The Only Items You Need on Your Baby Registry

The Minimalist Guide to what baby items to purchase

Having a baby but want to keep the baby stuff to a minimum? I got you! After having three babies in 4 years, I have learned that babies don't need much!

With that said, every baby and every family has different needs. If you are interested in what other parents deemed necessary, here is a poll where over 500 parents voted on what they thought were absolute must-haves when it comes to baby.

I also conducted another poll with the same group asking if expensive baby items were really worth the price. Read here to see the results!

Please keep in mind the list below is based on my experience and my experience alone. Just one mama sharing her must-have items to another, hoping that it is helpful in some way!

Okay, without further ado, here are my two cents when it comes to having a baby. The list starts with items I think you truly need, then moves to "really helpful items.”

Necessary Baby Items

Everything linked is what I purchase for each of my children or have used for every child. Everything I am suggesting has been tried and used in our house for over 6 years now.

1) Diapers

They don't have to be fancy. Honest has worked best for my babies in preventing leakage, but I have also had good luck with Pampers. Diapers are an item that requires trial and error. I did cloth diapers with my first, but it became increasingly difficult to keep up with as I had more babies. I'll write more about that soon!

Diapers: Pampers | Honest | Huggies

Cloth Diapers: Alva Cloth Diapers. (Seriously the best and easiest if going that route)

2)Wipes

The only times my babies didn't get diaper rash was when I used Water Wipes. My husband hates these wipes though, as they aren't as "smooth" when cleaning up poop as they get older. So we ended up doing a mixture of Water Wipes and Honest wipes.

Wipes: Water Wipes | Honest (Amazon offers Subscribe & Save for both!)

3) Diaper Rash Cream

None of the all-natural stuff worked on my babies, and I ended up having to get the tried and tested stuff that moms have been using for generations. Corn starch does help a lot though!

Diaper Rash Cream: Triple Paste | Desitin

4) Swaddles

This can be a blanket or a sleep sack. Either way, a newborn baby needs to be swaddled within the frist few hours and days of their life. Here is why. (Source: Intermountain Healthcare)

  • Swaddling protects your baby against their natural startle reflex, which means better sleep for both of you
  • It may help calm a colicky baby
  • It helps eliminate anxiety in your baby by imitating your touch, which helps your baby learn to self-soothe
  • It keeps her hands off her face and helps prevent scratching
  • It helps your baby sleep longer and better
  • It helps prevent SIDS by keeping unnecessary items like pillows, blankets, and stuffed animals out of your baby's crib
  • It keeps your baby on his back while he sleeps

I use this sleep slack at night and get bigger ones as they get older. I use these fleece ones for colder months. I love that these sleep sacks can be arms free or arms strapped in. It is also super easy to use! I always get too nervous about the blanket coming undone and posing a risk to the baby. For the times I am awake and near the baby as they sleep, I use these muslin blankets. I have had all my babies during warm weather, and I loved how thin and light these were!

Swaddlers: Halo | Fleece Halo

5) Safe Sleep Space

You do not need a nursery! According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, "It is recommended that infants sleep in the parents' room, close to the parents' bed, but on a separate surface designed for infants, ideally for the first year of life, but at least for the first 6 months.

And that is all I am going to say when it comes to safe sleep. Every baby has different needs when it comes to sleep, and I encourage you to follow your mama intuition when it comes to that!

If you have the space in your home and want a designated area for the baby to sleep during times you are awake, then by all means create a nursery! But you do not NEED one.

If you are thinking about a bassinet, my two cents is, they aren't worth it. HOWEVER, I have never had a c-section and heard the Halo was a lifesaver for those who have had one. All three of my babies have been pretty big (my youngest clocked in at over 10lbs and 21 inches long!) So they would be out of that bassinet in 2 months, haha! If you can fit the crib in your room next to your bed, save yourself some money and use that. (If you are curious to see what parents thought of The Snoo, head here!)

For both bassinet and crib, make sure you are using a firm crib mattress and the sheets fit tightly. No loose blankets, sheets, bumpers, pillows, or stuffed animals should be near the baby. Always do your research when it comes to infant and baby sleep.

Bassinet: Halo

6) Clothes

When it comes to baby clothes, unless I am getting professional photos done or have an event, I couldn't care less if the item is trendy or not. I dress all my babies in these zip-up Sleep 'N Play pajamas! I get fleece ones for winter and thin ones for summer. I'm not too fond of onesies or anything I have to put over their heads. Unless we are doing family photos or going to a special event, this is what they are in! It makes doctor's appointments so much easier too! Please keep in mind; I live in San Diego, CA. I know nothing about cold weather or dressing your baby for it, especially a newborn! If you live in colder climates, definitely check in with someone else when it comes to dressing your baby.

Clothes: Sleep 'N Play | Fleece Sleep 'N Play

7) Pacifers

I am the mom who packs pacifiers in her hospital bag. Yes, I have done my due diligence when researching pacifiers and nipple confusion, but I would cut off my pinky toe before tossing out pacifiers in that first year! These pacifiers have worked the best, and yes, I have tried them all! My babies like the pacifiers with the big ole nipple! Again, please remember this is an opinion piece, and I am just sharing what I think is best based on my personal experience. :) These pacifiers are AMAZING! They are made from ultra-light silicone and by some magic, stay in babies mouths better than any other pacifier as they sleep!

Pacifiers: Tommee Tippee Ultra-Light Silicone Baby Pacifier

8) Car Seat

Not much to say here; you can't leave the hospital unless it's installed in your car. So if you want to get home, make sure you have the car seat installed. This hospital regulation may vary from state to state but even if you don't have a car, a car seat should be used when taking public transportation. Head over to TheCarSeatLady.com on all things car seat safety!

Car Seat: Graco Infant Car Seat & Stroller | Maxi Cosi (for when they grow out of their infant car seat. All three of my children are in this car seat now)

9) Diaper Bag

Please listen to me when I say, "YOU DO NOT NEED AN EXPENSIVE DIAPER BAG!" In fact, you don't need an actual diaper bag at all. In the past I have used my laptop backpack since it has so many compartments. I also use this super cute mini backpack for shorter trips! It holds so much more than you think! I have found that a backpack is better than a one-strap diaper bag, even if it does have a crossbody feature. If you decide to use an actual backpack, don't forget to purchase an on-the-go changing pad! Diaper bags usually come with this.

Diaper Bag: Backpack | Mini Backpack

10) Nasal Aspirator

I debated putting this on the must-have bare-bones list, but it really is a game-changer!

Nasal Aspirator: Electric Nasal Aspirator | NoseFrida

11) Baby Medicine

Given I am not a doctor, I do not feel comfortable telling you what type of medicine to have on hand. BUT I will share what I keep on hand when I have a baby. Please always consult with your pediatrician. I have Gas Drops, Gripe Water, & Infant Tylenol on hand and use it under the advice of my child's pediatrician.

__Baby Medicine: Gas Drops | Gripe Water | Infant Tylenol __

12) Thermometer

This touch free one is the best and will be a lifesaver when your baby hits the toddler stage! There is a reason why this particular one has 5 stars and over a 100k reviews!

Thermometer: No Touch Infared Thermometer

13) Burp Cloths

This can be old towels, t-shirts or whatever you have but, the bigger, the better! That spit-up gets everywhere! Some of my babies would projectile spit up at times, so get a cloth to cover the chair as well ;)

Burp Cloths: Muslin Burp Cloth | Large Burp Cloths

14) Baby Wrap/Carrier

Unless you plan on holding your baby in your arms most of the time, you are going to want a way to hold your baby hands-free. I use this wrap when they are infants and this carrier for when they get bigger. I love this wrap because it is durable, washable, and half the price of those fancy designer ones. If you are interested in the designer ones, though, and want to know if they are worth it, check out my post here.

Baby Carrier: Wrap | Ergo

15) Nail Clippers

My babies come out with some long fingernails. I try using baby mittens, but babies may like to suck their hands a lot of the time. To prevent scratching, you will need some baby fingernail clippers. However, clipping their nails can be very intimidating so I use this electric nail file. The file gets the job done but won't harm or cut baby's skin! After a few months I finally get the courage to clip them the old fashion way and will rotate between the electric file and these baby nail clippers.

Nail Trimmers: Electric Baby Nail File | Baby Nail Clippers

16) Baby Bath

You will want something that will cradle your newborn safely. I love this bath since they can use it through their toddler years. This flower bath is adorable and great if you will be giving your baby a bath in the sink. NEVER leave your baby unattended in the tub, even for a second. Please do your research when it comes to baby bath safety.

Baby Bath:Infant/Toddler Tub | Blooming Flower Bath

17) Night Light

I debated putting this on the "needs" list but man has this been a game changer for me for all those middle of the night feedings and diaper changes. It is small, portable, rechargeablee, and dims with a tap. See it in action here!

The Best Nightlight: Dimmable Nightlight

Very Helpful Baby Items

A must have breast/formula feeding list is coming soon! Stay tuned!

1) Baby Monitor

Unless you are near your baby every time they sleep, you're going to want a baby monitor. For my first baby, I went old school and just used an audio one. I couldn't take not seeing him so I caved and got the camera one. It's expensive but I love that it has an encrypted wireless signal instead of using wifi.

Baby Monitor: Camera (no wifi) Monitor | Audio Baby Monitor

2) Teethers

Your baby will want something to gnaw on when they hit their teething stage. Something to rub their gums on is an absolute must! I will not be giving my opinion about the Amber Teething necklaces. But I will say after researching them; there have been cases linked to baby deaths due to these necklaces. Please further research this topic if you are thinking about using these.

Teethers: Gel Key Teether(can be put in the refrigerator) | BPA-Free Silicon Teethers

3) Stroller

I didn’t list this as a must have cause the amount of use a stroller gets really depends on where one lives, how many kids one has, and their day to day activities. I have bought a new stroller with each kid cause I have had new needs as our family grew. I have heard so many parents rave about the UPPAbaby and the Nuna but I could not wrap my head around the price! Again, different families have different needs. My Gracos have been great, are priced right and are just as safe. The higher end ones do look nice and have some great features but given my kids aren’t huge stroller fans, I am glad I ended up going with a more practical solution.

The number one requirement for all my strollers is the infant seat click in feature. If my baby falls asleep I want to be able to transfer them from car to stroller without disrupting them.

  • First Stroller, Jogging Stroller: With my first I got a bulky jogging stroller. I liked it cause we could bring this on hike and it works well in rougher terrain. It only seats one thought so I got a double stroller when I became pregnant with my second. Cons: Big and heavy
  • Second Stroller, Double Stroller: Although designed for two this fit three perfectly if you oldest doesn’t mind standing! I loved this one cause there are a ton of different ways to configure it to fit the needs of your children. I also love that it has the infant carrier click in. Cons: Really big and bulky. It barely fits in the trunk of my car and only does so after multiple attempts.
  • Third Stroller, Umbrella Stroller: Again, I need an infant carrier click in option. This stroller has that while being lightweight and easy to put away one handed! I got this stroller once I had my third cause the other two were just too big and heavy. I still use the “double” stroller, (I quote double cause all three of my kids fit perfectly in it) when we go to the zoo or anything like that. But I use the lighter one for day to day quick trips where my older two can hold onto the stoller and walk.

Strollers: Jogger | Double | Umbrella

4) Changing Pad

You can use your travel pad while at home or get a more permanent (but really, it's temporary since they will be out of diapers eventually) changing pad like this one.

Changing Pads: Easy Wipe Down Changing Pad

5) Swing

This swing is a baby favorite due to how it actually swings and the price is right! Cons to this, it's bulky and hard to move around the house. My favorite swing is this one! Similar to the mamaRoo but more affordable. BUT THIS ONE IS BETTER BECAUSE...the seat can detach and be used as a rocker! Okay, so I can't testify if this is better than the mamaROO because I have never tried the mamaRoo, but I love this swing and how compact it is!

Baby Swing: Cradle 'n Swing | Swing & Rocker

6) A place to change baby that doesn't require bending over

You don't need to buy a changing table for this; your dresser, desk, or cube storage shelf (this is what I did in our playroom) can work just fine. Just throw a changing pad on there and call it a day. But if none of those furniture options are available to you, then yes, invest in something that makes it easy for you to change your baby cause chances are they won't be potty trained till they are two or three.

Changing Table: Mobile Changing Station

7) Playmat

Get one that is washable & easy to wipe down cause your baby will be spitting up on this thing A LOT! Also, I love a big one with some padding that I can just grab and take outside! There are a lot of cute options you can do for this but for me, I like a practical one I can throw in the washing machine and fold away when no longer in use.

Playmat: Large Plush Play Mat

8) Baby Gym

It is excellent for their senses and will entertain them for a few minutes!

Baby Gym: Wooden Baby Gym | Kick & Play Baby Gym | Light Up Baby Gym

9) White Noise Machine

Babies are used to sounds from being in their mother's womb, so this can help soothe them while drowning out any outside noises. This white noise machine is THE BEST! I have tried so many, and this one is worth every penny because it has an actual fan inside! There is a reason why it has so many positive reviews, and people swear by it. We have one in every bedroom of our house! Please be mindful of the volume of your sound machine and how close it is to your baby.

White Noise Machine: Dohm | Portable White Noise Machine

10) Humidifier

This depends on where you live. It can be very dry where we are, so this has come in handy. Be sure to clean it regularly and adequately! I forgot to clean mine and got sick due to what it began to vaporize and emit in the air. It is debatable if essential oils should be used on or diffused near babies, so please research this and ask your pediatrician.

Humidifier: Humidifer | Humidifier & Night Light

11) Baby Lounger

Great for when you're watching TV and want to put the baby down or any other activity where you want/need to put them down but will still be able to watch them. Again, I will not give my opinions about safe sleep and whether or not you should let your baby sleep in these if you are not watching them. Do your research and ask your pediatrician :) I know people swear by the DocATot, but it's crazy expensive! I love this one! My babies loved it too cause they could see what was going on! Here is a more affordable option if you want one where your baby can lay flat on their back.

Baby Lounger: Podster | Lounger | DocATot

12) Rocking Chair

Get one that is comfortable to breastfeed or bottle fed your baby in!

Rocking Chair: Swivel Glider with Storage Ottoman

13) Bobby or Breastfeeding Pillow

Many mamas use a boppy for this, which is fabulous since a boppy has several other uses. I used this for my first but then this for my second, and it was a game-changer! I could get everything all ready to feed the baby and then just pick them up and feed. With my first, I had to adjust the pillows and boppy every time, all while they got fussy. This one you can wear, making it easy to walk around and breastfeed if need be. Or go to another room in the middle of breastfeeding. The positioning of it made it so much easier to breastfeed as well. I give this to all my mama to be friends!

Breastfeeding Pillow: My Brest Friend | Twins Brestfeeeding Pillow | Boppy

14) Car Seat Cover

I like the canopy-style ones as they don't trap in as much heat as the ones that go over the whole car seat.

Car Seat Cover: Canopy Car Seat Cover

15) Grocery Cart Cover

This is for when they are older and can sit up. Of course, you do not NEED this, but it honestly just gave me peace of mind, especially since they are at the age of putting everything in their mouth!

Cart/Highchair cover

Also, I want to add that the Diaper Genie isn't worth it! It doesn't work. The smell WILL get out. We bought this trash can that seals, and it works just as well. Plus, it's bigger, and we can use it even when the baby is out of diapers.

Again, this list is based on my experience and my experience alone. Just one mama sharing her must-have items to another, hoping that it is helpful in some way!

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