What was on your baby registry that you use and what was on it that you don't use?
September 18, 2012 11:32 AM   Subscribe

I'm building a baby registry. a) What was your absolute most-used, wouldn't-survive-without-it thing you had on your baby registry? b) And what were you absolutely certain you'd use all the time that just gathered dust?

I've heard most people say "changing table," for b, so feel free to give me your second one if that was #1.
posted by davebug to Shopping (66 answers total) 57 users marked this as a favorite
A) Carseat.
B) Bumbo.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 11:34 AM on September 18, 2012

My coworker just had a baby girl and we had this discussion the first day he came back to work. The one he focused on was a "wet-nap[kin] warmer".

He said that when he was doing the registry song and dance he completely passed that one over as 'what will they try to sell to people next?" material but within a few days of bringing the kid home he was out shopping for one because, as he put it, a cold wet wipe equals immediate screams and crying.

Good luck and congrats.
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:34 AM on September 18, 2012

a. Modular car seat with the base that stays in the car; seat also snaps into the stroller, so you can go from car to stroller without taking baby out of seat
b. Diaper Genie
posted by jbickers at 11:35 AM on September 18, 2012 [3 favorites]

We found the bottle washer, dryer & warmer to all be a waste of counter space.

The item we got as a fluke that was indispensable was a babyhawk baby carrier.
posted by Nickel Pickle at 11:35 AM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Swaddling blankets with Velcro were the one thing I wished I had more of. As for changing tables, I just got a dresser and threw a changing pad on top of it so it will be a functional piece of furniture for many years to come. Thing that was useless? Pacifiers. My kid refused them all (and bottles too).
posted by chiababe at 11:35 AM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

a) Ergo
b) diaper genie {because we switched to cloth diapers so soon; really, I was hesitant about cloth diapers, but the technology has come a long way. You should seriously consider it if you haven't already.}
posted by mattbucher at 11:37 AM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Most used: so far, the Moby wrap. Other items (not on my registry, which was mostly books) - fisher price rock n play (my beastie has slept there every night.so far); miracle swaddle blankets (beastie does not sleep without being wrapped up, and the miracle blankets are the best; Ergo carrier (beastie refuses to ride in his very expensive stroller, see below); adorable whale-shaped baby bathtub (technically you can bath baby in the sink, but he's just so darn cute in the whale tub).

Least used: crib; stroller.
posted by yarly at 11:40 AM on September 18, 2012

A) Gerber cloth diapers for burp cloths, K-Tan for wearing baby around the house and Ergo for wearing baby out of the house, Rock n' Play for lounging during the day, SwaddleMe velcro blankets for bedtime
B) Newborn diapers and clothes- our big baby outgrew 'em before he left the hospital.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:43 AM on September 18, 2012

Gathered dust: Baby stroller. We got one of those complicated convertible car seats that clips into a stroller -- I think there were maybe two occasions total when having the stroller was more convenient than just carrying the kid around in a sling or a backpack or just in one arm. (It's like pushing a loaded grocery cart down the sidewalk. Which you have to figure out where to stash when you actually get to the grocery store, or anywhere else.) Also the car seat was much heavier and more cumbersome than a normal one, which is ok if it's just staying in the car but sucked when we wanted to use it for air travel. Total PITA and a waste of money. Get as simple and light a car seat as possible, and skip the stroller altogether.

Wouldn't survive without it: diaper genie. Runner-up: one of those mechanical baby swings, which turned out to be the magical-put-the-baby-to-sleep machine for a crucial two month period.
posted by ook at 11:44 AM on September 18, 2012

most used: aden and anais swaddles and dream blanket; this rainforest soother. She's almost 3.5 and they still get used multiple times a day, every single day.

Least used: bumbo, boppy.
posted by dpx.mfx at 11:46 AM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

2nd-ing the miracle blanket, it was a lifesaver
posted by snowymorninblues at 11:46 AM on September 18, 2012

My changing table is also her dresser. I have a small space and share my office with the baby's room. I am so, so glad I have a changing "station." It's just so nice to have everything in one place. If you live on two or more levels, it may make more sense to have several changing zones rather than a table. But, seriously, a changing table that does double-duty is what I recommend.

Yoga ball for bouncing baby
Ergo carrier
Simple sling
Cloth diapers for bibs, spit towels, random cleanup

(Our bumbo got used for 1 month before she was toppling it over. The long wrap sling never quite worked for us. I thought I'd want a bottle warmer but I never got around to it. A large insulated cup with hot water from the tap worked really well.)
posted by amanda at 11:48 AM on September 18, 2012

Get four times the clothes you think you will need.

If it seems like a "gadget" type thing, then it is just a gadget and you won't need it or use it.
posted by TinWhistle at 11:49 AM on September 18, 2012

Also, I had a c-section and used the (various) stroller(s) A LOT in the first year and I think it was due to the surgery that I never got the hang of the long wrap. So...YMMV. Borrow strollers from friends, get them used or hand-me-down is my advice.
posted by amanda at 11:49 AM on September 18, 2012

I could tell you what we loved (the velcro'd swaddles, diaper genie) and what we never used (miracle blanket, baby swing). But the complete lack of consensus underscores something more important: babies are different, and inevitably you are going to end up with stuff that you won't use and buying stuff you thought you'd never want.

To that end: get on your neighborhood mommy listserv, if you're not already, because people pass along gently used stuff for cheap all the time.

And also let people know that they're more than welcome to get you gift cards to Diapers.com (or Amazon -- but not Babies R Us or Buy Buy Baby), and then you can order the stuff you realize you need when you're up in the middle of the night feeding or rocking or whatnot.
posted by janet lynn at 11:50 AM on September 18, 2012 [8 favorites]

Most used: we got this Rail Rider, which you use instead of getting a full-on separate change table. Super handy.

Least used: one of those frame backpack carriers. Bought it off a friend with big ideas of urban hiking, used the Baby Bjorn every day instead.
posted by sillymama at 11:50 AM on September 18, 2012

Almost everything can be acquired used and without a doubt people you know have all this stuff in their basement right now and they need to get rid of it.

That being said, get a good carseat. If money is a concern, get a convertible carseat from the get-go rather than an infant carseat. Only if baby is tiny or can't be transferred from carseat to other places without waking up will you need an infant carseat.

However, if you expect to stroll a lot, get an infant carseat and a snap-n-go.

Strollers are really personal and depend on what your sidewalks are like. See what people in your neighborhood use.

A carrier is a good idea - a lot of people like the Ergo. I still use it occasionally with my 45 lb. 4 year old. But different babies and different parents like different ones. Might be worth holding off on this until baby comes.

Swing versus vibrating seat - depends on baby and certainly other people will have these sitting around.

Clothes - *I* could clean out my cupboards and give you baby clothes. People will buy this stuff regardless because they like to.
posted by k8t at 11:51 AM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

a) over the shoulder baby holder style sling
b) changing table

Boppy are designed for skinny minnies. I had a nursing pillow made to fit my ample proportions.
posted by tilde at 11:51 AM on September 18, 2012

Oh, and on the Rail Rider, we didn't use the strap at all, and when not in use it just stood up against the wall instead of hanging from the crib rail.
posted by sillymama at 11:52 AM on September 18, 2012

Could not live without:

Maya Wrap
Kelty Transit Carrier for when the baby is old enough

Dust collectors:

Swing (for both kids!, reprised it for the second and still not a hit)

We had a carseat for Kid Zizzle when he was born, but because we didn't own a car until he was 10 months old, it was used a total of five or six times until we did own our own car. And then it was used a bit more frequently. But I would still absolutely buy a carseat.

Our second has been far more of a car baby, so just emphasizing the car seat point.

We also didn't have a stroller until Kid Zizzle was 8 months old and then we only used it on weekends --- my younger one hates the stroller and because she's small enough, she's still in the bjorn (which I DO NOT recommend. I only use it because it's what I have that worked after the Maya wrap).
posted by zizzle at 11:52 AM on September 18, 2012

I just took care of my three-month nephew for a week and a seat like this was SO helpful. I could shower, make bottles, tend to his sister while he hung out it in. It's also lightweight and folds up and the little arch above the seat with toys is removable -- we had it on about half the time and off about half. You can find it for less than $60, I'm sure. Downside to the seat is that it's great for the first six months or so but then the kid outgrows it.
posted by kate blank at 11:53 AM on September 18, 2012

Loved: miracle blanket, changing table, YOGA BALL ONG

Gathering dust: moby wrap, baby bathtub, any and all soothers, newborn-sized anything (ours was born almost 10lbs)
posted by arcticwoman at 11:54 AM on September 18, 2012

A) Gift cards! I had so many clothes and bottles and other stuff either bought during the baby shower, or donated from older kids that I ended up with too much of things I didn't need, and not enough of the future. For example, I had tons of onesies, enough to clothe triplets every day for the next 6 months, and I only had the one child. But I didn't have any clothes beyond that and the kid ended up outgrowing 6-month onesies in 4 months.

The gift cards were from friends who didn't know what to get me, and those actually let me "save" some money for these future purchases. In hindsight I think that would have been better to have this on my registry in lieu of the other gadgets.

B) Boppy pillow and breast pump for breastfeeding, but only because the kid never latched and preferred the bottle.
posted by CancerMan at 11:55 AM on September 18, 2012

As you can see from the answers above, these vary wildly depending on your and your baby's preferences. For instance, I used my changing table, baby tub, stroller, and sling/wrap constantly, and these are all "gathering dust" answers above.

I would put things that are either difficult or undesirable to acquire used, or that you will use for a long time to come, which for me would be:

Crib mattress
Room decorations
Carseat(s) (both infant and toddler, if you want to add more to your registry)
Stroller frame that infant carseat snaps into
Wrap/sling/carrier if you think you will use it
Nursing cover if you think you will use it
Bottles and bottle washing supplies
Breast pump
Miracle blankets for swaddling
Halo sleepsacks
Diapers and wipes
Video baby monitor (Motorola one is amazing)
posted by chickenmagazine at 11:59 AM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

We really loved our Snap and Go stroller to easily transfer the kid from car to stroller and push him/her around comfortably before he/she was big enough to easily fit in a regular old stroller.

Also Nthing the Amazing Miracle Blanket and mechanical swing. Both were sleep inducers for our perpetually sleep-resistant baby.

And if you guys will be breastfeeding, steam clean bags (put a little water and microwave for a couple minutes and your stuff is clean!) and some freezer pouches are essential.

Newborn-sized things were super cute but lasted about a week before they were out of them.
posted by AgentRocket at 12:00 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Baby Bjorn, then a snap-style baby sling. A whole heap o' onesides and one-piece "playsuit" outfits. A few pacifiers. Literally did not use ANY other baby products.
posted by julthumbscrew at 12:06 PM on September 18, 2012

LOVED: Woombie zip-up swaddle. Baby Architeuthis was an enormous and vigorous baby and an infant Houdini, especially in the middle of the night. Blankets and Miracle Blanket lasted about 30 minutes. The zip-up Woombie was stretchy, didn't make me worry about his circulation, and could be opened from the bottom for fast midnight diaper changes.

(also loved lots of other stuff addressed above--glider, stroller, bouncy seat, Aden & Anais blankets, Boppy)

FAIL: All carriers. We tried the Moby wrap, the Ergo, and the Bjorn and none of them were very successful due to (respectively) parental incompetence, parental physique, and baby preference.

(also failed: swing, Itzbeen timer, all baby clothes that did not completely open down the front).

The moral of this story is that all babies are different and you should get as many hand-me-downs as possible to minimize the sunk cost of having something not work out.
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 12:11 PM on September 18, 2012

The Boppy nursing pillow was used multiple times a day for all kinds of purposes, well up until my daughter was 3. After that, she used it for dolls. I bring one to every shower. For me, it was indispensible (sp?).

What gathered dust: pacifiers
posted by lakersfan1222 at 12:11 PM on September 18, 2012

Oh, I did not use the rain cover for my daughter's stroller and I did not use a "nursing cover" that a kind friend gave me.

But, if you are going to register for the nursing pillow, I would also register for a cover for that...
posted by lakersfan1222 at 12:13 PM on September 18, 2012

Most used: Electric bottle sterilizer, towel cloths, thermometer, baby bath and pram/carseat combo.

Dust-gatherers: Bumbo, playmat/mobile, a plethora of bibs, breast pump, baby monitor, bath thermometer, baby nailclippers, booties, chemical sterilizer/Milton and I still don't know what the hell to do with the five metric tonnes of baby powder we got. That and baby oil seemed an unwise partnership.
posted by kreestar at 12:15 PM on September 18, 2012


Velcro swaddlemes and My Breast Friend for the first few months

Then, the Ergo
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:28 PM on September 18, 2012

I got a changing table that was small enough to fit in the bathroom (they call it a "bathinette" with a changing table cover) and I don't know how anyone deals with an infant without this. Sometimes they're covered in poop! You need running water! Plus, and most importantly, the poop goes straight into the toilet, not stored in a bedroom diaper pail which then scents the whole room.

Never used: bottle sterilizer; sling; bjorn; infant sized coats, socks, shoes, any clothing that wasn't soft cotton knits.
posted by fingersandtoes at 12:29 PM on September 18, 2012

Most used: snap n go ($20 on Craigslist), Rock n Play (baby D slept in it from about 8 week to almost 5 months).

Waste of space: giant floor hogging swing (she hated it)

Every baby is different.
posted by devinemissk at 12:33 PM on September 18, 2012

a) We didn't register for it but were given an OXO Candela Tooli nightlight (seen here.). It has been so handy, especially for middle of the night breastfeeding - we usually just keep it in our bed and charge it during the day.

(We also got a lot a use out of those velcro swaddler things.)

b) We stopped using the wipe warmer after day 2, because our baby didn't seem to care all that much.
posted by stowaway at 12:36 PM on September 18, 2012

A) A snap-in carseat/stroller seat. Also, diapers and wipes. You can't go wrong with lots and lots of diapers and wipes because you can be certain that your baby will poop.

I wouldn't recommend any particular food, formula or breastfeeding supplies because you may discover that your baby has particular dietary needs not evident at birth.

We loved our baby swing. Both kids used it.

B) Baby bjorns, slings and moby wraps. I used one twice. The carseat was handier because I could put it up and down immediately. It permitted us to get in and out of the car and stroller quickly and without waking the baby.
posted by John Farrier at 12:43 PM on September 18, 2012

Different for all little monkeys, I think.

But for us, the essential Items were the bouncy seat, idiot-proof swaddlers, and the Pack n Play.

Unused: bottle warmer.
posted by Kafkaesque at 12:43 PM on September 18, 2012

a: prescription reflux medication
b: bottle sterilizer. Washing well is enough.
posted by hmo at 12:44 PM on September 18, 2012

Used: Glow in the dark pacifier

Unused: Any of the various plays-annoying-music-to-soothe-baby-to-sleep gadgets. Just get a cd or mp3 player instead.
posted by Esteemed Offendi at 12:52 PM on September 18, 2012

Buy only what you are absolutely sure you will need. You don't know your baby yet. Get the rest if and when you need it. (I realize that's harder when you're doing a registry, but you can consider telling people that you will want things later, but are waiting to get to know your baby.)

Babies are different. Parents are different. Some babies don't need pacifiers, some are addicts. A few don't need swaddling, most do (I will give a pitch for the Miracle Blanket, but again, you can get it later). Some parents love carriers, some strollers. Some want to change clothes frequently and wished they had bought more (TinWhistle above), others (us) could live with 5 outfits and ended up with piles of unused clothes. Bouncy seats and swings are particularly taste-specific. Some kids scream unless they're in them, others won't tolerate being in them for a second.

Anything you really need to keep the baby clean and healthy can be purchased at any drugstore. Anything that is suprisingly urgent can be overnighted from Amazon. And the remainder-the strollers and playmats and the bathtub and the changing table and calming toys and the carriers and the pump and all the other heavy-duty gear-can be purchased nonurgently if you learn that you or your baby need it.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 12:58 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you end up using a crib, get a few of these crib sheet savers. So much easier to change in the middle of the night if accidents happen.
posted by notcreative at 12:59 PM on September 18, 2012

Just because I don't think it's been listed above-

A: Fitness ball. When you are dead tired at two in the morning but the gnome needs some bouncing to get back to sleep, you will appreciate the mechanical advantage. God I love that thing.

B: Swaddlers. The gnome just doesn't care about swaddling, plus she had to wear a harness for a while for hip dysplasia, which ruled out most of them. We do use sleepsacks to keep her warm on cold nights, though.

Now, most people will tell you that swaddlers are life-savers, and they're right. Just reinforces that you can't plan for everything.
posted by selfnoise at 1:10 PM on September 18, 2012 [2 favorites]

Most unexpectedly used: This dishwasher basket, which is made for bottle nipples (nipple goes in the top, ring and misc goes in the bottom). My kids both breastfed, but it was awesome for occassional bottles and the MILLION OTHER BABY THINGS that need to get cleaned and can go in the dishwasher, like pacifiers and Legos and even some regular kitchen things like pokey corn holders. I will use it forever.

Least useful: Diaper bag. I got a big enough purse to carry wipes and a diaper or two, because I hated lugging around two bags. The diaper bag ended up permanently stashed in the car for in case we had any emergencies while out, but I never took it in the store with me or whatever. In retrospect I could have just used a random tote bag I have around the house already; I didn't need all the special "diaper bag" features, just somewhere to stash spare diapers and extra clothes and so on, since I ended up not using it for "everyday," just emergency backup. If I didn't live in a car-dependent area, I might have found it more useful for my "carry along" emergency backup (but when we walk, I usually just throw together a smaller tote with only the emergency things I'll need).
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:18 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

....and, we use our diaper bag everyday. Hee. I'm not a bag person and when I don't have the diaper bag, I shove everything in my pockets. So, we needed the diaper bag. We got a very functional, messenger style bag in black from SkipHop and it has held up well and been places. For plane trips or serious adventures out, I used a backpack now but the diaper bag has been indispensable for us. It's also the perfect thing to register for -- get one understated with not too many bells and whistles and it'll probably work.

But, here's the thing -- HAND-ME-DOWNS! Put out the word that you are expecting and just take what's offered. That way you can try all sorts of strange things and find out what works and then gift along or donate the rest.

And set up a college fund and alert the grandparents and relatives about how they can donate to it.
posted by amanda at 1:27 PM on September 18, 2012

Most used: Moby, Swaddlepod (swaddler with zipper, since Houdini Baby can free his arms from a velcro swaddler in seconds), changing pad on a dresser (not a separate changing table).

Unused: Kiddo hates the swing.

As everyone says - beg & borrow hand-me-downs. You don't want to spend money on this stuff that may or may not get used, and everyone is happy to get all of the baby stuff out of their houses when their kids are done with it.
posted by judith at 1:30 PM on September 18, 2012

A) These were not on my registry, but should have been - I was a complete lackwit in thinking the intent-to-breastfeed thing through:
EnJoye Breast Pump (big plus: resell through Craigslist or on eBay guiltlessly with not much depreciation) and/or this amazing nursing pillow (I had a singleton, but, whew, the stability and roomy nursing area was sanity-saving.

B) For my girl, the Ergo was hated and it killed me that a kind friend had got it for us. Ended up going to a family in need who knew their little one would tolerate it. Babies can be really choosy about the carrier experience, so that's something I would wait to test them out on in person, for their comfort and mine.
posted by batmonkey at 2:14 PM on September 18, 2012

The Miracle Blanket and Harvey Karp's book "The Happiest Baby on the Block" were such life savers when my kiddo was a babe,that the combination is my go-to baby shower gift.
posted by Ardea alba at 2:19 PM on September 18, 2012

A) bouncy seat (a lifesaver during the 2-10 month era)
A2) cloth diapers to use as burp cloths -- especially if you get a spitter-upper!
B) receiving blankets. seriously, you get a ton, and after day 10(? only partly kidding) they're too small to use for absolutely anything, especially a baby. we had two from my childhood, and that was more than enough.
posted by acm at 2:21 PM on September 18, 2012

6 weeks in, the most-used things are:
- Aden & Anais swaddle blankets - good for stroller covers, covering up while nursing, and just using as a blanket. They're huge, which makes them a lot more flexible & useful than the tiny receiving blankets.
- Fisher Price Rock & Play sleeper - our kid has reflux, so it's a lifesaver as it's angled just enough for him not to aggravate his reflux at night
- the moby wrap
- Medela microsteam bags, which are designed to sterilize breast pump parts, but also work for pacifiers, bottles & any other small stuff. 3 minutes in the microwave & it's done, no boiling water or waiting for the dishwasher necessary.
- SwaddleMe velcro swaddles (or baby straitjackets, as they're called around here.). Our kid can bust out of any blanket swaddle you can put him in, but he hasn't figured these out. Yet.

Least used:
- Wipe warmer
- White noise machine (we just use an iPhone app. More sounds & a lot more flexible, plus can be used in the carseat or stroller in a pinch...)
- Burp cloths; cloth diaper prefolds are much more absorbent.
posted by ThatSomething at 3:14 PM on September 18, 2012

You might find this site useful: http://www.lucieslist.com/
posted by foxjacket at 3:49 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

hated the diaper genie. used the baby swing and the bouncy seat a LOT. I didn't have a changing table and didn't miss it; I changed him in the crib, on the couch, or most often, on the floor.

I had this thing that was basically a padded strap to use in shopping carts. They make big things that basically cover the whole seating area, and a lot of carts have the straps now already, but this one had a nice big wide thick pad and it really helped him stay upright, and it was so much less trouble than one of those big covers. A lot like this one. Handy for when you don't have a high chair, too, once they're big enough to sit on their own.

oh, also a carseat cover in the winter. Something like this, because sometimes it's just so much easier than wrestling them into their winter coat/suit thing.

I didn't cloth diaper, but at home we used a specific set of washcloths instead of wipes and man, they were so much better. Washed in hot water and dried hot, and they were great.
posted by lemniskate at 5:10 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

A) A bouncy chair - we got a cheap but cheerful one shortly after the bug was born and it's been great to plonk him in so I can shower or he can just be his own little guy and play with toys.

B) "Real" clothes. By which I mean anything that isn't a onesie or footie pajama type object. I have a pile of extraordinarily cute overalls and shirts that the bug just doesn't wear because they are just not worth it for the 20 minutes he'll be in them.
posted by machine at 7:19 PM on September 18, 2012

Lifesavers: Sling and bouncy chair.
Didn't use more than a couple of times: Complicated stroller. The umbrella stroller fit in the car better or I used the sling. Fitted cloth diapers. They outgrew them quickly and flats can be folded to fit any size. (Flats are also easier to keep sanitary and clean.)

I used sling until kids could walk on own, found it to be very versatile, I could sit kids in it in different ways at different ages. It travels super easy - I could keep it on while driving so that when I got to the place it was ready to hold baby. It allowed me to get a fair amount of chores done while keeping baby happy. I used with first until 1.5, about 1 year with the second two. The bouncy chair with vibrator allowed me to eat some meals now and then when baby was a newborn without having baby in my lap.

We were given a large folding complicated stroller that fit a carseat. I used it about twice. The umbrella strollers were cheap, could go on airplanes fairly easily, and fit in almost every car. And, if it got lost while flying, well, it was cheap to replace and easy to find used.

Wife of 445supermag
posted by 445supermag at 8:43 PM on September 18, 2012

So weird to see so many people with such different experiences. But my answers are consistent through four kids - so I think it's more due to differences in parents than in kids.
A) Bouncy seat. Mine all went through periods when they slept in the bouncy seat more than the crib. And it's a great place to put the kid down for a while where they can still see you & interact.
Car seat that hooks into a base in the car and a stroller. There are not many things less pleasant than trying to strap a squirming baby into a car seat when it's cold & rainy. Being able to strap in the baby inside & then just pop the whole seat in & out of the car is a tremendous improvement. Being able to move a sleeping child from house, to car, to stroller, without unbuckling, is seriously convenient.

B) Sling/Baby Bjorn. I tried, tried, tried to 'wear' my babies. They hurt my back, the babies always ended up with their faces covered with padding, it never felt secure, and it took forever to get the things on and off & the babies in & out. It was much easier to just carry the kid.
Changing Table. I did use this with my first, but just threw a changing pad on the couch or wherever I was with all the rest.
Boppy. I don't think I was every really clear on what I was supposed to do with it. It didn't really seem to fit anywhere as a nursing pillow. I was a lot more comfortable with a regular pillow under my arm for support. Especially a squishy pillow that could be folded around to where I wanted it.
Baby Gym. It looked so cool with all the fun colors and music and dangly bits and I had one that converted into a tunnel the baby could learn to crawl through. But by the time they were old enough to reach for the toys or turn on the music, they typically rolled off immediately. I think one of them accidentally made it into the tunnel and then cried until I got him out.
posted by Dojie at 10:35 PM on September 18, 2012

Is this a baby registry for other people to buy you stuff? I'm asking because then it makes sense to try and get the most likely useful things. If it's just preparing for your baby, then buy only the absolute essentials and wait until the baby arrives to order the rest.

If it's possible, ask people to get you vouchers to favourite baby stores instead, because as you can see - every baby is different. What is essential for one baby is useless to another. Borrowing and second-hand stuff is fantastic for trying out things.

Plus what you need for a newborn is very different (and much less) than for a bigger baby or toddler. If you have storage space, it'd be worth asking for older baby/toddler gear like toys and clothes rather than ending up with a ton of newborn things your baby outgrows in a few months.
posted by viggorlijah at 11:28 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

My mum was reading this question over my shoulder and suggested that you ask for children's books. It's a bit unorthodox for a registry, but she says it's how I wound up with such an awesome collection of books as a baby... And why I started speaking and reading faster than anyone else in my year. It's especially fun when people start giving you their absolute favorite titles because those are even more meaningful.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 12:56 AM on September 19, 2012

Tummy Tub. We hated the traditional baby bath - found it a total nightmare. The Tummy Tub made bath time a joy.

(oh and to prove we're terrible TV watching parents here's LW in her Tummy Tub watching Wimbledon!)
posted by u17tw at 6:23 AM on September 19, 2012

The variables are not related only to the baby but also to how you live your own life. I don't drive so my list might not apply if you do.

Used constantly for years:
• big stroller with room for groceries, etc and a rain cover (hello Vancouver winter)
• umbrella stroller that folds for bus rides
• baby carrier until she was too heavy
• change table (I originally bought a pad to put on her dresser, but then there was no place to put all the diapering stuff)
• crib (not used at all for the first 9 months, but used for years after)
• baby gates--I locked off entire rooms rather than bother trying to baby-proof them

Completely unnecessary for us:
• clothing in the 0 - 3 months size that is anything but onesies and pyjamas; people will buy you a lot of this stuff because it is so damned cute
• baby proofing beyond the gates (safety plugs, cupboard stuff)

There are a bunch of things I used a lot but only for short periods like an excersaucer. She loved it deliriously for about 3 months, then never wanted to look at it again.

There are a lot of things that can be bought second hand (I got my crib and an umbrella stroller as hand-me-downs) and I sold almost everything on craigslist after she outgrew them (crib, changing table, excersaucer).

My go-to gifts for newborns are books and shoes in the size typical for a 2 year old. They won't use them as infants, but they'll use them for longer later. I loved having new old gifts as my daughter aged.
posted by looli at 10:27 AM on September 19, 2012

ITT you learn that all babies are different, and all parents are different, and you will find your and your baby's groove regardless of what anyone else has to say. But to answer your question: a) a stretchy sling wrap like a moby (particularly if your baby is small and it's coming into winter; our baby was exclusively in a sling until 11 months) and b) reusable nappies/diapers when you have a small baby. Never used, cost a fortune, unable to recoup.

So, books. Your child can never have enough books.
posted by goo at 5:33 PM on September 19, 2012

Ooh, and a) a thermometer - an instant aural thermometer is a wonderful thing.
posted by goo at 5:41 PM on September 19, 2012

A) car seat. But you know about that. Otherwise? Swaddling blankets and puddle pads come to mind. Pacifier in the early days. Bottles. Gym. Stroller. Moby! Ergo. Diaper dekor.

B) bumbo. Jumperoo.

The changing table was KEY. I am so glad we have one.
posted by semacd at 5:58 PM on September 19, 2012


A) video monitor and white noise setup and bottle warmer was surprisingly key.
B) Velcro swaddling blankets. Useless for us.

I should say we don't have a changing table per se, but a changing station at a comfortable (36 inches) height has been key.
posted by semacd at 6:02 PM on September 19, 2012

And b) swings of any kind.
posted by semacd at 6:03 PM on September 19, 2012

And b) baby sling and burp cloths.

A) bibs are essential but these Keith haring bibs are the best: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B002SG773W.
posted by semacd at 6:05 PM on September 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Useless: diaper genie and the like. Just take the damn trash out; don't store dirty diapers in your house.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:14 PM on September 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

Just thought of something! A good nose aspirator. Do not use the pokey nose bulb thing like this which you may get for free from the hospital if you have a hospital birth. Either find one with a soft tip -- looks kind of like a mushroom. Or, better yet, get the ultimate nose sucker, the NoseFrida. It seems gross. It's not. The pokey, cheapo, nasal things will poke the baby and make them angry and scared of having their nose suckered. Something more gentle might (might!) avoid them hating having their nose aspirated. Have it on hand from the start. Take it with you to the birth!
posted by amanda at 7:55 PM on September 19, 2012

Baby 411. For real. The cost alone will be made up in unspent doctor co-pays.
posted by po822000 at 11:09 AM on September 20, 2012

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