What does a baby really need? These minimalist baby essentials are neutral and timeless. They will work for either gender and can be passed down to any of your babies in the future!
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When you are expecting your first baby, the joy is like nothing else! You start to imagine who that little tiny baby growing inside you is going to be. The excitement, nervousness and anticipation of becoming a mom is so special.
After you make it through the first trimester, reality begins to sink in that you will be completely responsible for caring for this baby! You might begin to feel overwhelmed by all the choices you have to make if you are making a baby registry.
There are so many baby items to sift through, and if you haven’t had much time around babies, you may not know exactly what you will need! I, too, was overwhelmed by all the decisions I had to make when trying to figure out what a baby would need.
From my experience of becoming a mom to three in under three years I learned that babies need much less than you might think! This minimalist baby essentials list comes from my experience with my three babies. For each baby I have had, I have let go of more and more excess baby gear that I just know I will not use or have too much of.
If you are a mom expecting for the first time or mom who hasn’t had a baby in a while and are wondering what you need, this list is for you!
Before I go through my minimalist baby essentials list…
I just want to mention that this list is what has worked well for me and for my family’s lifestyle. There are a few things you may not need on the list or things you might need to add.
I did not include bottles or even a breast pump because for the past two babies I have exclusively breastfed. Exclusively breastfeeding has turned out to be the simplest thing for us. I enjoy not having to worry about cleaning bottles and I really hated pumping when I tried to do so for my first.
I also realize some of the items I listed are on the pricier side, but after having three babies and reusing most of the same items, I have noticed that the higher quality items have truly held up better. If you are buying higher quality items and only what you need, the price difference might even out.
Quality over quantity works well when trying to maintain a minimal amount of baby essentials.
Minimalist Baby Essentials
- 5-Pack of bodysuits – depending on the time of year you are having your baby, you may want a short sleeves or long sleeves pack of 5 bodysuits. I like these because they come in pretty neutral colors. White is nice, but over time, spit up might discolor the whiteness and they may not last you as long.
- Footie pants – these are my favorite for the first 3 months for sure. Socks and newborns just do not mix. They are always falling off and getting lost. This neutral pack of three will mix well with any of the neutral onesies so you don’t need a lot. 3 pairs of footie pants should be plenty.
- Knotted Gowns, Hats, Swaddles – my babies live in these knotted gowns for the first month and then sleep in them till they are about 3-4 months old. Knotted gowns are the easiest thing for changing all the diapers newborns make and they are just so cute. 3 gowns is a good number for gowns.
- Remember, you are going to be doing wash everyday or every other day with a baby. You may not need as many items as you might think. Lou Lou & Co’s Ultimate Bundle is a cost-efficient way to get a knotted gown, a hat (or bow.. I’d go with the hat, they fit newborns really well), and their super soft/stretchy swaddles. I highly recommend getting two bundles and then a third knotted gown.
- Zipper Sleep and Play Footies – 2-3 zipper footies for each size group.
- BTW, Sizes are typically 0-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-9 months, 9-12 months. If something says “3M” that means it is 0-3 months. If it says “9M” then that is for 6-9 months...
- Snuggle Me Organic – newborn babies really want to feel snuggled and safe when they are sleeping. All 3 of my babies have loved the Snuggle Me Organic for the first few months. Sleep safety is very important when babies are young. Read about how to use it on their website. We have had great use out of ours and definitely consider it an essential in our home!
- Pack n’ Play or Crib – both of our girls slept in a pack n’ play in our room for a while. My middle daughter finally got a crib I found on FB marketplace when she was 10 months old that will transition to a toddler bed when she’s ready. Our 6 month old daughter is still in the pack n’ play in our room now and I have no plans to move her anytime soon!
- I like the pack n’ play with the changing station. If the baby is in your room, it makes changing diapers super easy. The snuggle me fits in the other half of the pack n’ play. I like that it doesn’t feel like our bedroom is overrun by baby gear! When she outgrows the snuggle me, we will remove the changing station and she will have entire space of the pack n’ play.
- Crib Sheets – two crib sheets because if you have any accidents on the one, you will have an extra to swap it out without having to wait for the wash.
- Sound Machine – this is a definite essential for all of our babies. If you have dogs or other kids or live in a neighborhood with random loud noises, you will be so glad you have a sound machine. The Hatch works great because you can choose which sound you want, adjust the volume and can use it as a night light as well. We have 3 sound machines for our three kids! And they are all pretty great sleepers I have to say!
- Swaddles – Lou Lou & Company makes my favorite blanket swaddles for newborns. I prefer them to the muslin swaddles because they are stretchy and fit the baby better. When the baby is about 1 or 2 months old, I switch to using a Swaddle Up. These are nice because the baby can still get reach their hands. It also make for an easy transition out of a swaddle later on as the arm wings zip off.
- Warm Blanket – one warm receiving sized blanket is perfect for snuggling up your baby or placing them on the floor. These are our absolute favorites – so soft and snuggly!
- Baby Towel and Washcloths – one towel and a few wash cloths are sufficient. If I am honest, a baby towel is probably not an absolute essential. You could just use one of your bath towels and washcloths. But a freshly bathed baby in a little hooded towel is just the cutest thing and so I am leaving it on the list!
- Gentle Baby Soap – soap is really not necessary for most baths. If you feel like baby is needing a little more than just water for bathing, make sure the soap you use has no synthetic fragrance or other harmful ingredients. We like this soap.
- Frida Baby Basics Kit
- Just a note, I did not include a baby bath tub! I had one for my first two babies and for my third I finally ditched the baby tub. Fill the tub with just about an inch of water. Lay your baby down in the water, supporting with your hand. They will have the best time stretching and relaxing in the water. The baby tub is just an extra thing you have to clean, move around, and figure out where to store, so that is not on my minimalist baby essentials list.
- Diapers – cloth diapers or disposable. We have done both. If using cloth, you will need around 24 or so. This is a great article going through some FAQ’s about cloth diapers.
- Wipes – Water Wipes are made without fragrance and work really well.
- Baby Balm – I call this our magic cream. It heals any diaper rash within 24 hours, is great for eczema and any other skin issues. We have this balm on our amazon subscription order so we never run out!
- Diaper Cream – made with non toxic ingredients, diaper cream for extra coverage when baby is experiencing diaper rash.
- Changing Pad Liners – you really do not need a changing pad, but these liners are great to lay down wherever you are changing your baby to protect against messes. Definitely an essential because messes DO happen!
- Diaper Pail – optional, you can throw them in your regular trash if you take that out daily. If you are cloth diapering, then you will want a diaper pail with a cloth diaper liner.
- Burp Cloths – 4-6 burp cloths is all you need. I somehow ended up with WAY too many burp cloths. I have paired down to 6 but I am actually only using about 2 regularly. This number will depend on your baby and if they spit up a lot or not. My second born went through a lot more burp cloths than our other two did. So this totally depends on your baby.
- Hakaa – I did not include a breast pump, but a Hakaa milk catcher is very helpful in the early days of nursing. I use this when my milk is coming in and while it is regulating. I recommend this to all expecting mamas!
- Pacifier – my third-born is the only one of my babies who has ever taken a pacifier and she only used it for her first month. However, I have had one on hand for every baby just in case! These pacifiers are shaped like the breast and allow the baby to use the same suckling motion they would on the breast.
- Solly Baby Wrap – I wear the baby a lot in the first few months of their lives. Instead of trying to get baby on a nap schedule, I just wear them and nurse them when needed. It is especially useful if you have other children who need you! Plus, it is super sweet snuggling your baby in these soft wraps.
- Infant Bouncer – this is the only “baby holding” type thing we have/use. I like it because the baby bounces themselves using their legs versus a motor bouncing them. All of our babies have loved it. We actually own the Baby Bjorn Bouncer, and it is wonderful, but this bouncer I found is half the price, organic, and has amazing reviews. If I were purchasing again, I would get this one.
- High Chair – this one attaches to most tables and counters. I love that they save space and the baby feels more apart of the meal since the chair attaches to the table. It also breaks down so you can bring it with you when you travel.
- Car Seat – this is totally based on your budget and what you are looking for in a car seat. I will say I wish I would have bought slim fit car seats that can fit three seats in a row since we knew we wanted several kids. We currently have three different brands of car seats that each work great.
- Stroller – a stroller is optional depending on your lifestyle, but we use our double stroller a ton. If you plan to have more children, I recommend getting one you can convert into a double stroller so you don’t have to purchase another stroller in the future like we did 🙂
- Diaper Bag – a diaper bag is really useful to have packed and ready to take with you anytime you go out. This diaper bag is a definite splurge. Ours was gifted to us when I had my son and it has lasted for all three babies. The quality is so good and I love the functionality of it.
So that’s about it! No bottles, baby swings, jumpers, walkers, etc. These minimalist baby essentials items are simple, basic and paired down to only what you need.