Congratulations on your pregnancy! It’s a magical time, full of hopes and dreams, and expectations. If you’re a person who thrives on simplicity, you are not hoping to fill your home with baby things as fully as your little one is filling the womb. Does browsing registry lists make you anxious? Do baby aisles in stores give you a headache? Well, do not fret, because you can definitely take care of a baby with way less stuff than you’d expect. Babies’ needs are simple. They do not require much beyond food, shelter, and love!
First, you need a safe space for your baby to sleep. If you want the most bang for your buck, just get a pack and play/play yard. Most play yards come with a bassinet insert, but you don’t have to have one. A basic play yard is a safe place where a child can sleep from birth to about three years, depending on their weight. When they aren’t sleeping, it also serves as a secure spot you can plop them into when you can’t keep an eye on them. They are lightweight and portable, so you won’t need to purchase anything else for trips. If you want a sleep space that can last even longer, a convertible crib is an excellent choice. Many cribs on the market today can be converted from a crib to a toddler bed, to a day bed, Some cribs can also transform into a full-sized bed, with the purchase of a conversion kit. If you go this route, you won’t have to buy your child another bed for quite some time.
Secondly, you probably will not be able to get through the first year without diapers! You do not have to buy countless boxes of diapers that eventually will end up in the landfill, though. You can invest in cloth diapers, which will not only help the environment but will save you money in the end! You do have to spend on average a couple hundred to purchase the diapers, but if you buy a set of “all-in-one’s”, they should last your child until it’s time to potty train.
Next, we must consider clothes, and this is fairly simple as well. Babies do not care what they are wearing, but they must be clean and warm. Before you decide on how much clothing to get for your little one, consider how often you’re up for doing laundry. Babies do tend to muss their clothes with spit-up, and unfortunately, blowouts do happen (though not as often with cloth diapers!), so that must factor in. It’s also important to remember that babies grow very quickly, so you don’t want to invest in a lot in one size. Generally, three to five outfits in each size from newborn-six months is a safe estimate if you are prepared to do laundry fairly frequently. Make sure to get that or two as well as some socks, since newborns need help staying warm.
A car seat is another baby-related item that you cannot go without. There are seemingly endless models on the market, but don’t stress. All car seats available have passed required safety regulations, so just pick one that suits you and is in your preferred price range. These days you can get a seat that can be adjusted to fit a child from birth all the way to when they outgrow needing a booster!
If you choose to feed your infant by breastfeeding, there’s not really anything you need to acquire for that. If you do intend to incorporate bottle feeding, either with pumped milk or formula, you will need a few things. Sometimes parents want to be able to offer pumped milk in a bottle so mom gets a break from nursing and someone else gets a turn feeding the baby, in which case you will need a breast pump. You can go for the simple hand pump, the super fancy WiFi-enabled battery pump, or electrically powered pumps. You also of course will need to get bottles. Every baby has a preference, so just pick out a couple of different types and see what they prefer.
Finally, there are a few odds and ends to consider. Because babies cannot sleep with blankets you might want to get a sleep sack or two for cool nights. Some companies make them generously sized so that one can fit a baby for months. Do you want to introduce pacifiers to help your baby learn to self-soothe? Like bottles, every baby has a kind they prefer, so you may want to get a couple of different kinds. What about toys? Fortunately, to babies, everything in the world is new, so almost anything safe can be a toy, and most parents will tell you that most of the time their babies are more interested in pots and pans than they are in their own toys. Books are good to have because it has been shown that reading to children enhances their ability to learn, but if you don’t want to build a personal library in your home, you can always get books from your local library.
Having a baby will change your life drastically, there is no way around it. There are a number of aspects of parenting that are out of your control, but one thing you can control is just how much baby stuff you bring into your home. Though it may seem, based on stores and advertising, that you need copious amounts of items to keep a baby alive and thriving, that simply is not true. Most of all, your baby just needs you.