Minimalist Baby Needs

Friday Tips for Living Vegan and Living Cheap – with kids!:

Preparing for baby . . . with just the essentials

I have several friends who are pregnant with their first babies, and some of them are asking me what I think they need as they set up registries.  This is the same time that I am going on a minimalist kick and trying to whittle down my stuff to what I really, really need.  I’m realizing that, while we do have tons and tons of baby stuff, we also don’t have a lot that was completely superfluous, in part because when had wonderful friends with kids of their own who were able to guide our baby preparation.  So, if you are looking to get some advice on what stuff you need to have for a new baby my best advice is to ask other new parents that you know.  Ask to see stuff, ask them how much they used it, etc.  And, if you want to consider some of my advice in conjunction with the folks around you, here are the main essentials* that got us through the first six months with both kiddos:

Baby Swing: We inherited a baby swing from friends, and I’m so, so grateful for that.  We might not have bought one on our own since they seemed a little like “luxury” items when we were first baby shopping.  But having this swing allowed me to finish my master’s degree (with LP), sleep more than three hours at at time occasionally (with IP) and get a baby to sleep when I couldn’t handle walking around with them one second more (with both kids).  It took up space and used batteries but it was sooo worth it!

High-backed chair: We have a recliner downstairs and a beautiful glider (also inherited) upstairs.  I would have been fine with just one of them, but having a high-backed chair for nursing made it way more comfortable.  When we have been away from home and I have been nursing on couches or regular chairs for a while, my back starts to get sore – I think the high-backed chair makes a difference.

Diapers: We had a couple packs of newborn disposable diapers at home, and we took a bunch from the hospital (note: take freebies from the hospital!  Ask for more!  Nurses are usually super nice about this).  Then we had cloth G-diapers afterwards.  We bought a few to try out, decided we liked them and then invested in more.  If you are thinking about cloth see if there is a way to try out a brand or two before you fully commit.  You don’t need diapers for a 9 month old before your baby is born – you can always buy more later!

Swaddling blankets: We found that the best blankets for swaddling our babies were the ones from the hospital.  We took a bunch with us when LP was born, and a bunch more when IP was born.  Swaddling is what also allowed us some sleep from time to time, and having good blankets made the difference.  There are also some other special swaddling devices out there like Miracle Blankets and Woombies.  We tried a couple, but nothing beat a good ol’ baby burrito using the hospital blanket.  

Of course we also had clothes for the baby, but we got plenty of those as gifts from people.  Also, I found that I only needed a 5-6 outfits at at time for both kids, although neither one was much of a spitter-upper.  Also, when they make a mess I tend to just wipe it off and leave them in the same outfit 😉  They also both had baby toys galore from friends and family, but they were both pretty happy with one or two toys, which also included kitchen tools (like an old salad spinner) at various points in their development.

I would love all you parents out there to add your own thoughts to the comments below – what are the essentials that you used for those first six months?

*I’m not including things like a crib, bassinet or car seat.  Most people figure out a baby sleep situation that works for them, be it co-sleeping, bassinet, pack n play in the parents room for a while, etc.  And the car seat is a given, unless you are going to walk or take the subway home from the hospital.

Notes from the Year of Family

Vegan Goodness:

Today we ate:

  • Breakfast: No smoothie this morning (gasp!)  Instead we had some toast and cereal.
  • Dad and LP enjoyed some almonds at the Museum of Science.  Mom had a soy hot chocolate while she was out selling some used books.
  • Lunch: Quesadillas with avocado, olives and veggie dogs for LP.  Mom and Dad had leftover fritatta.
  • Dinner: Slow cooker chili, sweet potato fries and cornbread

Money Matters:
Today we spent the following:

  • $50.00 for Mom to renew her NCTE membership (a professional organization for English teachers)


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