Baby Registry | Must Have Gifts

picture of a baby sleeping in a must have baby registry gray sleeper

The Complete Guide to Building Your Baby Registry in Maryland

As an experienced newborn photographer in the Baltimore area, I know how daunting it can be for new parents to put together a baby registry in a world teeming with endless options. Deciding what to include, the brands to choose, the color and style, and distinguishing the necessities from the nonessentials can be a tough call. While every family has unique needs, I hope this guide will shed light on the items you may want to consider for your registry!

Must-Have Baby Gear

A car seat is a non-brainer, it’s one item you know you’ll definitely need, and the hospital requires it to release you with baby. Having it covered by someone else’s generous gift can be a huge help. The wide range of brands, models, and technical jargon, along with safety considerations, can make the decision seem overwhelming. You’ll also need a bigger car seat later so make sure to add one to you baby registry.

Wirecutter came up with four infant car seats that do the best job of providing a safe and comfortable experience for you and your precious cargo: the Graco SnugRide SnugFit 35 DLX, the Chicco KeyFit 30, the Chicco KeyFit 35, and the Clek Liing. Be sure to do your own research, though, to be sure you make the best decision!

Strollers, being a high-ticket item, make an ideal gift from the grandparents or a group of friends. There are so many to choose from, so you’ll need to consider lifestyle, user-friendliness, folding ease, price, and comfort. In the beginning, you will most likely want a “travel system” that allows you to snap in the infant carseat, like the CHICCO Corso LE Modular Travel System.

Baby bouncers are a great gift to ask for. No matter your parenting style, there are going to be times when you just need to set your little one down somewhere safe so you can get some things done. Baby bouncers are a safe and entertaining hangout for your babe. There are many options, like this top-rated one: Ergobaby 3-IN-1 Evolve Baby Bouncer 

Baby wraps or slings are perfect for baby-wearing in the early stages. Brands like Solly, Boba, Moby, and Baby Ktan offer an array of great options.

Baby carriers are another option for carrying your little one. These versatile items allow you to carry the baby in various positions and can be used from infancy to toddlerhood. Brands like Ergobaby, BabyBjorn, LILLE Baby, and Infantino are worth exploring!

Key Items for Baby’s Sleep

There are many sleeping options for babies. A sturdy crib with a firm mattress is a traditional and safe option for baby sleeping, providing a designated space for the baby to rest. For newborns, a smaller alternative is a bassinet. They are portable, allowing for close proximity to your bed, which facilitates easy nighttime feedings and diaper changes.

You can use a bassinet until the baby can roll over or sit up, and then switch to a crib. Another option that allows for easy access to the baby is a co-sleeper or bedside sleeper, which is designed to be attached to the side of the parents’ bed. For a versatile option, consider a Pack ‘n Play, which is a good choice for the family room or for travel.

A crib mattress is an essential item to add to your baby registry list, and recent popular brands are Naturepedic or Avocado. If you buy a used one, be sure that it is up to current standards. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the standard crib mattress dimensions need to be at least 27.25” x 51.25” inches with a thickness that does not exceed six inches. This standard baby mattress size ensures it fits in the crib safely.

Make sure to add several sets of crib sheets to your baby registry. Choose soft, breathable fabric like cotton and ensure the sheets snugly fit your crib’s mattress, typically 28 x 52 inches. Opt for sheets with elasticized corners, and don’t forget to match your nursery’s decor when selecting design and color. Popular sheet brands include Copper Pearl, Rookie Humans, and Kyte.

Mattress protectors are a must-have. They save the day during infant blowouts and bed-wetting toddler stages.

A video monitor provides immense peace of mind, allowing you to keep a watchful eye and ear on your little one, even when you’re not in the same room. This is a great item to add to your baby registry and there are many options with different features, like the Nanit Pro Smart Baby Monitor.

Swaddles are a sleep essential. Nowadays, there are various types of swaddles that you can zip or velcro the baby into, making the process much easier. Most babies love the secure feeling of being swaddled, so be sure to add a few of these to your registry!

Muslin swaddle blankets are versatile. They can serve as burp cloths, nursing covers, changing pad covers, floor blankets, car seat blankets, and even public picnic table cloths. They are cool, breathable, and so cute!

A sound machine is a fantastic addition to your baby’s sleep environment. The white noise soothes babies and can replicate your baby’s sleep setting while traveling or visiting friends. You will definitely want one of these on your baby registry list, so you don’t have to tiptoe around while baby sleeps.

Diapering Essentials

A changing table pad and covers are beneficial regardless of where you plan to change diapers. You can have one on the changing table and extra ones in other rooms, to use on a bed or couch. You don’t want to have to run to the nursery every time you need to change a diaper!

Diaper bags are both functional and stylish these days, making choosing the right one a fun task. Opt for a backpack style; trust me, you’ll want your hands free! There are so many options to add to your registry, from cutesy to designer brands.

A diaper pail is a lifesaver. It makes diaper changes more convenient and locks in the smell. You may want a couple for around the house – these things are a lifesaver. Go ahead and register for refill bags while you’re at it! 

Diapers, diapers, diapers! Check your baby register for several kinds and sizes. Many times, people will buy these for you in addition to another gift. And don’t forget the wipes!

Health and Hygiene Staples

Amazing and innovative baby bathtubs are available; find one that suits your needs. You may want one for the big tub or something for the sink.

Baby towels and washcloths are basics you’ll need for your little one. The hooded towels are nice to keep baby warm.

Register for a good combo of gentle shampoo/body wash, moisturizer, and diaper cream. Even tiny humans need toiletries!

Don’t overlook the essentials like a thermometer, nail clippers, and a hair brush.

A cool mist humidifier can be a godsend for babies struggling with coughs and congestion, especially when the air is dry.

Feeding Necessities

Whether you plan to nurse or not, registering for breast pads is smart since you’ll likely experience leakage when your milk comes in.

A feeding pillow and stool are great items to make mom and baby comfortable. Examples are the “Boppy” pillow and the “My Brest Friend” nursing stool.

Your adorable baby will be eating solids sooner than you think! So, add silicone bibs that catch food and some cloth bibs too to your baby registry.

Choosing the right bottle brand for your baby may require some experimentation. Consider registering for one bottle of a few different brands so you can figure out which one your baby prefers.

No matter which brand or style of high chair you register for, ensure it’s easy to clean! Also consider factors like cost, size, longevity, and safety. You can opt for affordable, fancy, or something in between!

Other Essential Items

Car seat covers are fantastic for promoting sleep in the car seat and keeping germs away from your newborn, and many double as nursing covers.

Just like with bottles, finding the right brand of pacifiers may take some trial and error. Register for a few different kinds to test them out!

Include a few items of clothing, sleepers, and socks on your baby registry, but don’t go overboard. People will likely gift you clothes anyway, and hand-me-downs are quite common. You also don’t know how big baby will be or if he or she will even wear the tiny sizes.

Though books shouldn’t be the focus of your baby registry, it can be nice to include some of your absolute favorites. People will often gift a book instead of a card at a baby shower, so feel free to add your favorites to build your baby’s library.

As you finalize your baby registry in Washington, DC, or Maryland, be sure to ask friends with new babies for their list of favorites and browse whichever websites you are registering on to add a few more things! Completing your baby registry is a milestone, and so is preserving the earliest memories with a professional newborn photo session. As a seasoned Baltimore newborn photographer, I’d love to chat with you about your session! Learn more about me and check out my work here!

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