Registering for baby is a monumental moment in the journey to motherhood. But let's face it, it can also be the only way to ensure you'll receive practical, useful gifts and not those trendy items that will sit in the closet until you either regift or donate in a few years.
But before you register, check out our list of some of the baby necessities that are high on the real mom list, in addition to earplugs and an extra serving of patience, of course.
Whether your choice is cloth or disposable, you're going to need a whole bunch of diapers... and often. Not only can you register for diapers through stores like Babies R Us and Target, but you can also buy a gift certificate to many privately owned diaper service companies or even add gift cards to your registry to be spent on diapers later.
Whether you plan to breast or bottle feed, you're going to need some equipment. Many breastfeeding mamas enjoy the convenience of an electric pump and bottles, which can give her a much needed break as well other family members the opportunity to bond with baby. Most pumps come with a couple of bottles and a mini cooler bag, which makes it much easier to live life on the go.
If you're considering bottle feeding, don't go overboard when registering for nipples. While you're safe in choosing your bottle preference, babies respond to different nipples and you may have to try a few different options before finding one that fits your newborn. Bottle gift packs are the perfect size and price to allow you to try it out without committing to just one.
No matter how you feed your child, don't forget bibs and burp cloths. Not only will they keep baby from needing a change of clothes after every feeding, it will save your own clothes from wear and tear as well as those extra loads of laundry!
Whether baby arrives in the heat of summer or bone-chilling winter, onesies are a mom's best friend. Long sleeve, short sleeve... plain white, brightly colored or cool patterns, it doesn't matter. You'll have days when baby needs more wardrobe changes than a celebrity host at the Oscars. Simple, inexpensive, easily-washable onesies can keep you from the frustration of another ruined outfit.
When it comes to footwear, finding socks that stay on baby's feet can be more difficult than solving your child's 5th grade math problems (just you wait). Moms like Andrea, mother of two, swears by Robeez or Bobux little leather slippers or Carter's socks, which she says, "actually stay on."
Ask any mom about this purchase and she'll tell you that an infant seat with separate base (that can remain buckled in the car) is one of the most important purchases you can make. Not only will it keep your little one safe on the road, your bundle of joy can be easily moved from one place to another without being woken up. Some moms swear by registering for a second base, so baby can also be buckled into Daddy's car without the hassle of installing the base over and over again.
While many infant car seats are sold as a travel system, including a matching stroller, think about your lifestyle before purchasing this item. Opening up the back of the car with a screaming baby in your arms is challenging enough. Doing it while pulling out a bulky, difficult to assemble stroller -- nearly impossible. For those first six months, a lightweight metal frame, like the Snap n Go, is often the perfect combination of affordable price and easy to use. If you'd rather go with a stand-alone stroller, head to the store and try pulling it down and maneuvering with one hand to see if it will work for you.
Like the stroller, finding the right baby carrier is a personal choice. While some women go for a body-hugging sling, others might go for a more sporty, one-the-go model of carriers. And some moms just want something that fits with their own personal style when choosing a carrier. But no matter your choice, it's a good idea to try it out ahead of time to see how it feels on your body (or keep the receipt in case you need to exchange it for a different type of carrier).
Alison, who now has two kids in elementary school, says, "A sling was my number one baby item that I used until my kids were too heavy to carry (around their 2nd birthday)." Amy, mom of two girls, agrees. "I would not have survived my youngest without one!
Analiza swore by her Bjorn baby carrier with her two boys. "It's so much easier to carry baby when you've got a little back support."
The last thing you want to do after bringing baby home is get on your knees and bend over a tub while bathing your newborn. There are many choices in baby tubs that fit perfectly in a standard sink. But some moms skip the tub altogether. While Lisa A. opted for taking her three babies into the tub with her, Lisa L. found the solution for bathing her infant daughter was "probably the cheapest thing on the planet but it was so handy... a spongy mat for washing newborns." P.S. Don't forget to register for lots of face cloths and a few soft towels. Otherwise, you'll be doing laundry several times a day, just trying to keep up.
If your home is more than one room, registering for a baby monitor is a good idea. Plus, imagine all the free time you can have (doing housework and attempting to actually sleep for more than 5 minutes) knowing the monitor will let you know as soon as your child needs you. Cindy, mom of a second grader, says, "We have a larger home, our monitors have been among the most used things we have."
According to Andrea, a diaper bag is "often a new mom's best and only accessory." But before you register for some designer bag, think about your own lifestyle. If you're heading to the soccer field with older kids or hitting the trails with your newborn in tow, a satiny satchel is not the most functional way to go. Diaper bags have come a long way over the past few years but before you get caught up in the trend, think about what you'll carry, where you'll be going and what kind of bag you need (think washable, big pockets and something that can go with different outfits so you're not trying to change it up when you don't have time).
Mirror, mirror on the wall
Some moms swear by mirrors both in the car and in the crib. Cindy loved both "padded car mirror that let's you see the backwards-facing-infant while you drive" as well as a second mirror for the crib that entertained her son for hours.
Finally, you can't go wrong with classic books. Not only is reading to your child beneficial to their future reading, it's a great way to bond and take time to shut out the rest of the world and enjoy each other. It's never too early to start your family library.