Paper Cape Founder, Alex's Registry Favorites

People ask how I knew what to buy when I was pregnant with my oldest, George.  The answer is great advice from generous siblings and friends.  Now that I've lived through the first year with each of my 3 babies, I'm excited to share my actual, non-negotiable, got to have it, registry favorites...

NOTE: Other than Paper Cape items, I am not being compensated for these recommendations.  I just really love these products.

Parenting Books

    Okay, I'm NOT the mom who has read all of the parenting books.  In fact, I vastly prefer podcasts (favs? Unruffled, Simple Families, and Spawned).  The 2 books that I absolutely could not have lived without were about sleep training and that's NOT for everyone (but if it's for you, see below...):

      • The Happiest Baby on the Block written by baby expert, Harvy Karp, this book taught me how to soothe my child in the first 3 months before sleep training was an option as well as how to transition to gentle sleep training at the appropriate time.
      • Twelve Hours by Twelve Weeks Old, which was our sleep training bible.  Don't believe in sleep training? Practice attachment parenting? You do you.  If sleep training IS a priority for you, this is your book.

    Books to read to Baby

      • People will gift these to you and, though you can and should read to them right away, this becomes more relevant 6 months in when they're awake for longer periods.  Board books are better for tiny hands that like to rip things apart.  Looking for diversity in your child's bookcase? Sign up for the Little Feminist Book Club (subscription book club for kids) or consider her list of Classic Feminist Books for Toddlers.


    Yes you will be gifted lots of beautiful clothes.  These are the basic, workhorse styles that will get you through those foggy early days...

      • Zip up footies: I designed a classic pajama style zip footie that IMO could be baby's day and night outfit.  I also love Burts Bees and Kickee Pants but in both cases I had to search to find the classic, elegant prints that I prefer.
      • Bodysuits: Paper Cape bodysuits have collars and are great on their own. I also love Burts Bees bodysuits to layer under footies for extra warmth.
      • Kimono Tops: These are great in the first 6 months because you don't have to pull them over baby's head, which can be challenging with limited neck control.  They can also be left open at the bottom for the umbilical stump.
      • Cuff Pants: Pair these with kimono tops as easy pull on bottoms.
      • Inside hat: Babies can struggle to retain heat and it's a good idea to keep a cute hat on them indoors for the first 3-6 months.
      • Sunhat: Babies can't wear sunscreen until they're more than 6 months, so hats are a must.
      • Socks/ Booties:  Baby toes get cold easily.  IMO booties stay on better than socks but it's good to have both in your arsenal.
      • Bib:  I love our reversible bandana bib but am also a fan of the Burts Bees pull over version and of Aden and Anais clever "burpy" design that doubles as a great burp cloth.
      • Mittens: Babies are born with long finger nails and it can be a struggle to keep them from scratching their sensitive little faces.  These soft mittens are a great solution.
      • Bunting:  Do you live in a cool climate? You need one of these for outings.  We especially love the Little Me ones and the Nordstrom ones with ears.


      • Burp Cloths: Yes I know, these are technically cloth diapers but they're also the best burp cloths and I'm not a proponent of waste but you do need at least 10 of them, maybe 20.  Once they're really ratty, they can be used as rags for house cleaning.
      • Bib: See above - for the formula/ breastmilk stage, you really only need soft bibs.
      • Nursing Cover: (swaddle blankets also work great) If you're nursing there are SO many other items that you need such as a pump, nipple soothers, and Mothers Milk Tea. This list is really things for the baby but I'll do a follow up with new mama self care and nursing must haves.
      • Breast Pump: Many insurance plans cover this big purchase OR you can rent one from the hospital.  I liked the Medela Pump In Style Advance but haven't tried other "wired" ones. I loved the Willow wireless pump because it gave me the freedom to do other things while I pumped but its expensive and most insurance plans wont cover it.
      • Bottles: It is well known that some babies favor certain bottles over others.  I love this sampler from Babylist so you can try a few and then buy 2 more of whichever your baby prefers.  Only thing is, this sampler doesn't include my babies' favorite brand, MAM, so it may be worth throwing one of those in the mix too.
      • Formula: My kids had Earth's Best and I was happy that I could restock at Whole Foods in a pinch.  It's worth reading up on why people import European formulas in case you decide to go in that direction. If so, you can buy Holle and Hipp HERE.  
      • Bottle Cleaner for Travel: This compact little kit comes with a dry mat and a bottle cleaning brush.  I don't leave home without it.
      • Portable Cooler for Traveling with Breast Milk: It's expensive!, but if you're planning to nurse, keeping breast milk frozen for travel is a real headache. People like this more affordable one too but I haven't tried it.
      • Formula Dispenser for Travel: Whether you're going to the park or on a plane, this dispenser that fits 3 bottles worth of formula saves you from carrying the whole giant formula container.  If you ARE traveling by plane, I suggest ordering the giant formula tub to your destination ditto on diapers, wipes, and anything else you can avoid packing.
      • Hot Water/ Milk Thermos for Travel: This leakproof, temperature controlled thermos is amazing for hot water when you're in the formula stage and hot milk once your baby is drinking cows milk.

    Diapers/ Wipes/ Changing

      • Diaper Bag: My current favorite is the Herschel because it has tons of pockets and is completely gender neutral because dads schlep diaper bags too!  I had the Skip Hop Chelsea, which is a great urban bag that is well disguised but more feminine than the Herschel.  
      • Diapers: I love Whole Food's Seventh Generation brand and appreciate that they use as few chemicals, scents, etc. as possible on a product that touches sensitive baby skin.  I highly recommend Biodegradable Diapers because diapers constitute 2% of waste filling up our landfills.  Sadly, my kids developed a skin rash to the biodegradable lines that we tried and other parents have reported that they're less sturdy and more expensive than other options.  Here's hoping a great biodegradable option surfaces ASAP.
      • Wipes: We are obsessed with water wipes in our house!  They are the only wipes that don't cause rashes on my kids' sensitive skin.  Bonus! They've given themselves until 2025 to formulate a biodegradable option.  
      • Bum cream (see "First Aid" below)
      • Changing Table I love this dresser with a removable changing table topper.  A changing table shouldn't be a single use item when it's so easy to buy a removable top for a piece of furniture that you'll keep. You don't even really need the topper and can just put the Peanut (see next link) on top of any dresser.
      • Changing Table Cushion: Okay so it's not the most attractive item, but it's a lifesaver! The Peanut is so comfy for baby and super easy to wipe down.
      • Vava Light: Babies (and grown ups!) are strongly impacted by sudden changes in light in a room.  The Vava is turned on by a tap and you can continue to tap it to make it brighter (or not).  It was so critical for middle of the night diaper changes and/or breastfeeding when I didn't want a bright light in the room.
      • Diaper Pail: This diaper pail is easy to use and mostly contains the smell.  It also comes in a lot of colors so you can match it to your nursery decor.


      • Crib: This is my favorite full size crib because of its solid poplar construction (particleboard found in many cribs sold in the US is prone to toxic off gassing) and it's timeless design.  People also love Ikea's cribs because they have to meet European safety standards and they don't break the bank.  Live in a small apartment or have twins? These are our favorite mini cribs.
        • Crib Mattress: This mattress is expensive but mattresses can off gas so we felt it was worth it.
        • Crib Mattress Cover: Once you've spent all of that $ on a mattress, buy the pad so that you don't stain it.
      • Snoo: My kids didn't have these but I've been told they're basically a robotic night nurse and I'm a Harvey Karp fan so I'm inclined to believe them.  Don't buy, rent.
      • Monitor: Okay, the Nanit is very expensive. I agree.  That said, it is pretty incredible.  It tracks baby's sleep patterns, room temp, % humidity, and even coaches you on how to improve the situation.  I will say, if this isn't where you want to invest, we have a basic $35 Vtech monitor for travel and it totally gets the job done.
      • Pacifiers: Like bottles, it's hard to know which kind of pacifier your child will like.  I've linked to MAM, which was my oldest child's favorite (my twins never used a pacifier but suck the same fingers).  Other parents adore the WubbaNub because it's adorable and harder to misplace.
      • Shusher: I wasn't sure about this at first but it is AMAZING.  Babies need endless "shushing" to get to sleep and this can be set for 30-60mins and will do the shushing for you.  We used it carseats, strollers, etc. It's basically an effective portable sound machine.
      • Swaddles: There's a reason that Aiden and Anais muslin swaddles are so popular.  Not only are they great for keeping baby cozy in his/her crib, but they are also the perfect thing to tie over a stroller if baby is sleeping or you want to keep the sun out or to wear as a cover while you're breastfeeding.  If the swaddle blanket feels like a chore, consider some velcro swaddles, which are much more intuitive.
      • White Noise Machine: It's not beautiful but this one is tried and true.
      • Humidifier: I like this one because it's easy to fill and clean.
      • Pack n Play: If you plan on traveling or on having dinner at friends' houses while the baby is down in the other room or sharing a nanny and needing an extra crib at your house, this is a perfect solution. It's easy to set up/ unfold/ pack and the mattress is safe and comfortable for baby.

    First Aid

      • Bum cream: Desitin and Aquafor are my "go tos".  I use Aquafor to shield their bums from irritating poop but resort to Desitin if a bum already looks irritated.
      • Gas remedies: I tried Probiotics, Gripe Water and Mylicon Drops with varying success.  I hate to say it but this mama sort of believes that time is the best cure for gas :(.
      • Brush and Comb: Fight cradle cap by combing baby's head after baths even if he/she doesn't have much hair.
      • Infant Tylenol
      • Rectal Thermometer: Yep, that's the most accurate way to take baby's temperature in the early days.
      • Nail Clippers
      • Nose Frieda: This looks gross but it is very effective when little nasal passages become clogged during the inevitable first cold virus.
      • Coconut Oil: I rub this one baby's skin after baths to keep some of the moisture in.

    Laundry/ Dishes


      • Tub: I love this one because it's foldable for storage.
      • Sponge Insert: The tub (above) is pretty hard on baby's tiny body so I recommend this insert that adds padding and absorbs the warm water to keep baby cosy.
      • Hooded Towels: How cute are these? The hood is very functional to keep heat from escaping baby's head when he/she emerges from the tub.
      • Shampoo/ Bodywash
      • Faucet Cover: This is to protect baby's head from the sharp faucet.


      • Ergo Baby 360: Created by a mom who wanted to carry her baby in a more Ergonomically sound way, this carrier allows baby to face back, front, and side, and has a sun and rain cover.  It's a bestseller for a reason.  The new Embrace also looks promising as a lighter weight alternative in the very earliest days (though the 360 with an infant insert worked fine for us).
      • Boba Wrap: If you're not walking far or just need your hands free in the house, the Boba is a great, lightweight alternative to the 360.

    Places to put baby 

      • Bouncer: This is the first babysitter I ever had :). I would put George in this while I took a shower, to help burp him after meals (it helps them sit upright), and when I wanted to put him down for a minute while I did something else.  It is very easy to wash the fabric after the inevitable spit up and it packs flat for road trips.
      • Dock A Tot: This was made for co-sleeping but I used it as a place to comfortably put baby down in common spaces. For the first 6 months, it's a really useful utility space.


      • Blankets: People will gift these to you.  You only need a couple.  Our favorite were these machine washable, personalize-able ones from Restoration Hardware because they're easy to throw in the wash so you don't have to worry about taking them out in the stroller.  I also adore these cashmere ones and these one of a kind creations from Nantucket Looms.
      • Crib Sheets: Carousel Designs makes the cutest printed crib sheets for standard and mini cribs (the mini crib ones fit a pack n play).  Make sure you order them ahead of when you need them because they're produced on demand and take 2-3 weeks to arrive.

    Out and About

        • Carseat: I love the Uppa Baby Mesa mostly because it fit easily into my stroller system.  
        • Carseat cover: These stretchy carseat covers are great for when you're out and about and baby is napping or you'd like to hide him/her from the sun.
        • Stroller: This is very personal! I love the quality of Uppa and have a Vista because I knew that I was going to have more than 1 child. I currently have the twins in the 2 seats and George on a kickboard on the back.  If you're spacing your kids out or only plan on having 1, the Cruz or Minu are great options.  The Minu reminds me of the Babyzen YoYo, which many families swear by as a utility stroller for travel and everyday. 
        • Stroller Leash: This is a must in San Francisco where strollers can roll down hills but it's a good safety precaution anywhere.
        • Stroller Organizer: I love being able to easily access my phone, sunglasses, wallet, water bottle, keys, etc. when out and about with a stroller.
        • Picnic Blanket: This waterproof blanket is easy to throw down at a park, beach, etc. to keep baby clean(ish).  We leave ours in the stroller so it's always on hand.
        • Travel Bag: Each of my kids has a monogrammed XL Lands End zip top tote in a different color.  We use them for road trips or even just trips to the beach, pool, or park when we need lots of stuff. They're great utility players.


        • Baby Gym: I happen to love this cute camp themed one, but there are tons to choose from.  While parents will be tempted to buy neutral, pastel or natural wood versions, a black and white or brightly colored gym is scientifically proven to stimulate babies much more.  I need a LOT of convincing not to pick one that fit better into my living room decor.
        • Mobile: I LOVE these adorable soft mobiles.  As written above, resist the urge to buy a neutral or pastel colored one.  Petit Pehr is also my favorite resource for toy storage once baby is bigger and has more toys.
        • Rattles: This Montessori inspired wooden rattle has been a favorite of mine and of each of my babies. My favorite toy brands are Hape (wooden), Green Toys (safe plastic), and Melissa and Doug (a mix of both). You can search their sites by age.  Stroller rattles are great for the first year.

      Wait 6 Months

        • Exersaucer: Or as I like to call it "that's going in my living room?!"  They're big, moderately ugly pieces of equipment BUT babies LOVE them! Each of my kids bounced happily when no other activity could hold their attention.
        • Highchair: You won't need this for 6 months but it's a big ticket item so you may want it on your registry in case it could be a gift or group gift.
        • First Shoes: These should be soft soled. My favorites are TOMS, Freshly Picked, and Elephantito for dress shoes (I basically had my daughter in their Mary Janes every day)
        • Silicon Plates: Your pediatrician will tell you but babies typically eat solid foods at 4 months at the absolute earliest.
        • Silicon bibs (for solid foods)
        • Utensils
        • Sippy Cups (learning to drink water)
        • Snack Containers (unless you want cheerios ALL over your floors)
        • Freezer friendly baby food containers: These are basically silicon ice trays where you can store single servings of pureed baby foods and defrost as needed.
      Don't you love when, even as a seasoned parent, you see some new invention to make parents' lives easier and think "genius!  Why didn't I think of that?"  Me too and I add them to this list :).  I'd love to hear from this community: what are your must haves?
      Thanks for reading ALL the way down to here :)


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