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New baby on the way? It can feel overwhelming to plan for a new addition. When finding out you’re expecting, it is easy to imagine that this new little person needs… stuff. Lots and lots of stuff! Go on a modern baby registry site and you will very quickly be made to think that you’re severely lacking in the baby department. See the creepy ads popping up on your feed that know you’re pregnant before you’ve even told your family? Better load up, your baby’s brain will not develop properly without the latest and greatest!
(Looking for more simple, abundant family living? Check out: How to Take Your Young Kids Swimming – Any Season – A Swimmer’s Minimalist Guide.)
Perhaps it’s our consumerist culture or the anxiety of a big life change- it’s easy to miss the mark and spend too much money. Not only is it easy to start hoarding stuff yourself, but chances are you have family and friends who will willingly give you all the baby stuff they can muster. Especially as a first time parent when you do not know what to expect- you may feel inclined to hold onto things just in case.
How Will Simple Baby Gear Foster Abundant Living?
- Less stuff means more space in your home for items that are purposeful, beautiful and truly needed.
- Less physical and mental clutter. Every item in your home is something you have to take care of and have mental inventory of. Let it go and you will be amazed at the freedom you’ll feel.
- Not purchasing unnecessary items will save you money in the long run. Most things you need can also be purchased secondhand, as babies grow out of things so quickly.
- Your baby and future toddler will be so much happier.
Why Are Babies Happier With Less?
We just had our third a few months ago and I have come to realize more and more that babies and kids are happier with less. In fact, the research supports this:
- See: The influence of the number of toys in the environment on toddlers’ play.
- And: There’s a science to gift giving: experiences are better than material items.
- Lastly: Why Fewer Toys Will Benefit Your Kids.
Now, there’s nothing inherently bad about toys or extra baby items. But, if you’re here reading this, chances are something inside is telling you that something is not quite right about the expectation that babies have to come with a wide array of toys, rockers, bouncers, gliders, bottles, blankets etc.
Babies do not need to be entertained all the time– in fact it is healthier for them to have quiet moments alone. They do not always need music, flashing toys, other toys in front of them, or you constantly entertaining them. Allow your baby the freedom to move and play on their own. When it comes to play, I’ve had to remind myself, “They call the shots, I’m just the facilitator and protector”. To me, this means I allow them to learn, explore and play how they want in a variety of spaces. My job is to occasionally offer questions, and make sure they’re safe (but not by hovering over every little detail).
Allowing your child to explore the world at their own pace is called “Child Led Play” or “Self Directed Play”, and is a great gift you can instill in your kids, from babyhood- adulthood. Check out one of my favorite articles by Janet Lansbury called, “How To Stop Entertaining Your Baby”.
Their natural motor development will thrive when not put in bouncers, gliders and the like. Put that baby on the ground! Lay a blanket down and let them wiggle their arms, and legs. Our four month old kicks and wiggles around, occasionally staring with wonder at her little hands. That will progress quickly to rolling over, scooting, crawling and sitting up. Babies will thrive on having that natural, free movement. When not on the ground, hold them! Snuggle them, do tummy time on your chest while leaning back. I implemented a lot of these things with our second baby and she ended up crawling and walking just before ten months old. Every kid is certainly different, but I know that these principals helped her in fine tuning her motor development. She was highly motivated and physically strong from playing on the ground so much!
Now, that said, one of our “essentials” was a simple bouncer. Find one comparable HERE. This was an essential for us because our older two kids are four and two years old. We needed something to put the newborn baby in and put on top of the countertop while I had to cook dinner every night. Otherwise they would have been poking and prodding her to no end when I needed to focus for a few minutes. I do not like to baby wear when cooking if I can help it so that I don’t risk burning the baby. But other than that, we really tried to keep her out of the bouncer as much as possible. Throughout the day I would either carry her in my arms, or in a baby wrap. If you have animals, then a bouncer may be a need for you as well. We got ours from a friend years ago when pregnant with out first. Now that our baby is four months old, more sturdy and I can trust our older kids around her a lot more, we are hardly using the bouncer anymore and will be putting it back into storage soon.
What Are The Essentials?
Here are our essentials for a new baby. This does not include simple postpartum items needed for mom.
- (Depending on situation) Baby Bouncer (mentioned above) to keep new baby in for the first few months for making dinner and keeping older siblings from hurting baby. Comparable HERE.
- Baby Bottles/ Formula (if not breastfeeding). Do yourself a favor and buy one or two bottles. Yep. That’s it, with a couple extra nipples. Do not clutter your countertops and dishwasher with fifty bottle parts.
- If you intend to pump and bottle feed- most insurances in the US will now cover an electric breast pump. Make sure you apply for one, get some breastmilk storage bags, and all breastfeeding mamas, for the love of babies, get yourself a Haakaa!
- Diapers. Cloth (we use Bum Genius), or disposable. I recommend one box of each size. Newborn and Size 1. You never know how big or small that baby will be. Cloth diapers are easy, diaper covers will work for any size, but you may need newborn inserts.
- Wipes. Reusable or disposable.
- Bassinet, Co-sleeper, or Pack N Play. To help reduce SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends babies sleep in the same room as parents for at least the first six months, ideally the first year. We have the most amazing bassinet that we’ve used for two babies now, the Chicco Lullago Travel Crib. We keep it next to our bed for the first six months or so, until we bust out the pack n play. It breaks down easily for travel and comes with a storage/ carry bag. I honestly cannot think of anything negative to say about it. Lightweight, easy to set up and take down and love the sleek look of it.
- Sheets for sleep set up. We have three different ones we rotate through. We just use old pack n play sheets that are a bit big for the bassinet, but we pull them tight and make it work.
“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”-Hans Hoffman
- 5-7 Onesies. That newborn of yours is going to be sleeping around 16 hours a day. Newborns just need practicality. Something comfortable. Get the ones that zip up from the bottom to the top for easy nighttime diaper changes. Depending on if you have a summer or winter baby, you’ll want either short or long sleeve ones. As tempting as it is, your new little one doesn’t need thirty outfits I promise! They most likely won’t even get around to wearing all of them. Pick out your favorites and go from there.
- Swaddle. Save your sanity and get three of these! I swear by double swaddling your baby at nighttime. One extra in case of a nighttime blow out (most likely will happen). When baby starts rolling over, transition out with this.
- Carseat/Carseat Cover. Pretty standard. All hospitals and birth centers require you have a proper carseat installed before you can even leave with your new baby. We’ve used this one for all three babies.
- Baby Carrier. These mostly come in the form of a wrap, ring sling or carrier. Do some research and figure out which one is best for you.
- Nose Frita. The snot sucker. Trust me. Not gross- essential. Welcome to parenthood.
- Baby nail clippers. You will use these minimum once a week. We’ve gone through a few and our favorite is this one- Nail Frita.
- Dr. Bronner’s Unscented Baby Soap. This stuff rocks. We use it already for ourselves and older kids. It lasts forever, is made with organic oils and certified fair trade ingredients.
- Aquaphor. We use this for the rare diaper rash or for rashes under the chin or other areas prone to rash when baby gets really chunky.
And that is it. We wrap our babies in the same towels we use. They use the same washcloths we use. We’ve never needed to use lotion on our babies or baby powder. For bath time I get in the bath with baby. It’s so much easier, relaxing for mom as well, and baby gets to do skin to skin in their happy place. We only use soap in the bath about once a week. We do have baby blankets that have been gifted to us, but I have never purchased any. You can use your own blankets. Our baby is mostly entertained by watching her siblings and playing with everyday items. If you want to get a few toys, things like stuffed animals, soft baby books, or rattles are a good start. Binkies have not been an essential in our house as I’ve breastfed the last two and they’ve been fine without.
Simple means more time to soak up that baby. Simple means intentional, peaceful time to relax and recover during this new season of life. Let us know what your essential items are for a new baby. If you like what you see here at Herbs, Birds & the Bees, give us the gift of a like, subscribe or share. We would love to have you join us in living life more abundantly.
Looking for more simple, abundant family living? Check out: How to Take Your Young Kids Swimming – Any Season – A Swimmer’s Minimalist Guide.
Herbs, Birds & the Bees
Less Dependence, More Abundance