For Steph, a designer and first-time mom whom I admire and get to work with again! High five!
Becoming a mom is so amazing and being super prepared is very important for us the first time. It could be overwhelming, however. I certainly was! I had 2 bassinets, a crib, colorful and loud this and that, and I found myself getting rid of more than half of it on the first 2 months. Baby’s don’t really need all of those things. In fact all they need is you and diapers, honestly.
These days I am all about minimalism and finding the right few items with many purposes and uses. Items that can transcend my baby’s stages and needs. So, here I share items that are mostly good for the environment, are space-saving, support a few small businesses, are well designed and will last over the course of many baby and child stages.
Incredibly soft PARASOL CO. diapers and wipes. I tried probably 6 brands and they all made me angry (rashes, tough as sand paper, leaks etc, etc.) I would really hate to change diapers if it wasn’t for these beauties, also called “disposable underwear”. Seriously tho, I don’t put pants on my kid sometimes, these are more than just diapers. Chemical free, no leakage (even at night!) SO DARN SOFT, I can’t stress this enough. So soft and in beautiful patterns. Get 20% discount here!
Foam floor mats: A wooden or monochromatic version of the loud-colored mats can help baby focus on whats on the floor and…helps mom focus on baby (crazy colors can overwhelm you too!) Good through toddlerhood and more.
Swiss Cross double-sided blanket: Much like everything else here: the less colors, the less the overwhelm. Good for many stages of toddlerhood and childhood.
Breastfeeding Boppy Pillow: VERY important. A bunch of pillows to prop your arm and baby are not the answer. I found this to be so helpful and so did my husband when the time to feed with the bottle came. The pillow comes by itself here but you can find a myriad of unique handmade covers like here.
Bouncy seat: There are so many options for bouncy seats and although I never had this one, it’s now my first choice. It bounces with their movement (not batteries!), it’s breathable, sturdy and easy to clean. It’s adjustable as well and it cooks and cleans…jk on those last two, but it is pretty perfect! Eventually around the time they start solids you can still use it to feed without a high chair, which is great because you’ll find yourself buying different (we had about 5 different space-taking things, ugh) bouncy seats and things every month and it can be costly, and pretty pointless if you ask me today. Less is better at any stage for both of you and the environment.
Wooden Baby Gym: Remember, less is better, right? The toys at most super baby stores are absurdly loud and bright. It’s never stimulating (as they claim) if they can’t ever focus on one thing, in my opinion. Hell, you can’t event focus when you walk into a Baby’s R US, am I right? This baby gym is handmade, simple and perfect for your baby to focus. Not only that but it’s has a low (maybe non) environmental impact at the end of its cycle.
Sleep Swaddle Sack: Sleeping will be weird, pretty much like dancing to a waltz without music. You and your baby will find the right rhythm eventually but first, help your baby feel secure. During the fourth trimester baby feels insecure (I suppose like having vertigo) not being in a confined space, it’s the only thing that they know while being on your belly. Once earth-side, help them be secure in a snuggled swaddle. Perhaps one that has a velcro like these so that they don’t wiggle out of it.
5 oz Baby Bottle: I cringed at the idea of bottle feed my baby because of all the annoyances that come with: pumping, washing bottles, washing pump, sterilizing everything every 2 hours or so. If you can, breastfeed as much as possible instead! And avoid everything else, you don’t need the stress. But if you do have to bottle feed, say grandma does for that date night, or you go back to work, I recommend these bottles and these glass ones too. Easier to clean than most plastic bottles (plastic starts smelling after a few usage times). The nipple is wide enough and it weights practically nothing.
Light Swaddle Blanket: For those times that you need to quickly cover them from the sun, strong AC in most places or use as emergency changing pad. Rolls up small and it’s weightless. Life saver!
Thick Quilt: I recommend it mostly for the active months to be placed on the floor and perhaps under that wooden baby gym. It’s padded and soft, and guess what, no bright colors! Also, bonus points for maximizing its use throughout their childhood. Multipurpose items save you a ton of money.
Foldable Baby Tub: Space saving items are a big deal in this house, but I didn’t know how much until we were flooded with things and gadgets…and a giant baby tub (or 2)…in our home during the first 2 months! I didn’t own this foldable tub, but I wish I had. Regular baby tubs mean: bending over a tub in your bathroom that is back-breaking, water wasting and scary for your baby. This one is closer and higher to you and you can use both hands (vs. hovering baby in one arm and attempting to put water on other). You can hang it to dry and pretty much take it anywhere if you plan to travel as well! Two for one.
Mommy & Me Matching Teething Necklace: I have a boy so I can speak to the matching necklace part but I do recommend a teething necklace that can keep your baby entertained while on you AND without it being dropped or dragged around everywhere. It’s made with soft and safe silicone that massages those baby gums. Made by a local and experienced mom with 2 kiddos. More designs here.
Wooden Letter Blocks: Not entirely necessary, it’s just a really good comparison to the bright toys out on the market that are mass-produced. These blocks can help babies explore at their own will without lights and noises to hypnotize them with. Ever wonder why they love the box or the wrapping of a gift vs. the actual gift? Because those things aren’t intimidating and allows them to discover within their own comfort. Your baby is smarter than most people think. More toys here.
Sleeping Bag: Once they’re ready to roll over most babies are comfortable with their arms out of the swaddle. So, save some money on too many blankets by using this sack instead. Babies move around anyways and you won’t have to worry about them being cold at night or getting wrapped up on these blankets. Warm enough and breathable enough for Florida weather/AC and roomy enough for those morning stretches. We would be using one still if they had bigger sizes for toddlers!
Wooden Teether Rattle: Much like the blocks above, this passive teether is less intimidating and its natural texture also helps with itchy gums. It is not hard for them and it is definitely better than the plastic counter parts.
#Babywearing: Last but not least; whatever you do, wear your baby! You little one is being rocked regularly on your belly and it’s very soothing to them when you bounce them constantly…hence the bouncy seats and rockers etc. Carrying a baby constantly deprives you of using your hands and moving securely, unless you babywear of course. Carrying them in a sling or other baby carriers feels natural to them because they’re close to you, they hear your heart, your temperature regulates theirs and they hear your voice so close, just like in your belly. See recommendations here and here.