Minimalist Baby Registry: A Practical Guide to Baby Gear

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We’re rolling into the half way point of this pregnancy and we’re slowly but surely getting our lives together. With our first born we were clueless as to what we actually would need for our little bundle of joy and registered for everything! Now with that we realized quickly that most baby stuff is created out of capitalistic need, not so much actual child rearing necessity, so with that I’ve decide to compile a list of baby supplies that are actually worth purchasing, in the hopes of sparing a new parent to be the stress of the baby gear overload.

What You’ll Actually Need

1. A Car Seat

All babies need a car seat and that is an absolute no brainer! We opted to get a bucket seat for little man and then transition him into the Graco Extend2Fit when he was around six months old, and we won’t have to worry about buying another car seat until he completely out grows having to be in one! The Extend2Fit is great because it can even handle from age newborn to the eventual booster seat, meaning less money spent down the line, and less waste of car seats! I also love how it has the extender panel to allow for extended rear facing, because having a tall baby is tough when it comes to wanting to extended rear face the car seat, but with the extend to fit I have never had a problem fitting him in!

Graco Extend2fit
A young Little Man in his forever carseat

Bucket seats are up to you whether you need one or not, I know plenty of moms who started their little one from day one in a convertible car seat such as the Graco Extend2Fit and they haven’t had any problems, I just prefer the ease of movement with the bucket seat with a newborn, especially with the idea of having a rowdy toddler in toe.

2. A Place for Baby to Sleep

When we we’re pregnant with Little Dude we had just moved in with my in-laws and we’re starting out on our small living journey so we opted to go with a pack and play to start with. We then also graciously inherited a bassinet from a work friend and ended up using that for a whole two months before Little Dude out grew it. Word of advice, skip the bassinet if you can, most babies out grow them within the first few months anyway and it just took up some much needed real estate. Don’t get me wrong, it was great at first but between feeling cramped and fighting the cat to stay out, we should’ve just stuck with the pack and play.

As for our crib situation we had the Graco Pack ‘n Play Quick Connect and we loved it! Again it was a space saver and a grow with baby type of gear, plus it came with some nifty pop and go pieces that took place of other space consuming furniture.

Graco Quick Connect
Tiny but mighty!

For one it came with a portable napper that either popped on to the crib itself or was free standing on the floor. I absolutely loved the portable napper for when I was doing stuff around the house and didn’t wan’t little dude to be alone, and even remember within the first three hours of being home from the hospital popping a sleeping baby in it in the the bathroom so I could take a much needed shower. The changing surface was awesome too because we could use it during the day, then pop it off at night when it was time to sleep in the actual crib part. We didn’t have room for a changing table but with the first few months of messy baby diapers I hated to change him on anything other than the easy wipe surface. We also obviously bought a mattress to go in the pack and play, but over all we just put it away when little dude transitioned over to a twin sized bed back in August. I loved it because it was easy to break down and move whenever we rearranged the room, and it took up way less space than a traditional crib.

Whether it be an actual crib, a pack and play, or a twin sized mattress, as long as your child has a safe separate place to sleep, you’re doing great! When it comes to traditional cribs, there are plenty of conversion models out there to choose from, and I would highly recommend getting something that will grow with your child for both financial and environmental reasons.

3. A Stroller

With our first my mom warned me about getting a big bulky travel stroller, and I didn’t listen. We used out travel stroller that came with our bucket seat a few times but the wheels weren’t great quality and overall it was kind of a hassle. We made it through little dudes first summer and then put the stroller in the garage where I think it still sits. We did however luck out and last spring I purchased a Baby Trend Double Stroller and it was a game changer.

Baby Trend Double stroller
Little Man and Miss B on the maiden voyage of the double stroller last spring!

Disclaimer, not everyone needs a double stroller, at the time I was working full time as a baby sitter and had my niece fairly often, so the idea of a double stroller made sense for us. With the addition of baby number two I’m so glad we invested in a double stroller when we did and so glad we found one we loved!

My stroller now sits happily in the trunk of my car for when we need it, and folds flat so that we can still fit stuff in the trunk. For a double stroller I don’t find it to be overly heavy and the folding and opening of the stroller is a breeze. I still prefer to use my double stroller even when it’s just my one child because I can then use the backseat for storage, perfect for the beach or a trip down the bike path.

Umbrella strollers are also a worthy thing to mention as they’re inexpensive, super light weight, and easy to store, but I found they don’t do great on outdoor surfaces and tend to use ours for mall trips or places without shopping carts to stick a baby in.

You don’t need to go crazy with six different strollers, find one you love and stick to it and you’ll be just fine.

4. Feeding Supplies

We had planned to breast feed but soon learned that wasn’t gonna work out so we switched over to formula, with that we bought probably eight bottles and called it a day. You absolutely do not need a million bottles if you can somehow manage to keep them clean. We ended up hand washing ours for the most part, so we didn’t end up really using the fancy bottle drying rack or the weird cage thing you put in the dishwasher to wash the nipple in. Keep it simple and as long as you have what you need you really don’t need all the extra stuff.

Burp clothes we’re basically whatever was at hand, we received a bunch of receiving blankets as hand me downs and those were a god send, and one of our friends moms even sewed a super cute burp cloth set for us, but we didn’t feel the need to go out and buy a million because really most days my shirt was the burp cloth. You would be surprised just how versatile what you already have can be for raising a baby.

Baby feeding supplies
A happy baby is a fed baby.

Things You Don’t Need

1. A Diaper Genie

Save yourself the frustration, don’t register for the diaper genie. Ours broke within the first month, only held maybe five diapers (okay I’m exaggerating but you get the point), and the stupid blue trash bags were soooo over priced. Get yourself a dedicated trash can with a lid or stock up on all the plastic bags you have from leaving your reusable shopping bags in the car (very guilty mom over here) and toss stinky diapers in those and tie it in a knot before tossing. Do not waste your sanity on the diaper genie it is a very small glorified trash can. Worried about the smell? Throw some dryer sheets in the trash bag or in your barrel and you’ll be just as fine.

2. A Wipe Warmer

Save the money for actual wipes, you’ll be thanking the cold wipe gods at 2am when your bundle of joy keeps falling asleep mid-feeding and that cold wipe wakes them up enough to eat until thy’re full allowing you some precious time for sleeping. No child has ever died from a room temperature wipe on a stinky tush, and I’m willing to bet your outlet space is limited as ours was, and we didn’t want to give up that outlet for a wipe warmer.

3. A Door Jumper

I may take some heat for this one because my niece adored hers, but for the amount of head injuries I sustained walking into the thing at my parents house, or from fighting to get my giant baby in and out of his, it just wasn’t worth it. Also New England homes are built weird and we literally only had one doorway in which the jumper actually fit. Save the chaos, if your so incline to get a play place, get an Exersaucer and call it a day.

4. Bug Netting and a Baby Umbrella Attachment

I had both of these things constantly ready to go when we would go outside, and used it maybe once? Little Dude hated the netting on his stroller or car seat and the umbrella attached to the stroller among other things, but for the amount of times I actually remembered to use it, I was just taking up space in my trunk.

Things I Loved But Aren’t Necessary

1. A Swing

Some babies hate swings, others love them, honestly if you’re not sure I would try before you by and see if you can somehow borrow a baby friends swing for the afternoon or buy used. We we’re super lucky and got ours from a friend at our baby shower, but the curse of having a big baby, he outgrew it length wise after month three and didn’t really care for it past that. It did save our lives a few nights as it put him to sleep, but kids are weird and alas we had to put it away early on in the game.

2. A Bottle Warmer

I’m torn on this one because I used ours so much in the beginning, and it was well worth the $12 spent at Wal-Mart, but I also can see why you wouldn’t need it as well. I really only used this for when I was pumping and saving milk, or the occasional day when I had my life together and would make bottles ahead of time. If you can use it go for it, but don’t feel like you need one, a cup of warm water works just as well.

3. A Play Mat

I loved being able to put little dude down on his play mat and watch him kick and reach for the toys above him, it was easy to travel with, easy to clean, and perfect for when I need him to just play on his own for a while. However again like all things, he lost interest once he became mobile and it got packed away. All babies are different, a simple play mat is just as good as the high tech noise making ones, it just depends on your preference.

The Bottom Line

All babies and parents are different, this is just was I’ve gleamed from having a son, and will take with me going into having a second baby. Do what makes your little family happiest, but hopefully my little guide can help save you some space in your home and give you a breath of fresh air when it comes to the constant bombardment of what you need for your baby.

Did I miss anything? What could you live with out looking back at your parenting journey? What were your absolute must haves?! Let me know in the comments!

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