Mama Bare Baby Registry: What you don't need and what you really do
There is no reason to spend a fortune on a baby, nor do you need to have your house taken over by unnecessary crap. Nesting energy is powerful stuff, but I suggest channeling it into creating a warm, peaceful, simple home in which to become a family – not filling it with plastic baby schwee that will end up in a landfill.
One challenge for those of us who strive to live simply is that everyone is your life will want to give you things (when the baby is first born, not later when you really need it) when what you may need even more is help. I never understand why people don’t use the alternative gift registry (http://www.alternativegiftregistry.org/). Instead of being restricted to stuff you don’t really need, you can register for a housecleaning or a hair appointment (whoever gets it for you has to agree to babysit during the cut) or a prenatal massage or two nights of a babymoon at a B&B and someone to come do your laundry.
What you can live without (or at least don’t need to register for):
1) Baby towels. Remind me why babies need special towels?
2) Tons of washcloths. Ditto
3) Clothes. Unless you are totally friendless, there is no reason to purchase any clothing. Babies don’t get dirty until they start eating solids and everyone gives you clothes. Once you need clothes, you’ll have made friends with kids and get hand-me-downs.
4) Toys. The less they have, the more creative they become.
5) Playmat. See above.
6) Diaper bag. You can fit a changing pad, a diaper, and wipes into almost any bag you own. Go buy yourself a roomy handbag if you must, but make it a You Bag, not a Mom Bag. Same goes for Dad.
7) Bottle brushes, stands. Just use the dishwasher and keep them in a bowl.
8) Baby monitor. This might be worth getting for travel or when you have loud parties (you probably don’t get that joke yet), but unless you live in a huge house, you will hear your baby crying.
9) Blankets. You need a few, but someone will get a pack of receiving blankets for you.
10) Lots of diaper cream. One tube will probably last you two years, when you’ll start using it as foot creme.
11) Diaper pail. Just use the garbage can.
12) Wipe warmer. Um, do you have a toilet paper warmer?
13) Rocking chair. My rule is that you should never get furniture that you wouldn’t want without a baby. A lovely rocker or glider is fine if you will want it in your living room in a few years.
14) Kids dishes and utensils. They can use any plate you use. You might want a few small spoons, but get some nice coffee spoons that you’ll use later for something else.
15) Baby bath tub. For the first few months, there’s not much that the partner can do and getting into the bath with the baby is a perfect Papa/partner bonding session.
16) Changing table. You can use a changing pad on the floor or a bed
And finally: I suggest that you wait on a stroller. Between a baby carrier and a carseat, you’ll be covered for a while. Take a few months to get a sense of what you like. We had an aunt who offered to buy us a stroller when we were ready – this was perfect. We got it when my oldest was a year old and bypassed all the bassinets and attachments.
Here’s my necessity list:
1) Ergo. The most comfy and basic carrier on the market. Don’t get a Bjorn. You can also skip the Ergo’s infant insert. Just tuck the baby’s legs into a cross-legged position (Native American style…?) once the baby has decent neck control. If you’re looking for a carrier for the first few weeks, try a wrap.
2) Bouncy seat. This is the one kiddie contraption that I believe in. Get the lightest possible so that you can easily move it from next to the shower to next to the stove. Sometimes you just need ten minutes to do something.
3) High chair. Clip on is great – I love the Phil and Ted Me Too chair
4) Breast pump, bottles, storage bags.
5) Nursing tanks. They turn everything into nursing attire and hides your saggy belly in public (Target sells decent ones, Glamourmom is another brand).
6) Diapers (we like NatureBaby Care or Seventh Generation). Cloth diapers are another great option worth checking out.
8) Sleeping situation. I think the best baby bed is a futon on the floor – that way they never fall out, they never grow out of it, you can lie down with them to help them fall asleep, and it doubles as a guest bed. If you end up co-sleeping, a bed rail is nice to have, just for added peace of mind.
9) Baby shampoo/soap in one. California Baby is lovely.
10) Dresser for the baby. You’re probably already getting clothes from people.
11) Nail clippers, thermometer, etc – just get a pack
12) Zutano baby booties. The ONLY things that stay on babies feet – socks all fall off.
13) Camera. Even better: an iPhone with video.
14) Baby food mill. Cheap is fine, but you might as well have someone buy it now. We used KidCo.