The Ultimate Survivor Guide: 11 Things We WISH We Would Have Registered For

Becoming a first time parent is such a life changer, I felt the need to write a series of posts about it. This is the first…more to come!

The title for the past is long enough, but it could really read ‘things we wish we would have registered for (or items we registered for but didn’t receive).

We all know there are the ‘nice to haves’ the ‘must haves’ and the ‘don’t really need but want want want’ items on baby registry lists. Brace yourself, this list cuts the fat and talks a lot about boobs and milk, and the kind of mommy things people often like to ignore. Also, I provided links to the items we used, but this is by no means an endorsement (and no I don’t get anything for recommending these products).

1. Batteries batteries batteries. AAA and AA batteries especially. I cannot tell you how many jumbo-sized packs of batteries we have gone through.

2. Nursing tanks. I lived in nursing tanks the first few weeks. I had two and wished I had more because those first few weeks mom is a lot more likely to be ‘leaky’ and even if I can’t get a shower in, it’s nice to have clean clothes without having to do laundry. Which leads me to #3…
3. Nursing pads. Also something very useful to mom and something most people don’t gift because it’s not a cute tiny outfit. Disposables are ok, but I suggest some nice washable cotton ones, they were more comfortable. While we are on the subject of milk…

4. Milk storage bags/containers. When my milk came in I needed- no NEEDED- to pump! It was nice to be stocked with these ahead of time. Later in my postpartum life my plastic paranoia led me to storing milk in small glass mason jars. In retrospect I wish I would have built a larger freezer stock. So the disposable bags or (if your friend is plastic paranoid) a case of small mason jars are nice.

5. Extra nipples & bottles. Returning to work was an overwhelming experience with all new routines and chores. Again, I was plastic paranoid so I used glass bottles (the ActiveFlow® venting technology does use a plastic piece but at the time I was unaware of any completely plastic free bottle. I have since found Pura stainless bottles which use NO plastic and accept several brand of nipples if baby has a nipple preference but these also cost about 3 times the glass bottles and I wasn’t willing to replace my bottles). Initially I bought 3 smaller bottles because I was not sure if I’d need larger ones and my son was part-time in day care. I never found the need for larger bottles. I moved up to 6 bottles once my son was full-time in daycare and eventually found that 9 worked best. I often had to hand-wash nipples (until we got a much better dishwasher) so when we inherited extra nipples from a friend I couldn’t believe how much simpler it made my life.

6. Extra pump parts. Inheriting extra pump parts made my life so much easier! I could use the dishwasher every couple days instead of nightly hand washing. Eventually I made my pumping routine the most efficient by purchasing screw caps for the glass bottles, taking them to work and pumping into the plastic pump parts only to immediately transfer milk to glass. This was beneficial in so many ways- no only did it reduce plastic leaching into milk, it reduced the number of plastic collection containers to wash (only 2 instead of 6-8 a day) and made prepping bottles that much easier- the milk was already in them! I cannot stress that at a very minimum you should have an extra set of pump stuff to leave AT WORK. Eventually you will forget at least one component and this will save you a lot of stress (and maybe some tears).

7. Little glass containers with snap tops. Items for older baby are often overlooked. I received a set of 4 glass containers with snap-type tops (so they are air tight) and when my babe began solid foods these were awesome! I eventually ended up buying another 4 set. They are compact, leak proof and easy to clean.

8. Non-toxic car seat (& two bases). Yes, you read that correctly, a non-toxic car seat. I literally gave myself a rash after I learned the infant car seat we had for our son rated among the most toxic. It was something my baby used twice daily so it made sense to me that non-toxic is a must for this one. By the time I realized this was even an issue he was large enough for a lower weight convertible car seat so we made the switch to a convertible at that time.

9. Non-toxic baby care items. Did you know that Johnson & Johnson used formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane in some of their products eve just a couple years ago? Did you also know that they had formulations FREE of these ingredients already in use in other countries before they were available in the US, and that it took over two years of pressure from consumers for them to actually make changes? Crazy right? For years I’ve used the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) skin deep database to review my personal care products (they have an app for your phone too) so it probably should not have surprised me that I’d need to have the same vigilance for my baby’s products. Here is a link to a search on Healthy Child Healthy World about baby safe products. Babies with sensitive skin may also benefit from chlorine free diapers and non-toxic baby wipes.

10. Non-toxic toys. I used to roll my eyes at this kind of thing, really. But I was surprised to learn about the complete and utter lack of regulation when it comes to all things baby. We got a lot of hand me downs, and for the most part I tried not to freak out about my son using them though I did admittedly toss the soft rubber-ducky kinds of toys for fears they may contain phthalates and a few plastic teethes I wasn’t sure were BPA-free. After all he’s in daycare and I don’t have control over those toys. But moving forward, and getting new toys, do yourself a favor and ask people to get things that are free of toxins, here is a nice reference for the things to avoid and manufacturers who make nontoxic toys.

11. Wet bag. I didn’t even know these things existed, but a fellow mom friend gave me one at our baby shower. They are great for when the clothes get trashed- either by barf, pee, or poop. Especially poop! They are waterproof and reusable, you can wash ’em in your washer and everything. I used these a LOT at the beginning.

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