Everyone knows the basics a baby needs, such as diapers, a crib, a stroller, and a car seat. It's the smaller items that might fall off your radar. Here's what's probably not on your baby registry -- and why you need it.
A bassinet or co-sleeper for your bedroom. I know, I know -- you're paying for the crib, who wants a bassinet too? But it can be a lifesaver. For the first 12 weeks, your baby is up wanting food every 2 to 4 hours. You'll be sleep-deprived and really hurting if you're shuffling between your room and the nursery. Do the math: A $100 bassinet will cost you a little more than $1 a night. You'll only need it in the early months, but you'll really be happy to have it!
A sleep sack. These are making their way over from Europe -- they're a brilliant way to keep baby warm at night without blankets, which baby can kick off. It's like a sleeping bag, but it has open arms for ventilation and a zippered bottom so diaper changes are still easy.
A baby-specific baby wash. Your newborn will be getting sponge baths at first, then baths in an infant tub. Adult soaps are way too strong and can dry baby's skin, and those with acne-fighting ingredients are actually dangerous for babies. Be sure to have something baby-specific like Johnson's Head-to-Toe Babywash, tailored to a newborn's skin. And it makes baby smell delicious, like a little apricot!
Baby nail clippers. It's shocking how fast a newborn's nails grow, and even more shocking when you learn that you're supposed to trim them! Have a pair of baby nail scissors and a pair of baby clippers on hand and try both to decide which is eaiser for you to use. Some strategies: Have Dad trim the nails while Mom nurses the baby, or try cutting them while baby is sleeping.
A tiny swing. Lots of parents resist buying a swing because they think it will take up too much room. But having somewhere safe to put your infant while you cook or get dressed is vital -- and baby gets tired of being plunked in a car seat or bouncer seat. Now Graco and Fisher-Price have these tiny versions -- the swings aren't much bigger than the baby!
Pads for the changing table. Diaper changing is messy business. Most moms get several covers for their changing table cushion, but you don't want to have to change the cover every time you change a diaper, which is eight to ten times a day! Get little waterproof pads. You put the square under baby's bottom for easy cleaning.
A nursing/bottlefeeding pillow. Seventy percent of new moms start off breastfeeding these days. One of the most challenging aspects of nursing is figuring out how to hold the baby comfortably, without hunching over in an awkward position. A nursing pillow like the Boppy really helps -- it wraps around your waist and gives you a support for the baby.