Monday, February 15, 2010

... The necessities

I'm not a materialistic person. I hate clutter. I live in a very small house intentionally. I wouldn't call myself a minimalist, but I strive to be.

That said.

I'm having a baby. And in an effort to not let this little human double the amount of things we own, I'd like to reach out to you.

What is necessary?

What is superfluous?

Bare bones here people. What do I need and what is hype? Help me out.


. said...

I am interested in see your comments. I am trying to be the same way. I have been gitting rid of a ton of stuff and thinking about baby #3, not wanting to get too much.

I will say one thing you do not need is a baby bath. I never use mine. I fold up a thick towel and lay it in the tub and would lay the boys on it. (just fill the tub a couple inches) My sister in law taught me that trick, and honestly, it's not only one less thing to own, it's a lot easier, and the babies seemed to be more comfortable. Those plastic tubs are just cumbersome and not comfy, then you have to get the foam thing for inside of it, so I say skip it!

Also, I think that umbrella strollers are way better than a stroller travel system. I actually just sold mine and replaced it with a double umbrella. Much easier and much smaller. (I know a lot of people would disagree with this, though) I would say you should do research on strollers, there are way too many to choose from!

One more, If you don't like things that people give you, just get rid of it. Once the baby grows out of stuff, keep what you loved and give away or consign the rest. I thought those tiny little clothes wouldn't take up much space, but they do!

If i think of more, I will let you know. I can't wait to hear the other suggestions ou get!

Lizzy said...

not being a mommy (or expectant mommy), i don't have much to say other than I too am very interested in the comments friends will (hopefully) leave!! My pen and paper are in hand, people...

Les said...

Ok: Get a long dresser, and put your changing pad and caddy on top. Then when they are bigger you have the dresser and you didn't buy a changing table :) Just trash the diapees, no need for a genie in my opinion. Bypass the bassinette and just get a nice side to side swing that you can put near your kitchen/living area to set baby in while you are about the house. Slings a must (I have 3 if you want to borrow). Excited for you :)

Heatherelle said...

I hated my high chair! :0) It was too big and cumbersome, and it was a pain to clean. If I were to do it all over again, I'd purchase one of those little seats with a tray that can strap onto a regular chair. Not only is it easy to store and clean, but you can take it with you to friends' houses, etc.

I agree about the baby bathtub, as well. I just used the sink and the regular tub -- same idea as Katie with the towel, but I used the foam bathtub pads because they were easier to wring out and dry. I'd throw them in the washing machine, and when they started to look ratty, I just got a new one.

The boppy pillows weren't out when I started having babies, so I never used one. I did just fine with the pillows I already had! I know some people love them, though!

I loved my pack-and-play and I still keep it in my closet for little visitors! Mine had an insert that made it into a basinette. With a two-story house, I liked having that set up downstairs. As my kids got bigger I removed the bassinette and used it as a play yard; I'd put them in there if I needed to run to the bathroom or go answer the phone. When they got a little bigger, I cut down a twin-size egg crate pad to fit on the mattress. I think this made it a little more comfortable for bigger babies. (We traveled with our a lot -- I think hotel cribs are gross!)

All those little bouncy seats and bumpy seats and play systems -- I'd say skip them unless you can borrow them. The window of time during which they use those is so small. You also never know what your child's temperament may be -- Claire loved the swing and it was a godsend with all her colic episodes, but Gordon was just too big for it from the get-go! He'd lean forward and stop it and then start fussing! So borrow, borrow, borrow!

I never had a nice umbrella stroller, so I always preferred my large folding one. It was lightweight and I could open it one-handed. My umbrella stroller was cheap and the handles were too short (even for me!) so it hurt my back, and the baby's seat didn't adjust. If you're going for the umbrella kind, go higher end!

I really didn't use my baby monitor that much, even with a two-story house. I found that they amplified the sound so much, I would be waking up at the slightest little movements and rustles. We DO use them at my mom's, however, when we want to lay out by the pool while the babies are napping! ;0)

The LeValley Family said...

Most def trash the idea of a diaper genie, I also NEVER, and I mean never used one of those bouncy seats, such a waste of space! I borrowed a play saucer from someone, Elise hated it, Noah loved it. Go figure.

If possible borrow as much stuff as you can, if you don't use it, then you just give it back! I think a lot of baby gear depends on the baby's personality as to whether you use it or not.

A swing is a must (in my opinion). As far as the travel system, I think that depends on how much of a "go-er" you are...we've used ours WELL with Elise and Noah and actually only started using the umbrella stroller once we had Noah and needed 2 strollers. I think that totally just depends on how much you go. I've just about worn the wheels off of our jogging/walking stroller. Best $100 ever spent! :)
Be sure to return almost all of the recieving blankets you get! I'm still re-gifting them (the unopened ones) and Elise is 3! haha Also all those newborn clothes are only in use for about a month! They grow fast. go ahead and exchange for larger sizes or something you know you'll use. No matter how cute those clothes are! You'll never get the person's money's worth outta em! I also exchanged almost all my baby lotions/oils/powders that I recieved as gifts for diaper creme instead! Most those lotions are toxic for you anyways, so why put them on your newly skinned precious baby!

I agree with the long dresser no changing table. That's what we did with Elise, now with Noah we have a small changing table cuz our house is very small, so the closets are now our dressers to leave free floor space.

I've never owned a high chair, they're so cumbersome. We've got a chair that buckles on the seat and transitions to a booster seat when they're older. I think it's easier to clean too! However, I have friends who'd be lost without theirs!

Baby monitor. What's that again?

I'm soooo excited for you! After patiently watching how many roommates get married and have children? It's YOUR turn now! What a blessed child this will be! You and Jeff will make great parents!
Blessings to you!

Katie Paulus said...

I'm so excited for, Michelle! Being a mom is by far the sweetest and most rewarding career the Lord has given me. :)As far as baby stuff goes, I completely agree with no changing table, we use the floor or the counter in between our double sink. Most stuff you can wait to get until the baby is older and actually needs it (i.e. highchair, exosaucer) and by then you have more time to shop for great deals on craigslist and consignment shops. And you'll know your his/her temperment.

I found that I bought stuff based on what was recommended when I should have waited to see what she needed. Those Boppy Bouncer seats were a waste of $$ because Audrey was too active from the get-go. And a swing lulled her to sleep too fast when I was trying to train her to sleep in her crib. I loved my playpen, though; it has a bassinet attachment that was a lifesaver!

I loved my stroller traveling system as well. It's convenient and lightweight the carrier clicks into the base (we have 1 base/car), however, I'm about to switch to an umbrella stroller once Audrey sits well. As far as newborn clothes, they were cute but as soon as I put one on Audrey she'd puke or have a diaper blowout. I ended up sticking with onesies, sweatpants and sleepers most days.

Good luck! We're praying for you guys and excited to see pics of this little one!

Katie Paulus said...

I'm so excited for, Michelle! Being a mom is by far the sweetest and most rewarding career the Lord has given me. :)As far as baby stuff goes, I completely agree with no changing table, we use the floor or the counter in between our double sink. Most stuff you can wait to get until the baby is older and actually needs it (i.e. highchair, exosaucer) and by then you have more time to shop for great deals on craigslist and consignment shops. And you'll know your his/her temperment.

I found that I bought stuff based on what was recommended when I should have waited to see what she needed. Those Boppy Bouncer seats were a waste of $$ because Audrey was too active from the get-go. And a swing lulled her to sleep too fast when I was trying to train her to sleep in her crib. I loved my playpen, though; it has a bassinet attachment that was a lifesaver!

I loved my stroller traveling system as well. It's convenient and lightweight the carrier clicks into the base (we have 1 base/car), however, I'm about to switch to an umbrella stroller once Audrey sits well. As far as newborn clothes, they were cute but as soon as I put one on Audrey she'd puke or have a diaper blowout. I ended up sticking with onesies, sweatpants and sleepers most days.

Good luck! We're praying for you guys and excited to see pics of this little one!

Katie Paulus said...

Sorry about the double post!

Judy said...

In my opinion, all you need is somewhere for baby to sleep, something for baby to wear, something to catch baby poop & pee (cloth/disposable/whatever), something to carry baby around in (sling/carseat), something to wrap baby in, something to put baby in so you can shower & something to feed baby. That's it! Bare bones!

P.S. I have a green Bumbo chair that you are welcome to have. Hardly used. Ida hated it. Bumbo chair, not quite bare bones, but maybe useful down the road.

Bethany said...

Oh I agree there is so much stuff that these baby sites and stores say you need that is just plain silly. After moving to LA I got rid of a lot of stuff and what I didn't get rid of I loan out to neighbors and friends when there is no baby around here. So if you really want to try something for a little while and most of those things swings, bouncers, saucers, bumbo seats they are all just used for a VERY short while....borrow it.

I agree with the no need for a baby bath. And while i have a changing table shoved in a closet I think if I did over I would do a dresser. Actually I have this thing by my front door that has bins that hold my kids shoes and when Addie is sleeping I change Kade on top of it. It is from Ikea and would make a great toy bin later on. But again not a necessary you could change baby on bed or floor or couch etc etc.

Bethany said...

I also got rid of my high chair and have a simple one that straps onto a kitchen chair. I can take it with me when I need to I also removed tray and used as a booster seat. I prefer the simple plastic fisher price cushion the kids wear diapers....they don't need extra cushion. The fancier ones are a pain in the tush to clean. In fact anything that has lots of holders for cups, toys attached everywhere and covers and cushions that have to be hand washed and air dried, yes that is what most of them are cause they are cheap, are a joke and a half. Babies are messy. The more simple something is the easier it is to clean. And speaking of cleaning those 900 dollar Buggaboo strollers people are pushing around make me laugh. Kids poop on strollers they mash food in strollers ,they spill juice in strollers and if you park your stroller and leave it to enter an attraction ie disneyland, childrens gardens that make you park outside, etc etc and are afraid someone is going to steal it which they do around here why would it be worth having. As far as strollers go. I like having the travel system ones when traveling. They are great in airport, they are wonderful in places like the Zoo or Disneyland where you need to push kids for long periods of time and a place to stash all their stuff and all their older siblings stuff. The more kids you have the nicer those big boys are. However, I really don't think they are necessary with only one kid. You could wait on that one or again borrow when you know you are going to be traveling or going to one of those places. Around town in stores and such I much prefer to use an umbrella stroller. I had a nice chicco one that worked well for me being tall and it lasted a long time until this last year when my big boys were messing with it and bent and broke the frame. It is easy to get around a city. In and out of tight spaces etc etc. That being said.....When babies are little I much prefer to wear them so while you only have one I say a Sleepy Wrap for 35 dollars goes a long way. Plus if you have more you will use it while you might be containing the toddler in the umbrella stroller in the future. If you run a lot you might want a jogging stroller and that could be your main one....if my knees were not trashed I would probably skip the travel system one and splurge for a bob jogger. But now with four kids I like the break from them to EXERCISE ALONE.

Bethany said...

I do have a bumbo seat. Not that impressed with it. They are suppose to use it starting at three months. My kids never lasted long in it time wise because at that age their bodies are not meant to sit up unsupported for long. Their little necks get tired. My kids are all active too and soon after putting them in it they would arch their back and fall out. I would NEVER have them up on a counter or table without being right next to them in fact now I don't even use it. And the whole tray thing on there to eat is crazy. There are no straps to secure them to a seat the packaging even says to keep on floor and who wants to sit on the floor all the time to feed their baby. YUCK. So that is another one you really don't need. I have a beanbag I use for newborn photoshoots and I squish that around to sit Kade up supported and protected from Adelee it works great. And my big kids use it to watch tv or read so multi functional.

The swings my two big kids HATED!!!!! Neither one of them really used it. Adelee and Kade however both loved it and slept quite a lot in it....the movement and the upright position aided their reflux. However, it is a short period of time that they are in it so I again would borrow. If you were close I would lend you mine.

Pack N play is nice for travel and if you want them in your room in the beginning. Bassinet and cradle are not necessary unless again you find one to borrow. My kids all end up in my bed in the beginning so besides nap times or protection from older siblings a bassinet can be substituted with a full crib or pack n play

Bethany said...

Nursing covers are also a joke to me. Just use a blanket that can double as a swaddle or cover for cold baby. You can't do that with a nursing cover due to the ring attached...choking hazard. Plus it is just one more thing you have to lug around. I did see Stringbeancompany has these clips you can use to turn any blanket into nursing cover or napkin in to bib so if you needed help keeping blanket on I would go with that. Personally I just tuck the blanket behind my back and go for it.

The diaper pails and genies are a waste too. Newborn poo isnt that smelly but toddler poo is disgusting and no pail no matter how expensive is gonna hide that. Just take the poo to the curb immediately....or do like me and leave them by the front door (keeps the salesmen away or from lingering) and then at night take them all to the big outside trash. HA HA

Like Judy said a few blankets, a few clothes especially in small sizes that they grow out of fast...pj's with footies (cause all socks fall off) and nightgowns those first few months are what I prefer and maybe one or two special going out outfits. For me personally a Sleepy Wrap is a must, somewhere to sleep,but even that can wait a few months. A strap on booster high chair...again that can wait almost a year. A car seat. Diapers, wipes and breast pads and you should be good to go.

Sorry it was being finicky cause I wrote to several comments. HA HA

Bonnie said...

Well after three kids there is a lot I did not need! I am going to just make a short yes/no list. I hope it helps some.
No list:
-diaper genie
-bouncy seat (a swing works great)
-bobby (use a pillow)
-bumbo (put baby on a blanket on the floor-they learn to get around)
-bath tub (used the sink and foam pad in the tub)
-bassinet (use crib or pack n play)

yes list:
-long dresser (we put the changing pad on it)
-few blankets and little clothes
-pack n play (we had a bassinet and changing table with ours and it traveled well- we used at friends, hotels, at parks when baby wanted down but could not be on ground. With that you could skip the changing pad in room)
-I used my travel system but they are big. I bought a european stroller for #3 and LOVED it. The baby seat did not fit on it but it reclined fully (foot part could even be adjusted to give more space to lay down), good storage, light weight, small(like umbrella). It cost like $70 but I still use it and Ian is 4 yrs! (I could give you the name of ours if you want)

That was not as short as I thought! See even kids make you write more! I am so excited for you!

Lizzy said...

man, i learned alot!! thanks for putting this question out there, michelle, and thanks everybody for sharing! very helpful. :)

anne said...

Car seat
{maybe a travel system if you want, and think you will use it...six months max, because like others said umbrella strollers rock}

I use a patnem pad on the floor to change diapers

I wouldn't really get anything and if you want/need it later, get it.

that's my two cents :)

Danielle said...

I had twins and our house is very small. Like you, I wanted things to be minimal, and borrowed a lot of "big" things from friends (like bouncers, exersaucers, etc.)

I definitely recommend the Fisher Price booster . Fabulous, easy to clean, can go with you on trips. LOVE it!

Loved the
SwaddleMe for swaddling. My boys could always wiggle out of blankets but loved being swaddled. This was something they loved.

I'm very active and wanted a good stroller. Now, I had two, so maybe you could just wrap the baby on you, but a jogging stroller was a must for me. I did tons of research and got the expensive by fabulous Baby Jogger stroller. I probably used my stroller more than most folks since I had twins, but I love this stroller and still use it for my 2 1/2 olds at times.

Ashleigh said...

Michelle, I'm with everyone on staying away from a high chair. We have one, but it's big, hard to clean, etc. I normally get frustrated with it and banish it to the basement. I then pull out the same Fisher Price booster that Danielle mentioned. Love it! It's easy to clean and doesn't take up much room. Also, I loved the SwaddleMe blankets with Ava. Savannah didn't like them very much. Every baby's different.

Unlike others, I LOVED my bouncy seat. Olivia lived in it and the swing for months because she refused to sleep anywhere else. Plus, we've had three (and now are on our fourth) so close together that we have gotten a lot of use out of it. I liked that I could easily move it from room to room in the house and could even take it to friends' houses if I needed to. But it doesn't span a lot of time ... so that is a downer. I would look into borrowing one though and giving it a try.

Like others, LOVE our Pack N' Play. We use it on a different floor than the crib and travel with it. I agree with Heather on hotel cribs.

I always used a lot of burp clothes -- I guess my babies just spit up a lot. Oh, and if you are nursing and want to pump but don't plan on doing it often, I'd just get a manual pump. It's nice to have one.

Like Bethany, I love the nightgowns for newborns. They make the middle of the night changes so much easier. And a carrier is great. I'm looking into buying a Sleepywrap because I've never been completely happy with anything else I've tried.

Anonymous said...

Hi Michelle! Congratulations on your sweet little one! I'm not a mom but did a ton of research and teaching in the community on SIDs during nursing school. There are lots of ways to decrease the risk: make sure not to have anything in the crib (including bumper pads, blankets, stuffed animals- just dress the baby warm enough not to need a blanket while sleeping), always put the baby on his/her BACK to sleep, and put the baby in his/her own bed (even if it's right up next to your really increases the risk of SIDs and suffocation. We actually had a baby that died from suffocatating in bed with mom in one of the hospitals in the area. So sad!) Hope that's helpful and not too scary or depressing :) Above all, we can take comfort in God's loving care for us! Congrats again!

Anonymous said...

oops! that would be 'suffocating' :)

Katherine M. said...

Michelle, This recommendation is for your baby when he/she isn't a baby anymore.
Brian and Rebekah bought Duncan a balance bike on Craigslist. They're quite popular in Europe. The child uses his feet to move around and gains his sense of balance.(no pedals) I think they are able to skip the training wheel stage if they use these bikes.
Duncan is three and loves his. It's very lightweight, and he can even ride it indoors.

Sarah said...

Everyday essentials in the Duenke house!

- waterproof mattress cover for OUR bed (Accidents happen, and mattresses are expensive! My friends and I agree that this is the most important thing to have if you have a baby!)
- Arm's Reach Mini Co-sleeper (this is a huge help, whether you plan to co-sleep or not)
- rocking chair
- changing table & pad & pad covers
- Sling
- Beco baby carrier (don't get a Baby Bjorn or Snuggli, they are terrible for baby's spine)
- Awesome stroller (I like my single Peg Perego Pliko p3 and my Phil & Teds double - go to a store and try them all out. The "best" stroller really depends on what you need, whether that's for lots of city walking & ability to get on public transport with it, or easy folding for in/out of car.)
- Burp cloths (lots!)
- Onesies & babylegs, footed sleepers
- cloth diapers
- Milk Diapers washable breast pads
- Glamourmom nursing tanks (I've heard that Target's are nice too)
- Boppy pillow & extra cover for it
- Cute, nice, big water bottle for mama (nursing mamas are thirsty)
- Bumbo seat (I keep mine in the laundry room)
- Small high chair (I also like the one that sits on a normal chair)
- amber teething necklace from Inspired by Finn online (that's not for a newborn obviously, but it's nice to have one before you really need it)
- gentle laundry detergent
- Motherlove Diaper Rash & Thrush cream
- Dr. Bronner's baby mild bar soap OR Earth Mama Angel Baby
- Hanging toys - I LOVE Ikea's. :) I had one from BabiesRUs that was so overstimulating. Ikea's is really simple and fun.

My boys were really needy babies and never would use the swing, bouncer, or crib. :)

Oh, and Haba toys are the best. If I were very rich I'd have only Haba. :)

Oh, and our personal rule about used baby stuff is this: If I feel it's clean enough that I would lick it, we'll take it. 'Cause the baby WILL lick it. :)

Sarah said...

Oh, and we're in a tiny space too BTW (800 sq feet). If you're going to get a crib, look for a small one that won't take up half your house, LOL. Most of them are so big.

Sarah said...

I don't want to start an argument here, but do the research on co-sleeping. It actually decreases the risk of sids, as the babies breath in rhythm with thier moms and don't do the "normal" breathing irregularity that they do when they sleep on their own.

:) Sarah, RN

AmyB said...

'Shell, we'll talk - I don't have time to make the list now, but I did think of one thing that I've had to think through now - with the high-chair - downside to having one: most are a pain in the tush to clean, big, & ugly. upside: you have an out of the way seat for the baby that is not at the table. Now, we don't have an extra chair at the table for Keegs, and until fairly recently, he would pull everything off of the table anyway. If I were to do it over, I would have found a cheap, modern style, small, easy to clean model...Ikea? Then again, I have 3 kids and you will only have 1. If you don't have a full table most of the time, a booster seat could be the way to go. Heck, you can always get a highchair later if you decide you really need one.

Loved the Lansinoh nursing pads. If you leak a lot (I did, some people dont), I don't think the fabric ones will do much for ya -could be wrong on that though :-)

AmyB said...

Oh yeah, I think a pack'n'play is a must. We have used ours for 7 years almost non-stop. Killian still sleeps in it when we are out or at the moms.

I loved having a carseat travel system, especially when they are little - if you can't take your car seat out and strap it in somewhere, you have to take the baby out...if they are sleeping, that's not fun. I got a really light one with Muncho and we've used it through Keegs (bought the seat & stroller separately- used to be that the actual travel systems...where you buy them as a package...were a lot heavier. so I bought a lightweight stroller and a seat that was compatible). He uses an umbrella stroller now. Also, as far as I am aware, you cannot use an umbrella stroller until they are sitting up on their own? Might be different now.

Libby said...

Whoa! Michelle, can you condense all this into a cliff's notes version so I can just copy and paste that. :)

Rebekah Judd said...

Paul and I were in Babies R Us the other day and realized how little we bought there...and how much we didn't need.I always tried to think of everyday household items that I could use as a replacement (demitasse spoons instead of cheap plastic baby spoons, etc). And I agree with most...borrow as much as you can and keep all receipts and boxes just in case you don't need some of the things you get as gifts (and then need to buy something you didn't think you needed). You can borrow my boppy if you'd like. I'm sure I have many other things you can borrow as well.

I was all about fabric nursing pads for our dear old environment and then realized they are horrible and don't work. Get the lansinoh nursing pads...they're the best. And we have a chair that hooks onto the table as a replacement for a high chair...I've loved it.

We'll talk...

Mimi said...

Diaper Genie (use the plastic bags from the grocery store)
Changing Table (floor, couch, bed work fine)
Those chair things... bumbo, bumpy...whatever, use pillows from around the house
High Chair-only used once or twice and like Amy said pain to clean. Ikea has cute chairs for little ones who are ready to sit in a real chair they are just higher up.

Sling- carried mine in from first born until age 3. (They now have those wrap things, I know Bethany uses one and loves it.) When I had two, one was in the umbrella the other in the sling. We used a larger stroller for Disney, Zoo and Sea World but for everyday the sling was all I used. I never carried them in the car-seat bucket thingy either, it hurt my back too much.

We were a co-sleeping family,we used an Arms reach for the second to give us extra space in the bed.

Nightgowns for newborns, diapers, burp cloths, receiving blankets, diaper rash cream are all you really need for awhile.

Lizzy said...

i ditto what Libby said above! please! ;)

. said...

We have the Ikea high chairs. They are small and very easy to clean. just a seat and a tray. very simple. we love them. and they are only $19. the big clunky ones start at $70 at target and babies r us.

Elka Vignette Swingle said...

I think it really depends on your child, but here are my thoughts:

Essential: lots of cloth diapers for burp cloths, diaper cream/A &D, footed sleepers/nightgowns, Lansinoh breast pads, diapers, comfy chair/rocker to feed and hold baby in, receiving blankets, crib and crib sheets, car seat.

Things I love, but not essential: side-to-side swing, sleep wedge (great for reflux), boppy, high chair or booster, travel system, front carrier/sling, nursing cover (I LOVE the one you made for me...much easier nursing Paxton in public than when I used a blanket with frees up my hands for grabbing Tre or whatever since I'm not trying to hold the blanket in just the right position), pacis, breast pump (after solely pumping for 5 weeks when I had Tre, I'd say the pricier pumps are well worth it!...I had 3 generic pumps lent to me - one manual, two electric, and I would only get about 1 ounce or less with each of those...with the Medela Pump In Style I'd get about 6-8 ounces, and with the hospital-grade pump I rented for awhile, I'd get at least 10 ounces!...big difference, and you want to make your trouble worth it if you're pumping!), hats for outdoor walks, changing pad and cover.

The rest is just a bonus, for us anyway!