I started writing this post back in October when I started this blog. Then life got in the way and I never finished it. Now that its 7 months later I have some greater insight into what was useful and what was not. The original post is below:
This week I have realized that babies are antithetical to minimalism. This is not a groundbreaking observation I know but it bears repeating. Babies bring with them lots of gear. Every three months (or quicker if your baby’s growth is in the upper percentages), they need a whole new wardrobe. And because they are constantly drooling/spitting-up/having diaper blowouts, they go through a couple sets of clothing a day. Then there are all the lotions and potions.
I know that babies in other parts of the world do not have all the accoutrements that American babies do and make out just fine. I took pride in not registering for a wipes warmer or doubling up on the entertainment centers. However, I still have a swing, bouncy seat, bumbo seat, and play mat. How many places to sit does a 3 month old need?
So what’s a minimalist momma wannabe to do? I will be pondering this question over the next year as my baby grows and then share my conclusions on what items I found useful. I am all for minimizing the brightly colored plastic contraptions currently taking up space in my home.
Fast forward 7 months later. My baby is now 10.5 months old. I am through the newborn phase and approaching the toddler stage. This is a good time to think about the items I relied on heavily in those early months and share my all-stars with you. I would say my “must-haves” for the first 6 months are:
- Arm’s Reach Mini Co-sleeper — I purchased mine on eBay for about $50 less than I could have purchased it in a store. The item was like new. I saved the box I received it in and plan on selling it on eBay if it does not sell at my yard sale.
- Bouncy seat — these are great to keep your baby safe and secure near you. I purchased an inexpensive one and it was very easy to move from room to room. I also had two used ones that were passed down to me when my oldest was a baby. I placed one on each floor of my home so I have a safe place for my baby when I am in the basement doing laundry, or taking a shower in our upstairs bathroom. I also used it as a bed when we traveled to see family when she was 3 months old. Much easier than lugging a pack and play (which I do not own anyway).
- Sleep sacks — these are great but a little pricey. You only need a couple of them. They keep the baby warm at night without the risk traditional blankets pose.
- Papasan swing — I received this swing when I was pregnant with my first child. Both of my kids really loved it. The seat swing direction has two options. There is a mirror for the baby directly above their faces, the music is soothing and the colors muted. It has gotten a lot of use between the two babies and it has held up well.
- Avent bottle brush — this is a small thing but you will have to use it frequently if you breastfeed and have to pump for daycare or if you bottle feed. I went through lots of bottle brushes with my first daughter; non of them held up. I bought this one based on the reviews on Amazon and I have not had to replace it yet. I just toss it in the dishwasher on the top rack to clean it. Its really sturdy and I plan on keeping it once we are done with bottles for cleaning other glassware like vases.
- Anita Nursing bra — I found this brand by looking at reviews on Amazon. These are pricey bras at $60 a piece but they are worth every penny. I cheaped out on my first baby and bought a $20 nursing bra and hated it. This one is really well made and I continue to wear it even though I am no longer breastfeeding, its that comfortable.
- Portable play-mat — I originally registered for one of those enormous play mats for my second daughter. But then I remembered that my first daughter only used it for a few months and the large size was a pain to deal with (which is why I got rid of it as soon as she outgrew it). So I found a travel sized one on walmart.com for about $15. It was a great purchase. My baby loved it, it was more manageable in our cramped quarters and I didn’t feel bad that she only used it for a few months because I paid so little for it. Plus, it was really convenient to take it with us when we were visiting family and friends.
- Bright Starts Around We Go Activity Center — I am not sure when she started using this item, probably around the 5-6 month mark. We had this from our first baby who loved it and our second daughter is no different. I have it in our kitchen and it keeps her happy while I cook dinner in the evening or pack lunches in the morning. There are a good variety of toys to keep her interested. Now that she is a bit older the snack tray and cup holder come in handy. But her favorite feature is that she is able to “run” around with her older sister. They play a cute game of chasing each other. I have recommended this to other moms and their babies have also loved it. If you are going to get a baby entertainment-center type thing, I recommend this one. Plus, once your baby is older the seat detaches so she can stand and play with the table component.
- Under the Nile Organic cotton soft toys — my high school BFF purchased these for my first daughter and I absolutely adored them. First of all they have the sweetest, little, happy faces. Very simple but so sweet. And because they are made from organic cotton, I felt comfortable with my babies putting them in their mouths.
- Gerber waffle knit receiving blankets — these are simple and do the job. They were a nice size and the fabric has a little bit of stretch which allows for a good swaddle.
So these are my favorite baby items. In another couple of months I will list my favorite items from the 6 -12 month stage. I love lists and I particularly loved reading lists like this when I was pregnant and trying to figure out what items I would need. I hope others find this useful.