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Baby registry checklist: What to buy for a newborn

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    Having a baby is one of the most exciting times of your life. But with all the changes that it brings, you may be overwhelmed figuring out all the things to buy for a newborn. Creating a succinct and thorough registry will help ease some stress by ensuring you have everything you need to enjoy your time with your new baby, rather than having to run out for more supplies.

    Why you need a baby registry

    Setting up a baby registry is not only fun, it's extremely helpful. Your friends and family will be excited for you and your new addition and will likely be eager to get you a gift to celebrate — especially if you plan on throwing a baby shower. A registry lets people know exactly what to buy for your newborn and can set you up for a less stressful first few months.

    You can set up a registry two ways: online through a variety of retailers and services, or in-person at a store. There's value to both, as seeing things in person might give you a better feel for color and materials, so you can see exactly what you're getting. Shopping for your registry online will allow for greater range and variety in items, plus the convenience of doing it from your couch.

    You don't need to set up a registry immediately after finding out you're expecting a new addition, but there are a lot of things you need for a baby, so giving your friends and family plenty of time to pick something out is helpful so you're not scrambling for supplies as you approach your due date.

    What to put on a baby registry

    Adding a baby to your family means a whole new person with a completely different set of needs and supplies. That means there are a lot of essentials you need for a baby, a fair number of things that would be nice to have and even more extras.


    Must-haves include anything that helps keep your baby fed, dressed, clean, healthy and safe. Here's a list to help get your registry started:

    Bath time:

    • Baby tub
    • Baby-safe shampoo and body wash
    • Baby-safe body lotion
    • Faucet cover, for safe bathing


    • Crib
    • Crib mattress
    • Waterproof mattress protector
    • Multiple fitted sheets
    • Baby monitor


    • Leggings or elastic waist pants (in a few sizes) for convenience
    • Footed pajamas
    • Socks
    • Onesies (short- and long-sleeved)
    • Swaddling blankets
    • Burp cloths
    • Bibs
    • Sleep sacks
    • Sun hats
    • Bathing suit or winter jacket depending on season
    • Soft hats
    • Baby-safe laundry detergent


    • Diapers (cloth or disposable)
    • Baby wipes
    • Diaper cream
    • Changing table


    • Breast pump and extra parts
    • Breast milk freezer bags
    • Nursing pillows
    • Nursing privacy cover
    • Baby bottles
    • Bottle brushes
    • Highchair


    • Baby-safe nail trimmers
    • Baby thermometer
    • Suction bulb


    • Infant car seat
    • Stroller and stroller cover
    • Diaper bag
    • Baby carrier
    • Portable changing pad


    • Stacking blocks
    • Activity mat
    • Rattles
    • Bouncer or swing


    Nice-to-have items are things you can live without, but that would make your life much easier:

    • Hooded, baby-sized towels
    • Bath toys
    • Soft-soled baby shoes
    • Diaper pail
    • Bottle drying rack
    • Light dimmer or night light
    • Rocking chair or glider
    • White noise machine
    • Stuffed animals
    • Additional toys
    • Extra pacifiers


    These extra items are things that you likely will not absolutely need for your baby but are a few items to consider based on personal choice:

    • Baby wipe warmer
    • Dressy, trendy clothes
    • Multiple pairs of shoes or booties
    • Baby food processor

    Unique baby gift ideas

    In addition to all the stuff you'll need to make sure your newborn's first few months are as smooth as possible, don't be afraid to put things on the registry that will make it a more enjoyable time for you too. Becoming a parent is a huge milestone, so ask for some unique baby gifts to help you capture these special moments. These might include:

    • A baby book for mementos
    • Photo backgrounds for monthly growth photos
    • A personalized book
    • A keepsake box

    Making a baby registry for a second baby

    If you're welcoming your second baby to the family, you may not need all the same things you needed for the first baby. You've also learned a lot since baby number one. Your tub, clothes and toys are likely all fine to reuse — just make sure everything is cleaned first. Other things like the crib, bouncy seat, changing table, highchair, stroller and car seat are typically fine to reuse as long as they still meet the current safety standards.

    If you'll now have multiple young children, you may want to register for a double stroller to make your life easier. You'll also need toiletries, newborn diapers, bottle nipples, a new crib mattress, pacifiers, bibs and another baby monitor. You may want to refresh things like your diaper bag, which has probably seen some wear and tear since the first kiddo.

    Additional considerations for your baby registry

    Now that you know what things you need for a baby, there are a few more considerations to keep in mind as you craft your registry. The first is price. Make sure you have gifts at every price range so that people have the flexibility to pick from your registry according to their budget. Otherwise, they might go off-list to meet their financial needs.

    In addition to the above, you'll want to think about whether you want to commit to a nursery theme when choosing colors for items. In the same vein, ask yourself if the baby's sex makes a difference to you when it comes to gift colors or toys, and then choose accordingly.

    And of course, before you go overboard with the baby clothes and toys, think about how much room and storage space you have for everything.

    What's more

    There are many things to buy for newborns to make sure they're safe, happy and cared for. But with a well-crafted and thoughtful baby registry, you can make caring for your new baby much easier.

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