I polled the team of moms at Expectful and here's what they would add to their baby registries if they had a do-over.
Bottles, crib sheets, burp clothes, onesies, a stroller, a baby first aid kit… Sure. These are baby registry basics that we agree everyone should have on their list. And while you might have all the baby stuff covered – you’ve talked to the pediatrician and you’ve cross-checked with all your friends’ lists – you may have forgotten something major: you. What do you need as a new mom to feel like you’re succeeding? To feel like yourself? To take care of your body, mind, and precious time? Many of those baby registry basics can’t be known until you’ve lived the motherhood experience… That’s where the mamas and doulas at Expectful come in.
We’ve been there – researching “What I need on my baby registry” and reading every listicle and checklist out there. But there’s something about going through the process yourself that uncovers gaps in your registry, mostly for mama’s own self-care and sanity. So, I asked all the moms and doulas here at Expectful what they wish they had put on their own registries – you know, the thing that we just ended up ordering for ourselves off Amazon at 2am after a big feeding – and have compiled all the mom must-haves you need to add to your baby registry.
What Should Really Be On You Baby Registry: Love, Expectful Moms and Doulas
Moms have to band together – we truly believe that here at Expectful. After all, who knows the experience you’re about to live better than those who are up to their chin in diapers, spilled breastmilk, baby coos, and messy buns? Expectful is built by moms and mom-specialists; it’s a company based on evidence-based wellness that is determined to help other moms navigate the ups and downs of this journey. So when it comes to self-care, we don’t play games. We are serious about what works and what doesn’t, so the suggestions you read below are tried and true from others who just want you to have the best experience possible.
You’ll notice as you read through the list that there are few items that our staff doubled-up on. It just goes to show you how important they are to the postpartum/motherhood experience!
Here are the items our team wishes they put on their baby registry, in their own words:
From Nathalie Walton, Expectful CEO:
Because my motherhood journey has been so busy travel and everyday life, I have realized that simplicity is a luxury. It allows me to maximize my time with my baby and keep worries at bay. Even the most basic of items, down to my car seat and stroller, I had safety and ease as a top priority. So here are my go-to items that keep mom-ing as breezy as possible:
Doona Car Seat and Stroller – This stroller and car seat combo is compact, stylish, safe, and easy to maneuver and fold with one-hand. Great for an on-the-go or city-dwelling mom.
Nanit Baby Monitor – Talk about peace of mind! This baby monitor is so sleek, easy to use, trustworthy, and monitors all the things we care about: breathing, sleeping, and cuteness (hi, baby video!). It left me so at ease that I was able to actually get some shut eye when my baby did.
Sakara Life Meals – Someone sends you meals that are no fuss, no prep, and with no weird ingredients. Need I say more?
Consultations with an Expert – It’s like getting a gift card for Knowledge. And if you register for a virtual appointment, you don’t ever have to get out of your stretchy pants and slippers.
- I would first recommend a Lactation Consultation. It goes without saying that the transition from pregnancy to motherhood is a big one, but maybe something that goes more unsaid: breastfeeding can be really hard. It’s not so easy for everyone. That’s why I would hands down recommend registering with a trusted Lactation Consultant, because even if you aren’t having a problem, there are still so many things they can teach you: how to correctly use your pump and store your breastmilk, how to increase your supply, and even how to wean when you’re ready to stop breastfeeding.
- I would also recommend an Infant Sleep Consultation. Similar to lactation, you don’t need to necessarily have a problem with sleep in order to use these services. There are so many routines and regressions and tips to know about when going through each stage of development with a baby, so it doesn’t hurt. And then if you do have a sleep problem, you have an expert on speed dial.
House Cleaning Services – You’ll be shocked at how much equipment and dishes and tools you use with a little one – it’s really hard to keep it all clean and tidy on top of caring for your baby. Something I wish I had registered for: someone to help clean my house.
From Emily Watson, Head of Services:
With baby number two on the way, I’m right there with you—I’m nesting and prepping for the new little bundle. So, in addition to my own add-ons to the registry must-haves, I’m tapping into my village of Expectful colleagues to share what they’d really put on their own registries if they did it all over again. The first time around, my registry was all things for baby, but this time around, I’m focused on finding the things that are going to fill up my mind, body, and soul. Because I know if my cup is full, I have that many more snuggles to give to this baby and more energy to give to the toddler who will need my attention too.
Lactation Consultation – I spent way too many hours googling and texting friends in the middle of the night about nursing. The help I got in the hospital wasn’t nearly enough—my milk was only just coming in when I left to go home— and I should’ve gone straight to the experts from the beginning. This pregnancy I’ve got lactation support on my baby sprinkle list!
Daily Harvest Gift Card – With a toddler at home, another on the way, and a husband with no paternity leave, I’m also asking for meal delivery gift cards from some of our healthier go-to restaurants. A delivery service I love is Daily Harvest – it’s part smoothie, part meal, part dessert, and fully delicious.
Help IOUs – This is a throwback to when you would gift your parent a homemade coupon for “one free hug” or “one free kitchen cleaning,” except this time, you’re the one getting to cash in. For my first pregnancy, I had a really hard time asking for help and giving clear direction. I had no idea what I needed. This time around, I’ve already asked my mom, sisters, and in-laws to come for a few days each around the 4-8 week post-birth mark when sleep deprivation starts to really take its toll so they can help around the house, hold the baby while I sleep, or run to the grocery when the last thing I want to do is move.
From Eileen Butler, Head of Product:
First and foremost, I’d like to tell all the new moms-to-be out there to register for things beyond the first few months of your baby’s life! Things like a playmat, bigger sized clothes (1 yr +), bigger bottles, etc. The first few months go by so fast, and I found myself needing to order new things around the 3-6 months time frame that I didn’t have yet. Additionally, I think every baby registry needs a few self-care items for mom. Your mind and body go through so much during this time and you’re so busy with the baby that you don’t really have time to plan these self-care items yourself. If they’re on your registry before you have the baby, then voila! They are taken care of beforehand… by someone else!
In-home Massage – It’s normal for people to gift you a prenatal massage, but a postnatal massage is amazing. I highly recommend adding it to your registry.
Doordash Gift Card – Chinese at midnight. Enough said.
Hair Salon or Spa Gift Card – Plan this ahead of time by adding it to your registry. Whether your hair starts to fall out a bit during the postpartum period (like so many other women) or you just need to take a nap in a pedicure chair, you deserve this self-care moment.
Date Night Gift Card – Pick your favorite local restaurant and add it to your registry. I’d be willing to bet that it’s the first thing to be purchased off your registry! I wish I had it on mine!
Bonus Tip: Try to resist adding so many diapers. I picked a brand that didn’t work for us and then I was stuck with many that I couldn’t return because I had thrown away the boxes/receipts.
From Michelle Berninger, Head of Operations:
As a doula, I have cared for many moms leading up to their birth and into their postpartum experience. This list has been refined based on the ups and downs I’ve experienced alongside them.
Sitz Bath – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stopped by the pharmacy to pick up a sitz bath for a client after their birth. They are so helpful for soothing hemorrhoids, healing tears, or just giving bits some TLC after birth. It’s not glamorous but it works wonders.
Nutrition Consultation – Skip registering for lactation tea, and add a nutrition consultation to the list. They can help you better understand exactly what you need to sustain your milk supply, combat fatigue, and support your healing body. Another idea? Start a meal train, register for a meal prep or delivery service, or get gift cards for grocery delivery and take out to keep your belly full and your head clear.
Eye Mask – Sleep when the baby sleeps they said… Well most newborns lean towards the nocturnal side, so day time naps are essential to cutting through the fog of those early postpartum days (and weeks). Register for an eye mask so you can block out the light and catch some zzzs any time of day with your mask on.
Nipple Care – If you’re going to breastfeed, your nipples will need some lovin’. Lanolin, healing balm, silverettes… All of these products are AMAZING at helping to heal nipple damage but the real key to pain free nursing is a good latch. Connect with a Lactation Consultant before the baby arrives to get the real low down on how to get started on the right foot. Plus, you’ll know who to reach out after birth if your baby throws a feeding curveball at you.
Local Spa Gift Card – Treat. Yo. Self. Is anything more satisfying than a fresh mani-pedi?
From Brittany Revo, Customer Service and Doula:
As a doula and a mother, I always have recommendations for what a mom really needs on her baby registry.
Nettle and Red Raspberry Leaf Tea – It supports uterine health and overall postpartum recovery (nettles are high in iron and minerals!).
A Cozy Robe – This is perfect for the hospital and all your days postpartum, because trust me… cozy is a top priority during this time.
Warm Socks – Again, these are great for the hospital, but also really nice in the middle of the night, when you have to tiptoe through the house for a midnight feeding.
From Virginia Furnari, Head of Content:
As I look back on my registry for my daughter, I’m impressed with how I had it all covered for her. But for me? Not so much. The one thing that’s majorly missing is anything that’s an experience… all my registry items were things. Now what I want is help, a haircut, a mani-pedi, a nap. So, if I could recreate my baby registry, I’d add the following:
Botanical Garden or Park Membership – when you have a newborn, and beyond that really, you take walks. So many walks. It’s a great way for your baby to see the outdoors, work on seeing things far away, get some fresh air, and even soothe them sleep. And for us mamas, it’s a great way to get your body moving toward recovery. But as the days blazed on, I started to get tired of our same route. I would have loved to visit the nearby botanical gardens every few days to mix up our walking routine.
Facial – A gift card to a local spa is every new mom’s dream. What I would have given to escape away to the spa, smell those herbal fragrances, and have someone pamper me for a couple hours. I’m getting lost in the thought now…
Our team here at Expectful is cheering you on as you enter this next beautiful chapter of your motherhood journey. It has its ups and downs, as it has for all of us, but as a community, we can assure you that you are not alone. Take the time when crafting your baby registry to include yourself, because giving your mind and body the gift of peace and nourishment will only better allow for a deeper relationship with your baby.