When Kai was born we were basically hoarders, we needed everything single baby thing on the market and duplicates just in case. After surviving Kai’s first year and working on a minimalist, non-toxic, zero waste, plastic free and local lifestyle, our ideas about what you need for a baby have drastically changed. Baby #2 will have so much less stuff than Kai had as a baby that it isn’t even funny. So here’s a list of stuff that we either kept or will buy for baby #2.
We used Amazon’s baby registry. It was easy, I could put anything I wanted on it, and it was linked to both my and my husband’s accounts so we could add things independently of one another. It also meant I could tweak the registry on the fly, and it came with a great completion discount.
I’d also suggest Amazon Family (used to be Amazon Mom). Especially if you aren’t cloth diapering, as it gives you 20% off diapers.
Feeding the baby:
Breastfeeding is as minimalist as it gets. We had a lot of issues, including an undiagnosed posterior tongue tie (completely missed by both the pediatrician and the hospital lactation consultant) which made breastfeeding difficult with Kai (thankfully we were introduced to our current lactation consultant and Kai is still nursing at 14 months.) Hopefully this time around will be smoother, but my trusty pump is waiting if needed.
I have a Limmerick PJ’s Bliss, and it’s so much better than the pump I used in the hospital. So much less pain, silicone flanges really are the way to go. Everyone in my nursing group who has one swears by them and even though it wasn’t a pump listed by my insurance, they still paid for the whole thing! Yes, it is a big hunk of plastic, but it’ll hopefully save you from having to buy formula at all, and unlike open system pumps, the Bliss can safely be passed down to another mom when you are done with it.
I store and freeze milk in mason jars, although I pump into the plastic bottles that came with my pump. Weight is a factor when pumping and trying to pump directly into glass was too difficult for me. So once the milk was pumped, it was poured into mason jars, which also meant I only needed the bottles that came with the pump and not all the extras that many more mainstream moms I know seem to collect.
We kept Kai’s Comotomo bottles for this baby. I’m going to write a post about all the bottles we tried, but these are the ones Kai finally decided she was willing to eat from, because eating was one of her big challenges and she hated so many bottles. If you are on your first, I’d suggest two bottles to start with (one to use, one to clean) and get more later if needed. I’d suggest Lifefactory Glass Baby Bottles for glass bottles and Pura Stainless Steel Bottles for stainless steel bottles (the Comotomo’s are silicon). We use Pura Straw Cups for Kai’s sippy cups.
Sleep like a baby:
Kai slept swaddled in a Aden + Anais Classic Swaddle She still loves them and probably won’t be willing to share so this time around I’m making my own with muslin gauze from Birch Fabrics. I’d suggest at least two, maybe four depending on your laundry situation. I also use them as burp cloths, towels, security blanket and nursing covers so we have four. I would skip receiving blankets or fluffy “pretty” blankets as they can’t go in baby’s crib and are usually a terrible size for swaddling. All our receiving blankets got turned into diapering materials and the rest of the blankets got passed on.
Her IKEA Sniglar crib, which was as non toxic and eco friendly a crib as we could find for a reasonable amount of money, will serve this baby, too. It is made of solid wood and the only synthetic material is nylon that stays under the crib mattress. It’s sidecarred to our bed so baby stays close when not just in bed with us. The mattress is a Naturepedic Organic Cotton Crib Mattress, which is covered by a Sewoiseau wool puddle pad, and sheets from Burt’s Bees Baby.
We didn’t start cloth diapers with Kai until she was big enough for one-size, but this baby will come home in cloth. The baby will be in GMD prefolds and made-by-me stretchy hemp flats in an assortment of wool covers (the ones pictured above are from One Love Diaper Co.) And for Dad: Thirsties Natural Newborn All In Ones. To help you find cloth diapers that work for you, I’ll be writing a roundup post of newborn cloth soon. We also use cloth wipes, and I keep a tub of Motherlove Organic Diaper Balm around in case of rash (we use just plain coconut oil for redness).
At home, dirty diapers go into a large Planetwise hanging wet bag that zips closed. On the go, I have three medium sized Thirsties Wet Bags that rotate. Really any wet bag will do as long as it’s water tight. We wash cloth diapers with Ecover.
Babies don’t regulate their own body temps well and that one of the reason we do wool as a base layer. I like Merino Kids and Ruskovilla, but since we gave away Kai’s infant clothes I might try Ella’s Wool when stocking up again. Otherwise almost all her clothes come from yard sales or are presents from the grandmothers. I try to get things that don’t have to go over the head for the first three months, so kimono style shirts and footie pajamas are staples around here. I also prefer clothes without loud graphics or cartoons so I try and steer the grandmothers to Primary when they want to buy new. I keep about ten base outfits around, plus two warm sweater, a snowsuit, a rain/mud suit, and two pairs of shoes.
You have to have one to drive your baby home from the hospital. We have a Chicco Keyfit 30 infant seat, but I think we are going to go straight into a convertible seat this time around. Just like Kai is now, Baby #2 will be rearfacing in a Clek Foonf tricked out with an Clek Infant-Thingy. I like Clek because they are transparent with their safety testing, they don’t use fire retardants (the weave of the fabric makes the cloth fire retardant without needing chemicals) and they fit three across in most cars.Carrier:
We do own a stroller (a Bumbleride Indie 4 – which I love a lot) but until Kai was walking she almost never rode in it. instead she traveled in style, first strapped to my chest and once she could sit up, to my back. I love woven wraps for little babies, I rocked a Cari Slings Owl Post with Kai for long trips. For shorter ups we love our Sakura Bloom Classic Ring Sling, and these days we reach for our Wompat Girasol Mei Tai for almost everything. My suggestion: find your local babywearing group and try stuff out until you fall in love with something. My group lets you check out carrier for a month so you could manage to not buy anything at all and get to try all sorts of different carriers if you wanted to.
The Diaper Bag:
Any largish backpack will do. I’m keeping the one I got when Kai was born. It’s an old style Okkatots Travel Backpack, and it lives up to its name. It’s gone thousands of miles with us and and is big enough to carry a size 7 woven wrap, 5 cloth diapers, wipes, wet bag, 4 bottles, extra clothes, and anything else we need with no problem. I replaced the changing mat it came with with a diy felted wool mat. I love the backpack style and that it zips all the way in half so you can get to stuff in the bottom easily.
Much like the bottles, Kai was picky about pacifiers. She finally settled on the Natursutten Natural Rubber Pacifier, so I’ll have one on hand for the new baby, too. I prefer natural rubber over plastic or even silicone pacifiers. Natursutten also recently started making a glass bottle with a natural rubber nipple that I would try if we were looking for bottles again.
Because we weren’t minimalist at the time of Kai’s baby shower, we got all sorts of toys. The things we kept that Kai actually liked (starting around four months) were the DinoTails crinkly book, playsilks, a wooden rattle, a soft cat rattle, and a small acrylic mirror. Those five things kept her pretty well entertained until she was 10-11 months when she got interested in her little wood car, a wood stacker, soft and rubber balls, wooden animals and board books. Today she has one shoe box sized set of toys in each of the three locations she might play. We do toy rotation, so she has another box in her closet that isn’t much bigger.
Earth Mama Angel Baby Nipple Balm – I switched to this from coconut oil when nursing got hard for us (there was blood, it was bad). It works for me and smells faintly of chocolate, win-win.
Nursing Bra – pick one that is comfy. I like Cake Rock Candy Bra
Nursing pads – Ozark Mountain Mama reusable double layer wool were my favorite. I think the antibacterial nature of wool helped keep me free from thrush or mastitis even during the worst parts of nursing.
Odds and ends:
Thermometer – Have one on hand so you can check if baby actually has a fever or if your new parent brain is just having a moment of panic.
Mommy’s Bliss Gripe Water – Sometimes this was the only thing that could calm Kai down went she was having stomach issues. It helped keep me sane.
Lanolin – For lanolizing your wool diaper covers to make them waterproof.
Unicorn Wool Wash – For cleaning all things wool.
Dr. Bronner’s Baby Soap – For cleaning baby, emulsifying lanolin, and really cleaning up after baby, too.
Things we kept, but that I wouldn’t buy again:
Bjorn bouncy seat – Kai wasn’t a fan, but it was nice to be able to set her down to go to the bathroom.
Keekaroo Height Right Highchair – it’s functional, but I don’t love it. I think I would hold out for a used Stokke Tripp Trapp if I was starting over. Either way, we didn’t start using it until 9 months.
Boppy – I think any pillow would do.
Things that were returned to the store or went to Goodwill before Kai was six months old:
Bottle warmer (she drank breast milk straight from the fridge when she got a bottle), wipe warmer, Snot Sucker (never used it), Kiinde pump to bottle system (it’s not compatible with closed system pumps), a metric ton of baby blankets and hats, newborn shoes (even now Kai almost never does shoes and when she does we go minimalist), Bumbo seat, and plastic everything (we went plastic free first and even though the word was out at the baby shower we were resoundingly ignored).
So that’s my minimalist list. It’s probably more than some hardcore minimalist would buy, but it is so much more sensible than what we acquired the first time around! Check out our Non-Toxic and Minimalist Toddler List.
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