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Training for Baby: Babies really need all that?

Posted May 29, 2012

About six weeks ago, my husband and I took on the frightening task of entering a Babies R Us on a Sunday afternoon to register for gifts. We allotted a couple of hours and I was even planning to hit the gym afterward. What ensued that afternoon was truly one of the most draining experiences we've had so far being pregnant.

Having only set foot into a Babies R Us once or twice before to buy gifts for pregnant friends, I just thought they'd have someone available to help new parents start their registries. They set us up at the customer service area and then turned us loose, armed with one of those scanning guns and a giant list of "items babies need."

We started in infant care, where we stood around for 20 minutes just staring at monitors. Video monitors, motion sensors? Baby video surveillance is very hi-tech.

Then, we went to the bottle section, where our list said we needed tons of bottles and then about 300 nipples in different categories according to age and flow. This is my first baby and I had no idea bottles were different and I certainly had no idea about the nipples.

After registering for about 20 nipples, we ended up in the section by the first aid kits. I finally just sat on the ground and surveyed our surroundings. A baby nail kit? I knew I had to trim his little nails, but does he need his own kit? A hair brush? I heard he gets one of those at the hospital.

We had been in infant care for about an hour when my husband started to worry that the store would be closed before we finished the registry. He even went to the front to check their hours. Thankfully, they didn't close for another four hours - by his estimates that would give us just enough time to finish.

From bath robes to Boppys (which I had no idea what they did, but I knew I needed one), we navigated our way through infant care in about two hours. Another couple with their young baby were also shopping that day. They recognized the dazed and confused look both my husband I were sporting and assured us the experience was just as harrowing for them, but it gets better.

By the time we got to the car seats and carriers, I was done. We needed help! One of the sales associates happened to walk by and ask us if we needed any assistance. After telling him that we needed help with everything on our list, he agreed to walk us through the store. Life got a little easier after that.

We went through the basics - car seats, strollers, pack-and-plays, cribs, bassinets, swings, bouncy things - all within an hour!

After the gauntlet of registering, we went home and just sat on the couch. I couldn't even hit the gym!

We have had to add things since then, but the registry is pretty much done.

We had no idea how much babies need and how many things these stores will tell you they need. I survived my infant years without half this stuff! But I am sure these items make it a lot easier for parents and baby.

Life was good, then we decided we needed to register at Buy Buy Baby - just to add variety to the registry and give our friends other options. A sales associate was assigned to help us there - apparently that is standard at Buy Buy Baby. That visit was even longer than the Babies R Us one! We registered for so many snappy shirts and baby sacks (I had no idea babies sleep in sacks!) and swaddle blankets. I had to take several breaks because this woman was running us ragged. She tried to talk about baby proofing our home, but we just couldn't absorb anymore. We decided to table that until my family comes to visit and my dad can use his Home Depot skills to baby proof our entire home.

We didn't even go through the entire Buy Buy Baby store. We had to throw in the towel around the chairs because we stopped being able to see straight.

Friends have been a great resource on different must-have items, and other ones that you really don't need to worry about. One friend suggested forgoing the wipe warmer because you can't warm wipes when you aren't home. Another gave us a great tip on a monitor and bathtub.

What experiences did you have registering for gifts? What are some of the items you used the most and would recommend to new parents?

Kathy is editor of's Out & About section. Learn more about Kathy on her website. Last year, here on Go Ask Mom, Kathy chronicled her efforts to lose weight before she and her husband started a family. Now, due with her first baby this fall, she's writing about her pregnancy. Find her here on Wednesdays twice a month on Go Ask Mom.


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  • outlawtaxi Jun 6, 2012

    My friend had a Diaper Champ for a diaper bucket and she loved it. One-handed disposal, and used regular trash bags so she could buy a big thing of 13-gallon kitchen can sized ones at Sams. She had her favorite diapers and wipes too, just experiment until you see what you like, and yes they are all cheaper at Sams or the store brand from CVS if you like them. She did like her wipe warmer for home; away from home the wipes are in the bag in smaller packs so they weren't as big a deal. Yes to the cloth diapers for burp rags, etc. too. And get a diaper bag that your husband isn't embarrassed to carry; some guys won't carry a really "baby" looking one, but there are plain ones.

  • brassy May 31, 2012

    Favorite items: travel-sized playard with bassinet, video monitor, fisher price ocean wonders bouncer, ocean wonders aquarium, boppy, sleepsack, baby gowns, zip-up pajamas, ergo carrier, cheap umbrella stroller, high chair that converts to booster.

    Never used: swing, bulky high chair, bumbo, sling, stroller that came with the travel system, crib set (against SIDS recommendations), most of the outfits in small sizes, most of the cold weather gear.

  • cjnall May 30, 2012

    One of the best items ever is the Bumbo seat. My 5 mo. old grandson adores being able to sit up and watch what we are doing. We bought one for their house and one for our the consignment shop of course. Also, a baby swing is great when you need a movement to sooth a cranky baby! Best wishes for a healthy bundle of joy!

  • MRS PG May 30, 2012

    She is registering for GIFTS

  • 2alegal May 30, 2012

    Why not go to Kids Exchange Sale? It is coming up and there are many new or almost new items. You save money because you don't use a bunch of this stuff long.

  • unipride May 30, 2012

    Oh! I would however get a mirror for your car! Best idea ever - I prefer one that plays music as it can help with upset kiddos in cars. Personally I would also second the Happiest Baby on the Block - swaddling and sleep sacks are wonderful wonderful things!

  • unipride May 30, 2012

    For the day baby comes home all you really need is a good breastfeeding pillow (if nursing) some clothes and diapers. Honestly. Baby will be happy to sleep on you or any flat surface!
    I would strongly suggest a new carseat just because of the issues with used ones. Right now with my 4 month old we have the co-sleeper, the swing and a bouncy seat. No changing tables for example!

  • CricketGayle May 30, 2012

    Also, if you don't already have one, I would suggest a membership to a warehouse club for purchasing diapers, wipes, etc. We have a BJs membership and it was a lifesaver for purchasing those items as well as formula in our case.

  • kimmyb0519 May 30, 2012

    We used cloth diapers the most, although we did not cloth diaper. The standard Gerber prefolds. I used them as burp cloths and packed one in my breast pump bag to aid in cleaning up after pumping. We also had a set that we used at the changing table. I laid them on top of the changing table cover in case of messy diapers or surprise pee's. Easier to toss that in the laundry than try to change the cover on the table pad every day!
    Other than that, I would recommend picking "gender neutral" colors for big items such as carseats, high chairs, pack n plays and such so you can use them for future children (if you plan on any) or be able to re-sell them easily.

  • CricketGayle May 30, 2012

    If borrowing items from friends, be very careful with car seats. They DO expire and you also want to take into account how it has been stored in the time that it wasn't being used. The plastics can weakened over time.

    Cloth diapers definitely as burp cloths. The little terry cloth things they sell as burp cloths are useless. Wipe warmers are also useless. All they do is dry out the wipes.

    Boudreax's B#tt Paste was our choice for diaper cream. Very reasonably priced, works well, decent smell (Desitin has a fishy smell to me).

    For the infant carrier, if you will be transporting the baby in 2 or more vehicles, it's worth it to purchase additional bases for the carrier. Same thing with car seats when he gets older. Even with LATCH, it takes a few minutes to properly install a car seat. It's safer to have one properly installed in each car and not having to quickly move it back and forth every day.