Preparing for The Confused Baby has been an absolute joy! I've been getting a lot of questions about our minimalist baby registry must haves and skips. Personally, I loved putting together a baby registry checklist to get organized and decide what I'd to skip until later. I spent countless hours researching and talking with people to come up with what I consider to be the best baby registry checklist for us.
I'm updating this post 2 years after the fact, so I'll let you know what I still recommend in the toddler years and I removed any thing I no longer suggest as of 2021!
The Best Baby Registry Checklist: Most Purchased Items From This Post
Before I jump into the explanation and my experience two years after writing this checklist, I wanted to share a quick list of mom's favorites minimalist baby essentials from this list.
Later in the post, I'll go into more details about my must have baby registry items, skips, and then at the very end there's a minimalist baby registry checklist you can copy + paste into the notes section of your phone!
These are the items mom's have purchased from this post and messaged me saying they've LOVED:
This bassinet – Yes it's pricier, but most babies sleep 9 hours straight at night by 2-3 months – including ours! Who did 10-12 hours every night by 3 months!
This play gym + toy kits – If you're looking for the cleanest + most developmentally appropriate toys these are my #1 minimalist essentials! They are basically the ONLY toys/books we got for our daughter the first year.
This Baby Wrap is the SOFTEST, coziest, and prettiest. We LOVE them and they released an actual carrier for toddlers/young children. If you get a wrap and carrier use code CARRYDUO to save $40 on the combo! I still wear my toddler to this day. It's so much easier than a stroller.
Breast pump – Under $15, hands free, pumps while you nurse!
Baby Wipes – cleanest ingredients for your newborn that I've found!
Snot Sucker – sounds gross, but it's a minimalist mama must have! Works better than the nasal aspirator they give you in the hospital and you can clean it!
Shoe Organizer – sounds weird, but moms have gushed over this rec! Two years later, we still don't have a baby dresser and use just this!
Baby lounger – Perfect place to put baby down while cooking, folding laundry, or if your arms need a break while relaxing.
This car seat – you'll read later in the detailed discussion of this post that we went through a lot of car seats. I wish we would've started with this one that mom's had SWORE to me about. It really is worth the price tag and all the hype.
This crib brand – they have the cutest cribs and they are Greenguard gold certified (non toxic, eco friendly). We have the Hudson.
The Best Baby Registry Checklist: Must Haves + Skips
The Best Baby Registry CheckList: Nursery
If you are truly looking for the most minimalist baby essentials, then I'd skip the bassinest.
However, because this was our first child (and we wanted more) we knew the bassinet would last beyond it's typical short-lived lifespan.
Moreover, we were moving shortly after giving birth, and it was actually more “minimal” to have a bassinet than a crib for us during that time. We also LOVED how easy it was to move back and forth between our room and her room.
While our daughter slept through the night be 8 weeks thanks to our bassinet of choice, the SNOO, I was not. I kept waking up thinking I'd hear her – look over and she'd still be sleeping! So our noisy sleeper got the boot from our room into her own moon themed nursery at 8 weeks.
We decided to go for the SNOO since this is our first. I know you “never know what a baby likes until they get here!” but we decided to take the plunge on this splurge. Sleep is really important to us both and Dr. Harvey Karp's 5 S's really make sense to me, E loves some good tech, and from all the reviews I read, people whose baby's didn't love the SNOO typically started on it a few weeks after they got here rather than right away. So we decided it was worth getting it from the start.
One reason I really love the SNOO is because your baby is clipped in so there's no concern about her rolling in the middle of the night. The SNOO is basically a smart sleeper, where it has a built in white noise machine and rocking. If you baby starts to stir while in it, it increases the rocking and noise to lull her back to sleep minimizing the number of times you have to get up throughout the night.
Obviously you still have to care for your baby, the SNOO stops trying to lull your baby back to sleep after a few minutes. If you've heard of Taking Cara Babies newborn sleep class – it basically trains parents to follow those steps! Cara teaches “the pause” before getting a stirring baby. The SNOO does that. For me, it provided an immense amount of comfort as a first time mom learning how to decipher my baby's queues between “can she fall back asleep or does she need to be nursed up?”
It's a great way IMO to ensure comfort for all (she doesn't learn to cry for attention and learns self soothing, but we have a “timer” so to speak for when to step in after a couple of minutes if the SNOO doesn't get her back down). Plus again the peace of mind from a safety standpoint is really great.
>>> Happiest baby is having a massive sale on the SNOO right now too, shop it here! <<<
More Favorite Bassinets from other mom's:
Best Overall: Halo Bassinest Swivel Sleeper Bassinet Essentia Series
What parents need to know:
Great for small spaces: base slides under bed
Adjustable height + 360 swivel: spin baby towards and away from you for middle of the night feedings
Can see baby: No need to sit up and look over the rail to see if baby is actually awake or just being noisy
Okay, maybe not the most traditional registry item! Again, we moved pretty quickly after the baby arrived, so we held off on all furniture for as long as possible. Two years later, we still don't have a dresser.
Instead I opted for a hanging shoe organizer for the closet to put her clothes, toiletries, etc. in. It's a great space and cost saver for now. I liked this one because it has SO many compartments, but you could go with something that's a little more basic like this one.
What we got for the nursery after we moved:
We bought this crib because we liked the minimalist design and it's GreenGuard Gold Certified (nontoxic, eco friendly, etc.). It was easy to assemble. You can adjust the height of the mattress as your baby grows.
We also got the “toddler bed” converter kit. Which allows you to remove on side of the crib to make it a toddler bed (half open half with a guard rail).
We got the matching mattress – again because of its nontoxic materials and Greenguard Gold Certification. One side is firmer for babies, and then the other side of the mattress is softer for toddlers. I also liked that it came with a waterproof mattress cover/protector.
With that said, the mattress cover is a full zip cover and it's a little harder to get on and off. When it came time to potty train our oldest, I got 2 of these bamboo mattress covers (more like a sheet under the sheet) that were easier to get on and off.
On that note, we didn't do fancy crib linens. We stuck to just the minimalist essentials and got two of these organic cotton crib sheets that are SO affordable!
What we skipped altogether and don't regret:
We are moving a month or so after the baby arrives so we are waiting until she's closer to 6 months to set up her room and we are settled in a new place. Until then she'll be in her SNOO in our room or in the spare room across the hall from ours.
I debated if this was a luxury item or a minimalist baby essential for a long time. With us moving I wanted to ensure we only got the bare minimum.
Ultimately I realized that we would need at least one place to sit baby that was more secure than random throw pillows on our couch or on the floor. Seriously, when you're watching TV or get up to get a snack, where will your baby be? Chances are you aren't going to hold the baby 24/7 and running her up to her bassinet every time I need to do something two handed for 2 seconds seemed a bit extreme.
What initially seemed as a luxury quickly became a must have and we quickly knew we wanted the Dock-A-Tot lounger.
We also found this chair which is way more affordable than the Dock-A-Tot and was a major life saver in the early days!
Floor mat and/or activity gym
Again, I'm not going to be holding my baby 24/7. I work from home and need somewhere for her to be near me, but not on me all the time. We saw the Lovevery Baby play mat and knew we had to have it! It's great for tummy time and Lovevery's play gym is actually designed for your baby's development.
The play mat has five zones that can be revealed or concealed to prevent overstimulation and promote learning. It's comprised of really quality and thoughtfully selected materials; like non toxic water based finishes, sustainably harvested wood, BPA and phthalate free plastic and silicone, soy ink, and 100% organic cotton materials.
Getting the Lovevery Baby play mat also gave us breathing room on getting toys and books. The first few months the baby doesn't really need books or toys, and can really only focus on high contrast items which this play mat focuses on. Beyond that we are doing their monthly play packs that come with books and toys that are geared for each stage of development. LBH, beyond that, most babies just like every day household items. Give them a wooden spoon or spatula and they're great!
You 100% need a car seat before baby arrives – most hospitals require you to have it in order to leave the hospital with your baby. So unless you're planning on walking home or doing a home birth it's most likely going to be a requirement asap.
We ended up with a couple of strollers that came with infant car seats. We had the RIVA Travel System which comes with an infant car seat, and Baby Jogger's City Go infant car seat. Both were okay and affordable. But in retrospect I would've gotten this carseat which we ended up with from the beginning…
The Rava is pricier. But your child will likely outgrow an infant car seat by 2.5 years old (and that's if you're lucky!). The Rava actually grows with your baby from the newborn stage until they are ready for a booster seat. Meaning you won't need to buy another new car seat during the toddler/preschool stage.
Plus it's flame retardant free. Something I didn't know about as a first time mom…
While we would think flame retardants are a good thing (safety!) they actually off gas harmful chemicals that impact our babies systems and aren't found to be really any more safe than a flame retardant free car seat. There's a huge wave of phasing out flame retardants in car seats currently happening actually. Making this not only a better choice financially in the long run, but also a better choice immediately for your child's health in my opinion (but I'm just a mom, do your own research!).
You have a ton of options here. Like I just mentioned, we ended up with a couple of travel systems, which basically allow you to use the stroller in a few different settings (from bassinet, to car seat, to regular stroller seat). It made transitioning things for every stage really easy.
Favorite brands/products: We have the Baby Jogger City Luxe and Safety 1st's RIVA. They are both okay options for different price points. The RIVA's wheels leave something to be desired on many terrains. The City Luxe is kind of hard to fold and the “reverse” seating isn't easy (you have to take the seat out and flip it) but good overall. I got both for free so I can't complain.
The UPPAbaby Vista is the one I would've gotten had we bought our own. Most of my friends have it and not one complaint!
Baby wearing was my go-to! It was so much more comfortable than holding the baby (hello, hands free!) and easier than using the stroller!
You basically wear your baby on your chest or back and you can choose from different carriers that are more “clip-in” and buckle type, slings, and wraps.
This baby wrap is by far my husband and my favorite. It's so lightweight, easy to throw in my purse, breathable and comfortable for everyone.
My friend gave me this baby carrier – which we've had no issues with ! It's not as minimal as the wrap or soft structured carrier, but I can wear my toddler on my back while pregnant which is awesome! Though many mom's also love the LILLEBaby, I had no issues with ours and find it perfect for added structure and support as baby grows!
Okay I debated adding this to the list since it isn't really in line with my “minimalist” approach but decided to add it since we actually won the Graco Pack N Play in a raffle and so many people told us it was a must have. Personally if I were spending money on it, I'd probably hold off on this and order via Amazon Prime a couple of days before I actually “needed” it if I was traveling or dropping the baby at Grandma's or something.
The Best Baby Registry CheckList: Clothing
Legit, one of the easiest areas to go overboard! It's all so tiny and cute! And I hate doing laundry often, so I wanted to both not spend a gazillion dollars (since baby grows so quick) but also didn't want to be doing laundry every day (because at that point, with my water and electric it probably would've been cheaper to just get more clothes!).
Personally, I set a goal for myself that I wouldn't spend more than $10 per item… and I wanted all mostly organic clothing. I stocked up on some staples that were on super sale from Kate Quinn Organics (only 2 newborn sizes, and like 13 variations of things in 0-3 months from kimono (for the first few days to prevent irritation from the umbilical area) to traditional onesies to long sleeve footies).
I figure if I need anything more than that in the first few months, I can also order some organic things from Amazon Prime for 2 day shipping. Fortunately we live in FL so this was pretty easy to get “weather appropriate” things without breaking the bank or going overboard on styles. I did get a few sleep gown options with the bottom knot and just open for easy middle of the night changes (#TeamNoButtonsAt3am!)
We only got a few of these. We got a really light receiving blanket, a heavier one that we hope will become her blanket for years, and a couple of swaddles that I just thought were cute and would be great for photos. I didn't want to go overboard until we knew what we would actually need and what the baby will actually like.
With the SNOO we have to get their sleep sacks to “clip” her in each night. They also make sleep sacks that my friends rave about (they are basically the easiest swaddle ever and zip up which is supposedly a life saver for evening feeds).
Sleep sacks and wearable blankets are great even if you don't have a SNOO since most babies outgrow swaddles after a few months and safety recommendations say you should skip any loose blankets in the crib until after at least 12 months. We've loved this brand and this one (15% Off 2 or more items with code: Mybundles15), both of which allow you to swaddle arms down, arms up, then unzip to transition to a regular sleep sack.
What we're skipping on our baby registry for clothes (for now):
We opted for these burp cloths on Amazon. They are pretty cheap (5 for $25). I figure if we need anything more than that we can use an old t-shirt. I'm holding off on bibs until the baby is closer to four months and really starts drooling a lot.
We actually haven't registered for this, but I put this on here as a just in case reminder! I get new insurance in January so I'm holding off until then to see which electric pumps are covered. If no good ones are covered, I'm going to get the Spectra S2 after talking with friends who tended to prefer it over the Medela. I'm going to get a Haakaa pump too as a back up (since baby is due in January and I don't know when I'll actually get the electric pump). It's really affordable and easy enough to throw in a bag if I'm out and don't want to pack the entire electric system.
I debated getting these too, but ultimately decided to have a couple on hand since I was a pacifier fiend as a kid. Literally, I walked around with at least 5 on me at all times, in my pockets, clipped to me, in my mouth, and in my hands. I was obsessed. If she takes after me at all she'll take to them pretty quickly and so figured we should start with a pack in the house “just in case,” and snagged these.
What we're skipping on our registry for feedings for now:
High chair (we did get this one around 6+ months and love it)
Nursing covers (I don't go out a lot and can always use a spare swaddle)
Milk storage bags
4oz. bottles beyond the sample pack; Babies can only use these smaller bottles for a few months anyway so once we know what she likes we'll go for the 8-9oz. bottles.
Specialized bottle drying rack and bottle brush
Pacifier pouch, clip, and wipes
The Best Baby Registry CheckList: Hygiene – keeping baby clean
I don't suggest stocking up on diapers, just get a small pack of newborn ones until we know what size baby is and what they like. Instead do a “Diaper fund” on your registry!
Most pediatricians seem to recommend Water Wipes (which contain 99.9% water and 0.1% grapefruit seed extract) for newborns, or getting dry wipes like these where you just add water. So that's what we are doing for the first couple of months and then we'll go from there.
Like I mentioned, we aren't getting furniture for the baby's room until after we move, so we decided to skip a changing table/dresser set up. Instead we opted for a changing pad and diaper caddy on two floors (we live in a three story townhouse). This way things are always convenient and easily accessible wherever we are in our home.
Ugh the struggle! Diaper bags are kind of gaudy and strange looking. We wanted something gender neutral and really simple/clean. We were looking at this one but ultimately got the Ergobaby diaper bag which we LOVEEEEE! Even with my daughter now potty trained, we use it. Her travel potty collapses and fits in the main pocket perfectly.
While we thought those flower tubs were super cute, once we read that baby will outgrow it in about six months we decided to just opt for this tub instead. It's affordable, and transitions from newborn to toddler.
Baby shampoo/wash and lotion
You guys already know I love Weleda products for myself from my Instagram probably; so it should come as no surprise that the baby will be using their baby line! It's constantly rated as a top brand for baby shampoo, diaper cream, and all the good hygiene stuff and I know their products are ethically sourced and follow top beauty/safety standards.
Honestly, if we owned more than four towels we'd probably skip this. But since E and I only have two towels each (one we are currently using and the other is usually in the wash) – I figured baby should get her own towel too! Plus I couldn't resist the little ears on this one or this one.
What we're skipping on our baby registry for diapering and bath time (for now):
The Best Baby Registry CheckList: Health & Safety
We skipped this and finally got a $20 audio only one I used back in the day while nannying and it worked well. After about a year we just stopped using one altogether though…
At one point I did get this camera (not an official monitor but SO much more affordable) but the cord was short and the streaming feed lagged on my phone so I just gave up since we didn't really need the video. I'll probably re-connect it when my daughter moves out of her crib.
Personally though, we never felt a huge need for a baby monitor.
We just got this one since it had good reviews and reads in 10 seconds… I just remember being a kid and hating waiting the entire minute or so until I could take the thermometer out, so the quick read sold me.
Bulb syringe/nasal aspirator
Everyone tells me to upgrade from the bulb syringe you get at the hospital to a suction-powered nasal aspirator like the popular NoseFrida to remove baby boogies! Weirdly I think this is going to be fun?! Haha!
We started switching out our cleaning products for “greener” ones before baby, but decided to check out EWG to see how safe they actually are for baby. Now we are opting for products that get an “A” rating across the board – especially for detergent and things like that. A lot of brands market themselves as “baby-safe” or “green” but actually aren't, so I'd suggest heading to EWG to do your homework before stocking up on a brand – and keep in mind just because a brand rates well in one category doesn't mean it will in another!
What we're skipping on our baby registry for health & safety (for now):
Cradle cap treatment
Colic relief treatment
Special baby nail clippers/scissors
Infant Tylenol/Advil: Use of a pain/fever reducer is not recommended by the AAP for babies under six months in age, unless directed by a physician.
Baby proofing gear – we already have a couple of baby gates for our dog and beyond that this type of stuff doesn't really matter until the baby can crawl around 6-8 months so we aren't registering for it now