Baby Registry Shopping List | NOVA Newborn Photographer

I'm the youngest of four. I only have 3 first cousins, and they are all older than me and lived across the country and world as we all grew up. All this is to say that until I had my own children, I had absolutely no experience with babies. They just weren't around, and they kind of scared me. 

As my friends and I started pairing off and having children, I still remained pretty blissfully unaware of all things baby. I remember placing a nipple brush off of a friend's baby shower registry in my basket at babies 'r us, and in that moment calling my mom and asking in a hushed tone "wait, you have to brush them?!" Turns out the brush is meant to wash bottle nipples, not the other kind. 

When Jason and I found out that we were expecting, I had no clue what this little baby would need. So I started asking friends and sisters in law and compiling a list. I put many of those things on my registry having no clue what they were. Some were instrumental in our lives, some were complete wastes of time. 

Now that I've been through it, I've been able to share my list with friends who found themselves in a similar position. One of those friends recently told me that she has shared my list with tons of people, so I feel like maybe it could help others if I post it here? I know, I know, not exactly newborn photography, but newborn-related! I should probably put a disclaimer here that I'm not a medical professional, just a lady who has two babies and photographs newborns a lot. 




  • 1 Infant car seat + base. We have the Britax B Safe that goes with the BOB Revolution running stroller which is a really good running/off-road kinda thing, but it’s way too big for day to day errands. But if you’re into running, you can find them all over craigslist for a lot cheaper than in the stores.
  • For day to day strolling around we had the click it. It’s a crappy little stroller thing that works with the infant seat that we own. You will only need that for as long as the baby is in the infant seat, so maybe 6-8ish months. This is best for errands, grocery store, and generally having a stroller that fits in your car. 
  • If I had to do it all over again, I’d go with what’s called a “travel system stroller.”  It’s the infant car seat, base, and a stroller which works with the infant car seat, but also is just a regular stroller for when the baby is bigger. Britax and Baby Trend are good brands.


  • Having a baby carrier worked really well for me. You know like that thing Zack Galifanlksdhgoweijas wore in the Hangover. The one that worked best for me was the Baby K’tan carrier. Jacob and Fiona LIVED in this thing for the first 3-4 months. I tried a few different carriers and this was by far my favorite. It all kind of depends on the baby though, there are tons of options out there.
  • Once baby gets a little bigger, I LOVED the Lillebaby. I ordered mine on black Friday and got a great deal.



  • Get a white noise app on your phone and/or a white noise machine, we like the Graco Sweet Slumber Sound Machine which we still use for every nap/bed time
  • Rock n Play. I wish I'd had one of these the first time around!
  • Halo Sleep sacks. My first baby freaking loved these, second one hated them. So who knows.
  • Bouncer. This was a lifesaver for me from birth to about 6 months. I was able to put Jacob in it in the bathroom with me while I showered, or in the kitchen when 
  • Baby Monitor. There are so many options, I think most of them are fine. This can wait a month or two if you have the baby in the room with you for the first few weeks.
  • Pack and Play. I liked having it on the main level, so there were two diaper changing stations for the first 3 months or so, especially coming off of an unexpected and painful emergency c section. Then it became a good place to put the baby when I need to do something where I can’t have him/her getting into stuff. Then, works great for a travel crib for about 2 years.  I would recommend the kind that has a diaper changer on it.
  • For baby's crib, you'll want two mattress pads and two fitted sheets. This comes in handy if there are any middle of the night incidents that require laundry, at least you have another set ready to go.



Pretty Much All Optional

  • Mobile – Keeps baby occupied for a few minutes?
  • Door jumper. Starting around 3-4 months, he/she’ll be occupied in this thing for a while. At least my children were! They're also hilarious.
  • Exersaucer – Amazing from about 3 months to 9 months. Kept my kiddos super busy. But really big, takes up a lot of space.
  • Activity mat – Really great from about 1 month to about 6 months



  • Bottles. Even if you breastfeed, you should start introducing a bottle around 4 weeks so that the baby gets accustomed to eating from someone other than you. I know people who waited too long to try a bottle, and the baby flat out rejected anything that wasn’t the boob.The thing about bottles, is that different ones work for different periods with the baby. The biggest thing is to try different flows…obviously slow flow at first, then quicker as he/she gets older.
  • Medela. These worked well for the first few months
  • Comotomo
  • These are so pricey, but meant for breastfed babies and were my kids' favorites

If you plan on breastfeeding:

  • Boppy or My Breast Friend
  •  Nipple Cream. If you plan on breastfeeding, bring it to the hospital with you
  • Breast Pump. Your insurance should cover this and send you one
  • Quick clean micro steam bags. These are great for sterilizing breast pump stuff, bottles, pacifiers, etc.
  • Get a few nursing bras, especially sleep ones. Target has cheap ones!
  • Nursing pads. I tried a few and liked these the best. The only weird part is that they have like, fake nipples.
  • Milk storage bags





  • Get a few muslin blankets they are great for swaddling.
  • Onesies. A few in NB size, more in 3 month size.
  • Maybe a few pants/shorts (NB and 3 month)…but these are mostly useless. I kept my babies in either a onesie or a sleepsack most of the time. Maybe I'm just lazy?



We didn't know it, but our first baby was battling reflux, probably what would have been called colic years ago. Since we didn't have much experience with babies, I just assumed this was what they all did. Turns out, they don't. If your baby is crying all the time, there could be some problems! We found that the following were helpful:

  • Gripe water and Mylicon Drops, both in any drug store. Just get them. There will be times when the baby is crying and nothing else is working, the reason is that he/she has gas stuck in his stomach and it’s painful. These dissipate it.
  • If you plan on doing pacifiers, get Avent Soothies. A lactation consultant told me to get the most nipple-like paci out there. She said “if you don’t want your nipple looking like a particular pacifier, don’t get it”. Gosh I've said "nipple" a lot in this post


Poop & Gross Stuff

  • You're going to want a poop receptacle that keeps the smell contained. We have two, Ubbi which is nice because you can use regular trash bags. Then we also have the diaper genie. The only annoying part with the diaper genie is that you have to buy special bags for it. You can find generic ones at target.

  • Diapers - If you're amazon prime member, do subscribe and save on diapers. I went with Pampers Swaddlers because that's what the hospital used. I really like them though, they have a little line that turns blue when the baby has peed or pooped. If you do subscribe and save, start it maybe 2 or 3 weeks from your due date, and only get one box of newborn diapers, and then get size 1 for the next box. Most babies don't stay in newborn sized diapers too long. Obviously you can reassess if you need to, but it's better to have to get more than have tons of newborn diapers that are too small for your baby. 

  • Diaper rash cream – Desitin, whatevs

  • Wipes. I did amazon subscribe and save with the pampers sensitive ones

  • Burp cloths (cloth diapers can double as birth cloths...provided you only use them for one or the other).



  • You’ll need a baby tub starting around 3 months, this is so annoying because you will only use it for a few months and they generally take up a good deal of space. You can do little sink baths before that.
  • Get Mustela Foam shampoo, it's the only thing I found that cured cradle cap
  • Some kind of baby head to toe wash

Shopping List

Things you need before the baby arrives (in my opinion)

  • Crib, cradle or bassinet
  • Pack and Play
  • Boppy pillow
  • Nipple cream
  • Bottles (just a few at first)
  • Burp Cloths
  • Nursing Pads
  • Nursing Bras
  • Muslin Blankets
  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Tearless shampoo/bath gel
  • Baby lotion
  • Diaper cream
  • Diaper Genie bags
  • Gripe water & Mylicon drops
  • White noise machine
  • A few onesies
  • Zip up footie pajamas. The zip up part is key. No one has time for those snaps.

Things that can wait

  • Baby monitor (if the baby will sleep in your room for a bit)
  • Crib (if the baby will sleep in your room for a bit)
  • Clothes past 3 month size
  • Baby care kit (nail clippers etc)
  • Real stroller
  • Convertible car seat. I put one of these on my registry because I had no idea. Then I saw anonymous people on Baby Center making fun of people who did this. Ah well. Anyways, this can wait until the baby is 8-12ish months
  • Pretty much everything else 


Random Closing Thoughts


  • I went through about 3 diaper bags, and I hate them all. I'm such a nerd, but have found that for me, a backpack is best when I'm out and about with the kids. But these days I actually don't even need that. Now I'll just keep some diapers and wipes in my car for emergencies.
  • Babyproofing will start to be a concern around 8 months. You'll need baby gates, things to secure tall furniture to walls, cabinet locks, and all that stuff. On advice from moms who had been there done that before me, they said not to buy those cheapy cabinet locks because kiddos figure those out quickly. We've put the magnetic locks on our super dangerous cabinets, and love them. 
  • And let me tell you, the "baby registry checklist" on certain a baby store website is a complete load of crap. Don't believe the hype!

Aidan's Fresh 48 | Northern Virginia Lifestyle Newborn Photographer

I photographed this beautiful family welcoming their third boy at the Birthing Inn at INOVA Loudoun. I've known Cat, most people call her Catherine but she'll always be Cat to me, nearly 10 years ago through my now husband, as she was dating (and is now married to) one of his best buddies. 

Over time, we've bonded over photography, babies, and our off brand sense of humor, and I feel blessed to call her my friend. Two years ago she photographed my daughter's fresh 48 session, and the images where my son met my daughter for the very first time are my absolute favorite images in our short (but growing) family history. When she asked me to photograph her newest arrival, I wanted to deliver images that moved her as much as hers moved me!

Let me back up a bit though, you might be wondering what a "Fresh 48" is. It's a newborn session that takes place in the hospital within 48 hours of baby's birth. I'll be honest, when Cat was doing mine, I had no makeup on, I was going through some stuff on account of my second c-section, and I wasn't convinced that I was going to like the pictures. But something about this tiny window of time produces the most raw, real and emotional images, and I'm unapologetically drawn to that.

Make sure to check out Gavin's reaction to meeting his new brother, and possibly realizing that he's not the baby anymore!



Newborn V | Fairfax In-Home Lifestyle Photographer

I photographed this beautiful and loving family at their home in Northern Virginia. I love in-home lifestyle sessions, as I believe that photographing people in the comfort of their own home captures the most truth and emotion, truly telling the story of the first few days/weeks following the birth of a new baby. I love the fly-on-the-wall aspect, for example seeing dad and the big brother play with blocks, middle brother toddling around and the newest family member finishing a bottle.

The family has asked the remain anonymous, but gave me permission to post both the images and a blog post, as I was so moved by their story. Prior to our session, mom had requested an image of her sons holding a pendant that was special to her. It wasn't until I arrived at the session that I understood the poignancy of that necklace. There were three boys at this session, however the first of these brothers was stillborn. The pendant shows his footprint and name, paying homage to their four children and an unimaginable grief.

I come from a family with four children, as I child I was aware that there was a tiny headstone at our church for a sibling of mine who was stillborn. It wasn't until I had children of my own that I asked my mom to tell me more. She choked up and revealed that had all of her pregnancies come to fruition, there would have been seven of us. She went through these losses before I was born, I truly cannot image the pain, but also the strength it took to persevere.

I tear up when looking at some of these images, I am so grateful that this family allowed me to capture their loving connections. One of my favorite things about newborn sessions is connecting with the mother. It's such a raw, emotional and hormonal time after the birth of a child. I loved getting to know this mama, to hear her birth story, and to share anything I can that might make the transition a little easier. In this family's case, I was in awe of how they handled a 3 year old, 11 month old and newborn with ease. 

Not to mention, these boys are all absolutely precious, make sure to look for her oldest being my big helper and helping to photograph baby brother!

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Newborn-ish Cora | Arlington Virginia Newborn Photographer

If you're new to the concept of newborn photography, you might not know that most photographers think the ideal times for photographing a newborn are between day 5 and 14 (give or take a few days). While I agree with this time frame, I wouldn't turn someone away for contacting me a few days late...I mean, new parents already have quite a lot on their plates!

Stacey contacted me after she and her husband Benji welcomed beautiful Cora to the world. With the craziness surrounding the holidays, we were unable to make the shoot happen until Cora was about 6 weeks old. While we weren't able to get some of the sleepy, squishy newborn shots I usually aim for, we were able to get tons of images of baby Cora that might not be as doable with a super new baby. 

First we did the family portion of the session at a gorgeous nearby park. It was an unseasonably warm November day, so baby Cora stayed nice and comfy cozy throughout. We worked with the natural surroundings and got some great images capturing the love in this family, not forgetting adorable pup Sierra!

Then we headed back home for the newborn portion of the session. Cora was an absolute rock star, just like her mom and dad!

Isn't that sweet smile enough to melt your heart?

Isn't that sweet smile enough to melt your heart?

I just love this smirk!

I just love this smirk!

Since Cora was a little bit older for her shoot, we got a lot of great shots of her looking right at the camera!

Since Cora was a little bit older for her shoot, we got a lot of great shots of her looking right at the camera!

I love utilizing design in the clients' home, like this beautiful rug in Cora's nursery.

I love utilizing design in the clients' home, like this beautiful rug in Cora's nursery.

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Newborn Asha | Ashburn Newborn Photographer

Meet baby Asha, isn’t she stunning? I met Asha’s family around the holidays last year, they were new to the area and looking to have some family photos for their holiday card and I am honored that they chose me. They’re the nicest people, and their son Kavin, is not only sweet and adorable, but also the best dressed little guy I’ve ever seen. It was so nice getting to hang out with them while I took these photos, they are just so laid back and indulged my need to try out a multitude of props on their little one. Tina (mama), must share my excitement for knitted things, as she had already bought a few outfits meant for newborn photography which we enthusiastically included in the session!

I tell my clients that when I come to their home for a session, it might look like I’m trying to move in. I bring a lot of things, and I mean A LOT of things. I generally advise clients not to dress their newborns in any fancy outfits…as cute and tiny as those little NB sized clothes are, a lot of times they swallow up a tiny little baby and don’t photograph well. I have lots of swaddles, wraps, bonnets, hats, headbands and other pieces made exclusively for newborn photography, and I will bring those items to your session based on your answers to the pre-session questionnaire. Mama just went above and beyond in this case 

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