What does your baby actually need? Definitely nowhere near as much as they try to sell you! 😉
My ideas of “necessary” varied slightly from my first to fourth baby, but overall, these are the items I’d recommend to anyone looking to make a minimalist or simplified registry. Tweak as needed. Obviously, if you’re on your first baby, you don’t need a double stroller. If you plan on using a pack & play every day, you don’t need the crib. You get the idea.
If you’re a hardcore minimalist, this list might seem way overboard to you. For me, mothering is all about what works best with minimal stress and expense. These items are what helped me with that!
Also, I’m going to be perfectly honest here – I’m putting links so that you can get an idea of what I think is awesome, but other than car seats, I really never buy baby gear brand new. They move through the stages so quickly in that first year that some items, even though they’re sanity-savers, only end up being used for a couple months. I highly recommend checking these items out online, and then looking on local Facebook sale groups, borrow from a friend, etc. till you see what works for you (and your baby!). If you ARE going to buy new, using my links for that is fabulous because, you know, affiliate links help me keep this blog up and running!
With that said – let’s window shop, shall we?!
- crib: I found this one for a steal in a sale group, and I highly recommend. The inside is full-size crib, but it’s not so huge and bulky as many other cribs I’ve seen.
- infant seat: I used this style for all 4. Worked well for us!
- convertible seat: I’ve used a few over the years, but this one is my favorite. Moneysaving tip: if you plan on babywearing, you really don’t even need the infant seat. This convertible seat works from birth to booster. Car seats are one thing I would discourage you from buying used. You just never know and honestly, car safety isn’t worth saving a few bucks for.
- bassinet/co-sleeper (If you plan to breastfeed on demand and/or co-sleep right from the start, you can skip this. I always liked my infants right next to me, but not in my bed. (Except for when I fell asleep holding them during those long feeding nights. haha)
- Stokke Tripp Trapp chair: I used this Graco one with my first 2 kids, and it was bulky but fine. Shortly after Eloise was born, I happened on a Stokke chair on a Facebook sale page, and snatched it up. Oh em gee, you guys. If it’s in your budget, or you can find this used, I HIGHLY recommend it. It slides right up to the table so baby can eat right there with the family. (They do sell trays separately if you prefer.) It’s solid enough that older kids or even adults can use it, which makes it a long-lasting, versatile piece. I know it’s pricey. Trust me when I tell you that you will not regret buying this.
- jogger stroller: for one baby, I absolutely LOVED the citi mini baby jogger. Mine was generously gifted to us by my brother, but strollers tend to pop up all the time on sale pages, so keep your eyes out for this one!! Amazing, smooth, easy to open and close, not super heavy!
- double stroller: Once I had multiples, I started keeping this stroller in the car. I loathe trying to maneuver a side-by-side stroller while running errands, and this one makes it easy for the older kid to jump in and out. (Or if that’s not your thing, there’s also a buckle in the back to hold them down. hahaha)
- rock & play: (I used two different styes, and both were fine. This one was a little softer and cozier than the other.)
- swing: I only used a swing with my #4, and this happened to be the one I found for a good deal on a local sale page. There are tons of models out there, so if you have friends who already own one, maybe test them out and see which one you like best. I absolutely loved this one – and so did baby! 😉
(You don’t need both a rock & play AND swing, and depending on your parenting style, you might not need either. By kid #3, I wanted a comfy place to quickly put them down while I cooked, worked, etc. I do recommend seeing which one your baby prefers. With my first 2, I used neither. My 3rd loved the rock & play, my 4th loved the swing. Definitely something worth borrowing or buying used. They grow out of these pretty quickly, but they’re wonderful for a mama break in those first few months! The swing does last a little longer than the rock & play, in my experience.)
Jumpers/walkers/exersaucers: Personal preference thing. Totally not “minimal” or necessary. My first 3 did enjoy an exersaucer like this one, and got a lot of use out of it. My 4th used this walker for a couple months, but wasn’t a big fan. It did make for some cute photos, though! haha Overall, I would skip these items or maybe just see about buying them used when your baby hits the right stage of development. Not worth adding to a registry, in my opinion!
- long-sleeve bodysuits | 2. short-sleeve bodysuits | 3. sleep & play | 4. pants | 5. socks | 6. bundle me
1. long-sleeve bodysuits: there’s a reason why these things come in every possible size and color. It’s because they’re a new mama’s bff. As a minimalist, I like to keep it neutral with whites/grays/blacks, but however you choose to do things, I recommend having at least 5 or 6 of these. Sometimes they’ll stay clean for an entire day (or two!). Other days, you’ll go through 5 in 24 hours and wonder how that tiny little body can make SO. MUCH. MESS!
- short-sleeve short-sleeve bodysuits: see above! haha
- sleep-and-play: similar to the onsies, these are a must. For at least 6 months, you can use these morning, noon & night because unlike you or I, if your baby goes out in her pajamas, everyone will still think she’s cute! Keep your life simple. I say 2 or 3 of these for each size. See my favorites here, and here.
- pants: I much prefer onsies with socks or one-pieces (see above) but if you feel like you need pants, these are soft and easy.
- socks: tiny toes get cold. But don’t get those annoying loose ones that fall off every two seconds! #aintnobodygottimeforthat I kick myself frequently that I didn’t discover these long socks till my 4th baby. haha These are adorable, versatile, and stay on ALL DAY AND NIGHT.
- bundle me: if you have a cold-weather infant you might get use out of this. Mine were all spring and summer, so I never needed one except for one super chilly week right after Cassandra was born.
Shoes: I don’t really bother with shoes before 6 months or so, but if you feel like you need some, I highly recommend some of type of moccasin. There are many small shops who sell them (Cassandra is currently wearing a pair from Sun & Lace) and the bigger stores seem to be catching on also, so they’re pretty easy to find. Soft, supportive, don’t fall off easily. Key things to look for. 😉
Clean, Care, & Cuddle:
- muslin swaddle blankets | 2. crib sheets | 3. nail scissors | 4. nose goo sucker | 5. thermometer1. Muslin blankets: these are pretty much the best baby item ever invented. I’ve used these for everything from swaddling and burp cloth to sun/weather screen, breastfeeding cover, after-bath towel, and more.They have multiple colors/patterns, everything from these neutrals to bright prints.
- Crib sheets: For everyone except the baby, I have one set of sheets per bed. That rule does not apply to the tiniest of humans. 😉 I keep 3-4 crib sheets because all it takes is one bad night and all of a sudden you’re out of sheets. I love these sheets, very soft and easy to get on/off.
- First Aid, etc. items: you will need these at some point and if you don’t get them, you’ll end up needing them at 3 am some night when you’re home alone with the sick baby. Trust me on this! 😉 I’m not picky about brands or styles, I’ve used different ones over the years. But definitely add these items to your list: nail scissors, nose goo sucker, thermometer.
- spoons | 2. drool bibs | 3. meal bib | 4. bottle | 5. toddler/kid bottle | dish set1. spoons: I keep things simple in the feeding department and don’t buy a lot of baby-specific items. I do use these spoons for introducing puree food.
- drool bibs: there are a ton of bibs to choose from, but these are the only ones I loved so much I repurchased. They’re soft, thick, and really keep the clothes dry underneath. Love!!
- meal bib: parents – you need this. haha This is literally the only bib I own for Cassandra. One bib. I wash it each time she eats, it dries, and we reuse. Awesomeness – covers every inch of her messy little self. 😉
- baby bottle: none of my babies were too picky about bottles – this was the bottle that worked well for us. Honestly, unless you plan to bottle feed, I wouldn’t bother stocking up on bottles ahead of time. When baby arrives, if needed, you can figure out what works for him/you.
- toddler/kid bottle: this water bottle is amazing for transitioning a toddler from baby bottle to regular water bottle – no leaks, easy to use, and easy to clean!
- If you ARE looking for baby-specific dishes, I absolutely love this set. Simple, sturdy, and the reviews are awesome. If you try this set, let me know what you think! It seems like such a fun gift idea!
- diapers | 2. wipes | 3. diaper cream | 4. diaper bag | 5. wet/dry bag | 6. diaper genie1.diapers: I use disposable diapers for all of mine. If you are using disposable, I recommend putting mostly sizes 2 & 3 on your registry. They move through size NB and 1 fairly quickly, and those tend to be the sizes people gift when they’re all excited about the new baby! 😉
- wipes: I use these things for everything from diaper clean up to a quick living room shelf wipe down. #keepingitreal If you’re an Amazon member, well worth signing up for the subscribe and save for these. You really can’t have too many wipes, and there was more than one time when that box showed up on my doorstep right when I needed it! Ha!
- diaper cream: tons to choose from, but this standard one is all I’ve ever needed.
- diaper bag: mine’s a hand-me-down, so I’m not a good girl to ask. haha But overall, I’d say choose one that has multiple compartments, and is a style that you like wearing. That diaper bag is going to be close friends with you for at least a couple years! 😉
- wet/dry bag: This has been a lifesaver on more than one occasion!
- diaper genie: this is a controversial one, since many people say it doesn’t mask the smell at all. I mean, poop is poop. It’s going to smell if you leave it sitting in there for a while, but I definitely find that it helps keep the smell under control until I get to it. (Refills are here but honestly, the Target brand ones work just as well and are slightly cheaper. #themoreyouknow haha)
And that’s it! When you walk into the store and see all those teeny tiny bits of cuteness, those perfectly matched nurseries, and those glistening furniture pieces – don’t get bogged down! It’s their job to try and sell you as much stuff as they possibly can. Doesn’t mean you need it. Everything I listed here is what I used with 4 kids. Not all at once. If you babywear or co-sleep, there are at least a few things you can immediately remove from your list here!
What you really are going to need in that first year is a lot of love, an extra dose of patience, sleep (which you probably won’t get! haha), and a few basics to help you care for your precious new baby.
Is there anything you would add to this list? Babywearing and/or cloth-diapering parents, I’d love to know what specific items you use that I don’t! Share in the comments!