Minimalist baby registry: basics

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Almost two years ago, little Beans came into my life. Despite my personal troubles, he is absolutely the best thing to ever happen to me.

But through the ups and downs, there are things I definitely wish I knew in terms of what I needed (and what I didn't need) to prepare for my first baby.

In this post I'll share my opinions on what you actually need in order to take care of a newborn.

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The minimalist's baby registry: thoughts on what you actually need for a newborn for sleeping, diapering, and feeding

The minimalist's baby registry: thoughts on what you actually need for a newborn for sleeping, diapering, and feeding

Because there is just so much stuff, this post will be Part 1 of Who-Knows-How-Many-Posts because babies are needy little things. In this post I'll cover sleepingdiapering, and feedingfor newborns.

Of course, all babies are different and everyone's experiences are different, so take my advice with a grain of salt. There are tons of arguments going back and forth about co-sleeping versus independent sleeping, cloth diapering versus regular diapering, etc etc… again, this is just based off of my experience and how I'd recommend items to a friend who had similar mommying methods as me.

But I think it makes for a good jumping-off point for a minimalist and budget-friendly baby experience.

(I'm actually starting to cringe with anticipation of criticism because I know everyone has different opinions about babies… doesn't it kinda suck that we have to preface everything with a warning? Anyway—)

I've broken the baby registry stuff into categories so hopefully it will help you decide whether or not you need to register for said item. Again—this is only my personal advice! [Insert several disclaimer asterisks here!]


Minimalist Baby and Sleeping: The Bed or Whatever

You will need a crib. Baby needs a place to sleep. If you're thinking of a bassinetversus a crib, I recommend just getting the crib and keeping it where you want it. Like, put it in your bedroom for the first few weeks until you're ready to move it to its nursery.

In terms of details about the crib, I recommend getting a convertible one that will at least allow you to drop the height of the crib mattress once your little one starts standing, and then again will let you exchange one of the sides for a rail once he starts climbing out of the crib before he transitions to a toddler bed.

And of course, get a crib mattress.

Now you need some bed clothes. I'd say two waterproof mattress protectors, and two sets of fitted sheets (one for the wash, and one for the crib).

In terms of crib bumpersand a mobile—I personally don't think they're necessary. I will say: Beans makes a pretty bad sound whenever he bumps his noggin against the crib, and I really don't think a crib bumper would help.

And he never gave a shit about his mobile; the mobile is probably more for you than it is for the baby. (If you really want to go the mobile route, there are tons of fun DIY mobile tutorials online.)

Recommended sleeping items:

Minimalist baby nursery: crib and changing station

Minimalist baby nursery: crib and changing station

Minimalist Baby and Sleeping Accessories

Baby Monitor

I was about to hit publish on this post and then remembered there are two items that are good for sleeping that I wouldn't ever do without. Insert new section here.

I strongly recommend a baby monitor. This is an optional item for those of you who are really restricted by a budget or really want to stay minimalist here. BUT—a video monitor kept me at peace as a first-time mom for all of those times where I wanted to burst into the nursery to check on Beans.

(Physically checking on a newborn to see if they're sleeping is hazardous. Because they'll probably wake up.)

An audio-only baby monitormay do well for you if you're a pro mom or if your house is larger and you just need to make sure the little one isn't crying.

If your kiddo is a heavy sleeper and/or if you babe is in the room with you and/or if your house is small and sound travels and/or you don't have any anxiety about your kid when he's napping or sleeping (can you share your tips with me?), you can do without baby monitor in general. Choose your own adventure.

(I personally used a video monitor when Beans was a super tiny man, and then when we moved I used an audio monitor in the apartment.)

Sound Machine

The other thing I wouldn't do without is a sound machine. I truly believe the white noise helped Beans sleep and nap, especially since he's always lived in smaller houses where there's loudish activity close by.

Tip: If you're a technology ninja and you have an old iPhone or something laying around, you can download a white noise app and keep it in the nursery.

Recommended sleeping accessories:

Minimalist Baby and Diapers: Changing Tables and Stuff

If I were doing it all again, all I'd get here are diaperswipes, and one or two changing mats(I really like the two-pack of changing mats from IKEA because they're inherently waterproof, they're larger than other changing mats I've come across, and they wash really well). Okay and some Desitin.

"Uh, Jenn, but what about the changing table and the changing table pad and the wipe warmer and the diaper pail and the unicorn fairy dust that will make diaper changes seem like dancing on a rainbow?"

Excuse me while I roll my eyes.

Here are my reasons for not needing all of that crap.

Changing table and changing table pad: You can do without this because you have a bed, a sofa, or a floor. Get one of those changing mats and you can change your baby's diaper anywhere. Even (very carefully) on the floor of a restaurant's bathroom floor that thinks it was a good idea not to provide a baby changing station.

Wipe warmer: C'mon.


Do you feel inherent discomfort when you wipe your own ass with room-temperature toilet paper? Your baby will be okay without wipes. I promise.

Diaper pail: I went back and forth on this one. But there are a few ways around this. (This is of course assuming that you're using regular diapers and not cloth diapers.)

  • Walk outside and throw each poo diaper out individually. Sounds like a pain but it really isn't that bad.

  • Put the #2 in the toilet and throw the rest of the diaper into your regular trash. (I've been doing that for a few months now and it works surprisingly well.)

  • Use a small regular lidded-trash can that you already have and deposit dirty diapers in there. Empty said trash can into your outdoor trash can as needed, like once or twice a day.

Doing so will make your diaper routine considerably closer to zero waste and it will save you a ton of money on a Diaper Genie or similar.

And as far as unicorn dust? Yeah, changing diapers sucks. But it's only temporary.

Recommended diaper items:

Note: If I were doing it all again, I'd consider cloth diapers for nearo waste's sake. But that's a whole other animal.

Minimalist Baby and Breastfeeding and/or Formula

If you are breastfeeding and you get lucky and have a good experience with latching and all of that stuff, then boom. You're good. You have your boobs and your babies, and you're golden. Well, maybe get some nipple cream too.

But what *they* fail to tell you is breastfeeding is incredibly difficult. And by doing so you take on 100% of the responsibility of being there during mealtime—and I mean every 2 hours or so at night, every night, for quite a while.

OR if you work, then forget about it.

So, here's what I'd recommend if you're breastfeeding: an electric pump (or you can go the manual pump route), bottles (only a few; you can hand wash them you know), breast milk storage bags. A breastfeeding pump bra thingie is a nice addition so you can be hands-free when pumping.

Otherwise, if you're doing formula, just get a few bottles. And formula. And a bottle brush.

But no matter what I recommend having some formula on hand just in case your milk doesn't drop right away, or if you run into a snafu with breastfeeding.

Recommended infant feeding items:

Your Shopping List

And for those of you that scrolled to the bottom of the post to see if I provided a summary because the post is too long because I talked too much, here goes.

(Hey, I don't blame you—I'm a busy momma too. And I DO talk too much.)

Recommended sleeping items:

Recommended diaper items:

Recommended infant feeding items:


There you have it. What do you think? Did I miss anything? Or, what items did you register for that you wish you hadn't received?

Cover photo by Dakota Corbin