If you’re expecting your first baby, you might find yourself overwhelmed with questions about what you really need to buy, right? There’s no shortage of newborn checklists available online, but it’s often challenging to come by candid advice from experienced moms. In the end, many of us wind up purchasing far more than we actually require, wasting not only our money but also our valuable time and contributing to unnecessary waste.
As a firm believer in minimalism, I hold the view that newborns don’t require an abundance of extras during their initial months. Fundamental essentials like nourishment, clothing, safety, well-being, and, of course, an abundance of love, are what truly create a sense of happiness and security for them, forming the bedrock for their healthy development.
This article is intended for those in search of practical guidance from a mother of two and focuses on the items you can do without. It’s important to keep in mind that this perspective is solely my own – every household is unique, and each individual leads a distinct lifestyle. Therefore, you are the best judge of what you should or should not purchase for your cherished little one.
Reverse Baby List | Things You Do Not Need
I’ve never found the need to use a nursing pillow , and I consider it to be an entirely optional item. While it’s advisable to use a pillow for the first few weeks, especially when your baby is small and your arms aren’t accustomed to the weight, the truth is that virtually any good pillow can serve the purpose. Nursing covers fall into the same category of optional items. If you ever feel the need to cover up while nursing, a regular scarf or a muslin cloth can easily do the job. Besides, it’s worth noting that we live in the 21st century, and there’s absolutely no reason to feel any shame about breastfeeding.
While having a baby changing table can certainly add convenience, it’s completely fine if you choose not to have one. In situations where you have limited space, such as a small apartment, and you want to avoid clutter, you can easily adapt everyday surfaces for changing your baby’s diapers. It could be a regular table, a standard dresser, a sofa, or even your bed.
The key is to ensure your baby’s safety, so it’s highly recommended to use a to use a changing pad, like this one from Hatch Store that is both a changing pad and a scale. Alternatively, you can use a reusable basket (I’m particularly fond of this one from Kiddo Vibes [similar to the one in the image]) which you can always reuse later. Additionally, always be mindful of your posture to avoid straining your back when changing diapers in various positions.
Baby swings were designed to replicate the gentle rocking motion babies experience in the womb or in their parents’ arms, and they are often considered a staple in every baby registry. However, I’ve never been quite fond of the whole concept. Allowing babies to spend extended periods in these machines feels a bit unusual to me. Babies find comfort and solace in human touch, and I strongly believe that they need to be close to their parents, feeling our warmth and love. If not during those first few months, then when? So, I suggest leaving the baby swing off your list and preparing for some quality arm workouts instead 😊.
As your baby grows, you may find that you need a place for them to rest, and that’s where a baby bouncer comes in. It provides the same support to parents as a baby swing but comes at a lower cost, is more portable, and easier to manage. Always keep in mind not to let your baby spend too much time in a swing or bouncer, as it can restrict their natural movements. Babies need opportunities to develop floor mobility, such as sitting and crawling, which are crucial for muscle development and spatial awareness.
When it comes to transportation, you should check if your habits to understand if a baby carrier is useful or not to your family. Do you drive around or do you use public transportation? Is it easy to go around in wheels?
I think that trolleys are a must-have and that baby carriers are only required for walks outside, especially when wheels are impossible to use: a walk in a forest, beach, a city that is not wheelchair-friendly. As the baby grows and increases weight it’s a bit harder to walk with them for a long time. Baby carriers are great and I reused the one from my older sister, but honestly, as I have to use the car to go everywhere, I end up using the trolley all the time. Sometimes baby carriers are the only option, also because they are much cheaper, so even though I consider this item dispensable, only you know. ♡
Babies are very (very!) loud if they want so you can relax that you will listen to your baby if required. Having a video constantly monitoring your baby increases anxiety and stress. Unless there are any medical reasons that you are aware of, you do not need to be checking on your baby all the time. Let him be, trust everything will be ok. It’s not a problem if he cries for 5 or 10 minutes anyway.
So, in my opinion, if you live in a small house a video monitoring system is really exaggerated as you can listen to the baby if he cries. And a tip if you live in a big house or if you want to have a meal on your porch while the baby is sleeping inside: ask your spouse to call you on WhatsApp, ask him to turn off the microphone and leave your phone in the baby’s room with the call on. Works wonders and it’s free 😊 (you can also use an old phone for this purpose if you’re alone).
They may appear adorable, but they are certainly not essential. My babies had an activity gym and play mat that I borrowed from friends and, truth be told, it had no significant impact on their lives. It took some time for my baby to actually become interested in the hanging toys, and that interest didn’t last very long. The mat is convenient for ensuring they’re not on the bare floor, but a simple blanket would suffice. Also, it’s worth noting that when you concentrate a child’s play area, there’s an increased risk of germs and food residue, which necessitates thorough cleaning to prevent illnesses.
Typically priced between 20$ and 50$, swaddles can easily be substituted with a regular blanket. For those who may not be familiar with swaddling sacks and pouches, they essentially function as garments equipped with features like Velcro, snaps, and zippers, facilitating a snug swaddle. Swaddling, a time-honored practice of wrapping infants in blankets or similar cloths to limit the movement of their limbs, has been in use for centuries. It is believed to have a calming effect on babies and promotes longer, more restful sleep during their initial weeks of life. If you’re considering swaddling your baby, I highly recommend that you first learn the proper technique to ensure the safety of your little one at all times.
Babies are not scared of the dark or silence and any light or sound will be stimulating and can prevent them from falling asleep or staying asleep so let’s skip these items completely. It is also recommended that babies perceive the day as it is: darkness during the night, light during the day, so they start adopting our routines and learn the difference between day and night. The same for sounds, complete silence should be limited to the night time, so infants assimilate that’s the time to sleep. It’s important to allow them to see and hear the routines of your home as they are.
While a high chair is often considered an essential item, I never actually purchased one for my two babies. You can absolutely feed your baby without a high chair. If you believe you’ll eventually need one, it’s an item you can consider adding to your list, but you can wait until your baby is around 8-9 months old.
When babies begin eating solids, typically between 4 to 6 months, they are still quite small and require feeding on your lap while you provide support. It’s only when they gain full control of their neck and back that they can safely sit in a high chair. However, babies remain relatively small until they reach 8 or 9 months of age, so I wouldn’t recommend a high chair before then.
As an alternative to a traditional high chair, you might want to consider a high seat, such as the one available on Amazon (only $17!). These seats have the advantage of allowing your baby to eat at the table, engage with the family, and socialize. They are also portable and can be used in restaurants or when traveling. Additionally, they are compact and easy to store in your home.
Unless you are making your own baby wipes, there’s no need to buy a wipe dispenser. Standard baby wipes packs typically come with excellent containers that effectively retain moisture, preventing them from drying out (and don’t forget to recycle the boxes once you’re done). Wipe warmers are entirely optional and may only be considered if you’re in a cold environment. In most cases, you can simply warm the wipe with your hand before using it on the baby.
You can also confidently cross a diaper pail off your list. These are often relatively costly and, when you think about it, they’re essentially regular garbage cans. While they’re promoted as effectively sealing in odors and reducing the frequency of emptying the diaper garbage, these are advantages you can find in any standard garbage can 😉.
It’s worth noting that an estimated 5,000 wipes are used in the first year of a baby’s life, and that’s a significant amount of waste. Therefore, it’s a good idea to opt for eco-friendly brands whenever possible and, when you’re at home and the weather is warm, consider washing instead of wiping. It’s not only better for your baby but also for the environment!
This is perhaps the most evident non-essential item of all. Not only are toys entirely non-essential, but there are several reasons why you needn’t include them on your list. To begin with, keep in mind that toys are among the most common gifts from family and friends, so your child will likely receive plenty of them, even if you don’t purchase any. Moreover, in the first few months, infants generally don’t engage with toys. As they start to interact with objects, you’ll soon discover that babies are often more intrigued by items like spoons, napkins, milk cartons, toilet paper rolls, your mobile phone (yes!), and various other random objects.
So, do yourself a favor and hold off on this purchase. Only buy toys when and if they become necessary. When you do start shopping for toys, opt for reputable brands that promote your baby’s development. I’d recommend considering Fin+Emma organic toys.
And there you have it—those are my recommendations for products you can safely skip, potentially saving you between $550 to $1200 . In addition to the cost savings, embracing a minimalist approach to parenthood is a conscious way to contribute to a healthier environment and cultivate a more relaxed parenting experience. With so many items to purchase for your baby, it’s wise to spend thoughtfully, for your own benefit, your baby’s well-being, and the health of Mother Earth. I have made a list of great eco-friendly and fair trade baby brands here if you want to take a look.
Also, since this post is also directed for new parents who want to save (among other reasons) I always like to share Amazon Baby Registry, one of the most complete worldwide, and you can still get 10% additional discount on certain items, a free welcome box (valued up to 35$) and 365 days to return gifts.
Keep in mind that reusing is always an excellent option for baby items, so don’t hesitate to ask your friends, family, and neighbors if they have items you can borrow. After all, babies grow so quickly! ♡ As mentioned earlier, you are the best judge of what your home truly needs. I’ve included links on the images or highlighted text in case you’re interested in purchasing any of these items. Please note that the links in this post are affiliate links. As a participant in affiliate programs, I earn a small percentage from qualifying purchases. I want to express my gratitude in advance for any purchases made through my links, as they help support my writing♡.
Let me know if you have any questions, in the comments below.
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