Adoption Registry: Shopping Checklist for Parents-in-Waiting

by | Mar 2, 2022 | Adoptive Families Blog

Adoptive parents-to-be visit a store to start their adoption registrySo, you’re ready to start your adoption registry or a wish list but aren’t sure to start? As a follow-up to last week’s blog about whether hopeful adoptive parents should stock up on baby gear now or later, I’ve created a shopping checklist so you can be sure you have all the needed essentials on your baby’s registry.
Remember, you may need to customize your own list based on your adoption search goals. For example, if you’re open to a child between the ages of newborn to two years old, you may not want to stock up on newborn clothing or buy an infant car seat until you know for sure the age and needs of the specific child you adopt.

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For Your Adoption Travel

  • Luggage
  • Diaper bag 
  • Bags for dirty/soiled clothes
  • Laundry detergent (travel size)
  • Travel-size first aid kit
  • Gifts for your baby’s birth parents (check with your adoption attorney first to make sure it’s allowable per state laws)

Baby Gear and Travel

  • Stroller and/or umbrella stroller
  • Stroller accessories, such as a rain cover, sun shade, foot muff, and hooks for bags or purses
  • Car seat
  • Additional car seat bases, for all of your cars
  • Car seat accessories, like a mirror, sun shade for the windows, and car seat cover
  • Baby carrier (like these ones from Baby Bjorn, Ergobaby, and Infantino
  • Swing, bouncer, and rocker
  • Pack ‘n Play Playard and two to three play yard sheets
  • Diaper bag 

Nursery and Décor

  • Changing table
  • Changing pad
  • Changing pad covers (2-3)
  • Crib and crib mattress
  • Waterproof mattress pads (2-3)
  • Fitted crib sheets
  • Crib sheet protectors (2-3)
  • Valance, dust ruffle, and quilt (grandmas-to-be love to shop for these, so make sure they’re on your adoption registry!)
  • Dresser
  • Co-sleeper or bassinet
  • Rocking chair or glider
  • Storage bins or baskets
  • White noise sound machine
  • Laundry hamper
  • Baby-sized hangers (12-15)


  • Formula
  • Bottle and nipples (8-12)
  • Bottle warmer
  • Bottle sterilizer
  • Bottle brush
  • Drying rack for bottle parts (like this one from OXO)
  • High chair
  • Booster seat for dining out
  • Bibs (8-10)
  • Burp cloths (8-10)
  • Pacifiers (5-6)

Bath and Potty

  • Bathtub
  • Baby wash or shampoo
  • Rinse cup for shampoo
  • Bath toys
  • Hooded baby towels (4-6)
  • Baby washcloths (7-8)
  • Diapers (in various sizes: preemie, newborn, and size 1)
  • Diaper pail
  • Wipes
  • Diaper rash ointment

Safety and Health

  • Baby monitor
  • Forehead or ear thermometer
  • Nasal bulb
  • First Aid kit
  • Baby medicines: Tylenol, gripe water, gas drops
  • Nail clippers and baby-sized nail files
  • Brush and comb
  • Night light
  • Shopping cart cover


  • Books
  • Activity mat
  • Rattles and toys 
  • Baby “lovie” (it’s a stuffed animal with a soft blanket attached)
  • Extra batteries


Clothing and linens

  • Undershirts (4-6)
  • Long and short-sleeved onesies (4-8) 
  • Caps (1-2)
  • Mittens so they don’t scratch their face (1-3 pairs)
  • Socks (9-12 pairs)
  • Receiving/swaddling blankets (6-8)
  • Wearable blankets (1-2) 
  • Sleeper gowns (4)
  • Footie pajamas (4-8)
  • Pants (4-8 pairs)
  • Outfit to wear coming home!

I recommend printing this list or saving it to your phone. That way, you can keep organized before you build your adoption registry for your newborn. If you’ve already registered, then you can use this list to find out if you’ve forgotten anything.

Adoption Registry Items That Parents-in-Waiting May Forget

The list above is very extensive. But some things can get overlooked by hopeful adoptive parents in the final stage of their adoption journey; traveling to the hospital to meet their baby. So here are just a few additional suggestions for your adoption registry:
Nose aspirator: This important piece of baby gear is easier to use than a nasal bulb. Plus, it’s really efficient at doing the job. If your baby gets congested, using this will make a vast difference in whether or not they can sleep all night.
Cool mist humidifier: When you’re purchasing a humidifier, be sure to choose a cool-mist humidifier for babies or children. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Mayo Clinic recommend using a cool-mist humidifier around babies and children because it’s safer. If a child gets too close to it, it can cause a steam burn. If the humidifier gets spilled, it will cause a burn.
Sleep sack: A sleep sack is a blanket for a baby to wear while they sleep. It prevents baby kicking off their blanket or getting the blanket over their face, which could interfere with breathing. They come in different sizes and are washable. They give a baby a feeling of security. When you put on the sleep sack, they will know it’s time to get ready for bed.
Dishwasher Baskets for Baby Bottles: If you haven’t heard about these dishwasher baskets, you’re missing out. They’re perfect for cleaning and sterilizing bottles and nipples. It’s easy to throw the dirty bottle inside the basket, snap the lid shut and wash. As a result, you’ll never be concerned about unclean bottles due to hand washing.
Soft Silicone Bath Brush: Cradle cap happens. If your sweet baby gets some crusty-looking cradle cap on the little head, you’ll be prepared with a soft-touch silicone brush. With this brush, you’ll be able to remove the dry skin. The bristles are soft so that they won’t hurt the baby. You can use this brush instead of a washcloth.
Bath Kneeler: Once your baby grows a bit, you’ll transition to bathing them in the tub on a non-slip mat. But kneeling next to the bathtub gets hard on your knees. So companies have designed these thick bath kneelers for moms or dads. They’re non-skid and can be hung to dry on a towel bar.
Clothes in Larger Sizes: It’s easy to get so caught up in what you will need right away. But the truth is babies grow fast! In only a few weeks, your little peanut will burst out of the seams of their clothing. So, be sure to purchase bigger sizes. If you’re buying three to six-month-size clothing, buy some nine-month sizes too.
Parenting books: When you’re not feeding or changing your sweet baby, catch up on some reading of the best-selling parenting books. These are some of the best classic parenting advice written by experienced pediatricians, doctors, nurses, and parents. You’ll learn all kinds of tricks of the trade.
Chocolate: All the practical stuff is important, but there’s something to be said for some good, comforting chocolate for those late nights of sitting up with a cranky baby. Whether you like milk chocolate or dark chocolate doesn’t matter. Just find a glass jar with a lid and keep it stocked with your favorite sweet treats. Everyone needs a little treat once in a while!
Welcoming your baby home through adoption is an exciting time. I hope that this adoption registry can help you decide what you need and want for your growing family!

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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on September 6, 2016, and has since been updated. 

Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P.

Written by Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P.

Founder of Lifetime Adoption, adoptive mom, adoption expert, and Certified Open Adoption Practitioner (C.O.A.P).

Since 1986, adoption expert Mardie Caldwell has been dedicated to bringing couples and birth parents together in order to fulfill their dreams.

“Many years ago, I was also searching for a child to adopt. We didn’t know where or how to get started. Through research, determination, and a prayer, our dream of a family became reality. I started with a plan, a notebook, assistance from a caring adoption consultant and a lot of hard work; this was my family I was building. We had a few heartaches along the way, but the pain of not having children was worse!

Within weeks we had three different birth mothers choose us. We were overwhelmed and delighted. Many unsettling events would take place before our adoption would be finalized, many months later. Little did I know that God was training and aligning me for the adoption work I now do today. It is my goal to share with our families the methods and plans which succeed and do not succeed. I believe adoption should be affordable and can be a wonderful “pregnancy” for the adoptive couple.

I have also been on both sides of infertility with the loss of seven pregnancies and then conceiving by new technology, giving birth to a healthy daughter. I have experienced first-hand the emotional pain of infertility and believe my experience allows me to serve your needs better.

It is my hope that for you, the prospective parents, your desire for a child will be fulfilled soon.”

Read More About Mardie Caldwell

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