Pediatric Physical Therapist-Approved Items to Add to Your Baby Registry

plus, what to avoid!

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pt approved baby registry
Source: Canva

It feels like an understatement to say creating a baby registry can be overwhelming. The options seem never-ending, and it’s hard for first-time parents to know exactly what their new baby will need. As a pediatric physical therapist, I often receive questions about which products are necessary and which can be passed up.

When thinking about what to add to your baby registry, I advise keeping things minimal. While I’m not a mother myself, I work with babies daily, and the reality is they need so few items to promote development! The following are recommendations to add to your baby registry to promote general motor development. As far as tips for middle-of-the-night feedings or the best cure for cradle cap, I’d defer to your pediatrician and mama friends.


Pediatric PT-Approved Baby Registry Items


Play Mat

As a pediatric PT, I love to promote tummy time and floor play. The floor is the best play location for your baby’s development, so a play mat will provide your baby with a flat, firm surface to explore how his or her body moves. The sooner your baby is comfortable being left (supervised) on the floor, the easier your child will achieve gross motor milestones.

pediatric PT approved baby registry
House of Noa

Little Nomad Play Mat

7 colors available


Play Pen/Pack ‘n Play

Once your baby is moving and grooving, they’ll still need floor time but will likely also need some containment for safety. A play pen or Pack ‘n Play will help with this.


Play Gym

Similar to how a play mat can promote your baby’s comfort with being on the floor, a play gym can provide entertainment while encouraging independent floor play. It also encourages exploration using both hands and legs.


Tummy Time Mirror

I mention tummy time more times in any given day than I’d like to admit, but it really is so important for babies! And babies love looking at themselves, so a tummy time mirror can provide distraction during a sometimes-difficult activity.


High Chair with Foot Rest (That Promotes Upright Sitting)

Many high chairs are reclined and promote a rounded posture. It’s important that the chair you put on your registry has an upright back with a footrest to promote improved posture.

pediatric PT approved baby registry

ANTILOP High Chair

Be sure to buy a footrest (like the one below) if purchasing this budget-friendly high chair.

pediatric PT approved baby registry
Etsy | Amazing Feeling

Adjustable Footrest for ANTILOP High Chair

4 colors available


Feeding Chair (that promotes upright sitting)

Similar to the above, it’s also important to find a feeding chair that’s upright rather than reclined. 


Baby Wrap & Baby Carrier

These are a great way to hold your baby while keeping your arms free. They promote the swaddled position that comforts babies so well, and you can accomplish other tasks while your baby stays close to you.

pediatric PT approved baby registry

Modal Baby Wrap

4 colors available

pediatric PT approved baby registry
Target | Ergobaby

All Carry Positions Baby Carrier

2 colors available


Baby Shusher/Sound Machine

Babies love to be soothed with rocking, patting, and shushing. So many of our babies in the hospital use shushers and sound machines multiple times a day, and I find them very useful well into childhood.

pediatric PT approved baby registry
Amazon | Baby Shusher

The Sleep Miracle Soother

pediatric PT approved baby registry
Amazon | Hatch

Rest 2nd Gen

The editor-favorite Hatch Rest includes a sound machine, night light, and more.


Vision Cards

Your child’s vision will begin to develop at around 2 months of age, at which point they’ll be interested in low-stimuli pictures. These vision cards are great for promoting visual development. 

pediatric PT approved baby registry
Babylist | Wee Gallery

Art Cards for Baby

To start, hold these cards about 18-24 inches from your baby’s face as your baby tries to visually focus on them.

6 variations available



Your baby won’t be able to purposefully grasp at or reach toward objects until 5-6 months, but these Oballs are helpful for when your baby gets frustrated that they haven’t quite perfected their grasp. They’re soft and have multiple spots for fingers to get haphazardly “stuck” for successful exploration.

pediatric PT approved baby registry
Target | Oball

Toy Ball Rattle

3 colors available


Cause and Effect Toys

These are great for promoting entertainment as your child begins to understand cause and effect.


Crinkle Toys

Crinkle toys promote environmental and sensory exploration.

pediatric PT approved baby registry
Melissa & Doug

Wooden Surprise Gift Box

includes textured crinkle cloth

pediatric PT approved baby registry
Amazon | Itzy Ritzy

Crinkle Sensory Toy With Teether

3 options available


Entertaining Socks

These socks can be motivating for reaching hands to feet, an important gross motor skill that engages the abdominals and is one of the precursors to independent rolling.

pt approved baby registry
Mud Pie

Rattle Baby Socks

10+ styles available


Musical Rattle

Use a simple toy like this to encourage head rotation in all directions.

pediatric PT approved baby registry
Amazon | Baby Einstein

Take Along Tunes Musical Toy


Activity Table

Our PT locations are filled with activity tables, which encourage independent standing and cruising.


Our #1 Toy for Pediatric PT: Squigz

My co-workers and I often talk about what we would choose as our number-one toy for physical therapy treatment sessions. Squigz are always a popular answer; they stick to everything and the entertainment they provide seems never-ending. We frequently use them to promote overhead reaching and pulling to stand.

pt approved baby registry
Fat Brain Toys


pt approved baby registry
Amazon | Fat Brain Toys

3-Piece pipSquigz


Baby Registry Items to Use Sparingly

The four items below are helpful for when you need to safely contain your baby to get stuff done around the home or to just take a breather. However, these items can have negative effects on your child’s development. All of these items hold your baby in a cradled position (one of the reasons they’re so soothing and comforting for babies). However, this cradling limits your baby from being able to look in all directions and move their arms and legs about their environment. They’re great for short periods of supervised time, but using them for prolonged periods of time can contribute to head rotation and postural preferences.

I recommend using these items in short spurts and always with supervision. If your baby is comfortable being on the floor without being contained in one of these similar items, I highly recommend the promotion of floor time.

pediatric PT approved baby registry

Deluxe+ Dock

15+ patterns available

pediatric PT approved baby registry
Amazon | Graco

Simple Sway Swing

6 colors available

pt approved baby registry
Babylist | BABYBJÖRN

Bouncer Balance Soft

10+ colors available

Amazon | Boppy

Original Nursing Support Pillow

People frequently use positioning pillows or "boppies" to encourage tummy time or provide back support for sitting. However, tummy time is best performed on a flat, firm surface, and sitting is best promoted by leaning forward to encourage prop sitting rather than leaning back into a support pillow. But when you need a little support for feeding or when your baby refuses to do tummy time any other way, these can be very useful!


Registry Items to Avoid

The following promote poor postural development and delayed gross motor development, despite what they may advertise. As a pediatric physical therapist, I highly discourage babies from using the following items:

  • Jumpers
  • Walkers
  • Push Toys
  • Bumbos and other contained chairs
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