The Frugal Baby: Registry


I like looking at other people’s baby registries. It is always interesting to see what people like and choose. But, sometimes, it makes me sad to see them fall into a marketing ploy that stores use to make you think more than you need.

Here is how the trap unfolds:

The expectant mother goes into the store to register. After creating the account, she is given a gift bag and a “registry check-list.” Not sure what she will need, the mother often uses this list like her Bible. She checks it several times to make sure she has everything they say she needs.

But, what the store has done is inflate a list full of items in order to bump up their sales.  In truth, you really do not need half of that stuff and by registering for it, you are missing out on the opportunity to guide your friends and family who want to bless you with something nice towards the items you genuinely need to have for your baby. So, let’s break down the store’s list and see what you really should have on your registry.


This list really makes me laugh. They list three different car seats, of various stages. While you will eventually need these, for the first several months, all you need is the infant car seat and the best deal is to go ahead and register for the travel system which includes the infant car seat. Skip the extra base if the seat will not be spending much time in another car. Consider it as a convenience since the seat can be placed into any car using the existing seat belts.

If you are not interested in a travel system, add a car seat stroller frame and a quality umbrella stroller to your list instead.

Toys for the car seat are a complete luxury too. I recommend just picking out one item for the car seat and a mirror so you can see your baby’s face with just a glance. You might also consider a protector mat for your car’s upholstery. A rubber mat or non-slip rug can work just as easily for this.


If you register for the travel system which includes the infant car seat, you will not need to register for an additional stroller unless you have multiple children. (If you need a stroller for your toddler and baby, I personally recommend the Joovy Caboose Stand On Tandem Stroller.)

Also, you need to have some type of infant carrier, whether a front carrier style or sling.

In you will be traveling to visit relatives frequently, a travel yard will be handy and works well as a portable crib.


While it might seem necessary to have everything the store says you need, if you get one of each of those items, you will soon discover that you home is overtaken by baby gear. In essence, all you need is an activity gym/mat or a bouncer. When the baby gets older, an exersaucer/activity center can be handy but an adjustable booster seat with some toys can serve the same purpose.


Speaking of feeding chairs, unless you need additional seating, the adjustable booster seatis a great choice. Instead of an expensive high chair which will take up space, a booster can attach to an existing chair and is portable for when you need to visit family and friends.

Other items you really do need but may want to skip on your registry are burp pads and bibs. These are very common gifts from those who do not purchase from the registry and from talented friends who can make them.

If you are nursing, please do yourself a favor and get a nursing pillow with an additional cover in case of accidents. Nursing covers often come available for free or can be made easily. Breast pads are a must. As for a breast pump, make certain of your commitment to nursing before this costly investment.

If bottle-feeding, you can pretty much trust the list the store gives you.


Do you really need to register for potty training items at this time? If you have adequate storage, go for it but don’t hold your breath. People would rather buy the baby stuff. Just being honest. This is probably something you can just skip over and ask for as a first or second birthday present.

For grooming needs, the hospital will give you a nasal aspirator, pacifier, comb and brush as well as a diaper bag. You will need hair and body wash but be careful choosing lotions. If your baby is born with sensitive skin, you might have to adjust brands or skip the lotion completely. Also, avoid baby oil as they pose a health risk if swallowed and baby powders as some people suggest it can cause problems in the female reproductive tract. Instead, register for diaper rash ointment, gas drops and an infant toothbrush. Add on nail trimmers, a fever reducer and digital thermometer.

While you could put your baby in the sink or tub for a bath, I recommend a basic bathtub for newborns to toddlers. It is a safe option and can be used in the sink for a more comfortable experience for the parent. You can use your existing towels and wash clothes.


Register for tons of diapers and wipes. You will go through them faster than you think. A changing pad is necessary for when you are away from home as well as a travel container for wipes. But, you can skip the diaper pail. Seriously. Use plastic grocery bags to wrap up dirty diapers and put them straight in the trash can that is emptied daily. Diaper pails are a stinky mess no matter what type you buy can be easily avoided.


This is one area where I say, “Go crazy!” Register for everything safety related that you can. In our home, we have baby gates, doorknob covers, outlet covers, refrigerator latches, cabinet and drawer latches, and a baby monitor.


The basic necessity is a baby crib and cribs do not come with the mattress so put that on your list. Add about three crib sheets and two waterproof mattress pads to your list too. You might also choose a bassinet or cradle. I personally love the Fisher-Price Newborn Rock ‘n Play Sleeper because I can take it anywhere in the house.

Changing tables are completely optional. I think we used one for Lira but by the time Franc came along, any flat surface would do.

While it is hard to accept, all nursery decor is optional. Crib bumpers are not safe. Art can be a do-it-yourself project.


Your baby is going to need clothes. Lots of them. So register for all sizes up to 12 months in onesies, infant pants, socks, sleepers and gowns. Keep the clothes basic as the seasonal items may be sold out by the time someone goes shopping. Basic layette items are kept stocked on the shelf year round. You will also need some blankets but this tends to be a popular gift items for people who do not shop the registry so do not go overboard.

Printable for You ~

free printable baby registry list

Get prime access to get for free

Now, Moms, what is the one baby item you could not live without?

Opt In Image
Subscribers get more for FREE!

I love my subscribers and give them a new freebie every month or so. Be sure to sign up so you never miss a printable, deal, or encouraging word.


  1. Melissa says

    My stroller has been my life saver. I would recommend when looking at the stroller travel systems be careful of the weight of the stroller and how it folds. Go to the store, pick it up and keep in mind how often you use it. I splurged on my stroller and got the Peg Perego Pliko P3. I searched around and found which had a model from last year (several) 30% cheaper than BRU and shipped for free! I have ordered the stroller and all three of my “big kid” car seats with no problems. All were much cheaper than the store. The Peg is very light, folds up like an umbrella, has decent enough storage, a step on the back so you can have another child stand on the back and accepts any carrier (come with a strap that hold down the carrier). My son is now 4 1/2 and it has held up fantastic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *