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Saturday, December 30, 2017

making a baby registry: my favorite items after 3 kids

I started writing this a year ago and here I am finishing it just in the nick of time before we ring in a new year! That's what parenting does to you - makes you busier than ever and sidetracks you, just a BIT. :)

After three children, here are my FAVORITE things that I recommend you have on a baby registry. I'm sure I've missed a few things, but hope this is helpful. This question comes up ALL the time in the Mommy Stories! It's such a daunting and yet exciting task to complete a registry.

And while we're on the subject, let me say.... NO SHAME in putting a list together of things you want and then things you need. Babies are expensive, babies are difficult, and babies need everything it seems. Friends and family love babies. They love giving babies gifts. They like to be helpful, to contribute, so make a LIST! :)

My favorite places to make lists and registries are Babies R Us and Amazon.com.
HAPPY BABY SHOPPING!

NURSING & PUMPING
I LOVE Medela everything. They really are the go-to brand for nursing and pumping, in my mind. I've had great success with their products. I know many women who feel awkward registering for pumping supplies and nursing items, but this is a huge part of the first year with baby if you are nursing so go for it! People want to get you practical things you need, and there's nothing more practical than feeding your baby... so add these items to the list!
image from Babies-R-Us

Here are some favorites for nursing and pumping:
  • Nursing cover. I don't have a particular brand that's best, but I love having one.
  • Coconut oil. This worked well with sore breasts when nursing my third. I hadn't heard of it until lactation people told me in the hospital. Before that I'd used lansinoh cream. I love coconut oil better.
  • Lansinoh freezer bags. You'll want to register for at least 3 packs of these but will end up needing much more... so add them to the list! I've used these times three kids, they work great. I've heard though that Target brand bags are cheaper and hold up well, too. I haven't tried those yet but plan to.
  • Medela pump. I know people can get them free now through insurance and my friend gave me one of those as an extra, it works great! I had a pump in style backpack one that I take to work, it is awesome. If you are given a pump (which works totally cool even though they tell you not to borrow someone else's, I have times three kids, no issues!), you'll want to order the pump parts and tubing. Parts you can easily get on Amazon or at Babies R Us, tubing on Amazon, very cheap. The backpack one is awesome for work too!
  • Medela nursing bottles - 5 oz and 8 oz. You'll want many of the 5 oz ones, at least 4-8 of them for pumping. There are always some in my pump bag, freezer bag, in the fridge, and in the sink, and then some on the drying rack. 
  • Dr. Brown's small bottle cleaning brushes. These come with the Dr. Brown's bottle sets or you can order individually. They are tiny and usually blue brush parts. They are awesome for cleaning the small parts of pumps.
  • Cooler and ice packs. I'm currently using the Medela cooler that came with a pump, it fits 4 of the 5 oz bottles. It's good for pumping at work so far and fits into a small fridge at work. However, if you have an over supply and pump more than 20 oz in a work day, you'll want a larger cooler.

  • Vehicle adapter. These are awesome for on the go or on long trips. They are about $30 at Babies R Us and worth the money. 
  • Battery pack. Make sure you have one of these for your pump in case the power goes out. I had to use this several times! You will be glad you have it. 
  • Spare pump parts. Make sure you have a spare set of cones, flanges, etc. so that in case something happens you're never without what you need.
  • Medela spare membranes. These make no sense until you start pumping, but one time I thought I was all dried up and no milk was coming out but I was full feeling... it was a torn membrane piece, easy enough to replace. Buy one pack of spares. Apparently you're supposed to change these out every month, too! Never knew that the first two kids, now I'm trying to do that. 
  • Lansinoh disposable nursing pads. You'll want to register for at least 3 boxes of these. They are great for work.
  • Medela hands-free pumping bra. You'll want two of these. One to leave at home, one to keep at work. I LOVE them. I had no idea they existed with my first, who I exclusively pumped for- crazy! But now they make working pumping life MUCH easier. If you have a choice, get black... the white one is easily stained with milk dropping on it. They are sold by size. Sometimes you will need to get a size bigger than you currently are, because remember your body changes and grows in this region post-baby.
  • Nuk reusable nursing pads. I liked having a set of these (one box is typically good for awhile) to wear at home, on weekends, etc. I don't always like wearing them with clothes because sometimes you can see the circles through depending on the shirt you wear out, but wearing at home and with certain sweaters, etc. is great. They wash well in regular laundry.
  • Burp cloths. They aren't just for putting over your shoulder when feeding baby! I got a pack of these specifically for pumping. I tuck it into the bottom of the bra so that nothing spills onto me when I unhook the pump parts after pumping. I put one in the pump bag at all times too so that when I'm cleaning up after pumping I have something handy to help with that process. 
  • Boppy pillow. I LOVE this thing. It's lasted through three kids now. Get a spare cover for it because when baby spits up on it, laundry doesn't get done quickly! Totally helpful with nursing.
  • Nursing Tank Tops. I loved Target's Gillian and O'Malley the best. I have tons of these and they last a long time. They are so comfortable. I lived in these every night the entire year of nursing and pumping, but mostly during maternity leave, every day all day. So you'll want at least 6-8 of them I suggest. 
  • Nursing bras. I got some good ones from Target recently. I think everyone differs on their preference for these. You will especially want these for when you're returning to work, it makes pumping easier. You'll want at least a few of these. 
  • Soothie pacifiers. The hospital gave these out to us, so we just kept using them. They have various sizes. Buy one pack of the 0-3 months and then one pack the next size up if you know baby will take them. If you don't know if they will or this is first baby, just get one pack (they come in packs of two). 
Looks like a lot and expensive to nurse, right?! Yes, at first... but many women are given these items from friends, and also they keep on giving, you can use them for subsequent babies, too. And it's far cheaper buying this stuff and nursing than buying formula, I've done both, I know! If you think you're going to nurse, buy only a few essentials to start, and ask for gift cards. Don't buy everything, or at least if you're given gifts keep them in boxes at first. Nursing doesn't work for everyone... and that's OK! So just save receipts and boxes if you do get items.


FEEDING
It's so much fun to get to the stage of feeding your baby solid foods! And while that may seem so far away when you're pregnant, knowing babies don't typically eat solid foods until close to 6 months old, it's a good idea to add these items to the registry list. You'll be busy after baby is here and don't need to worry about getting these items, plus people like buying you these practical things, too.

Here are some of my favorites:
  • Bottles- I LOVE Dr. Browns! I've used them with three kids now, they don't fail me. They do have more parts to wash than other bottles, but I haven't found this to be an issue. Every mom I talk to loves these bottles. They have little parts that help the baby avoid more air and gas issues. I've found them to work well. We were gifted some glass bottles in this brand and they were great in the beginning. LOVE them for when you are feeding baby. Great to try out. I found we needed at least 6 smaller bottles, 4 oz ones, and we needed at least 6-8 of the larger 8 oz bottles. I also use these larger 8 oz bottles for pumping (around 3 months when I started pumping way more, after baby consistently slept through the night and in the morning I'd pump like 8 ounces from one side!). 
  • Bottle rack- There are lots of kinds, just pick one that looks cool to you. We've used several. Recently we have used the Dr. Brown's one and it works fine. 
  • Bottle washing brush- Same thing, pick one you like, they're similar. We currently use the Dr. Brown's one.
  • Dapple- So I got a sample of this in the mail and it's awesome! It's soap specifically designed for washing pump parts and bottles. It gets the fatty milky film off the bottles and smells good, it's natural, too! It is more expensive than regular dish soap, but you use it sparingly, a little each day, so it's great stuff. 
  • Burp cloths. There are so many variations of these on Babies R Us and other locations, you just choose what you like best. But at least get 8-10 of them. At least. You will always have a couple of them in the diaper bag. You'll have a few in the laundry. You'll want to use some for pumping... so just buy a lot! 
  • Small baby Bibs. You will want a few different versions of bibs. I like the Carters or Koala type small bibs, these are great in the beginning for spit up and drooling. You'll want at least 10-15 of these if not more, depending on what type of spitter your child ends up being. Again, you'll leave a few in your diaper bag, some are in the laundry, some go to daycare bag, etc. so I always needed more of these. 
  • Plastic feeding bibs. These are AMAZING for when you feed your child solid foods. They rinse off in the kitchen sink and can be thrown in the laundry. They're awesome. You'll want at least 6 of these.

  • Fresh Baby Food Making Kit and Trays. I LOVE this set! Making baby food is so much healthier than buying it, and much much cheaper. It's also fun, honestly. It's work, but not a ton more work. This kit is so great, tons of good ideas in the recipe book on how to go about making baby food, freezing it, when to serve certain types, etc. I found this on Amazon.com. 
  • Bowls and containers - You want lots of these. I know you are in baby mode right now, but add these to your registry so you don't forget to buy them or in case someone wants to get you a practical gift. You'll use them sooner than you think. I like the Gerber NUK 4-pack bunch-a-bowls and lids. So great for baby food, snacks, etc. I use them myself for work! We also bought Munchkin BPA free bowls, 5 pack, for cereal and making baby food. My kids still use these years later. We got the matching Munchkin plates too.
  • Spoons- white hot safety spoons are great. One pack is enough. Then get a few different types of sets of utensils, forks and spoons. 
  • Mesh feeders- My first two hated them, my last one loved it, especially in summer with fresh watermelon! These are super cool for their hurting teeth.

DIAPERS & BATHING
Oh, the diapers you will go through... diapers everywhere! First of all, stash whatever the hospital gives you. The nurse taught us this. They give them to you, so keep them! Those are the best anyway, those sweet soft swaddled ones. We tried buying sizes ahead of time. I'd suggest about 2 cases of newborn to start, then lots of size one diapers. Once you're in a size, buy extra, always have another case on hand.
  • Newborn- Pampers Swaddlers- These are the BEST diapers. They are more expensive and worth it at the start. They are super soft, and just feel like a newborn baby- fresh and sweet. We put these on our registry because that's what Babies-R-Us carries. List for at least size newborn and size 1. I had a 9 lbs 3 oz baby the first time and he was in newborn diapers only a couple of weeks. You never know! The yellow line that turns blue telling you the child peed- genius! Saves from undressing a baby who hates being undressed.
  • Size 1-2 etc Luvs- We love Luvs. We've used these times three kids and they work great. 
  • Seventh Generation & Earth's Best- I LOVE their diapers and wipes brand. Much more expensive, but organic and healthier for the environment. Someone gave us a ton of these that they had left over so we used them up, thankfully, and they worked great. I did miss the yellow line that turns blue when child pees from Pampers, so those were better for newborns, but then once you're on more of a diapering routine and you can predict the baby's changes, these are awesome. 
  • Pampers sensitive skin wipes- These work for us!
  • Tub- no preference on style or size, whatever works for you works for baby. I think we had a Safety 1st tub.
  • Washcloths- you'll want at least one pack of these. 
  • Wipes container for on-the-go- You will want at least one of these in your car and in your diaper bag.
  • Arm & Hammer diaper trash bags- These are perfect for when you visit someone's house but don't want to leave behind the stink! I put them in the diaper bag and in my car.
  • Butt Paste- perfect stuff for diaper rashes and more organic. 
  • Burt's Bees -diaper cream & body wash & lotion- This is great stuff, and much healthier for baby. One bottle of body wash for baby lasted us the entire first year of his life. It's more expensive than Johnson & Johnson, yes, but it's healthier and smells amazing and lasts a while.
  • Baby bath towels- I'd suggest having four of these because of the pile up on laundry. You don't need a ton, but they are sweet to use the first few months to wrap them up and cover their head.
  • Bath toys- don't forget you'll want these, maybe not at the start but add them to your list anyway! 
  • Diaper pail- These are crazy in the price ranges. There are fancy ones with bags that I avoided- I don't need one more thing to deal with or purchase. I wanted ones that fit my regular trash bags, so I got a cheap one.
  • Lap pads- These are AMAZING. I put these down on the diaper changing pad so that we didn't have to change that a zillion times, just took this little lap pad off if messy. I put it in the car seat so in case the diaper mess went through the clothes, same with the swing, baby seat, etc. They are lifesavers! I suggest you have at least 10-15 of them lying around, you go through them quickly!
  • Diaper changing pad and covers- You need at least 4 covers. We used these a lot in the beginning, washing them almost daily. 
  • Diaper bag- personal preference! 
  • Hygiene kit - hair brush, comb, nail clippers- you'll need these.



SLEEPY
    • Sleep sacks and swaddle blankets- Halo sleep sacks are awesome. Get all the different sizes you can. We've never had to purchase new on these- plenty of great condition used ones at consignment stores. Same with swaddle blankets, you'll want a few at the beginning. 
    • White noisemaker - These are a MUST. My babies all slept like a charm having these drown out other noises. 
    • Baby monitor- We have had a few different ones. Motorola worked ok for a while. At the time you go shopping, look at reviews and talk to real parents, as it changes so often. Get a video one!
    • Blankets- The Aden and Anais are my fave that I found with my third baby. Get a few of these, they're great for the car seat and swing, etc. 

GEAR
  • Chicco infant car seat, base and stroller combo - We LOVE Chicco! They've held up so well. The first set we had we bought for our first baby and used again with our second. Then bought a new set for our third child. These are great seats, our whole family has used these. Definitely an awesome feature to put the seat into the stroller and have the stroller grow with your baby, too. We had the KeyFit30 set recently. The staff at Babies-R-Us were SO helpful to me when getting this set! I did their fall trade-in event a week before baby was coming so I got a coupon for I believe 20% off toward a new set and they recycled my old set. Amazing!
  • Britax convertible car seat- We started with the Marathon and now have the Boulevard I believe, great car seats. We found the most recent ones on Amazon in their warehouse, much cheaper, and Babies-R-Us has deals all the time on these. Don't buy full price, wait for a discount, but awesome seats. Definitely register for this, my babies moved to this type of car seat at 9 months old, as the infant carrier gets heavier to lug around. Put on the list, you can at least save up gift cards and then use your 10% off discount at the close of your registry. 
  • Graco Nautilus high-back booster seat- Great for the last car seat, five-point harness and worked great.
  • Crib, bassinet, pack-n-play, swing, bouncy seat, sit up seat, high chair, etc.- These are all your preference and honestly whatever you can find used that's in awesome condition works. I got a very sweet bassinet for $40!
  • Car seat mirror for the back of the seat for infant- these are awesome!
  • Back of the seat pads to cover your seats from the kiddos feet!


TOYS & BOOKS ETC.
  • Whatever works for you! Pick out a few favorites though- teddy bears that make music, board books (Eric Carle and Susan Boynton are our favorite!) People like to know what you want though, so add these to the registry. Think of your child in the entire first year- think toys for the diaper bag, stacking toys, fine motor toys, etc. 
  • Teething rings- Sophie the Giraffe is awesome! The Nuby 3-step teether set is my FAVORITE, can't believe it took me three kids to find that set. It'll definitely be something I give every new momma from now on. It's a great thing to have, it really helped my little teether.
  • Baby record book- Whatever type of documenting you want to do, get a book on your registry. This is a good thing to have at the hospital with you.
  • Sign language book- Teaching babies to express themselves with sign language way before they can talk is so helpful. It's good to get a book or video to teach you to get started. 
  • Baby-Proofing things- You will need these sooner or later so definitely add them to the list.
Building a registry is overwhelming, but it's SO much fun also! I suggest you start it online, then go to the store to have fun. It's a lot easier. HAVE FUN picturing your little one!


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