If you want to be ready with everything you will – truly – need for the first few months of your baby’s life, this article is for you!
Bringing a new human being into the world can be quite daunting and overwhelming. By taking sufficient time to picture yourself in each situation at home or when going out, we will help you make the right purchases beforehand for your baby.
We will guide you through the different categories of baby gear, baby food, diapering, and the like. And, while bearing in mind the minimalist and low waste approaches close to our hearts at Puratium.
What Do We Mean By A Minimalist Baby Registry?
Before digging further into our list below, it is important to remember why for us minimalism and eco-consciousness go hand in hand.
Even though it might be tempting to buy the best (and cutest!) products for your baby clothes, or gear for your baby, bear in mind that you will receive additional – unplanned – gifts once the baby is born. Typically, baby clothes, skin care and toys should be the last items on your list, with a few exceptions as described in the section below.
Moreover, you probably know a few people who have toddlers and are looking to sell what they no longer use. Searching for second-hand items is another crucial part of this baby adventure!
Lastly, whatever you buy for your baby has a very visible impact: on your bank account, on the decreasing amount of space in your apartment, but on the planet too.
We believe it is important to opt for reusable, high-quality items that will last long (and ideally, even for the next generation of your family!). And, to choose from brands that put sustainability and decent working conditions first.
Always ask yourself these questions: how was this item be produced at this price? Where was it produced? And, how can I properly dispose of it once I no longer need it?
Keep your baby registry simple, and reduce unnecessary – future – waste.
Our Checklist For A Successful Minimalist Approach
- Take steps: start with your baby’s bedroom for example. Drastic and sudden changes have a tendency to be dropped rather quickly. You don’t need to go for the “all or nothing lifestyle”!
- Quality over quantity: living with less implies buying less often. However, it does not mean buying less qualitative or beautiful articles, particularly for your baby.
- Take time to identify your habits and what matters to you: do you only like a specific brand? is it important for you to have several developmental toys? That’s fine. Just try to ‘exchange’ these small excesses for fewer items elsewhere on your baby list.
- Do not be afraid to ask for help: there is a growing number of mom-owned companies dedicated to helping you welcome your newborn baby, and deal with postpartum. For example, if you were to live close to NSW, Australia, the Nurtured Family has proven to be a wonderful help for future moms. You can plan tailored-made at home visits that will, among others, help you request what you actually need from those around you.
- Experiment and find THE product/type of baby stuff you absolutely love. Ask friends for free try-outs.
- Avoid duplicates and get organized. Write things down and arrange your cupboards so that you can easily SEE all the items. And this, when you are building your checklist for a baby registry, but also later on, once he/she grows up.
- Picture yourself: where will you store this stroller? Could you find one that is multipurpose, with washable parts? Do you really need a changing table or do you have some flat space in your bedroom or bathroom? If you are unsure of certain answers, consider not buying, and explore better solutions.
How Can You Implement An Essential Baby Registry?
We believe the easiest way is to build a baby registry checklist that fits your needs, space, and habits.
This review will guide you through each important item: why we recommend it and why we believe it is only an extra. It is up to you to make a final choice after considering its use.
More importantly, at Puratium, we strongly encourage you to buy most of the below items second-hand. Not only is it more affordable, but it is also an eco friendly, much more sustainable behavior, as it avoids unnecessary waste sent to landfills or incinerators.
We will give you practical tips to prepare a truly simple and minimalist baby registry in the same vein. And, bearing in mind a few DIY ideas to reduce waste related to conventional baby products.
Lastly, because not everything can be easily found second hand close to your home, or because you would instead opt for new items for hygienic reasons, we will recommend different brands that follow sustainable standards in this review.
Buy only what you’ll need + second-hand whenever you can + new from eco brands occasionally = a great minimalist baby registry!
Baby Gear And Bedroom
1) Stroller and/or baby carrier
In the first few months, a baby carrier will turn out to be not only useful but also to bring you unique cuddling moments with your newborn baby.
Should you decide to buy a new one, then we suggest you support this unique brand with strong CSR values: Wildbird’s slings 101.
They are an absolute no brainer. Their versatile slings are sewed by a network of professional at-home seamstresses and come in different fabrics and patterns.
They are committed to using the best of materials sourced mainly in Europe, focusing on reducing waste. Wildbird’s sling are all handmade, and according to them, they have over 40 employees to make each sling.
When it comes to a stroller, go for the 3 in 1: we recommend a combo version that will allow you to use it not only to walk/jog around but also as a car seat. Some of these can also act as rocking chairs.
Ideally, find one with protection to make it last longer, thus maximizing your chances to sell it later on in better shape.
Lastly, a warm blanket for cold winter days will turn out quite useful.
Either use one you already have or search for one in a thrift store (preferably one that is 100% cotton: for more info on sustainable materials and which type of clothes you can compost, have a look here).
2) Bed And/Or Crib
If you are often on the move and on a budget: we recommend a portable and reversible bed. In a nutshell, you can use it as a crib, as a portable bed, changing table with side pockets, and as a play yard.
Ideally, find a similar second-hand option such as one from Graco: reliable and affordable. If you can dedicate a bit more time to find a baby crib and bed, be on the lookout for baby gears made from sustainably grown and responsibly harvested materials. If fashionable, yet sustainable furniture for your interior is another topic on your mind, read more on the topic here.
We are fans of the New Zealand-based Babyletto brand. Their 4 in 1 convertible is a significant investment but is GreenGuard Gold certified, i.e., low emissions guaranteed and safer for babies.
If co-sleeping is for you then a baby bassinet for the first months is what you need. Should you opt for a sustainably designed option, we particularly recommend Rockwell if your budget allows it.
Later on, once you have found your marks and rhythm, opt for an adjustable crib that your baby can also sleep in when reaching his/her toddler years.
3) Audio Monitor Including Sound And Light Machine
You will not regret having this item on your minimalist baby registry: the 5 in 1 Audio Monitor. You can, for example, find one on BabyList. We like it as it will be useful for many years.
It works as a dual audio monitor (you can hear your baby and speak back), it works as a light with different colors and brightness, and as a sound machine that you can pre-program depending on the time of day.
Additionally, there is a digital clock, and it is Wifi/Alexa enabled. Yes, this is everything you need when it comes to your baby gear essentials!
Diapering And Cleaning
1) Cloth Diapers
The ecological benefits of using washable diapers are undeniable: way less waste and recyclable unlike conventional plastic-made diapers.
Did you know that disposable diapers generate 60 times more solid waste and use 20 times more materials such as crude oil and wood pulp? On average, disposable diapers represent 50% of the total waste for a home with children(1).
Bear in mind that waste is not only a burden for the planet, but also for your family. Find out more on the topic here.
Even though reusable options seem – at first – gross, it generates less waste (and saves you a significant amount of money!) and hassle than you might think.
Therefore, we recommend Fuzzibunz, “No Rash, No Waste” is FuzziBunz’s motto, and one of the main reasons why we love this brand’s cloth diapers.
Moreover, their diapers come with an adjustable elastic sizing system (unlike most other brands) that allows for maximum adjustability and a custom fit.
2) Washcloths instead of wipes
Start with about 15 to 20 wipes. We like these versatile, long-lasting items as you can use them when changing your baby but also as part of the washing ritual.
If sewing is part of your skills, have a look at this tutorial from Mamma Mode. If not, consider adding the below options on your minimalist baby registry.
- If you live in Europe, have a look at these microfiber options from H2O.
- If you live in North America, we recommend Burt’s Bees Baby: affordable and made of 100% organic cotton.
3) Burp Cloths
Having a set of 5 or 10 ‘burp’ cloths will often save you from tricky situations and the messiest of cleanups with your baby!
Extra absorbent and multipurpose, you will not regret adding these to your baby registry. Additionally, you should opt for soft but solid burp cloths that will last years.
Moreover, we recommend buying 2 or 3 cloths of a more oversized format that will act as a reusable changing pad for your baby.
Food & Care
Whether you opt for breastfeeding or not is a very personal choice. In this review, we simply would like to raise awareness on its numerous advantages, in addition to the one usually listed: optimal nutrition for the baby saves time and money, continues the deep – physical connection to your newborn, etc. (source here).
Moreover, have you ever considered how beneficial it is for the planet compared to other types of baby feeding practices? No emissions, no transport, no plastic, no packaging, no waste.
Should you want to breastfeed your new baby, we recommend adding only two items on your minimalist baby registry.
Wondering why we did not mention a breast pump kit? Find out more in the section below on what to avoid on your minimalist baby registry.
- Nursing bras (Start with 2 or 3): comfortable, soft, sustainably made, and easy access to your nipples should be among your top criteria.
- Nursing pads (Start with 4 or 6): To protect your clothes, we recommend that you add washable pads on your baby registry. Bamboobies is one of our favorite brands for baby and mum friendly products: reusable, bamboo made pads designed by moms. The company is committed to using renewable sources and recycling packaging. We also encourage you to look at their natural and organic balm with simple ingredients: certified with no lanolin, parabens, phthalates, or synthetic fragrances. Breastfeeding is also about taking care of your skin! If you are a DIY person, an even better approach is to opt for organic or bamboo cotton fleece and sew your own(2).
- PS. if you are wondering what fleece is, we have a full guide on it here.
2) Glass Bottles
Why glass and not plastic? It is easily washable (it even allows a full sanitization) and long-lasting. Moreover, glass is way easier to recycle than plastic.
Lastly, glass bottles do not contain any harmful chemicals conventionally found in plastic bottles. And, we can all agree that drinking from a glass bottle tastes better than a plastic one.
However, bear in mind that once your baby is able to drink on his/her own, the chances of finding your bottles broken on the floor are higher. Additionally, it is fair to notice that plastic bottles are lighter to transport than their glass equivalent.
Nevertheless, we strongly urge you to avoid plastic and recommend glass bottles for safety and environmental reasons. How many? Start with a set of 4 to 6 bottles.
In case you cannot find second-hand glass bottles in good conditions, consider adding these sustainable plastic-free insulated bottles on your minimalist baby registry.
We are huge fans of this trustworthy brand from Oregon: they offer long-lasting, innovative, high quality, and low waste products for the entire family.
In this case, the baby bottles can turn into sippy cups or even a water bottle with a sports flip top lid!
3) Soap And Powder
In case you use conventional liquid soap at home, we recommend adding an all-natural zero waste soap on your baby registry. Why not take the opportunity of combining this significant change with other more sustainable changes for the entire family?
Organic soap bars such as these from Eco-Roots for sensitive skin are perfect for the whole family. In case you are not ready or would like an even more tailored soap, have a look at this 2 in 1 specially designed for babies.
It will last for months and leave your little one’s skin feeling clean and soft. And all this without any harmful chemicals or plastic released in the environment!
Additionally, we love this all-natural, plastic-free baby powder from Well Earth Goods! Their ‘Baby Dust’ is infused with calendula flowers and lavender essential oil.
These keep your baby’s skin soft by combating moisture naturally. It comes in a glass container that you can easily refill and recycle at the end of life.
4) Baby Nail Clippers
If you want to avoid that your baby scratches himself (or someone else!), a specific nail clipper will allow you to cut or trim their nails safely.
There is a variety of models that you should find second hand (electric and non-electric ones).
5) Nasal Aspirator
You can never really know if, unfortunately, your baby will suffer from chronic diseases or regular discomforts in its early months.
What we have regularly observed among friends and family is that a nasal aspirator and a thermometer are among the nitty-gritty list for a baby. For the thermometer, use your family one (a ‘baby-only’ version is not required).
As for the nasal aspirator, bear in mind that babies cannot blow their nose as we do. Therefore, it is useful to have this item at hand whenever your baby is congested and has difficulty breathing.
You can easily find one in a pharmacy.
Additionally, even though not on the cute side of a minimalist baby registry, physiological saline is recommended for a regular wash or toiletry of the nose and the infant’s eyes. It facilitates mucus removal and unclogs your baby’s nose.
If you have doubts regarding the best way to measure your baby’s temperature or when/how to use a nasal aspirator, always seek medical advice.
Clothes And Play
For clothes, unless you are really against reusing almost brand new onesies previously worn, we recommend buying everything second hand.
Most items you will find have barely been used as babies grow so fast.
Surveying our friends, it is THE category of their baby registry they wish they had switched from ‘new and fancy’ to ‘affordable and still cute.’
In terms of quantity for the first few months, we recommend you to add the below on your minimalist baby registry:
- Onesies: prefer soft ones that allow you to easily access the diaper areas (You’ll need two or three per day on average). If you still prefer new ones, then we suggest these.
- Sleepsacks: pick different ones for the summer and winter times. Three or four of each is sufficient.
- A few combos for your baby to wear when going out (a few dresses/pants/long sleeves shirts)
- Two hats: a warm one for the wintertime, and another, lighter one to protect your baby from the sun
- A few pairs of socks
- In general, remember that zippers are your best friends (avoid too many buttons or snaps as they can easily pop off)
As for toys, most babies mainly sleep in the first three months of their lives. When asking friends, they were all pleased with developmental toys and books. One or two of each is more than sufficient. Opt for wood rather than easily breakable plastic versions.
Lastly, a play mat turned out to be quite useful. All the rest in this category was unanimously assessed as superfluous.
In case you are looking for ideas, Plantoys is a reliable brand. Their toys are made from sustainably harvested wood, i.e. from rubber trees that can no longer produce latex
Why You Shouldn’t Have These On Your Registry
New Clothes: ask around; it is not a myth. Babies grow fast and barely wear their clothes. Babies garments are among the highest quality of second-hand items you will find.
Try to opt for brands with high ethical standards, such as Sense Organic (vegan and organic) or the German Pitupi (an ambassador or slow and fair fashion). In doubt? Make sure to search on Good on You, a very reliable source for assessing clothing brands.
Washtub: instead, consider using other items you might have at home: a washbasin or a waterproof container previously used for toys, for example.
Lotion: coconut oil for the entire family will do! Unless your baby suffers from irritations or anything peculiar, there is not a need for specific skincare products besides the powder and soap described above.
High chair: it will become quite handy once your baby reaches 6 to 9 months, which is why we do not recommend it on your current baby registry list. In the meanwhile, a comfortable and quiet space with a few cushions under your arm should do just fine.
Baby-Changing table: a bed, play mat, sofa, or any other flat space in your house will do when changing diapers. Another step towards a minimalist baby registry!
A diaper bag: if you take a minute to have a look around, we are sure you will come to realize your baby does not need it. You probably own a sports bag you don’t often use?
Breast-pump: ask your local pharmacy or hospital as it is quite common to rent a whole set for about 20 to 40 USD a month for your baby(a brand new kit can cost up to 300 USD). Unsure where to look? Try this location finder from Medela here.
Comforter: we have noticed that often, babies comfort in one of the least expected cuddly toys, such as a blanket, a small cushion, or soft burp cloths. Should you, however, decide to try one of these animal-like comforters, make sure that at least buy two of these: in case you need to wash it and even better, as an (immediate!) backup should you lose the first one.
Pacifier: a personal choice, of course for any baby. It is helpful when putting your baby to sleep or on an airplane.
However, why not give it a try without this item and let your baby find comfort with his or her thumb, for example? There are pros and cons.
Make sure to read extensively on the topic via trustworthy resources such as university research and the like (3). Being at ease with your needs (yours, not others’!) and resulting choices is essential when building your list.
If you are looking for an eco-friendly alternative than the conventional plastic pacifiers, look at this 100% natural rubber option; it is softer than silicone and made without chemical softeners or colorants.
Any other gadgets such as a “pee-pee tents”: please, simply cover your baby’s part with your hand.
That will do. Stay alert and avoid falling into the hype and marketing of what babies’ typically’ or ‘should’ need. For example, no need to buy decorative items for his or her welcome party such as so-called biodegradable balloons.
Think efficient, DIY and secondhand when possible, and for sure to the point when it comes to preparing your minimalist baby registry.
Why Is It Important To Buy Only What You Need?
It is beneficial for the environment: to strive to live a more sustainable lifestyle, keeping the objects you already own by repairing them, or donating them, is a first important step.
As a last resort, when buying long-lasting, easily recyclable products for your baby, you help reduce the need for mass production and the amount of waste sent to landfills each year.
It saves you space, money, and time: try to avoid the numerous consumerism temptations and apply the minimalist philosophy instead.
Often, buying high-quality, reusable goods means a higher investment at first. However, since your first goal will be to find it second hand, the total sum will be significantly smaller than buying your entire registry brand new.
Owning less also means you will more easily find what you need while opting only for your favorite items. In other words, if you are not a 100% fan of a given product, do not bring it home.
It helps you embrace a new change with less pressure and stress: how peaceful is it to have your baby room full of stuffs and packages before he/she is even born?
If you choose your list well, the items will last longer, generate less waste (diapers is a typical example), and easily fit your closet.
Being a minimalist is a way for us to live in harmony; it has nothing to do with being deprived. Or worse, to think you might be missing an essential item on your baby registry. Know yourself, your habits, and your actual needs: all ingredients for a successful minimalist recipe!
Additional Tips To Reduce Waste
Make your baby food: instead of spending a ridiculous amount of money on organic purées of fruits and vegetables, prepare large batches for your newborn.
And store them in reusable containers and mason jars. Did you know you can easily freeze mason jars?
Should you already be a mom, try to repair or upcycle the items you already own or can borrow for a few months. This is incredibly helpful should you already have a little one at home.
Talk to the people around you and combine efforts: unsure of what to buy or what works the best for you? Why not ask around for try-outs or barters with friends? Have a look around for do-absolutely-want and don’t-want-at-all kind of items.
Encourage your loved ones to stick to your registry list and if they would like to give you something additional: suggest activities together or a financial contribution for a later project.
Consider using grown-up objects for your baby: a blanket or a comfortable cushion when (breast)feeding your newborn.
A huge thank you to our friends for sharing their experience with their newborns! This article is a summary of their tips and our way of envisaging a future human being in our home.
Building a minimalist baby registry is no easy task and requires time and reflection. We hope our review gave you the right (or last?) push to finalize your list with everything you need for your baby.
Furthermore, if you are also in need of maternity clothes for yourself, then take a look at our post on organic maternity clothes to help you out.
Do not hesitate to contact us to share your comments and tips on starting (or continue!) a minimalist lifestyle in your home.
And, remember it is never too late to start.