A Minimalist Baby Registry For Parents Who Kind Of Hate Baby Stuff
When my husband and I found out there was a baby growing in my body, of course I was like, "Yayyyy!"
And then my insuppressible snobbery came out and was like, "BUT THE BABY STUFF. UGH."
Some women lose their cookies over precious baby things like tiny newborn-sized moccasins. My mind would probably be an easier place to live if I shared those feelings. But no. I'm frigidly thinking about how useless those tiny moccasins are for tiny humans who DON'T NEED TINY SHOES. I have a sometimes ruthless fixation on practicality. I like things to be efficient, well-designed and not disposable, which is a huge (sometimes impossible) challenge when it comes to the baby industry. And babies, in general, who grow up so fast.
It's hard to even pretend to be a minimalist when it comes to babies, and my form of minimalism is 90% wishful thinking as it is. (Also, if you look at how long this post is, I am certainly not a minimalist when it comes to words!)
I spent nine months over-researching baby gear (went deeeeeply down the rabbit hole), trying to find the very best (and therefore only) stuff we'd need for our baby—the items that aren't all hideous or plastic or wasteful or overly gendered. Space-saving, workhorse items were also important to us because we bought a duplex last year, not a castle.
I'm still new at this, but I've learned a lot so far about what we actually use and what we don't. I started putting together some baby gear recommendations for a friend and it snowballed into this post. And now I've gotta hit publish before my mind's slate is wiped clean regarding the first few months of parenthood.
P.S. I am using the word "registry" loosely in this post... you probably aren't going to put all of these items on a formal registry with Amazon or wherever. It's more of a comprehensive list of all the stuff you might want to consider for your baby, including the stuff you would likely buy on your own.
P.P.S. This post is full of affiliate links, but I legit own all of this stuff and like it.
a few tips on baby stuff
1. Where to register for a baby? Amazon, duh.
If you can't find exactly what you want on Amazon already, you can register for literally anything from any store on the Internet with Amazon's universal registry feature. It's so easy, and their fulfillment discount is awesome. P.S. Writing this post I realized how intensely I rely on Amazon (especially now as a parent) and they probably know me better than I know myself and it's terrifying.
2. Reuse, Recycle. Beg, Borrow.
The easiest way to lessen the environmental impact of your baby stuff is to borrow, buy used and graciously accept all those the bags of hand-me-downs... and to pay it forward on the other side. I barely had to buy any maternity or newborn clothes because we got a whole heap of things from friends and family. I am only a couple months in and already accumulating boxes of things to pass on to my friends who are pregnant now. Mothers are a generous community of women. In addition to your family and social circle, Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist are also gold mines of like-new baby stuff. Build your registry and then see what you can find from it on the Internet (just make sure to update it so your aunt doesn't buy a duplicate stroller).
3. Sometimes convenience wins and it's not pretty or cheap.
It's true that new babies only need a few things to survive (something to eat, somewhere to sleep and somewhere to poop), but it's also about your survival as a new parent. More on the post-partum fallout in another post, but if certain things can make your life a little easier during this time period, you should get those things if you have the means. A lot of this happens in the throes of chaos after the baby is born rather than during the planning, because you just don't know until you know. Y'know?
4. Think past the newborn phase.
The first weeks go so slow, yet so fast. When I was looking at baby gear and registering for our kid, I also was like, "Well, we don't need a bunch of this stuff for months, so we'll just skip it for now to avoid having too much lying around." To some extent, this is true. You can wait a while to get a high chair and you definitely don't want to go too crazy on baby clothes or diapers because you have no idea what size your kid will need and when. However, I'm so in the moment now that the baby is born that it's hard to think ahead. Whereas when you are pregnant, the only thing you can do is think ahead and you have all the energy in the world when it comes to preparing for the baby. You might not have the energy to do one hour of exercise, but you will have the energy to stay up all night to catalogue your baby's books in a spreadsheet as if you are some sort of mom-librarian. Pregnancy is weird. Ride the nesting wave as long as you can.
5. What's right for me might not be right for you.
Obviously I think I have some worthwhile advice or I wouldn't be writing this post, but my kid, my lifestyle, my budget, my tastes, my boobs, my city's weather, my laundry schedule are probably different from yours and that's okay. If you find even 10% of this advice useful, that's awesome. And you might love tiny moccasins (which I admit are very cute), so go out and buy them and don't let me or anybody else make you feel bad about 'em!
Minimalist Baby Registry
"Minimalist" already seems like an oxymoron... this post is so long. But it is literally everything.
Let's start with the boobs. If you're planning to breastfeed and/or pump milk for your offspring, you'll need a lot of this stuff before you need a crib or a stroller or anything like that. Babies are hangry nearly every time they are awake at the beginning, so feeding them is all you do. If you're planning on formula-feeding, you can skip several things on the list.
Pick up at least three comfy nursing tanks. I basically live in these Target cotton tops, day and night. I wear them as pajamas. I wear them around the house. I wear them under my clothes at work (because pumping means you have to get your yabbos out at the office, too). I wish they washed a little better, but I like that they aren't as form-fitting as some other nursing tanks.
I would recommend at least two comfortable but somewhat supportive nursing bras to start (one to wear while one is in the laundry). Most of the time, I wear these super-affordable (!!) Sayceli nursing bras. They are the exact same as the the popular $50+ Bravado ones. However, one Bravado bra I really do like is this ballet nursing bra. I mostly wear it at home as it has virtually no support, but the fabric is so soft.
Your size may fluctuate a lot, so you might want to buy a couple of styles and sizes close to your due date and then return the ones that don't work out once your milk comes in (a good errand for someone else to run).
And then a few weeks/months later, you can re-evaluate because you'll be doing more normal activities by then and your boobs may be a bit smaller (more like deflated... womp, womp) in comparison to the early weeks. For more of a normal bra with underwire and whatnot, I love this Anita nursing bra because it comes in a full range of sizes. Target has some affordable options too, but only go up to DDD.
This stuff is so necessary at the beginning—bring it to the hospital with you. The softest, best nipple cream is called Motherlove Nipple Cream. It's kind of expensive for a tiny jar, but it's far and away the winner after trying a few. Personally, I didn't like the consistency of Earth Mama (too grainy if there are temperature fluctuations) or Lanisoh (too thick and vaseline-like). To grease the breast pump flanges and make pumping more comfortable, I just use plain coconut oil and refilled a nipple cream jar so it's more portable than a giant mason jar.
Not everybody leaks, but these soft bamboo nursing pads save me from myself.
If you have a baby with reflux like mine did, you'll need so many. We could not be stingy with these things, unfortunately. We use big swaddle blankets as burp cloths when we are out because they are huge and better protect our real clothes (and those of our friends and family)—more on those multi-tasking swaddles later on, I love them. At home we use these Gerber cloth diapers, which work nicely. Some babies don't spit up much though, so I'd recommend registering for a few and you can figure out what works for you after the baby is born if you need more (lots more). Once Nilou stopped spitting up so much around six months, we started using these for clean-up at mealtimes.
Nilou doesn't seem picky about bottles so we aren't either. We inherited different kinds to try and she seems to like all of them. Avent's are affordable so we'll probably stick with those once we have to buy some for daycare. I think the Comotomo bottles are super cute though. My sister swears by Dr. Brown's. Before investing heavily in one brand of bottles, I would recommend borrowing a sampler from friends or putting a couple different brands on your registry just in case your baby is choosier than ours. To warm them up without a special bottle warmer, just fill a bowl with hot water and there you go.
I thought this Boon lawn drying rack was unnecessary, but it's not. There are so many pump parts and bottle parts floating around all the time and this helps keep them contained.
I don't think of these nursing pillows as a must. I used the Brest Friend pillow for about three weeks until Nilou and I got the hang of things and her neck was less noodle-y. It's got great back support. It feels super secure. The cover is a soft and practical terrycloth. Having used the Boppy a few times, I think the Brest Friend is a better breastfeeding pillow, but you might get more long-term use out of the Boppy because the babies can lounge in it as they get older.
Comfortable space to feed the baby
It is my opinion that you don't need specific furniture to feed a baby, whether you're nursing or bottle-feeding. You just need various comfy and convenient locations around your house. If that means a special glider for you, that's great. In our house, I just have a back support pillow that I kept in our bed for a while and now keep on the couch in the living room because that's where I nurse most often. Our friends were about to donate their old nursing glider to Goodwill, but donated it to us instead... I rarely used it until Nilou moved into her own room at about six months, but I’m glad we have it now.
I've never been such a fan of a water bottle before, especially one this ugly. However, I keep this hideous one-handed water bottle within arms reach at all times now, but especially while nursing (one-handed meaning not these beautiful glass ones that I've used for many years but require both hands to screw the top off). This beast has a giant rubber straw that helps me down gallons of water every day.
Extra phone chargers with extra long cords
I know a phone charger is a weird thing to put in the nursing section, but in the beginning babies are so tired that you're not really going to be staring lovingly into each other's eyes like in your imagination. The reality is that you will probably be on your phone a lot when you're nursing, ordering more diapers and googling things like "baby crying all the time" and "how long should a newborn baby nurse because it's been four hours and I'm dying."
Eventually you will leave the house and need to feed the baby. I thought I would just rig up some kind of cover easily with a swaddle blanket (and I still do sometimes), but it's kind of a pain. It takes time to gain confidence nursing in public, and this thing helped me. There are a lot of these out there, but this one is soft, breathable, and a cool-mom striped pattern that sort of looks like my regular clothes.
This isn't a thing you register for, but you will need it if you plan to breastfeed. Most insurance companies (if not all) will cover your breast pump and additional supplies, and I went through Aeroflow to arrange mine during the third trimester. They take care of billing your insurance and send you a set of new pump parts every month (also covered by insurance), which a lot of people probably do not take advantage of (I wouldn't have even known without their reminder emails!). I have the Spectra S1 Breast Pump and like it so far. It has a long battery life, but I do wish it wasn't so bulky.
This Simple Wishes pumping bra is awesome. Everybody has it for a reason. It keeps things in place and it's comfortable. Now that I'm back at work, I think having two of them is worthwhile for laundry purposes. I am also intrigued by this Bravado pumping bra as well (it clips right into any nursing bra or tank), but haven't tried it.
I use this Packit lunch bag, and love it because it doesn't require any separate ice packs that take up space in the bag. You just freeze the whole bag and it stays cold for 10 hours! The ease of being able to go fridgeless during the whole work day is so nice because I bop around a lot. Each time I use the pump, I just wipe the flanges dry, put them in a plastic bag and back into the cooler so they stay cold. Then I just wash them at the end of the day.
I have so many feelings about these damned bags. The branding is SO. GROSS. Mommy's Precious?! WTF. And the logo of the bag with the face rubbing its belly and licking its lips. IT IS DISGUSTING. The fucking tagline "Because every drop is gold." BLEGH. They are good quality and I've never had a leak, so I put my feelings aside and use them.
When I went back to work, I stressed out about this. I wound up commandeering this backpack we originally intended to use as a diaper bag. It's working really well, considering the awkwardly shaped Spectra pump. I love that it doesn't scream "baby" and it fits everything perfectly. It also will fit my laptop, a notebook and sometimes lunch.
Aside from eating, this is the main thing the baby does, so they need a few things.
If you haven't already seen all the ads for the Snoo bassinet online, I shall explain. It's a gorgeous, smart tech bassinet based off Dr. Harvey Karp's baby whisperer methods that he outlines in his book The Happiest Baby on the Block, which has a cult following with parents. He is like the most respected authority on baby sleep. The bassinet is designed with combination of motion and white noise that ebbs and flows to simulate the womb and help babies sleep well. The swaddle hooks into the bassinet itself, so it's like a magical straightjacket. When the baby fusses, the Snoo's motion and white noise go up a level to try and calm her down.
My husband and I had seen it online last year and we were like, "Wow, this looks so cool!" And then around Christmas, we were talked about it again and I was saying how unnecessary and expensive it was when he sheepishly said, "I already bought it while it was on sale. It was going to be a surprise for you." And then I felt bad because he was so excited about it and I threw a wet blanket on the excitement, but I also was, like, crying on the inside about all the money that he had just thrown away on this snake oil contraption.
I was SO skeptical of the Snoo. It could not possibly live up to the hype and the price and I was absolutely prepared to send it back (they have a 30-day money-back guarantee). However, I admit now it is probably the best thing we own.
By about 5 weeks, Nilou was consistently sleeping 6 hours every night without waking up. At 8 weeks, 9 hours. At 12 weeks, she started sleeping 11+ hours every night without waking up (!!!). In comparison to our other friends with babies her age and even those much older, this seems like a fucking miracle.
I was worried it would be hard to pick up on her cues when she actually needs something, but it's not. She lets us know 100% when she's hungry, has done some real damage in her diaper or just doesn't want to be asleep anymore. But all those times that she wakes up because of our creaky old floors or a weird dream or for seemingly no reason at all, the Snoo's baseline level magic will put her back to sleep. This is not to say we haven't spent a lot of time rocking this girl ourselves and getting her to the point where she's ready to go to bed, but once she is asleep in the evening, she stays that way until morning.
We could just be blessed with an incredible child who knows how to sleep at night, but I doubt it. She's pretty bad at most things so far, and I doubt she would be excelling at sleep without the help. :) Anyway, if you have the means or very generous family/friends to buy this (when they are having a sale!), the Snoo is worth hype. If not, there are plenty of other great bassinets out there that are not so intense but still have some of the useful features like the white noise.
As I mentioned in the novel I wrote about bassinets up there, white noise is a gift from the universe! We have this small portable white noise machine that's awesome for travel and powerful enough that we'll probably use it regularly in the baby's room once she transitions out of the Snoo. There are also apps out there to use in a pinch, but a separate machine is practical so that you don't have to abandon your phone next to the baby's crib every time he or she is sleeping.
Swaddling helps babies feel snug as a bug, like they are still inside a womb. Most babies are escape artists though, so good swaddles are important. We had a whole bunch of swaddles to try from a friend, but Nilou could get out of all of them except the Halo SleepSack and the Snoo swaddles. If you are going with the Snoo, there are special swaddles that hook into the bassinet so you have to use those. If you are going with a different bassinet or crib, I'd recommend the Halo or the new Sleepea swaddles (like the ones that go in the Snoo, but without the parts that attach to the bassinet).
We don't use these blankets for actual swaddling, but we use them ALL the time. Nilou had reflux for months and basically needed a tarp set out any time she was doing anything, so we put these on her bouncer chair, the couch, ourselves, other people, etc. for protection from her spit-up. The muslin ones are absorbent, so we just use them as burp cloths when we're out and about, and as summer blanket for her car seat. Margeaux & May has really cute prints. The basic white Swaddle Designs blankets are awesome too (and so soft), and the silky bamboo blend swaddles from Aden and Anais are nice because they are very lightweight and come in the coolest shibori prints.
Other blankets + quilts
We received SO many cute blankets as gifts. I'm especially obsessed with an adorable, knit zebra blanket my cousin got at Patina in Minneapolis (see? I am not immune to recognizing cuteness), and also this Swedish one from Lina Johansson is perfect for tummy time because it's kind of like a towel on one side (always with the spit up). There are also beautiful quilts on Etsy.
Eventually, we'll have to say goodbye to the Snoo and transition the baby into her crib. We chose this mid-century-style crib from All Modern that matched the vintage dressers that we already had for the room. And pretty affordable at $200. For now, it is perpetually full of clean laundry that we struggle to keep up with folding. Like many cribs, it transforms into a toddler bed, and it was relatively inexpensive. This one from West Elm is more expensive but gorgeous.
I won't know if this is comfortable until Nilou learns how to talk, but it better be! This Moonlight Slumber mattress had the best reviews, so we trusted the collective.
The mattress is waterproof, but another layer of protection from bodily fluids is always necessary so we have this Margeaux & May cover on the bed.
Jersey crib sheets
Two sheet sets are sufficient for us for the bassinet, so I assume two will also be enough for the crib to start. Burt's Bees and Amazon Basics are pretty much exactly the same (super soft), but one is half the price.
Our kid is so inconsistent with taking pacifiers. We've tried a bunch, and her favorite (sometimes) seems to be this MAM newborn pacifier.
We have this one. I don't understand why it has such amazing reviews because I honestly don't really like it. Does anyone else know of a better one? Please share.
Like the Snoo, this extremely well-designed Puj bathtub is a miracle-worker. It's hard to explain the foldable design, but it's really unique and our daughter is obsessed with it. We never thought we'd do a bath nightly, but she loves it so we do (we just don't use soap every night). She will sometimes be freaking the eff out and then will become instantly calm in the bath.
We use the California Baby shampoo on her hair and bod about every 3-5 days or so. She doesn't react to it and it smells nice.
You don't need special washcloths for a baby. Just use your normal washcloths or pick up a couple of soft ones if you don't have any.
Same goes for towels. You don't neeeeed a special towel for a baby, but even I can't resist this bear face.
Maybe we'll need something in the winter, but this kid is doing fine without lotion. I use sweet almond oil for myself to moisturize, so I'll probably try that on her.
Definitely could survive without this little bathtime whale pitcher from Skip Hop, but the baby really likes it! And it does a good job of keeping water out of her eyes, so it's functional.
You don't need one until you need one.
Two friends highly recommended this Keekaroo changing pad, so I trusted them even though it seemed a bit pricey. And lo and behold, this was the only place Nilou would hang out happily for the first five weeks of her life (see photo above). Little weirdo. In addition, it's wipeable so we don't have to spend money or drawer space or laundry space on changing pad covers.
To be clear, this is not a wipes warmer! That seems unnecessary, personally. However, a weighted, one-handed wipes dispenser is a very handy thing when you are cleaning up a wriggly butt that is trying to dive off the table. I prefer the style of the Ubbi dispenser, but Oxo also makes a really nice one.
We considered doing a cloth diapering service, but we never pulled the trigger on that so this is focused on disposables.
You're gonna need tons of diapers, but don't buy tons of them before the baby is born. Just get maybe one package of newborn diapers to start (or one package each from two different brands you want to try). Some friends of ours gave us leftover newborn diapers in a bunch of different brands, so we've tried so many at this point and try to take into account performance/eco-friendliness/chemicallyness/cost.
Mama Bear: this is the Amazon brand and they are our favorites right now, comparable to Pampers Pure but cheaper
Pampers Pure: basically the same as Pampers Swaddlers, but without chlorine, fragrance, parabens, etc. (expensive though)
Andy Pandy Biodegradable: these are made from bamboo, work very well and are the most eco-friendly, but too expensive for us
Pampers Swaddlers: a good diaper, which is why everybody uses them
Seventh Generation: good overall, and a little reasonable than some of the other eco-friendly brands when it comes to price
We've mostly been using Water Wipes, which have just water and a drop of fruit extract They work well and the baby hasn't had any negative reactions to them. Amazon's brand of wipes is also great and they pull out of the container a little more easily.
I like the Weleda brand for my own skin care, so I figured it would be great for the baby too! They have this diaper care cream with calendula and zinc oxide. We only use it at night before her long sleep, and we haven't had any issues with diaper rash so far.
This diaper caddy thing is bulkier than I'd like, but extremely useful. It's easy to manage with one hand and unfolds into a changing mat, with a place for diapers, wipes and room for an extra onesie just in case. That way you aren't digging around your bag trying to find everything while your baby is literally pooping all over everyone at a restaurant. I also stick a roll of dog poop bags in there that have come in handy for both the dog and the baby's extra dirty diapers/clothing.
I like the Ubbi pail because you can just use regular bags. It seems to contain the hazardous materials and toxic fumes, and my husband would like you to know (because he is right here over my shoulder) that he likes it better than the Diaper Genie.
A diaper-specific bag isn't necessary—you just need a bag that fits your stuff. You might already own one that works. I just use a regular ol' canvas shopping bag. However, I just bought an Amber & Ash tote bag as a new work bag and am kind of obsessed with it. It's one of the most functional bags I've ever owned. I may get one of their backpacks or another tote bag to use as a baby bag once we actually need to carry more stuff around.
Carseat + Stroller
We have the Nuna Pipa infant carseat, which is one of the safest and lightest infant carseats of the bunch. It can also be strapped in to a car without a base, if needed, so that makes it great for traveling. It has a built-in "dream drape" we use constantly to keep Nilou in the shade.
Stroller: Baby Jogger City Mini GT, Nuna Mixx2 or Nuna Tavo
We went back and forth a lot on whether to get the Nuna Mixx2 or Nuna Tavo stroller travel system (both work with our carseat) or the Baby Jogger City Mini GT (with adapters so the Nuna carseat can still click right in). We had originally planned on one of the Nunas because I assumed they would be the best, but then we test drove them side-by-side after the Baby Jogger was recommended to us by no less than six friends.
The Baby Jogger has really, really smooth ride—better than the Nuna. It folds and unfolds super easily in one motion with one hand (it's famous for it!), and it's pretty compact once it's folded down so it makes it easy to throw it in the trunk like we do all the time.
The Nuna (and Uppababy) strollers feel more high-end in the design, fabrics and features. For me, the black 2019 Tavo stroller is most stylish looking stroller ever and the Nuna car seat clicks right in without adapters. With the Mixx2, the storage baskets are much bigger and you have more options with the baby's seat. It turns into a little bassinet and you can face the seat toward you, which is something I wish ours did... but it's all temporary and eventually babies like to sit out and face the world so I'm sure we'll all survive.
Travel stroller: Mountain Buggy Nano or Uppababy Minu
We didn't want two strollers, so this is a minimalism fail. We travel a lot though—something a little lighter and more compact felt like a smart investment. I love the Uppababy Minu, which is a pretty new model that I test drove in the store. However, the Mountain Buggy Nano is also very popular and sleek (and $150+ cheaper), so we bought that instead. Both can be used with an infant carseat, are very lightweight and fold down small enough that you can stow them in the overhead compartment of most planes. And yet they feel sturdy enough to use every day. We used the Nano all over Europe and it was perfect. My husband keeps it in his car now so that we don’t have to transfer the other stroller back and forth, and I can see us using this one a lot more as Nilou gets older and we do more traveling.
Wraps + Carriers + places to set the baby down
I could not have gotten through the first three months without this piece of fabric (see above: yawning baby!). The Solly wrap is wizardry, like a wearable swaddle. Nilou doesn't always do well with sleeps during the day, but she will nap in this thing for a while. Even if she's not sleeping, I can at least tidy up or walk our dog. Nilou can come along for the ride and I can use both my hands. They come in great colors and it's a lightweight fabric so neither of us gets hot (I thought the Moby too thick for summer). I got the camel one, which is one of those colors that's so ugly it's cute. It also won't show poop stains.
I haven't used the structured carriers as much as the Solly yet, but (after trying a few) my husband loves this classic Baby Bjorn. The baby hangs out in it a lot and seems super comfy.
1000% love this bouncer. Around six weeks old, Nilou started hanging out in this all the time! I like it because I can set her up and get stuff done without always having to wear her on my body like I had been. It doesn't have any bells and whistles, but it doesn't need them.
I wouldn't call this a must for everyone, though I have friends who love-love-love these things. The baby napped in the Snuggle Me during the day when she was very little (the first 2-3 weeks). I loved it for taking photos of her, too. With N's reflux I was sometimes hesitant to put her down flat, so I think that kept us from using it as much as we might've. I like that Snuggle Me is a Minnesota company and doesn't have the logo so prominently displayed (looking at you, DockATot). If you can find one used or to borrow, I'd do that at least to see if you want to make the investment, because these are pricey for pillows.
Rock 'n' Play/Baby Swing/etc.
There are so many sleep/play/soothe gadgets out there, guys. For now, we are doing fine without most of them. Nilou hated the rock 'n' play that we borrowed from her cousins. We've put her in baby swings at other people's houses and she likes those, but we just don't have room in our house. Eventually we realize we may need more stuff to keep her entertained, but we will probably turn to Craigslist.
This is a section of stuff you won't necessarily need for a few months, but might as well figure out the basics while you have the energy.
We have the Inglesina Fast Table chair that will clip on to any sturdy countertop or table. If we had more space in our dining room, we'd probably get a dedicated high chair to better contain the mess (IKEA has a good one that's $22), but I like that this one is portable and stows when it's not being used.
Every parent I know owns these.
You don't need a baby-specific plate or bowl, but something that they can't move easily or throw onto the ground sounds nice. This one has a marble look to it that I thought was kind of chic for a baby dish. It is silicone and suctions so it won't slide off the table.
Not a must, but it might save some cleanup. And this one is shaped like a cloud.
It's hard to know what you're going to need or want until your baby is actually in front of you. My advice? Register for a mix of sizes so that you aren't stuck with only newborn clothes and nothing for the next phase. Focus mainly in sleepers and bodysuits.
Both my husband and I are the kind of people that wear the same few items of clothing over and over, so it's not a shock that we wind up dressing our daughter in the same few items on a regular basis. Her daytime uniform is either a one-piece romper or a onesie + pants/shorts. Also, depending on the time of year and how often you do laundry (we do it pretty much constantly), you don't need very many baby clothes, so this is the one area you can easily keep minimal.
zippered footie pajamas
Nilou didn't really wear anything else except sleepers for the first month, day and night. Choose a few with the built-in mittens for the daytime because baby fingernails are like tiny razor blades. And definitely zippers-only, people. Snaps are torture when you are trying to put clothes on a crying baby at 3 am because she pooped all over herself. Stretchy fabrics are the easiest to put on and are light for summer (like Pajammie, Kickee Pants or Silkberry—all really nice), but the classic cotton pajamas tend to hold up better in the wash so it's a trade-off. We have about 3-4 sleepers per size, which feels like enough because we do laundry all the time.
My favorite cotton pajamas so far are the Earthy Organic sleepers, which are very high-quality and have a handy two-way zipper. They run long, which is good for Nilou because she’s tall. They tend to go in and out of stock on Amazon, but they are the best. I also like Owlivia Organic (heavy cotton for fall/winter), Burt's Bees (a little thinner material for summer, very affordable), and Parade Organics.
I just told you snaps were torture, but they aren't so bad during the day. Nilou wore three long-sleeved kimono onesies from Carter's on rotation with some pants or shorts once we started dressing her in "real clothes" more often. (Just kidding, we still dress her in basic onesies and pants almost every day.) When babies are very little, the kimono style makes them easier to put on than regular long-sleeved onesies (and they also have the built-in mitts).
Now she mainly wears regular onesies (I think we have about eight of them in rotation at a time) from all over the place.
baby leggings + shorts
N has two pairs of shorts, a pair of stretchy-soft jogger pants and a couple pairs of leggings. That's really all she needs in the summer. Most of these are from Old Navy.
Online shopping is quite easy while nursing, so you'll have plenty of time to pick out the cute things after the baby is born. We have maybe 3-4 "dressier" outfits for Nilou right now (mostly from the Gap) and that feels like more than enough. My favorite thing to put her in are cotton rompers because they are practical but they look less basic than her usual basics.
Nilou was born in spring so we didn’t need a lot of weather-related items at first. JUST KIDDING, I live in a frozen hellscape and a huge blizzard was dropping feet of snow on top of Minneapolis as we drove the baby home from the hospital in mid-April. Anyway, we were mostly inside during the last of the cold season so we got away with not having many warm things. However, if you are due in a colder month, things like baby zip-up hoodies, jackets, buntings, fleece booties, mittens, hats, socks, etc. are obviously important.
Don't be stingy about the bibs. We went through a million of these bandana bibs per day during the spit-up phase, and I think they are adorable (llama prints, cactus prints!).
Toys + Books
Nilou has a lot of books already. I have to remind myself that the library exists and we don't need to own all the books in the world. Board books and sensory books are her favorites so far. Personally, I love the Little Feminist series and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (she laughs all the way through). I also have a few books in Spanish that I like to read to her because my attempts to speak Spanish to her all the time have otherwise failed (Ni guau ni miau is beyond cute and was originally written in Spanish, which is always a nice thing to find versus the usual translations of English books).
Newborns don't care about toys, but our daughter started to kind of care about them at 4 months. Her favorites are teething toys (this Comotomo teether is always in her clutches... or Sophie the Giraffe or this banana toothbrush) and sensory toys (like this Infantino toy that has crinkly paper inside so it makes noise). She is starting to make friends with her stuffed tiger (Jellycat makes the softest stuffed animals ever) and she likes this wooden baby gym from IKEA. And that is is basically her whole toy collection right now. Yup.
In the wings, we have some $3 stacking cups I also bought at IKEA, a Jellycat puppy lovey (that looks like our dog Georgie) and this Manhattan Toy contraption that is a rattle that also looks like a piece of modern art. (Update: At six months, she became obsessed with the cups and the rattle.)
I don't own either of these, but I am intrigued by The Play Gym and the Play Kits by Lovevery, because they seem like exactly what I want in baby toys: purposeful developmentally appropriate toys in non-ugly packages that could literally just be the only toys that we have. They come with guides for the parents, which I find really helpful because a lot of us have forgotten how to really play.
Hell yeah it's okay put some yoga classes on your registry.
Prenatal or postnatal massage
Prenatal or postnatal yoga classes
newborn or family photo session with a local photographer
Artifact Uprising gift card
To have the baby's first photo album printed. Because if you put it off you will never do it.
For the record, I still have a belly full of stretch marks but I still like this body oil.
waterproof mattress protector for your bed
Because your water might break in that bed, yo.
It can be quite useful when you are stuck with a sleeping or nursing baby on top of you and can't move.
I've talked about this before when I wrote a post about grocery delivery service, but spending money to save me time and grief on something I don't love to do is one of the best luxuries. Best of all for the true minimalist, these do not take up any physical space.
Okay, I'm DONE.
If you have any questions about baby stuff or things to add to this monstrosity of a post, please leave a comment!