I honestly WISH I had this list of minimalist baby items before I had my son. When you see traditional baby registries they seem overwhelming. And no you don’t need a baby wipes warmer.
I originally listed all of the items that I did not buy into during the first six months of my son’s life when I shared our nursery tour. I wanted to create a new list of all of the items that we actually needed and used during my son’s first year. We actually haven’t bought much outside of this list. By the way our son isn’t one year old just yet, but he will be next month.
Some of the best advice that I was given before my son was born was to only buy things as we needed them versus stocking up ahead of time with things we would never use.
With the convenience of online shopping, you can have anything you truly need in a hurry at your front door within a day or so. Definitely look for a children’s consignment shop near where you live. This is the BEST way to save tons of money and be environmentally friendly. So many of the items we really needed were at our local children’s consignment shop, or was given to us second hand by friends or family. You will be surprised how often others don’t mind getting some things off their hands to create more space for what they do need.
I will say that it has been a serious STRUGGLE to be zero waste with a baby.
I have bought so many things second hand, yet also my share of plastic baby items from a popsicle tray for breastmilk pops as a teething solution to a needed potty chair doing elimination communication. I haven’t found any truly zero waste models to be a helpful guide. Many became zero waste after their children had grown up, or don’t have children yet. For starters, using organic cloth diapers has been the biggest way our family has created less waste as well as keeping our baby bath care items simple and to a minimum.
The list I’m sharing today has worked for our family specifically for me as a work-from-home mother who chose baby wearing over a stroller, and to go with a family bed over a crib.
Hopefully this list can be a guide to creating your own minimalist baby necessities or baby registry list for the first year of your child’s life. I’m sure there are many ways to live simply with a child. This is just how we’ve done it so far.
25 Minimalist Baby Necessities
1. Rocking Chair
I mentioned in our nursery tour that having a simple rocking chair saved my back when I was learning how to breastfeed. Now that my son is older it is our favorite chair for reading together.
2. Organizer & Bins
You will definitely need a piece of furniture to organize your baby’s clothing and other items in. Instead of a dresser, we chose a white four cube organizer with super cute 3 Sprouts Storage Bins. This organizer can be used for a long time since it isn’t actual baby furniture.
3. Baby Carrier
I chose baby wearing over a stroller. I only wish I knew from the beginning what my absolute favorite baby carrier would have been. I could have saved myself some money.
I started out loving woven wraps as they are much sturdier than the jersey variety and they look absolutely beautiful. As my son got bigger I wanted the option of back carrying without the wrapping hassle, so I turned to the LILLEbaby 4-in-1 Complete Essentials Baby Carrier. This carrier is not only cute, easy to use, and comfortable, but more affordable than other popular brands.
4. Diaper Bag
I never purchased an official diaper bag, but I started using a fabric backpack. I later switched to a simple canvas tote bag to carrier my mini clutch, cloth diapers, travel wet bag, and a few other small items. I definitely prefer a tote as it is lightweight with less bulk than having a backpack on while also baby wearing.
5. Diapering System & Changing Pad
I shared the most cost effective cloth diapering already, yet you will need to figure out what diapering system will work best for you. We never spent a lot on cloth diapers, but I think the few to many baby carriers I purchased may have made up for it.
You honestly don’t need a ton of baby clothes. My son has never worn more than two outfits a day, and most of the time he only wears one. I believe the reason I was able to get away with this is because we have been doing elimination communication since he was a newborn. Since he has been eliminating in a mini “potty” for most of his life already, I have experienced very few blowouts therefore less clothing changes. On a side note, tees and pants can be worn a lot longer than onesies which are outgrown quickly.
Baby blankets are great for home, in the car, and traveling long distances. I think using blankets frequently eliminated the need for shoes the first six months.
I’ve done my best to read to my son daily from the moment he was born. He absolutely loves this time together. I truly enjoy it too! Some of our favorite books so far have been The Snowy Day, All The World, You Are My I Love You, Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?, Goodnight Moon, and My First Bible Stories.
My son has minimal toys, yet he already has his favorites which we rotate. In my opinion there is no need to have a huge toy bin during the first year of a child’s life.
10. Miscellaneous Cloths
You will need baby wash cloths, bibs, burping cloths etc. I never thought of having baby wash cloths, yet they have been one of the most used gifts.
11. Baby Bath Kit
Aside from wash cloths and a few multipurpose natural bath products, our baby bath kit includes nail clippers, hair comb, thermometer, and a nose aspirator (preferably the Nose Frida since it actually works).
12. Multipurpose Natural Cosmetics
My son has never experienced diaper rash or any rashes for that matter with the simple skin care that I shared here. In terms of hair care, he has been basically water only with a bit of oil. Colloidal oatmeal makes a gentle cleansing conditioner too by the way.
13. Breast Pump, Storage System & Bottles
I’ve been using the Medela Freestyle Breast Pump and storage system. As for bottles we’ve been able to get away with only having three. You can start with 3-5 and get more as needed.
14. Bouncer Chair
We lucked up on a BabyBjorn Bouncer Chair at our local children’s consignment shop. This was the perfect baby chair for so many reasons.
15. Car Seat
If you can purchase a convertible car seat to take you from newborn to toddler and beyond then you won’t have to constantly get a new car seat with each major growth stage. I love Graco products and they have two all in one car seats. The Milestone All-in-1 ranges from 5-100 lbs and the 4ever All-in-1 Convertible ranges from 4-120 lbs.
16. Teething Solutions
Rubber teething toys like Gertie the Goose has been a life savior. Also making breast milk popscicles has been a winner in the Nuby Garden Fruitsicle Pop Tray.
17. Play Pen
We found a Graco Pack ‘n Play at our local children’s consignment store which has been a game changer once my son started moving nonstop. I was waiting as long as I possibly could before getting one, yet this has allowed me to get work done for my organic skin care line. Because the Pack ‘n Play has so many variations, this is also an incredible alternative instead of a crib.
18. High Chair
Instead of a bulky and expensive high chair, we also found a Fisher-Price Healthy Care Deluxe Booster Seat second hand which can be strapped onto any dining chair securely. It conveniently can be packed away and is very easy to travel with when it is needed.
When doing elimination communication there is a time when your child will be too big to hold in position comfortably. The BabyBjorn Potty Chair is more narrow than other brands therefore very convenient for younger babies.
20. Training Pants
If you are doing elimination communication you will want to consider training pants when you feel your child is ready versus continuing with cloth diapers. The training pants by Tiny Undies are a great solution for younger babies who are doing elimination communication since most training pant start with size 2T. These come as small as size 6 months.
21. More Clothing
See if you know someone whose baby is older than yours, and ask if you can have some of the clothing that they have outgrown. I am pretty sure they wouldn’t mind one bit since the tendency is often to have too much anyway. We have been lucky to purchase 90% of our son’s clothing secondhand and the rest has been gifts.
I was able to get through the first six+ months without needing baby shoes, yet now having a pair is necessary. Soft sole shoes allow your child’s body to develop in it’s optimal alignment. Check Etsy for handmade soft sole baby shoes or Sayoyo soft sole baby shoes. There are tons of cute options from both sources. I actually started wearing only soft/zero sole shoes during my pregnancy.
23. Hand Blender
I had no idea how much I would use my Kitchen Aid 2 Speed Hand Blender until my son started eating solid foods. Although I have bought a few jars of organic baby food from the store, they don’t even come close to making him food at home and puréeing it myself. What I like about using a hand blender over my Vitamix is that I can purée small amounts of food very easily.
24. Baby Dishes/Utensils
Bamboo or wood baby dishes are most likely the most eco friendly dishes and utensils, yet I have really been kind of crazy over the Squeasy Snacker. This has made giving my son smoothies, apple sauce, yogurt, and other homemade puréed meals so much easier on the go. Otherwise a small tea cup or jar with a baby spoon has worked perfectly.
25. Lots & Lots of Love
You can never have too much.
What has been essential for you during the 1st year of your child’s life?
(Image by Dawn Michelle)