I listen to the Cohesive Home podcast whenever an episode is released. Kate recently had her third child and Melissa has three kids. They were talking about items that they may or may not have needed as minimalist parents of babies months ago now. It got me thinking to what my favorite products were when I had infants.
When we had Leto, we had a one bedroom apartment that we lived in until he was 18 months old (while I was pregnant with Micah). We definitely did not have the right space to have a nursery or crazy amounts of items. I will say that a bunch of what I got at my baby shower was not needed (and yes, I did return a few), and other items I had no idea if I would need or not, because I had barely any experiences with babies or the right people to try to help teach me about being a new mom.
I do have a little bit of baby fever, so here are some things that I would get now if I were to have an infant. I share this list to those who are just having babies or plan to one day!
ALL ITEMS ARE FAIR TRADE OR ETHICALLY PRODUCED!
CLICK ON THE PICTURES TO GO TO THE ITEM’S LOCATION!
You don’t need a closet or dresser filled with drawers for your baby
Babies will have no memory of actually wearing their clothing. They will only know what you photograph them in. Your babies are going to grow fast. I recommend only keeping 7-10 outfits per stage, one being a nicer outfit for possible outings (but get some use out of it). My boys lived out of onesies. Always bring an extra onesie with you on outings. If you have little girls, I totally get that craving for all the cute frilly items, but even they can have a simple wardrobe.
Babies make messes out of their clothing from the masses of spit, food, urine, and poop. Plan sizes by the season for which you’ll need the outfits, or don’t even bother buying the next stage until there is a need. To this day, my boys love to re-wear the same shirts every week (or day, sometimes) and don’t need as much variety as society wants to make you think you do. They each only have a drawer and a half of clothes that will last them up to two years each until they go through teenage growth spurts.
Here are cute clothes from Burt’s Bees! Also I suggest Fawn Shoppe, oeuf, Misha and Puff, and Colored Organics
The Diaper Situation
I really hate the fact that each baby generates tens of thousands of disposable diapers that don’t break down for about 500 years. I only used cloth diapers for Leto for his first three months because we were gifted a diaper service (that ended up closing down). I used disposables the rest of the time for both of my kids and regret it big time. If you don’t want to cloth diaper, I highly recommend using The Honest Co.‘s diaper bundles that are a much better environmental option. If you do want to use cloth diapers, there are loads of companies out there now compared to ten years ago. The idea might scare you at first, but once you get used to it, they aren’t so bad at all and will save you a load of money. Kawaii Baby is another company I’d recommend.
Baby Co-Sleeper & Pack ‘n Play
Before I go into this, I’d say choose one of these (I’ll explain soon). I owned both, but wouldn’t if I had another baby.
I know this is going to sound crazy, but I don’t think I’d ever buy a crib again if I were to have another child. If you can, get a hand-me-down. Cribs are really only used for 2 years. The crib we had for both our boys was owned by someone else (and honestly wasn’t too sturdy and we found out it was discontinued and unsafe after our boys were already out of it). I think now I’d just use a Pack ‘n Play because they are pretty sturdy. I used ours for when I needed to cook dinners or put them down for naps more than I did with putting them in a crib, plus I could pack it up if I wanted to to take it with me places. It is a very convenient bed. Ours also had two levels, so we could have used it as a mini-co sleeper, but I did not receive it until Leto outgrew his co-sleeper. My only issue with a Pack ‘n Play is that I am truly unable to find one that is ethically produced, and that bothers me. Find used ones if you can or check out the Mini-co-sleeper below.
We used a Mini-co-sleeper for the first 4 months of our boys’ lives. Once they knew how to sit up, there really was no need for it, so I passed it on. I loved it while we owned it. It attached to our bed and I could easily use it to change our babies, for them to sleep in, and to transfer them to our bed for feedings in the middle of the night. It had diaper storage in it as well as held our wipes and creams. It truly was a gem. You can continue to use it as a changing table later on if you want to or it actually can be used as a bed on a lower level just like the pack ‘n play, but I had no idea because I didn’t check that out when I bought it, like a dummy. My only major issue with my co-sleeper was that it was so hard to unclip things to clean it or move the adjusters around. (side note: You don’t need a changing table at all. Just get a changing mat to use on the floor).
Your babies and toddlers will not need that many toys. I remember my sons finding the light coming in through the window fun to reach out their hands to. They’d sit there opening and closing their hands trying to reach and hold the small dust particles they’d see. They had so many toys, but would instead play with one or two items on a regular basis. If I were to do it over again, I think I’d have a small basket of toys for my kids.
My children did not play with all their many toys when they were little. They just threw them around and would play with their favorites, which were maybe four toys each! You seriously don’t need too many! As your child grows, rotate out age appropriate toys. There is no point in keeping unused toys.
My favorite place to look at toys at is Imagine Childhood which would be more for toddler through older child toys/activities. Some other great places to buy from are Nova Natural, Hape, Green Toys, Plan Toys, Bella Luna Toys, and Tegu.
We bought our boys Hazel Village mice when they were toddlers. To this day, Leto will tell you that “Simon Mouse” is his favorite toy. He got it for his third birthday and has slept with it ever since then and will play with him even at ten years of age. Micah also enjoys Mortimer, but he owns a few stuffed animals that he really loves. I LOVE these handmade dolls so much. If I had a daughter, her first toy would be from here.
Another cute handmade doll store is Pebble.
I own ONE of the books that I read to my boys in their early childhood, and that is because I still read it to them once in a while. It was their favorite. Sometimes we still get some “kiddie” books at the library because the art is beautiful and the stories are entertaining or educational. I read full books to them constantly these days, mainly library books. I understand that when you have babies, it is hard to go to the library so often, but doing so gives you a variety to choose from and brings a love of reading and learning to your children. Read to your kids. It is extremely important to their development. Leto’s favorite place to go to is the library, and we go every week.
Things I recommend: Steer clear of cardboard board books. My kids chewed them up while teething. Keep books out of reach of babies’ hands until the teething stage is done. Don’t buy a load of books hoping that your children will read them or because you liked a particular book as a child. I had bought a few old books from my childhood, and my sons didn’t care for them at all. They form their own love for certain books and have their own tastes developing. For babies, I’d suggest you don’t really need to own any books at all for them. If there is a particular book they constantly want from the library as they grow, perhaps then you can buy the book for them. I really plead the library option so much.
Here are some really cute books for babies and toddlers!
There are obvious items that you need such as a car seat and a stroller. Don’t get a bulky stroller at all. Find something that is simple and light but heavy enough that it is safe for your child to be in. I hated the huge strollers because they barely fit in my trunk of my jeep even. Once my kids fit in an umbrella stroller, I was so thrilled.
I wore Micah a lot with a sling wrap and think I’d do that again until my child fits in an umbrella stroller, just because it is more convenient and nice to have your child close to your body too. If you do get a stroller, do your research on it. I don’t know what is cool out there or what is fair trade, but that is important to me. As for car seats, they change and recall so many of them that I don’t know what is good for that either. Again, my sons have been out of car seats for a long time and don’t even need booster seats now! These are areas that are always being updated compared to a lot of the other things mentioned above.
Slings and such. . .I had bought a great wrap from etsy long ago. This is really cool though from Soul Slings – hand woven items are always beautiful. I am sure you could find a great variety of styles to buy from other places too, but I like all that I see on their website specifically.