Your Ultimate Baby Registry Checklist (2024)

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Feeling totally overwhelmed by the process of setting up a baby registry? That’s understandable — babies need so much stuff, and it can be tough to know where to begin when compiling your list of baby registry essentials for your future bundle of joy.

But setting up a baby registry can also be fun, and will ultimately make your life easier in the long run. Why? A baby registry tells your eager friends and family exactly which gifts will help you out the most. A registry also provides you with a place to keep track of baby gear before your little one arrives.Baby registry must-haves range from big-ticket items (like the crib and stroller) to everyday essentials (think diapers, wipes and burp cloths).If you'd prefer to let us do the research about where to register and what should go on your baby registry, you can useWhat to Expect's Baby Registry Builder to get customized recommendations.

How does a baby registry work?

A baby registry is a list of items that parents-to-be would like to receive as gifts. This ensures that future moms and dads get everything they need to welcome home their new addition. Typically, baby registries are organized by store and can be set up either as an online baby registry or physical one. Some registries allow you to combine lists from multiple retailers.

Many popular baby registries also offer additional perks, such as free returns, price matching, a welcome box of freebies and a completion discount on select items. Certain online features, like a gift tracker for thank-you notes or an app that lets you monitor your registry on the go, may also be helpful.

How to choose the best baby registry

Wondering where you should register? The best baby registry for you depends on your specific needs, such as your budget, the product brands you’re considering and whether you’d prefer to register online or in-store. (You can also take a quick quiz and letWhat to Expect's Baby Registry Buildertell you the best baby registries for you.)

Here’s a list of the most popular baby registries out there, which you can start signing up for right now. Check out What to Expect’s list of the best baby registries for more detailed information about each.

  • Amazon Baby Registry: Amazon is known for having just about everything, which means the sky’s (practically) the limit for your registry. There are also plenty of perks, like a 15 percent completion discount and a free welcome box with samples for Prime members once a $10 purchase is made off the registry. You can also use a universal registry button to add items from other retailers if you can’t find it on Amazon.
  • Babylist Baby Registry:Babylist gives you the option to add products directly from the company, along with products from other retailers. So, you can add in items from bigger retailers along with specialty products from smaller online stores. You also get a 15 percent discount to use on a one-time purchase of remianing registry items, as well as a box of sample items once you or someone else makes a minimum registry purchase of $10 from your registry.
  • Costco Baby Registry:Costco’s baby registry is hosted by MyRegistry.com, so you can add in items from any online shop in addition to great Costco products. And, because this is Costco, you can have a registry that’s big on bulk items, like diapers, a slew of onesies and baby food.
  • Crate & Barrel Baby Registry:Crate & Barrel is known for their quality gear, and the company’s registry makes it easy to put all of that on your list. A “thank you manager” helps you keep track of who gave you what, while an easy-to-use app lets you check in on all the purchases. A group gifting option lets family and friends go in together on larger items. You’ll also get a 15 percent completion discount.
  • IKEA Baby Registry:IKEA is known for its modern, lower-cost products — and you can add them to your registry through a MyRegistry.comlist. Cruise the company’s Registry Inspiration for ideas before adding them to your list, and take the brand up on its free nursery design advice. There’s also a generous return policy of up to a year, just in case you don’t love something you received.
  • Pottery Barn Kids Baby Registry:Pottery Barn Kids has a reputation for quality, high-end furniture and baby gear to help you create your dream nursery. You can return or exchange items within up to 90 days, and the brand offers an impressive completion discount of 15 percent. You can also add items from the company’s family of brands, like West Elm and Williams Sonoma.
  • Target Baby Registry:Target’s baby registry is incredibly simple to use. After you’ve logged into your account, an "Add to Registry" button appears on every product, letting you quickly add in items as you shop. You can return or exchange items for up to a year, and you’ll also enjoy a 15 percent off coupon for unpurchased items. You’re also eligible to receive a free welcome kit of products and coupons after you register.
  • Walmart Baby Registry:Walmart’s already low prices are available on baby gear, too, allowing you and your loved ones to save big as they shop all the brand has to offer. Walmart offers up a one-year return policy and the company has a price-match guarantee to ensure you’re truly getting the lowest prices possible. You’ll also get a free welcome box when you register.

When should you make a baby registry?

You should feel free to create your registry as early as you’d like. In fact, many online baby registries now allow you to set yours to “private” mode — this feature lets you discreetly start adding items in those first few months of pregnancy, before you’ve announced your news to friends and family. And why limit yourself to just one baby registry? We recommend signing up for several, so you can take advantage of all thefreebie samples that come in the welcome boxes provided by your go-to retailers.

If you’re having a baby shower, it’s a good idea to complete your baby registries before invitations are sent out so guests have plenty of time to choose a gift. You can continue adding items to your registries leading up to the shower.

What to put on a baby registry

This fail-safe baby registry checklist will help keep you focused as you gear up. It includes every product you’ll actually use when your little one comes home — and none of the extras you’ll never need.Want more personalized recommendations for what to put on your registry? Check outWhat to Expect's Baby Registry Builder.

Bathing

  • Baby tub
  • Soft hooded towels
  • Washcloths
  • Baby-safe body wash and shampoo
  • Baby-safebody lotion
  • Simplebath toys
  • Faucet cover

Bedding

To follow safe sleep practices, stick to just a fitted sheet in baby’s crib without any crib bumpers, pillows, stuffed animals or blankets.

  • Crib mattress
  • Waterproof mattress protector
  • 2 or morefitted sheets

Clothing

Register for baby clothes in a variety of sizes; most babies grow out of newborn-size clothing quickly, and others fit in size 0-3 right away. You’ll also want to consider the season and how old baby will be in various types of weather.

  • 10 leggings or elastic-waist trousers
  • 10 pairs of footed pajamas
  • 10 pairs of socks
  • 10 short-sleeve onesies
  • 10 long-sleeve onesies
  • 8 pairs of non-footed pajamas
  • 5 swaddling blankets
  • 5burp cloths
  • 5bibs
  • 3 light sweaters or zip-up hoodies
  • 3sleep sacks
  • 2sun hats
  • 1-2bathing suits (for a summer baby)
  • 1snowsuit with mittens and booties (for a winter baby)
  • 1 soft hat
  • 1outfit to come home from the hospital in
  • 1 pair ofsoft-soled baby shoes (these aren’t essential, but you might want them for photos)
  • Baby-safe laundry detergent

Diapering

  • Diaper pail
  • Diapers, either cloth or disposable
  • Baby wipes
  • Diaper cream
  • Cotton balls and swabs

Feeding

If you are not breastfeeding, you’ll only need the items with a star next to them.

  • Breast pump
  • Extra pump parts
  • Breast milk freezer bags
  • Nursing pillow
  • Nursing bras
  • Nipple cream
  • Nursing cover
  • Baby bottles and nipples*
  • Several bottle brushes*
  • Bottle drying rack*
  • High chair*

Medical must-haves

  • Baby-safe nail trimmer
  • Thermometer
  • Rubbing alcohol pads
  • Saline nasal drops
  • Suction bulb

Nursery furniture and gear

  • Crib
  • Bassinet
  • Rocking chair or glider
  • Changing table
  • Light dimmer or night light
  • White noise machine
  • Baby monitor
  • Baby books
  • Baskets or bins for storage

Playtime

  • Swing, seat or bouncer
  • Activity mat
  • Soft baby book
  • Soft or woodenstacking blocks
  • Teething toy
  • Rattles or maracas
  • Organic cotton stuffed animals
  • “Lovey” blanket

Travel items

  • Infant car seat
  • Stroller
  • Stroller bunting for cold or rainy weather
  • Baby carrier
  • Diaper bag
  • Portable changing pad
  • Travel crib or playard

Ready to build your registry? You can browse registries and build yours from your phone when you download the free What to Expect app.

What NOT to add to your baby registry

  • Baby wipe warmer. Of course, if this is something you really want, feel free to add it to your registry (it’s certainly not going to hurt baby!). But a wipe warmer is definitely not a necessity, and many parents report never using the one they registered for.
  • Crib bumpers. Your baby’s crib or bassinet should have just a fitted sheet in it — that means no crib bumpers, pillows, blankets or stuffed animals.
  • Dressy clothes. Baby clothes need to withstand daily spit-up and diaper blowouts (in other words, endless hot rinse cycles). Unless you have an important event in baby’s first few months, you can probably stick to cute basics.
  • Drop-down cribs. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) ended manufacturing of drop-down cribs in 2011, but you still might encounter them if you’re gifted a hand-me-down crib or buy one secondhand. Make sure the crib you choose abides by these safety standards.
  • Tons of toys. Although the playtime items listed above are nice to have, don’t go overboard. Your little one has a lifetime to accumulate toys, after all. Plus, no matter what's in front of her, your smiling face is still goingto be the most entertaining thing in the room.

What to put on a second baby registry

Expecting baby number two (or three, or four)? You probably have some items left over from your first child, but not everything can or should be reused. Here’s a breakdown of items that you probably don’t need to register for your second time, along with which ones you may need new versions of.

What you probably don’t need to register for again

There’s often no need to replace these items if you still have them from your first child:

  • Baby tub: Many of these are made with easy-to-clean plastic or fabric pieces that can be tossed in the wash. If yours is still in good condition, it can be reused.
  • Bouncy seat: Provided your seat hasn’t been recalled and still meets safety standards (the latest changes took effect in March 2018), it’s okay to reuse this.
  • Changing table: Just ensure that yours is still in good working condition. You may need to tighten some screws, but should be otherwise fine to reuse it. (The most recent safety standards were approved in July 2018.)
  • Lots of baby clothes: If your babies line up seasonally, it’s totally fine to reuse your firstborn’s clothes. Of course, you’ll probably need to add some new clothes to your list, like if your babies were born during different seasons or if some items have lots of wear and tear, but feel free to reuse whatever you can. Babies grow so quickly, so it’s a win when you can repurpose some of those tiny, adorable outfits!
  • High chair: High chairs are made to last and many are easily cleaned. Just double-check to make sure yours still meets the latest safety standards (the CPSC approved new standards in June 2018) and then give it a good scrub before reusing it for your new baby.
  • Baby toys: Many of these are easy to disinfect, either with soap and water or in the washing machine. Just clean yours before passing them on.

What you may need to register for again

Every family is different, so your second baby registry will likely look a little different from others’ depending on when you welcomed your first born. Here are a few baby registry ideas you might needfor child number two:

  • Infant car seat: In some cases, you might need a new car seat — such as if it was involved in a crash, has expired (although this generally doesn’t happen for about six to 10 years) or, of course, if your first born is still using the same car seat. (The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has a helpful used car seat safety checklist for more things to consider if you’re not sure, and always ask your pediatrician if you have questions.)
  • Crib: As mentioned above, federal regulations changed in 2011 to prohibit manufacturers from producing drop-side cribs — so if your crib is on the older side (the CPSC says more than 10 years old), it’s a good idea to buy new. Ditto if your crib isn’t assembled correctly or might be missing parts. And of course, if your first child is currently using her crib or it has since been converted into a toddler bed, you’ll need another safe sleep space for baby.
  • Crib mattress: You’ll want a firm mattress that fits snugly into your baby’s new crib. You should not be able to fit more than two fingers in any gap on any side. It’s also a good idea to get a new mattress for hygienic purposes with a new baby.
  • Double stroller: If your children are less than four years apart, you’ll probably want the ability to transport them from place to place with ease. (Lots of parents in the What to Expect community say they snagged adouble stroller for their second babies.) What’s more, all strollers made after September 2015 are subject to new federal safety requirements, so if you bought yours before then, shop for a newer model.
  • Soft infant carrier: Between drool, spit-up and general use, these can take a solid beating from child to child. If you’re unsure whether or not your carrier would still provide enough support for baby number two, ask your pediatrician or add a new carrier to your registry to be safe. (You’ll probably rely on it a lot more now that you’re a parent of multiple kiddos!)
  • Toiletries: Unless your other child is still young, you’re probably low on things like scent-free baby wash, lotion and diaper rash cream.

What you definitely need to register for again

  • Bottle nipples: It’s nice to have a fresh set for your new child, as bottle nipples get worn down quickly. Experts and manufacturers generally recommend they be replaced about every 2 months anyway, so it’s key to get new ones for your newborn. (You might want to get some new bottles, too — while glass bottles generally last longer, plastic bottles tend to get scratched or cloudy after some use.) them.
  • Newborn diapers: Unless you have tons of diapers leftover from your first baby, it’s always a solid bet adding these baby registry essentials to your list. Don’t forget the wipes, either!
  • Anything else you’re missing: Other assorted items What to Expect community said they bought for baby number two include pacifiers, another baby monitor, bibs and more clothes.

Start your online baby registry

Ready to start creating your own registry? Here's where you can sign up for an online baby registry at some of the most popular retailers.


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Your Ultimate Baby Registry Checklist (2024)

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