I originally wrote this round up of our baby registry a few months after having my first baby. Now I’m updating it after his first birthday. These are products we used for an entire year, and throughout the entire baby stage!
I’m very aware that what works well for one family isn’t a good fit for another! There were tons of things I was told are *essential* that I didn’t buy, or DID buy and never used!
As a first-time mom, and a planner by nature, I wanted to have all my bases covered. I know babies don’t *need* tons of items, but I’ve learned that there are many things that make the transition easier for you AND baby!
While researching for baby products and creating a baby registry, I wanted to be both intentional and as minimal as possible, without forgetting important items!
- A priority on non-toxic materials. The reality is that I will never be able to reduce ALL toxins in my home. But my goal is to do the best I can, especially when it comes to a brand new, tiny life. When it comes to non-toxic materials, here are some of the things I look for:
– Focus on natural fibres such as organic cotton, linen or wool. I try to avoid plastic-based materials such as polyester, Polyurethane or anything labeled “stain/flame resistant”.
– Invest in products that will be used the most, especially when on a budget. For example, prioritize an organic, flame retardant mattress because baby will spend many hours on that surface (hopefully 😉).
- Quality over quantity. I wanted to keep our baby items minimal because A) I don’t want a lot of extra items around my home. B) This allows me to invest in the products that are the most important.
- Products that will last for many years. I always choose to invest in quality products instead of trying to save money upfront and having to repurchase again later. I wanted items that will last us through several children and for many years.
When it comes to baby gear, I don’t believe that it’s on-size-fits all. I’d encourage you to REALLY think hard about your lifestyle and the items that would be best suited for when creating your minimal baby registry. I might love a product, but it may not make sense for your lifestyle.
Stroller: Bumbleride Era
I’ve used a lot of strollers in my many years of nannying and what I’ve learned is that cheap strollers are NOT worth it. I knew I wanted to invest in a quality stroller that will last for many, many years. And also a stroller that will work on different terrain, and through the snow! I walk my dog every single day, and while I’ll have to modify this during the winter with a newborn I knew that a good quality stroller was important. We love that all Bumbleride products are ethically + sustainably made with non-toxic materials.
Car Seat: Nuna Rava
I knew that I wanted to skip the infant bucket seat for a few reasons.
- I expect our baby to be big which means they’ll outgrow the bucket seat quickly!
- Carrying a bucket seat is horrible for your back! (Watch the posture of a mom struggling with her baby in the bucket seat).
- An infant bucket seat isn’t considered a safe sleeping environment when it’s not in the car. This means you actually shouldn’t let your baby sleep in the car seat in the house, shopping cart, etc.
- We aren’t often out + about so I was okay giving up the temporary convenience of a portable seat in order to invest in something that will last many years.
We choose the Nuna Rava because it is made with non-toxic materials free from flame retardants. And it’s very compact to fit in our SUV. I recommend testing the car seat you’re considering in your car because they take up a LOT of space, even if you don’t drive a tiny car.
The Nuna Rava can be used rear-facing right from birth, and then eventually turns forward-facing and will last well through toddlerhood. We’ve been very happy with it!
CAR MIRROR: A car mirror is a non-negotiable for me! Cohen has never loved the car, so it’s helpful to be able to see/talk to him!
Baby wearing is something I was REALLY excited about and have loved. I’ve always loved wearing other people’s babies and couldn’t wait to wear my own! I loved different baby carriers for different stages of the baby’s life.
Wildbird slings are beautiful and so easy to use – after you’ve gone through the initial learning curve. This is one that I love wearing around the house and for quick errands. It’s easy to store in the diaper bag/car, and can be put on quickly!
Wrap: Solly Baby
Solly Baby wraps were my favourite for the first few months to hold baby close like they were in the womb! I would often put my Solly wrap on at home so that I could quickly put baby in it once I arrived wherever I was going. Since I didn’t use an infant bucket seat, this is generally what I did every time we went out! Then I could easily zip my coat over him to keep him warm.
Carrier: Happy Baby Carrier
I absolutely LOVE my HBC, especially with a bigger baby! These are perfect for wearing baby for longer periods of time, walks + hikes. Now that he’s older I can wear him on my back. If I HAD to choose just one type of carrier (but don’t make me!), this is what I’d choose.
Baby gear I don’t plan on using:
This is where my baby registry might look different than others! We actually don’t plan on using items such as swings, jumpers, bumbos, bouncers, walkers. These are known as “baby containers”. I’ve had LOTS of people tell me that I’ll absolutely need/want a few of these, and I’m open to the fact that I might change my mind.
But as of now our plan is to not have any of these items. The main reason is because all of these items actually inhibit baby’s development as opposed to help it – as the companies lead us to believe.
This gear also takes up a lot of space, is expensive and babies outgrow these items very quickly. Not purchasing several baby containers freed up a lot of space in our budget and on our registry.
Update after a year: I never missed having any of these items!!
I was open to different sleeping arrangements – knowing that any way we could all feel the most rested was the best option for our entire family!
I aim to have Cohen sleep in his crib, but most nights he ends up in our bed at some point – which I’m fine with! (There are absolutely safe ways to bedshare!)
Snuggle Me Organic: We love the Snuggle Me Organic for sleep as a newborn! Disclaimer that this product is *technically* not recommended for sleep so you’ll have to do your own research on what you’re comfortable with.
Crib Mattress: I knew that a non-toxic crib mattress was a priority for me. Thankfully a friend gifted us her mattress that checked my boxes!
Ikea Crib: I always loved the look and price of this minimal crib. It’s made of non-toxic, non-treated wood which was important to me! We currently have the crib set up like a sidecar beside the bed which has worked well for us.
Sleep Sac: We never did any swaddles, but we love our Parade Organics sleep sac! This has fit Cohen since he was about 2 months old and still has room to grow at 6 months! It’s absolutely worth the price point.
The COZIEST blanket: We have lots of baby blankets but this one is by far my favourite! It’s soooo soft even after many washes. I plan to buy one for any future babies!
NOISE MACHINE: Honestly, I was on the fence about using a sound machine. But I’ve become a true believer, and kinda want one for our bedroom haha!
BABY MONITOR: We didn’t have a monitor for the first several months. Since our bedrooms are on the main floor, it didn’t really seem necessary. A friend lent me her similar monitor just so I could work out in the garden while the baby sleeps and I’ve been happy with it. This monitor isn’t fancy at all, but it does the trick!
We chose not to find out the gender of our baby, which I LOVED. So we only purchased gender neutral clothing for the first few months. I loved knowing that any clothing I purchased could be used for a future baby – boy or girl!
Kate Quinn: I love Kate Quinn clothing! I thought we’d love the bamboo fabric but we actually preferred the ribbed and cotton fabrics. I find that these outfits fit Cohen for many, many months!
I thought I would love knotted gowns, but didn’t! I found Cohen’s legs got so sweaty in them and we much preferred cotton sleepers.
How MANY clothes?
While I was pregnant and preparing for baby I was determined to find the *perfect* amount of each item. This is very much determined by how often you want to do laundry, and how much your baby spits up!
We didn’t really deal with spit up, so in the newborn stage clothes basically didn’t get dirty. I always liked to get him “dressed” for the day, even though that just meant changing into a cozy onesie + pair of pants. For me, the perfect amount in the newborn stage was about 7 sleepers, 10 onesies (enough if they did get dirty throughout the day) and 7-10 pairs of cotton legging/pants. I would generally do laundry twice a week, but we had enough for longer if needed!
I know that some babies spit up constantly and end up going through 2-3 outfits per day. In this case, I probably would have purchased more clothing, but what we had was perfect!
Once he got older (mobile + eating!) we do go through more clothing each day. We admittedly have more clothing than we need (because everyone loves buying baby clothes! 😉 ), but 7 sleepers, 7 undershirts, 12 tops, 12 pants, and a few cute outfits is about what we go through doing laundry one time a week. My preference is laundry once a week, but if you do it more than you could get away with less clothing!
My plan was always to exclusively breastfeed which I’m grateful has been successful!
MANUAL BREAST PUMP: I didn’t have any need or interest in pumping. But a manual pump was so helpful the first few weeks to relieve engorgement!
HAAKA MANUAL PUMP: Everyone RAVED about the Haaka, but I found it uncomfortable and awkward. I DO still recommend it, especially at the beginning when you leak on the opposite side. BUT next time I’ll opt for this one instead!
I don’t have any experience with bottles, but would have opted for glass if I needed them!
BREASTFEEDING PILLOW: Possibly my biggest regret was that I didn’t invest in a good breastfeeding pillow. This will be a top priority for my next baby! My neck and back were so sore the first few weeks, and I know a good pillow would help significantly.
HIGH CHAIR: We decided to just get the Ikea high chair. I had heard RAVE reviews about it, but to be honest I don’t love it. It does the job, so I’m not sure I’ll replace it. But I dislike that the tray doesn’t push closer to baby, and that the tray is very difficult to remove. Plus the legs are very wide and take up tons of space. BUT I will note that if you go this route, it’s important to add a footrest. A footrest ensures that baby has good posture which can help reduce choking!
BABY FOOD COOKBOOK: I love this cookbook when it comes to starting solids! It’s a hybrid between purees + Baby Led weaning, with an emphasis on gut health + whole foods!
DINNERWARE: So far I haven’t really utilized a plate because I haven’t found one that actually sticks to the tray! We’re still in the “throw everything on the floor” stage, so I put food right on his tray. When he’s older I like the idea of these silicone wrapped glass plates to avoid toxic plastic plates!
CUPS: We skipped sippy cups and went straight to straw cups. We have these ones which are NOT leak proof, but good for supervised drinking. I found that most leak-proof cups were either plastic, very hard to clean, or hard to drink from. It was really important to me to avoid plastic when it comes to cups.
WATER BOTTLE: Most of the time we just use a stainless steel water bottle! This also isn’t 100% waterproof (much more than the cups though), but I like the soft silicone straw, the stainless steel, and the price point.
I always knew I wanted to cloth diaper. Personally I opted for disposables the first 1-2 months because I didn’t want to add too many things to my plate right at the beginning.
We’ve always used Rascal + friends disposable diapers and have been happy with them.
My plan was to try a handful of cloth diaper brands before committing to one for my entire stash. We tried Lighthouse Kids, La Petit Ourse, Lil Helper and Nora’s Nursery. Nora’s ended up being my favourite so I bought a few more packs of them!
Around 30 diapers is the perfect amount for us. I do diaper laundry every 2-3 days.
CLOTH WIPES: We made our own cloth wipes and I LOVE them. Disposable wipes end up being very expensive, and most are full of preservatives, fragrance, etc. Our homemade wipes are two pieces of fabric (organic cotton + flannel) sewn together. I just store them in a plastic container with water (no solution or anything added!)
WET BAG: If you’re cloth diapering, you’ll want a wet bag to store dirty diapers! Ours was a gift, and I can’t find it to link. But I’d choose something like this that can hang on a door for quick access.
DIAPER CREAM: I love Doterra’s diaper cream!
DIAPER BAG: I love, love, love my diaper bag! It’s beautiful, high quality and so functional. I love having the different options for straps, and lots of pockets! Even after daily use for an entire year, it looks good as new!
LAUNDRY DETERGENT: This is my favourite non-toxic detergent that I use for all of our clothes, baby clothes and even cloth diapers! Most “baby detergents” on the market are full of fragrance and incredible toxic. It’s important that your clothes AND baby’s clothes are washed in a non-toxic detergent since baby will spend lots of time on you!
STAIN REMOVER: This stain remover has never disappointed me! This bottle lasts me FOREVER.
BISSELL LITTLE GREEN: This is an unconventional item, but probably one of my top recommendations! Kids make messes (SHOCKER, I know!) and this will ease your mind over + over. I use my little green machine alllll the time, it’s been so worth it! I found a (barely) used one on Facebook marketplace!
We skipped the infant bath seat or tub and opted for “free bathing” which is just when you lay baby into a few inches of water in the bathtub! This has worked really well for us and saves us needing to store a baby tub.
SHOWER FILTER: Filtering water is incredibly important to me. We actually absorb more chlorine through bath water than we do through drinking water! We have a filter on our shower head so I use that to fill the bathtub.
SHAMPOO/BODY WASH: I’m actually a believer that baby’s don’t need their body and hair washed with soap. We do have this soap for the occassional time, but 99% of the time I just wash with water!
We don’t use any lotions or creams on his skin. Again, I’m a big believer in preserving their natural skin microbiome. If I was desperate for a lotion, I would opt for a tallow balm!
NAIL KIT: This is a no-frill nail kit that gets the job done!
Toothbrush: We have a few of these finger toothbrushes and Cohen loves to play with them. Currently I just use a little bit of Coconut oil to brush his teeth, but we will eventually use one that contains Hydroxyappetite (a non-toxic alternative to fluoride) likely this.
This is an overlooked category on most registries, but SO important.
I’m a huge advocate for having the items we need for sickness BEFORE we need them. Because symptoms almost always present themselves in the middle of the night when the last thing you want to do is run to the drug store!
If you don’t take any of my other advice, I seriously urge you to have remedies on hand BEFORE you ever need them. It will save you one day, I promise!
ESSENTIAL OILS: I love this kids oil blend set! It takes the guess work out of which oils to use for different ailments, and how to use them safely! I have a few of them clipped right onto my diaper bag.
THERMOMETER: I was given a lightly used thermometer that doesn’t seem to be available anymore. But if I was purchasing one I would choose one that reads the ear temperature. This is more accurate than the scanners, but less invasive than the mouth/rectal ones which are hard to use on babies!
NOSE FRIDA: The most disgusting, but necessary baby item! Just trust me and grab one! The electronic version isn’t available in Canada, otherwise I would opt for that! You’ll also need saline drops to use with this.
TEETHING: We use these teething tablets. Many people love the Camilla drops, but I found the other option worked better for us! I also love Earthley’s Teething tincture. However, teething has been ROUGH for us and sometimes (as much as I HATE it!) I have to bring in the big guns. When natural remedies aren’t working, I opt for dye-free Motrin.
PROBIOTIC: Gut health is very important to me and a probiotic is a great way to be proactive!
COD LIVER OIL: This is one of the best ways to supplement vitamin D. Most Vitamin D drops are synthetic which means they don’t always absorb properly. Cod liver oil is a bio-available, easily absorbable source of Vitamin D and other important nutrients.
COLLOIDAL SILVER: This is my go-to for any skin ailments that need a little bit of extra attention.
TALLOW BALM: I’m not a big fan of conventional skin lotions, and I think using them daily is actually detrimental in the long run – telling our skin not to product natural oils to hydrate! When we do need some extra moisture, beef tallow balm is my choice.
VITAMIN C DROPS: I don’t supplement Vitamin C every day, but if we’re fighting off a cold this is one thing I will add into our daily routine!
COUGH SYRUP: Having a natural cough syrup on hand has proven to be very important! Babies like to suddenly get sick in the middle of the night, so trust me when I say you want to have something BEFORE you need it.
Contrast board: This contrast board was a huge hit for tummy time and car rides! We got tons of use out of it for months + months.
Spinning suction toys: These are my favourite toy for travel! They’re so fun + engaging and easy to store!
Wooden activity Gym: My husband made something similar to this and it was used daily for the first several months! I would just put a blanket over our sheepskin (mine as a baby) for him to lay on!
This post has more of the toys he’s loved as he’s gotten older!