When I was planning my wedding years ago, I realized how HUGE the wedding industry was. It was also very good at making brides-to-be feel that they needed so much to have a beautiful wedding. The same is definitely true for new mothers-to-be. When I started looking at all of the things that were so called needed for a new baby, I couldn’t help but laugh to myself.
Anyone who really understands my heart knows that I am going to make sure that I have everything I need, but no more. It helped tremendously having an amazing midwife who supports a minimalist approach to motherhood. For those who are interested in a less is more approach to having a baby, this is for you!
We had neighbors move to Utah at the beginning of the year who had a one year old son. The wife offered my husband their crib. He graciously declined the generous offer. She then confessed that they didn’t actually use the crib. We were already told in our birthing class that even if we bought a crib, we most likely wouldn’t use it. My neighbors were proof of that.
Although many do choose to use cribs, we already had planned to have “a family bed”. I had read about the family bed in Alicia Silverstone’s book The Kind Mama, and later in The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League International. (By the way, If you are breastfeeding this book will help you in so many ways.)
In The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding you will learn how to safely co-sleep with your baby. Safety is usually the biggest concern and for good reason. There are three HUGE benefits to co-sleeping with your baby. One is that you actually get more sleep as the mother. Another is that you are able to take care of your baby’s needs quickly and easily without him or her having to cry in distress to get your attention. Lastly, it’s more peaceful all together especially since you don’t have to worry about your baby being by themselves in another room.
If you saw our full apartment tour, you would have seen how our platform bed looked originally. We took off the posts and my husband cut up an old yoga mat and taped it to the bed frame so that it wouldn’t scratch our wood floors. Although I miss our full platform bed, having the bed on the floor is a safety precaution.
To create a nursery vibe without going too overboard, I used 3 Sprouts Storage Boxes in a white four cube organizer. This organizer can be used for various things over the next few years without it dating itself or being too childish as my son gets older. I can easily change the energy of the piece by changing the fabric bins. I keep folded cloth diapers in one bin, wash and burping cloths in another, and his clothing in the third bin.
Along with the organizer, we purchased a simple rocking chair which saved my back the first few months while learning to breastfeed. Another item that has been extremely helpful (not shown) is a Baby Bjorn Bouncer Chair purchased at a local children’s consignment shop. Aside from purchasing these three furniture pieces, I don’t feel as if we’ve missed out on having other things for the first 6+ months of having a new baby.
Here are seven things I didn’t buy into…
1. A Stroller
I prefer baby wearing, and it’s also much easier to travel this way. After flying with an infant, dealing with a car seat and luggage was more than enough. After trying a few different styles of carriers, my favorite is this woven wrap. It provides tons of support and versatility which I didn’t find with jersey style wraps, plus it’s pretty. You saw a glimpse of it in this picture.
2. A Changing Table
I use a changing pad on any large flat surface that is safe and comfortable. In our home I either use the bed or the couch.
3. A Crib
I’ve already shared my thoughts on the family bed, but I still wanted to include it in this list. By skipping the crib, we’ve also saved on a crib mattress, sheets, and other bedding needs. We also don’t need a baby monitor since we have a one bedroom apartment.
4. An Infant Tub
I used a simple bin provided by the hospital to bath by son after his belly button healed. Later on I found it much easier to simply bathe with him. This is another topic covered in both books mentioned above.
5. Plastic Learning Toys
I feel one of the best ways to learn anything is from experience. One reason I love baby wearing is that it allows my son to experience life closer to my perspective. By taking him places and having him in a carrier, he feels safe and free to see the world around him. He also really enjoys being read to so I make sure to read at least one book to him a day.
6. Baby Geared Cosmetics
I’ve already shared our simple skin and hair care regimen for my baby which you can read in detail here. In summary, organic unrefined shea butter, diluted unscented castile soap, and colloidal oatmeal is all we have needed. My son hasn’t experienced any diaper rash or other skin issues.
7. An Elaborate Cloth Diapering System
Cloth diapers have come a LONG way over the years. Surprisingly I actually love the simple flats that have been used for years and years. You can find more about my most cost effective cloth diapering system here.
What have you happily gone without or didn’t need?
Please share your thoughts in the comments!
(Images by Dawn Michelle)