minimalist baby registry
Hey mama! You probably landed here because you’re trying to figure out what you need for your new baby.
I vividly remember making my registry for my daughter. It was so frustrating. I called my mom dozens of times asking some variation of, “do I REALLY need this?”
I’d load up my registry, review it, get a gut feeling like I was overdoing it, then take a bunch of things off. I probably did this over a dozen times.
When you have a new baby, you can’t get away with buying nothing, but from the get go I decided that I didn’t want to bring a bunch of pointless junk into our house. Instead, I hoped for every item to be functional and serve a purpose.
There are thousands of bloggers that will tell you “these 10 things were my must-haves!” The catch? Those 10 things are usually different for everyone. So how do you decide what your must-haves will be?
Truth is, you won’t be able to actually do this until you’re doing life with your babe. You can read all the blogs in the world, but nothing beats experience.
However, you need to start somewhere. minimalist baby registry
If you’re like most people, you’ll probably want to have the basics on hand before your little one makes his or her appearance. But that just leads us back to the same question…what are the basics?
Well, they’re a bit different for everyone, and deciding how much or how little you want to buy comes down to your parenting philosophy.
A few things about me and my parenting philosophy (at least so far)…
- I’m a minimalist and absolutely hate owning things that do not serve a purpose. When I buy something new, I place it in view so I can look at it over and over, try it out a few times (if possible), then decide if it deserves a permanent spot in our home. I often “sit on” a new item for weeks and return at least 60-70+% of what I buy.
- I roughly follow Montessori principles. This means no swaddles (to encourage freedom of movement), no white noise (to encourage the link between sound and meaning), no pacifiers or mittens, and no baby-holding devices (to encourage independence and connection).
- I like to be hands-on. When realistic and/or possible, I avoid modern devices that replace mother/tribe: electronic swings, breast pumps, bottles, pacifiers, electronic toys, baby-holding devices, electronic cribs, shushers…and things that separate baby from natural elements: sunscreen, soap, and clothes.
- When realistic and/or possible, I mirror how our ancestors mothered. If an item is modern (i.e. introduced in the last 50-100 years), I question it. In my opinion, some modern items improve the mothering experience and others complicate it. One example is the pacifier. Babies got their sucking fix and soothed themselves using mom’s nipple for millions of years. Enter: the pacifier. Now, babies have something like mom’s nipple (but not mom’s nipple) around the clock. Convenient? Yes. Confusing for baby? Also yes. Research and anecdotal evidence shows that pacifiers can lead to nipple confusion (which can cause problems with breastfeeding), addictions for baby, and palate damage. If you apply this thinking to other modern baby devices, you’ll probably come up with similar conclusions. In my opinion, many of these devices confuse baby (and mother) more than they help.
The below post beautifully mirrors my philosophy on physiological mothering.
I don’t have a crystal ball so I cannot tell you what your parenting must-haves will be, but if the above things are aligned with your philosophy, you may find this post useful.
Keep reading to learn about the items that helped us during the newborn stage (0-3 months) and beyond.
For more animal-based pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and motherhood resources, check out my Pregnancy hub. minimalist baby regist
I broke this post down into the following sections:
- bath time
Each section starts with an explanation of why I use the things I use for that topic, and ends with a summary list.
One thing for sure is that your little one will pee and poop…a lot! To keep things simple, I bought incontinence pads that I use as a mobile changing table. I keep one in our living room area (where we are at most of the day) and one in our bedroom for nighttime changes. Once they get dirty, we just throw them in the wash.
As for diapers and wipes, we use Dyper (bamboo diapers) and Water Wipes (ingredients: 99% water + fruit extract). We haven’t had any issues with either. I considered doing cloth diapers, but being a first time mom, I didn’t want to overwhelm myself with managing diapers. We may move to cloth diapers once Farrah is pooping 100% of the time in her baby potty. Which brings me to…
I also purchased this baby potty. Around 3.5 months, we started Elimination Communication. If this interests you, you can start as early as birth! If you start this early, you may want to consider getting the tophat potty for newborns.
We initially put a diaper pail in our registry. Diaper pails are basically fancy scented garbage cans. Once it came in the mail, we realized we didn’t need it. We just ended up putting dirty diapers in a paper bag in the garage to eventually be transferred to our garbage bin. They don’t smell (breastfed baby poop doesn’t smell that bad – no one tells you that) so we haven’t had an issue doing this. However, if we didn’t have a garage and lived in a smaller space like an apartment, we may have considered keeping the diaper pail.
Update: while we have never had a problem with Dyper, an online friend sent me this post and we decided to switch to Joonya (Happy Little Camper was a close second, but Joonya’s print is just so cute). So far, we love them! They’re cotton and much softer and thinner than Dyper, and I assume, must be more comfortable for my daughter due to that. minimalist baby registry
So for diapering, we use:
We also got a baby potty for Elimination Communication, and while a diaper pail wasn’t necessary for us, it may have been useful if we lived in a smaller space without a garage.
We like to keep bath time simple.
I either bathe Farrah or bathe with her in our bathtub, and we use this insert. Sometimes I hold her and we do skin-to-skin, but it’s also fun to face her and play with her. The insert does a great job at keeping her in place, which was something I was concerned about when she was very little.
We gave her her first bath at 18 days old and still use the insert today (she is 4 months now).
We also purchased these washcloths. We use a fresh one every bath time, so it’s great that the set came with so many.
We don’t use soap or lotion (just haven’t felt the need to), but if we did, I’d use Toups & Co’s Baby Wash + Baby Balm Set (ASHLEYR10 for 10% off). The ingredients are gentle and zero chemicals are used:
I bought the set and have it on hand in case I ever feel the need to use it.
We also got two of these baby towels. They’re fun and cute and there’s nothing like seeing your squeaky-clean smiley little babe with hooded animal ears, but if you’re trying to be super minimal, I don’t think baby towels are necessary. They are smaller and softer and more ergonomic in a way (especially since newborns struggle to regulate their temperature and get cold when coming out of the bath), but if you want to use normal towels, I don’t see why you wouldn’t be able to. Just wrap your baby in a way where they are fully covered (including their head) and warm. minimalist baby registry
So for bath time, we use:
We also use these baby towels, however normal towels could also work assuming you’re covering baby properly. We don’t use soap or lotion, but if we did, I’d use Toups & Co’s Baby Wash + Baby Balm Set (ASHLEYR10 for 10% off).
Hands down, this birth ball was (and still is) one of the most valuable parenting tools we own. In the early days, when nothing else calmed Farrah down, a few minutes holding her while bouncing on this ball was magic. Within a few minutes, she was dead asleep. I kid you not, bouncing on the ball while holding her worked nearly 100% of the time…assuming her other needs were met.
Now, when she needs a nap (I still wear her for naps), I strap her into our Baby Bjorn Mini, bounce on the ball, and in a couple of minutes, she is out cold. minimalist baby registry
So for soothing, our one and only (amazing) tool we use is this birth ball.
I am exclusively breastfeeding (no bottles, no pacifiers, no formula, breastfeeding on demand), so there isn’t much required here other than boobs.
If my lifestyle required bottle-feeding, however, I would use a breast pump, breast milk storage bags, and bottles.
I also purchased this nipple cream and planned to use it in the event that my nipples became sensitive, but I ended up returning it since I never needed it. But if you end up needing some nipple cream, check out the reviews for the one I linked. They look great!
One thing that has been a feeding staple for us is these muslin cloths. We keep 20 on hand and cycle through them pretty quickly. I have one or two around at all times to clean Farrah when she spits up. Also, if I need to set her down on the bed or floor real quick, I’ll put a muslin cloth down first, then place her head on the cloth. This protects our surfaces. minimalist baby registry
So for feeding, we use:
If my lifestyle required bottle-feeding, I’d also use a breast pump, breastmilk storage bags, and bottles. And if my nipples were dry, cracked, or sensitive, I’d consider using this nipple cream as well.
Ah, baby sleep. What a controversial topic.
Farrah and I co-slept from birth and still do.
To get ready for her arrival, I purchased a crib (plus this mattress and these sheets). I had no idea what baby sleep would look like and it didn’t feel right to not have a crib.
We may put her in the crib some day, or we may do something else (like a floor bed), but for now, we co-sleep.
Around 2-3 months, I started putting Farrah in our SnuggleMe (placed between my husband and I in our bed) for the first stretch of sleep for the night. This is usually 2-3 hours, sometimes more. Once she wakes from that and eats, I let her sleep on me for the rest of the night. This has been great as she gets a little independence (and I get to stretch out a few hours per night!) while staying close.
Montessori-parents swear by the Topponchino for sleep. We tried one and Farrah never really took to it. I ended up folding it in half and using it as a pillow to place under her chest during the early tummy time days.
As for white noise, I decided against it. I have heard white noise machines can be detrimental to hearing development. They drown out all noise which may lead to children struggling to develop an association between sound and meaning.
Same with shushers. Those things kind of freak me out.
So for sleep, we use:
We tried the Topponchino and while that didn’t work for us, many parents swear by it. If you don’t plan to co-sleep, consider getting a bassinet, crib, mattress, and/or sheets. minimalist baby registry
We haven’t taken Farrah to a pediatrician nor do we plan to in the near future, so I track her growth at home.
I use this scale to measure her weight. It’s been great so far and we have had no issues with it.
I also have this thermometer on hand. We haven’t had to use it yet. I’m not even sure I would (even if I suspected she had a fever) as I don’t want to put anything up her butt. Either way, it’s nice to have on hand for peace of mind. We tried a forehead thermometer and it ended up being super inconsistent.
I also got this anti-choking device for when she starts to eat. We won’t need it for a few more months, but the success stories were so profound that I felt like I needed to buy it immediately. I’d rather have it super early than not have it when I need it.
Knock on wood, but we haven’t needed anything else in the health department thus far aside from Nat Phos around 6 weeks (a homeopathic remedy for gas – highly recommend this if you end up having a gassy baby). Both my husband and I caught the VID when she was 6 weeks old, plus she has been around family members with other illnesses. In all cases thus far, she made it out unscathed. We’re believers in immunity-building via natural illness, so I plan to keep her away from medications (baby aspirin, baby Tylenol, Benadryl, etc.) as much as possible.
Also, breastmilk is the best medicine.
So for health, we use:
- thermometer (haven’t used but have on hand)
- anti-choking device (for later)
Because babies grow so fast, they cycle through clothes fast. We live in Texas (it’s very hot here) and my daughter was born in May. I wasn’t sure how many clothes we would need (if any) so I put barely any on our registry.
I’m glad I went with my gut on that.
It’s become a running joke in our family that Farrah never wears clothes. I sent my sister-in-law a picture of Farrah wearing a romper the other day and her response was, “SHE’S WEARING CLOTHES!?”
The only clothes she owns are the clothes people have bought her as gifts. I put them on from time to time, but really, 95% of the time she just wears a diaper. This is great when she goes outdoors because her skin gets a lot of sun.
The only thing I’ve found necessary in the clothing department – for us – is PJs.
I love the brands Carter’s (especially their Little Planet organic cotton line) and L’oved Baby since they do not use flame retardants, so that’s what we buy. L’oved Baby is a bit pricey, but very high quality/worth it if you can fork up the bucks. Best quality fit and feel out of all of the baby pajamas we’ve tried to date.
So for clothing, we use:
- PJs (Carter’s and L’oved Baby)
- any clothes gifted to us
This will change as she gets older, but these days she’s rollin’ around near nakie. minimalist baby registry
At first, I was unclear what I wanted to do in regards to toys.
Toys and play are important for infant development, but I didn’t want to bring plastic junk into our house or toys that weren’t geared toward Farrah’s development. Both my husband and I also aren’t fans of electronic toys, so we wanted to steer clear of those too.
I was interested in Montessori toys, but wasn’t sure where to start. I tried creating my own plan after learning about infant milestones and reading blogs/watching videos, but that was overwhelming. I bought copycat Montessori toys on Amazon, but they ended up being cheap junk. And I second guessed myself if I was piecing everything together correctly.
Then I found Lovevery and it was everything I hoped for!…play kits with Montessori-inspired toys made using high quality, durable, low-toxic materials. Each set is created specifically for a developmental stage, and they’re shipped to you every 2 months do you don’t have to think about it.
For the next two years, I don’t have to think about toys. And you can start at any developmental stage. Your baby doesn’t have to be a newborn.
Everyone has a different definition of “cheap,” but I personally found the play kits to be very affordable…especially since you can re-use the toys for future children.
I got both the play gym and play kit subscription for Farrah.
Each play kit (and the play gym) has a video on the bottom of the product page. I’d recommend starting there to learn more. I found the videos to be helpful and inspirational. Lovevery also includes a thorough booklet with the play gym and each play kit that explains the different milestones for each developmental stage and how each toy helps advance babies toward their milestones. Step-by-step guides of how to use the toys in different ways are also included.
I really love what Lovevery has done for market of baby toys! minimalist baby registry
So for toys, we use:
- Lovevery play gym (pictured below)
- Lovevery play kit subscription
I had no idea how much I’d use these muslin blankets, but I’m so glad I bought them. I initially got them to use as receiving blankets for when Farrah was born, but I ended up using them for so much more…as a light blanket to cover her while she naps, to cover the SnuggleMe so it doesn’t stain, to cover the Baby Bjorn Bouncer so it doesn’t stain, to lay on the floor for tummy time, to lightly wrap her in while I rock her to sleep. We use them so much that I ended up buying another pack.
Along with the birth ball and the muslin blankets, the Baby Bjorn Mini and the Baby Bjorn Bouncer are also among my most cherished parenting tools.
Early on, I learned that Farrah would not sleep (including naps) unless she was on me. The Baby Bjorn Mini has been wonderful for naps. I’m able to get stuff done while she naps, which is such a win. She is literally sleeping in it right now as I type this blog post. 🙂 The carrier has been a lifesaver for my productivity!
The Baby Bjorn Bouncer – a non-electric bouncer – has equally been as valuable. This is the one exception I made to “no baby-holding devices.” I don’t mind it because it is baby-powered and not electronic. After she eats, she sits upright in it for a few minutes to aid digestion. We’ve also used it as a confinement tool for short periods of time. For the first 3 months or so, we didn’t need to strap her in. I could set her down in the bouncer near me while I did the dishes, for example. But once she started moving more, she figured out how to arch her back and slide out of it. So now, I have to strap her in if I want her to stay in it.
After doing some research on car seats and travel systems, we landed on the Chicco Bravo Travel System. minimalist baby registry
We haven’t used them much (used the car seat twice and have never used the stroller), but I like having them on hand in case we need them.
Update: I never thought I’d get a “play pen,” but we recently entered a transitionary phase (Farrah’s 8 months old) where she is crawling and standing but not yet walking. Because she’s moving so much, she doesn’t like to be confined to her bouncer for long (nor does it feel right in my gut to confine her for long). We got the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib (no flame retardants – check out this post) to use in place of the bouncer. I like it because she can move, roll around, and stand if I ever need to confine her while I’m doing something (like taking a shower or washing the dishes). It seems more like “floor time” than confinement. I wish I would have put it on my registry, but I didn’t know I would need it at the time.
Two other large purchases we’ve made recently (that I didn’t know I would need when making my registry, but wish I would have put on my registry) are the Stokke Tripp Trapp (high chair) and Osprey Back Carrier (that we started using around 9 months). We use both daily!
So for miscellaneous must-haves, we use:
What I learned right around 3 months
Right around 3 months old, Farrah started rolling like a barrel around the house. I wasn’t expecting this to happen so early as most sources online say rolling happens at 5-7 months.
I’m not a big fan of confinement (and neither is Farrah), but sometimes confinement is necessary – at least for us – for short periods of time.
I was using her Baby Bjorn Bouncer as a confinement tool for awhile. As I mentioned above, I would place it by wherever I was and she would happily bounce and entertain herself.
But one day while not strapped in, she learned how to arch her back and slide down (don’t worry, I was sitting right there with her). Once she knew she could do this, she no longer liked being strapped in for more than a few minutes in the bouncer.
To create a safe space for her to roll around and play, I purchased this play yard (55×78) and this rug (pictured below). The 55×78 play yard is great because it fits perfectly over a 5×7 rug. I threw her Lovevery play gym in there along with her toys. She can usually keep herself occupied for a decent amount of time in there – at least for now. minimalist baby registry
Update: when Farrah was around 8 months old (she is almost 9 months old now), we turned our dining area (which housed this play yard) into a playroom.
If you want to shop the playroom, I saved the rug, shelf, bookshelf, lamp, pikler, and other items under “Farrah’s Playroom” in my Amazon store. The couch is the Nugget Comfort.
Well, that’s it for my baby must-haves!
Best of luck to you in building your registry.
If you have any questions, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more animal-based pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and motherhood resources, check out my Pregnancy hub.