Making my baby registry made me feel uncomfortable. I don’t like to ask for things and we were borrowing almost all the essentials from friends who had young children. I felt like we didn’t need anything. Looking back I can see that there were things we needed, and we were surrounded by a network of family and friends who wanted to, and got pleasure from, giving something to our new baby. The registry helped them pick something out that we actually needed and would use!
Now that our baby is on his way to becoming a toddler, I can look back and identify the things we actually needed and used for the first few months. Of course, each family and baby are going to have different desires, home environments, and temperaments, which will affect what things are desired when welcoming a new baby into the home. Here’s what was useful for us (literally everything we used – hope it’s not too overwhelming!):
Leading up to Labor: Gift givers: These are some of the most important gifts!! Many people like to give things, but encouraging the soon-to-be mama to take care of herself will pay off many times over. Chiropractic (look for someone who is familiar with the Webster Technique), Acupuncture, and Prenatal Massage appointments will help prepare her body for a smooth labor and transition to motherhood.
Books: I loved overhearing this quote (though I unfortunately don’t know it’s source) when in the throes of third trimester baby and labor research and reading: “Read your child, not a book.” Though this is an important sentiment to keep in mind, I definitely benefited from the wisdom of several books as I approached my due date:
- The First Forty Days (A helpful guide, with a focus on food, to a nourishing and healing approach to the very first days after birth).
- The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (I didn’t read ahead of time, but appreciated having it around to browse and reference in the early days of breastfeeding).
- Aware Baby (We didn’t find this book until later, but if I could go back in time, I would have read it before baby, and re-read it after).
- On The Way To Walking, or any other Natural Movement Development information such as this article (There are so many opportunities to hinder babies’ natural movement development in our society. Being mindful of the main ideas of “Natural Movement Development” will give you the knowledge to allow your baby’s body to develop in a balanced strong way that will benefit them throughout their life).
- The Baby Book (Has it all… like an encyclopedia for all things baby).
- The Vaccine Friendly Plan (Ugh, vaccines have become such a loaded topic. Do not go to the internet for advice! I thought this book offered a researched and balanced perspective and a logical approach to vaccinating your baby).
- The Wonder Weeks (a fun guide to the developmental milestones you can expect to see as your baby grows up).
Here’s what we used in the FIRST month: Swaddles, sling carrier, nursing pillow + pillow cases, burp cloths, one pack each newborn and size one disposable diapers, cloth diapers (we used prefolds and covers), trash can for dirty diapers (we used a wire mesh one for our cloth diapers – hanging wet diapers on edge to dry and letting them fall into the bin once dry), diaper sprayer to attach to the toilet, cloth wipes (we cut up old cotton t-shirts), disposable wipes (for when we’re away from home), spray bottle for wipe solution, organic oil (for baby massage, minor diaper rash, and an ingredient in diaper wipe spray), diaper rash cream, baby thermometer, room thermometer, ear plugs, eye mask, bassinet (we used one that worked side-car style, right up against the side of our bed), car seat, a variety of wool and cotton baby blankets, soft firm play/nap surface, dim incandescent or red lights/nightlights/headlamp for night time wake-ups, changing pad, changing pad covers, waterproof changing pad liners, rocking chair/bouncy ball, frozen soups and stews, nourishing snacks, strengthening soothing herbal teas, extra pillows, mama cloth (google it), sitz bath herbs, cotton nursing pads, nursing bras and shirts, help (cleaning, cooking, and grocery shopping helpers are awesome), jacket that can fit over baby/carrier/parent, baby clothes (footed pajamas, booties, socks (we used for mittens), cotton and wool hats), white noise machine if you want it, and a diaper bag (we just used a back pack with some disposable wipes, a waterproof changing pad, a plastic bag for dirty diapers, burp cloths, and a change of clothes).
Here’s what we added the SECOND month: Postpartum massage for mom, wooden play gym with a mirror to hang from it, high contrast things to stare at, next bigger swaddle, electric breast pump, bottles with wide shaped nipple and smallest hole size (if breastfeeding), cloth wrap and structured carrier, wool-silk blend long sleeve onesies, footed and unfooted pjs, wide band pants or knit overalls, knee socks, and a pacifier if you want it.
Here’s what we added the THIRD month: Baby bathtub (he grew out of the sink), very simple toys with different textures including hard and soft, next bigger swaddle, next size bigger clothes, blackout curtains, and bibs/neck bandannas to catch drool and spit up.
Here’s what we added the FOURTH month: Parent-child class/activity, plan for growing out of bassinet, slightly more complicated toys (including rattles), slightly more complicated objects to hang from play gym, and teething toys.