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13 mom-approved products to put on your baby registry

Practicality beats Pinterest vibes when it comes to baby necessities.
Illustration of four baby products and two pregnant woman smiling outside
TODAY Illustration / Cavan Images / Getty Images / Amazon

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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 been shaped up with some sense.

As I figured out pretty quickly, while my Pinterest picks were perfectly precious, they were insanely impractical. Now that I have been a mom for two years now, experience has proven to me that frills are fussy and practical is key. Outfits with suspenders and bow ties are super fun, but hand-washing is for the birds. (Speaking of things that are machine-washable, that lavender baby detergent may smell heavenly, but you are going to be in rash hell if you clean your baby’s clothes in it.)

If you're struggling with what to put on your baby registry, help is on the way! Here are some great ideas to get your registry going while your baby is growing.

Best baby registry items

1. "Baby Bargains: Your Baby Registry Cheat Sheet"

If baby shopping had a bible, this would probably be it. This must-have parenting book on baby gear offers reviews for almost anything you may want or need for your baby. Baby Bargains is an independent operation, and their reviews are based on expert feedback based on criteria such as safety, affordability and user friendliness. It’s my go-to reference manual for almost everything pertaining to motherhood.

2. 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.

3. Munchkin Arm & Hammer Diaper Bag Dispenser & Bags

After a few weeks of lovingly staring at your baby, you are going to want to get out of the house. When you do decide to leave the nest and carpe the diem, your baby’s diaper comes right along with you. This handy dispenser with disposal bags will help you mask the odor and dispose of the contents guilt-free. This dispenser also clips on nicely to a stroller, diaper bag, belt loop or purse.

4. 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.

5. Tommee Tippee Gro Anywhere Portable Baby Blackout Blind

Most every sleep expert and baby whisperer will tell you to ditch the nightlight and make it dark. While kids don’t even know fearing the darkness is a thing until about two years old, they do realize that sunlight means it's time to get the day started. Keep their room dark wherever you are with these blackout blinds. Easily portable and easily applied, these blinds will ensure that your wee one has sweet dreams regardless of their location.

6. 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.

7. Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Baby Monitor

Sometimes I feel like I'm invading my 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.

8. 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.

9. Baby Merlin's Magic Sleepsuit

Moms in my circle 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.

10. 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.

11. Philips Avent Fast Baby Bottle Warmer

Remember what I 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.

12. 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.

13. 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. 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.

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