Preparing for a new baby and a new job as a parent can be complicated. Here are some been there, done that tips to help.
Creating a baby registry can be overwhelming. When I conceived my daughter in the fall of 2012, I had no idea what I was getting into — or where to begin. I also didn’t know what I needed.
I mean, I knew my unborn child would need clothes, a bed, diapers, and wipes, but did I really need bottles? A breast pump?
What’s the difference between a bouncer, rocker, and baby swing? And where should I register for all these things?
Here are the 7 things I wish I knew. They may help you, too.
Register for more than one brand of diapers, wipes, or baby formula
Whether you’re planning to use disposable diapers or cloth ones, you can — and should — register for multiple options. Why? Because each brand fits, feels, and absorbs differently, and you’ll only know what works for you (and your baby) after some good ol’ trial and error.
And the same goes for wipes and baby formula, though you may want to sign up for free samples of formula before buying full-size canisters.
Speaking of diapers, make sure you register for multiple sizes
While it may seem counterintuitive to put size 1, 2, or 3 diapers on your registry, especially since the average baby weighs just 7.5 pounds, your little one will grow… quickly.
Sizing up ensures you’ll have the right diaper on hand when you and your baby come home from the hospital, and for months afterward.
And pro-tip: If the diaper is too large, you can fold the top flap down to give your little one a better fit.
Ask for bottles, even if you don’t think you’ll need them
Most expectant parents want (or plan) to breastfeed.
According to a
Around half of babies were still reportedly exclusively breastfeeding by 3 months, and this dropped to one-third at the 1-year mark.
So register for bottles, because even if you don’t use them right away, it’s great to have another option on hand.
Even if you continue breastfeeding for at least a year, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, having the option to provide breast milk in a bottle will allow you some freedom and a back-up option.
Request baby clothes sized 3 months (and up)
Babies — especially newborn babies — grow quickly. Most put on an ounce of weight a day for the first 30 days, meaning your wee one will grow out of that cute little outfit before you know it.
They’ll also probably spend most of their newborn days in onesies, and just onesies. Between loose stools, little legs, and a dozen diaper changes, you won’t want to deal with pants. Trust me.
Plus, you’ll receive clothes not on your registry. Why? Because people love buying tiny sweater vests and oversized bows. So request a wide range of sizes. You’ll be thankful you did.
Avoid snap-up sleepers; ask for zip-up ones instead
Snaps are easy, right? Well, not really, especially at 3:00 a.m. when you’re overworked, overtired, and trying to change your little one in the dark. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve closed my children’s outfits only to find an extra snap.
So stick with zippers. They really are every sleep-deprived parent’s best friend.
Don’t feel obligated to register for one item in every “category”
Does a newborn need an activity center, or do you need a wipe warmer, bottle warmer, or jogging stroller?
Maybe, but maybe not. Decide what’s most important to you and useful for your lifestyle and ask for those things and only those things.
Consider personal constraints
Unless you live in a sprawling, multi-bedroom home, you probably have space restrictions — and that’s okay. I brought my daughter into a small, Brooklyn apartment.
But keep this in mind when registering for items, especially since many baby goods have a very short lifespan and are single-use.
Think outside the box
While most baby registries include the same types of items — many expectant parents ask for strollers, bedding, monitors, and yes, diapers, clothing, and wipes — there are dozens of other things you can ask for.
Need shelving or a portable closet for the nursery? Put it on your list. Do you want paint, curtains, or room decor? Ask for it.
And ask for gift cards to restaurants, meal delivery subscriptions, and your local grocery stores while you’re at it. The first few weeks are a blur and you’ll be thankful for premade or easy to assemble meals.
And the zip-up sleepers (seriously, that one is worth repeating).
Kimberly Zapata is a mother, writer, and mental health advocate. Her work has appeared on several sites, including the Washington Post, HuffPost, Oprah, Vice, Parents, Health, and Scary Mommy — to name a few. When her nose isn’t buried in work (or a good book), Kimberly spends her free time running Greater Than: Illness, a nonprofit organization that aims to empower children and young adults struggling with mental health conditions. Follow Kimberly on Facebook or Twitter.