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Baby Registry Checklist: Must Haves for Baby

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by Jessica Render ConsumerAffairs Research Team
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Registering for your baby-to-be is an exciting moment: You get to plan and think about what life will be like when your baby finally arrives. You can start early and add to your registry as you go (and grow!), but you’ll want to have your list finalized before sending out baby shower invites. That lets your guests have access to your full list of needs and wants.

We’ve put together this baby registry guide to help walk you through the process. Our list focuses on registry essentials so you can understand what you need for your baby’s first few months and what you can do without.

What to put on a baby registry

It’s no secret that raising a baby is expensive. Setting up a baby registry lets your friends and family chip in and purchase items for your growing family to help take some of the financial stress off and let you focus on setting up the perfect start for your new little one.

To start a baby registry, you want to create a running list of essential items. Some examples to get you started include a baby monitor, baby swing, bottles, a quality diaper bag and, of course, diapers in multiple sizes.

What not to put on a baby registry

Focus your baby registry largely on needs and must-haves. As tempting as they may be, you can skip the fancy but frivolous items like bottle warmers and wipe warmers — they’re not truly essential.

You also want to make sure you’re not registering for only newborn size-clothing. Babies grow fast, and you don’t want to be stuck with a closet full of newborn outfits that your baby will grow out before they have time to wear each one — the same goes for diaper sizes.

Depending on your friend and family group, it also might be smart to set your own budget aside for more expensive items like a crib and mattress, stroller and car seat. That’s not to say these things aren’t commonly gifted, but they’re on the pricier side. You may have more luck getting people to purchase smaller items.

Baby registry list

Use the list below to make sure you have everything you’ll need to welcome your baby home.

Newborn baby needs checklist:

  • Baby carrier
  • Baby monitor
  • Baby nasal aspirator
  • Baby powder
  • Baby safe laundry detergent
  • Baby swing
  • Baby thermometer
  • Baby wipes
  • Bathtub
  • Bibs
  • Bottles
  • Burp cloths
  • Car seat
  • Changing pad
  • Changing table
  • Crib
  • Crib mattress
  • Diaper bag
  • Diaper cream
  • Diaper pail
  • Diaper rash cream
  • Diapers in multiple sizes
  • Fitted crib sheets
  • Formula
  • Mattress cover
  • Milk storage containers
  • Mittens
  • Nursing bras
  • Nursing pads
  • Nursing pillow
  • Onesies in multiple sizes
  • Rocking chair or glider
  • Socks
  • Stocking caps
  • Stroller
  • Swaddling blankets
  • Washcloths

Find the best baby registries

Consider a few factors when deciding which baby registry is best for you, including the range of items offered by the retailer, ease of use for both you, your friends and your family and what perks they offer to registrants. You can choose to have multiple registries, but many find it easier to stick with just one.

Many large retailers offer a universal registry that lets you add items from multiple stores within one master registry. When picking our favorite registries, we considered these factors as well as return policies, group gifting functionality and welcome gifts and coupons.

Target baby registry

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TOP ITEMS TO REGISTER FOR
  • Cute baby clothes
  • Nursery decor
  • Toys

Start your registry on Target

Target baby registry perks: Target gives registrants a baby welcome kit full of samples and freebies of baby products that’s advertised as a $100 value. The company also offers a 15%-off coupon eight weeks prior to your baby’s due date to purchase any items you haven’t received from your registry and deals and coupons all year if you join their free Target Circle program. Target offers a universal registry, which means you can add items you want from other stores to your list without having to create multiple registries.

  • Group gifting: Yes
  • Shipping: Free for orders more than $35
  • Return policy: One year for new, unopened items with a gift receipt

Amazon baby registry

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TOP ITEMS TO REGISTER FOR
  • Diapers
  • Formula and bottles
  • Strollers, monitors and car seats

Start your registry on Amazon

Amazon offers a surprise welcome box valued at $35 for anyone who creates a baby registry. You get 10% off remaining items on your registry (15% if you’re a Prime member). Like Target, Amazon offers a universal registry that lets you add gift ideas from multiple stores and maintain one central registry. Amazon has a large selection of products and access to hundreds of brands and sellers.

  • Group gifting: Yes
  • Shipping: Varies, but typically free for Prime members
  • Return policy: One year for any items purchased from your registry

Baby registry FAQ

What is a baby registry?
A baby registry is a list of items that you want to receive before your baby is born. Registering for your baby lets your friends and family know exactly what it is you need and want.
How does a baby registry work?
A baby registry is simple to put together and can generally be done in a physical store location or online with larger retailers. Start by creating an account, then browse the baby aisles or website pages and add items you want on your registry list. You then get a shareable link to distribute to friends, family, coworkers or anyone else in your network. When your friends access the link they’ll be able to see what you’ve registered for, what has already been purchased and what items you still need.
How many items should be on a baby registry?
The total number of items on a baby registry is up to you! What do you need? Register for it! It’s not uncommon for a baby registry to have more than 100 items on it. Just remember, you may not receive everything you add to the registry.
Are there any baby registry perks from stores?
Several stores offer goody bags and other perks to parents who create a baby registry. Examples of perks include discount codes to purchase remaining items on your registry, store coupons, baby product samples, free shipping and group ordering functionality to make it easier for friends and family to band together to purchase large-ticket items on your registry.
How many diapers should you register for?
You’ll want to register for multiple boxes in newborn through size two or higher. According to Healthline, newborns go through an average of 10 diapers each day. Even though diaper use slows down as babies grow and their bladders become bigger, they’re still going through about six per day through the first few years of life.

Babies grow fast, so you should register for diapers in multiple sizes. You’ll want a couple of boxes in newborn size and even more in sizes one and two. Healthline recommends two boxes for newborns and four boxes each in sizes one and two.

Keep in mind that diaper boxes provide a much larger quantity of diapers than diaper packs. Boxes generally contain well over 100 diapers, while packs will typically carry somewhere around 30 diapers. Check the count number when you register to make sure you’re registering for enough diapers.

What stores have baby registries?
Baby specialty stores like Buy Buy Baby have baby registries set up, but many big box stores like Walmart and Target also have registries. Registering at a big box store may make it easier for your friends and family to pick something up for you on a regular shopping outing to one of their favorite stores.
Can I create a baby registry without a baby shower?
Yes, you can create a baby registry without hosting a baby shower. Just as no one is obligated to buy you a gift — shower or not — many friends and family may want to get you a gift to celebrate. A registry makes it easier for them to buy you items they can be sure you’ll use.
When should you make your baby registry?
There is no right or wrong answer. You can start a baby registry at any time throughout your pregnancy. Most moms-to-be tend to start early, at around 12 weeks.
Is it rude to put a registry on a baby shower invitation?
According to etiquette expert Emily Post, it is acceptable to put registry information on a separate enclosure within the invite envelope but not on the invite itself. It is generally accepted that it’s OK to put a link to a registry on an e-vite invitation, however.
What should first-time moms put on a baby registry?
First-time mom or not, all babies generally need the same things. First-time moms who don’t have a stash of hand-me-downs to pull from are starting at square one, though. Use our checklist to make sure you’re registering for all the essentials.

Bottom line

Creating a baby registry makes it easy for your network to select a gift they know you’ll use. Of course, people can — and will — go off-book when gifting you presents for your new child. For most, though, the list is a useful source that helps prevent multiple people from purchasing the same gift. Having a registry put together before your baby shower is recommended — don’t forget to treat yourself to some products that will help make your pregnancy easier in the meantime.

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Profile picture of Jessica Render
by Jessica Render ConsumerAffairs Research Team

As a member of the ConsumerAffairs research team, Jessica Render is dedicated to providing well-researched, valuable content designed to help consumers make informed purchase decisions they can feel confident making. She holds a degree in journalism from Oral Roberts University.