Baby Showers are the absolute best! Period. I can’t think of a better tradition than friends and family gathering around to celebrate a new life, while making sure the parents-to-be are as prepared as possible for the task. The expression “it takes a village” is true every step of the way, and it starts with the baby shower.
With each of my three babies, my list of true essentials became smaller and smaller. There are some things you’ll use daily and feel like you couldn’t survive without; and other things you’ll never unwrap and will re-gift as soon as possible. My job is to help you discern between the two.
My first recommendation is, don’t register for clothing! You will get clothing anyway. People love to buy clothing for new babies. You’ll have more than you need, and baby will be most comfortable in pyjamas or sleepers anyway, so keep their wardrobe simple. For clothing, 8-10 one-piece sleepers are all you need for the first three months as far as I’m concerned. Sure, it’s hilarious and adorable to put babies in cardigans and suspenders, but really, let’s focus on what we NEED, ok?
Gear + Linens + Diapers – Clothing = Baby Registry Success!
Stroller: This is probably the most expensive baby item you’ll own, so definitely put some thought into it. Are you a runner? Consider jogging capabilities. Do you plan on having more children within a couple of years? You’ll want a stroller that can grow with your family. Are you petit? You’ll want a light weight stroller you can manoeuvre.
Strollers can run you upwards of $1,000 but consider that a high quality stroller will also have re-sale value when you’re done with it. And keep in mind that while most baby items are out of a job in a matter of months, your stroller will be used until your youngest is around five years old. If you plan to use your stroller often, they’re worth the investment!
Car Seat: Unlike a stroller, these aren’t really optional. Even if you don’t drive often, you can’t drive at all without a car seat – including the rare times you may rent a car or when traveling. An infant car seat is good for six years in Canada, whereas convertible car seats (that last from infancy to booster) tend to be 10 years. Also unlike strollers, it is recommended to never purchase a car seat second hand as the history of car accidents would be unknown. Thus, they’re a baby registry essential.
Baby Carrier: These are one of the most popular items on any registry and it’s no wonder why. Baby carriers provide parents with mobility while giving baby comfort and contact. Make sure you visit the store and try on different carriers before you decide on one for your registry. Have both parents try the carrier, too! Some carriers are more comfortable for certain body types, so you need to try them all. Also make sure both parents are confident putting on and taking off the carrier. If it’s too confusing, you probably won’t use it, so make sure you register for one that you feel good about!
Furniture: I’m a firm believer that babies don’t need much, and this extends to their nursery. I suggest buying furniture that will grow with them and easily match different decor in your home. Consider if the baby will be sharing a bedroom right away, or in the future, and the gender of current or future siblings. Our three kids still all share a bedroom, and we have both genders represented in the room, so neutral is always my rule of thumb.
If your budget allows, I recommend having a fixed crib as well as a travel crib/playard. The crib is their stationary bed that’s always at home, but the travel crib can travel with your family and pop up in mom and dad’s room when needed. If I had to choose between the two though, I’d be sure to have a playard as they’re much more versatile and affordable. Make sure you choose one with a bassinet insert for the newborn months!
Linens: One thing is for sure, babies known how to go through linens! Laundry will be the first chore you notice doubling, nay, tripling when baby arrives. While clothes may be superfluous, you can never have enough linens!
- 2-3 crib sheets (like these)
- 2-3 pack-and-play sheets (like these)
- 10+ receiving blankets (love these and these)
- 10+ bibs (great for catching spit up!)
- 3+ zip-up or Velcro swaddles (these are my favourite, and work like a charm!)
- Sleep sacks, for after the newborn stage (these are cute!)
Diapers: There’s nothing else I can think of that baby will need 10x a day, every day! Diapers are the most essential or any baby registry. They make a great gift because they’re always useful, never out of style, and available anywhere.
We used these cloth diapers and loved them, but I also always had disposables on hand for traveling, over nights, baby sitters, and the newborn days. There are some great chemical free diapers on the market these days, so you really can’t go wrong with either style of diaper. Buying cloth diapers can be a large upfront cost, so they should definitely be on your registry. Even if you are gifted just a couple of diapers it’s a tremendous help! I love giving my friends the Honest Diaper Bundles as a shower gift because they include wipes, too. Perfect gift!
Things to avoid: When making your registry, avoid anything gender specific. You may be having a girl, but what if your next baby is a boy? We tend to focus on the present, but if you’re anything like me, you could get a surprise a few months after your baby is born, and all of the pink frilly things are suddenly out of a job.
I also try to stick with baby items that serve multiple purposes, for multiple stages. Muslin swaddles are a great example of this – I used them to swaddle, to shield the sun in the stroller, and they make perfect light weight blankets in the summer.
Like clothes, toys and books aren’t the best baby shower gifts, either. The parents-to-be need so much just to get them through the initial six months, so as cute as those wooden blocks or that famous Dr. Seuss title is, if it’s not useful or needed in the baby stage, wait and give them at a 1st birthday party instead.
Emily is a Montreal-based writer and blogger, but most importantly, a mom of three littles (age five and under). She geeks out over cloth diapers, lattes, and will do just about anything to travel. You can find her on Instagram @emmorrice where she profusely overgrams pictures of her meals, kids and city.