is fantastic, but for the rest of us, we’re going to need to budget for a crib, a bassinet, a changing table, and a glider or rocking chair, at the very least.

Pro tip: Even if you don’t expect anyone to gift you these things, add them to the registry. Many stores will give you a registry discount after your baby shower and a few weeks before your due date. So, load up these items, and take advantage of the savings.

Swaddle Blankets

Despite how the nurses make it look, swaddling isn’t easy. And the last thing you need when you get home from the hospital is extra frustration. That’s why there are fool-proof swaddle blankets, such as the HALO sleep sack. A few zips, a little Velcro, and your little one is as snug as a bug.


Again, registry discount. You know you’re going to need these, and you know you’re going to need a lot. Register for different sizes so you’re covered for a while. Additionally, if someone does end up gifting you diapers, they’ll know what brand you’d like to use.

Pro tip: Most big box stores let you exchange diapers for a different size. If you end up with a bunch of size 1s and your little one comes out at 10 pounds you’ll quickly find yourself reaching for the size 2s. Make sure you exchange your extra size 1 diapers for size 2.

Car Seat and Stroller

Do your research. Choose the car seat and stroller that fit your safety standards, budget and other requirements, and then get them on that registry. For a two-in-one deal, consider the Doona. Many people recommend getting a separate stroller for longer walks, but this transformable car seat gets the job done.

Bottle Warmer

When I was doing my own research, I saw this on must-have lists and skippable lists. I ended up putting it on my registry. Why? I want to avoid the potential of giving my baby a bottle that I accidentally unevenly warmed or made too hot. The bottle warmer takes the thinking out of the process when you’re sleep deprived, which we can all probably expect to be. At least for a little while. 

Breastfeeding Pillow

A breastfeeding pillow not only helps keep your baby in the right position, but it also keeps your arms from getting tired. The Boppy is a popular brand, as is My Breast Friend. I’m told they’re incredibly helpful, even if you decide to bottle feed.


Drool happens. Spit up happens. Milk dribble happens. Just stick a bib on the kid. Maybe all day, if you have to. You’ll save yourself some laundry if you have bibs on hand.

Baby Wrap or Carrier

When you have a baby, your hands are constantly busy. Whether you’re cleaning, feeding, folding or cleaning again, having two free hands is an essential and a luxury. Many times, I’ve seen new moms sigh in relief when they start wearing the baby in the baby carrier, even around the house. Maybe try a wrap and a carrier to see what works best for you.


The one thing we all know about parenthood is that it’s full of unpredictable moments. So, even if you plan to breastfeed, it’s a good idea to have some bottles on hand, just in case. Plus, it’s a nice chance for your partner to bond with baby too.

Pro tip: Get a few different types from different brands, as you can’t be sure what your baby’s preferences will be.

Registry Skippables

Wipe Warmer

Based on what I’ve read, wipe warmers dry out the wipes, so they’re really not all that useful. It’s better to just leave this one off the list.

Breast Pump

There’s nothing wrong with registering for breastfeeding essentials, such as breast pads, nipple balm, nursing covers, nursing bras, and the like. Maybe someone grabs them for you, but, if not, again, registry discount. However, leave the breast pump off the list. Most insurance companies will now provide discounted, if not free, breast pumps. So, get on the phone with your insurance provider before spending that money unnecessarily.

Crib Bumpers

The CDC recommends parents only have a fitted sheet in their baby’s cribs. That means no toys, blankets, pillows or crib bumpers, which have been linked to Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Syndrome (SUIDS), also known as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). For more recommendations on preventing SUIDS/SIDS, visit the CDC website.


You may be day dreaming about your little baby laying peacefully in his crib looking up at the mobile but in all honestly, it’s more a distraction from sleep than something that helps. Plus, when your little one gets bigger you don’t want anything in their reach that they can bring into the crib with them.


Yes, baby will need blankets but you will get so many at your shower whether you register for them or not. So, save yourself from having the ones your registered for PLUS a bunch of random ones too.


I know it’s so hard to resist the adorable baby clothes but, trust me, similar to blankets, you will get so many clothes at your shower regardless. Leaving them off will hopefully encourage people to get you some of the “less fun” stuff. 

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