From my experience, here are my minimalist baby essentials:
Babies require very little. They also outgrow things extremely fast.
As a first-time mom-to-be, I did a lot of research to figure out what the best minimalist baby essentials are for a newborn because I really had no idea what I would need.
I was also very careful about which items I added to my registry. The idea of storing stuff in my house that has little or limited use honestly doesn’t appeal to me.
I want to put my money and my space to better use!
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Don’t want to fill your house with random baby things that your baby will outgrow before you even use?
Here are the items that I recommend, by category:
Big ticket items (that you already know about):
- Car seat
- a few footed onesies with snaps or zipper (according to preference)
- a couple of bodysuits
Don’t get too many newborn sized clothes because these get outgrown the fastest. Some babies never fit into them at all. I preferred the snap-up onesies for the first few months, after which I preferred the zip-up ones.
- a sleep sack or 2
When Daniel was a newborn, we cocooned him in Summer Infant Swaddleme wraps; it was the only way to get him to sleep at night!
- 2 pairs of baby socks (if you get footless pants) – careful that the elastic isn’t too tight
- a couple of bibs
Stay away from velcro. It gets stuck on other clothes in the wash, it can irritate baby’s neck, and it’s hard to undo if baby falls asleep with the bib on. Look for bibs with snaps instead.
I use and love the Aden and Anais muslin bibs. The triangle shaped, bandana bibs, fit my baby from the very beginning. We are still using them at 8+ months.
I found that the quality of the brand varied with the place of purchase. In my experience, the best quality Aden and Anais bibs I own are from Babies r Us.
- diapers either reusable or disposable (according to preference)
We used disposables, and after trying a few brands, we stuck with Pampers Swaddlers.
- diaper rash cream (if you are using reusable diapers, not all creams are compatible)
For the first months, I used either pure avocado oil, or Penaten Medicated Cream, if needed.
- a changing pad – to be used on your bed, in the crib, etc.
After reading a lot of reviews I got the Pronto Changing Station from Skip Hop, in Hearts and I love it so much! Although I had a few other change pads, I only ever wanted to use this one. It’s big when open, compact when folded, easy to wipe, and so pretty!
- a DIY diaper caddy/station (here‘s mine and how I made it)
- a thin towel if you plan on washing baby’s bum rather than using wipes It’s so much easier, cleaner, and better for baby to be washed gently rather than wiped with wipes! Most wipes contain a bunch of chemicals.
I got a set of KidiComfort Washcloths as a gift, and they are my favourites. They are not the softest, but they work very well for us.
- wipes, mostly for on the go
- a diaper bag or any bag with multiple compartments
- a couple of nursing bras
- nursing pads – reusable or disposable
I used Bamboobies reusables and Lansinoh disposables. I highly recommend both.
- a good nursing pillow is essential
I use the Nneka nursing pillow , and it’s amazing! It’s filled with buckwheat hulls, to which you can add or remove to make it the right density for you.
You can use this pillow before, during, and after baby. It also comes in fun prints. I chose the ‘doily’ print.
- Lanolin nipple cream is a MUST!
You will need this, I guarantee it! I tried a few, but my favourite and go-to was the Medela Tender Care Lanolin Cream. It also doubles as a great lip balm.
- a good brand of formula (if not nursing)
- a set of baby bottles
We got a set of Avent glass bottles, like this one. I liked it, no complaints.
- a bottle brush (some sets of bottles include a brush)
- a breast pump (if needed)
You can rent one from the hospital, or local lactation consultants. Alternatively, you can purchase your own. I did both. I ended up purchasing my own because the rental fee was too high, and I wasn’t using it enough to warrant the CAD $80-100/month rental fee.
If you plan on using a pump, ask to try a pump at the hospital. You will receive a free starter set of pump parts which usually costs about $70.
- a nasal aspirator and saline drops
We got the hydraSense Nasal Aspirator Kit at our baby shower, and it has worked fantastically for us.
At first, I was grossed out at the idea, but there is a filter that keeps the tube clean. As it turns out, it isn’t gross at all.
- nail clippers
I love, love, love the FridaNail SnipperClipper by FridaBaby. These nail clippers have a little window through which you can see exactly what and how much you are cutting. They are an absolute must!
- Infant Tylenol
It’s essential to always have some Tylenol on hand. Go to Costco for the best deal!
- a gentle baby shampoo and body wash
I use and love Carina Organics’s Baby Shampoo and Body Wash. First of all, it is made ONLY of natural ingredients. Second of all, it’s made in Canada. Third of all, it’s a two in one! You can also get scented or unscented. Larger, more economical sized containers are available on their website.
I use it too, and it works as well as any good shampoo. 🙂
- a bath support or hammock – to use in your tub
We have the Angelcare Bath Support, and it made bathing our baby in the large tub a breeze!
- baby towel
Don’t get more than 2 hooded baby towels because they are generally very small and get outgrown extremely fast.
- infant cotton swabs
- a video baby monitor
This is super important, especially when you are sleep training your baby and you need to see what they’re doing. Is your baby sleeping, or just playing quietly in the crib?
- a set of receiving blankets
They have so many uses! We used them as blankets, as covers, and as pillows on hard changing surfaces. We also used them as burp cloths. We used a set from Nuby, and I found them to be excellent. You can usually find them at Winners. (Amazon has this set for an outrageous price, so look for it elsewhere.)
- swaddle blankets – they also have many uses
I love the Aden and Anais ones, and use them a lot, especially in the summer.
- 2 thicker blankets
- Car seat cover – if your baby is born during the cooler months
We borrowed one from our friends, and found it super useful! It looks like this.
- a white noise machine!
We use the Marpac Dohm Elite White Noise Machine, and we all love it! It easily covers up sounds from outside the room.
- a soft, cottony baby carrier
I chose the Baby K’tan and loved it. The drawback with this one is that it is fitted to you, like a shirt. Unless daddy is the same size as you, you won’t be able to share it. Something like the Boba Wrap is universal.
There are a million choices out there. My advice is to wait until baby comes and try some out together in-store. Places like Milkface offer baby-wearing classes where you can do just that.
- baby teethers
Find out what our Top 5 Teethers are.
- baby toys
What are our Top 5 Baby Toys? Click to find out.
Nice to have but not essential:
- a bassinet
- baby bathtub
Ikea sells one for $12.99!
- a drying rack for baby bottles and other items
Many months in, I decided to get the Boon Lawn, and I wish that I had gotten it from the very beginning. It dries things so much better and faster than a regular dish rack, or than laying things out on a towel.
It’s also very pretty in our kitchen, and it’s very easy to clean.
- a mobile to keep baby entertained
We got the Dual Motion Development Mobile from Tiny Love, and Daniel was enchanted by it. When he outgrew the mobile, we separated it from the music box, and gave him the piano to play with. He still loves it!
- a light projector for the bedtime routine
We have the Twilight Turtle and the Tranquil Frog, both from Cloud B. We used the turtle every night for the first 6 months, and we now use the frog for every sleep time, because it also has calming music.
I hope that you found my list and suggestions helpful in your search for the essentials for your baby.
If you would like me to write an in-depth review about any of the items I mentioned, please let me know in the comments section below.
Here’s to you and baby, and not a lot of clutter,
PS. Take a look at my Essentials List for Starting Solids… it will happen faster than you can imagine.