Today we’re NOT sharing anything related to photography. Instead, we’re sharing our must-haves for your baby registry list!
We first published this list when we had our first baby, but have since updated it now that we’ve had THREE BABIES!
Becoming parents is one of the best things that’s ever happened to us, and was also an introduction into an entirely new world of baby gear. We remember how OVERWHELMED we felt when we first sat down to start our baby registry list and realized we knew almost nothing about what we actually needed!
We’re certainly not experts by any means, but we’ve learned a lot welcoming three babies in five years! We have people in our personal life who are pregnant as FIRST-TIME PARENTS right now, and each of them started asking us things like, “Okay. What do I really need? What’s a waste? Which things are your favorite? Where do I start? Will you help me register?!” and we realized since we were already going to take the time to compile a baby registry list for them, there were probably some other parents-to-be out there we might be able to help too!
Our Top 25 Baby Registry List Must-Haves
1. Taking Cara Babies Online Newborn Sleep Class
7. Snooze Shade
8. UppaBaby Vista Stroller & Mesa Carseat
12. Tiny Meadow Days Sunny Stroll Stroller Arch
14. Pottery Barn Activity Play Mat
16. Willow Go Cord-Free Breast Pump
17. The Nose Frida
18. Bumbo Multi Seat with Tray
20. PATpat Pacifier
21. Ubbi Diaper Pail
22. Burt’s Bees Diaper Rash Cream
24. Burt’s Bees Baby Shampoo & Wash
So here are our recommended Top 25 Baby Registry List Must-Haves.
We split them into five main categories to hopefully make it easy to follow along! Starting with THE MOST important…. SLEEP!!
*Top 5 Sleep Essentials*
1. Taking Cara Babies Online Newborn Sleep Class
This is our NUMBER ONE recommendation for parents-to-be! We took this course when we were still pregnant with our first, so we could lay a solid sleep foundation from the start, and it was one of the best decisions we ever made. Beckett starting sleeping eight hours a night at eight weeks old and soon slept between 11 and 12 hours a night, and took two solid 90 minute naps a day (!!) THE DREAM. We implemented the Taking Cara Babies program with our other babies as well, and it’s truly been a life saver, especially as working parents. We’re well rested, are able to be so productive during work hours and have the ability to truly enjoy the time we have with our kids. We couldn’t have done this without Cara and her newborn course! She always points out they use sleep deprivation as a form of torture for a reason. Her class is the very first thing we tell our friends who are expecting about because it’s been the biggest key to ENJOYING life with a baby! A lot of these sleep products below are things we use to implement the things she taught us!
2. Ollie Swaddle
Newborns need to be swaddled TIGHT in order so sleep well on their backs (and stay asleep!). The Ollie Swaddle is designed with velcro to recreate that snug feeling they experience in the womb and keep them asleep, even with their strong newborn startle reflex. It’s the ONLY swaddle we ever needed, and the only one we would add to our baby registry list! We swaddled all three of our babies in these for every night and every nap until they could roll over. Then we transitioned to a Zippity Zip.
3. White Noise Machine + Baby Shusher
Our babies never go to sleep without their white noise machines on. It recreates the sound they hear in the womb and it helps block out surrounding noise (they’ve never waken up from the doorbell or the noise of siblings!) We like this one even though it’s pricey because it grows with their needs as they grow, and the volume range is better than on any other sound machine we’ve tried. As they become toddlers, it helps train your kids to know when it’s okay to get out of bed, when they need to keep sleeping and the entire thing can be controlled and programmed on your phone.
The Baby Shusher is a specific type of white noise machine that actually makes the “shhhhhh” sound for you! It truly sounds like a person saying “shhhh!” It creeped us out when we first heard it, but it totally helps our kids fall asleep. The Baby Shusher is also so small and portable that we used to throw it in our diaper bag any time we ran errands when he was in the newborn stage and turn it on low volume to get him to sleep in his carseat at the grocery store, and nobody even noticed.
If we had to choose only one, the white noise machine is most important because you can use it all night. The shusher goes off automatically after about thirty minutes, but we’ve really liked being able to use both!
4. Footed Pajamas that ZIP
Zippers!!! We can’t even tell you how much we love jammies with ZIPPERS! In those first few months of life when you’re changing their diaper in the middle of the night, jammies with zippers become your best friend. They’re SO much easier than snaps, and when you’re exhausted and it’s pitch black, you’ll never love these zippers more. We learned you don’t really need to add clothes to your registry because people are so excited to buy cute baby outfits that they’re going to do it whether they’re on your registry or not, but jammies with zippers is a must-have! Bonus points if they’re are two zippers or one inverted one! Our favorite soft ones are these ones from Kyte Baby.
We weren’t planning on sleeping with our newborn in our bed (we had a beautiful bassinet ready to go!) but as soon as our first baby was born, we were still at the birth center when Amy said with a brand new Beckett on her chest, “I think I understand why people co-sleep now! The first few weeks, we love having a way to have our babies between us in bed that still created a safe barrier (i.e. no chance of rolling onto them!) Once they start sleeping longer stretches at night (thanks Cara!) we move to the Dock-a-Tot in our Halo Bassinest, and it’s such a seamless transition. Our favorite thing about the Dock-a-Tot was how portable it was. In their first few weeks of life, we bring it wherever we are, so they can sleep in the kitchen while we were eating, for example, and as they get a little older, we’d bring it to our family and friends’ houses so they could have the same “nap setup” everywhere we went! When our first girl was born, we sprung for the floral cover. Couldn’t help ourselves!
1. Baby Bjorn Travel Crib
It’s no secret we travel a lot! Beckett took six round trip flights in his first six months of life! We registered for this one specifically because the whole thing FITS IN A SUITCASE! We repeat: IT FITS IN A SUITCASE!! If you’ve ever seen people traveling with traditional pack n’plays, you know why this is such a big deal! Even the mattress folds up in there! We can’t even tell you how many DMs we got on Instagram the first time we showed this photo of Beckett with all our bags to shoot Megan and Joe’s wedding in Wisconsin. If you’re planning on traveling (even if it’s just a road trip to stay with family!) this thing is so convenient it’s worth the extra bucks and definitely an item not to leave off of your baby registry list! It’s lasted well for all three kids!
2. Snooze Shade
We learned about this blackout cover for the pack ‘n’ play from Cara and we can’t go a day without it anymore! Sharing a room with a baby (especially on the road!) can be so inconvenient, but this breathable cover keeps it dark for baby to sleep and prevents them from seeing us! We love it so much that now we don’t just use it for traveling, we ended up using it in rooms with windows at home! Beckett didn’t sleep in a regular crib at all because he slept way longer in this thing!
3. UppaBaby Stroller & Carseat
We wanted a stroller that would grow with us, which is why we invested in the UppaBaby, because you can pile three kids of different ages on it. It worked great with one baby because it’s able to convert from a bassinet for walks with a newborn around the neighborhood and worked seamlessly with the infant carseat. As your family grows, it has the option to add an aditional “big kid” seat and a kick stand for your oldest to stand on, so you can stroll three kids on it at once! We also got the accompanying travel bags to check the carseat and stroller on flights (those things fly free on every airline!) and we’re so glad we did. The first time we flew, our carseat was damaged. Because we bought the travel bag, UppaBaby REPLACED our car seat no questions asked! It’s definitely expensive, but we looked at it as a one-time investment that has lasted us many years and through three babies! If you’re adding a stroller and car seat to your baby registry list, this is the set we would highly recommend!
We have the UppaBaby Vista Stroller with the Mesa Carseat
4. Infantino Baby Carrier
We tried lots of different wraps and baby carriers (even some really expensive ones!) but ultimately loved this super affordable $29 Infantino 4-in-1 one the very most. It’s lightweight, easy to quickly get the baby in and out, and because our babies love facing out (and don’t have much tolerance for facing in once they’re past the newborn stage) the way this one carries has just worked super well for us. It’s the most affordable, convenient, reliable carrier we’ve used!
5. Boppy Elephant Lounger
This isn’t technically a “travel” item, but this Boppy Elephant Lounger does help us “travel” quickly around our house the first few months of each baby’s life! Before they can sit on their own, it’s just really nice to have a quick and easy way to plop your newborn down wherever you are. We use our lounger as the “docking station” before and after bath time, And before he was rolling over, we used to use it to keep him ext to us when we were eating, working or getting ready! If you have the Baby Bjorn bouncer (also linked right below this) then this one isn’t a must-have, but it’s definitely a nice-to-have.
*Top 5 Entertainment Essentials*
1. Baby Bjorn Bouncer Seat
This Baby Bjorn Bouncer is one of our MOST USED baby items in the first year! It allows us to set our babies down, keep them close by, and (in conjunction with the Meadow Friends Stroller Arch listed below) keep them entertained and secure when we need to do basic things… like eat… and shower! It’s not easy to travel with, but we do it anyway because it’s such a lifesaver. When they kick their feet, the seat bounces itself, which they love. This bouncer is definitely a must-have for your baby registry list!
2. Meadow Friends Stroller Arch
This stroller arch is also one of our most used items! All three of our kids have been fascinated by it. It attaches to all kinds of things: strollers, carseats, and most importantly for us, the bouncer seat described above! Not sure we’d ever get a meal or a shower in without it! Maybe the best $20 bucks we’ve ever spent!
3. Mr. Moose
This was Beckett’s number one carseat buddy. He easily smushes into our diaper bag and is the best on-the-go toy we have. So many great textures and noises. Beckett LOVED this thing! Mr. Moose’s real name is “Lamaze Mortimer the Moose,” but we’ll stick with Mr. Moose!
4. Activity Play Mat
We created this beautiful neutral nursery so we wanted an activity play mat that would go with it. We found this mat from Pottery Barn that was a perfect fit, and surprisingly priced about the same as most other activity mats we saw. We learned pretty quickly that if it was Beckett’s choice, everything in our house would be BRIGHT ORANGE, so we still can’t say for sure whether we’d get this one again (and just keep hanging bright, colorful things from it) or just get a bright colored one to begin with! At this point, our house is full of multi-colored rainbow contraptions. Either way, an activity mat is a great one to add to your baby registry list to keep your baby entertained independently before they can sit up.
5. Rainforest Jumperoo
Did we mention we love soft, neutral things?! Haha this rainforest jumperoo is straight out of our millennial nightmares. It’s giant. It’s rainbow. It takes up half our living room. But we’d get it again in a heartbeat because it’s given us hours of productivity and our babies can’t get enough of it! The key with this specific one is they can jump in it. There are lots of different “excersaucers” out there, but make sure you get one that they can JUMP in! The jumping component is EVERYTHING. They get out so much energy and LOVE being in there, and WE love how much work we can get done!
* Top 5 Nursing/Feeding Essentials *
1. Willow Go Breast Pump
After using a traditional pump with Beckett, we invested in this pump because it’s a TOTAL GAME CHANGER for pumping photographers (or any working mama or mama on the go!) As a wedding photographer, finding time to pump on a wedding day feels nearly impossible, but with the Willow Go, you can literally PUMP WHILE YOU WORK! It’s discreet enough that most of our clients don’t even notice when Amy wears them in her bra while shooting, and it allows her to make the most of every minute. Not only has it been a game changer professionally, once we had multiple kids, the ability to pump on the move and care for/play with the other kids is SO invaluable! Now we wonder how we ever lived without one! Highly recommend!
2. The Nose Frida
This might be the grossest thing we do as parents, but when you have a congested baby who is waking up crying because they can’t breathe, you’ll do anything for the relief. This thing is SO effective at clearing baby/toddler congestion. When Beckett was about two, he named the Nose Frida “The Snotter” and that name has stuck in our house ever since. The kids HATE The Snotter. Picture tha scene in Monster’s Inc. when they suck the screams out of children, that’s our house during a Nose Frida session, but afterwards, they feel SO much better.
3. Bumbo Seat with Tray
Once Becks could sit up and we introduced solids, the bumbo seat became our best friend! He can play in it on the ground, and it helped him learn how to sit, but our favorite thing about it is we can easily feed him wherever we are (the kitchen counter, the dinner table etc.) and it’s easier to move around than the high chair. Bonus: it’s easy to clean! It’s lightweight and an easy way to include your baby at the table.
5. The PATpat Pacifier/Teether
Our baby does NOT take a pacifier. We repeat: does NOT take a pacifier! We tried EVERY brand trying to find one he would like, but he’s made it pretty clear that sucking on a pacifier just isn’t his thing. Luckily, we found THIS pacifier on Amazon, and it’s been a total lifesaver. He won’t use it like a regular pacifier, but it’s the best way for him to self-soothe teething pain, and he LOVES it! He gnaws on all the sides and it brings him so much relief!
* Top 5 Diapering & Bath Essentials *
1. Ubbi Diaper Pail
We did so much research on the best diaper pail (haha add that to our list of things we never expected to google!) and this one came away the winner. The Ubbi done an awesome job of locking in the scent and keeping the house smelling good, and the reason we really love it is because you can use ANY type of trash bags! So it’s saved us SO much money already not having to purchase expensive bags specific to a diaper pail brand.
2. Burt’s Bees Diaper Rash Cream
We’ve tried a few different natural brands, and nothing works better than this stuff! We keep the Burt’s Bees Diaper Rash Ointment in our diaper bag and one by his changing pad.
3. Mama Bear Diapers
We’ve tried A LOT of natural diapers, and these Mama Bear diapers are our favorite when factoring in the natural category at a reasonable price per diaper and absorption. People love to bring diapers to baby showers, so include these on your baby registry list to be sure you get the ones you like 🙂
4. Burt’s Bees Baby Soap/Shampoo
We’re Burt’s Bees fans over here for all things baby soap! Love the way he smells after a bath! The baby bath we have isn’t available anymore, but we loved having one that helped us make sure the water temperature wasn’t too hot!
5. Baby Nail Clippers
We never could’ve known how quickly Becks would grow (and regrow!) death claws! Haha! BUY TWO! Losing them is the worst!
*BONUS* Our Online Shooting & Editing Course
Okay, so this is a shameless plug, but we had to include our online Shooting & Editing Course on this baby registry list because we have SO MANY NEW MAMAS who enroll! So many of our students buy a nice camera to be able to capture beautiful memories of their babies and quickly realize that the pictures they’re taking do NOT look the way they were hoping in their head! It’s frustrating and intimidating and disappointing, and a lot of people end up putting their cameras on a shelf. That’s who we’re here to help!
We designed this course to be able to walk someone brand new to photography step-by-step through our entire process for creating images we love in-camera and editing them faster than ever before. Even though a lot of our students who enroll have plans to make photography a part-time or full-time career (and they do!) we have just as many students who don’t even consider themselves “photographers” and don’t WANT to make it a career, they just want a lifelong skill that will allow them to capture beautiful memories of the people they love the most.
Here’s a few before and after photos taken by our students. On the left, before the course, on the right, after the course.
Before & after photos taken by Kimberly in North Carolina
Before & after photos taken by Gina in California
Before & after photos taken by Danielle in Minnesota
Photos of our course students’ children taken by them!
We love hearing what our current students have to say:
We’d love to have you join us!
We hope you found this post helpful when it comes to what to include on your baby registry list! This is such a special season and we’re so excited for everything you have ahead! Just in case you want a quick list all together, we included it below!
We used the same Mr. Moose toy. I clearly remember one day when I held it up for my son and I said, “the moose says…”
I quickly realized I didn’t know the sound a moose makes. What did parents do before smart phones? I had to look it up. In case you find yourself wondering a moose sounds like a mix between a cow’s moo and a bear’s growl.
Hahaha! We actually didn’t know that either!
Love your list! The one thing I wish you’d done differently is to title item #14 just “Activity Mat” instead of “Pottery Barn Activity Mat.” I see you’ve done that already in the text, but a lot of busy parents-to-be don’t read that far! They trust you so much (as well they should with your combination of impeccable taste and seriously practical good sense) that they’ll just copy and paste your list without reading the text.
You discovered the problem with the Pottery Barn version, but it’s not sure you understand why. When babies are born what they see is contrast. At one point people thought the only colors they could see were black, white, and red, but what they were really seeing super clearly was the high contrast. The Pottery Barn Activity Mat is the last activity mat I’d ever recommend, because baby can’t see it!
For you, live and learn. For your followers, why not re-name item #14? And you’ll have (from my point of view anyway) an absolutely perfect list that will do just what you want: save so much time, energy, and wasted money and give so much time, energy and joy.
Thanks for your list!
Thank you for your suggestion! We’re so glad you enjoyed our list!