In the past month, I've had several friends ask me about what they should register for on their baby registry, and they all told me they came here first to look and see if I had done a post on this. You have been heard, and I hope this long post is helpful!
A few notes on registering for baby:
I would just register for the things you need for the first 3-6 months for a baby. A started pack if you will. After a couple months, you'll have a better idea of what your baby likes and needs.
There are a lot of things you can probably borrow or just get from friends trying to unload baby stuff. I've made a list of those things below.
People will buy you clothes no matter if you register for them or not. And in my experience, they will not buy you the ones you register for anyway, so don't register for clothes.
Register with a site like babylist.com so that you can add things from any website (even Etsy or local shops) so that people can purchase from anywhere.
Things people will let you borrow or give you used:
Rock and Play - Such a great place to set the baby and help them stay calm. We used ours as a bassinet but apparently you're not supposed to do that... so make your own decisions people!
Bassinet - You need a place for your baby to sleep and I've heard mixed reviews on getting a bassinet. Might be nice to borrow one since your baby might hate it. A Dock A Tot is also nice if your bed is big enough to have a baby sleep with you. They are pricey though. So it might be nice to borrow before you commit.
Baby Gym - babies love these from about 1-6 months (in our experience) so find someone who might be outgrowing theirs and borrow!
Baby bath tub - We didn't use ours a ton, because we were either traveling and took the baby in the shower with us, or used the sink and then he got too big and was kicking up a storm in it and I was afraid he was going to break his ankles so we just put him in the normal tub with a shallow amount of water. So I would recommend getting this used if you can.
Bumbo Chair - We loved this since Nigel started using it even before he could sit on his own. He loved to be able to sit up and look around, and we used it as a high chair for a couple months too to feed him.
Toys - There are just so many toys already in existence... I think it is so easy to find them at garage sales, friend's basements and consignment sales. Also Nigel really just likes tupperware tops and wooden spoons and empty boxes, so... I don't love having lots of toys lying around.
Things you should register for:
Car Seat - You will want to get a new one since the regulations are always changing and apparently expire. So do some research and figure out what will work best for you and your car. Most hospitals have resources for you on proper installation.
Stroller - This one is so hard! We got a Baby Jogger City Zip Mini because it folds down so small. It also has a great travel bag, that we use to check it when we fly. We have really put it through the ringer though, and decided since we really use a stroller every day, and sometimes on really bumpy conditions, we needed an actual jogging stroller and purchased the Thule Urban Glide. It is bigger, bulkier and I wouldn't want to fly with it, but for every day use, I think it is going to treat us well. It is worth noting that pretty much any stroller has an attachment option for a baby car seat, so there is no need to get yet another stroller JUST for the car seat. We started putting Nigel in the normal stroller around 3 months, so you don't need to have a car seat stroller for all that long.
Travel Crib - A friend advised us to get a smaller travel crib, and we're glad we listened. We ended up with the Phil and Ted's version, which packs up small and fits in our car seat travel bag when we fly.
Car Seat Travel Bag - The best $34 we have spent to ease travel with a baby. It is padded, so protects your car seat, plus allows you to stuff a travel crib, extra diapers, and even the Bumbo seat into it. We check it at the Skycap at the airport so we don't have to see it again until we arrive at our destination.
Baby Carrier - I loved the Solly wrap when Nigel was smaller - it is so cozy to wear him around the house. As he got bigger, it was more comfortable to have a Lille Baby Carrier, which you can apparently use from the time they are a newborn if you want to simplify. If you live in Denver, the Mama'hood has a ton of options for you to try out and see what is best for you!
Swaddles (We liked Halo brand. They swaddle until about 4 months or so when they start rolling over, then wear sleep sack.)
Swaddling blankets (your baby will live in these for months)
Sleep sack (We love our Woolino sleep sack. Pricey, but they can use until they're 2, so good investment. Woolino keeps them warmer/cooler depending on temperature)
Nursing bras/tanks. (Nursing bras are soft/no underwire, and have easy access to boobs. I liked Bravado brand bras and just bought some tank tops from Target. You will wear these every day/night, so important to have. I'd also get a pumping bra so you can actually look at your phone or read while pumping)
Nursing Cover - (this doubles as a car seat cover, which is a nice way for people not to reach in and touch your baby if you're out and about. I like Milk Snob brand)
White Noise Machine (we like the Dohm brand - we take it with us everywhere!!!)
Nursing pillow - I like Breast Friend pillow. I never used my boppy... You spend a lot of time nursing those first few months, so it is nice to have a pillow to support the baby so you can relax.
Burp cloths - just cheap ones like these are fine.
Changing pad to put on a dresser (you don't need a separate changing table)
Crib/mattress/sheets - We got all of this at Ikea.
Diapers/wipes - add to your registry and if you are doing cloth diapers, you could register for credit to a diaper service! Our baby was in newborn diapers for about 2 weeks, so keep packages closed so you can go exchange them for a bigger size if you need to!
Towels/wash cloths/baby shampoo
Baby monitor (I don't use mine a ton anymore... but it is nice to have if we're outside and baby is asleep). Maybe get one that feeds to your phone?
Nose Frida (so gross, but so effective)
Bottles/bottle brush/drying rack
Baby books - you might suggest people bring a book instead of a card to your shower. Fun to start their library early!
I also love Zutano brand for booties that don't come off. Also have their hats and mittens.
I hope this is helpful and not overwhelming! What did I miss? Are there any essential items that every new mom should have?