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Wading Through the Registry Madness

One of the biggest and earliest anxieties I encountered when I was pregnant was the exciting/dreadful Baby Registry. I remember looking at Babies ‘R Us, Target, Amazon, Giggle,, etc, and getting that anxious and agitated feeling in my stomach. Immediately, I thought to myself, “I am already a terrible mother. I don’t know what my baby needs.”

I wrote a frantic email to my girlfriends with babies and got the greatest responses back. Long, awesome lists of things they loved and things they hated. Wastes of money. Indispensable items that hadn’t occurred to me. I took much of their advice and was very happy.

After Willa was born, I must have fooled everyone that I was some sort of competent mother, because friends started to call and email me, asking for advice on their registry. I started sending out a standard email, which I would edit accordingly.

Now, one of my very best friends, and Willa’s godmother, is expecting her first. She had the same experience as I when she started creating her registry – her first of what I’m sure will be many Feelings of Unnecessary Guilt and Inadequacy.

I was going to send her my standard email, but it occurred to me that perhaps just getting it all out at once and online might work best. To wit, I present the Ideal Registry for a Crunchy, Green, Breastfeeding, Babywearing Mama, With (Mostly Amazon) Links.

(But first, a note: I think registries should be split into three retailers: One, an online only store like Amazon or Maternitique for those far-flung family and friends; Two, a hybrid brick and mortar/online store like Target, for those who like to peruse online but probably won’t buy a present until the day of the shower [ahem]; and Three, a local business like The Pump Station or Giggle here in Los Angeles, because small businesses rule.)


Car seat with frame: Our car seat is nothing fancy. We got a Graco Snugride car seat like this. But the stroller frame should and will be your stroller for at least the first six months. You just click the car seat onto the frame. It’s lightweight, easy, and you can really beat it up.

Also, try to get a car seat with a base. Register for two if you have two cars. The base is relatively cheap, but it means you can easily switch your car seat between two or more cars. Here’s an example of the base.

The Happiest Baby on the Block and a Miracle Blanket. This book/DVD is a life saver, and the Miracle Blanket makes it all very easy. Just trust me, this is non-negotiable.

The Baby Book by Dr. Sears: Dr. Sears and his family of pediatricians are pioneers in the AP (Attachment Parent) movement, and their book is a giant lifesaver for all things baby. It’s the Dr. Spock book of our generation.

Baby Carriers: I am a babywearing fanatic. I am an attachment parent, so babywearing is a big part of what we do. My three favorites:

  • Moby Wrap, perfect for when the baby is very small. Don’t be intimidated by how complicated it seems. That’s what YouTube is for (that, and cats falling off of and climbing into stuff). After a few tries, you’ll be a champ.
  • Babyhawk, the easiest carrier out there. I used this from about 4mo-12mo.
  • Ergo, imo, the very best carrier for when the baby is 9+ months. I have a terrible back, and still wear Willa almost every day in her Ergo, even now that she’s about 25 lbs. I wouldn’t waste money on the infant insert. You can use a rolled up towel or find it easily on Craigslist.

If you have friends with different carriers, try experimenting with what works best for you and your body.

Burp cloths/Cloth Diapers: you will use these for everything from spit-up to emergency changing pad. Stock up! I like to use cloth diapers for this because they’re so absorbant.

Moses basket or bassinet: You won’t really need a crib for a few months. A Moses basket or bassinet works great. I like the Moses basket because it can be carried from room to room.

Crib bedding, Mattress Pad, and Mattress: Try to go organic on this, since they’ll be spending a lot of time here and mattresses are notoriously dangerous in regards to off-gasses. CostCo carries a very reasonable organic mattress.

– A fan for the nursery: Research suggests that stagnant air may contribute to SIDS, and the fan will circulate the air. Plus, white noise is an essential component of the Happiest Baby system, and the fan takes care of that for you. So does this white noise lamb.

Swaddling blankets: Although I never mastered the art of the tight swaddle, and didn’t need to since I had the Miracle Blanket, good swaddling blankets will come in handy for everything from covering the car seat during a nap to anywhere-tummy-time.

First Aid Kit: It’s good to have a baby thermometer, Children’s Advil, etc. One note: baby nail clippers are totally stupid and awful. Use hangnail clippers instead.

Nose Frida: Just check the link for the Nose Frida. Don’t make me explain it, just trust me that it is the greatest thing in the world when your little one has a stuffy nose. Just… just trust me.

– Breast Pump: There are a lot of different opinions on the best pump out there. I like my  Ameda Purely Yours pump. It does a fine job.  I’ve also heard great things about the Hygeia pump, and many of my friends swear by the Medela Pump in Style. Do some research and see what you think. A hands-free bra is a real must. Looks weird, yes, but makes your life so much easier.

– Breastmilk Bags: These little babies are for storing your milk in the fridge or freezer. Make sure they’re BPA-free (most are now).

– BPA-Free Bottles and Slow-Flow Nipples: Slow-flow nipples ensure that your baby doesn’t reject your nipples later. BPA is nasty stuff and should be avoided at all costs.

Vibrating Chair: We got something like this as a hand-me-down and used it a lot. I recommend that you NOT get one of the giant swings. After a few months the baby grows out of it, and then you have this giant monstrosity taking up all the room in your house and no one is pregnant yet to take it off your hands and so you try to stash it but it’s too big and the one person who would want it already has one and I feel so guilty that someone lent it to me and what am I supposed to do with it now?

– Chemical-free baby wash and baby lotion: I am a huge fan of Earth Mama Angel Baby products and have used them since I was pregnant. There are a lot of great choices out there too, just make sure to read the labels. Words to avoid: PARABENS, SULFATES, FRAGRANCE, and PHTHALATES. Those are nasty chemicals that alter your baby’s hormones and can cause cancer. You can find lots of options at Maternitique or Giggle.

Eurotub: Willa just loves her tub and the design brings great peace of mind to a nervous new mama.

Playmat for Tummy Time: Lots of options; this is similar to the one we got and loved.

Sleep Sacks: These are recommended instead of loose blankets, which can be dangerous.

Things you don’t need:

– A Changing Table: Just use the top of a dresser! I don’t know what becomes of a changing table once there are no diapers to change. If you use a dresser (like this Ikea one), then you can just buy a changing pad to put on top. Easy!

Wipes Warmer: As my friend Kristi says, Toughen up, kid!

I’m sure as soon as I post this I’ll hear about all the important things I’ve left off, but I do think this is a good start. Please share it and let me know what you think – I’ll edit as we go!

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