The insider's guide to essential baby registry items

As much fun as it is to point that registry gun at your favorite store, how do you know you're selecting the items you'll really need and use? For first-time moms or for those who have been out of the game for awhile, it’s important to seek guidance from other moms to discover which tools of the trade are the most important. As I’ve learned from trial and error, there is no right or wrong when it comes to baby items but some just work better than others. And there are those must-needed items that no mom should be without.

Lowcountry Child has taken out the guess work. I polled several Lowcountry moms to learn what really should be on that registry list. Here’s what they have to say:

The Essentials

• A travel system with car seat and stroller. Get two bases — one for each car. Some moms swear by the jogging strollers (especially BOB strollers). Also, register for an umbrella stroller, it’ll come in handy later.

• Playard, including fitted sheets. Some parents also purchase a bassinet for the first few months, but we used our Playard that came with a bassinet and changing table.

• Bumbo chair; helps the baby learn to sit up, can also be used for feedings.

• Boppy pillow. Use this for feedings and to just lay the baby down sometimes. I had one for the bedroom and one for the living room. Another lifesaver for feedings was the “My Breast Friend Nursing Pillow.”

• Monitor: Lots of moms out there swear by video monitors, but they warn they can become addicting. Even if you get a video monitor, I would advise getting a traditional monitor as well, one with two receivers (for bedroom and main living area) that you can clip on to your belt or pocket when you go out in the yard, to the garage, etc.

• Baby carrier: Besides using it when you go out and about, you would be surprised how much you use it around the house. I would also advise registering for a sling, such as the Jelly Bean. Look for one that is reversible and that you can adjust to put the baby in several different positions. Besides being more convenient to do things around the house, sometimes it’s the only way of calming a fussy baby.

• Diaper Champ: This glorified trashcan for dirty diapers, uses regular trash bags versus special ones you have to buy like the diaper genie.

• Cloth diapers for burp cloths.

• Bouncy chair that vibrates: Sometimes this is all that calms the baby. It also allows you a chance to put the baby down to brush your hair, fix the bottle or take a breath.

• Lap pads (or disposable multi-use pads): These are good to put on the car seat, swing, bouncy seat, etc. so you don’t have to wash them every time there’s a blowout of any kind.

• Paci Clip: When you find the pacifier that your baby prefers, you never want to lose it. Use the pacifier clip when the baby is awake to ensure he doesn’t spit it out and it become lost forever at Grandma Mi Mi’s or get eaten by the dog.

• Dustbuster: You may not think you need it at first, but, trust me, it’s a must-have item once your child starts eating table foods.

• Comfy chair (rocking one with ottoman that glides as well): You have no idea how many hours you’ll spend in it.

Entertainment

• Swing: Choose one that swings both ways, back and forth and side and side. There are now swings available that travel easily, so you can take it to a friend's house when you’re in desperate need of leaving yours.

• Floor activity mat: There's no need to get something fancy that looks like it belongs on a spaceship. You just need something for the baby to lay on with things he can grab and look at.

• Exersaucer: Another life saver. It allows you to put the baby down for a moment and keeps them entertained. See also the JUMPER.

• Standing toy like a table to teach him to pull up and stand (made by Leap Frog, etc.).

Feeding

• High Chair: I would advise getting two high chairs, one that you can move around and one that straps to a chair to travel with.

• If you’re going to breastfeed and pump, most moms advise getting the Medela electric pump. It pumps in half the time as a manual one.

• Cart/highchair cover

• Don’t register for too many bottles. You don’t know which ones your baby will like the most - same for pacifiers.

• Bottle brush

• Dishwasher basket

• Formula dispenser for on-the-go feedings.

Travel/Outdoor play

• Stroller swivels to help you carry your purse and bags on your stroller handle

• Mosquito netting for stroller and playard

• Sun Shade for the beach

• Parasol umbrella to attach to stroller for beach/pool

• Mirrors for the car (for baby and for mommy)

• Battery-operated fans could be good when you‘re battling the Lowcountry heat.

• If you plan to travel a lot, register or buy with one of the many gift cards you will receive, a cheaper monitor with one receiver that has light and sound recognition to keep in your child’s travel bag.

Clothing

• T-shirts that snap for the first few weeks.

• Gowns are great for the first month. You don’t have the time, patience or vision to undo all the snaps to change diapers in the middle of the night.

• SwaddleMe Blankets: These are perfect to keep the baby nicely wrapped and secure.

• Sleepsacks. This is pretty much what it sounds like, a sack you zip them up in that acts as a blanket. This is a great option once the baby has outgrown the swaddle tactic, but is too small for a blanket in his crib. It’s keeps him nice and warm without being loose fabric.

Bath time

• Wash cloths with soap in them (made by Huggies and Johson&Johnson) are perfect for the first few weeks of sponge baths.

• Hooded towels

• Infant tub with a sling for when baby is small that you can take out as he grows.

• Bath sponge for the first few weeks. It’ll also be great to lay them on to dry off when you start using the actual infant tub.

• Don’t register for wipe warmer, shoes or receiving blankets. You don’t need the wipe warmer or shoes (until he starts walking). People will give you plenty of blankets they make or see. No one can’t refuse due to the cuteness factor.

Obviously, there are other items pertaining to feeding, changing and the nursery you will need - but these are some of the essentials by the moms who’ve seen it all (or most of it anyway).