11 (More) Baby Registry Tips From a Mom of Two

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Best upgrade we made: the Ubbi diaper pail

My cousins are expecting their first baby in February, so when they asked for tips, I was more than happy to oblige. (When I say cousins, I mean my first cousin and his wife, not two blood relations married to each other though I am from Kentucky.)

SO, I figured I’d share with all expecting parents while I’m at it. Because even after having two babies, there’s always more to learn through experience, and with new products popping up left and right, it’s enough to make any new parent’s head spin like an Exersaucer.

It can be so overwhelming and there’s so much stuff! I remember the first time Dave and I tried to register at Target, I dropped the registry gun and ran from the feeding aisle in a total panic. Here’s a couple of links from my blog that might help:

1. Check out this post from earlier this year before having our second and this one after our first.
Boon grass drying rack: the bigger, the better
Boon grass drying rack: the bigger, the better
2. Updates since that last post: We opted to hold off on this co-sleeper. Waited to see what kind of sleeper she was (not colicky like Jed was, thank the Lord) and didn’t end up needing one; ended up getting this activity gym instead; and this jumparoo (LOVE!); I hear they now have a larger version of the Boon grass drying rack. I recommend the bigger one; can’t say enough good things about the Ubbi diaper pail. SO much better than the Genie and so great to be able to use regular trash bags.
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3. Comotomo baby bottles. Love them HOWEVER what you won’t see in reviews for some reason is if you don’t screw the cap on just right they leak out everywhere. Can be frustrating, but super easy to clean and baby loves them!
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4. My other new fave baby thing are these Zippy bandana drool bibs. Abbie needs a bib on 24/7 or else she’d be soaked. These are cute and work well to keep her dry and comfy.
5. Pregnant Chicken: if you have not signed up for these emails, you must. They are hilarious, fun and informative.
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6. Got Aden + Anais crib sheets this time around. Super soft but snag very easily, which is disappointing considering how much they cost. Love their swaddles though! Also got one of their changing table covers. I do not recommend putting anything that isn’t wipeable on your changing table for at least the first month. If your baby is a projectile pooper like ours, you will be doing A LOT of spot treating:)
7. Never regretted not having a wipe warmer.
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Best value ever for something that can (and will) get pooped on.
8. Circo from Target makes my fave sleep-n-plays. They are cheap, cute (but not too cute), wash well, soft and zip backwards to make for easier diaper changes in the night.
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9. Abbie loves the lounger at her daycare. If I needed another hands-free option at home I would get one.
Twilight Ladybug from Cloud B
Twilight Ladybug from Cloud B
10. Also got these lights for her room at night. This one for middle of the night changes (so I can see but it’s not too bright for her) and this one for falling asleep time — she loves looking at the stars on the ceiling… and so do I:)
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11. Finally, for this winter, we got Abbie this down bunting from Eddie Bauer via Target. Keeps her warm and toasty but not too puffy, Maggie Simpson-style. Way cheaper than the all-too-tempting Fratagonia and it has a hole for your car seatbelt. (Took me two weeks to realize the hole was for the carseat… thought it was to check diapers. Hey, twofer.) Only wish they had one in my size!
And remember that for everything one mom feels strongly about, there’s another mom who has the exact opposite opinion. And all babies are different. No right or wrong! Just have fun and try not to go crazy. But if you do, that’s okay, too:)

12 Baby Registry Tips From A Mom Who’s Been There, Done That (And Doing It Again)

A few months ago, a friend emailed me asking for advice on her baby registry. Like any first-time mom-to-be, she was totally overwhelmed. I realized after sharing my tips with her, that you might be able to benefit from them as well. I’d also like to hear from you. What are your registry must-haves?

Here’s a link to my registry so you can see what we’re needing for Round 2. Mind you, we already have a lot of the bigger stuff, but it’s also been 5 years and we gave away a lot since then or lent out things we did not get back! 🙂

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1. BOTTLES.

LOVE these glass baby bottles. Use the grown-up version myself. But will she be in a daycare? Some daycares (like ours) don’t allow glass, so you might want to also add a non-glass option. If you’re getting a Medela breast pump, they have bottle that fit perfectly with their whole system. I wouldn’t register for more than one or two of whichever you choose, though, because babies are super picky and they might not like the one you like the most. (We had to try a couple before finding the right fit.)
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2. BABY CARRIER

I love my Ergo. If I had to get a second one, I would get this one. They are supposed to be great esp when she’s small.
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3. STROLLER

I’m not as active as I like to think I am (and most certainly will never take baby on a run with me should I feel the urge to run), so I’m registering for this one. But everyone and their mother swears by the BOB Revolution. And everyone also swears by the Snap-n-Go to use at first. I never had one before but am borrowing a friend’s this time around.
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4. CRIB BUMPER

Jed liked to push his face against the sides of his crib so we never put in the bumper. Ended up eventually getting a breatheable one instead. Not as pretty but they get the job done:)
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5. BOUNCER

You will want as many hands-free options as possible. Will keep her stimulated and entertained while you do what you need to do (shower, poop, what have you). I loved my Baby Bjorn Babysitter Balance. It was a splurge but totally worth it. I also have this one. And eventually you’ll want some sort of exersaucer. I’m going to borrow one from a friend, don’t have a specific brand rec on that.

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6. CO-SLEEPER

We did not do this the last time around. Just set up the pack-n-play next to our bed. Again, we splurged and got this one. Don’t know if it’s any better than the usual ones to be honest, but hey, we were registering and it was a gift;) But after Jed’s colic, I decided we needed something else and I found this. It’s my top “ask” from our family this time. Honestly I have no personal reference for it other than what I’ve read online.
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7. DRYING RACK

LOVE our Boon grass drying rack for bottles. We still use it for Jed cups and delicate things like wine glasses.
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8. SLEEP SACKS

Did not know about these before Jed so we ended up buying all of them ourselves, but they are AWESOME. My go-to gift for expecting moms. I have no summer weight ones so this time around I’m coveting the muslin Aden + Anais ones. But the HALO ones are awesome, too.
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9. PLAY MAT

I don’t think one’s better than the other here. Just all a little different. Jed’s got wrecked by the end so we are in the market for a new one and I like this one🙂 LOVE Skip Hop!
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10. DIAPER PAIL

This is just me but I’m very anti-Diaper Genie. We had one for Jed and they aren’t expensive but those cartridges of bags you have to buy to fit them are a total racket. This time around, we’re getting this one, for which you can use regular trash bags.
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11. CAR SEAT

We have a Graco Snug Ride. I’m a fan. No complaints. Though I have a friend who prefers the Chico Keyfit. I don’t think you can go wrong either way.
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12. DIAPER BAG

Totally a personal choice. I love my Petunia Pickle Bottom touring tote. Fits so much more than I thought it would. And I got the wipeable fabric, not the silk. I know a lot of people have the Columbia one and love it. More outdoorsy:) And Skip Hop makes good ones, too. Really so many choices.
Other non-specific brand needs: hooded towel or two, wash cloths, burp cloths, humidifier, baby monitor (we didn’t do the video one but that’s a personal choice), baby wash, first aid safety kit thingy. And if you’re curious, I have the Medela Swing Breast Pump. It does one side at a time, but if you’re working full-time at an office, I bet you’ll want to invest in the double pumper.

Belly to Belly: Baby registry tips in hindsight.

The baby registry is probably one of the most daunting tasks (next to labor) before your beautiful baby comes into this world. The first time Dave and I walked into Target armed with our registry gun, we were so stunned in the feeding aisle — numbed by an onslaught of nursing pads and breast pumps — that we turned on our heels and walked right back out. After that, I went home and did major research: asking moms I knew, moms I didn’t know, my doctor, magazines, and of course, the all-knowing Internet. Even after that there were some decisions I regretted and some items we didn’t discover until after baby that we bought ourselves, which ended up being our go-to gear. Here’s a few things that I learned and loved. I hope it registers with you (and I hope Jed doesn’t inherit my corny sense of humor).

Top 10 registry items I loved.

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  • Fisher-Price Little Lamb Infant Seat Showering, washing dishes, getting dressed… this was my go-to, hands-free seat from day one. The cuddly cover washes well and is easy to take on and off. It folds flat to slide under or behind things and the vibrating mechanism is great for helping baby fall asleep.
  • SwaddleDesigns Organic Ultimate Receiving Blanket This extra large swaddle blanket was recommended by one of my most trusted mom friends and was the best one of all our swaddle blankets for creating the perfect, escape-free “baby burrito”.
  • Cloud b Sleep Sheep on the Go A smaller version of the original, it has a velcro tab so you can attach it to a stroller or pack-n-play. Great for travel, but we used it at home, too.
  • DwellStudio for Target Baby Collection We got a mix of crib bedding from their elephant and little dots collections (no longer available). Everything from DwellStudio for Target is on clearance, so if you like their stuff, shop now for great deals! [DISCONTINUED, SORRY!]
  • Little Twig Travel Basics Set, Lavender I love this brand, but it’s a little pricey to buy on my own, making it a great gift! The travel set was nice for visiting family. Any space you can save in the car when packing up baby is valuable.
  • ERGO Baby Carrier Can’t say enough good things about the Ergo. Dave, Jed and I all loved it. Used it mostly on my front. It can get hot in the summer, but all carriers can. I suggest having more than one type of carrier if you want to stay sane and mobile (pouches, wraps and slings are nice) but this should be one of them.
  • Homedics Sounds Spa Lullaby Relaxation Sound Machine We still use this. No tiptoeing and whispering after baby goes down! And with the baby monitor on our bedside table, we all got addicted to lulling off to the sounds of rain or the ocean.
  • Boudreaux’s All Natural Butt Paste I was once late getting a baby gift for a friend and this was the last thing on her registry. No one wanted to give butt paste as a gift. But let me tell you, this stuff is amazing. I’ve used the generic diaper cream and can totally tell the difference. Plus receiving (or writing) a thank you note that says “thank you for the butt paste” is good for a giggle:)
  • Bumkins Organic Burp Cloths I also loved the Gerber organic diapers used as burp cloths, but they’re being made differently now so I can’t speak to the new design. Bumkins are soft, wash well and double nicely as nose wipers once baby is past the burping stage.
  • Baby Mod ParkLane 3-in-1 Baby Convertible Crib Technically not on my registry because I didn’t register at Wal-Mart, our crib was a gift from my parents. I am so glad we did not spend a fortune on the crib (though I tossed and turned over it). This one has the look of more expensive modern cribs with a budget-conscious price tag. Plus, I love that it has a drawer underneath for extra storage. And you always need extra storage space with a baby! It only took Dave one six-pack of PBR and no cursing to put it together:)
Registry regret.
I could have done without:

 

  • The Diaper Genie. At just under $35, it seems like the perfect price point for a registry gift and an essential nursery item, but consider this–the cartridge refills cost a whopping $12.99 for a 2-pack. That really adds up over the diaper years for what’s really a glorified roll of trash bags. Plus our cartridge would often end up tearing the bags, letting out the smell the Genie supposedly holds in. We finally gave up and switched to a simple, small white trash can with a pop-up lid. I use scented trash bags, plus, I drip a few drops of tea tree essential oil on a cotton ball and throw it into the can to help deodorize.
  • The Boppy. Everyone and their mother (ha!) had a Boppy, so like an insecure middle school girl, I chose popularity over substance. My Brest Friend was just trending at the time and I was afraid to go with the lesser known brand. The Boppy made a great hands-free pillow to lay baby beside me on the sofa, bed or the ground (supervised!) but for a nursing aid, I had to still prop other pillows all around me and it would not stay still, whereas I’ve heard wonderful things about My Brest Friend (and not just from Mariska Hargitay, although she rules.)

I wish we had registered for:
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  • a BOB Revolution stroller. I don’t jog so I felt like a fraud getting one and opted for a higher end Maclaren (also nice), but the Revolution is amazing for any active parent and a great grandparent gift or collective gift card purchase! Just be sure you get a lightweight umbrella stroller, too, for tighter spaces.
  • Sleep sacks. We knew about swaddling, and of course, pajamas, but nobody told us about the wonder of sleep sacks and we didn’t get any as gifts. We had a winter baby and ended up buying four of these ourselves. At $20 each, they would’ve made great shower gifts.
  • Aden and Anais Swaddle Wraps. I’m sure if these were out when we were registering, I would’ve chosen them. I ended up getting them about 12 months in. Way past the swaddling stage, but we used them as Jed’s first blankets in his crib (very breathable!), changing table blankets and travel blankets in warmer weather. I love the fabric, texture and prints!
  • Baby Bjorn BabySitter Balance. This was worth the splurge, but again, wish I had known about it for our registry. We had registered for a vibrating infant seat, but not a bouncer. This seat rocks (both literally and figuratively), going from bouncer to rocking chair — three settings grow with your baby from newborn up through 24 months.

Registry DIY.

“Put a bird on it!” ~ Portlandia

I bought my own nursing gear and diaper bag. The nursing gear was personal to me. All I could think of was my thirteenth birthday. My mom gave me my first razor and I opened it in front of my entire extended family and promptly burst into tears. Not that nursing is something to hide or be embarrassed about. But for me, pumping and all that goes along with it, is simply personal. I wanted to pick those things out and pay for them myself. I did not want friends and family oohing and aahing as I unwrapped something that was going to be suctioned in bovine fashion to my cracked nipples.

And I am way too particular about my bags to leave to chance some sort of registry mishap! We got a Skip Hop Via Messenger to share and I got a Petunia Pickle Bottom Touring Tote from their online outlet just for me. They don’t carry the print I have anymore (shown above) on their website, but there are so many pretty ones to choose from. I recommend the glazed fabric for its wipeability. And you would be amazed at how much these can hold! My tote held more than our Skip Hop. I seriously cannot tell you how many compliments I’ve gotten on my PPB. Most people don’t even know it’s a diaper bag.

What were your favorite (or least favorite) registry items? Any surprising disappointments? Or amazing off-the-registry discoveries?

Belly to Belly: Baby (Link) Love

There are so many sites on which to shop and seek advice. I have dozens that I love, but I’ve narrowed it down to my very favorites in the following core categories to take the guess work, and Google work, out of your online time. Like everything else in life once a baby comes into the picture, I say it’s best to keep it simple!

OH, SHE GROWS: Emily updates her readers at 40 weeks.

Baby Names: Nameberry

By far the most engaging (read: time-sucking) baby name site on the Internet. Beyond the usual searches, meanings and popularity charts, Nameberry offers fun, quirky lists like Yupster Names for Girls and Antique Names Ready For Restoration. I almost want to have another child just so I can have a reason to spend time on this site. Because right now, I’m spending way too much time on Nameberry for no good reason at all.

Online Registry: Baby Earth

Austin-based BabyEarth, like its name indicates, incorporates green business practices. But eco-conscious products are only a portion of what they offer to customers, making them both planet-friendly and practical. No Babies-R-Us breakdowns here: their selection has plenty of options, but isn’t anxiety-inducing. Their Ready-to-Go Registries offer a great jumping off point for your own. You can choose one that best fits your lifestyle—Classic Baby, Eco Baby, Posh Baby or Second Child—or find inspiration from a mix of all four! And their customer service? Top notch. Honorable mentions to: Land of Nod, Giggle

Pregnant Bloggers: Emily Malone at Daily Garnish and Caitlin Boyle at Healthy Tipping Point

Emily just had a baby boy, Cullen, six weeks ago, and did an amazing job of documenting her pregnancy experience. The vegetarian chef primarily blogs about food, health and fitness, but has invited us into her life as a new mom as well!

Tagged under BabyHTC and Pregnancy, you can find Operation Beautiful Founder Caitlin Boyle’s belly updates (now at week 13)—a perfect pregnant pause from your busy day! Her pregnancy proves thus far to be just as inspirational as Operation Beautiful.

Both also share(d) their pregnancy experiences on the Babble blog, Being Pregnant (and Emily now contributes to Babble’s Baby’s First Year.)

Online Community: Babble

It was a close call between Babble and BabyCenter. They both offer loads of helpful information from moms and experts, but Babble, as counterintuitive as it may seem, just speaks more clearly to me. While you hear from gobs of contributors who offer all kinds of opinions, the overall site has a unified voice that’s fresh, tangible and entertaining.

What’s your favorite pregnancy or baby-related website?