Birth Affirmations

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Have you heard of birth affirmation flags, posters, cards and videos??  If you’ve kept up with reading my blog entries, I’m sure you can easily tell at this point that I am a huge advocate for natural childbirth and a woman’s innate ability to give birth to a baby as her body was created to do.  Therefore, although this idea of birth affirmations is new to me, I love it!

There are several ways a pregnant mama can immerse herself within the power of birth affirmations.  Here are just a few ideas:

  • Print a variety of birth affirmations on small index cards.  In the days and weeks leading up to your childbirth experience, begin and end your day reading a card to serve as a simple reminder and ease your mind.

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  • Create a video or slideshow of birth affirmations to watch during the early stages of labor.  Here’s a beautiful one from Indigo Midwifery in Albuquerque:

  • Print out and make a banner of birth affirmation flags to hang in a visible spot in the room during labor.

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  • Come up with a list of your favorites and have your hubby or doula read them to you in between contractions.

So as you start to wonder if you can really do it.  This thing called childbirth.  Pause and think about this:

“300,000 women will be giving birth with you today.
Relax and breathe and do nothing else.
Labor is hard work, it hurts and you can do it.” 
-Unknown 

If that’s not enough to remind you of your strength and power read through a few of these quotes and affirmations:

“If I had my life to live over, instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I’d have cherished ever moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.” -Irma Bombeck

“For you created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.” -Psalm 139:13-15

“We are made to do this work and its not easy…I would say that pain is part of the glory, or the tremendous mystery of life. And that if anything, it’s a kind of privilege to stand so close to such an incredible miracle.” -Simone in Klasson 2001

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” -Joshua 1:9

I think one of the best things we could do would be to help women/parents/families discover their own birth power, from within themselves. And to let them know it’s always been there, they just needed to tap into it.” –John H. Kennell, MD

“We have a secret in our culture, and it’s not that birth is painful. It’s that women are strong.” -Laura Stavoe Harm

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” -Isaiah 40:28-31

“Just as a woman’s heart knows how and when to pump, her lungs to inhale, and her hand to pull back from fire, so she knows when and how to give birth.” -Virginia Di Orio

“The power and intensity of my contractions cannot be stronger than me, because it is me.”

“From birth I have relied on You; You brought me forth from my mother’s womb. I will ever praise you.” -Psalm 71:5-8

“The whole point of woman-centered birth is the knowledge that a woman is the birth power source. She may need, and deserve, help, but in essence, she always had, currently has, and will have the power.” -Heather McCue

 

“My body knows how to have this baby just as my body knew how to grow this baby.”

“Birth is an easy and natural occurrence for which my body has been perfectly designed.”

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And if all of those still aren’t enough to have you convinced, remind yourselves of this simple yet powerful fact… “I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.” -Philippians 4:13

Your body was made for this very act.  And you can do it.  Trust me.  But more importantly, trust in yourself! ❤

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Preparing for Baby: Hospital Bag Must-haves

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I remember when we were taking our childbirth education class before having M and the instructor had us go around and say one thing that we had left to do to get ready for baby.  For several women in our class, the answer was the same: pack the hospital bag.  This wasn’t something I had really thought much about so I panicked a little, did some research and in typical me fashion started writing a list of what I needed to pack.  I decided I would take 2 bags with us to the hospital: one for me, and the diaper bag filled with everything we would need for Miss M.

Boppy pillow, M's bunny aka my labor focal point, M's packed diaper bag!

Boppy pillow, M’s bunny aka my labor focal point, M’s packed diaper bag!

In doing my research I kept seeing the same advice over and over… don’t overpack or you’ll end up with all kinds of things that you won’t actually use.  While I heeded this advice to some extent, I still ended up taking things I didn’t need.  And so, I’ve come up with a list of what I deem as being “must-haves” for your hospital bag.  Hope it’s helpful! 🙂

Mom’s Hospital Bag

For labor:

  • Insurance card/driver’s license (my advice would be to pre-register at the hospital!)
  • Sports bra/swimsuit top (if you plan to labor in the tub…which I HIGHLY recommend!)
  • Headband/hair ties
  • Chapstick
  • Breath mints
  • Focal point
  • Relaxation items: CD, aromatherapy/essential oils, massage tools
  • Camera/video camera – take way more pictures than you think you would want…you can always delete them but can never go back and take them if you don’t!!

After baby’s born:

  • Yoga Pants
  • Comfy shirt/sweatshirt
  • Robe
  • Slippers/Flip flops (easy to slip on to walk around your room or the halls)
  • Socks
  • Extra panties (don’t bring nice ones, they’ll probably get ruined)
  • Nursing cami/bra
  • Shampoo/conditioner/body wash/toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Hair brush/hair dryer/straightener
  • Make-up
  • Pillow
  • Nursing pads/sanitary pads/Lanolin cream
  • Earth Mama Angel Baby Mama Bottom Balm and New Mama Bottom Spray
  • Nice outfit for coming home (you’ll be taking lots of pics!)
  • Laptop/magazines (in case you want something to do)

 

Hubby’s Hospital Bag

  • Snacks
  • Stuff to drink
  • Laptop/books/magazines
  • Extra clothes (if planning to stay the night)
  • Personal hygiene products: deodorant, shower stuff, etc.
  • Cell phone charger
  • Cash/change for vending machines – the hospital we delivered in had a “Refreshment Room” with all kinds of stuff for the family, but not all hospitals have these

 

Baby’s Hospital Bag

  • Hand mittens/booties
  • Cute hat – you’ll want baby to stay warm but those little hats the hospital gives you aren’t the cutest!!
  • Blanket – again to keep baby warm but avoid having to use the standard hospital ones
  • 2-3 outfits (more if you plan on having newborn pictures taken in the hospital)
  • Pacifiers (if you plan to use a certain style)
  • Baby wash/shampoo for first bath (if you don’t want to use Johnson’s & Johnson’s)
  • Boppy/nursing pillow
  • Nursing cover
  • Baby book – our nurse was awesome about giving us tons of extra footprints for M’s scrapbook, memory box, etc.
  • Gift for baby to “give” older siblings (I’ll be giving some great ideas for this in my “Friday Find” post this week so check back!!!)

Things most hospitals provide:

  • Diapers/wipes for baby
  • Body wash/shampoo for baby’s first bath
  • Receiving blanket
  • Hat for baby
  • Sanitary pads for postpartum
  • Tucks pads/Antiseptic spray for postpartum
  • Formula (to supplement or formula feed if you choose)
  • Pacifier (the standard green silicone “Soothie”)
  • Nasal aspirator
  • Baby comb/brush

Ours also provided:

  • Lotion (for me) – baby shouldn’t have lotion yet
  • Snacks/beverages for me and the family in a “Refreshment Room”
  • Tubing/accessories for my breast pump
  • Breast pump to use while in the hospital if needed/wanted
  • Lanolin cream

Printable Checklist:

Complete Hospital Bag Checklist

Well, there you have it!!  And here’s my best piece of advice: pack your bag early and have it in the car or by the door!  That way no matter when the time comes, you won’t have to worry about whether or not you’re ready or forgetting anything, because unlike me (who went a week late), you might go early and then you’ll be prepared! 🙂  Happy packing!!

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**For more information on preparing for baby, check out my first blog in this mini series entitled Baby Registry Must-Haves

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo credit: http://www.migonishome.com/2013/03/packing-my-bags.html

Chocolate Chip Cookies

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It was rainy here today most of the day, so what better way to spend naptime than baking cookies?!  My favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe is the one my mom has used ever since I’ve been little…the chocolate chip cookie recipe in her Betty Crocker cookbook.  When the hubby and I got married I got a Betty Crocker cookbook as a wedding gift and while it’s not the same exact one as I always baked out of growing up, it’s the same recipe so it’ll work! 🙂

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What you need:

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 12oz package (2 cups) semisweet chocolate chips
  1. In a large mixing bowl beat the shortening and butter or margarine with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds.  Add the granulated sugar, brown sugar and baking soda.  Beat mixture until combined, scrapping sides of bowl occasionally.  Beat in the eggs and vanilla til combined.  Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer.  Stir in the remaining flour.  Stir in chocolate chips.
  2.   Drop dough by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake in a 375 degree oven 8 to 10 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned.  Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.

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Trust me, these are some super yummy cookies (in fact I’m eating one as I type this because I can’t stay out of them…don’t judge me but I’m probably on #5 or maybe 6…or 7…)!!!  And M LOVED the treat when she woke up from her nap! Happy baking!

 

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Happy Resurrection Day!

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What great news!  Jesus has risen!!

Last year M was still too little to partake in the traditional Easter festivities, but this year she had a blast!  We started the weekend Saturday morning with our church’s Easter egg hunt, followed by the dyeing of eggs.  This was particularly exciting because it was the first time Daddy dyed eggs, too!

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This morning we went to church, which was really special because the whole family was there!  And then we had a great family day complete with another egg hunt, games, some kite flying, beautiful weather and of course lots of yummy food!!  Here are a few highlights!

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I hope you too had a great Easter weekend with your family and friends celebrating the true reason for the day: Jesus!

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Baby FREEBIES!!

I’ve got another Friday Find for you!  I’m so excited to pass these freebies along that there was no way I could wait until NEXT Friday! 🙂  All 4 things you get absolutely FREE!!  All you pay is shipping and handling!  Pass the promo codes along to your friends and enjoy! 🙂

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  • Go to Carseat Canopy
  • Click on ‘shop now’
  • Select the style you want and add to cart
  • When you checkout, enter promo code: C5901B
  • Shipping total: $12.95

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  • Go to Nursing Pillow
  • Click on ‘shop now’
  • Select the style you want and add to cart
  • When you checkout, enter promo code: C5901B
  • Shipping total: $12.95

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  • Go to Baby Leggings
  • Click on ‘shop now’
  • Select the style you want and add to cart
  • When you checkout, enter promo code: C5901B
  • Shipping total: $12.95

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  • Go to Udder Covers
  • Click on ‘shop now’
  • Select the style you want and add to cart
  • When you checkout, enter promo code: C5901B
  • Shipping total: $11.95

When I had M, I used a code to get a free Carseat Canopy – and I LOVED it!!!  It is great quality, super cute and I got tons of compliments on it!  I’m bummed that I didn’t know about the other three things that I could have gotten for free… this mama loves her some free things! 🙂  Oh well, guess I’ll just have to take advantage with the next baby!

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Friday Find: Resurrection Eggs

Have you heard of these??  I hadn’t until a few days ago, but what a super cute idea for the kiddos!!!  You can buy ready-made eggs, but they’re also really easy to DIY!  There is a little bit of variation in ideas for what to put in the eggs but for the most part the ones I found were pretty similar.  Check it out:

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Resurrection Eggs can help share the real Easter story, the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus so that each of us can be saved through him,  with your kids.  There are 12 eggs, each containing an object and a bible verse to tell the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection.  Starting 12 days before Easter, have your children open one egg each day and discuss the significance of the item inside, as well as the accompanying bible verse.  Use this time to share the real meaning of Easter and reflect on what Jesus truly did for us on the cross!

Day 1: Donkey or leaf – representing the donkey that Jesus rode into Jerusalem/the palm branches people waved at him – Matthew 21:9

Day 2: Silver coins (quarters) – representing the 30 silver coins that Judas Iscariot received – Matthew 26:14-15

Day 3: Cup (thimble?) – representing the Last Supper – Matthew 26:26-28

Day 4: Praying hands/scroll (rolled up piece of paper) – representing Jesus’ prayers in the garden – Matthew 26:39

Day 5: Piece of leather – representing the whips the soldiers used to beat Jesus – Mark 15:15

Day 6: Crown – representing the Crown of Thorns Jesus was made to wear in mockery – Matthew 27:29

Day 7: Nail – representing the cross and nails that pierced His hands and feet – Matthew 27:31

Day 8: Dice – representing how the soldiers cast lots for Jesus’ belongings – Matthew 27:35

Day 9: Toothpick – representing the spear used to pierce Jesus’ side – John 19:34

Day 10: Piece of material/cloth – representing the linen cloth used to wrap Jesus’ body after he died – Matthew 27:59

Day 11: Rock – representing the stone placed in front of Jesus’ tombed – Matthew 27:56

Day 12 – Easter Morning – Empty egg!!!  – representing the empty tomb and Jesus’ resurrection into Heaven – Matthew 28:25

 

There’s even a story book about Resurrection Eggs that you can read with the kids, too!!

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This Easter I hope that you can take some time to put aside all of the secular Eastery things like bunnies and egg hunts to teach your kids and reflect on the true meaning of the day! ❤

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Image credits: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-mIRILdPiQFU/T2_6s8LLr8I/AAAAAAABGM/SbXEZ1n5AdY/s1600/167.JPG

http://crystalbowman.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lily-easter-party

Baby Registry Must-Haves & Printable Checklist!

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If you’re like me, when expecting a baby, your first baby, the task of completing a baby registry holds 2 emotions: exciting, as you prepare for the arrival of baby and getting everything ready, and overwhelming.  I’ll be honest the task can be a little scary!  I mean here you are registering for everything that you could possibly need for a baby…that you don’t even have yet and therefore who knows what you’ll need?!  I might have gone a little overboard in my preparation; I talked to family and friends, consulted Pinterest and other parenting blogs and culminated my research by making a checklist of everything I would need, complete with pricing and brand at the 2 stores I knew I would be registering at.

Here’s what I kept in mind while registering: the total number of people that would be attending my showers combined, what did I consider as “necessities” so I wouldn’t register for too many “extras” (you don’t want people to buy all the extras with the money they could be spending on necessities), and not to stress too much because if I forgot something…Target is always 5 minutes away! 🙂

In the end, I registered for the same things at both places (so that no matter where people went, they would have my full list of options), monitored my registries on a regular basis so that I could delete things as they were purchased at the other store, and ended up with almost everything I could have possibly needed.  In an attempt to help other mamas during this process, I’ve come up with a list of must-haves from this “seasoned” mama!  Be sure to check out the printable Registry Checklist at the end of the post!!

Here you go!!

Feeding:

  • Bottles – the amount depends on how often you want to wash them. We had 5 and that was plenty. (Also, it’s really not necessary to get the little 4-5 oz bottles…you only use them for a short time before moving up to the bigger ones, might as well use the big ones from the get go – it’ll just look a little funny with only a couple oz of milk in the beginning!) **Don’t unwrap/sanitize more than a couple – that way if baby hates that particular bottle you can return the majority of them!
  • Formula dispenser – even if you are fairly stuck on breastfeeding, it doesn’t hurt to register for one of these handy things just in case
  • Bibs/burp cloths – 5-7 bibs, 3-5 burp cloths (more if you don’t plan on doing laundry every few days)
  • Breast pump – check with your insurance company… LOTS of them will pay for this for you with a prescription from your care giver
  • Breastmilk storage bags/Lanolin cream/breast pads
  • Boppy or other form of nursing pillow – even if you’re bottle feeding you’ll definitely want one of these!!
  • Nursing cover/wrap
  • Various nipple sizes (optional)– we ended up staying with the ‘1’ the entire time because even as she’s gotten bigger, M likes the slow flow
  • Bottle brush
  • Bottle drying rack
  • Sippy cups – we found that having a variety of styles was nice because it took going though several before M found one she liked!
  • Plates/bowls/utensils – even though you won’t need these for several months, you might as well save yourself the money in the future and have someone buy them for you now
  • Snack cups – these are super handy for on-the-go snacking
  • High chair
  • Booster chair – once again, you won’t need it for a while but might as well put it on there!
  • Reusable or disposable place mats – these are really nice when eating out!
  • Baby Bullet – or another baby food making system. It is so much healthier and cheaper to make baby’s food and it is so easy –especially when you have a food processor/steamer like the Baby Bullet system.

Things I found not so necessary or downright a waste of money in terms of feeding: bottle warmer (we trained M really early on to take her milk at any temperature, this made it soooo much easier to feed her while we were out and about), dishwasher caddy (I hand-washed all of her bottles/nipples and even when I didn’t it was fine to just lay them on the top rack), insulated bottle tote (I got one in the mail and one from the hospital – you’ll probably end up getting one for free somewhere so don’t bother registering for one)

 

Health and Safety:

  • Monitor – I would suggest a video monitor that way you can keep an eye on baby and when s/he is older and fusses in the night, you can see if s/he is really awake or is just trying to get back to sleep before you go in there
  • Angelcare breathing monitor – this is a monitor that goes under baby’s mattress and detects breathing/movement. An alarm sounds if baby stops breathing…to me this is a MUST HAVE!
  • Baby gates – a necessity if you have open stairs, not so much if you don’t have any stairs
  • Baby care kit – these are really nice because they usually have everything you’ll need in them: nail clippers, thermometer, medicine dropper, comb, etc.)
  • Nasal aspirator – only if you’re going to register for the Nose Frieda. Otherwise just use the one they give you at the hospital – none of the other ones work worth a darn
  • Outlet plugs, cabinet/drawer latches, toilet lid lock, furniture corner cushions… all that safety stuff is oh so important!
  • Humidifier – I guarantee you that the first time your baby has a cold his or her pediatrician will tell you right away to have a humidifier in his or her room when sleeping!
  • First aid kit

Don’t bother with: nose bulbs/aspirators, teething gel – I never used the gel on M… I’m a little hippy and don’t like medicine unless it’s absolutely necessary but to each her own

 

Bath Time:

  • Infant bathtub
  • Bath seat – these are really nice for when baby doesn’t need to be laying down anymore but can’t really sit on his/her own
  • Bath toys
  • Toy storage – we have one of those storage scoops…love it! You can just scoop up all the toys and then hang it on the side of the tub to drip all the water off and dry
  • Bathtub spout cover
  • Bath kneeler – can I tell you a secret? We use an inexpensive gardening kneeler. It was half the price and works just as well! 🙂
  • Hooded baby towels/robe – these are nice for keeping baby warm on the way to the nursery to get dressed
  • Shampoo rinse cup
  • Soap/shampoo
  • Lotion
  • Brush/comb (if your baby care kit doesn’t come with them)

Don’t bother with: baby washcloths – these are a waste of money in my opinion…just use a regular washcloth, Johnson & Johnson’s yellow baby shampoo/wash/pink lotion – it’s actually terrible for baby’s sensitive new skin and do you know some of the chemicals they put in that stuff? Formaldehyde for one…We use Dove Body Bar for Sensitive Skin for soap and Johnson’s Natural Shampoo or another natural/paraben free shampoo for kids (no tears is important!)

 

Baby Care:

  • Diapers – don’t forget to register for a variety of sizes!
  • Baby wipes – refill packs and travel packs are nice to have, too
  • Diaper bag
  • On-the-go changing mat – we had one in the diaper bag and one for a “changing station” on our main level at home (that way we didn’t have to take her all the way up to her nursery every time she needed to be changed)
  • Diaper rash cream – Earth Mama, Angel Baby makes the best hands down. Don’t even waste your money on that other crap – trust me! They have it on Target.com, but if you aren’t able to register for it where you’re registering, don’t settle on another brand, just buy it yourself!
  • Pacifiers – 4-6, it’s a good idea to register for a couple different options and then open and sterilize only one of each kind. That way if baby prefers one over another you are able to return the ones s/he doesn’t like!
  • Sunscreen – be sure to find one for sensitive skin/babies, preferably one that’s natural with no parabens and remember: sunscreen is only safe for babies over 6 months of age
  • Sensitive laundry detergent – one that’s free and clear of fragrances, dyes, etc.
  • Baby toothbrush (if your baby care kit doesn’t come with one)

Waste of money: wipe warmer – they really just dry the wipes out and you’ll end up throwing them away cause they’re all dried up, baby power – this can cause respiratory issues for baby when they breathe it in…look it up! And anyway, it’s really not needed. Diaper pail – just throw the diapers in the garbage and if they’re really smelly, toss it in the dumpster outside – don’t waste your money on one of these, Destin or some other diaper cream (other than Earth Mama, Angel Baby) bad chemicals, don’t really work, can cause yeast infections and UTIs.

 

Nursery:

  • Crib/mattress
  • Fitted crib sheets – I suggest having at least 2-3 in case baby gets sick/has an accident in the night
  • Waterproof mattress pad/cover
  • Bassinet type thing – we had a Rock n Play…M LOVED it!
  • Pack n Play – these are handy for traveling – don’t forget sheets for it!
  • Changing table
  • Changing pad/covers (2-3 covers)
  • Glider/rocking chair
  • Dresser
  • Lamp
  • Mobile/crib activity toy
  • Blankets (3-5)
  • Toy organizer
  • Decorations – this is the fun part!!
  • Sound machine/CD player to play white noise – the sound drowns out the other noises in the house and helps baby sleep better!

Skip: Comforter/bumpers for the crib… it’s just not safe!

 

Activity/On-the-go:

  • Infant or convertible car seat
  • Additional base(s) for car seat
  • Toddler/convertible car seat – might as well be prepared for when you’ll need it!
  • Car seat cover – it isn’t safe for baby to wear a coat in his/her car seat so a cover will keep him/her warm and protect from the elements
  • Car seat head support (if your car seat doesn’t have one built in)
  • Car window shades – one for each side of the car
  • Auto mirror (so you can see baby from the front seat)
  • Stroller/jogging stroller
  • Umbrella stroller – it’s nice to have one of these in addition to your regular stroller because they are less bulky/lighter weight and good for when baby gets a little older
  • Baby carrier – we have an Ergo and love it!!
  • Car seat/stroller toys
  • “Baby on Board” sticker – did you know that statistically cars with these stickers are involved in fewer accidents?!
  • Cart/highchair cover
  • Swing
  • Bouncer seat
  • Jumper/exersaucer
  • Activity mat for the floor
  • Walker – only if you have a one level house or gates/doors protecting the stairs. Baby can quickly get near the top of the stairs without you realizing and you don’t want him/her to fall down in his/her walker!
  • Bumbo seat with tray – these are handy to help baby sit upright before they’re able to on their own. I’ve even seen people take these to restaurants and sit baby up on the table. If you do this, NEVER leave baby unattended!!
  • Toys/rattles

Skip: seat protector mats for your car – these can make your baby’s carseat slide around and just aren’t safe, multiple seats – ex. bouncer, exersaucer, rocker, jumper, walker, swing… baby really doesn’t need all of these things – just pick one or two (we loved our jumper and swing best!). Chances are you’ll be holding your new little one so much s/he won’t use them very often anyway! 🙂 Stuffed animals – you’ll get lots of these when people come to visit new baby.

 

Clothing:

  • Short/long sleeved onesies (depending on the time of year baby’s born) – be sure to register for a variety of sizes
  • Socks – I felt like we could never have enough socks!! Again, make sure you register to different sizes
  • Swaddles – these seriously are amazing…baby feels so snuggled and cozy!
  • Hand mittens (so they don’t scratch that brand new skin)
  • 1-2 hats
  • Sleep sacks/gowns (2-3) – these are really nice and comfy for baby, and make it easy to change diapers!

Don’t worry about: registering for clothes – in my opinion this isn’t necessary. I found that between the clothes I bought for M and the ones that people bought for us on their own, we had plenty! Plus I wanted other people to buy the necessities and leave the ”fun” stuff aka clothes, for me! 🙂

Here’s a printable checklist for you!

Registry Checklist

Well, there you have it!  The complete baby registry list…according to this mama!  Pin it, share it, repost it!  Hope it helps ease a little of that anxiety, and remember, even if you forget something: Target is always 5 minutes away!

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