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Baby Registry Part 2

Ok – you’ve hit the store several times, had many fights – er – discussions with your spouse, and narrowed down your list.  You’ve got your spread sheet going of the general item you want, the brand you’re thinking about, and where it’s competitively priced.  Or is that just me?  At any rate, time to register!  (Speaking of time, it goes faster than you think.  We started working on our list around 5 months.  First off, we argue a lot over what to get and that takes time.  Second off, a couple things we wanted – the crib and the chair – need to be ordered TWELVE WEEKS ahead of time.  So we needed to get those picked and ordered, which we did while we worked on the registry.)
What should be on your list?  I’m not going to cover everything; there’s a ton of books out there that print handy lists for you.  But here are some highlights you might not think of, as well as some things I’d advise against.  If I’ve got a favorite brand or style, I’ve linked to it so you can see what I’m talking about.  I recommend some expensive items, but I promise I’ve done the research and think they’re worth it.  Which leads me to one final tip-

Register for big gear.  Don’t let the price tags scare you away from registering for big things.  Asking for the expensive car seat’s not saying you expect someone to fork over the whole amount.  But you can have whoever is throwing you a shower encourage people to go in on big gifts.  I always scan the list for the expensive stuff that the couple will never be able to buy, then call the hostess and say, “I’m interested in the pack n play – put the word out I’ll go in on one.”
Pack n’ Play  You’ll need this.  In a pinch, it can work as a full-time bassinet or a crib.  When you travel you’ll be happy you have this to take to Grandma’s house, and when baby’s older you’ll be happy to have this to put baby in when you’re trying to get dinner done.  Plus, having one means friends can visit and have a place for their baby to sleep.
Car seats.  Mandatory everywhere in the U.S.  You need an infant car seat before the hospital will let you take the baby home, even if you don’t own a car.  At a certain weight the baby will move to a bigger car seat – I recommend the Britax Roundabout.  Register for both to avoid a run to the baby store at 6 months.
Strollers  Infant car seats can sometimes be attached to a standard stroller, which will convert to a bigger stroller eventually.  This is great if you live in the suburbs, with big cargo baskets underneath and holders for your cup and cellphone, but these are incredibly heavy if you live in an urban area and have to climb a lot of stairs.  In that case, you also need a stroller base to turn the car seat into a stroller, and then an umbrella stroller for when the baby’s bigger.  My favorite, the Maclaren Techno XT, is more expensive but worth it.  Friends have gone cheaper and regretted it.  If you’ve got plenty of cash you can buy the Bugaboo, which does everything.  It’s hard to collapse for a car, and big to store and incredibly heavy, so it’s for wealthier urbanites who don’t use cars much and don’t have to climb stairs and have big apartments.  Beautiful stroller, though, and a nice drive.
Travel covers  If you live up north, you’ll need a stroller blanket and a cover for your infant car seat/Bjorn.  Trust me, these are great, and are sold now in Buy Buy Babys and other stores.
Bouncy Seat   Don’t question this.  the first time your six-week-old is screaming uncontrollably and the vibrations of the bouncy seat are the only thing that calms him, you’ll understand.  A lot of bang for your buck.
Swing  Some babies love this more than others.  Maddie didn’t start using it until around 5 months, and loves it now.  We were fortunate to be loaned a portable swing as well, which reclines more and was more fun for her sooner.
Baby carrier  I’m talking a sling or a soft carrier, and every baby’s different.  We tried several slings until finally settling on the Kangaroo Pouch; it’s tighter fitting and great newborn through toddler.  The other slings were too much fabric for baby girl.  We’ve also got a Bjorn City carrier that saved us when she was “colicky”.  It’s better for your back and leaves both hands freer than a sling (make sure you get the one with lumbar support!).  I’ve heard great things about the ergonomic baby carrier, but have not tried one.
Bumbo sitter  This is what I mean about planning a bit further out.  I didn’t want to register (and have to store) a high chair, but this sitter is for babies who can’t quite sit up on their own through several months, and it’s where I feed Maddie still.  Some friends have found them not useful at all, so there you go.  You can also look at booster seats as well; we’re just now shopping for them, but they’re not too big to store at first.
Changing table pad  We asked for two pads, so we could have a changing station on both floors of our home.  If you’ve got a spread out space, this will save you a lot of time.  Make sure you have at least two pad covers for each pad, since you’ll have a lot of seedy yellow stool on them in the early days.
Boppy and boppy cover.  Again, get a couple boppy covers for washing.  The boppy is still in heavy use here at 8 months old.  It’s great for nursing (I like it better than the Breast Friend pillow, but that’s personal), great for propping Maddie up, and I used it towards the end of my pregnancy to sleep; I could roll on my side, let my belly go in the hole and almost sleep on my stomach!
Nursing gear  If you’re planning on returning to work or pumping, you can register for a starter set of bottles.  I’d advise not getting a whole slew of them until you know your baby will like that brand.  I use Avent and it’s great; some people swear by Dr. Brown’s, which are more expensive, and some say it’s not worth it.  Others like Playtex.
Diaper bag  The style I've got is the Skip Hop Duo.  They have a couple other styles, but it’s hard to go wrong with anything by Skip Hop.  The bags are sturdy, come in a variety of colors, are washable, sleek, and aren’t covered with teddy bears and polka dots.  They’ve also got some handy features – most notably, my Duo comes with a second set of shorter straps that enable you to clip the diaper bag right onto the stroller handle.  If you don’t register for a bag, people will pick one out for you.
Microwave sterilizer  Sounds superfluous, but if you’ve got room in your kitchen I highly recommend it.  Six minutes in the microwave and your bottles/nipples/pacifiers are sterile.  Way easier than the boiling thing on the stove.
Bottle warmer  This is the one I like; it fits most bottles, is portable with a car adaptor, and quick - many take a long time.  It’s very handy for when Mom’s at work and Dad’s heating up the breast milk and doesn’t have the time to keep checking the stove.  Again, very great to have if you’ve got the room in the kitchen, but not 100% necessary.
Wipes warmer  I’ve had two girlfriends say they were skeptical of this as being useless, but both now swear by it.  Both have boys, and say it cut down on changing table fountains when babies were young.  I think it’s also helpful for premature babies.  I’ve never used one.
Diaper pail  I use the Diaper Genie and am very happy.  Obviously not necessary if you’re going cloth diapers.
Baby Thermometer  You’ll need both a rectal for infants and an ear thermometer for when they’re bigger.  Sorry, rectal’s the way to go in the beginning, but we asked for an ear one as well because they aren’t cheap.
Humidifier   I go back and forth on this one.  Yes, you need it; it’s not that.  I just hate having you register for it at a baby store and pay more for it just because it’s got the word “baby” on it.  You’ll need it in the winter when heat dries out the room.  Our pediatrician told us to get a cold-air one.  Still haven’t done it, so if anyone has one they like I’d love to hear about it . . .
Cart Cover  You know, those things you line the grocery car or the restaurant high chair with, so baby doesn’t gnaw on the germy handles.  I was ready to skip this, but Brian said that this being New York, ya can’t be too careful.  This one is the one I got, and it’s awesome. 
Monitor  We registered for this monitor, which was Brian’s pick (electronics!  Man area!) for the following reasons; highly rated on Consumer Reports, and we couldn’t buy a video monitor (which he really wanted) because you can’t have one if you have a satellite dish; interferes with the signal.
Crib sheets, crib liners, pack n play sheets, pack n play liners, bassinet sheets, bassinet liners  You’ll need different sized sheets for each place baby sleeps, and a waterproof liner to go underneath.  You need several sheets and a couple liners at the minimum for each sleep place.  Please don’t try to fudge and use something that sort of fits; it’s very unsafe for the baby.  I got crib zip sheets, which are way easier to change than traditional sheets.  Highly recommend them.  Along those lines, I'd register for a few Halo Sleepsacks - a much safer alternative to crib blankets.
Solid feeding items  If you have the storage space, you can register for Tiny diner table mat for going out to eat, a couple sets of spoons (I like that these are heat sensitive), and so forth.  Again, not necessary -just looking ahead.
Let’s talk for a second about sleeping arrangements.  As I said before, the Pack N Play works very well if that’s what’s in the budget or space solution.  We used a bassinet for three months in our room before graduating baby girl to a crib in her own room; we were fortunate to borrow the bassinet.  If you can’t get both, use the Pack N Play in your room since that will be useful long after the bassinet is outgrown.  If you’re thinking about co-sleeping, you can get a co-sleeper that attaches to your bed and gives everyone a bit more room (I have not used one and link to this one just as an example). A Moses basket came in handy for my friend Renee, who could carry Eli from room to room while she worked, and could then place him by her bed as a newborn.  Do you need five sleeping places?  No, so talk to your spouse and decide what you want to do.  As far as a crib goes, get one that’s well made.  Check the release mechanism on the side – is it easy to do with one hand, and is it quiet?
Last area – toys.  Register for a few now, just so you have something on hand when baby gets interested.  Again, keep in mind your space issues as you look at these things.  Do you really need a bouncy seat and swing and exersaucer and jumperoo in your studio apartment?
Jumperoo  Renee’s Eli loves this thing.  Great for getting energy out, though it takes up a lot of space.
Gymini Playmat  I know I mention this like every other day, but it’s the miracle toy.  It folds up very small, is incredibly light-weight to carry around, washes, and grows with her, going from 8 weeks to 8 months with no end in sight.
Mobile  Look at the mobile from baby’s point of view; many look cool from the side and flat from underneath.  Music is a definite plus.  This one saved my butt a few times and is highly rated by many parent organizations.  Think twice before registering one that matches your sheets; they’re often pastel and won’t catch baby’s eye.  Better to go for something that may jar a bit with the décor but will get some use.
Enough!  There’s a bunch more of little things you can throw in, but look to your organizing books for that info.  And obviously you don't need all the toys - pick and choose.  At the very least, you need a car seat if you are EVER going to use a car, a stroller to get around, a soft carrier, and a diaper bag, and I strongly recommend getting at least one of either the bouncy seat or swing.  The rest is all negotiable.
Tomorrow – what my girlfriends and I say you DON’T need to register for, and why.


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