As a first-time mother, creating a baby registry was a daunting task. I had attended plenty of baby showers and purchased gifts for friends over the years, but there is a level of detachment when you are buying from a curated list. I assumed my recipients liked and used these gifts, but if I didn’t follow up, I didn’t really know. When it was my turn, I looked at some public registries, asked friends for recommendations, scrolled online for tips, and did a lot of my own research. In the end, my registry came together nicely and contained a mix of necessary and less necessary items. Some products (swaddles come to mind) are always going to be trial and error depending on your baby’s preferences. Here are a few items from my registry that were ultimately used, and loved, the most.
ClairBaby Ultra Soft Organic Bamboo Baby Hooded Towel, $19.99
I found there to be lots of recommendations for baby tubs, but very few for towels. After giving our son his first bath at home -- which was quick and harried and we just wanted to be over -- we wrapped him in this thick, soft hooded towel and he seemed immediately at ease. It is large enough to wrap around a small baby several times and much softer than any towel we owned for ourselves. It has grown with our baby and retained its plushness through many washes.
Other hooded baby towels worth a look: Pehr hooded towels ($42, shown above) are sweet and simple in design, and Elegant Baby's hooded bath wraps ($38) are designed to look like different animals, which you can never go wrong with.
Burt’s Bees Baby Organic Cotton Beesnug Crib sheet / Bassinet sheet, $19.95
It will only take one incident of peeing through the diaper, pj’s and swaddle to realize you need an extra sheet (or two or three) on hand. Especially if this happens in the middle of the night, which it inevitably will. Crib sheets come in a variety of fun patterns and colors, and are relatively inexpensive, making them a simple add-on when people are perusing your registry. Request a few, and purchase a few more on your own, just to be safe.
Other crib sheets worth a look: Loulou Lollipop crib sheets ($28) are soft muslin and unique patterns, and although largely known for their nursery furniture, Babyletto crib sheets ($19) are sweet with a modern flair.
Hatch Baby Rest Sound Machine, $59.99 - $89.99
A lot of gadgets came and went during our son’s early days, but the Hatch (below) has never left his nursery. It is a high-quality sound machine, emits a soft glowing light when needed, and is easily controlled from a smartphone. It has all the features you need, without being overly complicated -- a plus when a crying baby and sleep deprivation are wreaking havoc. We bring it with us on all overnight trips (even when flying) and it turns any new room into a hushed cocoon perfect for sleep.
Other sound machines worth a look: the Yogasleep Dohm Elite White Noise Machine ($49.95) is a tried-and-true basic sound machine with makes just one noise, the soothing sound of rushing air; and Skip Hop’s Starry Night Sound machine ($45) has all the bells and whistles, including a star projector, and is adorable to boot.
My Brest Friend Adjustable Nursing Stool, $24.99
I was far into my pregnancy when I learned this was even a thing. And what a thing it turned out to be! I used this stool (below) during nearly every nursing session for months on end. It has a slight tilt to accommodate different chairs and couches, easing pressure on your legs and lower back. It is light enough to carry from room to room, even while holding a baby. As my son grew mobile he used it to try and push up to stand, and one day he may use it as a step-stool around the house.
Other nursing stools worth a look: KidCraft’s Adjustable Nursing Stool ($44.99) is similar in function and style; Leachco Rock ‘N Soft Cushioned Nursing Stool ($36) is made of firm foam with a pocket to keep your feet warm.
Boon “Grass” Drying Rack, $15.99
What I at first assumed was an unnecessary gadget -- can’t I dry bottles on a dish rack or towel? -- proved to be an essential kitchen staple. This little patch of faux grass (below) became the landing spot for recently-washed bottles, nipples, pump parts, sippy cups, toddler plates and more. Keeping my baby’s feeding items separated from our own made our dish-washing process more organized, and kept potentially harmful contaminants at bay.
Other drying racks worth a look: OXO Tot Space Saving Drying Rack ($24.99) holds bottles and accessories vertically, so it’s a great space saver; and the Munchkin Shine Stainless Steel Drying Rack ($19.99) is great because when you’ve moved on from bottles, it can become a simple drying rack.
Photo credit: iStock.com/Orbon Alija