Chances are that, if you are preparing for a new family member, you are registering for (and receiving) baby clothes, toys, and equipment that will see your baby past early infancy (0-3ish months) and into older babyhood and even the early toddler days.
The gifts of clothing that carried Miles through the 3 month and even 6 month marks was such a blessing. It was just nice to know that I had a foundation of clothing that would fit him as he grew so that I didn’t have to add “Go buy an entire infant wardrobe” to my list as soon as he outgrew that “NB” size.
There were other items, too, that I wished I had registered for, simply because it would have saved me a frantic Google-research induced trip to Target.
So here are a few suggestions for registry items that will carry you well beyond those initial infant days. (It’s important to note that we live in a very small apartment and this list reflects our need for items that maximize space and function. For instance, we still don’t own a highchair. That might be a helpful addition for an older baby that lives in a house with more storage options, but we simply do not have the floorspace.)
1. Bumbo Seat.
The Bumbo chair was a lifesaver during that awkward time while Miles wanted to sit and got bored lying on the floor (and hated tummy-time) but couldn’t sit without help. It gets Baby up off of his back and helps him get a new view. Miles outgrew his seat for a while (hashtag baby rolls), but miraculously just started fitting in it again and so now, we have the added bonus of using the Bumbo seat as a high-chair.
(Note: The Bumbo seat, like any baby toy, is not meant to be used unsupervised or beyond a point where your baby feels comfortable and happy. Your baby should never be left in it for long periods of time and you should always check with your pediatrician if you have questions about your child’s safety or readiness for a particular item.)
I was so grateful for our great camera (similar to this one) and my mom’s larger, fancier Nikon during Miles’ first few days. We have countless pictures from the collective iPhones, but I treasure the early beautiful shots taken of him on real cameras. This is especially important if you are not doing a formal shoot with a professional photographer, since you still will want photos with a resolution high enough to allow you to print larger sizes later.
Many people use these for their very young infants, but Miles didn’t like his swing until he was a little older. He was an inconsistent napper and, at a few months of age, would often only sleep in the Ergo or in my arms. On troublesome-nap days when he was discontent lying on the floor, the swing freed me to get a little work or housework done with him happily swinging at my feet.
There was nothing terribly unique about the swing we got. There are super fancy ones available, but we were more interested in finding (again) something small and easy to store. (And I couldn’t justify spending $300 on a baby swing….)
5. Board Books.
Early on, there were only two books that captivated Miles at all. One was a collection of high-contrast pictures for infants, and one was his (still absolute favorite) Farm book. At a few months of age, Miles started to pay a little bit more attention to books. He continued to love grabbing at the pages, which made board books ideal, but also liked to cuddle with us while we read to him. (Now he’s old enough to know when he likes something and demands reading time, but that’s another post.)
So here are a few of my favorite classic board books for babies to start their library:
- ABC by Dr. Seuss
- Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney
- Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carrel
- Bunnies by Richard Scary
This is pretty dependent on a given family’s lifestyle, but we travel a lot. The first bed Miles slept in was a porta-crib. My mom and I each have a version of the original Graco Pack ‘n Play. They are easy to set up, easy to pull down, light, and a breeze to store. A friend also let me use her BABYBJORN Travel Crib when I was in DC recently with Miles and I loved it.
7. Diaper Bag.
I always swore I’d never be “that mom,” that I’d somehow trek around without a diaper bag. Oh, Naivety, thy name is Emily. Mercifully, we were given a beautiful monogrammed diaper bag for Miles that I now adore (although I can see outgrowing it at some point, since it’s a little on the small size). If I did the whole thing over again, I’d look for something gorgeous like this JJ Cole Satchel Diaper Bag.
8. Play blanket.
Swaddling and receiving blankets are wonderful and soft and washable and everything good, but eventually, an older baby will need something larger and more durable for actually playing on the floor, like this Muslin Blanket.
9. Simple toys.
An older baby in the 3-6 month range doesn’t need a huge arsenal of toys, but definitely will enjoy a few simple sturdy (chewable!) toys. Miles’ favorites included his stuffed cat, his bright squeezable ball, his elephant lovey (for bedtime), the plush textured animals that came with his gym, and his colored rings. Here’s a quick helpful list of a few toys that would be great for any baby’s collection:
10. A baby scrapbook album.
I am so excited to continue working on Miles’ scrapbook, but I sort of wish I had set up a plan before he was born so that it would be easier and less time-consuming to maintain right now. The Project Life Photo Pocket Pages system is perfect for busy new moms and I’m using it for Miles for now, but a digital book or a journaling system will all be equally special. Figure out what memory-keeping method works best for your family – preserved memories of your baby’s early days will be such a treasure later.
That’s my .02! What am I missing? What “essential” item did you buy that you never ended up using for your baby?
Shopping for an infant? My original baby registry list is here.