In addition to the requests for what to pack for the hospital, I have also got requests for a my top picks for my registry and what worked best for us. Below, I have listed out all my top picks and described what it is that I like so much about that particular product. You will also find I have linked where you can find each item (many can be found at multiple places however).
Choosing a Registry Platform
For my beautiful baby shower, thrown by my mom and mother in law, I registered at Target and Babylist. When my sweet neighbor decided she was going to throw me a small shower for the people we know here in North Carolina, I figured it would be easier to make a new registry than to try to build off the other two that only had a few items left on, so I took to Amazon to add on items I didn't receive or items I left off. Babylist was wonderful because I could add items from any website, but I did want to give some of our friends and family the option to easily find items at a brick and mortar like Target. We were extremely fortunate and got every item on our registry, all 150+ items, and there truly wasn't anything additional we needed for Ryder's arrival. With the diaper raffle, we haven't needed to buy diapers yet and we still have gift card $$ reserved for diapers!
I did a lot of research on all the products on my registry and really evaluated everything to make sure it was going to be the best option for us. When building my registry I really broke everything down and made sure to include multiple price points as well. We had some items we splurged because we knew it would be a long term benefit, other things we knew the cheaper priced item would do just fine. So far I have found everything we got we have used (with the exception of the things he's not old enough for yet) but overall these are the things I have found to be the most helpful thus far.
In addition to my top picks, I have put together a sample registry on Amazon to help you put together your own registry. You can find it here: https://amzn.to/3m7zXpg
Hatch Baby Sound Machine | WORTH EVERY PENNY! I use it as a sound machine in our bedroom right now but when I was waking up every 2 hours at night to feed, I was turning the nightlight on from my phone so that I can see to get the baby and nurse and keep me awake. I have been suggesting to friends for them to bring it to the hospital too because the hospitals “smallest light” to nurse in the dark is SOO bright. (you can find my hospital packing list here: https://www.aliciamariedesign.com/post/hospital-bag-during-a-pandemic) This would have been helpful. https://amzn.to/3PmiY2y You can control this sound machine using your smart phone and the Hatch app which makes turning on a light or turning the volume up or down on the sound machine from across the room easier than ever.
Nested Bean Swaddle | Ryder went through a phase of not wanting to sleep without me touching him, even with the bassinet right next to the bed. This weighted swaddle helped him to self soothe and fall asleep without me touching him. I unfortunately got this a little too late because he got to tall and grew out of it quick, but I did get the sleep sack 6 month version and he uses that now and still has some room to grow. Now I use it as part of our nightly bedtime routine of a diaper change, put him in the sleep sak, nurse, and down for bed. https://amzn.to/3ELleM3
BIBS Pacifiers | These are Ryder’s favorite pacifiers. Of course every baby is different so what works for him may not work, but he would not take the kind that’s on those Wubba Nubs and wouldn’t take the Ryan and Rose cutie pats, only these: https://amzn.to/3PMgwUl
Puj Tub Flute | Babies have a lot of stuff, and that stuff takes up space. I kept space in mind when making all of my registry choices. I went back and forth with the Puj Tub and the Puj Tub Flute and decided on the larger Puj tub hoping I could use it on both the bathroom sink and the kitchen sink. What I did not anticipate was that even though our sink size matched the specifications recommended by Puj, our sink was so deep that he really didn’t sit well in there. I wish I would have listened to my gut and decided on the flute because the bathroom sink was where we used this the most and the flute would have been great to have for its smaller size and ability to travel. Overall I do love this tub, it’s material was soft and comfortable for baby and easy to store. https://amzn.to/462hAZY
Fephas Wooden Hair Brush | I bought the set with a comb and two brushes, but so far have only used one of the brushes. This link includes a bonus cradle cap silicone brush super similar to the Dermafrida listed above. https://amzn.to/3ZvakDI
When considering a pack n play, I think the most important thing to think about is
when or where you are going to use it. I have listed two options because I feel like
these two options are both amazing options but mostly will depend on what will
work best for your family.
Guava Family Lotus Travel Crib | If you plan on traveling and want to always have a comfortable space for your baby to sleep and play, I would go with the Guava Family Travel Crib (pictured above). It’s small, but not too small for your baby. So easy to set up and take down, and even fits into a travel backpack which is included. It’s only 13 lbs in the travel bag and you can purchase a number of accessories including the sunshade and the bassinet attachment. If I did not also have a moses basket and a bassinet my grandparents built, I would have also purchased the bassinet attachment and used at my bedside for his first months. https://bit.ly/2EQY2A2
Halo 3-1 DreamNest Portable Crib | If traveling is not in your future and you prefer to have a pack n play you can use only at home and don’t mind the size being a little larger when collapsed and in the travel bag, I would consider the Halo Dream nest. This is quite a bit heavier than the Lotus, however still lighter than most pack n plays. It comes with the bassinet attachment, so no additional purchase necessary, and you can have your infant in the bassinet until they outgrow the 15lb weight limit and move into the larger travel crib part. This travel crib also has a cot option for larger toddlers. The material is all mesh, including the mattress, so you will feel at ease knowing that your baby is sleeping safely in this crib. An added bonus is that you can purchase a changing table attachment for the top making it super dual purpose. It’s a little more difficult to set up, although still not as difficult as many other less expensive pack n plays on the market, but none the less an extremely great option. (currently out of stock from manufacturer)
UPDATE as of 4/27/2023: Newton has created some new amazing products I felt were worth mentioning. Their new Travel crib, is so very similar to the Guava baby travel crib we have and love. The price is $299.99 compared to $229.99 for the Guava, and the bassinet attachment for the Newton travel crib is $99.99 compared to the bassinet kit for Guava Family priced at $129.99. So overall, it sounds like you are going t come out pretty close price wise for both brands, but you will have an option to choose a brand you love. Some visible differences is the mattress type with the Newton vs the Guava. Newton has of course built their brand on breathable mattresses for babies in an effort to provide safer sleeping. This travel crib is no exception, and includes the same breathable materials and mattress type. It also is 100% washable. Since this product is still so no true comparison to date of the size of the travel bag, but based on the small image in the reviews, I do think that this bag is larger than the travel bag of the Guava. With some similarities and some differences, this allows for you to make the best decision for your family. :) https://bit.ly/41Hh9lz
Born free KOVA baby bouncer | Ryder lived in this and still does! He’s going to be in this thing until his weight prevents him from doing so. With a weight limit of 20lbs, much like any “infant” products, you have plenty of time to get use from it. (unless you have a big baby like Ryder who was 27.5” long and 17lbs at 4 mo. … my fast growing boy). Folds flat so that you can store upright in a small nook or under the sofa or bed. I wanted this particular one to store under the living room sofa but our sofa was a little too low, so I store it upright in a little space between a shelf and a wall.
Update: It looks like most stores are out of stock, so here is a Maxi Cosi version that is
very similar: https://amzn.to/2PrYZB4
Milk Snob | This multi-functional nursing cover is so soft and perfect for nursing when out and about. I also used this often for covering the carseat when on the stroller for an extra germ barrier (during these Covid-19 times) and also to keep light out to extend naptime. https://bit.ly/2PxWFIQ they have the Milk Snob brand on Amazon but more color options, including Disney, Harry Potter and Star Wars options, on their website.
Solly Baby Wrap | This wrap was wonderful for when he was really tiny. The material is super soft and once you can figure out how to wrap it, it’s pretty easy to work. I loved the ring sling I will list below, but in the beginning, it was really hard to get him positioned easily in there, you can totally do it, just couldn’t figure it out so this was the better option. I still use both. We keep one in each of our diaper bags so I always have an option to carry him when out. The Solly wrap is a great option for when your baby falls asleep because it can provide more head support. https://bit.ly/2DktfLT
Uppababy Minu Stroller | I LOVEEE this thing. I considered a stroller that would grow with us when our family grows however we decided that if we wanted to travel, a big bulky stroller would be more of an inconvenience then a cost saver. At a higher price point, this was our splurge. We use it as our everyday stroller and at 15 lbs its super easy to get in and out of the car. You can get clip adaptors to use with certain car seats (we got a Maxi Cosi car seat) but there are only about 4 car seat options so you have to shop accordingly. All good choices though. There are a lot of accessories as well for it. They have the bassinet attachment which was great because we would put him in it for walks around the neighborhood and the travel bag is $80 but if you plan to travel, with the registered stroller/travel bag combo, UppaBaby will replace the stroller FOR FREE if the airline damages it while it’s in the travel bag! Amazing! They also have a cozy cover for it for the winter, we have that too, and a brand new snack tray. https://amzn.to/46i9Se0 this link is for the grey color, but they have more color options.
UPDATE August 2021: It happened....after coming home from a flight, the stroller locks broke somehow. When you press the lock down, the other side is supposed to lock (pushing the green lock switch up) then when you go to unlock it, you just click the green side and the red lock should flip up. They no longer worked like this for some reason. I reached out to Uppababy Support, they requested to see a video of the problem in action, asked for my proof of purchase for the travel bag and the stroller ID and they sent a whole new frame, completely free of charge. I didn't even have to send the old frame back! So easy!
Dwell & Slumber Baby gown | This was my FAVORITE baby gown. I wanted him to be in this all the time and I couldn’t get it out of the wash quick enough. SO soft! I wish I would have even gotten more than one. He came home from the hospital in this. They don’t have the color we got him, but there are more options online. https://bit.ly/3gz2Qbu they have knotted caps here too, so it might be a good idea to grab one to help with shipping on your order, or even grab two gowns, you will not be disappointed you did. They even make gowns for Mama, and I bet those are just as dreamy and comfortable on us as they are for our babies.
Kyte Baby Knotted Caps | If you know me, you know I love target, but I wouldn’t even bother getting any little baby hats from like target or carters because if you get these for your baby, you will not want to take these hats off of your baby. They are sooo soft (see a theme). If you are going into winter with your new baby, I think you would likely get even more use out of these hats than I got since I was headed into summer (no pun intended). You can find the hats here https://bit.ly/2XCr2lD but they are also available on amazon here https://amzn.to/3ZqsEh2.
Magnetic Me PJS | These pjs are soo soft, and so easy to dress your wiggle worm. I like the modal material which is made from bamboo because they are buttery to the touch and cool, perfect for warm weather locations. https://bit.ly/3yq2eNn
OTHER AWESOME PRODUCTS
MediFrida | This is a lifesaver!! If you are trying to give meds to an unhappy baby, taking a pacifier out to give an already fussy baby gas drops or Tylenol – this is the solution. I feel like this is one of those items that you probably could do without but if you didn’t have you wouldn’t know what you were missing. It just made things soo easy! https://amzn.to/3tc1376 Make sure to have gas drops on hand, never know when you will need them! Tylenol is great too but probably won’t be used until your little one is 2 months. Check with your doctor for medication dosages.
Kyte Baby Ring Sling | This is perfect for a super fast and easy in and out carry solution. This one can be washed, unlike some of the other options. As I mentioned above it was a little difficult putting him in it for me as an infant, it can be done, I just had trouble. Plus, I had multiple carrier options so I didn’t really need to figure it out. This one is my favorite now that he’s a little bigger. It’s also more difficult to get a wiggly baby into but watching some of their sling tutorials helps. You can also loosen it, turn it to a one hand hold and nurse while still in the sling. https://bit.ly/3gz19e8
FridaBaby 3-1 Picker | Seems like a very strange tool at first, but it's something you will soon realize you need.. Cleaning his ears is no easy task and this little tool solves the problem. You can also use it to pick that booger that just wont come out with the nasal bulb. https://amzn.to/3EOia1C
Kindred Bravely Nursing Pads | For nursing pads, personally, I would skip the disposable, and go with a reusable. Less to store and you may not even need for very long or even at all. I gave away 90% of a huge box. Baby number 2, whenever that may be, I plan to get these instead. https://amzn.to/45hKrIR
DermaFrida | I read somewhere using these cradle cap brushes help to avoid it from the start. I have used it from day one and he has a healthy scalp, but I’m not sure if it’s from this or just because but it does make it easy to wash his hair. Either way, prevention is always a good way to go. https://amzn.to/2Q7NH5g They also have a new mitt that you can use to wash your baby/toddler’s body too now, and I think that might even be nice to have too, especially because I don’t find you can get a good “lather” with a washcloth, but that’s coming from the Mama who doesn’t like using washcloths for herself, I much prefer a loofa.
Boon Trip Travel Drying Rack | If you like to travel and you are using bottles or a breast pump, this is a great way to wash those bottles at the hotel, or even sippy cups. You get a little scrub brush and a drying grass all contained within this little container making it easy to bring along for the ride. Unfortunately, I have not been able to use mine yet because we haven’t traveled, Covid, but I know it will get its use down the line. https://bit.ly/2C3HDqX
Don't forget to check out my sample registry on Amazon | https://amzn.to/3m7zXpg
Some links on this blog post are commissionable.