Thursday, October 8, 2015

Baby Basics

        As soon as the line on the test shows a positive, most first time parents run out to their nearest baby retail store and start a registry for their new bundle of joy. Unsure of what is a true necessity and after hearing so many conflicting stories from friends and family, these overwhelmed rookies turn to baby websites and online articles searching for hints on what to scan as they spend the entire day scouring the isles of "product pushers r us".

          Naive that these large retailers would ever steer them wrong, their 17 page registry is printed by numerous well wishers and they find themselves the proud owners of 20 bottle scrubbers, a highchair, and some weird sheep that simultaneously shines stars on the nursery ceiling, warms bottles, and dispenses teething tablets. They look around their once spacious dwelling and see what now looks like a distribution center for Graco, Fisher Price, and Baby Bjorn all rolled into one.

          I can look back and write this while laughing now because as a first time mother, my registry was loaded with the "hottest" baby items of the season and practically nothing, well....practical. Since more than 8 years have passed since having our first little blessing, our family's outlook of needs for our entire family has changed and we have now adopted a minimalist and purposeful lifestyle in everything that we do.

          Now that I'm in the closing weeks of my 6th pregnancy, time, trial and error have taught me that babies need really quite little to keep them happy and healthy! While your list of basics may be a little different than mine, here is what we feel is what our 6th little one truly needs on hand!


  • Blankets
    • 3 muslin blankets (these easily work for swaddling, trips out in the car seat, and can be used as a nursing cover as well)
    • 1 knit blanket (This time around, we are having a late fall baby in MI, so something heavier for out and about is nice to have. My sweet grandmother always crochets a beautiful blanket for our newbies!)
  • Breasts/bottle
    • Baby has to eat, right? :) I've nursed all our babies to at least a year and only our first baby ever took a bottle of pumped milk. Again, pier pressure led me to believe that babies NEEDED this pump and bottles have sat in the closet for the next 4 babies.
    • Nursing tops and pads are a nice thing to have one hand as your supply is getting established.
    • A nursing pillow is a lovely addition when breast feeding but any pillow will work to raise baby up to a higher position so your back doesn't get sore while nursing.
  • Burp Cloths
    • Babies do spit up quite a lot, but that doesn't mean you need dozens of expensive cloths. Flannel wipes, blankets, or washrags can be used very inexpensively.

  • Baby Diapers/Wipes
    • From baby number one, we have used Bumgenius cloth diapers. We would use up the disposable stash that the hospital sent home with us and then we've always switched to cloth until our little ones were potty trained. They have saved us a fortune over the years, even when we needed to replace them after 3 babies.
    • We also use flannel cloth wipes with a homemade witch hazel spray on our kiddos' bums. If you are going to be washing diapers you might as well save money and wash wipes as well too!
  • Bed 
    • Opinion on where baby should sleep differ a lot between families, but for us we have always kept our little one in a pack n' play next to our bed until they were ready to sleep through the night(usually around 6+ months) and then moved them to a crib in either the boy or girl's room - depending on their gender. A mini crib or pack n' play can easily work for baby up until they are ready to move to a big kid bed. 
    • 2 sheets are always nice to have layered with a waterproof pad under each layer. If baby has an accident at night, just pull off the top sheet and pad for a clean layer.
  • Baby Clothes
    • 4 footed sleepers, 2 sleep gowns, 4 onesies, 3 pairs of socks. This is approximately what we will have on hand for the newborn-6 month period. A few extra cute outfits will be added in once baby is sitting up and moving about. 
    • Since this baby is a sweet gal (we have 4 boys and 1 girl already) a pretty headband seems like a necessity. ;) (See you can splurge every now and then!
  • Baby Seat
    • You can't leave the hospital without one!

      - BONUS ITEMS -
  • Baby Transportation
    • Stroller - I'm a huge fan of strollers, and with 5 kids and counting we have baggage with us where ever we go, so it is nice to have a place to stow our things and an extra seat for little ones to rotate through while we are out. 
    • Baby Sling - I've also used a sling carrier with all my little ones. It is nice to be able to be hands free if needed and keep baby close, especially if they are fussy.

  • Baby Swing
    • To many this might seem like a splurge, but as a mom of 2 fussy babies, 1 early riser, and 1 baby with colic for almost 6 months, a swing has been a sanity saver. It allowed me to sleep past 4am with our first baby, kept the cranky babies happy long enough for me to shower and eat something, and gave me a safe place to lay our poor baby with colic while I took a short break while he screamed non-stop from 8pm to 3am every night.

        So this is our family's list for our new little baby. We already owned the stroller, swing, pack n' play, car seat, diapers, wipes, and baby sling from our last 3 babies, but since there is a 4+ year gap between girls we had given most everything else away. Since we purchase so few clothing items for our babies, usually they are all used up by the time they have been washed so frequently and those that aren't, get passed on to someone else. For under $40 we have purchased all the remaining items.

         When I think about how many things we had for our first few children and how overwhelming it was to store, move, and clean those items, how much money was wasted, and how many items just sat in our nursery unused......well it is embarrassing and heartbreaking to think of how many other little ones could have been clothed and cared for with those items and money.

         Providing for a little one doesn't cost the thousands of dollars most magazines portray. If you are expecting your first baby, family and friends are usually more than happy to buy or give you the items you need. Just make sure you are specific on your registry about what items you really need and borrow what you can first. If your baby really likes an item, down the road it might be worth it to spend the money on that bigger item. 

What would you add? What is your must have baby item?

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