For minimalists, like myself, I have come up with the following short list of things I was glad that I had with a baby in the house. Everything else just collected and got in the way. So here’s the baby gear you really need to put on your baby registry. In her new book, The Zero Footprint Baby, Keya Chatterjee also has lists of what toys you’ll really need, what you need to make your home most efficient, questions to ask your child care provider, the low carbon footprint ways of feeding a baby, giving birth, and more! Most of these baby items can be gotten in a thrifty, green way as well. I hope you find this minimalist baby list helpful!
These minimalist baby essentials were contributed by Keya Chatterjee, author of The Zero Footprint Baby: How to Save the Planet While Raising a Healthy Baby (affiliate link below). Keya Chatterjee is a Senior Director for Renewable Energy and Footprint Outreach at the World Wildlife Fund. Her commentary on climate change policy and sustainability issues has been quoted in dozens of media outlets, including USA Today, the New York Times, Fox News, the Associated Press, The Washington Post, and NBC Nightly News.
Minimalist Baby Essentials
Do you know that feeling when you have a box of clothes that are too small for your baby and you need to get them out of the house ASAP? For me it’s a little bit like hair, I love it when it’s on my head, but the moment a strand is on the ground or in the tub, it’s suddenly revolting. (As you can imagine, this was a bit of a problem for me, post baby when I was shedding more than usual!)
But back to my point about stuff, I really cannot stand having it around any more once I don’t need it. Of course, I always endeavor to find a good home for my stuff. But the best solution is not to have the stuff to begin with! The problem is that when you have a baby, people will give you tons of stuff, and books will provide pages and pages of things that you supposedly “need” for your baby. My minimalist baby list will help you know which items are actually essentials.
Minimalist Baby List For Your Registry
If you need it to get home from the birth center or hospital and will use it later.
Baby carrier for infant to leave the house. I had a used Moby wrap for the first four months and then got a used stroller.
Bouncy chair or thick blanket for baby to sleep/hang out in during the day.
Baby Clothes And Burp Clothes
You will need baby clothes and burp cloths, of course. I used ThredUp to get used clothes and had stacks from friends as well– who were desperate to unload.
Thermometer. This is the only item we could not find used.
Baby Nail Clippers
Nail clippers/file (you can always bite them when they are long enough too)
Diapers (we got used cloth diapers from Craigslist– much more detail on this in the book!)
A breast pump (for mamas with low supply or who need to work outside the home)
Eight 4-oz glass bottles and a slow flow nipple (I pumped directly into the bottles and put them in the fridge with the date marked)
Bassinet or Crib
A bassinet or crib (if you don’t end up co-sleeping for longer than intended)
This is my relatively minimalist baby list for year one. As you can see, not even all of this is necessary.
Thanks again to Keya Chatterjee for sharing her list of minimalist baby gear. Here are some additional Thrifty Green Ideas To Save Money On Baby Items.
How To Save Money With A Baby (Thrifty Green Ideas For Minimizing)
Babies and all of the stuff that comes with them can quickly get expensive and overwhelming. Luckily, embracing your greener side can save you money and help cut through the clutter. Here are some thrifty green ideas to save money on baby items while reducing your environmental impact.
Look for Baby Items That Multitask
Baby gear can be sanity saving, but it can also suck up money and space. Look for baby products that serve more than one function and will last for several developmental phases: A dresser with removable changing table top, a Boppy nursing pillow that baby can also use for tummy time and learning to sit up, Fisher Price’s Space Saving High Chair that can be used as a newborn seat through a toddler booster, a baby carrier by Onya Baby that doubles as a portable high chair when attached to a regular chair.
Buy Secondhand Baby Gear
Purchasing secondhand baby gear is a great way to reduce your environmental impact and save money. Shopping locally at garage sales, consignment stores, thrift stores, and on craigslist also supports your local community, rather than sending money to a big box store’s corporate headquarters. You can also find free baby stuff on craigslist, freecycle, and local online parenting message boards. To ensure safety, check items for recalls, contact the manufacturer for a replacement if the product manual is missing, and verify that you have all of the product’s parts. Some items have further safety considerations. Car seats, for instance, cannot be reused after being in an accident and have expiration dates. Also, many used cribs do not meet current safety standards because new standards, including the banning of drop- side cribs, were put in place in June 2011.
Get Connected with Baby Hand-Me-Downs
Let it be known that you welcome hand-me-downs. As word gets out, you’ll likely find friends, family and co-workers who are happy to give you their outgrown gear and clothes. Be sure to have a clear understanding of whether or not people expect their items back. If you’re not comfortable keeping track of baby items to give back, politely decline those offers. The safety considerations for secondhand gear also apply to hand-me-downs.
Try Before You Buy
If you’re considering buying a new baby product, first see if you know someone else who owns it and will let you borrow or try it out with your baby. Finding out that your baby doesn’t like the baby gadget you thought would make your life easier is a bummer, but it’s made much worse if you figure it out after you’ve bought and can no longer return it.
Ask for the Gift of Time
When resources like time and energy are short, parents can find themselves spending money on take- out and other conveniences. Enlist people who want to lend a hand to help both before and after baby arrives with tasks like preparing the nursery, baby-proofing the house, stocking your freezer with meals, taking the dog for walks, and providing transportation or care for older siblings. This is a great way to lighten your load and reduce the need to hire outside help.
Swaps are springing up all over the country to help people trade stuff with each other and many of them focus on maternity, baby and children’s gear and clothes. Swaps vary, but frequently cost around five dollars to get in for people who bring stuff to swap and ten dollars for those who don’t. Some swaps are “bring a bag, take a bag” while others are set up for swappers to bring whatever they don’t want anymore and take whatever they need. Not only is swapping a cheap way to get new-to-you clothes and gear, it’s a great way to keep the stream of outgrown baby stuff moving out your door so it’s not taking up space in your home.
Which are your favorite thrifty green ideas? Do you have other ideas for how to save money on baby items that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear them at @familyfocusblog! What are your tips for minimizing baby gear?