by Kari Walker

There are few things more important to a new mom-to-be than the baby registry. The compilation of all that a new bundle of joy will need in the coming days, weeks, months can garner more opinions than the baby’s name. But, what do you really NEED? And what vital items might a new parent forget to even ask for? Check out INDfamily’s top picks for building a registry filled with must-have gift ideas with purpose.

1. CO-SLEEPER. A traditional bassinet or crib can be a pain for new breastfeeding moms who are up more hours of the night than asleep. A co-sleeper allows the baby to safely sleep close to mom in a bed firmly attached to mom’s bed. Check out Arm’s Reach — most of its products convert to play yards for beyond as the baby outgrows the cosleeper.

2. FUNCTIONAL DIAPER BAG. Think about what purpose your diaper bag will serve — are you a mom on-the-go or a family who travels? If so, consider a sturdy backpack from a local outdoor store like Pack and Paddle or The Backpacker. The North Face backpacks make excellent diaper bags, easily transitioning for use as your child grows, and dads won’t mind carrying something not covered in flowers or zoo animals. For chic mamas, an oversized tote-style purse easily holds baby essentials and yours. No need to break the bank on a swanky purse that may fall victim to mystery baby mush — shop closeout stores for inexpensive stylish selections.

3. TWO STROLLERS. Once again, what purpose will a stroller serve your family? Do you plan to go on walks in the neighborhood or hit up the mall? Will it come along when you travel? Are you a runner and gosh darn it, Junior is going to like tagging along for the ride? No one stroller can serve all these purposes with ease. You really need one main stroller and another sturdy, collapsible stroller. The Baby Jogger brand makes both strollers for growing families and quality jogger-styles. Umbrella-styles are workhorses for traveling, but go for durability — we like the Chicco Liteway.

4. BABY CARRIER. Like strollers, there are hundreds of styles and brands of baby carriers on the market. Ergo Baby is a leader in carriers comfortable both for parent and baby — even dads have been seen toting around a tot in one of these carriers at local festivals. After all, the ability to console a crying baby and hold on to your drink at the same time comes with no price tag. Look for special inserts to meet the needs of newborns and infants.

5. GIFT CARDS. We’ve been taught it’s not polite to ask for these handy items, but really a stash of cards for restaurants (especially those that deliver), grocery and drug stores will never go out of style or unappreciated. Consider building a “New Mommy Survival Kit” with a variety of certificates she can pull out in a crunch.