Expecting a baby? Expect a lot of gifts, too. If you’re welcoming a little one soon, your friends and family are likely champing at the bit to shower you in baby clothes, gear, and decor. Creating a baby registry should be a fun part of planning for your new addition, but, of course, there are questions most parents have going into the process, especially as a first timer. 

To help you put together your baby registry, we’ve answered some common questions and assembled a checklist of what you should consider adding (and not adding!) to your registry.  

What is a baby registry?

Your baby registry is a shopping tool to help you get organized as you prepare for your new addition. It also keeps your friends, family, and shower guests updated on what you want, need, and already have. The registry can be large or small and should function as a “to-purchase” list for you as much as it is a guide for what your loved ones should look at when gifting. 

You can create a gift registry at a specific store, in person or online, or use an independent registry service that allows you to add gifts from more than one source. For example, Happiest Baby’s registry lets you register for Happiest Baby essentials (like SNOO rental or purchase!) and add gifts from your other favorite stores. No matter where you register, you “shop” for the items you like and add them to a list hosted by that store or service. Then, you can share it with friends and family to provide access to all your desired gift items in one easily shoppable place. 

Can I shop off my own baby registry? 

Yes! And you should. This will decrease the chances of doubling up on items for Baby, as your list will reflect everything that has been purchased so guests know what’s left to choose from. Plus, most registries (including the Happiest Baby registry) offer a “completion discount,” so that you can buy yourself whatever is not gifted at a discount after your shower and as you approach Baby’s arrival. 

When should I start my baby shower registry?

You can start your baby registry as soon as you feel ready, whether that’s right after you find out you’re pregnant and have a due date, or further into your pregnancy or adoption journey. (Pro tip: Happiest Baby’s registry lets you hide your registry until you’re ready to share!) Some parents wait until they know the baby’s sex so they can register for items that fit any gendered decor or clothing styles. “Team Green” parents (those who will not find out the sex until the birth), or anyone planning a gender-neutral nursery and wardrobe do not need to wait. 

If you’ll be having a baby shower or sprinkle, it’s important for your registry to be set up before the invitations go out. Two to three months before your due date is a good working deadline. You can always add or take things off later, so don’t worry so much about getting it perfect as just getting some things you like up there in time for your guests to start browsing and budgeting. 

What baby shower gifts should I register for?

This varies with every family, but below is a general guide to items that most parents find helpful. You will note there’s a broad range of price points on our suggested registry list; gifts anywhere from $5 to $500+ can be included. 

Yes, you read that right: It’s totally okay to put big-ticket items on your registry. Do not worry if a gift is too large or costly for any one guest or family member to purchase. Some registries, like the Happiest Baby registry, allow for group gifting, which lets several loved ones chip in for a higher-priced item! Register for what you need and want, and don’t worry about a gift being too big or too small.

We’ve put some decorative and clothing items on this list, not to take the fun shopping away from you! But it’s very helpful for friends and family to get a visual on your general aesthetic from a glance at your registry. This way, if they decide to purchase something that isn’t on your list, it will be likelier to align with your style for Baby, whether that’s boho, glam, minimalist, or preppy, and so on. 

Of course, every family is different, so not everything on the checklist list applies to every family. Add what you think you’ll need and don’t feel guilty returning unopened items later if they end up not being right for you.

Baby Registry Checklist 

Sleep & Soothing Baby Shower Gifts

  • Sleep sacks, swaddles (consider Sleepea, the 5-Second Swaddle!), or swaddle blankets
  • Bassinet or SNOO (unlike other baby beds, SNOO automatically responds to a baby’s fussing with soothing motion and sound, often calming crying in under a minute!)
  • White noise machine (we’re partial to SNOObear, which is an on-the-go white noise machine and lovey!)
  • Nightlight (SNOObie is a nightlight, white noise machine, and more!)
  • Pacifiers (multiple brands or a multipack as all babies like different styles and shapes)
  • SNOO accessories—if you're planning on using SNOO, it's a good idea to add extra SNOO sheets and SNOO Sacks to your list, as well as Low Legs (great for beds with a lower profile) 

Diapering & Bath Baby Shower Gifts

  • Diapers (Newborn and Size 1)
  • Wipes 
  • Diaper cream 
  • Changing table and pad 
  • Diaper pail 
  • Baby bathtub 
  • Hooded towels
  • Baby washcloths
  • Body wash, shampoo, and body lotion 

Feeding & Health Baby Shower Gifts

  • Bottles (consider a sample pack or one each of a few different brands, to see what Baby takes)
  • Bottle drying rack 
  • Bibs and burp cloths 
  • Spoons
  • Baby food cookbook 
  • Feeding support pillow
  • Highchair 
  • Nursing cover
  • Bottle warmer
  • Baby first aid kit
  • Nail clipper or file system 
  • Baby thermometer 

Baby Clothing & Accessories

  • Plain white bodysuits (all sizes from NB to 18 months)
  • A few cute baby bodysuits or outfits
  • Headbands and/or hats
  • Plain baby socks
  • Diaper bag 

Travel & Gear Baby Shower Gifts

  • Stroller
  • Car seat (It’s a good idea to add any adaptors needed to click your car seat into the stroller base) 
  • Bouncy chair 
  • Swing 
  • Baby carrier or sling 
  • Play gym / activity mat 

Decor & Fun Baby Shower Gifts

  • Wall art for Baby
  • Rug for the nursery 
  • Throw blankets 
  • Lamp or twinkle lights 
  • Baby book or scrapbook 
  • Developmental or teething toys 
  • Rocking chair or glider 

Surprising or Unusual Baby Shower Gift Ideas

  • Newborn photography vouchers
  • A gift card to the store or site you’re using for the registry 
  • Cash fund … (nope, it’s not uncouth to add one to the registry!)
  • Matching robe & blanket set for Mom and Baby 

Baby Shower Gifts to Keep Off Your Registry

Once you start adding things to your registry, it can be hard to stop! Focus on practical gifts, but it’s okay to include frivolous and fashionable items as well because some people just love to give that type of thing.  

There are certain items you’ll probably receive or eventually want to buy yourself anyway once Baby is born, and still other items that are unnecessary, unrelated, or otherwise not smart to add to your registry. 

What not to put on your baby registry:

  • Crib bumpers: If registering for crib bedding, be sure to stick to fitted sheets only.
  • Wipes warmer: Seems cool, until you need to change a diaper anywhere other than Baby’s room and the standard temperature of a wipe brings tears!
  • Stuffed toys: Trust us, you’ll get plenty of these anyway, so don’t waste a spot on the registry with them...except for double-duty SNOObear!
  • Baby shoes or fussy clothing: You probably won’t use them, sorry. Simple knitted booties are good, but “formal” shoes and any outfit with a ton of ruffles or made of silk, etc are likely to be uncomfortable or impractical.
  • Anything you’ll need to dry clean: Yes, cashmere baby blankets and jumpers look delightfully cozy, but you are not going to want that stress when the baby arrives.
  • Items that need to be personalized: Even if you’re set on a name, it’s best to wait until after the birth for these, just in case 
  • Anything that cannot be returned: Let’s face it, double-up’s do happen and so do mind-changes. You don’t want to be stuck with anything that you won’t be able to return if you receive duplicates or no longer want/need it once Baby arrives.
  • Things Baby won’t use until they’re much older: Think: a toy four-wheeler or clothing over size 2T..they can create unnecessary clutter. Plus, you never know what your baby will like down the road!

More Baby Prep Help:


About Jenny Studenroth Gerson

Jenny Studenroth Gerson is an Atlanta-based lifestyle journalist and novelist (Let Me Let You Go, 2020). Her work can be seen in publications including HuffPost, Cosmo, and WSJ, among many others. Jenny has researched thousands of baby names, combed through hundreds of nursery designs, and curated dozens of baby shower guides, making her absolutely the mom—and writer—you want to talk to when planning for Baby. When not meeting deadlines, she is chasing toddlers or chugging coffee—or both! Find her on Instagram @ourlifeinrosegold for mom hacks and more.

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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.