Minimalist Baby Registry

Posted by Mrs Money on November 7th, 2011

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I think one of the hardest things about being a first time mom is trying to figure out what I need for this baby.  There are tons of baby gadgets out there, and the first time I went to Babies R Us I was totally overwhelmed.  All the items in the store made me feel like I needed every one of them!  My family is throwing me a baby shower, and my co workers were insisting that I register soon, so a couple weeks ago I went and registered at two places.  When people started viewing my registry, they commented that there weren’t enough items listed on there.  Personally I felt like I had too much listed!  I didn’t want to just add items just to have stuff on there, so I carefully went through and decided what items I’d really like to have.

I wonder if I’m being too much of a minimalist.  I don’t want to be miserable and wish I had gotten a certain item and regret it later on.  I’m trying to find a delicate balance between the two.  I don’t want a million baby items cluttering up my house, but I also don’t want to be up at 3 AM wishing I had a bassinet.  Here are some of the things that I think will be helpful for having our first baby.

-Baby Carriers. I bought a Boba Classic Baby Carrier for a super deal online, so I’ve already got that. I’d like a wrap like a Sleepy Wrap or Moby Wrap for when the baby is small.
-Cloth diapers. I’ve already got some covers and a few Snappis, I just need to order some prefolds and I’ll be all set.
-Cloth wipes. I’ve sewn some myself, and my mom is sewing some too.
-Sleepers/Clothes. My mom has gone crazy buying clothes over the past few months, so I don’t need ANY of these.
-Blankets. Again, my mom has this covered.

-Graco Newborn Napper Pack n Play – Meadow Menagerie. I think having a Pack N Play will be a helpful place for the baby to sleep when it’s little, and then when the baby is bigger I can set them in here to play while I get things done. Also, since our family is all out of state, it will be nice to have a place for the baby to sleep while we are at their house. We plan on co sleeping, but I’d like to have the Pack N Play as back up.

-Graco Swing by Me – Meadow Menagrie. I’m registering for the swing, even though I’m wondering if my baby will like it. I would hate to get it and then the baby hates the swing! However, there’s not really a way to tell if the baby will like the swing until the baby is here, so this is a gamble I’ll have to take.

Some items that I’m double guessing are:

-Full Size High Chair. When Mr. Money and I orginally registered, we picked a Space Saver High Chair because we liked that it was compact and would sit on one of our chairs. Since then, everyone insists that we’ll want a full sized high chair. I’m still not convinced.

-Fisher-Price Newborn Rock ‘n Play Sleeper. One of my friends insisted I need this, so I registered for it. However, I think it will only be used for a few months, so I don’t know if it’s something that I really do need. It would be nice for the baby to sleep in, but if it’s only used for a couple months, I think I may be able to do without it.

-Baby Bath Tub. From the beginning, I didn’t want a bath tub, I wanted something like the Baby bath sponge. Everyone thinks I am crazy. I don’t want to have to store a baby bath tub.

I want to limit the amount of stress during the first few months, so any items that will make my life easier will be welcome.  I just don’t want a bunch of crap hanging around my house that isn’t being used.

What items are must-have for a baby?  Am I being unrealistic and I really need this items I’m doubting?

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34 Responses to “Minimalist Baby Registry”


  1. Angella says:

    I went with a space saver high chair and I love it. My son loves being “at the table” with us and it’s easier for us to sit down for dinner and feed him as well. Plus having a huge full size high chair taking up extra space just wasn’t something I wanted. It’s also very easy to take back and forth to his grandparents house/traveling.

    I was also very minimal when it came to my registry. So much so that we ended up having to buy a lot of things ourselves after the baby arrived. A bottle warmer and microwave bottle sterilizer were time (life!) savers for us with a newborn/infant (I was unable to consistently breastfeed, so we did supplement). And bibs. Lots of bibs came in handy.

    Everything else is just depends on the baby. Our son hated his swing, so even though every one recommended we must have one, we never used it. He also hated any baby carriers! So my moby wrap, baby bjorn, etc all went to waste. Funny how even just weeks old they know what they don’t like lol. Good luck!

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Angella- I think that is what we’ll get. The space saver high chair just seems like it is the way to go!

    I don’t have a lot of bibs, so thanks for that tip! I’m hoping my baby will like the carriers. The swing, I don’t care as much. :)

    Thanks for the help!

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  2. Kacie says:

    The items that might be good for “only a few months” can be worth their weight in gold, if that item helps keep a baby sleeping or calm or otherwise happy. Sure, a few months isn’t long in our lives, but it is that baby’s ENTIRE life up to that point.

    So yeah. Keep the things on your list that might help your sanity.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Kacie- That is a great point. I’ll bet if my baby wasn’t sleeping well and then they did when I put them wherever, I’d pay the $50 just for the sanity! I didn’t look at it that way. You are so smart.

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  3. Nicole says:

    I was at a baby shower yesterday, and the mother asked that if they don’t want to shop for a gift, to contribute to the baby’s college fund. The mother is finishing high school in June, 2012, so she wants the baby to have a better chance than she will have.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Nicole- That’s awesome!

    [Reply]

  4. Mary says:

    Definitely keep the space saver highchair. We love ours, and our 18 month old is still using it. Full highchairs are such a waste of space!

    I found that people gave us a lot of clothes, and bibs almost always came with the outfit, so you’ll probably get a ton of those, whether you want them or not.

    A lot of people say that these are a waste, but we have used our wipes warmer every day since the day he was born. We also use cloth wipes, and I found the easiest thing to do was to simply wet the wipes with water and store them in the warmer. It keeps them wet, and you don’t have to buy a special cloth wipe solution or anything, just use water.

    Honestly, the best advice I have is to register for what you think you will actually use, not what someone else uses. A lot of babies hate bouncers and swings, but then again, they can give you a much needed break. Also, you will probably find that you need things AFTER the baby comes, since every baby is different and you will figure things out more once s/he arrives. So ask for money and gift cards!

    Congrats!

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Mary- I think that is why I was having such a hard time with the full size high chair- it does seem like a huge waste of space!

    I’ll have to see if I can find a wipe warmer. I love the idea of money because then I can buy whatever I need from various stores.

    Thank you!! :)

    [Reply]

  5. LivingOurWay says:

    We have space saver high chairs and love them. The baby just sits at the table with us and it feels like he is part of the family. I would suggest investing in a pocket style diaper or fleece liners for when the baby is older and you don’t change him/her as often during the night. People say that we hold/carry/wear our baby too much but I still have a swing and bouncy seat to put him in. I have older kids too so I need to put this one down more than I did my oldest.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    LivingOurWay- I have some really small fitted or all in one diapers (just a couple) but I’ll have to look for more! I’m sure my family will say the same thing about me, but it’s my first baby and I have waited over 5 years for this, so I’m holding my baby and snuggling whenever I want :)

    [Reply]

  6. Julie says:

    I agree with other posts regarding the Space Saver high chair. We have one for our 9 month old I love it. The only two downsides I have seen so far are the fact that the tray, although dishwasher safe, is thick and doesn’t have an insert that would be easier to dishwash (though I’ve heard from others that some kids quickly find out how to remove those themselves); and the fact that there’s not a front, lower tray for parents to use. My MIL’s garage-sale-find high chair has one and it’s great — you can put the food there and baby can’t reach it because it’s far away and lowered. But both of those have nothing to do with it being a space saver — full size high chairs could have the same issues.

    We have a bath sponge as opposed to a baby tub, and we like it. I didn’t want to have to store a tub when it wasn’t being used, and the sponge is great for storage purposes. The only downsides are that you need to fill up the bathtub to use it (not very water-conservation-friendly) and, as such, baby has more room to move around. Sometimes I wish that she was more confined. But overall, I wouldn’t do anything different.

    If you’re interested in a swing but are concerned about space, try a travel swing. We got one by Bright Starts and it was great, for the little time my daughter actually wanted to be in it (more evidence that your needs will be somewhat dependent on your baby’s preferences). The swing folded up for storage and travel.

    Our little one wasn’t fond of the Moby, much to my chagrin; plus, she got very hot in it, so it wasn’t practical unless I wanted to wear her for her whole nap (she was a January baby, so she’d be too cold if I stripped her down to go in it.)

    Good luck! And remember — you can always buy more stuff later, as the need arises. Gift cards are great for that!

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Julie- Thanks for all the tips! I’ve registered for a travel swing- I don’t think I could stand having the huge one taking up tons of space. :)

    You’re exactly right- I can always buy stuff later! :)

    [Reply]

  7. Romeo says:

    Hi, Mrs. Money.

    I think everything you listed will come in handy. The thing that sucks about buying lots of baby stuff is that our children eventually grows out of them…fast!

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Romeo- I am already dreading the time going by so fast! :(

    [Reply]

  8. LynseyB says:

    I would suggest getting a Bumbo with feeding tray – excellent when baby is small and just learning to feed as you can sit him/her in the middle of the dining table with you (just never on his own of course).

    We got a stokke high chair which both our sons loved (not sure if that’s european only tho) – whichever one you choose make sure it is easy yo clean and doesn’t have lots of fiddly bits – you will grow to hate it.

    Do you use soap nuts for washing? The best thing ever for nappies as no chemicals. you will need a sealable nappy bucket too.

    Lots and lots of bibs and facecloths (ikea do packs of ten that are indispensible even at 4 years old).

    Personally i think you need a baby bath cos reaching into the tub will kill your back even if the baby is on a sponge. alternatively there is a bath bucket type thing available that some friends swore by but i’ve never tried.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Lynsey- I’ll have to see if I can find a used Bumbo! That’s a good idea. It’s so funny, because I was thinking yesterday I need some more soap nuts!

    Thanks for all the tips- I appreciate it!

    [Reply]

  9. Heather says:

    Oh-and we have a Boppy, but it is totally overrated. As long as you have pillows, you’ll be fine.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Heather- It was funny; one of my mom’s friends said we NEED a Boppy. I found a My Breast Friend pillow at a Goodwill brand new in a package for $2.85. Love that!

    [Reply]

    Heather Reply:

    This was a follow-up to another comment I’d written that might be in your spam filter…?

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Heather- Stupid spam filter :( I’ll have to fish your comment out. Sorry about that!

  10. Jenny says:

    Sounds like you have already figured out a lot of stuff that we didn’t know until #3! With our second two babies, people asked me about how I was fixing up the nursery, and it was awkward to tell them there was no nursery. The babies stayed in our room. We didn’t really even need our Arm’s Reach Cosleeper (at least not as it was intended, but we did use it as a changing station). Our babies like to cuddle, and with #3 we finally figured out that we LOVE Bed Bug Bumpers. They are these soft foam things that go under your mattress pad to keep baby from rolling out of bed if you cosleep, and can also be toddler bedrails or bed dividers for siblings. They’re cheap, they travel great, and you can roll right over them. Also, there’s no crack for baby to get stuck in, so it’s much safer than a bedrail that’s really intended for a toddler.

    I wanted the Space Saver chair too and we had one for a while, but our chairs are too tipsy for it. We got a Keekaroo, which adjusts to fit an older child and can be put at the table. Another thing we love is our Jumperoo. It keeps the baby busy while I’m in the shower or trying to get something done like laundry. I totally agree about the baby bathtub! We just put our baby in the sink or take him in the shower with us. The Puj Tub is a neat option for bathroom sink bathing if you have normal-sized sinks.

    Sorry to write such a book. I love talking about baby stuff! I definitely think you’re right to not overdo it. If I were to splurge on something I’d rather it be a beautiful woven wrap carrier, or something like that, rather than an extra plastic contraption.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Jenny- That makes me feel good. We do have a nursery, but I honestly can’t see the baby being in there until at least 6 months old because it’s way across the house and in the beginning I’m going to do everything I can to make our lives easier :) My friend is letting me borrow a co sleeper. Yesterday my mom and her friend were asking me why I didn’t register for a bassinet and I said that I’m borrowing the co sleeper and they proceeded to tell me how bad co sleeping is and that I’ll never get the baby out of the bed and how it’s so unsafe to cosleep. Blah. The Bed Bug Bumpers look awesome! Thanks so much for telling me about those.

    I hadn’t seen the Keekaroo high chair but that looks awesome! I didn’t really want a big plastic one, so that’s a great alternative.

    Thanks so much for all the wonderful tips- I certainly appreciate it! I know you and I think a lot along the same lines!

    [Reply]

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Mrs. Money, you go ahead and family bed with your new baby. I was told that nonsense about the baby NEVER sleeping on his or her own until a teenager and that is simply untrue. It is unsafe if you are a super heavy sleeper, or if you or Mr. Money drink heavily. Most new moms begin to sleep very light and you will hear every noise so don’t worry about it being unsafe! I thought I would put my first baby into his “nursery” by the time he was four months old but by then I was so madly in love with the little pumpkin that I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving him all alone in another room by himself. :-) I am happy you are going to co-sleep. Be sure to read Tine Thevinen’s book The Family Bed, it is a classic and the one I read that convinced me to family bed.

    [Reply]

  11. Becky R says:

    You will need a car seat for infants and also for when they get older. These items I do recomend getting new (or used from someone you know who had a baby recently.) Everything else can be used.

    Make sure the bibs are long and slip over head or velcrow, ties are annoying and most bibs that come with outfits are too short. My nephew who is now 1 (and I watch full time) was teething from 3 months until now and drooly every day. We needed lots of bibs to hold the drool (not plastic ones either.)

    The best cloth diapers I have found are the prefolds, with a snappi, and plastic pants. The all in ones we bought leaked. The best part with the prefolds are you only have to buy plastic pants in different sizes. The prefold works for all ages (sometimes I add a cloth doubler.)

    I bathed babies in sink until they could sit up, so never needed a plastic bathtub, but did have the sponge one for a bit.

    My oldest hated the swing, the youngest and nephew enjoyed it. You can either keep for next child or sell used after you are done with it, so if it is helpful and baby enjoys it is so worth it to have even for the short time you need it.

    Register for lots of onsies, and older clothes, they grow out of newborn clothes so fast (if they even are small enough to wear newborn size at all.)

    And you can never have enough baby socks or slippers, babies seem to loss these like crazy!

    My youngest never had a bottle, and I didn’t pump, so that saved a lot. I didn’t leave him at all for first 4 months of his life, but I had no need, plus they want you anyway. At about 6 months we started him on cup and he did great. He still nursed as well. Permission to Mother (a pediatrician) recommends no food in babies gut for 6 months, no cereal, no juice, nothing but breasmilk. Her blog is Permission to Mother, so is her great book.

    Get a few wraps and slings. Your baby may love one but hate another. Best thing to do is wear your baby most of the time. You will get stuff done, and baby will feel comforted.

    Get some breastfeeding supplies before baby: nipple shields, cream that is safe for nipples and baby, reusable cold / hot packs. Even if you never use you will be glad you have in house if you do. These items are less than $10 each.

    Also get some nursing mom tea, another thing that you will be glad you have.

    Get a few baby nail clippers, they seem to disappear as well. Also stock up on baby medicines, even if you are going to use homepathic only, keep them in house, so you are not stressing when you need them.

    Congrats again!

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Becky R- I agree, I like the idea of a new car seat, or at least one from someone I trust.

    I’m planning on using prefolds and covers, so it makes me feel good that you say they are the best! The all in one diapers are more expensive but look a lot easier. I have a couple newborn/small size all in ones so I’ll see how those work!

    Thanks for the recommendation on the book- it sounds great! I’m going to do my best to breastfeed exclusively for at least 6 months.

    I’m going to have to look for some used wraps/slings. The nursing mom tea is a great tip!

    Thanks so much for all the help- I really appreciate it!

    [Reply]

  12. Becky R says:

    Just wanted to add I got cribs as gifts with both kids. They slept with me, so the cribs were a waste of money. Pack and Play is a good idea for naps (although I recommend napping with baby in your bed.)

    [Reply]

  13. Burp cloths area easy to make from flannel. Just buy several yards of it, cut them to size, & put in the hems. Easy sewing & they are so soft. They come in handy for many things, including a soft, washable place to lay baby for a quick diaper change. Make some big enough to use for that. If you have a flannel sheet you can cut it into many of these. You might be able to find some flannel sheets at a thrift shop. Lots of handy cloths that don’t take up much room in the laundry!

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Maggie- That’s a great idea. I love reusable flannel wipes/cloths. I’ve got some flannel- I’ll have to make some! Thanks for the tip :)

    [Reply]

  14. I’m pregnant with my 3rd kid, so I have an idea of the things I’ve used so far and the things that ended up being clutter.

    We used a space-saver high chair with both kids and will use the same one for #3. It is great and I’ve never needed anything bigger.

    I had the baby bathtub with #1 and it ended up being a space hog. We often just bathed with the baby or laid down a folded towel in the sink for baby baths.

    For things like a bouncer seat and swing, wait until the baby arrives and try one out at a friend’s house or the store. No point in buying what the baby won’t use. I had one baby who LOVED the swing, and one who screamed bloody murder if she was within 5 feet of it!

    I’m a fan of cloth diapers, too, especially since a lot of elements can be found second-hand or reused for multiple babies. It will cost me $100 to diaper this kid until potty training! You can see my cost breakdown for diapering baby #3 in a post I did about cloth – http://thesavedquarter.com/2011/07/babies-on-a-budget-cloth-diapers/

    Clothes can be bought for next to nothing at garage sales, thrift stores, and especially lots on Craigslist. I don’t spend more than $1 per piece, often far less, and have had plenty of everything to keep the kids well dressed.

    You can skip those grooming/health kits and go for just a few little things – a good digital thermometer, nail clippers (because the grown up size just makes me too nervous!), and a NoseFrida for sucking the snot out. The rest of the stuff is just clutter. The NoseFrida infinitely better than the suction bulbs, and I routinely give it as a baby shower gift!

    I would *highly* recommend the book “Happiest Baby on the Block”, readily available at your library, for infant soothing techniques. It worked wonders on my two completely opposite newborns.

    Also, my absolute favorite book to prepare for birth was Ina Mae Gaskin’s Guide to Childbirth. So many people want to tell you their birth horror stories and it’s hard to get into a good mindset, or at least it was for me. The first third of Guide to Childbirth is positive birth stories, where the women did the hard work of labor and felt strong and empowered by it. Having the idea that I could feel GOOD about my labor really helped me not be so afraid.

    Good luck!

    [Reply]

  15. Ikea has a $24 high chair which I have used for my kids. Works like a charm. The pack and play will be helpful when you discover while co-sleeping that your little one becomes a night crawler and wants to go somewhere out of nowhere.

    [Reply]

  16. Tracy says:

    We thought the pack n play was cumbersome and heavy. We travel a bunch and it wasn’t practical to travel with, even in the car I felt like it took up too much space. We got a kidco pea pod and love it. Light weight and portable. I now give them as shower gifts.

    [Reply]

  17. Melissa says:

    We were also very minimalist and it worked out wonderfully for us- we just thought most things could be bought as we needed them, and it was true! Our high chair was from Ikea, and I love that the legs come off if you need to take it to someones house, plus there are not may cracks and crevices to be disgusting- after all, babies are messy! I also love that the trays are separate, we just pulled ours up to the table with us. Our baby bath tub was also from IKEA, and was 7 dollars, we used it on our counter because it was easier than bending over the tub and we could both fit at it that way- and now we use it to soak laundry!

    The one thing that I thought we would not need and ended up using almost every day was a stroller- if not to put the baby in, then to carry the diaper bag and occasional purchases.

    [Reply]

  18. Corrie says:

    I know I’m late to the party (didn’t see this post earlier), but wanted to chip in the high chair discussion. We love the style that grows with your child, like this one: http://www.amazon.com/Stokke-Tripp-Trapp-Highchair-Walnut/dp/B001D1505A/ref=sr_1_16?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1323551178&sr=1-16 or http://www.amazon.com/Badger-Basket-Embassy-Chair-Espresso/dp/B0036EFA84/ref=sr_1_19?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1323551178&sr=1-19. Our 4-year-old still uses his because he is small for his age, so I even bought another one for our new baby.
    They are quite comfortable even for adults.

    [Reply]


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