The Real Baby Registry Checklist (From a Mom That’s Been There)

The Real Baby Registry Checklist (From a Mom That’s Been There)

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

The Real Baby Registry Checklist (From a Mom That's Been There)

When you are getting ready for a baby there are a bunch of different stores to register at and they will provide you with a helpful checklist of everything you should register for.  Which store to pick is beyond the scope of this article.  However, my husband and I wanted a store we could actually go to because we had very limited knowledge of baby stuff, so the thought of bumbling through setting up a registry online seemed way too difficult.  When we went to register, we were handed a list of everything we should register for.  The list plus both of us having no idea what we really needed resulted in a confusing 4 hours of selecting a bunch of items with little reason behind out selections.  Some things we ended up with are great, and some are pointless.  What follows is my review of what items are worth having and which are a waste.  If you want to skip my narrative, you can get the checklist here.

I suggest setting up a baby registry on Amazon here. We did ours at Babies R Us, but a lot of people bought gifts off Amazon because it was more convenient and they had the best prices. This resulted in a bunch of duplicate items because nothing was actually getting checked off of my registry. Everyone uses Amazon, so this is a super convenient way to create a registry!

The Only Baby Registry Checklist You Need

Get the real list of things you need to register for as a PDF in your inbox. Don’t forget anything and don’t end up with stuff you will never need.

    We won’t send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

    Well-wishers want to gift you with the items you want for your new baby.  They rely on your registry to see what you like and want.  Therefore, when you build your registry decide what you really want.  I also found it helpful to use my registry as a shopping list, so after my showers, I could remember everything else I needed to get.  Below is a list of items with my thoughts on each.  There is also a PDF checklist here without all the added details. The Real Baby Registry Checklist

    You can start setting up your registry here.

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    Items for the First 4 Months


    • Car seat: You can choose between convertible, travel system or infant, but you will need one of them. I recommend a travel system (see next bullet)
    • Extra car seat base: You only really need one car seat while baby is tiny, but you will want to be able to use it in all of your cars. If you have a second car, you will need a second base.  Car seats can be used without a base, but for your regular cars, you want a base installed because it makes it much easier.
    • Car mirror: When you are driving it’s nice to be able to see what baby is up to in the back seat. A car mirror is designed to be attached to the seat, so you can keep an eye on what baby is doing through your rearview mirror.
    • Car window shades: Unless you have really dark windows, you will want at least one window shade. I have one on both of my back windows because the window on the far side from baby still allowed sun to shine on Paxton without the second shade up.
    • Travel system stroller that can be used without a car seat for larger kids: Find a stroller you can attach your car seat to. For the first few months, it will be easier to keep baby in the car seat.  However, after 5 months or so, the baby will be strong enough to sit in the stroller without the car seat, so you will get more use out of it if you can use the stroller without a car seat.  Check out the one I have here.  I LOVE it!
    • Stroller hooks: You will want to attach your diaper bag to the stroller in some way. I have chains with snaps that clip to rings on either side of my diaper bag.  I also have a hook that I can hang things from.
    • Baby carrier: If you have friends with little kids, try out their carriers prior to purchasing one. Most good baby carriers are pricy and different people like different ones.  I actually have two.  I have a Lille Baby Carrier which is good for carrying Paxton all day, but I also have a Seven Everyday Sling sling style that puts him on my hip for short periods.  I like keeping this one in my diaper bag for quick access when I’m out.

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    • Crib: You will need one for once baby outgrows a bassinet. I suggest making it one that converts into a toddler bed and a full-sized bed.  Otherwise, you will be left with a crib that you don’t know what to do with.
    • Crib mattress: Babies don’t need super fancy mattresses. Just make sure it fills the crib and is firm.
    • Mattress cover: Get at least 3 waterproof liners. You always want to have one on so that the mattress doesn’t get ruined.  If one gets wet during the night you want to have a fresh one ready to put on.
    • Crib sheets: At least 3 of these for the same reasons as above
    • Bassinet and sheets: Paxton slept in his nursery from night one, but the AAP recommends babies sleep in your bedroom for the first 6 months. If you are going to do this, a bassinet is good for keeping baby close by.  You will also want at least two sets of sheets for the bassinet.
    • Baby monitor: Invest in a good quality video monitor. I thought WiFi was a must-have feature of a baby monitor, but in reality, I use that feature very little.  Invest in high-quality video.  You will appreciate being able to see details such as baby breathing.
    • Rocking chair/ glider and ottoman: A rocking chair is wonderful for feeding and soothing and reading. You will also want a footstool so that you can put your feet up.  I have this one and it has been a lifesaver. 
    • Nightlight: Lights can keep baby awake, but at first it was nice having one, and it didn’t seem to bother Paxton for the first couple of months. We have this one that is a dual noise machine/night light. 
    • Noise machine: Baby is used to hearing noise in the womb. A noise machine can help mimic that and help baby sleep.  It also helps block out noises around the house to keep baby sleeping soundly. Here is some great information for deciding on a noise machine.
    • Dresser: I store jackets in the closet, but the rest of Paxton’s clothes in a dresser. I recommend one that matches the conversion bed, so baby can use it for years to come.
    • Humidifier: This is probably good to have on hand, but I wouldn’t say it’s a necessity. I keep Paxton’s on a low setting all the time.  I’m not sure if it helps, but it doesn’t hurt.  The one we have is a cute elephant, so it looks nice with the nursery décor.  Here is the one we have.
    • Pack N Play: This is great for spending time outside with baby or traveling.
    • Pack N Play sheet: If you have a Pack N Play, you need a sheet to put on it. Two sheets aren’t a bad idea, so you have a spare.
    • Swaddles: Babies have a startle reflex for the first 4 months or so. Swaddles help them feel snug and keep them from jerking awake.  They are wonderful for helping baby sleep during those initial months.  The nurses in the hospital will teach you to swaddle with a blanket, but when you are home and sleep-deprived, just go with the swaddles that only require a zipper and Velcro, it will save your sanity.
    • Wearable blankets: You don’t want anything in the crib with the baby for the first year. However, you don’t want to swaddle the baby once he starts rolling over.  Therefore, if you are afraid baby will be cold overnight, wearable blankets are good to have.  These can also be helpful to keep baby from climbing out of the crib.  We didn’t use these much and instead dress Paxton in pajamas with pants year-round and keep our house a consistent temperature.
    • Baby sleep book: One of the best gifts I received, which I didn’t even know I needed, was a sleep book recommended by my aunt that is raising 4 kids. There are tons of sleep books.  They make good reading while you are up with the baby in the middle of the night. I love this one.


    • Bottles: Even if you are planning to breastfeed, at some point you will want to give the baby a bottle. For the first 4 or 5 months 4-oz bottles are a good size.  After that, you will want 9-oz bottles.  While you will want a lot of bottles in both sizes, I recommend not getting a bunch right away.  There are so many types of bottles and some babies need anti-colic or are just really picky, and you will like some styles more than others.  Instead, I suggest polling friends on which types of bottles they liked.  Then get a couple of them to try.  After a few weeks of using them, decide which ones you want more of.  Once you know what you want, you can easily order off Amazon. Paxton and I love these ones.
    • Bottlebrush: I haven’t used mine much, but it’s not bad to have. It helped to clean bottles when traveling.
    • Bottle drying rack: Bottles are dishwasher safe, but I felt better soaking them in the sink before Paxton started eating solid food. The drying rack was wonderful during this time.
    • Breast pump: You can usually get a free one through insurance. See my post on selecting a pump here.
    • Pump accessories: Your pump will come with everything you need to use it. However, a second set of the parts is helpful. See my post on pumps and accessories.
    • Pump bag and cooler bag: If you are planning to travel at all or work while pumping, you will need a bag to carry your pump and all the accessories as well as a cooler bag for any milk you pump.
    • Breast pump cleaning wipes: These make cleaning pump parts way quicker when on the go or at work. You could also go with steam sterilizer bags, but I had a pump that said not to steam the parts. These work great for work and travel.
    • Breastmilk storage bags: Having a box on hand is helpful. If you don’t, these can be ordered from Amazon prime and arrive the next day.  Any brand will work.  However, I use the Lansinoh ones. These have double zippers in case one fails.
    • Nursing pads: Even if you are not planning to breastfeed, you will leak milk. I suggest the washable pads but disposable work too.  I really like these bamboo ones. They are super absorbent and easy to wash.  They even come with a cute bag to store them in.
    • Nipple cream: If you are breastfeeding, you will want this.
    • Nursing pillow: I wasn’t sure I really needed this. The day after coming home from the hospital, I sent my husband to the store to get me one.  It made breastfeeding much easier at first.  As Paxton got older, it was good to prop him up and then as a balance when he was learning to sit up.  For something I thought I didn’t need, I have sure used it a lot.  I got a Boppy.  There are some fancier ones out there, but this one served its purpose.
    • Bibs: You will want small soft ones for the first few months and silicone ones once the baby starts eating solid food. With solid food, dishwasher friendly is a big plus.  I really like these Silicone ones with a pocket to catch dropped food.
    • Burp cloths: The first few months will require a lot of these. You will want to have multiple ones on hand everywhere.  Eventually baby will outgrow the need for burb clothes, but for the sake of your sanity, get a lot for the beginning.


    • Baby bathtub: You will want one for the first few months. The fancy spa-style ones are nice for the person giving the bath, but baby will outgrow it before they really enjoy the extra features.  You will likely be fine with a basic one that includes a slanted sling for baby to lay on.
    • Baby soap: A basic baby body wash/shampoo is all you need here.
    • Baby washcloths: Baby is tiny, and it really is easier to wash with a soft thin washcloth designed for babies.
    • Soft hooded towels: Robes are a pain until baby can stand. A hooded towel works well.  You will want tiny ones for the first few months, and a larger one designed for toddlers once baby gets a little bigger.
    • Baby lotion: At first babies don’t need lotion on their skin, but eventually they will start drooling and getting dry skin from all the drool. The lotion will be necessary.  I use Eucerin.
    • Baby first aid kit: When baby gets sick (it will happen eventually) you don’t want to be running to the store. Get one of these which should include a baby thermometer and a nasal bulb.  You also will want to have baby Tylenol or Motrin and Benadryl on hand.
    • Baby nail clippers: Babies have nails that grow freakishly fast, and these nails are sharp on their soft skin (and yours). You will want to keep them clipped short to prevent scratches on baby (and you).
    • Baby nail file: Along with the need for nail clippers, you will need a tiny baby nail file.


    • Changing table: You need a place to change baby. However, you don’t need a table dedicated only to this purpose.  We have a changing table topper for the dresser.  This is wonderful, doesn’t take up any floor space and works great for diaper changes.  Once we don’t have to change diapers, the topper easily detaches from the dresser, and the dresser is still great.
    • Changing table pad: You will want a pad to put on top of whatever you decide for a changing table.
    • Changing table pad covers and waterproof liners: You will want a cover for the changing table pad as well as a waterproof liner that sits on top. There are many times I’ve tossed the waterproof liner in the laundry but not had to change the entire cover.
    • Cloth diapers (if using): I didn’t use these, so I can’t add much here.
    • Diaper rash cream: An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of treatment. Get a generic diaper rash cream and apply it with each diaper change.  We have done this with Paxton and have kept diaper rash at bay so far.
    • Diaper paste spatula: This is the item you never knew you needed. Getting diaper rash cream on your hands is a thing of the past with this. Here is the item you will be so glad you have!
    • Diaper pail and liners: The Diaper Genie has been around since I was a baby, but it’s still popular because it works. It’s simple and effective for disposing of diapers.


    • Activity mat and tummy time mirror: A newborn doesn’t need many toys, but after a few weeks you will decide you want a toy that baby can play with when only a couple of weeks old. An activity mat is great for this.  There are a bunch to choose from.  When selecting one, consider that baby will be able to see black and white best at first.  A mirror designed for tummy time is also great for when baby starts to like looking at themselves.
    • Baby swing/bouncer: Newborns like to move. Most of the time they will be in your arms, but a swing or bouncer is nice to give you a little break.  I wouldn’t get the most expensive one though because the baby will outgrow it quickly, and there’s no guarantee that the baby will be a fan.
    • Books: Reading to baby from the start is highly recommended. Baby doesn’t care what you read or if you read the same thing over and over.  However, you will care.  I heard an idea about having everyone give you a book for your shower with a message in it instead of a card.  I really wish I had heard of this before my showers.  Books will get read to baby for years; cards gather dust.
    • Mobile: I suggest one that plays for an extended period of time versus one of the cute crank ones that matches the nursery décor. An extended runtime will be way more useful.  We had a cute nursery décor-matching one and eventually swapped it out for something more practical.  We have gotten a lot of use out of this mobile.


    • Receiving blankets: You don’t need a lot of these, but a couple are good to have. I keep one in my diaper bag for when I want to put Paxton on the floor to play in a public place.
    • Diaper bag: Take my advice and get one for you and one for your husband. You can each fill it with what you need (see my post on what to put in a diaper bag).  This bag will go with you everywhere, so make sure you get one you like.  I have this Petunia Picklebottom Backpack which I love.
    • Baby laundry detergent: Baby has sensitive skin. Prewash clothes before baby wears them for the first time and do all of baby’s laundry with it.  Baby laundry detergent is an easy change to make to prevent eczema.
    • Pacifiers: These are like bottles. You will want a bunch, but the baby may only like a specific kind.  Get a variety to try.  Paxton only likes these MAM pacifiers.  Also, pacifiers come in different sizes.  You will want newborn ones initially, and then use larger ones as baby gets older.  The right size pacifier makes a big difference.
    • Pacifier straps: Pacifiers never seem to stay in baby’s mouth. Straps are wonderful.
    • Laundry hamper: Babies go through a lot of clothes, burp rags, and bedding. You need a place to put all the laundry.
    • Wastebasket: I don’t find I end up with that much nursery trash. However, it’s nice to have one next to the dresser.
    • End tables: We didn’t think about needing these, but they are nice to have next to the glider. Cheap ones work just fine and don’t take up too much space.
    • Baby hangers: If you have a closet, you will want at least a few hangers. I found it helpful to hang sweatshirts and jackets.
    • Storage baskets: A couple of baskets are helpful for decorative storage.
    • Storage drawers: Put one or two plastic storage drawer sets in the closet to increase storage without sacrificing nursery appearance.
    • Hand sanitizer: Get the cute little travel ones that you can attach to your diaper bag as well as a bottle for the changing area.

    Items for Beyond Month 4

    • Jumperoo: From about 4 months on Paxton has loved his jumperoo where he can jump out some of his energy.  This Jumperoo is the one we have, and it gets tons of use.
    • Toys: As baby gets older you will want different types of toys. I suggest getting ones that don’t require batteries.  Some that play music or make noise are okay, but you will get tired of listening to them eventually.
    • Teething toys: Get a variety of types because the baby will likely want different ones at different times.
    • High chair: You don’t want to chase around a wiggly baby at mealtime.
    • Baby food bowls: You don’t want baby using your good bowls. You will eventually want ones that suction onto the high chair tray.
    • Baby spoons: Hard plastic spoons that are thick are good for feeding baby. I suggest ones with longer handles to start so that both you and baby can hold on.
    • Snack containers: These are great for traveling with snacks when baby starts eating finger foods. This one has 3 compartments, so it works great for taking a variety of snacks with us.
    • Sippy cups: Same as bottles – get a bunch of different styles to try.
    • Baby toothbrush: Once baby has teeth you want to start brushing teeth. I suggest a toothbrush that is extra -long so that you and baby can hold on. Before baby has teeth, you can wipe the gums with a wet washcloth. I like this one that has an extra-long handle, so baby can help.
    • Baby toothpaste: To go with the toothbrush
    • Childproofing products: We aren’t quite here yet, but you will definitely need these eventually. Paxton already wants to grab everything, so I can only imagine what it will be like once he is on the move.
    • Umbrella stroller: Baby won’t be able to use this at first, but after 6 or 7 months, it will be an easy thing to keep in the car to move the baby around.
    • Bath kneeler: Now that Paxton is using the real bathtub, I’m glad that I have this. He likes having someone play with him in the bath.  I need to be on my knees to do this.
    • Bath toys: Playing in the bath requires toys.
    • Bath toy holder: When you get toys, you will want a way to contain them.
    • Toy basket: Same as with the bath toys; you will want a place to store all the toys you collect.

    Items You Need but Shouldn’t Register For

    • Formula: If you aren’t planning to breastfeed for the entire first year or if you end up with milk supply issues like I did, you will need formula at some point. Wait until you need it to buy it.  You don’t know what baby will like or need. In the meantime, register for the Enfamil and Similac sample programs.  These send you free samples in the mail, so you can try out some different formulas before buying.
    • Disposable diapers: If you aren’t using cloth ones you will need these. I highly recommend sticking with a brand name.  In my experience, the generic ones just don’t work as well.  You will need lots of every size except maybe newborn.  Instead of registering for them at a specific location, I suggest just letting people that plan your shower know that you would love diapers of whatever brand you choose in any size.
    • Wipes: You will need lots of these, but I suggest the same as diapers. Generic wipes are okay and work, but in my experience, generic ones stick together.  Therefore, when you pull one wipe you get a handful.
    • Nursing bras and clothes: You will need these if you plan to breastfeed, but likely want to pick them out yourself.
    • Baby clothes: You need lots of these, but people will get you plenty even if you don’t register for them. If you see something you just have to buy for baby, get it in a larger size (6 months or larger). People will give you lots of tiny size clothes.  However, you will find yourself in need of clothes when the baby reaches 6-month size.
    • Baby blankets: You will get plenty of these that people make, and you really only need a couple. You don’t need to register for any store-bought ones.

    Items You Don’t Need

    • Bottle warmer
    • Wipe warmer
    • Crib Bumpers
    • Bottle sterilizer
    • Dishwasher basket
    • Make your own baby food system
    • Baby food cookbooks
    • Bumbo seat

    What are you must-have and could do without baby items?  Let me know in the comments.

    Head over to Amazon and start setting up a baby registry now while all this info is fresh in your head!

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    The Real Baby Registry Checklist (From a Mom That's Been There)

    The Only Baby Registry Checklist You Need

    Get the real list of things you need to register for as a PDF in your inbox. Don’t forget anything and don’t end up with stuff you will never need.

      We won’t send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

      Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

      5 Flying While Pregnant Mistakes to Avoid

      5 Flying While Pregnant Mistakes to Avoid

      Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

      5 Flying While Pregnant Mistakes to Avoid

      When you are pregnant, comfort is key. However, flying and comfort don’t often belong in the same sentence. If you find yourself flying while pregnant, make sure to avoid these 5 mistakes that I learned about the hard way.

      1. Taking the Window Seat

      The window seat may be prime airplane real estate for some people.  However, when you are pregnant, you will want to rethink your seating choices.  I’m sure you’ve figured out by now that pregnancy makes you pee a lot.  If you have a window seat and need to ask multiple people to move every time you go to the bathroom, you are likely to be tempted to hold it which can lead to a UTI.  If you are sitting on the edge it’s easy to get up whenever you need to.

      2. Staying in Your Seat

      When you are pregnant, you are more prone to DVTs which are blood clots in your legs.  Anyone can get DVTs, but pregnant women have a higher risk, and the risk increases when you are on an airplane and sitting for an extended period.  Therefore, you want to get up periodically and walk around – a bathroom trip counts. This is another situation where having an aisle seat comes in handy.  It’s generally a good idea to try and get up once every hour to 1.5 hours.  Other things you can do to decrease your risk are to wear compression socks that reach your knees and flex your ankles while sitting.

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      3. Skipping the Snacks and Water

      Pregnancy requires more calories than normal, and you want to make sure you eat plenty while traveling.  If you have short flights, this isn’t as big of a problem, but if you have a long flight, you want to make sure you plan to snack.  These can be snacks you brought from home (I really like these protein bars) or snacks you buy on the plane.  Try to find snacks that incorporate some protein and aren’t just carbs. 

      You also don’t want to turn down an offer of water.  It may seem like a good way to not have to go to the bathroom so often, but you are more prone to dehydration while flying because there is less water in the air.  If you get dehydrated while pregnant, that can increase the risk of Braxton Hicks contractions and general discomfort.  I recommend purchasing a large bottle of water prior to boarding and then accept all offers for water while on the plane.  If you cringe at the price of airport water, you can bring an empty bottle and fill it at a water fountain.

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      4. Flying During Late Pregnancy

      Flying during the first and second trimesters isn’t too much of a problem.  However, things get a little more difficult during the third trimester.  Check with your doctor, but in general it’s okay to fly up until you reach 36 weeks.  However, the closer you get to that point, the more uncomfortable flying will become.  There are the obvious issues with feeling huge and being cramped in a tiny seat.  However, there is also the problem of catching your breath.  When flying you are at a high altitude which has less oxygen.  Therefore, it’s a little harder to breath for everyone.  Most people won’t notice, but when you are pregnant, it can be hard to catch your breath even at sea level.  When flying it becomes much more noticeable.  I continued to fly until 32 weeks, and the last couple of trips I took were really uncomfortable because I couldn’t catch my breath.

      5. Wearing Stylish Clothes

      It seems like travelers are either in the ‘leggings’ camp or the ‘must look good because everyone will see me’ camp.  When you are pregnant and flying, stick to leggings.  You don’t need uncomfortable pants pushing on your already uncomfortable belly and you don’t need nice shoes making your already sore feet worse.  The chances of seeing someone you know are quite slim, so travel in comfort.  If you have to go straight to a work function or other event where you need to look nice, bring a change of clothes in your carry-on to change into when you get off the plane.

      Get all my tips for what you should do while flying during pregnancy here.

      What mistakes have you made flying while pregnant?  Let me know in the comments.

      5 Flying While Pregnant Mistakes to Avoid

      Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

      Pros and Cons of Having a Baby While Living Away From Family

      Pros and Cons of Having a Baby While Living Away From Family

      Maybe you love where you grew up and couldn’t imagine living far from the place you have always called home.  Maybe you are on the other end and spent high school counting down the years until you could escape to somewhere more exciting.  Either way, as a responsible adult you are now considering having kids and are wondering if you are better off raising your children near family or farther away. 

      I’ve lived on the other side of the country from my family as well as my in-laws while having my first child.  Here are some things to consider about having kids while living far from family.

      Pros and Cons of Having a Baby While Living Away From Family

      I’m a positive person, so we will start off with the pros of living far from family.

      Pros of Having a Baby While Living Away From Family

      1. There is no pressure to allow family to be present at birth 

      If you live a short drive from family, there is a good chance your mother, mother-in-law, sister, aunt, grandma, or anyone else you can think of may decide they are entitled to be present for the birth of your child.  You may not want an audience, but it can be really hard to tell the well-meaning family they aren’t invited.   If you live a plane-ride (or very long drive) away from the family, you won’t be able to predict exactly when you will go into labor, so they won’t be able to plan a visit without risking their stay ending before the baby is born.  It was really easy to have a labor, delivery and hospital stay without anyone except for my husband.  I was happy to show off our new baby once we got home, but the hospital stay was a whirlwind of recovering and figuring out breastfeeding.  I wouldn’t have wanted anyone else there.

      Mom holding a newborn baby in the hospital.

      2. You have more freedom to develop your own parenting style 

      There are so many opinions on the “right” way to be a parent.  However, the right way for you is the way you and your husband decide to parent.  This should be a decision made based on your preferences and not on pressure from family.  Being far away means you don’t have family around offering their input as often.

      3. You have more power over the visit schedule 

      If you live near family, well-meaning family may feel entitled to drop by for a visit whenever the mood strikes them.  If they happen to be coming over to clean for you, then it may be welcome.  However, they likely aren’t planning on that.  If you live far from family, it requires planning visits ahead of time.  This allows you to make sure both families aren’t there at once (unless you approve it), and to have buffers between visitors if you desire. 

      4. You and your husband learn to rely on each other 

      If you have a great relationship with your mom, it may be really easy to get her help and input on every parenting question and call her for babysitting frequently.  However, it can be easy for you to rely more on family than your husband which can make it hard to form a parenting team.  Being far away decreases your ability to rely on family and allows for a stronger parenting team to be formed between you and your husband.

      5. When family visits they stay with you 

      This means that they are already planning to be present for those 2 am wakeups.  If there is a large time difference, you can utilize it to have family help with overnight feedings or rocking baby back to sleep.  We had almost four weeks of help between our mothers visiting right after our son was born.  During this time, I pumped enough to have a bottle prepared at bedtime each night.  Our mothers would get up with our son and give him a bottle for the 6 am feeding which gave my husband and me a six-hour stretch of sleep before I needed to be up for the next feeding.  The result is we actually felt pretty human during the first month.

      6. Your child gets well-traveled at an early age

      I believe helps make baby and the parents more adaptable to new situations.  My son went on 10 round-trip flights during his first year.  The first trip was stressful, but after that we got a system figured out and it wasn’t a big deal.  Here are all the tricks I learned for flying with a baby

      Dad holding a baby on an airplane.

      Cons of Having a Baby While Living Away From Family

      1. If you want family present at birth, this can be hard to plan 

      Often affordable plane tickets have to be purchased well in advance.  With a 4 to 5-week range around the due date, it’s difficult to pinpoint when people should come to visit. 

      2. Family doesn’t get to visit as much 

      For your family to visit the new baby, either they need to travel to you, or you need to travel to them.  Also, when they come, they usually stay with you which means extended time with family versus short visits.  Depending on your situation, ever-present family may be a major additional stress when you are already stressed with a newborn. 

      3. Family visits can be difficult if you have parents that don’t travel or have health problems that make traveling difficult  

      If you are in this situation and will have to be the one traveling, make sure to get all my tips for flying with a baby.  You can also use my Family Travel Planner to make the travel planning process much easier.

      4. You might feel like you are missing out 

      We lived a 5-hour plane flight from all of our family for almost 3 years.  The only times I really broke down because I didn’t have family nearby was when we found out we were having a boy and when my mom left after visiting right after my son was born.  These were times when I did really want to share them with my family, and I felt like a phone call or FaceTime just didn’t cut it.

      A couple holding a baby boy balloon.

      5. You don’t have as much help 

      When you live near family, they are often happy to babysit or be an extra set of hands.  However, living far from them means that you don’t have these built-in, free babysitters.  Friends can be helpful, but you can only impose on them for free babysitting so much.  Living far away meant we couldn’t go to the movies without paying a babysitter or going when we had people visiting.  We made a point of taking our son out to restaurants, the store and the mall starting when he was only a week old.  Therefore, it became normal for him and us, so going out to eat or shopping with him in tow isn’t a big deal.  Definitely get my tips for going out with a newborn to make your life easier.

      6. Holidays can be hard 

      For holidays, you will likely be traveling back to family or spending them without family.  Either way it can be hard.  We traveled back to visit family.  Like I mentioned above, traveling itself wasn’t a big deal.  However, with Christmas, it was difficult having to consider luggage allowances and making sure our son didn’t get too many large or heavy gifts that we would need to figure out how to get home.

      Baby in a car seat surrounded by luggage.
      This was the amount of luggage that we traveled with when visiting family for two weeks over Christmas and New Years.

      7. Guilt trips from family about living far away 

      You may hear comments from family (likely grandparents) about how they don’t get to spend time with their grandchild because he lives so far away.  Even if you don’t hear these comments, you may feel guilty that your parents don’t get to spend much time with their grandchild.  This is likely to be more significant if your baby is the first grandchild. 

      Final Thoughts

      Do the pros of living far from family outweigh the cons?  That depends on your family situation.  For us, we made do and logged some serious frequent flier miles.  It was good for my husband and I to grow as a couple and figure out the whole “new parenting” thing.  However, we will now live driving distance to our families.  It’s not close enough that people can drop in unexpectedly, but it’s close enough we can fill an entire car for the holidays and not have to worry about how much baggage we are dragging along.  For us, I feel like that is a good compromise.

      What do you think? Do the pros or the cons weigh heavier in your opinion? Let me know in the comments!

      Pros and Cons of Having a Baby While Living Away From Family

      How To Manage Living Far From Family When You Have a Newborn

      How To Manage Living Far From Family When You Have a Newborn

      Depending on who you ask, it can be a blessing or a curse to live far from family when you have a baby.  I spent an entire post outlining the pros and cons of having a baby when you live far from family. However, it may be the situation you find yourself in.  Here are tips for labor, delivery and postpartum when you live far from your family.

      How To Manage Living Far From Family When You Have a Newborn

      You probably don’t need your family there while you are in the hospital.

      Your due date is really just a guess on when your baby will be born.  In reality, it will likely fall somewhere in a 4 to 5-week range.  This can make it really hard for family to plan travel to be there precisely when you are in labor without risking missing the baby entirely. 

      Also, while you are in the hospital, you have your husband to help and an entire team of nurses and doctors taking care of your every need.  We didn’t even change a diaper until we got home because the nurses did it every time.  Depending on if you have a natural birth or C-section and what complications occur, you will be kept in the hospital anywhere from 24 hours to 4 + days after giving birth.  There really isn’t much for your family to do other than be in a cramped room.  To solve this, ask your doctor how fast past your due date they will let you go prior to induction.  Have the first family visit take place a week after that date.  This will ensure that baby is here and you are home prior to having family come.

      Take advantage of family visits. 

      When you live far from family, they are likely planning to visit for a week or more at a time to make the trip worth it.  Take advantage of this to have round-the-clock help.  I wanted my mom to be the first to come visit, and my mother-in-law to be second.  Therefore, I had my mom come 2 weeks after my due date (based on the above formula).  She stayed for 2 weeks.  Then my mother-in-law came and stayed for a week.  During this time, I pumped enough to have a bottle prepared prior to bed each night.  Then our moms would get up with the baby for the 6am feeding.  They were already awake because of the time difference, and it gave us a solid 6 hours of sleep before I needed to be up for another feeding.  The result was we felt pretty human the entire first month.

      photo of a grandma with her newborn grandson who is yawning

      Practice going out while you have help. 

      While you have family visiting, go out to eat, go to church, go to the mall, etc.  Use the extra set of hands to help while you are learning how to juggle a newborn and everything that goes with a baby.  Make sure to get all my tips for going out with a newborn.

      Plan for time without family prior to going back to work. 

      If you will be returning to work after having a baby, you will want a week or two right before you go back where you don’t have family visiting.  This gives you, your husband and your baby time to figure out a routine that will work.  Check out my other tips for returning to work after maternity leave to make your transition as smooth as possible.

      Schedule family visits with a buffer in between. 

      When our son was born, the day my mom left, we dropped her at the airport in the morning and picked my mother-in-law up a few hours later.  In hindsight, it really would have helped to have at least a 24-hour buffer to adjust.  I was still emotional from my mom leaving, and not mentally ready for another visitor that fast.  I also wanted time to just hold my son and let him sleep on me without having to share him with family.

      Plan the next visit before the current one ends. 

      With the emotions after birth, it can be difficult saying goodbye to family.  I found it was easier to know when we would see each other again before the current trip ended.  Sometimes this was our family visiting again, other times, we visited them, or sometimes we met somewhere in the middle for an extended weekend.

      Estimate how much time your guests will want you to entertain them versus entertaining themselves or simply being happy to take care of the new baby. 

      My mom was happy to go out and do things, but also brought work with her to occupy herself if the baby was asleep and we wanted to rest.  We had other family that wanted time to go do the tourist things in the area and were happy to do this on their own.  Figuring out what everyone wants helps to manage expectations.

      photo of parents with grandparents and a baby with napa valley in the background.

      Get involved with a church. 

      This is a great way to meet like-minded people.  If you find a church full of other young parents, they can be great support for you as you navigate new parent life.

      Final Thoughts

      If you are pregnant and don’t live near family, there are many pros and cons.  However, it’s important to make the best of it and have a plan in place prior to giving birth.  Consider who will be coming to visit, how long they want to stay, and what order you want them to come in.