If I had to rewrite the whole of the What to Expect When You’re Expecting series, I would definitely start with this: expect to feel overwhelmed trying to figure out exactly what gear you need for your baby registry!
When my partner and I were expecting our second baby this year, I thought putting together our baby registry wish list would all be easy peasy, lemon squeezy. After all, I’d already been through this once and assumed I knew what I needed.
I was… wrong.
When I had my oldest way back in 2010, I was 22 years old and totally naive. I didn’t even have a baby registry! There was no Instagram or TikTok, no influencers telling me about the long list of so-called “Must Haves” for newborns and postpartum women.
Fast-forward to my second pregnancy, and it felt like a brand new ball game!
At the end of the first trimester with Baby B, my partner and I started the confusing process of figuring out exactly what we needed. Cue the overwhelm. My partner suggested we step away from the internet and swing by our local Babies R Us location. Bonus: since he worked there through high school and undergrad, he actually knew his way around the Baby Registry Counter (and some of his former colleagues were still there!)
The team at Babies R Us made it easier to understand what to add to our registry by removing the noise and focusing on our unique family needs. Plus, since they have everything you need (and everything you didn’t even know existed for babies!), it allowed us to have a one-stop-shop approach, streamlining our registry-building process. Plus, there's swag! When we registered, we scored a $25 coupon and they handed us a swag bag filled with products samples and coupons.
We also signed up for the R Club, their customer loyalty program! We used our Completion Discount on a big-ticket item (our Convertible Car Seat!). We also took advantage of the extended return policy on items we received duplicates of (or decided weren’t quite the right fit – BRU gets it, sometimes you change your mind!)
Now that Baby B is a year old and I have perspective, here are the items from my Baby Registry that made life easier.
Maxi-Cosi Zelia bucket car seat (that’s the infant one!) and stroller continue to be lifesavers. The travel system was a more economical option than buying individually, and we absolutely loved the look of the Maxi Cosi stroller!
We also were strategic with our registry by thinking ahead. We added the Graco Extend2Fit convertible car seat, knowing we would need it down the road. Plus, we took advantage of our completion discount to knock it off our list! Bonus: it was on sale at the time, too, so we saved even more.
Another must-have item was a baby carrier with good back support. We went with the very stylish Lillebaby All Seasons. With a much older child in hockey and lacrosse, we spent a lot of time dragging our infant to rinks all over the province. We loved having a baby carrier that could be worn multiple ways, had good ergonomic properties to protect our backs, plus other bells and whistles like a nap hood! I recommend going in-store and testing out baby carriers before adding one to your registry.
Tip: If you spot items on your registry on sale, snag ‘em at a deal! Plus, since you have an extended return policy, you have the flexibility to change your mind. The only caveat is sale items sell out quickly, particularly baby gear and feeding goods, so act fast.
At our house, we call these things “baby containment units.” They are, I kid you not, your BEST DANG FRIENDS, especially when that teeny squish realizes they can move around!
We personally love the Maxi-Cosi brand across the board and the Maxi Cosi Kori Rocker is 10/10. Not only does it give you a break in the early days, but babies can also rock themselves as they get older which is awesome for self-soothing! Also, it’s lightweight and minimalistic. Just because you have a baby doesn’t mean your living room can’t be chic.
Tip: We also love, love, love having our BabyCare FunZone Playpen set up in our backyard. We can keep our now-toddler contained and safe in our backyard while we do things like prep dinner or, y’know, SHOWER. We rotate toys in and out every couple of days so it’s always exciting.
I was #blessed to have a VERY easy labour and delivery and had no pain or discomfort, stitches or even swelling after Baby B was born. But, I was exhausted. And for that reason, our Halo Bassinet was a life-saver.
It stayed next to my side of the bed for about four months until we slowly transitioned the little squirt into a Graco Pack ‘N ‘Play (same spot). We moved him into his crib in his own room around five-six months. The Halo is adjustable in height and the side drops down to make it easy to lift baby up. Plus, the little nightlight is super convenient for night feeds and checks, and the sound and vibration are perfect for soothing a cranky baby.
Outside of his actual bassinet, Baby B mostly slept in our arms - especially in the early days. As a result, we were in love with our Baby Nest Lounger. This is a great alternative to the pricey SnuggleMe, and does the same dang thing! Just remember, your baby should never sleep unattended on a lounger pillow! We used ours on the couch in the living room when I was feeling touched out. We also travel everywhere with it, so we always had a comforting piece of “home” for him to cuddle in.
My ride-or-die product for the entire first year was my Medela Freestyle Double Electric Pump alongside the hands-free bustiers I snagged at BRU early on. I wish this updated version was around for me) I literally spent DAYS of the first year pumping so we could fill our freezer to send breastmilk to daycare, Nana’s house, or leave it with my spouse when I went to the gym or for girl’s night.
I’d absolutely rate my pump a 10/10 for efficiency and durability, but I definitely had some FOMO when I saw the new model!
Tip: We had to try a few different bottle nipples to find one Baby B liked. It’s OK if you have a bit of trial and error, no matter how you’re feeding – both you AND baby are learning together.
Our son hated the baby bathtub we were gifted, so we switched to the Angelcare Bath Support after friends recommended it. Baby B LOVED IT! We used it for every bath after that for months and then passed it on to a friend to use and love, too!
We also added a great all-in-one Deluxe Grooming Kit by Safety 1st to our registry and it’s become a go-to for us when purchasing gifts for other families now! It included all of the major things we needed for baby hygiene and healthcare, from a cute little comb to a thermometer and medicine dispenser!
Pulling a registry together can feel overwhelming. Take the time to plan and research. Before adding anything to your registry, go into the store and check out items in person. Don’t be afraid to put the staff to work and ask questions about products you’re interested in. They can give you a sense of how easy (or not easy) it is to set up, take down, carry or use. You’ve got this mama!
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