At 39 weeks pregnant, I waddled into the nursery, looked around at all the baby gear I’d stockpiled and had a very Little Mermaid moment: “Look at this stuff. Isn't it neat? Wouldn't you think my collection's complete?” See, I had onesies and swaddles a-plenty. I had teddy bears and teething rings galore. You want sleep sacks? I had 20! But who cares? Fast-forward a year and some change, and, just like Ariel, I wanted moooooore, because—psst—you only need so many monogrammed newborn-sized blankets. Here are all the random-but-useful things I wish included on my baby registry.
12 Random-But-Useful Baby Registry Picks That No One Tells You About
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1. Force Of Nature Starter Kit
Baby toys get gross. Pacifiers fall (OK, are violently thrown) in the dirt. Highchairs become plastered with blueberry skins. You gotta be ready to clean things at a moment’s notice, but you also want your cleaning agent to be safe for baby. Force of Nature, an all-natural, EPA-registered disinfectant, checks both boxes. It’s a safe, rinse-free solution to keeping things, like pacis that fall on the ground, sanitary—you can even use it to wash produce! Plus, since it requires you to activate the salt and vinegar blend, it kinda feels like a fun (and easy) science experiment.
2. Solid Starts Starting Solids Bundle
You might do a double take when your pediatrician says you can introduce solids. If you’re like me, you might even try to convince yourself that baby can consist on milk alone until they’re 18. Transitions into the unknown for new parents and caregivers can be stressful. And if you’re postpartum or trying to think of a feeding plan on three hours of sleep, you might need a little assistance. I initially dipped into Solid Starts—a baby-led weaning resource—through their free First Foods Database (wanna know if you can feed lotus root to your 6-month-old? Check the database!). But I used the free resources so often, I eventually decided to bite the bullet on the bundle that includes guides like “50 Fantastic First Foods for Baby,” “25 Foods You Should Never Feed Your Baby,” “100 Dinners for Babies and Toddlers” and more. When I need some inspiration for baby meals (and family meals!), I still frequent my Solid Starts bundle!
3. Tubby Todd Newborn Gift Set
You will buy more Aquaphor and Butt Paste than you thought possible in your time as a parent. But once you’re in the throes of it all, will you really splurge on an over-$100 baby lotion kit? No. But, I tell you, if you can get someone one else to flip the bill on it, this one is worth it. For one, it includes the secret weapon every changing table needs: the All Over Ointment. Let’s just say…no one reallllly preps you for baby acne, but this stuff comes in handy during those early days and definitely through the seasons when eczema might show up. The rest of this set is gentle, high-quality and useful—especially the sweet quince Baby Deo, which this mama spritzes on herself (shhh).
4. Frida Baby Nosefrida The Snot Sucker
There is nothing more angelic than a newborn. But that won’t keep your infant from a nasty stuffy nose that they do not have the fine motor skills to eradicate. This, my friend, is up to you. And while you probably didn’t think parenthood involved sucking out mucus from a squirming baby at 3 a.m., at least this random, but oh-so useful device makes it way more convenient. And while you’re at it, might we also suggest the Frida Baby Windi?
5. Electric Nail Trimmer
Again, babies are absolutely perfect until one claws your face—or their own—with their freakishly long nails. Nothing quite prepares you to see a sweet, innocent infant with nails that won’t quit. They need to be cut, but no way are you putting anything sharp near their squirming digits. This is where this handy dandy electric nail file comes in. Sure, it might look like it might be used for, err, something else, but I guarantee this thing’s utility will outweigh its appearance. Note: The file pads are choking hazards; so keep away from baby at all times and keep track of the pads.
6. Haakaa Silicone Breast Pump
Whether you’re planning on breastfeeding or not, having this silicone thing on hand really can’t hurt—it’s far cheaper than an electric pump, and it still does a great job expressing milk without overstimulating your supply. Basically, you stick it on your boob, and it helps express milk through simple suction. In the early days, I had one ready to go at all times as my supply runneth over. And when I weaned, it helped relieve milk without stimulating more production. Warning: You will inevitably spill one over. It will be OK.
7. Portable Stroller Fan
Fifty percent of your first three months will be spent worrying if your baby is too hot or too cold. You carry blankets in your stroller, so why not a rechargeable fan? The octopus-leg design makes it easy to attach to a stroller bar, but impossible for your baby to detach it. Be warned, however, when baby inevitably discovers what fun the button on the back can be.
8. Mission Mightyme Puffs Subscription
For the uninitiated, “puffs” are the colloquial term for the extremely popular, largely nutritionless baby snack. You might decide that you are never giving your baby puffs because your baby will only eat whole foods. But…at some point, your pediatrician will probably recommend that you begin introducing common allergens. This might send you spiraling—especially the fact that preventing these allergies requires serving them up on the regular. Mission MightyMe Puffs were designed so that caregivers can introduce these allergens in a stress-free, yummy way. You’re probably gonna give the kid puffs, so why not have them pull double-duty? Plus, your baby will probs gobble them up. (Mine does.)
9. Morepeas Essential Snack Cup
Speaking of puffs, you’ll want a place to keep those snacks handy at all times. Now, I’ve tried my share of snack traps, but this one is just so…pretty. Look at the colorways! But there’s a lot else going for it—like you can use it to quickly steam veggies in the microwave or pass it over to your toddler to self-feed. It’s made of non-toxic, BPA-free food-grade silicone; it’s dishwasher-safe, and the suction cup on the bottom actually works (unlike so many other products that promise a good suction but don’t deliver on it.)
10. Miss Mouth’s Messy Eater Stain Remover
Whether your 9 month-old is throwing sweet potatoes on your new blouse or exploding sweet potatoes up their tush, stains are inevitable. But Rachel Gulmi, PureWow’s Operations Director, Branded Content has found a solution. Miss Mouth’s Messy Eater Stain Remover. “I am obsessed with this stain remover. I’ve used it on everything from fruit stains to spit up to blowouts. The non-toxic formula is gentle enough for babies, but powerful enough to not leave any trace of a stain. I love it so much that I even use it on my clothes..”
11 Clear Cover Photo Album (set Of 5)
Print your favorite photos, slide them into these no-fuss albums, and boom, you made baby a screen-free photo album that will surely become their favorite new picture book. It might even coax out some “Mamas” and “Dadas” as they page through! (Psst: This also doubles as the easiest Father’s Day or Mother’s Day gift, which will come in handy when you’re working with no sleep and three brain cells.)
12. Amazon Echo Dot
“What is time?” you might ask yourself as you burp your baby as the sun rises…or is it setting? Up is down, left is right, and how the hell are you supposed to know when your next feeding is? My colleague Michelle tells me how she kept it all straight: “I received an Echo Dot when my daughter was born and have used it everyday since. The first year I primarily used it to time feedings and play lullabies. Now, we use it to set timers for transitioning and Encanto dance parties.”