The minimalist guide to baby raising

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The first time I got pregnant I had no idea what I actually needed for baby!

As first time parents, we want to make sure we have everything that we need. Our nursery is perfectly decorated with whatever the newest baby fad is. Their closets and dressers are neatly organized with these tiny little newborn outfits. And our houses are crowded with all the baby furniture that baby equipment designers tell us we need for our baby.

I was gifted almost everything the first time. Baby furniture, maternity clothes, baby clothes, baby equipment, etc. Friends and family seemed to all have just had babies or knew people who did. I ended up with a crib, two bassinets, two pack ‘n’ plays, a rock ‘n’ play, two bouncy seats — I had a LOT of baby things! When my second came along I had already paired down a lot and I knew more what I needed based off what I had used with my first son. Because the seasons were different and obviously each child is different, I used different items more or less with each, these are the basics that I like to have for any baby! Regardless of season, these are the basic items every mom should have for a newborn.

Click here to receive a Free printable checklist of everything you need for baby.

 

Infant Car Seat

Baby Trend Flec Loc Infant Car Seat, Millennium
I’ve used an infant car seat for the first several months with both boys because it is much easier to get a baby in and out of the car in their car seat than in and out of their car seat itself. That way you don’t disturb any naps. ūüėČ You could get a 2-in-1 or 3-in-1 car seat though and let it grow with your child. I have an Eddie Bauer 2-in-1 for my older son and it works well for him. It is a bit bulky but he seems very comfortable in it. A tip from the car seat training that I went through, all car seats meet the same safety standards, a more expensive one is not necessarily safer, there will just be more bells and whistles. This makes deciding on a car seat much easier knowing that cheap or expensive, any¬†new¬†car seat is going to keep your baby safe when used properly!

Feeding

Once you have decided if you are breastfeeding or bottle feeding your baby you will want to acquire the items necessary for the feeding method of your choosing.

For breastfeeding it is recommended to have on hand,

  • Lanolin or Nipple Balm
  • Breast Pads

optional but helpful 

For bottle feeding

Clothing

  • 6-8 Onesies – size 0-3 month. I find Gerber tend to run a size smaller since they shrink so much when washed. My favorite brand of baby clothes is Carters Just One You.
  • 6-8 Outfits – size 0-3 month. Babies go through a lot of clothes, they also grow quickly. Buy most of your outfits 0-3 month or larger. I liked to have a couple NB outfits because babies are pretty tiny when they’re first born! There are so many cute options for both genders here.¬†¬†I loved the open bottom baby gowns with baby 1 but never used them for baby 2. Buy clothing according to the season that baby will arrive.
  • 8-10 Socks – 0-6 month. Somehow it seems that half their socks go missing in the wash! A single solid color might be a good idea.
  • 3 Baby hats – If it is warm when baby arrives, you might hardly use hats. Either way, it is nice to have a few on hand in case you need them.

Bedding

  • 4 Receiving blankets – I loved these for their many uses; spit ups, a changing pad, swaddling, rolled up for car seat head supports, a thin blanket for summer, a nursing cover if you don’t have one handy and so much more. I used these often with both boys and still like to keep one in my diaper bag just in case.
  • 1 Minky blanket– I love this cute arrow printed blanket. These blankets are so silky soft and perfect for cuddling any time of the year.
  • 1 Double flannel receiving blanket – Blissfully Domestic has a wonderful tutorial on how to sew these blankets. They are bigger and more sturdy than the commercial receiving blankets which is very nice for older babies or colder weather. I’ve made several of them over the past 4 years and they’ve all are well worn!
  • 2-3 Fitted Crib Sheets -Like this soft jersey knit sheet¬†or for your pack ‘n’ play. It’s nice to have a sheet between your baby and the mattress. Having several is a good idea in case of accidents or just having an extra for wash day. The nice thing about crib sheets is most of them will fit a toddler mattress, especially if you have a convertible bed.

Diapering

  • Diaper bag – I was gifted a Thirty One bag and it is wonderful! The backpack diaper bags are really popular and versatile with lots of pockets in a compact space. If you prefer the tote or purse style, there are many affordable options.
  • Diapers – I used NB diapers for the first 6 weeks with my younger son. Even though he technically was over the suggested weight the size 1 diapers were just so big on him. Don’t stock up on too many NB diapers though because they are quickly outgrown.
  • Wipes – You will go through many many wipes! Wipes are a mom’s best friend; sticky hands, “Oh no you still have lunch on your face!”, diaper changes, “the car is really really dusty and it’s driving my tired mommy brain crazy!” — so many uses! Often times the boxes are cheaper and they¬†will get used.
  • Diaper cream – I use my mom’s herbal salve — that stuff is amazing! You can also use breastmilk for diaper rash. Healthline has a great article on the 11 Best Diaper Rash Creams with prices and a short description of each.

Pack ‘n’ Play

With baby 1 I used his rock ‘n’ play and a swing, and bouncy seats. Also his crib eventually when he was a bit older. With baby 2 I got a ¬†pack ‘n’ play¬†with a bassinet, changing table and dream centre attached and I love it. If you have limited space it fits perfectly in our small room next to our bed. Need a cheap nursery set? Changing table, bassinet and crib all in one compact design for under $150! Don’t want to put your tiny baby in her crib just yet? The dream centre makes your baby feel cozy in the soft lining with mesh sides for breathability and safety. It’s also super easy to fold this up and take baby’s bed with you if you need to travel or have someone babysitting.

Swing

I used a swing for both of my boys. With my first someone loaned me a swing and it was wonderful, with my second I was gifted a  Graco Slim Spaces compact swing. It is perfect for our tiny apartment and Baby loves it!

Infant Carrier

For my small baby I love my¬†moby wrap! When my first son was older, we went to Greece for almost a month to help with the refugee crisis there. I looked everywhere for a carrier that would work for him, he was heavy! I sewed my own¬†Mei Tai carrier¬†with a pattern I found online and it worked well. Through International Airports and an entire day walking through Turkish markets wearing a 25+ pound 18 month old it was still decently comfortable. I’m unsure what I will use with my second when he outgrows the moby but a good carrier that works for you is a good idea!

Update: at 1 year and 24 lbs, the moby still works very well for my son. It has some stretch which I prefer to the Boba wrap which is thicker and has less give. The stretch allows for a tighter, more secure wrap. If you are struggling with wearing baby in this way, it might help to watch some videos and play around with different ways of securing the wrap.

Stroller

Umbrella strollers work okay if you aren’t going far but a good jogging stroller is ideal for both parent and child comfort. I found a nice¬†jogging stroller¬†second hand for $50. They can be a bit spendy new but will last you for years and are well worth the investment.

Nursery Organization

My boys share a room, it has a small closet and limited space, because of this we chose to hang sleepers and shirts and only put pajamas, pants, socks and onesies into a 3-drawer cart.  Diaper boxes are stacked on one end of the closet shelf and baby supplies up on the shelf above.

Baby Monitor

Most likely you will want a baby monitor. There are so many to choose from, I had a simple VTech and it worked well. It is a good monitor if you want something that is price friendly and basic.

Pacifier

My first son refused a pacifier, my second took one when he was a couple months until about 8 months when he weaned himself from it. The only pacifier he would take was a¬†NUK pacifier.¬† I loved this cute boy pack of three. There are so many options for pacifiers if your baby takes one it might take some trial and error to figure out what works. If you are breastfeeding it is not recommended to use a pacifier the first several weeks until milk supply and baby’s latch are established.¬†

Bathing

Norwex baby hooded towel set

  • Baby bath – I did have a baby bath for my first son and it was nice but not necessary. I have not used one with my second son. The bath tub works just fine, if you have a big kitchen sink this is another good alternative!
  • Towel – Often you can get a towel and washcloth set. You can also make beautiful baby towels out of full size towels. Norwex has a baby hooded towel and face cloth set you can find here.
  • Washcloths – I recently got my Norwex baby body cloths and I am in love! They work so well for washing baby in the tub or after meals, they are soft and the perfect size. When I’m finished I can simply rinse them and hang to dry and use it again.
  • Baby wash – I used Johnson’s baby wash with my older son, but am becoming much more health conscious since my second son and after doing some research on the ingredients have decided to find a natural alternative. I recommend the article by The Smart Mama called A Label Reading Lesson. Also the app Think Dirty explains ingredients and evaluates toxicity levels of many products on the market.
  • Lotion – Here again, with my second I have refused to use the Johnson’s baby lotion that I used with my first. Coconut or Olive oil are great moisturizers, you can add essential oils or use them plain.

Update: I have found a great alternative to baby wash! Norwex Baby Body cloths are soft and clean so well! Norwex microfiber will remove up to 99% of bacteria from a surface, eliminating the need for soap. Get the cloth wet and wash your baby with it, rinse and wring out before hanging to dry for a second use. A pack of 3 costs about the same as 2 bottles of Johnson’s baby wash and have a guaranteed¬†2 year warranty and likely will last much longer! Imagine how much money you will save while still getting baby clean and eliminating toxins from her bath routine! The cloths come in soft yellow, pink and blue. These cloths are amazing for dry skin and eczema as well. You just might be able to toss out the lotion as well!

Personal Care

  • Nail clipper – I always bite or pick their nails off until they are older, too many horror stories of people clipping little baby fingers and having them bleed profusely. Although I think that this is more traumatizing to the mother than the child. I like the Safety 1st brand though, they come in a 2-pack at Target.
  • Nasal Aspirator – Nice for when baby is stuffy paired with saline spray
  • These are the two that I have used but you can get a whole kit with everything hygiene and first aid you might need for baby.

Other Items

  • Bouncy seat – Nice if you have space, easy to transport but not necessary.
  • Rock ‘n’ Play – You may want to consider purchasing one if you do not have a Pack ‘n’ Play or a swing.
  • Johnny jumper – If you have a doorway with a sturdy trim these are fun for older babies.
  • Walker – Nice to have when you have an older baby that is not ready to walk but still wants to get around, a walker lets them get around without getting into as much trouble. Not ideal for small spaces or near stairs that are not gated.

What are your ‘must have’ and ‘never used’ items for baby?

Minimalist guide to baby raising