Best Minimalist List of Baby Items
Many of you have been asking what we are doing for this baby in terms of preparation and I have another whole post about what we are actually doing, but I wanted to share the things we are actually using and plan to have on hand for this next baby. Since we plan in every way for this to be our last, I really didn’t want to make a fuss of it and buy a lot of new things. In fact, I have been trying to find used items for most everything we need. Thankfully we have a wonderful resale store locally and I feel very good. I also have many older friends who are completed with having babies as well so they are passing things down. It makes it both more affordable and more eco-friendly to do things this way. So most everything we have is from our previous baby, Hayes, and the rest we are filling the gaps with things as mindfully as possible.
The first time through you are trying to figure out and navigate what you ACTUALLY need and how to keep things simple. We tried our very best and our life this time around looks quite different than when we had Hayes. We no longer living in a Southern state and live in a Northern climate. We don’t live in a city and now live on 10 acres and on a dirt road. Those differences make for some changes in what we are choosing to have on hand and what we aren’t, but I tried to keep this general for almost any season baby in any place.
The thing is I learned a ton the first time around. I was so unfamiliar with babies and was early on amongst some of my friends to have kids so I didn’t have a huge amount of information to pull from. So I learned everything along the way. I also thought I needed more than I did especially for the first 3-5 months of his life. This is what I took away though:
- You need way less for them other than diapers, clothes, and blankets the first week or so. They are with you non stop and that is good for you both but it means you don’t need the whole world. You can ease into needs if you want to as they arise. With quick shipping, it is easy to access something you may need.
- What worked for one person may not work for you and that is just fine!
- Neutral and simple with the path of least resistance is what you actually need. Look for those things. Your brain is mush so keep it simple.
- Nothing will cure you getting more sleep. No contraption will solve the problem because well your baby should wake up a lot to eat the first few weeks. It is a survival instinct to build up their body mass for fighting off disease and keeping their growth going. Remember that when they cluster feed at 2 weeks old and won’t be left alone. Just put them next to you and find a good book and call it a day.
- Ask for help. We aren’t intended to go this alone so make sure you have support for at least the first 3 months postpartum. You are in the fourth trimester and so is your baby. Don’t overdo anything you don’t have to. Life will return soon enough in a new way, but it will come back. Just ask for a friend or family member to support you through this time. It takes a village and not just to raise a kid but to nurture a mother.
- You can nest and design a nursery, but you most likely will not go in there much and that’s okay. It is also okay to not design a nursery and not have it all together. It may be a nice thing to do before getting back to work instead.
- A washing machine is your best friend. End of story. Every day there should be laundry going especially if you are cloth diapering. That doesn’t mean you are doing it, but it needs to keep going. Babies use a lot of clothes and spit up a lot.
- Look for things that disappear after you are done using them. Meaning Bulky things stack up, so I looked for items we could and store easily so having a baby around took less visual space.
- Short term answers most of the time aren’t the right answers and you might pay for them later. Some are okay don’t get me wrong, but I learned that with babies there are just stages and moments you go through. Nothing stays the same so making decisions that are short term usually don’t work out and can lead to routines being broken when they are larger. I found just remaining consistent especially with sleep even through regressions was the best for us all even if it felt really hard at times.
- It goes quick even when it feels long. Nothing is EVER finite with a baby. EVER. So if they sleep through the night once or twice, it doesn’t mean it is the new normal. There will be something that changes it. The most sure thing about the first year with a baby is that it will change. Nothing else is predictable but that.
All that to say, our approach this time around is less on building out a perfect space but instead just making sure we have the necessary knowing that we can shift things later. We are not designing a nursery or space for her. She will sleep in our room for the first 3-6 months of life more or less. If we want to move her we will and figure it out at that point, but it will be a simple space with a dresser, change table, crib or bassinet and a soft rug that is easy to clean. That’s about it. I just like to keep it all neutral so it is easy to create a calm space for the baby and for all of us.
This time around I am far more focused on my postpartum experience and making sure Hayes feels seen and loved through the process. His relationship to us is so wonderful and great that we want to make sure he feels like gets better because of her addition not like he has less of us. It is a hard thing to do, but it is my main focus over the clothes she has or the other details. Everything with that I feel is already there. It is just a matter of washing and putting it all away so it is ready for when she does come. I will write a whole post about what I am planning for postpartum and what to expect here during my time off. For now though since some of you have asked, this is what I am having around for her for the first few months and I truly feel this is all you really need to have a calm and well tended to life with a new baby.
10-15 onesies in neutral colors
If you want a truly minimal setup for your little one I highly suggest sticking to simple, soft, wash well, and various colored onesies. Those first 3-6 months they are basically just eating, sleeping, pooping, and starting to take on the world around them so I try to skip anything too complicated. Also, if you plan to have more down the road you can plan to keep things gender neutral for the future. My favorite onesies hands down are the ones from H&M. They have organic cotton ones and conscious products as well. The cotton is thick and washes well. Also they are rushed around the butt so it accomodates a diaper and I feel they fit longer. You can buy them in packs of 5 and they run sales on the packs typically as well. Great basics to have on hand.
2-3 swaddle blankets
Swaddle blankets aren’t solely for swaddling. They can be blankets for the stroller, clean up spit up, you name it! They work really well for a lot of purposes, but I try to keep 2-3 on the ready. I think we tried a bunch of different ones and the ones we liked the best were the ones from the hospital and then the Solly Baby Wraps. I also liked any that were made from Muslin. These wrapped up the baby well and kept them really tight and secure.
3-4 Waterproof liners
I didn’t get these with my first till he was beyond 3 months, but they are truly an essential thing. I love these bamboo ones and we placed them under his sheet in his bassinet or under him when he laid on the floor or in his bouncer. This kept the messes and clean up easier. Also, because we had our son in the winter, he hated his changing pad that was cold and these were placed on the changing pad till his body adjusted more to temperatures more easily.
3-4 Onesies with hand and foot covers
In the first month or so it is important to keep their hands covered so they don’t scrape themselves up a ton. So we got a few of the Lov’d Baby full outfits and they worked so well. They are organic cotton and come in lots of great colors. Putting mittens on is basically useless and one more little thing to keep track of. I also was given a ton of white onesies with hand covers that my mom kept and I used those a ton as well.
The Fourth Trimester Book
You thought this was all about the baby? No way. This time is also about you as the mother. It is now time to start rebuilding the nutrients in your body and getting healthy and I don’t mean working out. I mean feed your baby, rest, and eat tons of nutrient dense food. This book and the First Forty Days are essential books to helping you recover yourself after all the hard work you have done. Instead of TV I chose to read books when I was postpartum to keep myself more relaxed and present and this is one I wish I had read the first time through.
3-4 soft toys
Babies don’t need many toys because everything is amazing to them! They have never seen the world before and they spend the first few months in particular just taking it in. So keeping the toys simple and soft and nothing too crazy is best. You don’t need much because a wooden spoon will be just as interesting as a rattle.
Lightweight Carseat + Extra base if necessary
Our carseat is still one of my favorite things from the first time around. It is super lightweight and easy to attach in and out of the car and to the base of the stroller. It makes it super easy when we go places and also makes it easy on my body post birth and in those first few weeks I am gaining my bodies shape back. It is the Nuna Pipa seat and they have a few options now, but I highly suggest it. We really loved it not just for aesthetics but for quality as well. 2nd time around and after a good clean it still looks and feels brand new.
1-2 pairs of booties or socks
If you have a bbay during the cool months make sure to have some good booties for them. Those little ones have been cozy in you for the past 9 months. So I suggest getting some like these ones from Hanna Andersson that are knit and tall or ones that velcro over like these so they stay tight on their feet.
This is a give or take for some parents, but Hayes as and still is a pacifier kid. I knew he would be when we brought him home from the hospital and he wanted to just suck on my finger even if I had just fed him. So we waited a week or so and then gave him one once we were sure his latch was good. I suggest not getting committed to one brand and if you decide it is right for your kid and you that you try various kinds because every kid is different.
Even if you only breastfeed a short time this is necessary. Applying after every single feed is so important to keep your boobs feeling their best and keeping the discomfort low in those early weeks. Once you adjust you don’t need it anymore, but with all the cluster feeding and more, it is a necessity in your nightstand.
Most insurance companies provide you with one so see what they offer. I had a Medela and was happy with it, but I worked from home and didn’t need to pump as much. I used it to build up stock for date nights and for nights I wanted a night off once Hayes was a month old.
Bath Cradle and Bath Soap
We make bathtime a part of the nighttime routine, so a bath cradle was great. It helps keep the baby above water and safe during the bathing process. This one is best in a shower or bathtub but we also have this one and we loved it. It just now is only for traveling since we don’t have space in this home that suits the tub. Also, get a good organic and natural soap for your baby. Wiley Body is awesome and we also have used Burt’s Bees in the past. Both are high on our list of favorites.
These are game-changers. Our son was very strong and for naps a normal wrap was fine, but for bedtime, we needed something different. We love these ones or Halo has an organic cotton one as well. They are so nice for keeping them nice and snug and making them feel calmed so they sleep better.
1-2 Sleep sacks
Sleep sacks are awesome and not just for sleeping especially in the early weeks. You tie and untie them to change their diaper, which is much easier than the 100’s of snaps you can do in a day. We really love these and they work for them for quite a while too.
Infant ready baby carrier
I will be very honest and say I wasn’t a fan of the Solly Baby Wrap or any of the wraps for that matter. It wasn’t easy to me or natural. The idea is beautiful, but Mike nor I connected with it, but we loved the carrier from Bjorn more than any other and I also have heard great things about the Scout from Sakura Bloom as well. We found the carrier worked great for us and once Hayes was 3 months or so we could face him out which was one of his favorite things.
Bassinet + Sheets
A nursery is great, but let’s be honest, that baby is going to be within ear shot at all times for the first 3-4 months. Hayes slept in our room till he was almost 7 months old. I wanted him close and safe. So we used this bassinet for the first 4 months till he got too big and then he moved to a travel bassinet which was larger like this one. I loved this bassinet and we are excited to use it again. You can see the baby sleeping while sleeping next to it. It doesn’t take up much space and stores well later. Not to mention it is rated for night time sleep and looks beautiful. The way it moves when the baby does so that it can rock back to sleep or you can barely touch it to create natural movements is brilliant. There are no sleep associations that develop, which is great.
Glass bottles with 1-2 nipple flow options
Bottles are a trick. Hayes was very particular about flow and nipples if he took a bottle and we finally figured it out once he was around 7 months. But we love that Dr. Brown now has these great glass bottles. We like to start introducing a bottle around a month with milk and we added in supplemental formula for Hayes around 7 months and then he weaned at 10 months fully so bottles were a big part of the first year for us. They allowed me to take some nights partcially off and get some sleep since he wasn’t a great sleeper. I just wish when we had him there had been as many bottle options as there are now.
We didn’t have one of these the first time around, but with a multistory home and a toddler I feel this is essential. We also plan that she may do a little sleeping in it in the early weeks as well. We love that the basket can be used later on for the home and toys or even for her to have a doll in down the road.
Finding a good balm for your baby is essential. We plan to cloth diapear after the first few weeks of newborn life but one of the things my doula showed me the first time around is that if you put balm on them even without a rash you can deter a rash as well like if you are exhausted and they fall asleep and you do too and forget to change them or something. It happens and this way you protect them from the potential and not just treat the problem when it arises.
Cloth Diaper Inserts
I am learning my way through the cloth diapering situation this time around and have been given covers, but I am having to buy inserts. I am just guessing at this point what will work for us and have no clue, but if you have a washer and dryer at home and plan to be home with them the first 6 months or so in the least, it is for sure a great option to consider to save money.
I wanted a sling the first time around and wished I had just gotten one. I know without a doubt this will be essential for me with a 3 year old running around and doing work and more. I really wanted a linen one too as I have heard they work best as the baby ages over the jersey ones.
Baby Frida Tools
This pack of Baby Frida tools is EVERYTHING you need besides a thermometer, which this one is great. From the nose cleaner to the nail chlippers and even for you to have the bottle to wash up postpartum. All of it is part of the necessities after you have the baby and to get through some hard moments.
Have extra hand towels made of absorbant muslin around. They are so good for helping clean up all the spit up, milk, poop, pee, and everything else you can imagine.
Hypoallergenic Laundry Soap
I love this soap and it is super clean. We still use it for our son and have already washed everything for our daughter in it. It smells great (and not like a baby) and it works really well.
The thing you will use more than you care to know. This one from Keekaroo is really awesome and I cannot recommend it enough. Though just know your baby may not like it at first without a waterproof pad on it but later on it is amazing.
Snuggle Me Organic
We didn’t have one of these with Hayes but every single friend I have with a baby in the last few years swears by one of these. I have it as one of the only high priced items on our registry list right now because I am wanting it so badly.
Bouncer or Swing
I am a fan of anything that gives me open arms or maybe a meal without a baby in my arms, but I don’t want to become completely reliant or them on a swing or bouncer for sleep so I am pretty picky about the types of swings and bouncers we have. We have a Nuna Leaf with the wind attachment but Hayes never really loved it like I had hoped. He now uses it more than ever to swing and play and so we may or may not use it for our next one, but I do know the Bjorn Bouncer is the best invention ever. It stores flat and it has different angles for different ages. We loved it and it is so portable and lightweight. It gave us many moments of hands free time. Then when we were done we just flattened and put it out of sight.
Cloth Diaper Covers
I am getting some from a friend who is done with her kids. The covers are really necessary and easy to get from friends, but if you want to buy new, everyone I know says to avoid all in ones and go with inserts for the covers. It seems to be easier to clean as you can run them in seperate loads and not get velcro stuck on things. So, this is what we are doing.
5-7 pairs of leggings
I kept about 2-3 days worth of leggings on hand. Mind you we are having to cold weather babies so these items are kind of necessary even if just staying indoors. I love the ones from H&M as well or Zara also has some conscious ones that are knit and easy to wash as well. I look for ones that are easy to pull down, are soft, and wear well. So whether you buy them used or new I try to stick to that concept. Some brands will fit your baby better too. I found some brands were intended for kids with shorter legs and others for longer and leaner babies (my son) so I tried to just stick to the brands that fit him best in that regard. The H&M ones have a button in the back that make them tighter around the waist too if you want, which I find those button system makes things last longer.
Though this time around we will not be using this quite the same as we did with Hayes…hello Northern Michigan and lots of snow. We plan to use the sling and carrier more for walks and grocery trips because of the amount of snow and living in the country. But this is necessary thing. It makes travel easy, grocery trips easy, market visits easier. ALL OF IT. It sure is an investment up front unless you can find a used one, which I highly suggest. A quality stroller will last forever. We plan to pass our’s down to our brother’s so they can save on the purchase when they have kids. The systems are great for easy car seat attachment and go so you don’t have to wake that sleeping baby. We have the Nuna Ivvi and it worked, but I felt it was bulky and wide and heavy. Though the car seat was a dream this had some down sides. I would suggest looking at their other systems, or Stokke makes converters for the Pippa car seat so you could use their system, which is really good quality. But buying a stroller can feel like picking a car for your family…I suggest writing down the things you really need out of a stroller…you plan to have kids close to together so having it accomodate more than one child or you live in a city and want plenty of storage space and it to be lightweight. Or you live somewhere where you drive a lot so you want one that packs down efficiently for your car. Things like that will help you narrow in on a few models and then if you can test them out I would do that before making the big purchase or hunting for a used one.
Some additional items that aren’t necessary but you find helpful are
A simple baby monitor or camera
A manual breast pump
Newborn disposable diapers on hand just in case
Sunshade for beach
Hiking Pack – Great for a registry item
Bottle drying rack
A Diaper Bag — get a backpack and we used this one the most
Baby Toy Gym