The Bare Necessities Baby Registry

by Kaitlyn Clare Elizabeth Mason


What does my baby really need?  This question is on the minds of many mothers who make the potentially daunting, often exciting trip into a baby store to set up a baby registry for their child.

What does my baby really need?  This question is also on the minds of the many mothers who are pregnant and raising children in dire conditions, in impoverished areas of the world where they can only dream about stepping foot in a luxurious baby store.

It’s important to keep this worldly perspective in mind when you go to set up a baby registry, because you really don’t need everything advertised.

Lots of people are going to have an opinion about what you need to buy.  The Babies ‘R Us catalog is going to tell you all the items they think you need.  Just remember, they’re profiting from tricking you into buying everything in the store.  Your own relatives and friends are going to tell you all the items they think you need.  Just remember, their ideas about how to raise children may end up being a little different than your own.

I think there are 7 universal needs all babies share.  These necessities are met in different ways by mothers all across the globe.

First, I’ll share some material items to help meet each of these needs.  Then, I’ll share items that I think are nice to have but not exactly necessary, and some items I don’t think you need at all.  You may find this helpful if you’re trying to keep your stash of baby supplies to a minimum.  Keep in mind that you can likely borrow some of these things from a friend, and you can purchase many of these things inexpensively second-hand from a consignment store or from your local Goodwill.

My theory is that if we all stick close to a minimum, perhaps we can all share our resources with others who are less fortunate, to help ensure that every baby’s material needs are met.


Here are the 7 universal needs all babies share.  All babies need:

  1. A safe place to sleep
  2. Nutritious food to eat & a way to eat it
  3. Linens, diapering supplies, and clothing items that are warm, comfortable, and clean
  4. Infant care items
  5. A safe way to travel
  6. An education
  7. Love


Next let’s break it down piece by piece, to see how you might fulfill each of these needs with material items.

Choose only what you need from the items below to create your own bare necessities baby registry!



  1. A safe place to sleep (choose one)


  • Crib/mattress combo
  • Pack ‘n play
  • Baby swing
  • Bassinet (ok for first few months)
  • Moses Basket (ok for first few months)
  • SnuggleNest in your bed (ok for first few months)
  • SnuggleNest/pack ‘n play combo (ok for first few months)
  • Car seat (good to keep baby upright when baby has drainage)


2.  Nutritious food & a way to eat it (choose your method of feeding & needed items)


  • Nursing
    • Needed Items:  Mom, water & good food & rest for Mom
    • Wanted Items:  nursing cover/blanket (I like the Bebe AU Lait cover), pre-natal vitamins, pads (disposable/reusable)
    • Maybe Needed:  nursing support (I like the My Brest Friend pillow), pump, milk storage bags, bottles & low/medium/fast flow nipples, a couple of stretchy tank tops, nursing bras or stretchy sports bras, pacifier (not needed for exclusive/ecological/no-bottle nursing method as used often with NFP), baby monitors (if you’re nursing on-demand and baby sleeps in your room, this isn’t needed)
    • Not Needed:  bottle cleaning brushes, drying racks, bottle warmers, cream/ointment for Mom (you can use your earliest milk for this purpose – true story, and you don’t need cream after a few weeks at all), pacifier holders & wipes


  • Formula
    • Needed Items:  formula, water, bottle/sippy cup
    • Wanted Items:  extra bottles/sippy cups
    • Maybe Needed:  additional low/medium/fast flow nipples (bottles will come with some), pacifier
    • Not Needed:  bottle cleaning brushes, drying racks, bottle warmers, pacifier holders & wipes


  • Baby Food
    • Needed Items:  rice cereal, fresh fruits & veggies to mash or blend, water, small bowl, small spoon
    • Wanted Items:  blender, ice cube tray to freeze & pop out what you blend, extra bowls and spoons, infant spoons, 1 rubber pocket bib (wipe between meals)
    • Maybe Needed:  store bought baby foods, Gerber Puffs (you may want these for Mom & Dad – they’re amazing), pack of teethers for freezer
    • Not Needed:  Magic Bullet baby food makers, baby food making recipe books


3.  Linens, diapering supplies (choose your method), and clothing items that are warm, comfortable, and clean


  • Linens
    • 2 blankets/wearable blankets
    • 1 pack of 4-ct swaddle blankets (that can double as large burp cloths)
    • 2 sheets for mattress (if you selected one above)
    • 2 towels & 2 washcloths


  • Cloth Diapering
    • Needed Items:  1-2 dozen cloth diaper inserts in small and large (I love Cloth-eez), 6 diaper covers (I love Rumparooz that adjust with snaps from infant-toddler), 2-3 dozen cloth wipes (I love thin infant washcloths), 1 large waterproof storage bags (I use a hanging wet bag), 1 small on the go waterproof storage bag, spray bottle of baby wash & water
    • Wanted Items:  extra waterproof storage bag, 1-2 dozen fleece inserts (I cut fleece from fabric store into strips), 4-6 nighttime inserts (I love the bamboo charcoal ones)
    • Maybe Needed:  natural laundry detergent (recommended – I love Charlie’s Soap in bulk)


  • Disposable Diapering
    • Needed Items:  a bunch of disposable diapers in every size, disposable wipes
    • Not Needed:  expensive brands (we have success with Luvs when we travel), special diaper trash storage, wipes warmers


  • Clothing Item
    • 6-12 outfits in each size (consignment is great, hand-me downs are even  greater)


4.  Infant care items

  • Needed Items: nail clippers, comb, baby wash, thermometer
  • Wanted Items: Infant Tylenol on-hand
  • Maybe Needed: Infant tub (you can also just lay a towel in a sink to protect and cushion baby’s head), bulb for baby’s nose (but they give you one in the hospital)
  • Not Needed: expensive thermometers, baby care kits


5.  A safe way to travel (choose one or what is needed for your lifestyle)

  • Baby sling/wrap (I like the Boba wrap best because the stretch lets you nurse discreetly)
  • Car seat
  • Umbrella stroller (good for quick trips to store or walks)
  • Car seat/stroller combo (expensive)
  • Car seat and caddy


  • Maybe Needed:  mirror for backseat, double stroller/wagon (may be your stroller of choice if you have multiple little ones & one of them is a runner…)
  • Not Needed:  baby on board plaques, extra/fancy carseat strap pads, car seat covers (use a blanket or better yet your nursing cover to drape over car seat in cold/wind), child leashes


6.  An education (choose what you wish)

  • Baby books
  • Baby toys
  • Baby bouncer/jumper
  • Music (you can use YouTube or what you already listen to, or play an instrument, or better yet – use your voice!)


7.  Love (perhaps all you really need…)


And finally, I’m going to share what we use for our baby, because I have a couple of friends who have recently asked me what products we use at my house.  Keep in mind that we currently own a little more than what is on this list below, though we do try to donate what we do not use to Mary Garden Showers.



What We Use Regularly for Our Baby:

  • SnuggleNest/pack ‘n play combo (until about 6 months old so baby can comfortably stay in our room for on-demand nursing – we put the SnuggleNest in there only because our pack ‘n play mattress is broken, otherwise it wouldn’t be needed)
  • Crib/mattress combo (6 months and beyond – I can hear baby cry for night feedings after 6 months from across the house! Our toddler used this crib while the infant was in his pack ‘n play, or we wouldn’t have needed it immediately with our infant)
  • Car seat and caddy (my preference because I purchased the caddy inexpensively second-hand)
  • Pre-natal vitamins for Mom (when I remember to take them)
  • Nursing cover/blanket (my preference is the Bebe AU Lait cover because it provides ample fabric and it’s easy to peek at baby through the curved top)
  • My Brest Friend nursing pillow (great for when baby is tiny – not needed, but nice to have after birth & to help you learn to nurse with comfy support)
  • One-size fits all stretchy maternity tank tops (great for nursing – I get them cheap at Ross) & sports bras/nursing bras & reusable pads (actually cut up washcloths are my preference – only needed for a few weeks/months until your milk supply adjusts itself to baby’s needs)
  • rice cereal, fresh fruits & veggies, blender, a few small plastic bowls & baby spoons, pack of teethers for freezer, rubber pocket bib
  • 2 blankets/wearable blankets
  • 2 sheets for mattress
  • 2 towels & 2 washcloths
  • Cloth Diapering Supplies (these supplies will get you from birth to when your child is potty trained, and can be used for your next child, too): 1-2 dozen Cloth-eez cloth diaper inserts in small and large, 6 Rumparooz diaper covers, 2-3 dozen infant washcloths, spray bottle of baby wash & water, 2 large waterproof storage bags, 1 small on the go waterproof storage bag, 1-2 dozen fleece inserts, 4-6 nighttime bamboo charcoal inserts, Charlie’s Soap (can buy in bulk)
  • 6-12 outfits in each size (almost always consignment or hand-me downs)
  • nail clippers, comb, baby wash, thermometer, Infant Tylenol on-hand
  • Infant tub
  • Baby books (a lot)
  • Baby toys
  • Baby jumper (on loan from friend – not needed)
  • Music (French CDs from the library, my guitar, voices of all of us singing to baby)



While it’s nice to have all of these things, I’m sure I could get by with less.  Our family is very blessed to be able to meet the material needs of our children at this time.

Again, I think if we all try to stick close to a minimum, we can free up resources to share with others who are less fortunate, to help ensure that every baby’s material needs are met.

What items do you use regularly for your little ones?  How can we share our baby resources with those who are less fortunate? 


P.S.  God is merciful & He loves you… Pass it on!