The Bare Essentials


So you have a needy little human coming and you are completely lost in what to get and the baby registry has your eyes crossing.

You are a minimalist but the quickly approaching due date makes you think you will soon be hiding in a bomb shelter with no way to contact the outside world… then this is for you.

Are you breastfeeding?
– Then you don’t need pumps, bottles, blah blah blah. You don’t.
– Are you going to use some form of daycare? Then call your insurance and get a free one. I love my Medela In Style Advanced pump, but I never pump two breasts at a time and honestly I am also in love with my manual Medela one, too! Pros and Cons for each. I also didn’t even pump for the first 3-4 weeks because my son was always with me and I was (wrongfully) afraid I would take from his supply. My pump didn’t come with bottle nipples which was fine because I planned on using the Kiinde system. I love it, check it out!

Are you not breastfeeding?
– Formula.

Diapers and Wipes – obvious, but I’ll add it to the list anyways.
– There are good and bad diapers out there… you just have to see which ones fit you. I love my cloth diapers even when traveling.

Carseat – another obvious… and also the law.

Clothes – something warm for the cold months, sleeping robes with a sewn in mitten option are great for bed. Contrary to popular belief, you can have too many clothes. Maybe it is just my opinion, but more clothes just equals more “to fold” laundry for later. The more clean clothes I still have left to use the less likely I am to fold the ones right out of the dryer.

Burp cloths – get a lot of these for a newborn… or just do laundry more often – and these can be rags/hand towels/wash cloths you already have so you don’t have to spend $$$ on burp cloths at stores.

And that is it.

The hospital had diapers and wipes we took home, they also gave us two pacifiers which we waited to use until our son was 6 weeks to avoid nipple confusion, they have hats, they have blankets… just ask what they have to see what you can save money on later.

What you don’t have to have, but you might want to splurge:

  • baby wash cloths and towels… you already have those and adult ones work just as well, they just aren’t as cute.
  • baby tub – makes it SO much easier, but you could hold them against you, too… they can’t even take baths until their umbilical cord falls off.
  • crib – if – is right for your family then you really don’t need a crib, at first we used our MamaRoo but now we use a pack and play for naps.
  • diaper changing station – yes they make things more convenient, but you can (and will) change a baby anywhere.
  • bibs – until they are eating “solids” they don’t need them, but they help with saving baby clothes from spit up!!
  • Swaddle blankets – helps baby sleep and unless they get spit up on them they can be reused more than once so you don’t need a whole lot of them

I ended up getting way more than we needed, but it helped me feel prepared and ready for whatever might come my way and that was worth it in my book.

Are you a minimalist? How did you prep for your baby?

The Dreaded Baby Registry for First Time Mothers

Quick Summary: What do you need for a baby? Nothing really. Except the safety items like a car seat. I tried to think of it like this – cavemen made babies and what did they need? But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take advantage of the FABULOUS items that exist. This is my story about that.

As a first time mom, you may be really excited about setting up your registry! I sure was. Until I actually did it.

When the possibility of becoming a mother was quickly approaching I refused to look at any and all baby things. When my husband and I went into Target, I would avoid that aisle at all costs. It just gave me anxiety to think about how I might have a baby in the very near future. I was also afraid I would just start buying stuff and never stop.

Once I became pregnant I couldn’t wait to create a baby registry! I would finally allow myself to dive into the world of baby gadgets and trinkets and I could go CRAZY doing it! I was stoked. We decided to do a registry through Babies R Us, Target and Amazon.

The first one we did was Babies R Us. This ended up saving us a TON of money in the long run because of all their coupons, rewards points, etc… I’ll get more specific about that later.

When we walked into the store I had no clue what I was doing or what I was getting myself into. We walked up to the customer service desk, they gave us a scan gun and we were on our way. They also gave us an awesome goodie bag with freebies, coupons and a list of “Must Have Items.” The first thing I scanned was a baby monitor. Logical and useful… check! Then we started going done the aisles. I didn’t know what half that crap was. Most of it I could tell would be useless right off the bat. That’s why I referred to it as crap.

By this time, my head started spinning a little. I realized I had no idea what I was doing and that I should have done research ahead of time. I’m a big research person. I probably spent 100+ hours researching everything there was about babies and here I was with no knowledge regarding what I needed. Well, I thought, luckily I have this handy-dandy gift bag with a handy-dandy list of “Must Have Items.”

That was a joke. There were at least 30 items listed and some of the items I had NEVER heard of. I put it away and decided to just scan what I knew and what looked cute. When it comes to baby things, cute matters a lot pre-baby.

We left Babies R Us with a hefty registry but I knew there were a lot of holes in it. I was ready to head home, log-in online and use that list to help me get my head on straight. Things went downhill from there.

I spent about an hour looking through items that I didn’t think were practical, that were SUPER expensive and things I didn’t understand. My head hurt so bad and I was so confused that I actually cried and called my mom. Mommies are good for that kind of stuff. I also, at that moment, wondered how in the hell am I supposed to be someone’s mommy when I still cry and call mine??? Well, get used to it. That won’t be last time.

So. To the point of this post.

What do you ACTUALLY need? It is a complicated question with a complicated answer. It really depends on your lifestyle and preferences. Just be ready to buy things you won’t ever need/use. Accept that you will not buy everything you need. You will have to order things after that you never thought you would use. It’s all part of the journey.

The items I found the most useful for the first two months:

  • momaRoo + swaddle blanket + pacifier = peace and quiet… most of the time at least
  • A well-organized changing area
    • Make it possible to get your supplies with one hand
  • A newborn styled bathtub
    • Or something to place in the sink
  • Fragrance free anything and everything – just in case your baby’s skin is bothered by the scented things you will buy
  • Swaddle blankets, burp cloths galore (you will go through so many)
    • The linens I grab for the day include one large burp cloth (Circo makes nice big ones), a mid-sized one (mine are Gerber), a reusable wipe I sewed from felt fabric and a swaddle blanket
  • Activity Play Mat
    • My baby started crying out of boredom around 4 weeks old so a play mat was perfect
  • Nursing Pump (if breastfeeding)
    • I got my Medela free through my insurance AND they sent me extra storage bottles AND emailed me a month later saying I was eligible for an accessory kit with extra everything
  • Kiinde bottle system
    • I am in love with this bottle set!! Must have!! And you can pump straight into the bags with your Medela pump as long as you have the adapters
  • Netflix, Hulu and/or Amazon Prime
    • There will be times where you are stuck on your ass with nothing to do because your baby FINALLY fell asleep and you are just happy he/she is quiet
  • Jogging Stroller
    • I suppose any stroller but I like that my Eddie Bauer Jogging Stroller has real wheels so my baby won’t be woken up when we go over bumpy sidewalks and roads
    • When you can’t get out of the house but you NEED to get out a stroller is a great solution
  • Nursing sleep wear and soft nursing bras
    • With all my leaking and baby spit up my outfits only last one day, if that

What were your “must have items” if you have had a baby? What is out now that you wish you had then?