“Rookie Mom” Registry Mistakes : Here’s What You Really Need (And What You Can Do Without)

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The Pack & Play pictured above was Liam’s crib for the first 3-4 months. Not only did it work perfectly as his bassinet, but it is also getting plenty of use now that he is older and more mobile. He sits in it with all of his toys while I cook, fold laundry, etc… and seems perfectly content entertaining himself on his own! It’s also great on-the-go… Bring it with you so your baby can nap comfortably wherever you go. Pack & Plays are a registry must-have… and such a great, long-term investment! (Buy one here!)


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Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 2.24.10 PMDuring the first few months, when Liam wasn’t sleeping in his bassinet, he was lounging in his Rock & Play. This clever little invention beats all the expensive models out there… it simply rocks from side to side and babies love it! It’s like a baby hammock 🙂 Liam took his fair share of naps in it as well. We got rid of it around the 4 month mark when he outgrew it… but I’m sure most average-sized babies could get a little more use out of it. Again, a registry must-have! (You can buy one here.)


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Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 2.29.08 PMWhat differentiates this pillow from all of the other boppy pillows on the market? This one ties around your waist and doesn’t budge, which is so incredibly helpful when you are getting started with the whole breastfeeding thing. It is also a flat surface (instead of the plush, bouncy surface of most boppy pillows), which gives it more stability somehow. I was so happy to have this pillow during the first 1-2 months. I highly recommend it! Buy one here!

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Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 2.41.18 PMAlthough we did initially invest in a first aid kit for Liam, these two are our go-to’s when he has a little cold. The nasal aspirator (as gross as it may sound to you, expecting mamas) is a lifesaver! It does the trick when nothing else does. Babies don’t love it but they do get used to it if you make it a “game” rather than torture. For quick temperature checks, the forehead thermometer does give you some much needed peace of mind — but if your baby does have a fever, I’d suggest using a regular thermometer for a more accurate reading. You can buy the Nose Frida here and the forehead thermometer here!

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Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 2.48.05 PMTo say Liam loved this thing is an understatement. There was nothing our son wanted more than to sit in his jumper and… jump! For babies who are not as mobile as they would want to be (as they all are before 6-7 months or so), jumpers give them the freedom that they so desperately yearn for. I do believe it’s a great product (and babies love it!), but it should be used in moderation: 30 minutes per day is more than enough time. We still occasionally put Liam in it, but he seems to have outgrown it. You can buy our Love U Zoo Jumperoo here!


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Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 2.56.23 PM.pngNewborns are all fascinated by play gyms and Liam was no exception. He could spend hours just looking up at the dangling toys and tugging on the ones he could reach. We used it until he was able to roll over from back to front (then back onto his back) because the play gym would roll over with him. This item is definitely a must-have on all registries. Buy a simple, affordable one here!

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Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 3.02.51 PM.pngIf you choose to breastfeed, you will most likely want a breast pump for days/nights when you work or need a break from baby duty 🙂 Luckily, we were able to get ours for free through our insurance plan (so make sure you call your insurance company to double check if you qualify!), but if you don’t, there are plenty of affordable models out there, from manuals to automatics.Although I’m not a huge fan of pumping, I have to admit it was a lifesaver a few months ago when I taught a course that coincided with Liam’s night feed. A freezer stash is always a good idea! You can buy our breast pump, the Medela Pump In Style model, here!

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Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 3.11.29 PM.pngBaby monitors are possibly the most annoying item to pick out. Seriouslyhow many different models can they possibly come up with? It seems as if the reviews are always mixed, despite how good some of their features are. I tried to Motorola MBP36 and really didn’t like it compared to our current one, the iBaby. I found that it was too simple, which can be a good thing, but in this case… just not worth the money! I sold my old iPhone for $100 last year and had an Apple gift card — which is why we splurged on the iBaby (and it isn’t even one of the priciest on the market!) I love that you can check on your baby via your smartphone, and that you don’t have to be home to do so — and you don’t even need wifi!– but the best feature is the ability to record your baby each time he makes a sound or moves in his crib. On mornings when Liam wakes up before me, I’m able to look back on the footage to know the exact time he woke up at! Not many monitors have that option, and it’s amazing, especially for moms who are schedule freaks like I am! You can buy the iBaby here!

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Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 3.17.11 PMAlthough there are plenty of other options out there (booster seats, harnesses, etc…) I do enjoy having a high chair for Liam. The Graco Blossom 4-in-1 is awesome because it grows with your child, can seat two children at the same time, and can be adjusted to 6 different heights. It’s also very modern looking and doesn’t clash with our dining room decor! That never hurts, right? (Although our living room, on the other hand, now looks like a Babies R’ Us showroom…) You can buy the Graco Blossom 4-in-1 here!


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Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 3.28.56 PM.pngThis is also one of the annoying items to pick because of the price factor. We used Customer Reports to pick out a car seat, just to make sure we bought the safest one on the market, and according to them the #1 car seat was the Chicco Keyfit 30. I have mixed feelings about it: yes, it feels very safe which is the most important thing, but it is also very heavy. We bought two strollers that are compatible with it: the Caddy Stoller Frame and the Activ3 Jogger Stroller. The caddy worked well when Liam was very little and we always had a ton of stuff to carry around (it has a lot of room), but it is pointless once your baby outgrows his infant car seat (it doesn’t work as an umbrella stroller, which sucks.) It is, however, very affordable. The Activ3 Jogger is amazing on every level (the infant car seat clips on, but it is also a great stroller for toddlers!) It is a little pricey, but I highly recommend it! (You can buy the Caddy here and the Activ3 Jogger here!)

Update: We now use the Evenflo Convertible Car Seat pictured above (Liam outgrew his infant car seat a while ago)… and we love it! It’s roomy, plush, and feels extra secure. You can buy it here!

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Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 3.30.41 PM.pngGuilty! When I first started my registry, I did put the Peeepee Teepee on it… but more for the “haha” factor. How could I not, with a name like “the Peepee Teepee for the Sprinkling Weewee”?! As funny as it is, though, I did decide to be realistic: a baby wipe can do the exact same thing (and you don’t have to wash it afterwards!) Ask for diapers, baby wipes, and swaddles/blankets (lots of them!) instead.


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Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 3.31.25 PM.pngThis is a total rookie mom mistake… and I have to admit I did think about it for a second. But really, can a newborn baby tell the difference between a body temperature wipe and a warm wipe? This is butt wiping we’re talking about, guys. So unnecessary! And besides, it’s just getting your baby used to royal pampering… what if you’re on the go and have to use a cold wipe? Then how do you think your baby will react? Same goes for those fancy diaper holder bins… a simple box will do.

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Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 3.32.02 PM.pngI wrote about this one before, but I’ll reiterate it: invest in a food processor! Your baby will not be eating purees forever, so don’t limit yourself to a “baby only” appliance — it will just end up in a cabinet somewhere, gathering dust. Get a Ninja food processor or Magic Bullet instead… They’re amazing, and you’ll use them way beyond baby’s puree eating days!


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Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 3.32.37 PM.pngA lot of new parents are torn about this one, and some may argue that they love their Diaper Genie. I beg to differ. The Diaper Genie is pricey: you’ll first need the main unit (about $35) which comes with your first pack of plastic liners. However,  when you run out, replacement packs go for $20 (for a 3 pack).

Poopy diapers smell awful, there’s no denying that. A garbage full of them… you get the picture. Does it keep smells in check? Yes. But so does a normal metal bin like this one (which doesn’t need any fancy liners, just regular garbage bags, so you’re just paying for the bin – not the refills every couple of months.) If you want to avoid the stench, just do yourself a favor and throw the diapers out every two days or so.

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Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 3.33.15 PM.pngGuilty of this one too!

Our parents and grandparents are a little obsessive about not only washing, but also sterilizing, bottle parts,  so I thought this one was a must. Really, the only time you need to sterilize your bottles is when you first buy them (and you can easily do it with a pot of boiling water!) No need to invest in one of these – ours is currently in a cabinet just taking up space.

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Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 3.35.10 PMYes, they’re beautiful and really give your baby’s room character.

But the reality is that all your baby needs is a mattress and a fitted sheet. These sets are ridiculously expensive (nice ones can go for $200-300!) and so unnecessary. Ask for breathable mesh bumpers like these and rail covers like these (you’ll need them in a few months when baby decides to stand up and chomp on the railings) instead.

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Babies don’t walk until they’re about a year old.

You will regret this.

Get socks instead.


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Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 3.36.42 PMOur bathtub, the 4Moms Infant Tub, had an incorporated thermometer. I liked it, yes, but is it an absolute necessity? Definitely not. You can easily stick a finger in the tub and tell whether the water is too hot. It’s just common sense. This is one of those things that we rely on just because we can… but we could really do without it!


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Invest in some bath toys and one of these awesome bath visors by Kair instead! Your baby will most likely give you a hard time when you have to rinse shampoo out of his/her hair… This is the perfect solution for a fussy baby. And it really works! I expected Liam to try to mess with it, but as long as he’s distracted by his toys, he doesn’t reach for it at all.  This is one of the best mom hacks ever, believe me on this one. 

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Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 3.37.17 PM.pngYour baby will outgrow his clothes at the speed of light. I tell my pregnant friends to not splurge on many Newborn or 1 Month outfits because it is very likely that your baby will outgrow them as of the second week! Besides, you want your baby to be as comfortable as possible — not in itchy, stiff, or  too warm fabrics. When it comes to designer clothing, not only will they probably be worn once (such a waste of money), but they will also most likely get ruined by spit up, sweet potato puree, or explosive poop stains. There, I said it.

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Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 3.37.47 PM.pngI invested in a Bumbo Seat and regretted it right away. I’d say they were invented for the impatient parents: the ones who want their babies to sit upright when they aren’t fully ready to do so quite yet. Not only have they been proven to be unsafe (the first Bumbo seat recall occurred in 2007 after reports of at least 17 infants falling out and suffering skull fractures, and the second in August 2012, after reports of 95 babies falling out and at least 19 infants suffering skull fractures), but Bumbos are also bad for babies’ development. According to MamaOT:

If you actually observe a child seated in the Bumbo, there is no active control being achieved. The child is passively placed in position and then locked in. By positioning babies in an unnatural posture without access to the sensory input they require for development, we are really doing a disservice and interfering with an important and natural progression of development.

Instead of buying one of these extremely uncomfortable seats (Liam hated it, by the way), just prop your baby up on a pillow and give him some time to sit up straight on his own. It’ll happen soon, I promise.

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Johanna Riehm teaches in the department of Communication and Media at Manhattanville College and in the department of English at Mercy College. She teaches courses in the history of communication, public speaking, and social media, as well as creative and technical writing workshops. Johanna’s work has been featured in Graffiti Literary Magazine, The Write Place at the Write Time, The Bangalore Review, Cactus Heart Press, and the LaMothe Review. She is working on her first longer work, a creative nonfiction novel called We Carved Our Names in Tamarind Trees.

5 thoughts on ““Rookie Mom” Registry Mistakes : Here’s What You Really Need (And What You Can Do Without)

  1. Reblogged this on Carly's Comments on Life and commented:
    I agree with every point on this list. I’ll generate my own at some point, but this echoes my advice, thoughts, and ideas for new moms as well. This is really a GREAT blog. If you are thinking of having kids, have tinies, or want to know more about motherhood from a clear voice – you must check this chica out. Merci!


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