24 weeks pregnant: The hell that is the baby registry.

24 weeks pregnant: The hell that is the baby registry.

Now that we know we are expecting a baby boy, there has been a bit of talk in the family about throwing us a baby shower. I’m alright with the concept of showers for a few reasons.

1. They’re fun to go to and ogle the teeny, tiny baby things, especially if the mom-to-be is someone you love. I’ve hosted showers for expectant friends before and it’s really a lot of fun and it feels wonderful to support them.
2. CAKE.
3. The baby is going to need a lot of stuff, and while we’ve been picking up lots of little onesies and t-shirts and little shoes and slippers at consignment stores and yard sales, there is more to get than we can manage on our own right now. A little help is appreciated.
4. Hello, First Time Mom here. I don’t know everything. In fact, I know almost nothing when it comes to this baby business. Having a shower means I get to tap into the resources of other moms.
5. Did I mention cake?

I went online to look at a few baby registries and thought that Amy‘s Weekly Pregnancy Calendar over at Alpha Mom would be a good place to start, since she wrote a good deal there about what to buy now and what can wait until later. (Amy also gave me some good baby advice in Chicago, which was not at all assvice, and which I appreciated immensely.)

The first item I checked out was baby bottles. There are nine thousand brands, shapes, styles, materials, nipple sizes, etc. to choose from. I sighed, and decided to put bottles on the shelf and move onto the next item: breast pads. There were only a few listed on this particular website and I didn’t recognize any of them as the kind that Katie recommended while we were looking at baby stuff at Target somewhere in the middle of Michigan last week. Moving on to bibs. Yes! Cute bibs! For boys! A 10-pack! At a reasonable price! DONE. I can cross one item off the “baby needs” list.

Why is this all so baffling? How am I supposed to know which bottles the baby will like to use? How am I supposed to know what kind of breast pump will work for me? And why the hell doesn’t Shopper’s Drug Mart have a baby registry? There is a ton of stuff we’ll need to buy there.

So, I’m putting the word out. I need your help, readers. I need your product recommendations, pronto. Help a First Time Mom out, would you? Tell me what items you consider must-haves, what items I should just skip and what items are just nice-to-haves.

Most women see a first-time-mom browsing the aisles of the baby stores and leap at the chance to tell her why she should or shouldn’t buy something…so pretend we’re at Babies ‘R Us, okay? And pounce. I’m giving you the go-ahead.

Trying on maternity jeans.

(Just in case you need a blurry belly shot for inspiration.)

ALSO!  Have you read my latest post at Aiming Low?  It’s called Pregnancy: I’m Doing it Wrong.  Today marks the start of our Three-Day Weekend over there and some fantastic writers from around the internet are featured today!  Go, read them.

31 thoughts on “24 weeks pregnant: The hell that is the baby registry.

  1. If you’re going to try breastfeeding at first, you probably don’t need a lot of bottles early on. Either way sometimes it’s best to do a trial of 2-3 kinds just to find out which the baby prefers. Most are pretty similar anyway. We used to Born Free ones this time around. They’re easy to clean but Moose still chews on them more than sucks on them.

    Wow I’m not helpful.

    Baby!!!!

  2. I’m having the same problem now! Several of my friends talk about these things they bought and then had to go out and buy a completely different brand of it because the baby hated the first brand. And then another friend says “oh no, I loved Brand A!”. A friend of mine is making a bottle “sampler pack” for us to try out so we will know what kinds there are and be able to stock up once we know what we (and our unborn son) likes.

    But I’m curious what everyone else has to say too.

  3. @Maria yes, the plan is to breastfeed from the beginning, so you’ve got a good point when you say we could probably wait to pick out bottles. What do you think about glass bottles? Too heavy?

    @Genie what a nice friend you have to put that together for you! Here’s hoping we can collect a lot of good information here.

  4. The best way to go about things is to real think about how you want to do things and then take it from there.

    Are you going breast or bottle? Are you going to co sleep, use a bassinett or start off with a crib? Etc. Having a good idea of what you want will help aim you in the direction of what you will ultimately need. Babies r us online has a long list of registry suggestions to give you an idea of kind of decisions you should be making.

    Other than that, I can tell you from my experience, my kids have each had a different kind of bottle. None have ever refused to any one type. Batteries are expensive. If you have the opportunity to get a swing, monitor, etc. that you can plug into the wall, get it. You’ll save about a zillion dollars. Digital video monitors are great, but usually interfere with wireless internet. The “Diaper Genie” does not keep smells away any better than any other diaper pail. Travel systems are super convenient. Don’t get a lot of newborn clothes. They only go up to 8 pounds and your baby may weigh more than that when they are born. Get some though, because a 6 pound baby looks like it’s drowning in 0-3 month clothes.

    Hope this helps you out a little.

  5. There is no way for your to know what bottles your baby would like. Medela bottles are compatible with their breastpumps (which check your insurance, you might be covered for a breastpump and they will give it to you brand new right there in the hospital)

    We bought a few differnt kinds of bottles to try. I personally find the “drop in liners” to be more of a pain and not really save time, etc. You have to buy refills which is lots of trash and still have to wash the nipples, etc

    You can never have enough Gerber organic birdeye cloth diapers to use as burpcloths and I CANNOT stress this enough. You will use them for everything.

    I could go on and on, but I anticipate a lot of people posting on here with suggestions.

    Congrats! You look great! and GOOD LUCK!

  6. Oh and I want to echo Jennifer on the Diaper Genie! You will pass out from the “fumes” that thing lets off when it’s time to empty. I can feel a baby barf coming just thinking about it.

  7. You know you just opened the door to a whole lot of assvice, right? Here comes mine 🙂

    Shoppers Drug Mart is too expensive – you can get what they have there at any grocery store for a lot cheaper. I know they give points and stuff but unless it’s on sale (they do have good sales sometimes), stay away.

    First time I used Avent bottles, second time I used Born Free because you know if the Harper government is worried about BPA we’d better all be bloody worried about it. I agree with others – wait on the bottle thing, figure out what you are doing first and then you’ll have a better idea after he arrives.

    Batteries – get lots from the dollar store. Never used a Diaper Genie – instead a bin with a foot pedal lid. Sprinkle with disinfectant like tea tree oil and it’s not too smelly.

    This of course doesn’t help you at all with the registry! How lame of me. Err, stick to toys and clothes and big ticket items like stroller/wrap or carrier/crib or bassinet/bouncy seat, etc.

  8. BAAHAHAHAHAHAHA Oh, how I remember this and guess what? I didn’t have the internet! My sister in law just had a baby and we shopped at Target for her– I got a little carried away. The stuff is so dang cute I can’t stand it. We went to visit and she was using one of her nursing pads as a coaster. BAHAHAHAHA So, there you go. Make sure you have extra:) You are getting some cool advice from the othe bloggers. It’s better than flying by the seat of your pants!

  9. I bought some glass bottles but I never ended up using them. I could probably ship them to you if you wanted them, since Moose is already at the HEY CAN I FLING THIS?!?!?! stage.

  10. Ear plug…I highly recommend them…why everyone complains they can’t sleep with a new baby is beyond me. They’re just not prepared.

  11. Oh geez. The baby registry. Nightmare is putting it lightly. I tried to set one up online in three different places (because who has the time or energy to go to the store when you’re pregnant?) and finally just threw together a spreadsheet with some ideas and put it in google docs and sent the link to my friend who was setting up my shower. Any doubles/triples/extras/stuff I didn’t use I donated to a women’s shelter or basics for babies. It worked. And then I wrote a post about trying to set up registries.

    Do not go to Shoppers. Superstore (Loblaws, back east I think), Zellers, Walmart, etc. are all cheaper and its the same stuff.

    Anyways, bottles. We use the Playtex Dropins. If you want to try before you buy, go to the playtex website and sign up and they’ll send you a free one complete with liners. It’ll have a latex nipple but you can buy silicone ones for next to nothing at any store that sells baby stuff. We tried the avent bottles, but the Poptart is a gulper, and she got way too much air so that she was foaming everywhere like she had rabies. The liners collapse so she gets less air. Also if you go to all the formula company websites and sign up, they’ll send you coupons and free stuff. The diaper companies too.

    If you’re going to breastfeed, you want a nursing pillow. You’ll also want a comfortable chair for your nursery, preferably one that you can snooze in. My parents recently bought me a glider and it is a godsend for my back (although I’ve used it twice because its been so hot here in Vancouver and I’m sleeping downstairs with her).

    If you want to cloth diaper, you might want to put cloth diapers on your registry. Or a trial. I have some sites that offer trials of various kinds of diapers if you want. Also, I have a load of coupons for huggies so if you want some (some expire in December) I can mail them to you.

    What you will need clothing wise: onesies and sleepers in various sizes. He’ll outgrow the newborn sizes in about 3 seconds. That’s all you need for the first six weeks. People will buy you clothes anyways. Living in Ontario and having a due date late in the year, you might want a warm covering for the carseat (Jolly Jumper makes one).

    Breastpads are well, breastpads as far as I’m concerned. My favourites are the kushies reusable ones (6 for about $8 out west here). I bought a mega box of generic disposables for the hospital and still have them.

    And it’s never bad to ask for a spa certificate for yourself so you can get a pedicure before or a massage after. 🙂

  12. Balls, there’s no good place to start.

    If you’re breast-feeding, get some GOOD quality boobie pads. Some like the washable, but they were useless on me. I like the Lansinoh brand over any other.

    Bottles are really hit/miss. We went through 8-10 brands w/ both of mine and Claire only took the cheepos (score!). Same w/ pacifiers

    Make sure you have a travel swing. A MUST.

    Start buying diapers now. Like, go buy some today. And if you think you have too many, you don’t.

  13. You may not need bottles at all. Do you intend to breastfeed? I never used a bottle with my second – one less thing to wean him off of. If you do intend to bottle feed, I’d wait and see.

    As for breast pumps, it really just depends on how much you intend to pump. If you intend to pump and bottle feed, an electric one (I hear the medela one is good) would be your best choice. If you just need one for the occasional milk storage, then a hand pump would be fine (I have the Avent Isis, and it was fine. Used it only twice with my second, more with my first).

    Other things that are must haves? Besides some clothes, I would recommend the miracle blanket. Truly miraculous, worked amazing for both my boys, and I give them as gifts.

    Otherwise, to be honest, I’d avoid all the kitchy stuff, and just wait and see. We got so much that people said were “must haves” that really weren’t. A structured or unstructured carrier is good (I have a pouch which I LOVED when my second was a baby, didn’t like the wrap. Also have an ERGO carrier which is a lifesaver when they are a bit older/heavier).

    Good luck! And enjoy the ride!

  14. See, here we go with conflicting advice. One person says don’t use disposable liners, another says they’re great (I loved them too). I never once needed a breastpad and I breastfed both my kids for a year each.

    You just never know. So my advice is this: Keep receipts and don’t wash more than a couple outfits ahead of time. Keep the receipts for diapers – tape them to the package. Kids grow fast and you might need to exchange them. Steal a blanket or 2 from the hospital. I have never found a better receiving blanket. Most of the blankets you buy are going to be too small pretty quick. If you have a sewing machine, fold the edges over a couple times on a 1 yard square piece of flannel and sew them.

    Babies really don’t need much. Really. The only thing that was an absolute must for me was a decent indigo night light so you could see if a diaper needed changed in the night without having a light on.

  15. Oh yes.

    Wait on the bottles: don’t need them right away probably.

    Breastpads: LANSINOH!!! They’re kinda filled with the same stuff that disposable diapers are, so that they swell up when they get wet, but your skin stays dry. Believe me, I tried a lot of breastpads, and these ones KICKED ASS. All the rest technically did the job, but left my boobs wet and gross all day. Yuck.

    We needed: a million receiving blankets — flannel squares, some smaller and some bigger. Always useful for wiping up barf, or covering your shoulder, or perpetrating The Swaddle (aka, ‘the baby burrito’). Munchkin lived in onesies for three months. Your boy will probably need a lot of sleepers, because he’s be a fall baby. If you see them on sale, stock up on diaper wipes, because you will use a million of them, and the baby won’t grow out of them and they don’t go bad. If you’re going to get clothes, maybe get the three month size, and only one or two newborn things; remember, when Munchkin was born, she was 9 pounds and 22 inches long. None of the newborn stuff fit her. That’s more common than you might think …

    We used the sling right away, but didn’t use the front pack carrier.

    Don’t need: baby shoes, toys, crib bumpers, fancy gizmos on the playpen. Don’t need a snowsuit, because you’ll just carry him around bundled in blankets over the carseat. Definitely don’t need boots.

    Basically, lot of flannel blankets lots of baby jammies, maybe a sling, definitely some wipes.

  16. Oh, if you’re planning to nurse, start buying nursing bras now as your boobs get bigger. I loved the Bravado line. I bought probably three different sizes during my pregancy as I grew into and then out of them, and then another giant-er one once I gave birth. Then, as I lost weight and got used to breastfeeding, I just wore the sizes back down. So I felt like I got more use out of the bras, you know? Wore them on the way up, and on the way down.

  17. Back again. Have to totally agree with the car seat covers. Having babies in September and January, they were a lifesaver. Never used the snowsuits because of it. And never used baby shoes, socks were enough.

    I didn’t like the flannel blankets. Most of them were too small to swaddle my kids. We went with the biggest cotton or fleece we could find with the second and bought the swaddle blankets with the velcro with the last one. She’s almost 7 months and still uses them.

    More than anything else, register for gift cards, if you can. You never know what you’ll need a couple months down the line. Even if you end up having everything you need, you can use them for diapers, formula, cute clothes, etc.

  18. Just to throw a fly in the breastpad ointment, I thought Lansinoh pads were HORRIBLE. They HURT MY BOOBS and they stuck to my chest and … gross. No no no no no. NO.

    I loved Johnson & Johnson. They were soft, and just as absorbent. Try them all, but don’t buy too many. You never know if you’ll even need them. Breastfeeding was easy for me, so I wasted a lot of money and registry space on things like Soothies, nipple cream and other stuff for hurty boobs. My boobs never hurt. So don’t panic about that, but have the basics on hand and not much else. You CAN get the rest if you must.

    My kid hated the swing. So that was awesome, but thank God it was a hand me down.

    I recommend getting a good bouncy seat. It’s the best place to put a kid down when you want to see them, but not put ’em on the floor.

    As for the rest, you really need so very little I swear. My only real piece of assvice? DO get some bottles now. For starters, things may not go exactly as planned, and if you’re in the throes of the emotional postpartum time, you’re not going to want to haul your ass out to get them. Just one or two is fine, and yes, I recommend the Playtex ones, as they have the most natural latch, if you want to switch from boob to bottle. It’s the only kind Sam will come CLOSE to using. But! Your mileage may vary. Every kid is different.

    And here’s the ass part: If you want to bottle feed pumped milk at all (and as an exclusive bfing mama with a baby who doesn’t take one, I must insist that you at least CONSIDER it), DO NOT START LATER THAN FOUR TO FIVE WEEKS. Even the most die-hard of breastfeeding support people will tell you this (my IBCLC was a bit of a dope here) on places like Kellymom. And there is no guarantee that even then that your baby will take a bottle at all.

    I waited until six weeks. You see where this is going. I love breastfeeding — LOVE — but sometimes it sure would be nice to get my hair colored, you know what I’m saying?

    If you don’t want to at all, that’s also cool. I just wish that I had done it earlier. Ditto the pacifier, as I am now the human pacifier, 24/7.

    Anyway. Let’s see … oh, the clothes. Don’t get too many, people are right about that. A few of each size is fine, and have a FEW newborn on hand, as yes, they outgrow it fast, but yes, a newborn is swimming in a 0-3 month, and it’s scary to see them all swimming in giant onesies. And really, all you need are onesies and a couple footed pajamas. Sam never liked the footed pajamas, but wore ’em during the day before she was swaddled.

    I’m so excited for you.

    Oh! And finally: be prepared for no one to buy anything off of your registry. Two baby showers, and I only got THREE items off of mine. But a lot of other great stuff I didn’t know I needed.

  19. Hi Amy! Congratulations! I am a mom as well and have been through the registry nightmare! I opened up my own online store last year and I carry organic, natural and non-toxic products for mom baby and child. I also offer a registry on the site so that you can choose all of the safe wonderful products for the rest of your pregnancy and for your new baby!

    When it comes to bottles you want to be sure that what you choose is chemical free (BPA, phthalates etc.) You can get this type of bottle both in plastic and glass form. It’s a matter of preference.

    Good luck and enjoy the rest of your pregnancy! You will miss that bump when it is gone 🙂

  20. Have you considered wool nursing pads? I started with paper pads with my first daughter and discovered wool pads a few months after she was born. I would never go back to paper again!

    http://www.parentingbynature.com/products.php?cat=84

    And I agree about the bottles – best to wait until a few weeks after birth. A nursing relationship is such a wonderful experience that it’s usually best to avoid any other type of bottle or pacifier until this is well established.

    Good luck!

  21. Wow…I am, at a loss here. So much advice! Some conflicting, a few of you coming to a consensus on a couple of things. Thank you, everyone for your heartfelt advice!

  22. I’m just going to tell you what worked for me and why. Your mileage may vary. 😉

    Book: Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn by Penny Simpkin. Straightforward info about the whole process that I didn’t find anywhere else.

    Bottles: With my first we had some Avents and we gave her the first ones at about 3 weeks. (I worked OTH.) They were great. My second never took a bottle. Or a binky. They gagged her. Good thing I was working at home at that point!

    Breast Pump: I liked my Pump In Style, but that was 6 years ago so I don’t know if they’re the same quality now. Second time around my boobs wouldn’t give up much of anything. Again, good thing I was working at home.

    Swing: Used it all the time with the first, not so much with the second. Never had a travel swing.

    Sling: I have a very short torso. I hated Maya Wrap, loved New Native. Used it much more with the second, which is probably why we didn’t use the swing as much.

    Stroller: Graco, the big one. Still use it, though it looks pretty worn.

    Ergo backpack: Got it when the first was about 18 months and got tons of use out of it. In fact, the 3 yo was in it a few weeks ago, on my husband’s back.

    Diapers: My first, we used 7th Gen b/c she couldn’t tolerate the chemicals and bleached paper. My second we used cloth, hemp inserts with Happy Heinys, mainly. I wish someone had told me how easy it is to wash diapers, and how much cheaper. It wasn’t until I saw other working moms do it that I decided I could deal. And I did. It was fine.

    Clothes in general: We borrowed or got a lot of hand-me-downs. After I had to buy clothes on my own I found a great consignment store in a ritzy ‘hood that had a good supply of Hanna Andersson clothes. They’re great b/c they’re cut wide and the sizes are for the height of your kid in cm so they always fit. And they’re cute. And because they’re high quality buying second-hand works fine.

    Helpful advice/tactics: mothering.com. It’s a community that is incredibly rich and knowledgeable and helped me believe in my own instincts. It can also get very freaky very fast but if you stay out of the fray you can get your questions answered pretty quickly and with love. If you decide to check it out you’ll figure out which forums to avoid.

    Those are the things I can remember. Oh, there’s one more, and here’s my piece of possible assvice (I can’t help it):

    Take care of your nutrition.

    If you get edema, up your protein intake (I was advised to 80g a day) and salt to taste. I didn’t do this the first time and was so uncomfortable. The second time I didn’t swell, unless I didn’t eat enough protein.

    Make sure you get enough iron. Floradix is a great food-based source.

    And if you find yourself getting depressed or anxious check out the book The Mood Cure. It’s all about treating mood problems with food and amino acids.

    I throw this in, even though you didn’t ask, because you can have all the baby shit in the world that supposedly makes your life easier but if YOU aren’t well none of that matters.

  23. I know squat about what you need for the baby but I just had to tell you, you look *SO* adorable with that little boy-baby bump!!!!

  24. If you are breastfeeding, you need a Bobby pillow for sure, and an nursing stool for your feet. And Soothies gel packs for your nips. Buy stock in those bad boys. They can be pricey, but my glider chair has been awesome and if you are planning on having another kid, you’ll get a lot of use out of it. Swaddle Me baby swaddlers saved my life with both boys. Also, you are going to need lots of diapers. Start buying them now, all different sizes, whenever you see them on sale.
    The book, Happiest Baby on the Block? Buy it. Read it. LIVE IT.

  25. that’s a BoPPy pillow, not Bobby.

    OH, and for clothes, just get a lot of zip-up sleepers. The button up ones are for suckers. The zippers make late night diaper changes much easier.

  26. @jenni, Thanks, I got a Boppy pillow for free at a yard sale so I’m all set there. We also have a glider which we’re planning to use, and we’ve started to buy diapers. Good to know about the zippers. Thanks again!

  27. Congratulations!

    I have a one month old. Here’s what’s proven invaluable:

    Sleepers – in all sizes. We had to go out and get stuff in newborn/0-3 size because all of our stuff that we had been given was too big. We also like having enough sleepers to use at least one a day in case of poopsplosions, etc.

    Receiving/swaddling blankets. Our favourites for swaddling are cotton jersey ones with some stretch – they allow us to get a nice tight swaddle. Flannel ones don’t work well for swaddling but they do work well for cuddling.

    Because I had breastfeeding and supply issues at the very start – I was very glad to have already purchased a pump (medela freestyle – love it) and some born free bottles. Not everyone will need these and I hope your BFing experience goes great so you don’t need them – but for me it was a lifesaver to already have this stuff.

    I bought one of these slings http://www.gorgeousbaby.ca/ about a week after she arrived. It’s been a godsend. she LOVES it. I would definitely recommend a sling – great mommy/baby closeness and arms free to boot.

    Wipes – either stock up on a brand you like, or get a cloth wipes warmer contraption. You’ll need these for sure.

    Other than that – I found there was nothing else we “needed”. A lot of stuff will be trial and error and no point spending a fortune on things you don’t know if you’ll need yet, KWIM?

    Good luck. It’s so amazing.

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