Here’s our no-nonsense guide to the baby registry essentials you need on your list.
Chances are you’ve already got the basics covered on your baby registry—the stroller, the infant car seat, the diaper pail—but it’s trickier to come up with the lesser-known MVPs that will help you crush life as a busy new parent. Everyone’s ready to tell you about the five swaddle blankets you absolutely need to calm baby’s cries, but no one has a magic solution for managing a full household and a full-time job, and salvaging your own sanity on top of it all. Luckily, having the right equipment around you is half the battle. If you’re a soon-to-be parent with a jam-packed schedule and you’re looking to create a registry to satisfy baby’s needs and yours too, here are seven must-haves to put on your list.
As a new parent, you’ll be going through a serious amount of bottles (we’re talking, a lot more than you probably imagine). As you wash and rewash bottles and all their various parts every day, it helps to have a handy drying rack—ideally one with special areas for those small, easy-to-lose pieces like valves and pacifiers. This Space Saving Drying Rack has areas on the top and bottom for all those little pieces, and its pegs are angled to help cups and bottles dry faster. Plus, the vertical design is a major space-saver, helping keep your countertop real-estate free for all those other kitchen tasks you’re powering through.
Whether you plan to prep weeknight dinners ahead of time, or to cook in bigger quantities so you’ll always have leftovers, food storage will become a mainstay of your busy-new-mom routine. You’ll need containers that not only keep your food fresh, but also help you organize ingredients better. (No more half-opened bags of pasta or lentils spilling out all over the place!) That’s where a container set really comes in clutch—ideally one that’s stackable and space-efficient, and lets you easily see what you’ve got when you need to dash out pronto or make dinner in a matter of minutes. This POP Container Set comes with 10 pieces in varying sizes and shapes. Bonus: The push-button mechanism creates an airtight seal with just a single touch, to keep the foods you store fresh until you need them.
Even if you have a dishwasher, sometimes you need to quickly rinse a single cup or bowl before flying out the door. You may also decide to hand-wash many of your baby’s bottle parts and accessories. This sink organizer lets you easily access and organize all your dishwashing supplies—sponge, pump dispenser, long-handled brushes, palm brushes—and takes up minimal space on your counter. Thanks to its perforated base, sponges and tools stay dry and ready to use the next time you need to wash something in a jif!
When you’re scrambling to get both yourself and your little one dressed and ready for a full day, you’ll want to have everything you need within reach. The morning-madness rush isn’t the best time to go rummaging through a disorganized drawer, which is why dresser drawer dividers are a life-saver. They expand to fit into all drawer sizes (from front to back or side to side) and totally take control of the mess that’s likely to happen when you simply toss clean laundry into drawers. The dividers aren’t just ideal for baby’s dresser drawers—they’ll keep yours in order too. Hint: You can also use them to keep your kitchen and home-office drawers tidy.
A new baby means new items in the shower. Of course, you won’t want to toss out all of your own go-to products, like that deep conditioner you can’t live without. What you do need is a better way to organize and store the whole family’s shower essentials, so you’re not tripping over bath toys and baby shampoo when you’re trying to get out the house in 10 minutes flat. This rust-proof aluminum pole caddy keep all your items organized and clean, and its easy-to-install solves any shower storage shortage. The soap dish has room for your razor too, and can even hold a couple of rubber duckies—until you’re ready for a full-on Bath Toy Bin to hold all the things!
If you’re planning on breastfeeding, a breast pump will become your new best friend. This is especially true if you’re heading back to work in the months after you welcome your bundle of joy. In addition to that portable pump you’ve probably already registered for or received through your workplace, stash a compact breast pump drying rack in your bag. It includes two brushes especially designed to clean pump parts like valves, connectors and threads. Those detail brushes fit perfectly inside the folding drying rack, making the whole kit easy to take along wherever you might be headed.
While you might not yet be thinking about feeding your baby anything other than breast milk or formula, those first four-to-six months will go by faster than you can say “mashed sweet potatoes.” That’s why it’s helpful to register for items that’ll make churning out baby food a cinch, like the Mash Maker Baby Food Mill. Even when you have mere minutes to spare, this handy device can help you mash everything from avocados and sweet potatoes to apples and bananas. That way you can feel good about feeding baby homemade foods, even when you don’t have time to put on your chef hat and whip up a five-star meal.
Want to read more about products new parents can’t live without? Check out our staff picks.