When you’re compiling a registry, it’s sometimes a little too easy to fill it with all the big-ticket items. Sure, you’ve researched and picked out the perfect car seat. And you’ve got a crib and rocker that match perfectly with the decor you’ve chosen. You managed to choose the stroller that meshes with your inner sense of being. What else could you need, right?
It turns out, a lot. When you’re compiling your baby registry for the first time, there are sometimes items that are overlooked, but might just prove to be the things you’re the most grateful for on the day-to-day baby grind. Here are a few overlooked items that will make parenting life a little bit easier:
When you’re walking your little one around you’re going to want quick access to the essentials: your phone, some cash, your beverage, and extra pacifiers. A stroller organizer (a small pouch that straps onto the handles of your stroller) will allow you to have all those items (and more!) at a moment’s notice. No digging to the bottom of your diaper bag to find some money for that coffee you desperately need. You can have your water bottle and drink it, too.
When I first ventured into the baby gear world I couldn’t fathom why I would need a special “diaper” bag. What could be so special about them? Couldn’t I just use a big tote? The answer? Well, of course, you can because you are a strong independent parent with your own mind, but you’ll be one heck of a lot happier if you cave to the mommy gear pressure here.
Diaper bags and backpacks have lots of pockets. Lots of pockets. Imagine how many special pockets and pouches a bag can have, and now double it. That’s getting close to how many special little places you will have in a diaper bag. These special little nooks and crannies are perfectly sized to hold onesies, diapers, wipes, pacifiers, toys, wallets, and any other essential parenting essential you might want. Most diaper bags also come with a little changing mat, too.
If you plan on wearing your baby in a carrier a fair amount, do consider going the backpack route so you don’t have to hold your heavy diaper-and-wipes-laden bag in the nook of your arm over long distances. You can even get a more gender-neutral backpack so both parents can grab it and go at a moment’s notice and you won’t have to worry about what size diapers you have loaded in any given bag.
If you’re planning on breastfeeding and leaving the house at any point in your nursing journey you will probably need to pump at some point. Nobody (nobody) likes pumping, but a good pumping bra will at least allow you to have use of your hands while you do it. Pumping bras hold the pump in place for you. A good pumping bra will be comfortable and secure at the same time. Be sure to pick one that is adjustable to a few sizes since you will change shapes multiple times after giving birth.
Sure, you’ve spent months picking out the perfect crib…with the perfect finish…in the perfect color and everything is fine and dandy. However, equally (or more) important is the surface your baby will lie on for 16-17 hours/day. There are an endless array of options and materials (foam, innerspring, dual stage, organic, etc) to choose from but, ultimately, it’s your baby’s comfort that matters most. Don’t underestimate the value of a good crib mattress, it will last you through the toddler years!
Takeout gift certificates
Even if you have an abundance of friends and family who are willing to make you freezer meals after the baby arrives, sometimes you might just need to order out. Takeout gift certificates are a godsend to new parents and can provide you with some much-needed breaks from meal prep or frozen lasagna. Takeout services such as GrubHub, Seamless, Uber Eats, and Caviar all offer gift certificate options that can be a lifesaver for tired parents.
Car seat arm pad
Infant car seats are one of the great baby gear inventions of the last 20 or so years. Being able to tote around your littlest ones while they sleep away in their car seat without disturbing them is nothing short of a godsend. The problem, of course, is that those car seats get heavy fast. By the time you’ve lugged your precious little one from the car to the restaurant through the parking lot your arm is in legitimate pain. A little wrap-around pad on the top of the handle of the infant car seat might not make the seat lighter, but it will make it less painful. It might be a little win, but little wins are sometimes the wins that count the most.
If you live in a cold environment but still need to stroll your baby around in less-than-balmy weather, stroller mittens will be your best friends. These ingenious, incredibly warm mittens hook onto your stroller handles and stay put, allowing you unfettered access to your hands at a moment’s notice. Need to check your phone, adjust the baby’s blanket, or grab something out of your purse? No worries – just pop your hand out and then back in. Warm hands without any lost gloves? You’re a cold weather parenting wizard.
Taking care of a little human being is difficult (especially for those first-time parents!). It’s certainly normal and acceptable to feel overwhelmed with all the little essentials you have to buy in time. So take a deep breath and use your time wisely when it comes to researching your baby essentials – even the overlooked ones!
Taylor Wood is making it through motherhood with the grace of a camel on ice skates. Follow her journey at Motherhood – WHAT?!