Baby Must-Haves (and Don\’t-Needs) for Your Registry

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Register at a baby gear store and you may be given a list that's even longer than this one. Of course, they want you to buy everything they've got!

Try to keep in mind that all you really need for your baby is diapers, a place to sleep, and a blanket for bundling. That said, we know you're not living in the Stone Age. You deserve the accessories that will make your job as a parent easier—which is why we've compiled this baby registry checklist.

We've categorized must-have baby items as "necessities." Other baby things that you might appreciate (but some parents find to be a waste of money) are listed as "nice-to-haves." We also mention unsafe products that you should avoid in the nursery.

Using this checklist as a guide, you'll be able to discern between baby essentials and needless items, saving time and money as you prepare for parenthood.

Nursery Furniture

The necessities:

The nice-to-haves:

What you don't need: A secondhand crib. Get a new one for safety purposes instead.

Baby Linens

The necessities:

The nice-to-haves:

What you don't need: Pillows, sleep positioners, bumper pads, or mattress padding. All of these items increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and they should be kept out of the crib until your baby is at least one year old.

Babyproofing Gear

The necessities (after 4 months):

The nice-to-haves:

Formula-Feeding Gear

The necessities

The nice-to-haves:

What you don't need: A bottle warmer (heating in hot water takes the same amount of time) or a bottle proper (unless you have multiples; use it sparingly when you can't otherwise feed all the babies at once)

Breastfeeding Gear

The necessities:

The nice-to-haves:

Solid Food Feeding Gear

The necessities (not needed until 4 to 6 months):

The nice-to-haves:

Diapering Gear

The necessities:

The nice-to-haves:

What you don't need: A wipe warmer or a diaper stacker (though they're pretty)

chicco bravo trio travel system on colored background

Bathing and Grooming Gear

The necessities:

The nice-to-haves:

What you don't need: A baby-size robe. It's hard enough to get your baby dressed in their real clothes!

Baby Clothing

The necessities:

The nice-to-haves:

What you don't need: Shoes. Wait until your baby is walking outside (i.e., the toddler years).

Baby Travel Gear

The necessities:

The nice-to-haves:

What you don't need: A mirror to see your baby in the car; these can be a hazard if there's an accident. Also avoid secondhand car seats for safety reasons.

First Baby Toys

No necessities, but these baby items are nice-to-haves:

What you don't need: Car seat toy bars. These an added risk if there's an accident.

Baby Seats

The necessities:

The nice-to-haves:

What you don't need: A walker or a jumper. Get a stationary center instead, for safety reasons.

Baby Care Basics

The necessities:

The nice-to-haves:

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