10 Things You Need For Baby

baby

Having three boys to take care of and mad organizational skills, I’ve become obsessed with downsizing our stuff. It started when I pregnant and I realized the only way I was going to stay sane during my “in the trenches” years with the boys was to adapt a minimalist lifestyle. I spent my frantic nesting hours throwing out anything and everything we didn’t desperately need, keeping only the essentials for the next babies. And it worked! Turns out, you don’t really need much at all. Here are ten things you need for baby…

1. Feeding Supplies. You might breastfeed your baby, or you might use formula. You may choose a combination of both. But whichever method suits you, your baby will need to eat. Buy bottles, buy formula, buy a couple of bras with a fancy clip for whipping out your hoo-ha’s, but you’ll need some aid.

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2. A Crib. At some point, I promise, your baby will sleep. And when that happens you will want to put them somewhere. Why not put them in a crib? Then crawl under the covers with a delicious bucket of ice cream and pass out before the spoon ever reaches your lips.

3. A Camera. Your baby will do remarkable things. Just watching your baby sleep will take your breath and you’ll want to remember each rise and fall of their chest, every flutter of every eyelash, the way each of their tiny fingers gently curl around yours. You’ll need a camera, and you’ll need to use it. It takes dedication but you won’t regret it.

4. A New Favorite Shirt. You need a new favorite shirt because your old favorite shirt isn’t going to fit, and when it does fit again it won’t be the same. It’s ok, get a new one. You deserve it.

5. Help. You’re going to need help. It doesn’t feel good to need help, and you won’t feel good asking for help, but when someone isactually helping you and you are actually laying on the couch doing nothing, that will feel good.

6. Yoga Pants. Honestly, I didn’t understand yoga pants until my third baby. I didn’t want to be “that” mom, I thought I was too good for yoga pants. I was wrong, no one is too good for yoga pants. You need yoga pants because they are the only piece of clothing that you can sleep in and continue to wear for the entire day and still feel amazing. They are slimming, they are comfortable, they are perfect. Don’t be too good for yoga pants.

7. A Doctor. Your baby will go to their pediatrician often, and you’ll need a good one. You want a doctor that respects you, bonds with you, and loves caring for your child. Essentially, you’re going to be in a relationship with your baby’s doctor for the next 18 years, so trust your gut, choose a great one, and rest easy knowing that your baby is well cared for.

8. Diapers and Wipes. My dad likes to describe the life of a newborn with the phrase “eat, sleep, and poop.” We’ve already covered eating and sleeping, but what about pooping? You’ll want to contain and dispose of it, and much like number one on this list, you get to choose how to do that. Just don’t feel let down when friends ignore your adorable baby registry and buy you hordes of baby wipes instead. A good stockpile of baby wipes is the BEST gift you can receive.

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9. Boundaries. You have a new baby and you need boundaries. You need boundaries when your boss asks you to work late again, or when a friend asks for a favor that you simply don’t have the time for, and when little old ladies in the grocery store try to touch your baby or tell you the only teething remedy you should ever use (and it involes whiskey) you’ll need boundaries then too. Don’t ever feel guilty about setting your boundaries. They are your boundaries and they will do great things for your confidence as a mother, use them often.

10. Confidence. There’s that confidence word again. Turns out, what you do need for a baby isn’t all about the stuff you buy. Confidence in your mothering is a learned skill and if you’re like a lot of us, it won’t come naturally. The old adage “fake it ’till you make it?” Do that, and one day you’ll realize you aren’t faking it anymore. You’ll be a vibrant, confident, loving mother. And that is the most important thing that you do need for your baby.

About the writer

Jessica is a writer and photographer in Nebraska. Her writing has been in The New York Times, Huffington Post, BabyCenter, and Brain, Child. When she's not writing or taking pictures she's the coordinator of chaos for her three boys and blogs at Little Victories with Bub, Teebs, and Scooter. Jessica is currently working on her first book project and raising funds to help with all of the awesomeness. Read more about her book here.

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Christie Cunningham 2 years ago

The choice between breastfeeding or bottle feeding is whether or not it suits YOU? And the baby? How anyone can think a man-made formula from a can is an accetable substitute…. (no I'm not dissing moms who can't breastfeed due to medical conditions…)

Cassie 2 years ago

Becoming a minimalist myself, I love this! People say, “Kids cost a lot of money.” and “Babies require so much!” They don’t!!!! Society tells us babies require money and things. They just need love, food, shelter, clothing, diapers, and security (most of which, cost nothing at all).

Wendy 2 years ago

That’s great, Sabrina, but not so much an option in New England, at least not 10 months out of the year!

Ganzii 2 years ago

I remember being so excited to fill out the baby registry, and the whole experience ended with me sobbing and overwhelmed by how much STUFF is out there for babies. I had no clue.

The one thing I didn’t think I needed was a rocking chair. Turns out my son would not sleep ever, and was difficult to soothe. I ended up panic-ordering one from Walmart’s website at about 2am a week after he was born. Absolute life saver! He’s almost 3 now and will still occasionally ask me to rock him if he is not feeling well or has a bad dream. I enjoy it now because he’s growing up and those snuggly moments are getting to be few and far between.

I was also in love with the diaper genie!

If I ever have more babies though, I’ll definitely be minimizing the amount of junk I buy. I got crazy. Crib, pack & play, AND portable co-sleeper bassinet? Ain’t nobody got time for alla that.

Beth 2 years ago

A ton receiving blankets, for swaddling, wiping drool, snot, milk, formula, covering.

Sabrina 2 years ago

I’ll just let mine be naked… lol. We live in Florida. It’s hot. The less layers the better….
Baby nekkid time all the time.

Sabrina 2 years ago

I wear yoga pants. all.the.time. My hubby loves them because he says my ass looks great in them, and I don’t care if they get all gross from housework and cooking. I can’t wait to be that mom rockin’ the yoga pants.
And dear God yes to 8. I buy my friends a basket full of wipes and diapers in all sizes when they have babies. I always get the biggest thank yous for it.

Tanya 2 years ago

Yoga pants were my best friend!! So comfy and they look a lot better than sweats.

Sarah Hultquist 2 years ago

Oh man! Yoga pants, the only piece of clothing you can sleep in and continue wearing the rest of the day! So true!

Jess 2 years ago

Love the list! Though I think it’s nice to be prepared with an arsenal of weapons, er, items, to help get through the tough first weeks (months), I still like the spirit of this blog. My youngest is now 1, and I am entering a minalism phase (donate, throw out, just get it out of my house!).

grownandflown 2 years ago

Long ago, as a first time mom, I had no idea what I needed so tended to buy way more than I ever used. The funny thing was that I did the same exact thing all over again when I was helping him get ready for college. It is a second intense period of nesting….

don 2 years ago

Lol, right? I was going to mention that she forgot alcohol, so I’m glad somebody else beat me to it. I’d lose the shirt and insert alcohol. Baby is just going to spit up all over the shirt anyway.

Jessica Smock 2 years ago

Yes to the yoga pants! And I wish the theme of your post — less stuff, more emotional preparation and confidence — would get through to new moms. But it’s such a ritual to receive and think that you need endless baby stuff. It’s so tough to focus on what really matters.

Wendy 2 years ago

Lots and lots of onesies! Babies spit up, and diapers leak, and you will go through several changes of clothes, both for you and baby! I also always had a spit up cloth (the big, fold-your-own diapers) over my shoulder, and went through several of those every day for months with both kids.

Stacy W 2 years ago

Love it!! Wish I would have seen this before I had my kid.

MomChalant 2 years ago

I love that you mentioned boundaries. I could shoot an “AMEN, HALLELUJAH” to that one!

Kristen Mae at Abandoning Pretense 2 years ago

My house looked like a Babies-R-Us with both babies. And, aside from that stunning, frilly bassinet I bought at goodwill for my first baby, and the charming moses basket I bought for the second, I USED EVERY SINGLE THING.

But I’m pretty sure I would’ve been just fine with only the things on this list. (and the carseat, as someone else mentioned) 😉

Emily 2 years ago

How about an answering machine? You DO NOT have to answer the phone every time it rings, even if it’s your mother!

Kristen Mae at Abandoning Pretense 2 years ago

^^^ YES!

Gina Fenton 2 years ago

PERFECT. As a mom of four, newborn nursery RN and childbirth educator I’ve been thinking this for years.

Bravo!!

Enough with the over-the-top automatic baby soothing devices that do everything but teach your kid a foreign language and how to play poker.

The world’s gone stark raving MAD!!

Sharing… Thank you.

Brandi 2 years ago

I was one of those 1st time mommies who went hog wild and bought whatever I wanted. Only to realize a year later, half of it went unused. But my pregnancy was pretty rough, so that was the only joy I had for a while, buying cute, useless things.
Kris is right, you definitely need a sense of humor.

Keely 2 years ago

Awesome advice. I dispensed with wipes altogether though– I had about 30 baby washcloths and for diaper changes/ spit-up, snot and barf, I simply used them and that perineum rinse bottle they gave me at the hospital to dampen, wipe, and repeat as needed. A baby carrying contraption and blanky is all that I would add.

Debbie 2 years ago

This is refreshing! I would add a blanket or Teddy Bear. Something that little one can call his own and no one else can use it.
I can’t believe the stuff people buy for babies now. The thing that really sticks out for me is the tummy time mate. I always though a blanket on the floor you have around the house works just great.
Thanks again and yes, Confidence is something to hold on too. You are a better mother than you think, so yes, fake it until you make it. You will know that baby better than anyone!

Mary 2 years ago

I agree with Kris. Definitely a sense of humor! It helps when you start gagging so badly while changing a diaper that you vomit. Or the time my daughter projectile vomited down the front of my nightgown and pooled in my underwear. Hey at least it missed the white carpet!
Two things you missed. A car seat and a stroller. Doesn’t have to be the fanciest. But getting out of the house is key to keeping your sanity. Plus it’s nice to get the exercise by going for walks.

Kris 2 years ago

Wine. A sense of humor. And the understanding that every difficulty you experience is temporary. Oh, and wine.

birdlady 2 years ago

How refreshing to see a post that doesn’t focus on all of the crap that you don’t really need for a baby. One absolute necessity that you left out, though, is a car seat. I also recommend a travel crib over a stationary one, so you can bring it to grandma’s or a hotel.