Congratulations—you’re having a baby! At some point soon, you’ll probably want to make a baby registry. It can be an exciting but daunting task since there are enough baby products on the market to fill 50 nurseries! So, what do you actually need? While we can’t promise a baby who sleeps all night, here are all the baby registry must haves you’ll want to stock up on to make the first year a little easier.
A baby monitor is one of those surefire bets for your registry checklist, as they can be used for many years to keep an eye on your kiddo. This Summer Infant model includes temperature-monitoring, HD video and a parental intercom, so you can soothe the baby with your voice even if you’re several rooms (or floors) away.
While they won’t elicit oohs and ahhs at your baby shower the way, say, a mini sports jersey will, baby gates are essential for keeping your little one clear from staircases and off-limits zones. Regalo’s baby safety gate has a narrow walk-through panel in the centre for adults, which will save you from opening the full gate. (This feature is a must-have in smaller spaces).
Within the first few days of birth, your doctor or midwife is likely to talk to you about the importance of vitamin D for breastfed infants. This liquid supplement makes it easy—add one drop to your baby’s tongue, soother, the bottle nipple or your nipple before breastfeeding.
You’ll want a quick-read thermometer on hand as soon as you’re home from the hospital. Fevers are particularly risky within the first three months of life. This non-contact infrared style from Wellworks is suitable for newborns and adults alike, and the coloured indicator lets you know within one second if your baby’s temperature is too high. It also tracks the last 10 readings so you don’t have to write them down—a saving grace when you’re trying to keep a feverish, frustrated baby at peace.
To get rid of a potential fever fast, doctors typically recommend acetaminophen (not ibuprofen) for infants between three and six months of age. (Of course, it’s always a good idea to consult a doctor when your child is under 11 pounds and less than six months old.) Make sure to wash the syringe with hot soapy water, then slowly release the formula into the baby’s mouth, giving them ample time to swallow the required amount. It might take longer than you think!
Of all the baby registry items on your list, a comfortable spot for your newborn to catch some zzzs when home from the hospital is one of the most important. This Fisher-Price bassinet is designed to soothe with a mobile, a projector that can light up the ceiling with stars, gentle vibrations, swaying motions and music. Plus, there’s a handy nightlight for those 2 a.m. hangouts.
This Graco Salano Convertible Crib switches into a toddler bed, daybed and even a full-sized bed, making it a great investment for long-term use. The under-crib storage will come in handy during midnight sheet changes, and the soft dove grey colour complements any nursery décor scheme.
When it’s the middle of the night and you’re on diaper change six, lining up the snaps on baby pajamas can feel more difficult than taking a university calculus exam. Spare yourself this pain with a zippered onesie. George sleepers are ultra-soft and durable, plus they’ll help keep your kiddo warm, not sweaty, thanks to the breathable 100-per-cent cotton fabric.
Once your baby is ready to eat solids, you’ll want an adjustable high chair that folds easily. Look for one without too many fussy fabrics or nooks that food can slip into—you’ll be cleaning it often, so something without a million crevices is key. This 2-in-1 high chair from Dream On Me offers a removable dishwasher-safe tray. It also converts to a toddler chair to save you from buying another seat down the line. (Here are a few more of our favourite high chairs.)
Don’t forget the tiny newborn bibs with gorgeous patterns. For messy eaters (i.e. all babies), you’ll want bibs that catch crumbs, can be quickly wiped down and are big enough to cover those so-sweet baby clothes. Rinse them after dinner and hang to dry.
If you go the breastfeeding route, it can be exhausting and physically demanding. A comfortable setup can help you avoid aches and pains in your wrist, back and neck pain. This supportive breastfeeding pillow boasts a hypoallergenic, washable cover (very necessary!) and firm memory foam to help prevent slouching.
Even if you’re planning to breastfeed and/or pump, it’s a good idea to have at least one bottle of formula in your kitchen cupboard just in case—a middle-of-the-night latch disaster could spell a very hangry baby, and a very frustrated family. This Enfamil Baby Formula is concentrated and easy to prepare, plus it contains DHA (a brain-building omega-3 fatty acid) and dietary fibre to help prevent constipation. (We also recommend these brands of baby formula.)
Whether you breastfeed or use formula, you’ll need to buy a few baby bottles. Philips is known for their easy-latch nipple and anti-colic venting system. (Less gas means a much happier baby!) And because you won’t want to spend your few free hours washing your one bottle, put several of them on your baby registry.
This baby formula maker from Baby Brezza makes formula-feeding simple, as it measures the exact water and powder required to make a perfect bottle. (It’s trickier than it sounds, especially when a hungry newborn is howling nearby.) It also gets bonus points for bringing that chic coffee-house vibe to your kitchen counter.
If you’re breastfeeding, buy yourself a few hours of independence by starting to use a breast pump within the first few weeks. Medela creates some of the most-loved pumps on the market, and their Freestyle Flex Breast Pump is super quiet, tracks breast milk output, fits in your purse and comes with access to a lactation consultant for the first 30 days.
Breastfeeders may find that leaks can be unpredictable and can strike even if you just suddenly think of your baby, or when you hear another baby cry when out in public). These ultra-absorbent disposable nursing pads from Lansinoh feature a sticky backing to stay snugly in place within your bra or nursing tank.
The infamous purple tube of pure lanolin by Lansinoh helps keep nipple chapping, cracking and pain at bay, while also soothing dry patches on mama’s skin (from cuticles to lips!). Keep a spare tube in your diaper bag so you’re not searching for it when leaving the house.
A car seat is a non-negotiable baby registry must-have—and you’ll need to have it installed before you leave the hospital (unless you plan to head home on foot). This Graco Extend2Fit convertible car seat (it converts from rear-facing to forward-facing) will carry your baby from as small as four pounds up to 65 pounds. (To answer all your pressing car seat questions, check out our car seat buying guide.)
As soon as you feel ready, outdoor walks can be the secret sauce for solving baby fussiness—and they do plenty for maternal mental health. Look for a stroller that enables you to attach your infant car seat, like this Pivot Travel System by Evenflo, so you can easily transport your baby from car to stroller without disturbing them. (You’ll thank us when you’re attending all the newborn doctor’s appointments with a sleeping baby.) A generous bottom basket means you can also use this travel system for trips to the grocery store and other errands.
When you’re outside of your home, a bed that packs up easily comes in handy whether you need to put your baby to sleep or create a localized (read: contained) place for them to sit and play. This Harmony Play & Go Deluxe Playard boasts a built-in bassinet for newborns, breathable mesh sides and a compact design—a boon for all baby items. (For more tips for choosing a baby playpen or playard, check out our playpen buying guide.)
One surefire bet: Your baby will need to be cleaned often. And beyond keeping them fresh, a warm bath before bed can get them in a routine for sleep. This Angelcare bath support has a non-slip grip, is mould-resistant (because it drains instantly) and cradles the baby from birth to nearly six months, when they’re usually able to sit up on their own in the bath.
Help keep your tiny treasure’s skin free from irritation with a soothing body wash that doubles as baby shampoo. (Your slippery hands will only be able to handle so many bottles!) Tear-free formulas like Aveeno’s are an added bonus, whether or not your baby has sensitive skin.
Proper breast support may help with feelings of heaviness, discomfort or even pain. This George Seamless Nursing Bra has adjustable straps, is stretchy (with a seamless fabric that doesn’t dig into skin), dries quickly and includes discreet removable pads. You’ll want at least three so you can wear one, wash one and have a third on hand if you leak or get covered in spit-up.
If you’re breastfeeding, a supportive nursing tank in a neutral colour just might become the MVP in your postpartum wardrobe. This one features easy-access strap clips so you can lower the front of the tank, a built-in bra and soft, seamless fabric. Take it for a test drive while you’re still pregnant, as it can be worn as a maternity tank, too.
These super-soft recieving blankets are perfect for keeping baby cozy, comforted and shaded from the sun. They also work as burp cloths and for wiping up small spills. They come in super-cute patterns, dry quickly and can be layered as your baby grows. Plus, you’ll likely only need to register for one pack of four. (You’ll want a minimum of two, but generally four to six swaddles is a good number to have so you’re not constantly running the washing machine!)
It may seem obvious, but diapers are baby registry must-haves. That said, finding the right diaper for your baby’s shape may take some time, so don’t be afraid to try a few different brands. When it comes comfort for newborn bums, Rascal + Friends diapers (eco-friendly nappies that we’re kind of obsessed with) are super soft and free of fragrance, which could help babies with sensitive skin.
Instead of buying a bulky change table, seek out a contoured change pad with a non-slip bottom that can be securely placed on the top of any dresser. That way, you can keep the pad in your child’s bedroom as they grow, even if you’re short on space. One with a safety strap like this Concord Baby Contour Changing Pad is key when creating a baby registry, as babies learn to roll as early as four months old.
The common cold will arrive in your household at some point, and your baby’s first cold may be more comfortable if you have a generously-sized humidifier. (Less tank refilling means more sleep for you!) Honeywell’s cool mist version is quiet, easy to fill and sanitize, and shuts off once the tank is empty.
When babe is fed, burped, rested but still unhappy, a dentist-approved soother is an option to have on standby. (P.S. They may also help with teething!) Try keeping a few on hand to save yourself (or your partner) a midnight dash. Just make sure they’re sanitized (boiling water works well) and cooled first. The MAM brand is popular for its soft nipple and large air holes, which help prevent drool from sitting against the baby’s skin and harbouring bacteria.
The thing about baby wipes is that you can never have enough, and you should keep them everywhere—from your diaper station to your car. These moist Pampers Pure baby wipes never seem to dry out and will save you from explosions that you can’t even fathom how a small person can achieve. Plus, they’re water-based and free of potentially irritating alcohols, dyes and fragrances.
Add a few mini hand sanitizers to your registry checklist, as you’ll often find yourself changing your baby in stores, parks or the backseat of your car—without a nearby sink for handwashing. This small hand sanitizer from The Honest Company is easy to tuck inside your purse, stroller, car or next to your diaper change station.
Spit ups and diaper blowouts are par for the course—and oh, the joy of the stomach flu! In addition to a few sets of crib sheets, having two mattress protectors on your list of baby registry must-haves—like this knit set from Simmons—will make 2 a.m. crib stripping a little easier on your sanity (and your crib mattress). Store the protectors inside your laundered crib sheets, so you can swap your baby’s linens in a flash.
As much as your babe adores your face, they’ll reach a point when they need more stimulation for brain development. This activity centre, which combines bounce with play interaction, is made of washable and wipe-down parts and is easily adjustable for three different heights, so your babe can get extra mileage out of it as they grow.
A baby swing may take up precious space, but it’s also a lifesaver during those exhausting newborn days. At some point, you will need to put the baby down to eat, brush your teeth and take a moment for yourself. This model has a variety of speeds, music and soothing sounds, as well as a machine-washable cover because, babies.
Trying out supervised tummy time is a good way to help your baby develop healthy neck muscles. This rollout, easy-to-wipe mat is a great place for your little one to get started. Later on, it will become a play space for your toddler. This model is free of potentially problematic fillers such as phthalates and BPAs and fits seamlessly with almost any décor.