We are coming up on Ezekiel’s first birthday so I thought it would be a great time to make a must have baby list for minimalists. When I found out we were expecting, I knew that I wasn’t going to find out the sex for a few different reasons.
- I knew I would be having a scheduled c-section so I wanted something to be a surprise (little did I know Ezekiel surprised us anyways 4 weeks early).
- I knew that if I knew the sex that I would spend a lot of money on unnecessary things simply because I would be so excited.
So we bought very few things before Ezekiel arrived other than the essentials, and we didn’t add much after he was born. I have always vowed that my house would not be overtaken by a baby. I didn’t want toys and “things” cluttering up our living space and I’m still adamant about that. The things we did buy we loved and I would do the same all over again. Did I want lots of pretty, and expensive things? Yep. Thankfully our budget was so small that I couldn’t get any of those expensive things and so our house remains baby clutter free.
So if you’re expecting or planning on starting your family and want to keep things simple this list is for you.
- Ezekiel had reflux bad enough that he was choking at night so he slept in our room in his bassinet until he was 4 months old. My parents bought our bassinet as a baby gift and so we got the one I had my heart set on from Restoration Hardware. If we were buying it ourselves we probably would have bought something a lot cheaper but I really really love the one we have. Anyways, I guess if you are co-sleeping you wouldn’t need one (although I’m not a fan of co-sleeping) but the bassinet was essential for us.
- Of course you will need a crib – unless you are planning on co-sleeping then disregard this. I had my heart set on expensive cribs but I knew we couldn’t afford it so I searched Kijiji for weeks waiting for a great deal on a great crib. I found one I loved for $75 (new it would have been $600) and I painted it to match the crib I actually wanted.
- Change Table
- This is something a lot of people will tell you that you don’t need. I disagree. To go along with my house being overtaken by baby things, I didn’t want diaper stations all over my house. I wanted one station, and given that we did cloth diapers it made sense to have one station. I have never changed Ezekiel anywhere in our house but his room and I love it that way. I love that the change table is organized and has everything we need. Our change table also doubles as a dresser, which I think is a smart use of space. We keep anything that doesn’t hang in the dresser including linens. Again I bought this on Kijiji for $50 and painted it the same color as the crib.
- Some people will tell you not to waste your money. Ours was given to us as a gift and it is possibly the most used piece of furniture in our house. Since we have roommates I have nursed Ezekiel in his room since February and now he resists nursing anywhere but that chair. For me it’s comfortable and convenient, especially in the middle of the night. I can’t imagine not having our glider.
- Nursing Pillow
- If you are planning on nursing, this is a must have. I still use mine every time Ezekiel nurses and it makes it so much more comfortable for both of us. I never got the hang of nursing without it.
- Noise maker/Fan
- We got a Sleep Sheep as a gift and have used it since day one. For Ezekiel it’s a cue that it’s time to sleep and it works for him! We also use a fan in his room as white noise to distract from other noise in the house. Before we had the fan he had a difficult time after moving into his own room to sleep beyond his first sleep cycle. I’m guessing that it was because I’m really quiet during the day, there’s not a lot of noise in our house so when he was trying to transition between sleep cycles a little noise would wake him up fully. With the fan it’s a familiar noise for him and it drowns out other noises. You don’t actually need to buy a noise maker, you could use a radio with light white noise or just a fan. The downside to the sleep sheep is that it turns off after 45 minutes but we still use it as a cue for him.
- Swaddle Blankets
- I am a huge believer in swaddling and for Ezekiel it was essential. He was so jerky with his movements and it took a long time for him to grow out of it. We bought 8 swaddle blankets, 4 small ones and 4 larger ones all Summer brand (the cheapest ones we could find) and they served us well. As he moved on from needing to be swaddled we used them as spit up blanket. We did have burp cloths but I don’t think we needed them – Ezekiel was a puker not a spitter upper (pretend those are words haha) so we needed more than just a cloth. I know people rave about the more expensive swaddle blankets but honestly, you use them for a few months and then put them away, I say just buy the cheapest ones and save yourself some cash.
- Sleep Bag
- I always planned on using a sleep bag and we have been using them since he stopped being swaddled. Ezekiel is now to the point that when I put him in the bag he knows exactly what’s going on, sometimes he’ll protest but more often he’ll be excited to nurse haha.
- Bounce Seat
- Ezekiel spent a lot of time in his seat – when I was showering, when I was making dinner, and anytime I needed to put him down. He loved it and I loved the convenience of it. Again we bought the bare minimum and cheapest one we could find (Summer brand again) and it worked so well that I couldn’t imagine spending any more than we did. I refused to get a swing because they are so bulky and take up an entire room and I didn’t miss it at all! So I suggest bounce chair over swing for sure!
- Play Mat
- We got a play mat as a gift and it was super simple and pretty small and Ezekiel loved playing under it. Along with the bounce seat, once Ezekiel was about 3 months old we started alternating putting him down in the seat and on the mat.
- Jolly Jumper
- I wasn’t sure about getting a jolly jumper but we tried one out at a friends house and Ezekiel loved it so much that we decided to go ahead and get one. It provided hours of entertainment for Ezekiel! The best part was that it easily folds together and can be stored out of sight when not in use.
- Baby Walker
- I was determined to get a baby walker so my parents brought us one from the states. We got it in April and Ezekiel has been using it daily since then. At first he was too small to move it but still enjoyed sitting and playing in it. Once we got the walker we gradually stopped using the bounce seat. This is one of the bulkier items in our house but we have a perfect parking spot for it in the living room and it doesn’t stick out too much. Ezekiel LOVES this walker and now that he can move it around he cruises everywhere on our main floor. He can spend up to an hour in it without ever needing anything from me. It’s brilliant! He goes from the front entrance to the back entrance, watches the laundry, looks out the kitchen windows, and every so often he’ll do a circle in the kitchen just to come say hello. Other times he’ll follow me every where and run over my toes, the days that he needs to be around me more the walker is great too! He can be right at my feet and visit while I am cooking or doing dishes or whatever. This item is an ESSENTIAL for us! Although I must say if you have open stairways it’s not safe in your house, in our case our basement has a door on it so there’s no way for him to fall down them.
- Good Quality Stroller
- I wanted a good quality stroller and needed a bassinet with it (we bought a convertible car seat because of my c-section I wasn’t going to be able to take a bucket car seat in and out of the car) but I wasn’t willing or able to pay $500+ dollars. So of course I took to Kijiji for weeks waiting for the best deal. I had my mind set on the Bumbleride Indy and did find one second hand for a great price. I’m not sure if I would go with this brand again, but it has served us well and we do really like it. I have taken many many walks, and even jogged with this stroller.
- Baby Monitor
- We bought the cheapest one we could find and it’s worked for us just fine. Really, you don’t need to see your child every moment they are asleep, just need to make sure you hear them when they wake up!
So those are the big items that are on my must have list other little things that are needed:
- Towels – we do fine with 4
- 1 pack of face cloths – you don’t need any more than that
- Cloth diapers (go here to read about our experience)
- Blankets – we bought one before Ezekiel was born and had many gifted to us, so I wouldn’t suggest buying many or any at all.
I think that’s it! Other than clothes (admittedly we like to buy good quality clothes but we make sure to only buy during sales) you really don’t need much else to get by with a baby. We only have a small basket of toys for Ezekiel and have never actually bought any of them. He enjoys all his toys, but most of the time would rather play with the kitchen towel, an empty water bottle or plastic container, so don’t waste your money on all those cute toys out there. Especially for the first year, your baby is going to learn more from your interactions than from playing with the toys. We do have books and Ezekiel LOVES story time. When I sit down on the floor and take down a book he automatically sits or lays on his belly in front of me all smiles and giggles waiting for the story to start. It’s probably my favorite thing ever, so if I was going to spend money on entertainment for Ezekiel I would buy him books at this age.
Do you have anything to add to this must have minimalist baby list?