If you've never had to tackle the monster task of doing a baby registry, let me warn you to do one of two things before you go: bring a friend who already has a baby, or take a Xanax. It is so much worse than the chaos of a wedding registry. I'm not exaggerating when I say that I almost don't know anyone who hasn't had to go back to Babies R Us to register because when they walked in the first time, they got overwhelmed and turned around and left.
I had it a little easier because I wasn't working at the time and devoted massive amounts of time into the organization of the task. Because of that, when B and I walked in there, it was a seamless, fast, and stress-free process. Feather Nester had sent me a big random list of all of her registry tips. Then I compiled that with a list of stuff I actually needed, separated into categories. Then I looked up reviews of some of the bigger items beforehand on the Babies R Us website.
If you find yourself having to undergo the baby registry process and you want help with the sanity part of it, please don't hesitate to email me and I'll send you what I wrote up.
However, despite all of the planning, you obviously can't really know how useful anything is until you're actually using it. So in an effort to take even 10% of the chaos out of the process for you, and to pay forward all of the help that was given to me, I have a short list of items that I really love that you can't go wrong in purchasing:
Leachco Shopping Cart Cover - There are tons of shopping cart covers out there and they all have the basic purpose of keeping the germs away from your baby, but that is the least important reason why I love this item.
As the parent who stays home, the grocery shopping falls to me. This means that there isn't one person to baby-wrangle and one person to shop. When she was little I was able to do some shopping by putting her in a Baby Bjorn, but it didn't take long until my back couldn't handle the weight and that wasn't an option anymore. However, that time came before she was able to sit up. Enter the big pillows.
See those big pillows on the edges of the cart cover? They're KEY. They held her up when she was too small to do it herself, and they also make it so that I can lay her down with a bottle if I need to. Also, and this alone is why I'll be using this five years from now, there are huge pockets that hang into the cart to carry your keys, wallet, list, toys, etc. Doing a full scale grocery shopping trip with a baby is nearly a full day event (the diapers, the food, the list, the toys, the reusable bags, the menu planning that has to precede it all, etc.) so anything that breaks up the chaos is gold.
Graco Contempo High Chair - A high chair was one of those things during the registry process that went like this: "Uh... I don't really care which one we get. Which one is the least ugly?" And while there were plenty that looked fine, we happened to see a little tag on this one that mentioned that it folded flatter than any other high chair - only 7" wide.
Storage space is something we lack in spades, so anything that pitches that feature to me is successful marketing. I'm so happy we saw that little tag because these babies are awkward! Their footprint is huge and they can be a pain to have around. Being able to fold ours up and slide it next to the wine cabinet, or behind the shelves in the dining room has been wonderful. And honestly, you don't even need a high chair. Plenty of people just use a booster seat attached to a dining room chair. I didn't know that when we were registering though.
Combi Cosmo Stroller - Again with the space. Not only does this stroller fold flat, then it folds in half! Our huge stroller is literally still in the garage in the box! And I'm glad we have it because when she's older and we're on longer, all day outings (zoo, festival, park, etc.) the bigger seat and storage areas will be great. However, she's been in this since she was a week old and I don't see us moving up to the other one any time soon. The overall size is significantly smaller than a full size stroller so it makes outings to the mall, a restaurant, etc. much less troublesome.
I keep this in the back of the car, along with the shopping cart cover and booster seat (see below), and then we're always prepared.
Safety 1st Booster Seat - This recommendation is not necessarily because this is the greatest of all booster seats, just that you should get a booster seat. That wasn't on any list I saw, but Feather Nester mentioned it to me one day as a crucial item that she kept in the back of her car and I'm so thankful she said something.
Think about this - does every relative of yours, every friend, and every restaurant have high chairs? No. In fact, most of those places won't. If you get one and keep it in the back of your car you'll never be faced with a squirmy infant on your lap while you inhale your food with one hand. The key to parenthood is preparation and this helps significantly with that. I registered for this specific one because I have an allergy to primary colors and this was tame enough to look at for the next 10 years. The one drawback is that it doesn't fold down any smaller, so if you don't have a big car you may want to get one that does.
BabySense Infant Monitor - Oh. My. God. Best $130 I've ever spent in my whole life. And believe me, on one income, something better be CRUCIAL for me to spend $130 on it.
Before having a baby I can honestly say I had experienced anxiety maybe twice in my whole life. Afterwards? Yikes. No one warned me about what post-pregnancy hormones will do to your anxiety levels. Like how for months I was convinced that someone was going to put a ladder up to Charlotte's window in the middle of the night and take her.
It sounds crazy, but ask any new mom and I guarantee you she's got a story just like that. Logic doesn't matter because fear is fear. And B had anxiety before he became a father so imagine his anxiety after becoming one. This monitor has an alarm that senses the tiniest of movements and will alert you if your baby has stopped breathing because of SIDS. Or, I guess, because someone has kidnapped her. I know, not funny, but telling myself that is what allowed me to fall asleep sometimes.
B jokes that she's going to use this until she's at least 5 because she sleeps face down, buried in her blanket, often under a stuffed animal of some sort. There are other monitors on the market but some of them have several reports of false alarms (that happened to some dear friends of ours), and this one didn't seem to have those.
Shermag Glider & Ottoman - Unless you are lucky enough to have your grandmother's rocking chair, you're gonna need a place to rock that baby. And I suggest getting something that will look great in your living room one day, not something that looks like it belongs in a nursery.
We've loved our glider and use it for everything from reading books to feedings to rocking her to sleep. Additionally, it's great to have someplace to sit down so that you aren't forced to sit on the floor while they're playing in their bedroom.