Real parents share their must-have items
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Putting together a baby registry can be overwhelming. There are so many products to choose from that it’s hard to know what you’ll really need. While the “suggested registry items” from magazines or websites can be somewhat useful, they often list way too many things, some of which you’ll never end up using. Suggestions from well-meaning friends and relatives can be helpful, but unless they’ve had a baby in the past year, there’s a very good chance that some (or most) of their recommendations are no longer available, or have changed significantly.
I asked every parent on our staff, plus over 900 of my closest mom (and dad) friends to share their favorite registry items. From first-time moms to seasoned parents of twins, they told us everything they loved (and loathed) from their baby registries, thereby enabling us to put together the definitive list of the most popular baby registry gifts of 2019.
If your baby needs it, you’ll find it here.
You won’t be allowed to take your baby home from the hospital unless you have a car seat, so if you’re only planning to register for one thing, let it be this. The overall favorite this year is the nuna PIPA. Weighing in at under eight pounds, this is one of the lightest infant seats on the market. It also takes top billing due to how easy it is to install the base, though it can also be used with just the vehicle seatbelt. Worth noting: if someone offers to give you their used car seat, politely decline. It’s one of the top items on our never buy used list.
If you're choosing to formula feed, a Baby Brezza Formula Pro will make life with an always-hungry newborn significantly easier. The machine measures just the right amount of formula and mixes it with warm water so that your bundle of joy gets a perfectly mixed bottle every single time.
The recall of Fisher Price’s Rock 'n Play earlier this year sent exhausted parents into a tailspin, but the good news is that the Tiny Love Cozy Rocker Napper is a safe alternative. The seat easily reclines so you can use the Tiny Love for napping, and the large adjustable canopy keeps baby cozy. It also comes with a detachable electronic mobile that plays nine different tunes and that an older baby can activate herself.
One of our favorite white noise machines, the Dohm classic consistently takes top billing amongst parents. It’s a no-frills sound machine - no fancy animal or nature noises - but the shushing noise that it produces blocks out just the right amount of noise to keep babies slumbering peacefully. Plus, it’s reasonably priced, making it a great gift to give and receive.
Newborns require a lot of nighttime feeding and changing, and having a low, soft light (instead of a harsh overhead one) keeps parents from waking up too much and not being able to go back to sleep. Salt lamps are said to help purify the air, they are reasonably priced, and they’ll be useful as nightlights for older kids who are scared of the dark.
While it may seem like your baby won’t be eating solid food anytime soon, you’ll need a high chair by the six month mark, and that arrives in the blink of an eye. The Stokke Tripp Trapp high chair is one of our top picks, because it’s both functional and attractive. If you want a high chair that won’t clash with your decor and that will grow with your child, the Stokke is an ideal choice. Plus it comes in so many beautiful colors!
Real talk: once your baby starts eating solid foods you are going to immediately have to take the diapers outside to the trash cans or your entire home will smell like poop. However, you’ll be changing a huge amount of not-so-stinky diapers before that happens, and you’re going to want a really good diaper pail. The Diaper Dekor Plus saw us through two babies 18 months apart, and it held so many dirty diapers. I especially like that it doesn’t have a separate odor filter piece that has to be changed. Be sure to register for some bag refills so you have them on hand when it inevitably runs out of bags in the middle of the night.
The Boon Lawn bottle rack is a consistent favorite, both for its cute design and its small footprint. It holds bottles and parts from all different sizes and shapes of bottles, and it’s easy to clean by simply removing the “grass” from the bottom tray and washing in hot, soapy water. It’s also free of all the gross stuff like BPA, PVC and Phthalates. Make the Boon even more versatile by registering for one of the accessories - I like the stem - to hold all of the bottle nipples.
Despite what you may have heard, breastfeeding does not always come easily (especially the first time around). Make it easier to get your baby positioned correctly with the Boppy nursing pillow. The soft, half-circle pillow slips around a nursing mom’s waist and supports the baby while he nurses. Once your baby is older, you can also use the Boppy to help with tummy time or to prop him up in a more seated position.
You’re going to need a stroller, whether you live in the city or the ‘burbs. The Baby Jogger City Mini GT2 is our top pick because it’s easy to fold with just one hand, and it’s not too heavy. It also provides a smooth ride even when you’re “off-roading”, and you can purchase an adapter so that you can easily use it with your infant car seat.
If you’re a first time parent, you’re going to want the extra peace of mind that a video monitor provides. Being able to hear and see what your baby is up to during nighttime and naptime keeps your baby safe and can help calm anxiety. We tested over 20 video baby monitors, and the Panasonic Video Baby Monitor came out on top.
The Lillebaby Complete took the top spot when we tested baby carriers, and it’s still garnering rave reviews. One of the best features is its versatility: it can be worn with the baby facing in or out as well as on the side or the back. Plus, there’s no need for an infant insert and it can be used for kids up to 45 pounds, which means it will last through the toddler years.
While it can be tempting to think that you’ll never want to put your precious bundle of joy down, the truth is that you’ll need to shower sometime. The BABYBJORN bouncer is an infant seat that you can easily carry around the house to keep baby safe and entertained when you need to have both hands free. The sleek design and muted colors ensure that the BJORN blends into any interior design scheme, and it easily collapses flat for storage and travel.
If you’re planning to do any traveling with your baby - even just to Grandma’s house for the Holidays - you’re going to want to register for our top rated playard. The Chicco FastAsleep is durable, easy to set-up and pack up, and it’s lightweight.
Play mats are ideal for stimulating a baby’s growing brain and encouraging tummy time as she gets older. The Lovevery Play Gym is beautifully designed and crafted from organic cotton and sustainably-sourced wood.
If your baby is scheduled to arrive during the cold and dry winter months, you’re definitely going to want to register for a humidifier. Keep your little one’s nursery at the perfect humidity level with the Vicks Warm Mist humidifier. We did all the testing and found this model to be the best both in price and effectiveness.
Babies, when wet, tend to be very slippery, which is why it’s important to have a bathtub that’s designed just for them. The PRIMO EuroBath has a unique anatomical shape to safely support both infants and toddlers, and it also has two designated spaces for holding soap and shampoo bottles. The PRIMO is the largest baby bathtub available, measuring 36” long and 10” deep, so you can use it long after your little one can sit up by himself.
Everyone - and we do mean everyone - is going to give you clothes in newborn sizes. The problem is that babies grow really fast, and your little one will grow out of those teeny-tiny onesies practically overnight. Save yourself from future clothing emergencies by registering for a selection of onesies in larger sizes. We love the Kickee Pants zip front footie pajamas because they’re luxuriously soft (they’re crafted from bamboo) and the patterns are absolutely adorable. Plus they easily fasten with a front zipper, which you will seriously appreciate during late night diaper changes.
The Keekaroo Peanut Changer is the coolest diaper changing pad around. Unlike traditional diaper changing pads that require a removable, washable cover, the Keekaroo’s outside shell limits bacteria growth. There’s no need to use a cover with the Keekaroo since it’s impermeable to any fluids and it’s crack resistant. While it may sound as though it’s hard and uncomfortable, it’s actually soft to the touch, comfortable for your baby, and is available in four beautiful colors to complement any nursery decor.
Babies are expensive, and having a stash of gift cards for your favorite baby store comes in very handy. Use the gift cards to buy diapers and wipes, or save them to spend on a bigger item, like a convertible car seat, when your baby gets older. You’ll be so grateful to your friends who didn’t buy you any stuff and just gave you money!
Prices are accurate at the time of publication, but may change over time.