Baby stuff: how much is "enough"?

At 8 months pregnant now, some serious nesting urges have kicked in (as in I may or may not have stayed up until 3 am last night looking at check lists and doing baby laundry… I’ll never tell, and you can’t make me!). I’ve been going through shower gifts and getting things sorted and put away like crazy, and have found myself grateful for the fact that even though what I have is a bit overwhelming, it’s not really that much stuff.

See, I decided a few  months ago, back when I was figuring out what to register for, that babies don’t really need THAT much stuff.  I mean, they just eat, sleep and poop, right? And I was developing hives at the sight of all the possible plastic baby stuff that manufacturers were telling me I “needed” to bring into my house.  (Both the expense and the plastic stuff, did I mention I’m not a huge fan of plastic stuff?).

Here’s where we’ve landed on the baby “stuff.”

Babies need:

  • Some clothes, a minimum of 4-8 onesies, 4-5 pair of pants to pull over said onesies, 4-5 jackets or something to wear on top, especially if your baby’s coming in the winter time, and 4-5 pair of socks and mittens.
  • Swaddling blankets (see Happiest Baby on the Block DVD): 4-5 or sleepers. We’re planning to swaddle for about 3 months, then do the sleepers.
  • Food. But fortunately, I’m equipped to handle that need 😉 (Awesome book on breast-feeding, Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers, I loved it!), added to that, I got a manual breast pump and am using BPA-free hand-me-down bottles from my sis-in-law so Husband can feed baby too.
  • Receiving blankets: 3-4 for warmth to cover a stroller or carrier
  • A carrier. We’re doing the Moby Wrap for the first few months exclusively, and then may use an Ergo when he gets bigger, tho the wrap is good up to about 30 pounds, so close to a year.
  • A car seat. We lucked out with a two-year-old Graco Car Seat as a hand-me-down. Awesome friends!
  • A place to sleep. We got a Arm’s Reach Mini Co-Sleeper Bassinet.
  • Diapers. We’re going cloth, and after much research have settled on the Thirsties Duo Wraps and a combination of prefolds and the Thirsties Duo Inserts.
  • Wipes. I’m making them. I had a stack of hand-me-down flannel receiving blankets, and I received a bunch more that were more my colors at my shower. So I’m cutting up the hand-me-downs into 7 inch squares and will be top-stitching them together (two squares per wipe) to make reusable wipes (I’ll post on this later so you can see them!).
  • A diaper/wipes pail. Since we’re doing cloth, I’m getting 2 5-gallon paint buckets from the hardware store with lids to make decent sized wet pails. If we decide we don’t like the wet pail route, I’ll buy some Bummi’s Waterproof tote bags to use as pail liners and go from there.
  • A place to set him down downstairs where he can see us and sleep. We’re getting this great baby seat by Baby Bjorn that moves with the baby’s movement. But you don’t even have to have this, you could get a Moses basket or something else that fits your lifestyle to set baby into sleep with you if baby’s room isn’t convenient.
  • A baby monitor.  This is one modern, plastic invention that I’m a big fan of :-)
  • Safety stuff: as in outlet guards, cabinet locks, gates etc, but you don’t even have to do this before they’re born as they’re not going to get into stuff right away.

I honestly think everything beyond this is a matter of convenience or preference, and while neither of those is bad, I think this shortened list is much easier on the budget, and is much simpler.  Plus, your house doesn’t get overwhelmed with plastic baby stuff!

Now, here’s a few more things I want to add as he gets older:

His room is nearly done being painted and somewhat decorated, but there’s still nothing it in. But you know what, that’s okay, cause he’s not going to sleep in there yet, and he doesn’t need everything in there ready the minute he comes out.

I filtered and filtered recommendations to get through this list, wondering if I was already a “bad” mother somehow as I created registries and the stores gave me lists of seemingly hundreds of items I “needed” to try to get for baby.  And you know what, I think he’ll have plenty. Parents through history have so few of these things when raising their kids and yet somehow these kids turned out just fine.  Looking at that, even my self-proclaimed minimalist list seems like so much overkill compared to what some people didn’t use to have and still managed to raise their babies (somehow there are 6 billion people in the world, folks!).

So I’ve taken a deep breath and since we’ve got pretty much everything on the initial list, I think we’re pretty well set in the stuff department (and I might add that thanks to the generosity of family and friends we’ve got more like 25 onesies).  Now, admittedly, we haven’t had him yet, so I may find that there are things on this list that I didn’t actually need, or that there are some things that are dang convenient that I didn’t think of now. However, I’ve talked and read a bunch of different folks that said they didn’t need as much as they thought they did, and their minimal lists look a lot like the one above.

My two cents. :-)

19 thoughts on “Baby stuff: how much is "enough"?

  1. As a mom of three, I think your list looks just about spot on. My only suggestion? You really are going to want at least twice, no make that three times as many clothes as you listed for the minimum for the first few months. Unless you really like doing laundry…and when my little ones were babies, I never did. :0)

    1. Excellent! I do have way more than the minimum of clothing thanks to shower presents, I think I have more like 20-25 onesies in 3 month-ish size and then another round of at least 10 already in 6 month-ish size (I’ve washed them all now, but haven’t counted and put away), plus a few things going up into 9 months and 12 months! So me thinks little Eli will be a well dressed baby, especially the way his grandmother’s like to shop for him 😉

      Thanks for your input :-)

  2. My baby mainly wears his diaper and is swaddled. I think we wear less than 10 of our onesies and 2 pairs of pants, especially now that the weather is turning. But it is always nice to have back up clothes. We co-sleep, so we use his pack n play in our bedroom as a place to set him down and change him, and his infant seat for everywhere else in the house. He is really comfortable in it and plays and will sleep in it. We also have a tummy time mat.

    I would suggest getting one or two wool or fleece covers/shorties/longies for nighttime. They are great for heavy wetters. You can upcycle your own or look through etsy, they are cheap and will save you wash!

    Just some thoughts.

    1. Jenna, sweet! thanks for the input… what exactly are the “wool or fleece covers/shorties/longies for nighttime” I have some waterproof pad thingy’s my sis in law handed down to me too, like flannel on one side for putting under baby on the bed or changing table to reduce the number of changing table covers and sheets that need washing… I like things that will save me washing stuff!

  3. Yeah, my list is similar. I think so far I have:

    – car seat
    – stroller (I plan to do a lot of walking after baby comes to help with the whole getting-rid-of-baby-weight thing, and I know my back won’t be able to handle wearing baby for all that :-P)
    – diapers/cloth wipes/wetbags
    – diaper bag
    – breast pads/nursing cover/Boppy pillow
    – glider rocker (well, don’t have it yet, but it’s ordered)
    – a few onesies/sleepers
    – a few blankets

    The only other things I plan to get are a Moby wrap, more onesies and blankets, some burp cloths/towels, and a changing table pad for the dresser we’re going to use as a changing table. I’ve gone back and forth on the co-sleeper but I think we’re going to just start off with baby in bed with us (since we have a king) and if it doesn’t work, buy the co-sleeper at that point. Since I’ll be having my “meet the baby” shower AFTER baby comes I figure that we can wait for more clothes, toys, etc until then…the things above will get us through the first month.

    1. Okay, so I do have a changing table tray thing on top of the dresser in our room with one of those contoured pad things and I’ve bought some covers for it, forgot that on the list, and I’ve got one wet bag so far, wanted to test it before I bought another, but I figure one wet bag for each of our diaper bags, and then maybe two more so we each have a back-up or something like that… I didn’t think to add the breast pads, nursing covers or Boppy pillow cause I was making a baby list, and forgot mama’s list 😛 I have all those tho, handed down except for the breast pads which are those awesome wool ones your friend linked to the other day on facebook and I’ve started wearing them… way comfy! totally love them.

      I plan to get a stroller too at some point, we’ll see how well my back does with the Moby wrap 😉

  4. If your baby is a spitty one, you will go thru the onesies pretty quick in the course of a day. If you don’t want to buy breast pads men’s handkerchiefs work really well, are inexpensive, and easy to wash. Thye aren’t waterproof, though. Sarah and Elizabeth say you need Lanisoh cream too–it wasn’t invented when my kids were babies (we used Crisco) but she says it’s a lifesaver, though rather messy. They are also fans of the nursing covers with a stiff top (so you can see the baby without everybody seeing everything) and Aimee gowns and tops.

    1. I did buy breast pads, these awesome wool ones! So comfy. And since they’re reusable, I only need like 2 pair, you just switch em out while you’re washing the others… raw wool, with the lanolin in it, naturally antibacterial, I’ve heard awesome things about them. I’ve been handed down two of those nursing covers, so I’ll be trying them! I also can nurse with him in the Moby wrap and stay covered… Or so they tell me, a lot of this I have to figure out with an actual baby! I’ll check out the gowns and tops… thanks for the input.

  5. You use them instead of the PUL cover.

    Longies and shorties, upcycled:

    wool soaker:


    Homemade upcycled:

    Why they’re great:

    I thought I would be OK with only 3 pairs of breast pads, but I needed 6. When they get wet it is really uncomfortable. I tried using baby washcloths and they’re great for around the house, but not absorbent enough for when I go out.

    Are you going to make your own nipple butter? You should and then post the recipe! I use Earth mama angel baby and it is great.

    1. Sweet linkage! Thanks! And yes, most likely, I also plan to make my own diaper rash cream and wipes solution… still researching best ingredients/recipes, but when I do, I’ll post them!

  6. A friend who cloth-diapers sent me the link to the pail. I like the idea of it a little better than just a diaper sprayer because it keeps the toilet and bathroom area completely clean and free from any residual “spray” which I’ve heard can be a problem. 😛 That said I don’t know how necessary it is at the beginning for a completely breastfed babe…they say you don’t have to rinse breastmilk poo before putting it in the wash.

    1. yeah, I’ve heard that too, but I think I’m going to rinse anyway… the idea of putting an un-rinsed poopy diaper in the wash, even with doing the whole rinse and spin cycle first seems a bit nasty to me 😛

  7. Just thinking about how I never woulda thought about making this comment back in my Sewanee days but…

    Hard-earned male experience here:

    Someone up top got it right about doubling the clothes

    Diapers: do not be afraid or ashamed it either of you decide to go the non-cloth route eventually. Cloth is tough to manage when both parents are sleep-deprived. Strongly suggest considering a “it’s ok to use the overnight super-absorbent non-cloth diper” rule at night for the preservation of sanity

    Breast-feeding: I know I’m the guy here, but… we went this route the first month and it just got to be too much on the mommy. Our doc always told us that the baby gets the overwhelming majority of disease preventing “good stuff” from the breast milk in the first two weeks. It’s ok to let go after that period. On that same note…the rule we had at our house was that the mommy took the day shift and the daddy took over with overnight chores

    Ah yes…diapers, bottles and the panther walk…remember it well

    Good luck

  8. I think he means the one where you sneak as silently as possible (like a panther) out of the nursery so sleeping baby stays that way…

  9. Stick your forearm out palm-side up, place the crying baby on your arm so her arms and legs dangle somewhat and head is comfortably resting on palm, walk up and down gently throughout the house until the baby falls asleep. Think “The Jungle Book” movie with the cat and kid asleep in the tree (no snake please…) This may have been a Lamase thing but it worked every time!

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