Every new mom searches for baby must haves, trying to figure out what things to not miss out on and trying to save money. I know that it was definitely something we asked about and tried to find the answer to. However, I soon found that the basics are truly the only must haves that a baby needs and that beyond that it was either unnecessary or depended on the baby.
If you walked into our home, you would probably not necessarily think we were minimalists. However, it is our goal, and most definitely our mantra when it comes to baby items. We believe that so many “baby basics” really are not necessary. I have previously discussed our $1,000 baby budget and how we only spent one grand total on our daughter in her first year of life. From car seat to diapers, we didn’t splurge, rather we saved.
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So what do you need to know about the real baby must-haves? First is that there is no catch-all list or one thing that all families need for their child. Like every child is different, so are the needs. However, there are a few universal baby must-haves from birth to 18 months.
Baby Must Have Basics
Car Seat – no matter what parenting decisions you make, this is one that’s not really your own. You don’t get to choose whether your child uses a car seat or not. For us, we chose to research car seats that were rated highly for both infants and toddlers. We wound up with the Graco Smart Seat the first time around. It’s the only seat we ever used from hospital to 22 months when we got a Clek Fllo and handed the old one down to baby sister. Clek even know has an infant “thingy” that we use for babies and start with that seat!
Coconut Oil – This all-encompassing nectar of the gods is a must have because it can fill so many needs. It makes for a great lotion, a healing diaper cream, and even is yummy to eat. (Just please make sure you use a different jar for your diaper cream). It can even be used as a basic SPF (just wipe off excess oil). It doesn’t have nasty chemicals in it because it’s just a food and completely natural.
We personally love Tropical Traditions because it is a gold label virgin oil, meaning that it has not been heated or lost any of its healing components. I used to just buy what was at the local store, but I happened to get some Tropical Traditions and I was sold. It worked SO much better! (Click the picture for more info).
Clothing – Frugal living ultimately means not spending money where is doesn’t need to be spent. And no I am not advocating that your child doesn’t wear clothes, but you won’t find me buying boutique clothing or even shopping full-price racks at any store. I find that I can dress my daughter fashionably and still being smart about how I buy. The majority of my child’s clothes are from secondhand stores and then a few things off clearance. And here’s the thing… I am very picky about the clothes she wears. Most of it is GAP and Gymboree, none of it has any fort of phrases or wording on it, we do not allow cartoons, characters, or childish graphics, etc.. And yes, I still manage to find great buys. It can be done. For more on how I do this, check out my Frugal Family’s Guide to Buying Secondhand.
Aden + Anais Burpy Bibs – This is one thing I would have so many of if I was willing to spend the money. I love these bibs for so many reasons. They have saved so many tops from ruin because they cover the entire chest from shoulder to shoulder. They also make great burp cloths and lap napkins. So many uses for just one item. Bibs are typically on the must-have list of baby basics whether your breastfeed, bottle feed, use purees, or Baby Led Weaning; but in the end, this is the one I would trade any other bib for in a heartbeat.
Nosefrida – Snot happens you guys. And when it does, it’s a pain. Baby is miserable, thus making parents pretty sad too. Nothing works better than a Nose Frida. I don’t care if you are squeamish or not, this product is a life saver. It’s the only thing that effectively gets out snot… and fast. It has a filter so no, there is no chance of getting snot in your mouth. We have had screaming fits while using it, but in a matter of 15 seconds, clear nostrils beat the hog-tie any day.
A bag of pellet ice – It sound so simple and so silly. But in the end, it’s what works that counts. The small pellet ice like from Sonic Drive-In (if you’re familiar) is perfect for the teething baby and toddler… and even an engorged mom to reduce nipple sweelling in breastfeeding!
We have a big bag in our freezer and we have taught her to word ice. When she’s teething, we fill a small cup with it and she eats the ice after placing it right where her gums hurt. We even got some mesh teethers and all kind of other teething toys and none of them really helped or were a big hit. Sometimes the simplest solution is the best and most effective.
Cloth Diapers – Remember, we are going for minimalism here. So I say cloth diapers because it means you’re not constantly buying more things that are just going to get thrown away. And it’s really not as awful as so many seem to think. We have cloth diapered since the beginning and I can honestly say it hasn’t been difficult or time-consuming. In fact, we have even used cloth diapers on vacations including Maui for 7 days.
Also, if you’re thinking cloth diapers are complicated with pins and rubber pants, might I introduce you to modern cloth diapers and all their cuteness? They’re also so easy… just as easy as disposables! My favorite cloth diaper is Tail Feathers Diapers because they fit well on my little one and always have! In fact, her first cloth diaper was a tiny NB Tail Feathers diaper about the size of a credit card.
Read more about cloth diapering a newborn.
If you think that you could never wash a poopy diaper or it’s just not for you, I strongly encourage you to make sure there isn’t a diaper service in your area! When we were in the OKC metro, we had one called Savvy Baby and they not only launder diapers and do EVERYTHING for you, but they even have packages where you don’t have to buy your own diapers. And in the Boston area, there is a local laundromat that also washes cloth diapers!
What did you find to be a true necessity and part of your Baby Must Haves?
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Ultimate Guide to Baby Must Haves ~ Lemon Lime Adventures
Kara is an author, wife, and mother of 3 children living in Boston, MA. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and even helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!