The Baby Stuff List: What Do I Really Need?
What Do I Really Need?
I have sent my pregnancy resources & baby stuff list to many friends, and most have said thank you and told me later how helpful it was… But one friend looked at the list, and e-mailed me back and said, but what do I actually NEED?
This friend lived in a small apartment and didn’t want to be overwhelmed with baby stuff — did they really need a crib, pack’n’play, rock’n’play, swing, bouncer, and bassinet?!? And when it comes down to it, do you really need anything for your baby? Of course you are going to need clothes, a place for your baby to sleep, diapers, and a way for you to get your baby around with you. And maybe you even need more than one place for your baby to sleep or more than one way to get around with your baby. But what you really need depends on your lifestyle and how you will adapt to having a baby, many parts of which will change after the baby comes, and you may not know what you truly need until after the baby is here.
However, our American culture revolving around babies for many involves showers, registries, and SO MUCH STUFF! It’s insane. And it seems to never end. I am a parent who lives in a small apartment, and I can tell you that the stuff just keeps coming, and there is no where to put it all! We can only keep so much, and we are thankful to have a good collection of quality toys and creative ways to store it all.
My most practical advice to my friend was to try to find used items. There are so many groups out there on Facebook and MeetUp that sell/swap used baby items, you can also look on Craigslist, and garage sales if they are in your area. Additionally, just asking friends with kids is helpful, because they may have items they would happily part with!I would recommend registering for the things you know you will need, and buying extras as you need them. Amazon Prime is great for quick delivery, so you can get things relatively quickly as needed. They even have Amazon Family which gives you exclusive discounts on diapers, baby food, and more!So, here is a streamlined version of my baby stuff list — with commentary about what you really NEED. Of course you can find the full, extremely detailed lists here: The Baby Stuff List, What Do I Really Need?, Nursery Gear, For Baby, Big Purchases, For Mom, Save, Spend, Splurge!, After the Baby Shower, The Baby is Here
The Baby Stuff List: What You Really Need
Nursery Gear: Necessities
- A place for your baby to sleep: this could be a crib + accessories (mattress, sheets, etc. see nursery gear for full explanation), pack n play, bassinet, co-sleeper, or even in your bed with you. The AAP recommends that infants have their own safe space to sleep. This article explains all of the latest research.
- Diaper changing station: I found the changing pad on top of the dresser to be helpful, but you could also just change your baby on the floor.
- Rocking or sitting with baby! I bought a rocker and don’t regret it, because we use it for reading stories too, but my babies also both loved rocking on the yoga ball.
For Baby: Necessities
- Disposable diapers or cloth diapers + wipes
- Blankets (really you just need one or two)
- Towels – if you really want to be a minimalist, just use the towels and washcloths you already have!
- Clothes and other textiles – You will definitely need burp cloths, bibs, and clothes (socks, outfits, swaddles/sleep clothes, Bundleme or Bunny suit for winter)
- Food: either breastmilk or formula. The accessories and supplies you need for each of these is different. It will also be different depending on how you choose to breastfeed and/or pump, if you choose to. I chose to breastfeed and rarely did pumping or bottles so I didn’t need much at all.
- Read more about other items you might want to plan for as well as toiletries, creams, medicine, etc:
Big purchases: Necessities
- Infant car seat. You may or may not need a stroller depending on your lifestyle.
- Eventually you will need a high chair.
- Floor chairs, jumperoos, exersaucers, swings, etc. are all optional but can be useful if you have space and want to have them. Read more here.
- If you plan to travel, you may need a travel crib.
- For me, a Baby carrier was essential because I like to wear my babies out and about and also around the house. It really calmed them during fussy times.
- And, the infamous diaper bag. I have found that a diaper bag is really unnecessary. You need something to carry all the stuff around with, but a regular backpack is just fine.
And then if you are breastfeeding: Necessities
- Get a free breast pump through health insurance
- You need Lanolin and nursing bras and nursing pads.
- Think about getting a nursing pillow… I found the Boppy to be more useful because you can also use it to prop up the baby from 0-6 mos.
- You can get some easy-access nursing tops but you can also just layer your shirts creatively so you can nurse in your regular clothes.