I have several expecting friends and I’ve been asked to give thoughts on baby registry items a few times lately. These friends have inspired me to give you a visual tour of one of the most precious rooms in my home. This post is dedicated to nursery and bath. I’ll write about other items later.
A few things to keep in mind. First, I’m a pretty much a minimalist and my style is pretty wabi-sabi (click here for more about what wabi-sabi means). Second, our nursery is small, so we don’t have a lot of room for extra stuff. Finally, your needs are all going to be different and the opinions and suggestions here are my own. There is no judgement if you want to go all out with fancy crib bumpers (breathable!)
matching curtains. You may want a co-sleeper or you may want a high end video monitor. These are things we didn’t opt for.
Anderson’s room is my favorite room in the house, largely due to emotional attachment I’m sure. I’ve been looking forward to showing you around. I’ll be sure to highlight my suggested baby registry items with a summary list at the end.
Here is the room as you walk in the door. We got the rug for under $30 at Homegoods and the inexpensive curtains at Target.
We LOVE the crib we got for Anderson. It is perfect for a smaller room and the quality is so good, plus it converted from a bassinet to a crib. The whole thing is on wheels, so it is easy to move around. Surprisingly, this feature came in handy. Anderson’s first 6+ weeks were in our room, and we wheeled the bassinet around the room as needed (or sometimes I’d wake in the night and wheel it closer to me so I could see him). It is by Stokke and you can see the sleep system by clicking here. The $1000+ price tag was a bit much for us, so my savvy husband found the crib on Craigslist for half the price. Don’t forget to register for sheets (bassinet and/or crib).
That squishy lamb hanging on the crib is something I fell in love with and registered for and I’m so glad I did. It is called the sleep sheep. It plays four different sounds: ocean, rain, whale sounds, and mother’s heartbeat. OK the whale sounds are just weird. We play the mother’s heartbeat every single night.
The other little sleep helper is the Fisher Price Soothe and Glow Seahorse. We even take this thing when we travel. It plays a few classical tunes and we lay it in the crib when we put Anderson down to sleep. I didn’t register for this, but several people recommended it to me.
Next is the changing table. Again, we loved the Stokke changing table that matched the crib. We couldn’t deal with paying $500 for a changing table. We found it on Craigslist for less than half. How I love Craigslist for furniture…
I wrote an entire post on my favorite diapers at 1veggieatatime. You can see that post here. We use cloth diapers during the day (gDiapers with cloth inserts, flushable inserts, and liners and I LOVE THEM), whatever overnight disposables we can find for night, and we keep a stash of disposables for when we travel.
We actually don’t use burp cloths often now because Anderson is past the spit-up phase, but during that time, I couldn’t keep enough of these clean. There are a million burp cloths out there and they are totally a necessity for the first 6 months or so. My favorite kind happened to be good old fashioned cloth diapers–the thinner ones, actually (see these). Whether you get regular burp cloths or packs of cloth diapers to use, this is a must for your registry.
You will absolutely need diaper cream, lotion, shampoo, body wash (or combined shampoo and body wash), sunscreen, q-tips (definitely the kind meant for babies – not the qtips we would use on ourselves), and a first aid kit. I don’t think it matters which kind of first aid kit you get, as they are all relatively the same. This is similar to the one I have and it is just fine. One thing I will add to that, actually. The bulb aspirator is garbage. Spring for aNose Frida. Another mother gave that to me at my shower (I hadn’t registered for it) and it really has saved our lives. I devoted an entire post on 1veggieatatime to cruelty-free baby products (bath wash, lotion, and such) and you can read more here.
Our changing table has two bins on each side for things we use most. The right side holds diapers and wipes (and you can get another view of the gDiapers here). A word about wipes. You will sort out which ones work the best for you and you will likely get a variety at your shower. I do highly recommend wipes that are biodegradable. Otherwise, they are as bad as diapers and they’ll be used once and sit in a landfill for a very long time (longer than the span of your life). Our favorite wipes are by the company that makes our diapers–gDiapers. We also recently bought Thick n Kleen in a pinch and I hate them (they smell weird). There are lots of different types of biodegradable wipes, from Honest (Jessica Alba’s brand) to Walgreens brand! Here is another tip for new mommas. Diapers.com is amazing. You can buy different items in bulk and if your purchase is over $50, the shipping is free (and most often next day).
Again, the brush and comb are personal preference. My sister gave us these and they double as a toy for Anderson to play with while we change his diaper. Now that he is rolling over, crawling, and standing, it has made diaper time rather, um, interesting.
On the left side of Anderson’s room is a bureau. It is, of course, another Craigslist find. Chris lovingly put coat after coat of paint on it, battling cold weather (he did this in our unheated garage in February) and wildlife (at one point, he looked up and realized a skunk was hanging out with him IN the garage).
On top of Anderson’s bureau lives a lamp (Ikea…I hate it…but we needed a light that wasn’t as bright as the overhead and I haven’t found one that I love yet), a Grobag digital room thermometer that changes color depending on temperature (this was a worried dad purchase and definitely not needed), Anderson’s first piggy bank (adorable gift), a cute play gardening tote that my sister gave us, and a cool mist humidifier. The humidifier is a must if your heat makes your house dry. This is the one that we have and we love it.
Clothing is tough to write about because it really is all about what you like. My one tip here would be not to register for many–if any–clothes, because people naturally want to give you cute outfits. I didn’t have to buy really any clothing items for the first 6 months or so because we got so many lovely articles of clothing, both hand-me-downs and as gifts. The only clothing articles I had to buy at first were actually newborn items. Everyone told me that I wouldn’t need newborn-sized clothes if my baby would be over 8 lbs. I had an 8 lb, 2 oz baby and 0-3 month onesies were too big for him. I had to run out when he was a few days old to buy some newborn-sized items to get him through.
Aside from that, I’d say my favorite clothing articles were a Hanna Andersson one-pieced outfit that stretched and literally fit from 1-6 months. Hanna Andersson is a bit pricey, but this thing got the most wear out of any clothing item we had in the first 6 months.
I’m also a huge fan of the Carter’s fuzzy jammies, depending on what time of year your baby is born. You can find them at anywhere from TJ Maxx and Babies r Us, to Costco!
I know, this is a really detailed post.
Next is our shelf. We have a 100+ year home, and there are a lot of quirks. One would be the closet in Anderson’s room. We can’t actually hang anything because it has shelves built in. Oh, and the shelves have an angle. Weird! We made the best of this space.
The top shelf is a home to Anderson’s tub, which I highly recommend. You can find it on Amazon here. We are still using it. When he was just a tiny peanut, we would put water in it and give him a bath right in his room. Now that he likes to splash like a crazy man, we set it right in our tub.
The next shelf is a home to a fraction of books and Anderson’s swimming diapers. You won’t need to register for books because people pick books out on their own. Plus, you’ll get hand-me-downs. I’ll write a whole other post on books at some point, but most books are in the living room. Some are here.
If you plan to take your child for swim lessons eventually, then it isn’t crazy to register for swim diapers now. When we went to the first class, we didn’t even know these existed and you should have seen the heavy, disintegrating diaper our little baby had on.
The next shelf holds Anderson’s booties and two bins for bibs and bath towels and washcloths. Booties are not a must-have, but I’m glad I have them for very cold days. It makes me feel better to put a second layer on his feet in the winter over his socks. They are both from Old Navy.
You will need a lot of bibs if your child spits up in the early months and then later when he/she is teething. We have to keep a bib on Anderson at all times. He has three teeth in and he is a fountain of drool.
My favorite bibs are by Aden and Anais. You can find them at Babies r Us, Amazon, and many retailers actually. They are made of cotton muslin. Beware, they do eventually stain, but they hold up really well and they aren’t too short or too long. Basically, no matter what bib, you’ll need many (at least 10).
I don’t have a strong opinion on wash cloths and bath towels, but you do need them. To be honest, I liked the really thin, cheap washcloths (like Carters) the most because they are small and can get in little baby crevices. The larger, lavish cloths weren’t practical. Regarding towels, baby-sized towels are a must for the first few months. Eventually, Anderson got so long that we started using our regular bath towels for him.
I have several beautiful blankets that people made for me. My sister made a blanket out of her sons’ onesies. My mother’s friend made a lovely blue and brown quilt. My husband’s Godmother knitted a blanket. My friend, Diane, made a beautiful quilt meant for traveling (see picture above). My mother gave me a Winnie the Pooh blanket that she had been saving. The list goes on. You will get lovely blankets at your shower that you didn’t register for. You will, however, need day-to-day blankets. I LOVE Aden and Anais muslin blankets. They are lightweight, fit easily in a diaper bag when rolled up, are great swaddlers, and they can even double as a cover for your stroller on a really sunny day because they are so breathable. Our child hated swaddlers, so we swaddled him in these, leaving his arms free until cold weather came and we were able to put him in fuzzy pajamas. This is probably on my #1 list of must haves.
In terms of furniture, a rocking chair is also really key. Anderson and I spent a significant amount of time in the rocking chair before he started sleeping through the night. We still use it now to get him nice and calm before putting him to bed. Our rocking chair happened to be one that was passed down through the family.
The little quilt is the one I mentioned above, made by my friend, Diane. I absolutely love it so much. It has served as a blanket, a changing pad, a yoga mat for mom and baby yoga class, and a place just to let Anderson “sprawl” while on road trips. It has been a key item of Anderson’s infant time.
What to do with your diapers depends on what type of diapers you are using. I can’t comment on the diaper genie because I don’t have one. What we have is a round, stainless steel trash can (13 gallon I think?) with a Planet Wise diaper pail liner. My liner just happens to have owls on it, but there are tons of patterns/colors.
Next to the diaper can is a basket (made by my mother-in-law, who makes baskets). Disguised within the stuffed toys is our monitor. PS, if you love the owl, check out this post.
We got our monitor as a hand-me-down from family and I am grateful for one less thing to purchase. We originally planned to get a video monitor, but I’ve never wished we had one. There are two corresponding monitors. One is downstairs and one sits next to our bed. It picks up any sound loudly (we can even hear if he moves). The updated version of what we have could be found here.
You’ll also need a place for laundry. Oh will you have a lot of laundry. I hate Ikea with a passion, but this laundry hamper for the back of the door is great.
You will also end up with lots of stuffed friends. I had no idea what to do with them all! Some live downstairs. The rest live in this handy contraption: a toy hammock. It is only $8 and it holds many a stuffed animal.
The rest of the room is all decoration with sentiment attached.
Here is a picture I had framed for his room. It was from a coloring book (from maybe the 70s?) that my mother gave me. I loved the sheep/farm picture. I kept imagining Anderson running through the field of our future vegetable farm…
The unfinished projects:
I hope you enjoyed the tour! I’ll post in the future about food/kitchen/bottle items to register for. For now, here is a recap of my recommended key items for your registry (or to bring as a gift to a shower).
-crib sheets (2 is fine)
-a changing table
-changing table pad/cover (not mentioned above) meant to fit the size of your changing table
-waterproof pads for general use
-cloud B sleep sheep
-Fisher Price soothe and glow seahorse
-diapers, depending on your preference
-burp cloths (I love plain, white cloth diapers)
-Lotion, diaper cream, bath wash
-a brush and comb set
-a nose frida
-a first aid kit that has the basics plus a nail clipper
-baby tylenol and baby gas drops
-Qtips meant for a baby
-a cool mist humidifier
-a few newborn-sized outfits
-Hanna Andersson zip-up layette just because it is amazing!
-Carter’s fuzzy jammies, depending on season
-an infant to toddler tub
-special diapers for swimming, depending on season or if you plan to do swim lessons
-warm foot-wear, depending on season
-a warm coat or outfit, depending on season (not mentioned above)
-bibs (and lots of em), my favorite being Aden and Anais snap bibs
-washcloths and towels
-receiving blankets, my favorite being Aden and Anais hands down!
-a rocking chair
-a diaper pail/bin
-a diaper pail liner if you are using cloth diapers
-a laundry bin
-laundry soap that is gentle
-a toy hammock will save your sanity
-an outfit to take your baby home in
-a few hats appropriate for a newborn
-swaddlers and sleep sacks are recommended for babies (my wild child/houdini freaked if his hands were covered, so we tried a swaddler once and said never again after he broke free)
What you don’t need to register for
-a wipe warmer (unnecessary)
-as noted above, a fancy temperature thing-y
-stuffed animals (people will get you these naturally)
-many clothes beyond any particular basics you want, although it isn’t a bad idea to register ahead (meaning, pick out some “future” outfits for past 9 months), since most clothing you receive will be for 9 months and below
-fancy crib bumpers (they are actually fairly unsafe and babies shouldn’t have anything in the crib that is soft or suffocating)
- Nursery essentials for new or soon-to-be parents (goerie.com)
- Finding the Right Changing Table – Baby Room Furniture (everydayfamily.com)
- Hello Third Trimester! (awonderfullymessylife.wordpress.com)
This such an incredibly useful checklist, Cara. Thank you! Also, Anderson’s room is beeeauutiful! Peaceful and cozy.