I'm Heather - lifestyle photographer & homeschooling mama. We choose simple and slow. Freedom and fresh air. And I like to make things beautiful.

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Baby Gear | As "Minimalist" As it Gets

We know this: babies need stuff. Lots of stuff. Not as much as is actually available, but it will still leave you overwhelmed, especially if you have a minimalist bent like us. JD and I tried to keep things simple, but the truth is that babies need way more than we realized. 

For my friends and relatives who are having babies soon, here is what we found "necessary." :)

Top 10

1. Rock 'N Play Sleeper: this one even vibrates, has a sound machine, and rocks itself. Worth the $$! Alice slept in hers for close to 6 months. Milo lasted 1 (he prefers sleeping on his belly). Babies love to feel "cuddled" and this makes them feel cozy while sleeping at an incline in case spit up happens. And it will.

2. Recliner/Rocking Chair: this one's for you. When you're up at all hours of the night feeding and rocking, you need to have a convenient and comfortable landing place in baby's room. We went the recliner route so we could lay down with the babes on us and we're so glad we did. Also, leather was smart - cleaning up spit up is as easy as wiping it up.

3. Car seat/Base/Stroller (aka the Travel System): we got the Chicco Cortina Keyfit 30 and have loved it for both kids now. I also recommend having a smaller, umbrella stroller for those outings when they're bigger and don't require much baggage.

4. Baby Carrier/Wrap/Sling: We use this Infantino Carrier and it's been great. It actually saved us the first few months because JD could wear him around the house and walk him til he fell asleep and I could wear him while I worked on projects. Even now that he's bigger, I can still wear him if he's complaining too much. I also have a Moby wrap but to be honest, rarely use it. It's a lot of work to tie, even when you get it down.

5. Swaddling blankets: we bought these Aden + Anais Organic ones (in Into the Woods print) and love them. We use them for everything - burp cloth, car seat cover, blanket, nursing cover - everything! And they have so many fun prints and colors to choose from. There's always one floating around the house. My only suggestion is that when washing them, make sure not to put them with Velcro items. I did this once and the Velcro stuck to the swaddle and shredded a small section when I pulled it off.

6. Nose Frida: it looks weird but you have got to buy it. This thing works so much better than a nasal bulb and is much less invasive. Don't worry, you are not going to inhale their boogers.

7. Heater/Fan: we live in an old house that leaks a lot of air, so to make sure the temperature doesn't drop too much at night, we have a space heater in each of their rooms. For Milo's, we bought this Lasko Tower Heater so we could control the exact temp.

8. Humidifier: we use this Crane Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier and it's great for their systems in the winter - especially with those heaters running. Just make sure not to run it right next to the crib.

9. Sound machine/Projector: we use this myBaby Soundspa Lullaby Sound Machine and love it. We've used it for both kids and it's great because we live a few blocks away from the train tracks and the Blair sirens are always going off during the day (not to mention a toddler is jumping around while Milo naps). We forgot to take it with us on a recent trip and boy did we notice a difference! He had a much harder time going to sleep and staying asleep.

10. Crib: there are so many cute options now! Even cuter than three years ago when we bought one for Alice. If you type in "modern crib" on Amazon you'll find any number of darling ones. Note: Don't buy a convertible crib. No one "converts" them - they just buy bigger beds. To go with your crib you'll need a mattress, waterproof pads, crib sheets (at least 2), and a mesh bumper. The bumper is great so they don't stick their arms or legs through the slats and pull too hard, accidentally breaking a limb. YOU DON'T NEED ANYTHING ELSE FOR A CRIB. Blankets, decor, and pillows are cute, but unnecessary. It's all a gimmick, not to mention can be potentially hazardous.

Everything Else We Use

Diaper Time

Changing Pad/Towel: for Alice, we simply changed her on a towel on the floor. When I got to be pregnant with Milo (and huge), getting up and down all the time was harder for me, so we got a changing pad and put it on an old dresser in the nursery. We bought this Summer Infant Contoured changing pad sans cover. It's so much easier to clean it by wiping it town instead of taking a cover off all the time (because we would literally have to change it everyday). I mean the poop. There is always poop.

Wipe Warmer: we use cloth diapers (see post here) and love having a wipe warmer for our reusable wipes - even our disposable ones when our others are in the wash. We use this Prince Lionheart Warmer.

Diaper Pail: with cloth diapers, we use a basic one with reusable liners (2).

Out and About

Travel Changing Pad: we use this one by Skip Hop every time we go out. It's so nice to have your own so you know you're not laying your little on a dirty public Koala Kare. This is a MUST HAVE.

Diaper Bag: I used my French Connection messenger bag with Alice and my ONA camera bag with Milo. Diaper bags that were designed to be diaper bags are great with their never-ending supply of pockets and pouches, but when it came down to it, I didn't want to look like I was carrying a diaper bag. Totally a matter of preference, but I'd encourage moms not to drop loads on an actual diaper bag and perhaps look anew at bags that suit their tastes that could still tote their necessities. Or better yet, just use a bag you already own.

Wet/Dry Bag: these are great for storing soiled clothing, wet things, or used diapers. Ours is from Planet Wise, but there are loads of others out there.

Car Mirror: we really like being able to see if Milo is sleeping or awake, so we got a mirror for rear-facing car seats. We use this one from Brica.

Car Window Shade: another must have for us is this Brica shade to keep the sun out of their eyes during the day. I love this one in particular because the base attaches to the bottom of the window and you can stretch it up to clip over the top of the window so if you roll the window down, the shade goes down with it and then back up again.

Car Seat Protector: to prevent dents and stains, we have two of these Brica Seat Car Seat Protectors.

Eating Time

Breast Pump: I use this Medela Pump, but not all that frequently. Since I'm a SAHM, I don't often need to pump extra for going out, but it is nice to have a few bags of milk in the freezer should we want to have a night on the town or if I have a big photoshoot. Even though I don't use it everyday, I'm still grateful to have it. With Milo, I've had two rounds of mastitis and it was helpful to be able to pump and massage out some of the backed up milk ducts. Note: I am now under the impression that some insurance policies will cover a new pump. Check yours and find out. Breast pump accompaniments: milk storage bags, sterilizer bag, bottle.

High Chair: we wanted a high chair that was a. easy to clean, and b. pretty. So we spent the extra and bought this OXO Tot Sprout Chair and love it. We bought the pink/walnut one and will order just the taupe insert soon so Milo doesn't have to sit in his sister's pink throne :) It adjusts as baby grows and is so easy to clean. No nooks and crannies here, folks. Whatever you do, AVOID NOOKS AND CRANNIES.

Bib: my friend, Leah, made us the best bibs for eating time. They velcro in the back and are long and cover your whole front. You will need at least a couple.

Sippy cup: Avent's Drinking Cup is the bomb. Nothing comes out unless your child pushes their lips to it. Highly recommend.

Boppy Pillow: I'm torn on this one. I used it a lot with Alice, but by the time I had Milo I realized I didn't really need it aside from the first two weeks. I could live without it, but I know it's a must have for a lot of moms out there.

Play Time

Bumbo: you have to have a Bumbo! My friend, Katharine, gave me hers and it even has a tray. Milo sits in that thing whenever my arms need a break and he loves being able to perch and watch instead of lay. It's easy to clean and you can bring it all over the house. As a SAHM, it saves me every single day.

Pack and Play: while we don't use ours much, it is nice to have when we go visit places so Milo has a place to sleep. We got an Aprica play yard, but they have since been rolled into Nuna. Some of my friends use this as their crib and bassinet for the first 6 months.

Monitor: we got ours for $10 at the pawn shop - nothing fancy, but it works! I don't use it at night since the nursery is right across the hall and I can hear him as soon as he starts to cry, but it's nice to have during the day when I'm working in my studio and he's napping upstairs in his room. Some of my friends have quite the video system, too, but we haven't needed anything like that. It's all a matter of preference.

Mobile: I made each of theirs, but since Milo sleeps on his belly he hasn't needed one. It would be nice to have one that can help them fall asleep, but hasn't been necessary for us.

Swing: we borrow swings from whatever of our friends isn't having kids at the moment and it has saved us hundreds! Thank you Rachel & Clay and Annie & Kyle!! Both Alice and Milo took a great many naps and soothing wake hours in the swing. This Fisher-Price one has been awesome.

Play gym: my sister bought us this one and Milo has loved it. He still plays with it every day!

Baby-proofing: we use these Safety 1st Magnetic Locks and Munchkin Outlet Plug Covers.

Baby Personal Care

Gripe Water: there are a number of great organic options at your local pharmacy and I highly recommend having a bottle on hand for tummy troubles. There are so many moments in those first few months where you have no idea why their tummies hurt - it could be the hiccups, it could be something you ate (if you're breastfeeding), it could be gas. This has helped us a great many times.

Homeopathic Teething Tabs: we use these from Hyland's for when teething starts and their gums are sore. It stays on much better than a gel.

Baby wash: we've been using the Sweet Orange Vanilla shampoo and bodywash from The Honest Company and love it! You'll want to nibble on your baby even more and this is a great company. We recently learned about Norwex, so we might just switch to the baby cloths and ditch soap altogether.

Brush: there are lots of sets out there that contain the clippers and combs and what not, but you don't need half of it. I would recommend buying the three things you actually need separately: the brush, clippers, and thermometer. The brush I still want to get is this BerryBest Brush.

Nail Clipper: this one from Safety 1st is great.

Thermometer: ours came in that silly set, but they make tons of better ones out there.

Pacifier: our littles never took to pacifiers, but the one they took when they were a few days old was an AVENT Soothie Pacifier.

Diaper rash ointment: we use kukui nut oil from our local baby shop, Baby Junk. It works wonderfully to soothe and smells nice to boot.

Detergent: since we wash cloth diapers, we needed something mild for those and their clothes. Luckily, it works great on ours, too, and a giant tub lasted us 2 and a half years! We use Charlie's Soap by the 32 pound bucket.

Wash cloths: we love Thirsties Fab Wipes and have about 3 packs of 6. Three of the colors we use for diaper wipes and the other three colors we use for everything else. They are soft, absorbent, and downright awesome.


Reusable Nursing Pads: I had been using Lasinoh disposable nursing pads but the sticky side kept sticking to my skin - and that hurts to take off! Not to mention it always looked like I was stuffing my bras with tissues, and then my friend, Leah, gave me some reusable cotton pads. They are wonderful! Not to mention they suit our lifestyle of not throwing away so much better. Here are some nice organic ones on Amazon.

Nursing Bra: I have not had a ton of luck finding a bra I absolutely loved, but this Motherhood one has met my needs at present. Mostly, I got it because it didn't look like a nursing bra and it came in my size - harder and harder to find these days. However, my friend Angela just raved about this Bravado Seamless Nursing Bra and I can't wait to try it!

Fenugreek: if you are planning on breastfeeding, this supplement will cause your cups to runneth over. It really helps to boost your milk supply and the only side effect is that you will smell like maple syrup. Your partner will love it, and probably crave more pancakes and bacon. I used this organic kind from GOLD and it was exactly what I needed.

Well, that covers most of it. I'm sure I forgot something or five, but it's a fairly comprehensive starting point (with the exclusion of books, diapers, bibs, and clothes - no brainers!). 

For my mama friends, what was I missing that you found you used a lot? What on here didn't you need at all?

Other notes: Amazon Prime will be your best friend, don't be afraid to return things, copious amounts of newborn clothing is completely overrated, and you can never have too many books.

Hope this helps! Happy registering and HAPPY NESTING!!!

Flowers & Whisps

Stairway & Hallway Remodel | Reading Nook

Stairway & Hallway Remodel | Reading Nook