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23 practical baby products to add to your registry, according to first-time moms

Practicality beats social media vibes when it comes to baby necessities.
Two pregnant woman outside
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Years before my pregnancy test went from minus to plus, I was nesting for my baby. Like most first-time moms, I had pinned several crafty and whimsical versions of a nursery for my future son or daughter. I envisioned a custom bassinet shaped like the moon, handmade out of old rustic wooden pallets.

On my Amazon wishlist, I had saved cute little pacifiers that looked like mustaches, which happened to pair perfectly with the derby hat I found on Etsy. Thanks to Instagram, I favorited numerous formal ensembles, complete with matching patent leather shoes, all suited for every major holiday.

When the time finally came to grab the Target scan gun and begin building my epic baby registry, I had a bit of a reality check — thanks to my best friend and veteran mom Hillary — and had to start from scratch. She handed me a copy of the book "Baby Bargains" and tossed me every solid colored cotton onesie known to man and baby bottles that help with reducing gas and acid reflux, and we definitely weren’t leaving without registering for every diaper in every size. Hillary let me keep the rattle that looked like a coffee cup, but beyond that, my registry had finally been shaped up with some sense. — Angela Hatem

If you're struggling with what to put on your baby registry, help is on the way! We looked at products recommended by Angela, as well as one Shop TODAY editor's sister — both first-time moms. We also pored through reviews written by moms to get some great ideas to get your registry going — while your baby is growing.

Keep scrolling or click on the links below to jump to a specific category.

Sleep aids | Feeding babies | Diapering & wellness | Carriers & strollers | Splurge items

Best baby sleep aids

HALO Sleepsack

As instructors will tell you in every parenting class, tiny babies don’t use blankets. New babies can be swaddled or put to bed in a sleepsack. This soft and cuddly version will keep your baby warm and cozy, and the swaddle feature will help them stay asleep as they work through their startle reflex phase.

Baby Merlin's Magic Sleepsuit

Moms in our circles swear by the powers of Baby Merlin's Magic Sleepsuit. It's a great transitional piece as your baby moves away from swaddling, but still needs that feeling of security. Available in a variety of sweet colors, this suit will ensure a sound sleep for your child — and you.

WubbaNub Pacifier

Maybe giraffes adorn your child's nursery or maybe cats are your jam. Either way, WubbaNub has a ton of cute pacifiers perfect for any baby. The cute little animal attached to the paci allows for easy positioning and significantly decreases the chances of losing it under the crib in the middle of the night.

Emma, the 2-year-old niece of Chris (Shop TODAY associate editor Fran Sales' partner), has a handful of them she likes to alternate. "She's pretty obsessed with them," he says.

Best for feeding babies

Philips Avent Natural Baby Bottle Newborn Starter Gift Set

They don’t call this kit a gift set for nothing. It has everything a new mom will need to begin bottle feeding, from pacifiers and nipples to a bottle brush for easy cleaning. These bottles are also specifically engineered to reduce colic and to keep your baby from getting ultra gassy.

Philips Avent Fast Baby Bottle Warmer

Remember what we said about saving time? You are going to want to shave as many seconds as you can when you have a hungry, wailing baby in your ear. This bottle warmer gently and evenly warms bottles and food in three minutes. Compact and easily transportable, you can bring your child’s nice warm meal with you wherever you go.

Philips Avent Microwave Steam Sterilizer

Sure, you could sterilize every bottle, ring and nipple you own in boiling water, but who’s got a pot big enough for that? This sterilizer allows you to disinfect four bottles, nipples and bottle rings in the microwave in just two minutes. Just add water, heat and boom — germs be gone! You can also use this sterilizer to clean pacifiers.

Dr. Brown's Formula Mixing Pitcher

Whether you're supplementing with formula or simply not breastfeeding, this formula-mixing pitcher will save you time and stress when it comes to formula feeding. It allows you to prepare four 8-ounce bottles at once with no worrying about the formula clumping or having air bubbles.

Best for diapering and wellness

Esembly Cloth Diaper Try-It Kit

If you’ve been considering cloth diapers but didn’t know where to start, the Esembly Cloth Diaper Try-It Kit makes it easier to give cloth diapers a go. The kit includes organic cotton liners, a waterproof outer layer, and even a sample of diaper-cleaning detergent.

Ubbi Steel Diaper Pail

If you are using disposable diapers, airtight diaper pails are essential for odor control, and with this Ubbi pail, you won’t have to constantly empty the trash. Use your own trash bags, or even use reusable bags to cut down on waste.

NoseFrida The Snotsucker

This will be one of the grossest things you will ever do as a parent, but it’s also one of the kindest. Clear your baby’s stuffy nose safely and effectively with the NoseFrida. You literally put the tube up to the baby’s nostril and use suction to yank his or her boogers out.

While the tube keeps your little one’s nasal passages clear and open, the NoseFrida’s sanitary filter keeps you and the ickiness at a safe distance. Megan, Sales' sister (and mom to a one-year-old), says, "I use it every day to get those boogeys out!"

Fridababy 3-in-1 Ear and Forehead Infrared Thermometer

When your baby is under the weather and squirming away from everything, you need options to take that temperature any way you can. This handy thermometer allows for in-ear and forehead temperature checks, as well as touchless checks of bottles and rooms.

Best baby carriers and strollers

Ergobaby Omni 360

As a new parent, you will often wish you had eight arms. Honestly, though, just getting use of your existing two arms would be a gift. Keep your baby close and your hands free with this flexible baby carrier, another product Sales' sister recommends.

Wear your baby in one of four comfy carrying positions as you clean the dishes, go for a walk or simply brush your hair. It's also adjustable to ergonomically grow with your child from itty bitty baby to rambunctious toddler.

Babybjorn Mini Baby Carrier

Weighing in at just under 7 pounds, one of the authors of this piece has a child who was too little for a lot of the baby carriers on the market. The BabyBjorn Baby Carrier Mini has a minimum weight of 7 pounds and a max weight of 24 pounds, and it took her through her daughter’s first year of life and then some. Soft yet sturdy, you can use this carrier while you cook, while you work or when you’re on-the-go.

Solly Baby Wrap

So many parents swear by this wrap for its ability to keep their baby close in a soft, secure and cozy spot on their body, while leaving their arms free to get stuff done. The wrap can take a bit of patience to get the hang of, but allows a custom fit that can hold the weight of your baby (from 8 to 25 pounds). And you can easily stash the wrap in a bag when you’re traveling.

First-time mom Megan says she used this every single day when Sales' niece, Aya, was first born. "Lightweight, versatile, comfortable for both Mom and baby, so easy to use, an essential for those early newborn days," she says.

Mockingbird Single-to-Double Stroller

An expandable, modular and durable stroller that doesn’t cost $1,000 dollars? Yes, please. Parents say that this stroller feels like a luxury item at a fraction of the cost. It comes with a lifetime warranty and works well on paved and unpaved pathways. Plus, it works with more than nine different car seat brands and you can customize it with add-ons like a second seat, or a riding board.

Bombi Lightweight Travel Stroller

Living in the city, one of the co-authors of this story was anti-stroller for a long time; getting on and off the subway with a stroller was anxiety-inducing. What she needed was a stroller like the Bombi. Sturdy and comfortable enough to be used everyday, and light enough that you can take it traveling.

Best splurge items for your baby registry


Imagine having a safe place for your little one to rest, snuggle and sleep — that’s also mobile? That’s what the DockATot offers new parents. TODAY holiday editor Rebecca Brown couldn’t believe how much use she got out of this lightweight docking station: “I placed my newborn in our Dockatot while she napped and carried her [via the DockATot] whenever I left a room — she never woke up.”

Hatch Smart Sound Machine

In the early months, you’ll appreciate the ability to control the brightness of this lamp for all your rotating late-night needs, as explained by this reviewer. “I am able to observe my baby in her bassinet without turning on the side lamp. You can have it on a lower setting while you sleep and a higher setting when you need to get up to attend to your baby.”

When your baby gets older, you can program the device to alert them when it’s time to rise, as Sales' sister Megan has since done as her daughter got older. "Aya's Hatch is a must-have during naps and bedtime — I love the different options for sounds and colors," she says.

Ruvalino Diaper Bag

Not only will you love the price of this diaper bag, but it has endless storage options. This was Megan's first diaper bag, and she still raves bout how many pockets it had ("lots"). In fact, she's even used it for travel and as a work bag on various occasions.

Reviewers agree — it has over 27,000 5-star ratings on Amazon, including one with a review that highlighted just how much it fits. “The outside bottle or water bottle holder stretches so well.”

Wander and Roam Foam Play Mat

You’ll fall in love with these reversible cushy foam mats that are available in a variety of designs. Made out of non-toxic foam, these mats are soft enough for babies to practice tummy time and grow with them, ideally for the crawling and first-step stage. You might even find yourself stealing it out of the playroom for a yoga sesh.

Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Baby Monitor

Sometimes one of the writers of this piece feels like she's invading her son’s privacy with this monitor, but that's a good sign that it's getting the job done. This monitor is state of the art yet easy to use with great audio visual capabilities and a strong battery life. It can even operate without Wi-Fi, providing a more secure and private experience for you and your child.

Lovevery The Play Gym

Admittedly, this is one of the pricier play gyms on the market — but it’s worth every penny, according to Fran's sister, Megan, who echoes other moms.

"Beautifully crafted from organic materials, the Lovevery play gym has become a staple in my baby's room and is great for tummy time, diaper changes, if you need a place to put baby down while you work, etc.," she says, adding that it's also machine-washable and easy to clean and assemble.

The play gym comes with detachable activity toys and different play zones, such as a crinkle sound area to promote exploration. It’s made to last. This article's co-writer just gave her 4-year-old’s away to a friend who had been coveting it — only after her child began to get too tall for the fort you can transform it into.

Nuna PIPA Urbn Car Seat and Stroller Travel System

As someone who frequently switched car seats between two cars (before finally giving in and buying two car seats), we wish we had known about this baseless car seat travel system.

You can install this carrier in seconds, which is perfect for switching to grandpa’s and nana’s car, or for rideshares. Plus the one-bar stroller is ideal for strolling while also walking the dog or holding that much-needed cup of coffee.