Those of you who hate clutter (and "stuff" taking over your homes), what is your must have gear? Favorite brands? Items you can't live without? Items that were a waste?
Hmmm, I would say a car seat, a swing (fantastic for getting a shower in!), a baby/bouncy chair and one or more baby carriers. :) I also like a little soft play-yard for the tummy time stages and some safe teething toys.
The swing I had last time (and sold, because I thought we were done) was a Fisher Price papasan swing. Annie seemed to find it really comfy and it played soft and soothing music which she loved. I found it on craigslist and sold it for what I paid so I am hoping to go that route again!
I love my moby wrap-- I am very weak and it's the only sling I'm able to use for more than ten minutes or so. Other than that... diapers... a week's worth of new clothes, lots of identical baby socks (our house is freezing in winter so I'm going to have to keep her feet covered) and baby tights... lanolin cream, a new crib mattress or new crib altogether... new carseat... am I missing something? I think that's enough.
One thing I noticed was that with my first, there were a lot of things for entertaining pre-mobile babies that I just didn't need the second time, with the older sibling there for distraction purposes whenever necessary (or unnecessary!). Play yard, mobiles, even a lot of the toys were redundant. I'm pretty minimalist when it comes to baby stuff, but I did find a swing handy for showering. I had a small one, and it fit in our tiny bathroom if I navigated carefully and left the door open. He could see me, and I could talk to him, and he couldn't roll/crawl away.
Three slings saw us from birth through preschool-age: Moby, Ergo, Hotsling (or similar). I did have a homemade Mei Tai that I wore when we were dressing up fancy (it was made out of pretty fabric and embroidered), but it wasn't as quick on/off so it didn't get as much use.
-Zout-laundry spray. Not green I know but better than throwing out clothes after blowouts.
-Earth Mama Angel Baby butt cream
-Lansinoh nipple cream
-1 thing to put baby in to keep them safe (from pets, sibs, the vacuum) ie swing, bouncy seat, whatever
-crib (side car worked best for us from birth. I am not a small Mom.)
-Moby wrap. The only baby carrier I have that I like...and I have tried them all!
I use a bouncy seat to get a shower in....it fits in the bathroom and is easily portable. Swing...I prefer one that swings in two different directions and has a nice recline so little one can sleep in it on occasion. Infant carseat. I've tried going just straight to a convertible and in spite of it going as little as 5 pounds, wee ones are just too small to sit comfortably in a convertible the first few months. The infant seat really is a must. Baby bathtub. They are slippery little people and I prefer to use a baby bathtub although it's not a must. I have a pouch sling for wee ones until about 4 months, after that, they go on my back in a beco. I also NEED breast pads. My fave are the gerber ultrathin ones. I leak like crazy for a while. Those are the only things I can think of. I just use my regular ol laundry stuff on baby clothes and diapers and wipes, etc.
*ERGO carrier-one of my most used and loved baby items.
*New car seat
*18 cloth diapers (I like fuzzi buns and bum genius)
*NB-3 mo clothes (I got a box of hand me downs)
*Bouncy/vibrating chair (great for showers, eating, calming baby down)
*A dozen prefolds for wiping up spit up or messes
*Washable fabric nursing pads (at least four pairs) I think mine are Medela
*A few really thin (almost mesh) blankets to cover from sun, light (we got swaddle blankets as a gift form Target)
*A dozen socks
*Even though I am a SAHM I really like having a (Medela) breast pump for when I'm engorged in the early days and then later so dad can feed baby and bond once in a while. Also, it is a nice reassurance, just in case, to have extra milk stored away. I had more than enough!
I'm a mom that writes about minimalism on a blog. A few months back I wrote about this very thing - what were essentials during the first year and what was a waste of $ and space. The comments from other moms were great. Loads of insight into what each mom found was a must have. Here's a link to it:
My essentials were:
- carrier: used a Moby wrap from 0-3 months, Ergo after that
- diapers: we used cloth
- dozen burp clothes: these come in handy for many uses, lightweight blanket, sun cover, a little cover up for nursing
- sleepers and onsies: don't bother with too many precious ones, they get pooped on and spit up on quick!
- stroller: we don't have a car so a good stroller with grocery carrying capactiy was essential for us. My son also napped a lot in the stroller - still does!
Things we wasted $ on:
- crib: we ended up mostly co-sleeping. We just moved overseas and I ended up selling the practically new crib for half of what we paid for it.
- outfits: really hard to put jeans on a cloth diapered 8 week old. Why did I waste the $?
- baby bath tub: he preferred the sink
What I used with my first:
- Moby wrap/ring sling/Ergo
- Boppy pillow with 1 extra slipcover
- receiving blankets (I used these for burp cloths, too.)
- vibrating bouncy chair
- onesies and sleepers with feet
- Lansinoh nursing pads and lanolin
- nursing tanks
- car seat
- diaper bag (I use the Ergo backpack. I'd definitely recommend a backpack-type bag. They're so much easier to carry.)
- high chair (I got the kind that buckles to a regular chair and changes into a booster seat.)
The only thing I'm adding this time is cloth diapers.
Oh I forgot the one thing that was a sleep saver for us
-Miracle Blanket! The BEST swaddle blanket EVER! It is a go to gift for baby showers for me! It was seriously a necessity for us! DH nor I could swaddle good enough and this blanket did it. OMG!!! How could I forget? I need to go dig those out now.
Just wanted to add that you might want to hold off on the swing till you find out if your LO likes it. We registered for and received a nice, full-size swing (that only went back and forth), and DS never spent more than 10 minutes (collectively) in it in his life. We did discover that he liked the papsan swing that laid completely back and swung side to side, though, and ended up purchasing one of those later. I'd see if you can borrow one to try first before automatically buying. We have SO MUCH STUFF that we bought in desperation trying to get DS to sit in anything besides arms for a few minutes.
Haha, great points! Seriously, jeans over cloth diapers on a really little one is ridiculous. We too had a baby bath tub that got used once, I ended up just bathing with my DS.
We got a very expensive swing as a gift that only got used for a few weeks, DS liked the vibrating chair much better. And it was huge, it took up so much space I was glad to get rid of it. I think swings are one of those items that they either like or dislike...and you don't find out until they are here. This might be a little silly but I always felt slightly guilty putting DS in the swing---I felt more comfortable with him in a wrap or carrier so I could have him next to me yet have my arms free.
I run a Minimalist meetup group in my city, so I am all about this. And I have to endorse the Minimalist Mom (above) too as she promoted my group when I started it. She is awesome.
Even still, I feel like I have too much already for my first LO. Here's the list:
Honestly, I think I've spent more on my home birth supplies because I've had to buy whatever was on my midwife's list.
You're having a home birth??!! Yeah! I had my son at home. Amazing experience.
Glad you are on the ball about getting the supplies. We picked our kit up AFTER my water broke.
Good luck!! Your list of baby supplies sounds great.
I don't know if I'm a true "minimalist," but that is my leaning--especially where babies are concerned (this is my fourth, so I've pretty well figured out what *we* need).
--Diapers. For the true minimalist, something like the "Flip" system by Bumgenius might be good, since it is one-size (so no need to replace smaller diapers as the baby grows) and, unlike one-size pockets or AIOs, you can reuse the covers. I like to have enough for about 18-24 changes, though you could get by with fewer if you like to do laundry. =)
--Wipes. I use terrycloth washcloths (which I hand-dyed into an assortment of lovely colors). I have a WHOLE lot of them--because we use them for more than just baby wipes. I store them dry and just wet them with warm water when I use them (I don't think wipe solution is really necessary--I take the baby in the bath with me often, and water is almost always sufficient for cleaning them during a diaper change.)
--Diaper pail/liners. I have to PUL diaper pail liners. When I do laundry, I take the full/dirty liner out and put the clean one in. After I empty the bag of diapers into the washer, I flip it inside out and wash it in the same load.
--Clothes. This is pretty variable, especially by baby #4, because I have a weird assortment of hand-me-downs (from my own kids and friends' kids), plus a few things I'll buy specifically for the baby, plus a few gifts--so I end up with a different mix every time. But, if I were going out and accumulating clothes for a baby from nothing right now, I would get a bunch of onesies (say, 6-8 per size?)--I would dye them or otherwise embellish them because while I don't like to have a LOT of stuff, I like to enjoy looking at the stuff we have =)--and some basic cotton pants. A hat or two, but I've never found much use for them except in the winter when it's truly cold. And socks. For the warm months, maybe substitute babylegs for the pants, or forego pants altogether. One-piece sleepers (I like them either footless or the bunting/gown type) are useful, too (but I don't differentiate between a newborns "clothes" and "pajamas," since they sleep most of the time, and I don't tend to change their clothes because it's "bedtime" or "morning" so much as because they "just pooped all over themselves."
--A few blankets. In my experience, more basic = better. And if they're absorbent, like flannel, all the better. Spit-up rolls right off of fleece and many other synthetic materials in a way that is...just annoying. I had ~5 big flannel blankets that I made, which were warm, great for swaddling, and doubled as burp-cloths when the need arose.
--Car seat. If you want to be super-minimalist, get a convertible like the Radian XTSL, which they can ride in from birth to something like 45 pounds rear-facing (check that; I don't recall the exact weight), and then to something like 80 pounds forward-facing. It has, I believe, a 7-year expiration date, so it should last their entire carseat-riding years, until they're ready for a booster. I personally like having an infant carrier for the first months, especially because I am going back to work as an apprentice midwife and will take the baby to appointments with me (hopefully sound asleep in said car seat for many of those visits), and I'm also taking the baby with me to one birth in November (for a friend/repeat client). When the baby outgrows the carrier, it'll go into the Radian-or-similar.
--Carrier(s). I have an Ergo that meets *almost* all my baby-wearing needs, but a newborn doesn't fit in one (I've never tried the newborn insert, but haven't heard great things about them), so I think it's worthwhile to have a pocket sling, or a Moby wrap, or some such thing for the first weeks. I have a Moby wrap that I picked up used before my last baby was born. I didn't get a *ton* of use out of it--I have big babies and I transition them to the Ergo as soon as I'm able--but it was irreplaceable for the occasions when I *did* use it. With my first two, I used a cotton pocket sling in much the same way.
--Somewhere to set the baby down, especially if you have older kids. I have always had a toddler when I had a newborn (except, of course, my first) so having somewhere I could put the baby and not worry about the toddler "helping" too much was nice. I have had a swing (which I've since given away to a friend), a bouncer (actually, it didn't bounce, but that's still what I call it--I've since sold it in a garage sale), and a hammock (which I still have and will use again). Just somewhere where the baby can be more or less out-of-reach of the toddler is good.
I'm out of time, but I think that about covers it anyway. I would consider my stroller essential toddler-gear (for when they get to heavy to carry in the Ergo, or for putting the toddler in while I wear the baby), but not necessary for a newborn. If I think of more, I'll update later.