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I’m Melanie, the girl behind the lens at Melanie Foster Photography. Whether you’re getting ready for your upcoming OU senior or your Bartlesville or Tulsa family photography experience, I hope you’ll stay a while, pick up a few tips, and be inspired for your own MFP photo session! 

My Top Minimal Baby Registry Essentials – 1 Year Later!


Minimal Baby Registry Essentials – 1 Year Later!

Shop my dress here – perfect for a new or expectant mama!

Ahhh, the baby registry. It is simultaneously so much fun and so overwhelming for first time moms! When we got pregnant, we were less than a year removed from our wedding. We went from home essentials to jumping right into baby essentials 🙂

There are thousands of baby registry lists and blogs out there, especially geared towards new mamas. And what I learned (and quickly learned) is that everyone and every brand has a different list of their must-haves and preferences. This list included 🙂 Crowdsourcing can be great, but I think what ended up happening for us is that those lists were compounded with so many gadgets and trinkets and toys and tools. My sister (she had her second baby just 7 weeks before we had Ruth) and a few other seasoned and like-minded moms were my favorite resources as I paired down our list. I quickly realized I needed to only keep what I knew we would for sure use, what would last us the longest through her first year, or items that multiple people had repeatedly recommended.

Read on for my favorite piece of advice + how to snag the best deals!

One of my favorite pieces of advice from my sister was, “you can always get it later if you need it”. It’s better to hop on Amazon or Facebook marketplace than to have boxes of unopened gifts and gear that you have to store somewhere that you never end up using, or only use 1-2x.

As we prepare to celebrate Ruth’s first birthday, I am thinking back to the things we’ve used over the course of the year that were well worth the money. This list will not include many of the basics – the breast pump, diapers and wipes, rocking chair, crib and mattress, car seat, stroller, etc. Because I think those things are 1. obvious 2. beyond numerous in options 3. very much based on personal preference. Instead, this is a list of our essentials beyond the essentials! I would 100% buy these again, given the need. Shop the Amazon list here.

  • Ollie swaddle. Yes it lives up to it’s hype! I bought one from an Ollie B/S/T group on Facebook when their production was halted, but it looks like it is now carried at many Targets. This is obviously baby dependent – some babies don’t love swaddles, but this one is the best of the best. It stays tight, stays on, and is easy to use! Both our girls wore it until they started trying to roll, then we moved to Kyte sleep sacks.
  • Baby carrier/wrap. They all have their pros/cons! I loved our Solly baby during the first 3-4 months, but I felt as though Ruth grew out of it quickly. It does feel the most like clothes and is the most comfortable, but also takes the longest to put on. We also used our Ergobaby 360 on walks in the early days (it seems to be more supportive and practical) and are still able to use it through the first year and a half. I also have a WildBird sling that I like for around the house or at church. If you’re picking one, the Ergo is the most long-lasting and versatile (and husbands don’t mind wearing it.)
  • Gowns and footie pajamas. Lou Lou and Co, Kyte, but honestly plain Carter’s held up the best to wear/washing and stains. We have loved our Hanna Andersson PJs as well but due to their outspoken support of abortion, I’ve opted to only buy them second hand moving forward.
  • Hand pumpThis is something that will especially vary from mom to mom. I have an electric pump (Spectra) as well, but I used the manual pump the first few weeks instead of breaking out the electric for a couple reasons – 1. The parts were more simplified 2. The thought of using the electrical pump in between feedings when she was eating so frequently was overwhelming 3. It is easy to grab and go if you are traveling, away from baby for a few hours, or to stash in your car/on your nightstand for emergencies.
  • Hatch Rest+ – A sound machine, nightlight, alarm clock all in one. This is probably on most people’s list and rightfully so. We used ours prior to Ruth’s arrival for ourselves and loved it so much that we bought one for my in-laws haha. We’ll continue to use it through toddlerhood!
  • Portable sound machine. We use this in the car on road trips or when traveling. It is super convenient! We’ve also used the Hatch Go.
  • Lots of burp cloths. Our favorites are the Lou Lou burp cloths and the handmade ones we received as a gift from my sister-in-law’s mom! She sewed together a cloth diaper and fleece fabric. We loved them so much that I asked her to make me a couple more! Even if you don’t have a spitty baby (we weren’t so lucky), they are great to have for messes and spills as you venture into solids.
  • Pack n’ Play. If you’re super practical, many moms purchase one with the bassinet insert and use it in place of a true bassinet. It can also be used as a playpen and a travel crib as they grow! It’s been a lifesaver to have for weekend trips and Sunday mornings, when Ruth naps during church service.

Honorable mentions:

  • Bouncer. While we went with the Baby Delight, if I were to do it again I’d probably register for the Bjorn. It seems significantly more secure in the harness to be honest, but the Delight worked just fine (and was more economical) and we still got great use out of it. It was perfect for when I didn’t want to wear her as I worked around the house. We used when they have more head control but aren’t sitting up independently. (Probably month 3 – 6ish)
  • Lou Lou and Co. swaddling blanket. Not an essential, but we do love the ones we have. Super versatile and they are especially delicious.
  • Miss Mouths Stain Remover and Folex. Miss Mouths is great for avocado, berries, etc. and I love Folex for spit up stains! Also note: the sun is magical. Get yourself a make-shift clothes line and hang dry your stained items!
  • Little Z’s Baby Sleep Course. We hear a lot about Taking Cara Babies, and for good reason! But I found Becca’s style more my speed and was thrilled when her system was a better fit, too. Take advantage of the free resources from both of their instagrams for the newborn stage and invest your money instead in the baby sleep class.
  • Nose Frida aspirator and Tubby Todd lotion.

Last but not least, my favorite tip for a new mom is to buy a ticket to your local Rhea Lana. My sisters have been shopping a Dallas-area RL since my niece was born 13 years ago, and it is hands-down the way to go for first time moms. I stocked up on many of these basics, including clothes for 6 months, at a fraction of the retail cost. Make a date out of it and have a friend or your mom join you (each ticket includes a free guest, so you can split the cost!). The bigger the city/sale, the more options you have to choose from, and you ABSOLUTELY want to buy a ticket to shop as early as possible. Having options as you shop first saves you money, and you’ll avoid FOMO on some of the best items!

Here’s the full list on Amazon! And if you’re having an unmedicated or homebirth, check out that list here!

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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