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Ah, the baby registry. When you’re a first time mom, it can be so hard to figure out what you really need. And it’s all too easy to get carried away and just add everything that catches your eye—especially all those beautiful swaddle blankets that look *so* good on Instagram. But, when you look back, maybe having money on your Starbucks card was more important than those 17 blankets were.


We wanted to know what #TeamMotherly wished they had registered for, but didn’t. Here’s what they shared:

“Velcro swaddles, socks, infant Tylenol, gas drops, herbal milk tea, frozen meals (if you register at a Super Target or Super Walmart), Zout laundry spray.”—Julie Reeser Draughon

“Nothing! I would have registered for much less (zero pacifiers, zero swaddles, zero bottles) as you never know what your baby will need/want. I had way more than I needed/used.”—Rebecca Ann

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“A cleaning service and restaurant gift cards.”—Devon Ebsen Yochum

“More diapers and wipes and less stuff...we never used our bassinet, crib, rocker, etc, they just took up space and you can’t even donate or resell them for close to what they are worth.”—Christina Guerrero

“A wrap such as Solly or Boba for the first 3 months.”—Liz Good Selby

“Free babysitting...coffee delivery on demand.”—Ginger Seven

“I wish I hadn't taken the time to make a registry at all because only one person actually looked at it anyway.”—Samantha McPherson.

“Convertible car seat, Nuna Leaf, Nested bean and Halo swaddles.”—Kendall Rae

“A ring sling and babywearing consultant session! And way more cloth diapers.”—Liz Kautz

“Yup, Dock a Tot. My newest lifesaver!”—Sarah McLean

“Amazon gift cards.”—Rebecca Ann

“Postpartum doula.”—Candi Barbagallo Davis

“I wish I had registered for things I'd need when they are older... e.g. no need for $10 swaddle blankets but a big boy car seat or a double stroller when number #2 came along. That would have been smart.”—Meghan Glasgow

“More Halo swaddles.”—Butler Joy

“A babysitter.” —Laura Cochran

“Starbucks gift cards!”—Katie Haddad

“Baby Bjorn rocker, Dock a Tot, convertible car seat in addition to the infant one.”—Briana Cheverton

“I wish I had registered for a manual! Lol.”—Meagan Nicole Puckett

When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.

I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.

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The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.



As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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I was blissfully asleep on the couch while my little one was occupied elsewhere with toys, books and my partner. She got bored with what they were doing, escaped from his watch and, sensing my absence, set about looking for me. Finding me on the couch, nose-level, she peeled back my one available eyelid, singing, "Mama? Mama? ...You there? Wake UP!"

Sound familiar? Nothing limits sleep more than parenthood. And nothing is more sought after as a parent than a nap, if not a good night's rest.

But Mother Nature practically guarantees that you are likely to be woken up by a toddler—they're hardwired to find you (and get your attention) when you're "away."

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