Have you ever wondered what to put on a minimalist baby registry so that you don’t start your new baby’s life with a huge surplus of items your baby may never need? Or has it been a while since you had a new baby and now you need just the essentials? This list will help you decide what you really need on your minimalist baby registry.
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Pregnancy is one of those vulnerable times when everyone is adamant about telling you all the many varied things you need for when your baby is born. And it is easy to believe that with a task so big as caring for a newborn, you probably really do need all of those things.
I know that I fell into that mentality of needing as many things as possible to make caring for my new baby as easy and comfortable as possible. But what ended up happening was that I overburdened myself with things I did not need, and it all just became clutter that I used maybe once or twice and then had to sell or donate just to create some breathing room in my home.
Minimalist Baby Registry
This experience is the root of my desire to compose a minimalist baby registry. Knowing which things were essential to me and which were not was a huge burden off of my shoulders when it came time to have my second child. Plus I already had many of the things I needed – they were what was left over after I purged everything else.
What do babies NEED?
Babies need to be clean, safe, fed, clothed, and nurtured. Most of all, they need to be loved on. So what items are necessary to meet a child’s needs?
How minimalist are we talking?
When I say “minimalist” I don’t mean that my goal is specifically to own and use as few items as humanly possible. I mean that I own and use only items that are practical and needed. And I have a lot of understanding for the fact that different pregnancy and post partum scenarios can have very different needs based on circumstance.
I’d love to claim that this is the only registry you’ll ever need for your child, but that simply cannot be the case. What if you have triplets that cannot nurse and must be bottle fed and they all have colic, or what if you have a baby with a very specific health need that is different from the norm? In those cases there will definitely be things that you need that are not on this minimalist baby registry, so take that into account.
Principles of minimalism
In my mind what makes for the best minimalist baby registry is:
- Practical and useful (and even better if the item has multiple uses or purposes!)
- Durable, strong, and able to be used across multiple babies
- Natural or non-toxic items if at all possible
Minimalist Baby Necessities
- Baby blanket and/or swaddle – you probably don’t need both, but depending on the climate they’re both nice to have
- Baby clothing – for that first few months, baby grows incredibly fast, so what I’ve found works best is about 8-10 outfits in sizes NB and 0-3 is probably sufficient, but 15 would most definitely be enough outfits. I try to have about 10-15 outfit choices for each baby size 0-3mo, 3-6mo, 6-12mo. Clothing for a baby this age is usually a bunch of onesies, socks, a sweater or layers of some variety, a hat, and bibs.
- Sleep sacks are great once your baby no longer swaddles, or if they don’t like to swaddle to begin with
- Bassinet or crib for sleeping (includes mattress and a couple of sheets) even if you mostly plan to bedshare
- Burp cloth or bibs for catching any spit up or drool
- Diapers – cloth is the most affordable option long term, and definitely have fewer “ingredients” that your baby could be sensitive to, but it’s great to have disposable diapers at least the first few weeks as baby passes meconium and you try to recover. You’ll also need wipes. I use disposable wipes even when I use cloth diapers, though there are cloth varieties too.
- A sling, wrap, or baby carrier – there are so many options for baby wearing that it’s hard to pick just one universal type that is best. Wraps and slings are much easier and safe for newborns and small babies, while baby carriers are great for older/larger babies or to give support while hiking, walking, etc.
- Car seats are essential for being able to safely take baby anywhere in the car. All car seats have to pass safety tests, so while there’s variety out there, it’s perfectly fine to go with the cheapest option, especially since they can get a lot of wear and tear.
- Strollers are essential for getting fresh air, unless you exclusively plan to baby wear. Strollers give your arms and back a break from the weight of baby and can be a safer and more convenient option for you especially while you’re still recovering or if you have other kids or a spouse who want to take baby somewhere without wearing them.
- Nursing cover for privacy or to limit baby’s distractions while nursing if you are into that sort of thing. (Yes, I know the “need” for this is controversial. To me – it’s necessary!)
Additional Items Which May be Considered Necessary
- Baby bottles are essential if you are not or cannot nurse, so I’d say it’s good to have one on hand, but not absolutely necessary to even own one if you are able to nurse.
- Milk Pumps are essential for working moms who wish to continue feeding their baby their own milk. I try to avoid using one at all cost, so I don’t have strong recommendations on type.
- Pacifiers/binkies are great for some babies. Neither of my babies ever took one due to obstructive tongue ties that prevented them staying put, so we don’t even keep them around for future babies.
- Seat/swing/mats can be very useful when it comes to situating baby near you while you clean or cook, or do any number of other things, like shower. They are definitely nice to have, but not an absolute necessity, especially since they take up a lot of room in a small space.
- Toys and teethers can be very helpful to have especially once baby is a few months old or begins to teethe, but I don’t have particular recommendations as my girls didn’t like the usual baby toys and teethers and opted to play with anything that was not a toy as soon as they could reach it.
- Baby monitors (audio or video) can be an excellent resource especially if you’re trying to do something out of hearing range of your baby during a nap and want to know when they wake up. We didn’t really use one for our first child, but we were given a video monitor for our second and we definitely used it. There are many ways to avoid “needing” one if you’d rather not have it, but keep in mind that they can really help productivity.
- Sound machines can get a bad rap sometimes, but they can also be a game changer for kids sleeping if there are loud or disruptive noises from traffic to siblings playing. We didn’t use one for our oldest but have used one daily for our second and will probably get another for our new baby too. Anything that generates white noise, like a box fan, can also be used for the same purpose.
- There are “medical” type items that you may wish to have as well, like Gripe Water for a colicky baby, a snot sucker for congestion, chamomile for teething, nail clippers and thermometer if you don’t have one, etc. But I try not to advise on the more “medical” side of things in a post like this.
Is there room for Mom on a minimalist baby registry?
Of course! Although, I will say that personally, many of new-mom needs are not things I want to put on a registry, simply because I don’t want friends and family thinking that directly about… those physical needs. You may feel differently though, so here are a few things I consider to be absolute necessities for care and comfort at home after having a baby!
- Peri bottle for bathroom time clean up (your midwife may give you one or you may be discharged from the hospital with one, so you probably don’t need to buy it unless you want to be extra prepared)
- Nursing pads to absorb leakage. You can use disposable ones that have a sticky side to fit into your bra, or you can use reusable cloth ones that just sit in the bra and can be washed when needed. I have used both and they’re definitely an essential for me.
- Pads or disposable underwear. I definitely prefer to wear my own underwear with disposable pads inside. There are also options for washable reusable pads, but I have enough on my plate at that time that I don’t need to be worrying about staying on top of additional unsanitary laundry.
- Nursing bras are very much needed, and I use nursing tank tops to sleep in as well. Something with good structure that is still comfortable is the best option and will help you feel more like yourself if that’s the type of bra you’re most accustomed to wearing.
- Heat pads are so helpful for those afterbirth cramps that can last about a week. I hear those cramps are “worse” with each kid you have, and for the two I’ve had that has definitely been true, so using heating pad to help alleviate cramps is a game changer. A hot water bottle would work too.
- Painkillers for the cramps are great too, even if you had an unmedicated birth like we aim for over here.
Those are my non-negotiables that I need ready to go when I have a baby. But maybe you can see why I don’t like putting them on any sort of registry? That’s some pretty personal private stuff!
You can see further lists I’ve put together on this post about how to prepare for a homebirth too!
Is there anything I’ve forgotten? What do you put on an essentials-only baby registry that I’ve missed? This is just one mom’s take on a minimalist baby registry, so I hope it helps you out!