Here’s what to include when creating a baby registry, and what to leave out

A woven basket shown from above is filled with neutral colored and polka dotted linens, a knit teddy bear, wooden baby teething toys, and baby shoes.
Paperless Post BlogBaby > Here’s what to include when creating a baby registry, and what to leave out

So, you’re having a baby. And feeling all the feelings. As your baby shower date draws near, one of the most important tasks is figuring out how to make a baby registry—and if this is your first go-around, you may have some questions.

What should you put on your registry? Should you ask your baby shower host to include a baby registry link with your baby shower invitations? Is it okay to create two baby registries? (It is). Read on for everything you need to know about creating, populating, and sharing your baby registry.


When should I create a baby registry?

You can start a baby registry whenever you want, but most people prefer starting when they’re around 12 weeks pregnant (the end of the first trimester). Since you probably want to send your baby shower invites around week 25 or so, this timing gives you around three months to get that registry just right. You can create your baby registry with just a few items and slowly add more until it’s time to send baby shower invitations out.

Of course, some eager shoppers might want to start their baby registry as soon as that positive test shows up, and others might need some more research time before they get started. Either way is fine—it all depends on your personal preferences and what works best for you.


A green baby Registry Block during its creation process with links to Amazon, Target, and Pottery Barn Kids for someone named Gatsby.
Screenshot via Paperless Post.


When should I share my baby registry?

It may be tempting to share your baby registry as soon as you create it. But if you know some eager grandparents and relatives who can’t wait to buy some cute baby stuff, you might want to spend some time getting your registry right before making it public. After all, you could change your mind about which nursing pillow you want after you’ve done more research. 

Once your registry is ready to go, send the information to your baby shower hosts so they can include registry links in your baby shower invitations. Paperless Post makes it easy to attach registry links to any of our online invitations. Simply create a Registry Block and add the information and the link. This way, your guests don’t have to play telephone to find the right baby registry. While soon-to-be grandparents tend to start purchasing early, most shower guests will make last-minute purchases, so set up your registry early on—and continue to check in on and update your list as your baby shower approaches.

In addition to including your baby registry links in your shower invitations, you can also post them on social media or text them to relatives once they’re ready to go. 


Where should I set up my baby registry?

Setting up a registry at a local baby boutique is a lot of fun (and it’s always great to support small businesses!), but if you’re looking for the basics, try creating your registry at bigger stores where people can shop online.

The best places to make a baby registry include:

  • Target offers a free welcome kit, 15% off on everything left on your registry, and free returns or exchanges on anything on your registry for up to a year.
  • Pottery Barn Kids offers helpful resources, like stroller and car seat guides and premade registries, plus the standard 15% discount on what’s left in the registry.  
  • Babylist lets you create a registry with any items from any store, plus they offer personal gifts you can’t find in stores, like coupons for babysitting or meal prep.
  • Amazon baby registry is great for things you may want to reorder, like diapers or formula, and offers a 15% discount on your registry leftovers. Amazon also offers a free welcome box with lots of goodies for you and Baby.
  • Crate & Kids offers a 20% off discount code for one item when you start a new registry with Crate & Barrel or Crate & Kids. 
  • Walmart offers free returns for one year, plus a free welcome box. Buying guides for items like sound machines, monitors, and accessories makes choosing the right brand a breeze.

Can I create two baby registries?

Yes. Don’t be shy—creating a few registries will ensure you include everything you’ll need, along with a few special things you can’t resist. Once you get the basics locked down, you can create additional registries for the extras—and to give shoppers a variety of options. 

Can I ask for cash instead?

Your loved ones and baby shower guests want to help you begin your parenting journey any way they can. If money would be more helpful to you than baby stuff, feel free to set up a cash fund on sites like Babylist. Cash funds also give you more flexibility when it comes to baby shopping later.


What do I need to include on a baby registry?

We recommend dividing the items on your baby registry into two categories: nice-to-have items and must-have items. Experienced parents will tell you that the must-have baby essentials may not be as cute as the nice-to-haves, but they’ll pay for themselves in usefulness from the moment your baby is born. 

Include a range of price options and brands for your guests to select on your registry. Don’t be afraid to add big items, such as cribs, strollers, and swings—even if you think they’re too expensive for your guests to buy. Many stores offer registry completion discounts on items that are left on your registry, so you can buy these bigger items with a helpful discount. Or, you may have a few guests who choose to split the price of something on the pricier side. Here are some of the categories of items to add to your registry:

Four numbered baby items: A sound machine, a crib monitor, a crib sheet, and two sleep sacks.
1. Hatch Rest+ Sound Machine; 2. Nanit Pro Split-Screen Baby Monitor; 3. Dakota Woodland Crib Sheets; 4. Hudson Baby Sleep Sack.

Sleeping items

Your baby will spend most of their day sleeping, so add items to make sleep safer—and longer—at the top of the list. Many parents swear by the right combination of pacifiers and swaddling blankets to soothe a fussy newborn in minutes.

  • Sleepsacks or onesies to keep your baby warm while keeping them safer than loose blankets.
    • A white noise machine you can easily strap onto a car seat or stroller for a nap on the go.
    • A waterproof crib mattress or crib pad to protect your baby’s mattress from diaper leaks, spit-ups, and everything else that wakes you up at 3 a.m.
  • A portable crib—or better yet, an all-in-one that has a bassinet attachment and doubles as a playpen—gives you a versatile way to manage (and move) sleep spaces and changing stations.


Four numbered baby items: An elephant pacifier toy, Baby Einstein books, a Goodnight Moon book, and a colorful dachshund toy.
1. WubbaNub Pacifier; 2. Baby Einstein My First Library; 3. Goodnight Moon; 4. Wonder & Wise by ASWEETS Pull Apart Pup.

Playtime and reading

Babies’ brain development increases with every new day, so register for enriching toys and books that they can use right away. Exercise gyms, puffy books, and crib mobiles all keep your baby’s attention and help them practice new skills.

  • Lovevery’s Play Gym is a newborn’s first favorite place to be (besides in your arms). It keeps babies’ interest through the beginning months with dangling toys and contrasting colors.
  • Sophie the Giraffe belongs in every baby’s toy box. She’s a squeaky, squishy chew toy that you’ll never forget to bring on a trip.
  • Black-and-white art cards to help your baby’s eyes focus and brain develop in the early days. Just put a card in the side of their crib or bassinet and watch how intensely they stare at it.
  • A set of board books to start off your little one’s library with a variety of concepts, including shapes, colors, and animals.
  • Classic stories to make bedtime a warm and fuzzy time for both baby and parents as they remember their own favorite books.


Four numbered baby items: Blue bibs, two food feeders, a breast pump kit, and a white recliner chair.
1. Silicone Bib with Decal; 2. Munchkin Fresh Food Feeder; 3. Medela Breast Pump; 4. Babyletto Kiwi Ivory Boucle Nursery Power Recliner Chair.


Feeding and changing essentials

However you choose to feed your baby, you’ll want to create a comfy go-to spot with a rocker or glider. And don’t forget diapers! Register for several different sizes, since some newborns fit into larger sizes when they’re born—and it’s great to have a ready supply as they grow.

  • A variety pack of bottles to help you find the right bottle for your baby (they tend to have a favorite right away).
  • A deodorizing diaper pail to store dirty diapers and keep your nursery smelling fresh.
  • A nursing pillow to create a snuggly moment for a parent and their nursing or bottle-fed baby.
  • A breast pump (if you’re planning on pumping) and bags to be ready right away.
  • Bibs for any type of feeding—nursing, bottle, or solid foods later. Cloth bibs are easy to toss into the laundry, while silicone bibs just need a quick wipe before the next meal.


Four numbered baby items: A basket of four Aveeno bath products, a whale-shaped tub spout cover, a baby tub, and a green thermometer shaped like a manta ray.
1. Aveeno Bath Time Gift Set; 2. Skip Hop Moby Safety Bath Spout Cover; 3. ​​OXO Tot Splash & Store Tub; 4. Baby Bath Thermometer with Room Thermometer.


Bathtime and hygiene must-haves

Simple and straightforward work best for the bath, since you can add small toys to their routine as they grow. A foldable bathtub is easy to store, and a spout cover protects their head from bumping against the tub.

Include these bathtime items in your baby registry:

  • A set of lavender-scented bath soaps, shampoos, and lotions. (Babies love falling asleep to the smell of soothing lavender.)
  • A baby bathtub that can transition from infant stage to toddler stage, or one that can fold up for easy storage if you have less bathroom space.
  • A bath thermometer that floats in the water and lets you know when the water is just the right temperature for Baby.
  • Squishy bath toys to delight or distract your baby as you wash their hair.
  • Lots of washcloths to cover your baby during the bath, keeping them warm and happy.


Four numbered baby items: A travel crib, a black diaper bag, a car seat, and a wagon-style stroller.
1. BABYBJÖRN Travel Crib Light; 2. Freshly Picked Sydney Black Weekender Diaper Bag; 3. Chicco KeyFit 35 Infant Car Seat and Base; 4. Radio Flyer Voya Wagon Baby Stroller.


Travel items

Most diaper bags these days look like high-end purses or cool backpacks. Choose a couple to keep packed up and road-ready: A small one for quick trips, and a bigger one for all-day sojourns. 

The stroller and car seat are bigger-ticket items that may already be covered (thanks, Grandma!)—but even so, you can include in your registry some of the accessories you want that don’t come standard. 

More travel essentials for a new baby include:

  • Gentle wipes for hands and face when you’re out and about (stash these everywhere—you’ll need them).
  • A portable crib that gives your baby a comfy place to sleep wherever you are.
  • A deceptively large diaper bag to store an extra change of clothes, emergency pacifiers, and of course, more diapers.
  • An infant car seat that is compatible with a stroller frame (or double stroller, which can be a nice investment if you’re planning on more than one child). Pro tip: Get your base checked by a fire station before the baby comes to make sure it’s tight enough
  • The right stroller for your needs, whether it’s a bouncy jogging stroller, a fancy walking stroller, or a super helpful wagon stroller.


Four numbered baby items: A pack of cloth diapers, a white onesie, eight baby hats in various colors, and a light blue luggage-inspired case folded baby clothes inside.
1. 6 Ply Cloth Diapers Burp Cloth; 2. Gerber Unisex Baby 15 Piece Onesies Bodysuit Multi Size Pack; 3. Konssy 8 Pack Baby Newborn Hats Set; 4. Maison Me Luxe Baby Gift Set, Sage Multi.

Basic baby clothes and laundry

Between messy feedings and explosive changes, babies go through a lot of clothes. Register for lots of plain onesies and t-shirts (multi-packs are the best) so you won’t be standing next to the washer waiting for a load to finish. 

You may also want to register for sizes 3-6 months, especially if your baby is on the bigger side.

Include these essentials on your baby registry:

  • Cloth diaper inserts, even if you’re using disposable diapers—these absorbent little guys help with spit-ups, diaper leaks, and everything in between. A much better investment than those thinner burp cloths with cute animals.
  • A pack of plain short-sleeve or long-sleeve onesies, either long-sleeve or short-sleeve (depending on your climate and the time of year).
  • A multi-size pack of onesies that grows with your baby (or lets big newborns start out in the right size).
  • A set of plain white or colored hats that you can add to a diaper bag, dresser, or bottom of a stroller just in case.
  • A gift pack of coordinating, simple clothes that make coming home from the hospital a tiny fashion show.


What don’t I need to include on a baby registry?

Every experienced parent has that item (or items) that they didn’t end up needing, no matter how much they thought they would. Avoid the trouble and save space on your registry—and in your house—by skipping these items. And if you’re throwing a smaller baby sprinkle, you’ll definitely want to keep these items off your gift list.

Fancy baby clothes

It’s hard to resist adding newborn-sized party dresses and suspenders to your registry. They’re so cute and fancy! But newborns grow quickly, and you may find that some of these outfits never get into the rotation before they’re too small. 

If you really want those cute little outfits, don’t worry—most guests love picking out baby clothes so much that they’ll throw an outfit or two into the bag with the rest of their gifts without the help of a registry. (And if your friends or siblings have kids, you may also find yourself with plenty of hand-me-downs to choose from.)

Small baby toys

The same story goes for small baby toys: Guests who love to buy these adorable items are going to do it with or without your registry. Babies can’t play with these toys for several months, so they’re going to take up some necessary space in the nursery.

Baby towels and robes

Nothing’s cuter than a baby wrapped up in a towel or snuggled up in a robe. But photo ops notwithstanding, baby towels and robes tend to sacrifice thickness and absorbance for cuteness, resulting in one bath requiring several towels just to get your baby dry. Get some regular extra-soft towels instead, and save yourself space and trouble.

Baby-proofing items

Plug covers and corner bumpers will be very important in six months or so when your baby is mobile, but baby-proofing stuff is unnecessary when you’ve got a newborn who can’t even roll over yet. When your baby does start moving around, take a crawling trip around your home to see possible hazards at the baby’s height, and buy your baby-proofing items accordingly.

Stuffed animals

Everyone loves to hand a soft teddy bear to a new baby. But babies shouldn’t have stuffed animals in their cribs at all for the first 12 months, and after that, they’ll probably pick out their favorite stuffed animal themselves. Resist the urge and put the bear back on the shelf.



Planning your baby shower

Babies need a lot of things, but getting those things isn’t all up to you. Rest assured that your loved ones want to support you and your partner and are waiting to shower you with love—and registry gifts. 

When your close friend or family member offers to plan your baby shower and asks for your input, Paperless Post is here to help. Use our baby shower invitations and add a useful Registry Block to spread the word—and the baby gifts you really want. Our beautiful, customizable designs include RSVP tracking and guest messaging tools, too. 

Paperless Post makes planning a shower so easy, even a baby could do it. 



Browse baby shower invitations


Hero image via Adobe Stock.