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So you’re trying to live a simple, minimal life…and then you find out a baby is on the way. Oh my! Babies need a lot of stuff. They really do. But if I could do it all over again, I would be far more intentional about keeping all the things minimal. I thought I was doing just that…but after two years of decluttering baby stuff…clearly I went a little overboard!
If simple living and minimalism are important for you, keeping the clutter down is absolutely essential. So what does a minimalist baby need?
The answer will vary greatly based on your baby’s likes, dislikes and needs–and your personal feelings about a lot of it.
As a simple living mom, here’s my take on what I’d put on my baby registry if I was starting over! These are my top 10 favorites that we used regularly, and many are compact or multi-use. I’ll be sharing more category specifics like feeding/nursing/pumping, toys/nursery and bath in other posts.
When Maddie was itty bitty, this was an absolute gem to have so calm her, keep her close, and still have my hands free to eat and cook. I chose to not wear her when heating food on the stove or using the oven, but it did allow me to do some food prep and keep her close.
Baby wearing is also very handy when you have to leave the house and want to keep baby away from all the peering and prying hands of others (and germs). The Boba Wrap is stretchy, soft, adjustable and ideal for use for newborns through 3 months.
While you can use it longer than that, I found that my back needed more support as she gained weight. It has a little learning curve, but it’s well worth playing around with! I have a tips and tricks video for adjusting stretchy wraps- click here to watch.
2. Beco Gemini
As the Boba became harder for me, I started trying out soft structured carriers. Most of the popular brands are designed for older infants with head control and require additional infant inserts, but the Beco Gemini doesn’t. It’s supportive for kiddos 7-35 lbs, so it doesn’t go into the toddler years like other styles, but the real appeal to me was how great it worked for infants.
The Gemini can be worn four ways– front facing in, front facing out, back carry and hip carry. I loved this, as did Maddie, who adored being able to face out and look at the world! If you’re looking for an easy, comfortable and adjustable carrier, I highly recommend checking it out!
These are a must-have, but don’t go overboard. You can easily manage with a simple 4-pack. I ended up with over 12 of them…and used no more than 8. While it’s nice to store one in every room, bag or basket–less is more–stick with just one pack (two max)! I used these blankets as a nursing cover, burp cloth, swaddle and blanket. Super multifunctional!
IF (and only if) your baby is a spitter, you will need a TON of super absorbent bibs. Maddie was, unfortunately, intolerant to dairy as an infant…but we didn’t figure that out until she was 10 months old (sadness).
As a result, she spent 10 months spitting up consistently, and we went through an insane amount of outfit and bib changes. I needed really awesome bibs.
Babies pull velcro bibs right off, and tiny little “cute” bibs don’t offer any protection for an outfit. Enter the Aden and Anais SNAP bib. Oh yes. Snap bibs are incredibly hard to find. Not only are they snap, they are LONG and THICK.
Another option is the Aden & Anais burpy bib, a super huge burp cloth/snap bib. I highly recommend everyone have at least two burpy bibs as burp cloths–they are excellent for multifunction and very durable.
5. Sleep Sheep
A white noise or music device was a lifesaver for us. If you want to sing, hum, shhh, play your own instrument, etc. and the like instead of a device–go for it! But I’m not that talented, so we quite literally, used the Sleep Sheep until it worked no more. (A friend gave us theirs and it had already been used for years, so I can attest that they have a lot of life in them!)
Nowadays the options are endless. There is also the Peaceful Panda, or a sound machine/projector option like the MyBaby Sound Spa (we had this one too but typically just opted for the battery operated and portable Sleep Sheep!)
6. Rock ‘n Play
We made the decision to keep Maddie in our bedroom for a minimum of her first year (currently we’re going on 2.5+ years, that but’s besides the point). Since we didn’t have a nursery, we wanted to keep bedding to a minimum.
The Rock ‘n Play was perfect and Maddie slept well in it. She also had reflux, which made sleeping at a slight incline a necessity. We took it on vacation and to grandmas–portability is huge!
There are cautions to it’s use–extended use can lead to slight flat head, so baby needs a lot of tummy time. We did not use it exclusively not nighttime and chose to co-sleep with her crib mattress right next to mine. I loved being able to move the Rock ‘n Play around the house and it made nap time a breeze.
Teething necklaces are baby safe chewable materials that mom (or a caretaker) wears to entertain and soothe baby while nursing, baby wearing and out and about. This necklace was our favorite and it kept Maddie happy while we sat in church, or in the carrier at the store or just on fussy days at home. Highly recommend!
If you don’t want your kiddo to have a pacifier, that’s awesome! If you’re exclusively breastfeeding, it’s recommended to avoid them early on, but it’s always your call.
My daughter had latch issues and ended up being bottle fed, and our lactation consultant actually did encourage us to use a pacifier from an early age because of her poor latch to give me a break from comfort sucking.
These were the only ones she would take and she absolutely adored the wubbanub all the way up until she was two, when they….disappeared. On purpose.
NOTE: Wubbanubs come with the softer 0-3 month pacifier. The packaging will tell you not to use with babies that have teeth. To solve this problem, I did surgery on our Wubbanubs (this is discouraged by the manufacturer–you assume all responsibility if you do this). I took out the softer pacifier and sewed in/replaced them with the 3mo+ pacifier. My daughter used these until she was two and did not chew through them.
If you use individual pacifiers, I highly recommend a Pacifier Pod. I loved ours as it snaps right on to your diaper bag or purse and keeps pacis clean.
I’m a huge fan of wooden toys. My favorite brands are HABA and Hape which are both amazing European companies (great standards for non-toxic toys). This was a simple rattle Maddie could grasp early on, shake for noise and chew for teething. Durable, washable, and non-toxic.
Teething babies come with the territory, and I wish I had found this fantastic teething ring earlier. While it is made of plastic, Green Sprouts, under their line iPlay, ensures that it is PVC, phthalate, BPA and nitrosamine free.
Best of all, the teether is simply filled with distilled water, so in the event that is opens, there’s no toxic gel to worry about. I’m also a big fan of the Hevea Panda Rubber Teether for all those chewing choppers.
Where to Create Your Registry
When I was pregnant, we registered everywhere (Target, Buy Buy Baby, Babies R Us, Amazon…). Like with weddings, it’s nice to give people options, but really, going into all those stores with the little scanners is downright dangerous! I was putting hundreds of items on my list that we simply did. not. need.
Even the little “gift bags” stores give you for registering weren’t very impressive and I think we threw most of the cheap, chemical filled stuff away. But, of course, you’re welcome to go see what they’re offering!
I was very impressed with Amazon.com’s baby registry program and they offer completion discounts, returns and universal add from any site which is very handy! I used my Amazon baby registry to get the last few things we needed and it saved us quite a bit over store prices, especially because we were buying non-toxic toys and supplies that were hard to find locally.