Needs before baby comes home are very few. MOST things can be bought after kiddo is home and making certain demands, I wish I would have known that but if you don’t get ‘things’ you feel utterly unprepared… So on round one I got way more things than needed
Here is my experience after two kids
What you need before baby comes home:
- A car seat, this is the one I went with but there are seemingly endless possibilities. We got this one for safety rating, price and weight. There are lots of factors that go into it though, choose one that is right for you. We didn’t want a heavy one because both James and I have broken our backs, turns out even a light one is pretty heavy to pack around… come to find out (like many baby items) its not actually best to keep them in their car seat, it’s not a great position, doesn’t help their core muscles develop and can be a hard position for their air ways. You do what you have to do as a parent but we rarely leave the kiddos in their car seat, even if (and especially if) they are napping.
- Some diapers. You’ll probably get a pack of the right size from the hospital but you can have a pack of newborn and a pack of size 1’s ready at home, in case they are on the big side. (if you’re making a diaper cake for a baby shower start at a size bigger than NB, everyone gives nb size and my babies were only in nb for a week, size 1, 2 and even 3’s are great for new babes, they will eventually be in them!)
- Something for them to wear, or 3-4 somethings (may be hospital provided). We had newborn sizes which fit for a whole week (I have big babies…) we then had to switch to 0-3 month. At 2 months Miles is already in 6 month clothes and will probably have them outgrown in the next month… Kids grow fast, this is where you look at your family history and decide if maybe preemie is a good size to start, or if you should just start at 0-3 month… I had a stack of gift newborn clothes with both kiddos that I took back for larger sizes right away.
- Some swaddles, 2-3 (may be hospital provided). Depending on the time of year they are little you may want more or less and they may be heavier or lighter weight. Both my kids hated being swaddled but they are still handy to have around as blankets (or towels ;-))
- Some boobs (If nursing isn’t your thing the hospital will most likely have some different formulas to try. Each type has it’s own thing, probably don’t stock up pre-baby. What you decided to start with will be determined by your baby and any hiccups (literally and figuratively) they may have. Same boat for bottles, they will give you some to start if you go this way then you can decide to change if needed to something else (lower flow, shallower latch, whatever) based on a reaction to your babe.)
That’s it. ALL the rest can be decided post babe. It’s a good idea to have a safe place for them to lay down too (safe from hazards like pets, siblings and sleeping parents) but you’ll probably be their bed mostly for a while :).
Of all the things I bought (and it was a relatively small list) there are only two other things I would suggest using because I’ve been SO grateful to have them at times:
- A baby carrier/wrap– You can go down this rabbit hole as far as you like (and like tiny houses it IS a rabbit hole!) I always got really overwhelmed with all of the options and wraps, some people get really into it (there are some great facebook groups for baby wearing). I didn’t want to spend a ton for something made in China and shipped across the world, nor did I want to spend a ton for a wrap that I don’t appreciate (read: feel like I can make on my own) so my solution was a home-made ring sling similar to THIS. You can buy some rings HERE for cheap, pick up about 2.5 yards of some fabric (mine was a whole 3 dollars) and make your own. For less than 10 bucks I made something that sells for a LOT more. Sure it isn’t as pretty as some but man, that thing has paid dividends in how much use it gets, especially with two. I don’t know how parents parent more than one kid without a baby wrap of some kind, I couldn’t do it!
- A car seat mirror like THIS. This one came because they are rear facing, I remember Hazel was about a week old and I was driving home solo from my first trip to the grocery store post baby. I couldn’t see her but she was making weird noises (as newborns do). I could not tell if she was choking or what. A short ten minute drive turned into 25 stressful minutes. I pulled over 6 times to check on her because heaven forbid something was happening and I didn’t stop! She was fine of course but as soon as I got home I ordered a mirror. It’s more fun to be able to see them anyway but it’s a safety thing too!
Things people seem to always have on their list which can actually be bad for babes:
- Crib bumpers are not actually recommended because they cause more issues than they help. They do look cute but can be a suffocation hazard. If your kiddo has issues getting stuck in the crib rails they make mesh breathable bumpers, certainly not a need but if you find you want them you can get them later
- Car seat accessories. Car seats are safety devices, they are engineered to save your kiddo in case of a crash. Anything you put on them or in them becomes a projectile in case of use. Any blankies you tie in or under the straps make the straps further from your babe and make your babe a potential projectile. Experts suggest you take things like coats off when strapping your kiddo in correctly and not use any objects in your car seat that aren’t manufactured and okayed for your specific car seat. Also, make the buckles snug and located correctly, I often see pictures on Facebook of babes strapped incorrectly (and that is a tough spot, do you tell them and be ‘that mom’ or do you hold your tongue… awkward… and unsafe.) Some drives we wish we had some piece of entertainment (every rush hour we accidentally get caught in) but ultimately we have little in the car seat with Hazel and Miles, maybe a stuffed animal or a glove these days, one of Hazel’s favored toys…
- Jumpers/bouncers/rockers, mom’s do what we need to do, baby ‘stuff’ is not inherently bad, use it sparingly though… and if you can design your life to where you don’t need it, more power to you! But moms need showers, and to fix food, etc., like I mentioned in part 1, these items are designed for parent convenience, not baby development, they are often not great to leave babe in for extended periods of time. I choose to skip them all together.
If you are a first time parent reading this, it’s hard not to stress, I certainly did, but you will have time once they get here to get whatever you may be lacking, in the middle of it it actually goes nice and slow in my experience, it’s in hindsight that it seems so dang fast!
If you are reading this in prep for a baby shower you’re attending and I just shot down all your gift ideas here are a couple things that would be sweet.
- If your target is going to cloth diaper check out some cloth diapering services. It can be pretty reasonably cost to get a year subscription, they come a couple times a week, pick up dirty diapers and drop off clean ones. They are all over the country and you’ll be supporting your local economy while giving a HUGE break to the momma to be!
- A gift card to something like SnapFish or Zazzle so momma can make a cool memory book for babe’s first birthday.
- Clothes size 6, 9, 12+ months, there is a huge abundance of people bringing itty bitty clothes (because all things tiny are adorable!) but right around 9 months it all drops off and you have to start shelling out the bills. Even if no one gifts the bitty clothes, worst case, momma will have to go grab them but mommas usually WANT to shop for those ones, it’s once that ‘cute’ wears off that the shopping gets dull, get THOSE sizes for her :).
- Seasonal personalized items, Christmas ornaments, valentines day frames, etc. with the new family members name (or a gift card for something like that) are fun and will be a reminder through time.
- Your love and support and KIND WORDS. This is a WAY under rated gift!
Maybe that brings back some of the fun I stole away!
For more of my thoughts on parenting in a tiny house/being a minimalist parent I have a couple more posts worth looking at…
My thoughts to the ‘your kids will be embarrassed’ and such critics… (coming soon)
Lastly, If tiny houses are your thing but you don’t know where to start or how to build check out the eCourses I made HERE. Better yet, for the next two days get the tiny house bundle including parts 1 and 2 of the ecourses plus LOTS more!