Two things this strategic homemaker wants to be about is saving money, and blessing people with gifts. Hopefully this post will help with both.
I made this list around when my daughter turned one to help some friends looking forward to having children. These are the things I used during my one year of baby experience, and my suggestions on whether to register for the item, make, or borrow. My list will obviously not be the exact same as anyone else’s, but hopefully it can give you a good starting point, and help out people trying to figure out what gifts to give.
I put the diaper section last. I really like cloth diapers; I have found them not to be much of an inconvenience, and to prevent blowouts an estimated 4 out of 5 times. They are also saving us probably $600 a year, even with a coin-operated washer. Anyway, I know they are not for everyone, and I would not recommend them if you go to the laundromat, or already do laundry 24/7, so you can skip that section if you make it that far. Without further ado…
1 crib (New US regulations came out July a year ago, so if you are a stickler about that sort of thing, you will need a new one.)
2-3 crib sheets
~3 Swaddle wraps or sleep sack (We had Summer Infant swaddle wraps, but PG grew out of them really soon, so if you want your kid tightly bound, you might need something that is more One Size Fits All. Sleep sacks are good for keeping them warm, but not bound. Some kids sleep better bound, some unbound. Tough to say ahead of time.)
1 breathable bumper (I only needed this about one month, between when she started rolling, and when she could control her limbs a bit better, so I deem it optional.)
1 baby monitor (A fancy one is not necessary, but this is good to be able to hear them crying, especially if you live in a larger or two-story house.)
Little bath tub (I know a lot of people wash their babies in the sink, but I really appreciated the little hard plastic tub.)
Baby bath soap with press-down top, so you can access it with one hand
On the go:
1 Ergo baby carrier with infant insert (This carrier can be used in front, on your hip, and on your back when they are bigger—They are expensive, though, so you want to try to get one used, gifted to you, or on a discount. I got mine off babysteals.com for $70.)
1 pack and play (We use this when we travel, or when we want to stay out at someone else’s house after PG’s bedtime, and it’s good to put other kids down who come to your house. My friends went in together to buy it off my registry. Yay!)
1 all-terrain stroller and infant carseat that clicks into stroller (We used Baby Trends and it has worked well so far. The main cons with this stroller: the sun-shade is not the best, and you can’t carry very heavy objects in the storage area. I.e. this does not work very well as your grocery store shopping cart, but I’m not sure if others do.)
diaper bag (One that hooks to the stroller is especially nice.)
grocery cart seat cover— if you have a sewing machine, these are easy to make from the online tutorial here.
Breast gel pads
3-4 cheap plastic bottles with slow-flow nipples (I know there are tons of fancy bottles, and some kids may need them, but I would suggest you try the cheap kind first. Also, we never moved away from the slow-flow nipples.)
1 Boppy (used from about 2-5 months)
nursing bras (Four are probably good if you do laundry at least 2x/week)
nursing tanks (Although spaghetti strap tanks with shelf [one size larger than normal] worked well for me, and held the pump on better)
1 booster seat with tray—used from 6+ months (or high chair if you are short on chairs)
milk storage bags
If you will be working, then you’ll need a Medela double breast pump (I have talked to several people, and this brand works the best–I waited until I had a 20% off coupon from Target and got this one. At the end of your registry, you’ll get 10% off anything left on your registry, so at least get that discount.)
If you will not be working, a single breast pump should be sufficient, and they cost much less than the doubles.
ice cube trays with lids (We made most of PG’s baby food and froze it in cubes.)
sippy cups or small plastic cups (These IKEA ones work well and are easy to wash, but you have to help the kid hold it, or they will dump water all over themselves).
I would suggest not registering for many clothes, blankets, towels, or bibs because people tended to buy them of their own accord. Also, cheap second-hand clothes are pretty available. If you are lucky, you can find a steady person to get hand-me-downs from. But also, Craigslist, garage sales, and thrift stores have a plethora of baby clothes. However, these things I would register for:
–winter bunting if it is cold where you live (These are more expensive–although I have seen them at Once Upon a Child.)
–bib with large pocket (most of the ones people got us were good for drool, also good, but not for the serious food mess)
–socks that stay on (old Navy worked well for us)
–some shoes—not for when they are small, but once they start walking—so 9-12 months or 12+ months
1 infant seat/rocker –used from 0-3 months
1 Bumbo—used from 4-7 months
Teething ring or Sophie the giraffe—(we did not have Sophie, but at someone else’s house, PG did really like it.)
mobile and some soft toys (You can make these easily. I’ll describe how in a later blog post.) Our mobile looks like this (Please forgive the bare walls. We rent, and I don’t claim to have a design blog.):
if you can borrow or get secondhand or gifted, the following are nice (The particular kid may not like one, or may LOVE one—no telling): playmat, swing, johnny jump up, or exersaucer.
8 diaper covers and 36 prefolds (We used Flip covers, which have pros and cons. Pros: one size, so we won’t have to buy more, and they work pretty well. Cons: the prefold slipped around inside when she was small, and once she slept through the night they didn’t absorb enough. I did try some of the fancier diapers [Bumgenius, Fuzzibuns, and Grovia,] but preferred the covers and prefolds, because we can use a wet bucket [which we needed because the dry pail was stinking when we tried to go more than two days without washing], and the Fuzzibunz leaked. )
1 spray bottle (fill with 4 cups water, 1 T baby soap, 1 t baby oil for wipes spray)
1-5 gallon bucket with lid (or tall kitchen trash can with lid and 2 pail liners)
Changing pad and cover (both totally optional, but they were nice). Used from about 0-8 months.
1 potty seat (used from 5+ months when I got my daughter to do #2 on the potty. Definitely worth it.)
Charlie’s laundry soap (All Free and Clear will work fine also, but it leaves a bit more residue, so you might need to strip occasionally.)
1 package of each size disposable diapers (I used them the first few weeks, at night once she slept through the night, and on trips.)
some disposable wipes (I used/use these the first few weeks, for really messy jobs, on trips, in the diaper bag, and for cleaning the bathroom)
butt paste—If she had a rash, I’d either put a cloth wipe between the paste and cloth diaper, then wash the wipe separately from diapers, or put paste on at night with the disposable.)
Woo-Hoo! You made it to the end. Now go register or buy someone a gift! If you already have a kid, how would you change the list?