Whether you plan to register online or in a store, registering for baby items can be, well, kind of paralyzing for new parents. There are so many things you need to take care of such a tiny human. And if it doesn’t stun you, it can get you so excited seeing all the adorable baby outfits and diaper bags that you overlook several other baby registry items. The bigger items are easy enough, like a crib, car seat and stroller; it’s the smaller items or even some of the more practical ones that, as a new parent, you sometimes don’t realize you need until it’s 3 a.m. and you’re sending your partner to the store. Oh, and don’t forget to scan a gift or a few for yourself (you are the one having and raising this baby after all).
For the Baby
1. Infant Wrap Carrier
That first week all you’ll want to do is hold that sweet baby in your arms and sleep (read catnap) when you can. Shortly thereafter, though, you’ll want to get up off the couch and start doing things again. But, like most, you won’t want to give up those sweet baby snuggles either. With an infant wrap carrier, you don’t have to. A carrier lets you take a load off—not a load of laundry; sorry, can’t help you there. An infant wrap carrier takes the load off your arms so you can still keep your baby close and give him all the love he deserves while getting that load of laundry done. It’s also great for getting a cranky or colicky baby to sleep, walking around the block and traveling.
And remember, some babies love infant wrap carriers right away, while others need time to get used to it. So if your baby doesn’t like the carrier at first, keep trying. Put him in it for small increments of time throughout the day, and give him and yourself time to love it.
2. Non-contact Thermometer
Sick babies are no fun. And you know what else isn’t? Having to stick a thermometer up a baby’s bum—it’s not fun for you, your partner or your baby. While many pediatricians recommend rectal thermometers for newborns for their high level of accuracy, some parents just can’t use them. And you shouldn’t use an oral thermometer until your child is a toddler. There are thermometers you can put in your baby’s ear or armpit, but take it from me that trying to safely put a small thermometer into your sick, squirmy baby’s ear or armpit and leave it for what seems like 10 minutes to get a temperature reading is hard. A non-contact thermometer is a non-invasive, easy-to-use option. It’s safe and provides fast and accurate temperatures. You simply hold it over your baby’s forehead for a few seconds to know whether you need to visit the ER, call your pediatrician’s office or play the waiting game.
3. Cool Mist Humidifier
From that first day you come home, your little one needs a comfortable sleeping environment. When you hear that, you probably are thinking about the room’s temperature. But it’s more than temperature; it’s the humidity in the room as well. A cool mist humidifier comes in handy if you live in a dry climate and during the winter. It’s also a lifesaver if your baby gets sick, helping ease stuffy noses and making it a little easier for your baby to breathe and sleep. There are warm mist humidifiers but go with a cool mist humidifier, mostly because it’s a safer choice (won’t cause any accidental burns).
4. Sterilizing Steam Bags
Are you breastfeeding? Bottle feeding? Using a pacifier? Whether you plan to do one or all of these, consider getting sterilizing steam bags for convenient, speedy cleaning. Some work just for baby bottles and their parts, while others can also disinfect breast pump accessories, pacifiers and small cups. Just put your items inside one of these micro-steam bags—most of which can be reused—and then stick the bag in the microwave for a couple of minutes. It’s easier than popping microwave popcorn. You may not need to use these much at home, but they are a pretty great convenience when traveling.
For the Parents
Some people feel weird or selfish putting anything on the baby registry for themselves. I know; I was one of them. But you totally can and totally should! I mean, having a newborn is really, really hard. Don’t feel guilty asking for things to make this phase of life a little easier and that make your home more comfortable so you can spend your time focused on your baby.
And a little tip—don’t get too personal. If you plan on nursing, then sure, register for nursing supplies like a nursing cover. But you probably don’t want to register for nipple cream or jumbo night pads.
5. Meal Delivery Service
It’s hard finding the time (or the energy) to shower, let alone make three healthy meals a day for your little family. That’s where a meal delivery service comes into play. You may have family or neighbors who offer to bring you dinner or freezer meals—and by all means, take them. But that only lasts so long, and fresh is always better than reheated. Plus with a meal delivery service, you get to choose the meals you want, and today’s services offer a variety of healthy options. Some even specifically cater to postpartum women.
6. House Cleaning Service
Right under having someone bring you food on a new mom’s helpful list is having someone clean your house. Why would you want to clean your bathroom and kitchen when you could snuggle and smell a newborn instead? But alas, your house will need to be cleaned, and there’s no one better to do it than a professional house cleaning service. If you don’t like the idea of strangers in your house with a new baby, don’t be afraid to ask family and friends for help around the house. Not having to clean dishes and do laundry will relieve the added stress of being exhausted and living in a dirty, cluttered home.
7. Bath Kneeler
This is an item you might not think of when registering because you’re only focused on the newborn stage; the days when you only bathe your infant twice a week in your kitchen sink or in her baby bathtub. But you won’t bathe your baby there forever. And the older she gets, the more she’ll need bathed and the harder it gets. So register for a bath kneeler. You won’t need it right away, but it will come in handy six months down the road and for a few years after that. Tile, laminate and vinyl floors aren’t kind to knees; a bath kneeler is. Find one that comes with a strap so you can hang it up to dry and keep it off the floor until her next bath.