Trying to Figure Out the Minimum Amount of "Stuff" That I Need for My Newborn!

Updated on January 08, 2008
N.P. asks from Portland, OR
9 answers

Hi there,

I'm due in May and have started thinking about all of the "stuff" I will need for my baby. Honestly, I am feeling overwhelmed by all of the options out there. Also, I am interested in organic items, but I'm not sure of the best places to buy these items.

Is there a list out there of what you need? Not the "everything you could think of" list, but more of a "what you really need to get started" list? I'd also be interested in information on the most important items to buy organic.

Thanks for any help you can give me! N.

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answers from Portland on

Do you have any friends or acquaintances who have had kids within the last few years? My friend with a 1-year old took me to BRU to register, and I don't know what I would have done without her. She took me through the list they give you (about a million things they say you must have) and weeded out the unneccesaries and helped me choose the things I'd really need.

That would be my advice to you...find someone with a baby who can go to BRU with you, get the store's list, and go through item by item.

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answers from Portland on

Keeping it simple with kids is, uh..., "simple" and yet complicated, because there are a number of products begging for your money. For the newborn, I recommend just covering the basics: sleeping at night (crib or beside you?), sleeping during the day (stroller or other thing?), transportation (in car and on foot), lots (!) of onesies and cloths to wipe, elimination (cloth or disposable?) and safety in the tub. The rest will pretty much fall into place.

I recently heard on Science Friday on NPR that it's really important for little ones to not be around scented stuff or anything else that off-gases (who knew?):
That said, your baby's living environment would benefit from eco-friendly paint, detergent, soap, etc. Hope that helps.

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answers from Portland on

I totally agree with your minimalist ideas. Babies are a whole lot easier than the babies R us ads would have you believe.

I had a ton of stuff given to me and I only used about 1/2.

Some clothes, swaddling blankets, diapers, wipes, a awesome diaper cream (I loved Calmoseptine), one simple baby bathtub, and some sort of a swing or chair. And I highly recommend a small natural (seeds in cloth type) heating pad for upset tummies (a trick the nurses use in the hospital).

If you're breast feeding - breast pads and lansinoh. (feeding bras and special breast feeding clothes are really nice). Once you start talking about working you'll need breast pump et al.

That's it. I figure that stone age mothers managed without matching baby towels and wash clothes and they certainly didn't have ruffled bassinets and diaper hangers. As you get the baby and start living, you will decide what else is a good idea to help make things easier for both of you.

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answers from Portland on

Hi N.,

I can tell you it is so easy to go overboard. If you totally want to go simple, avoid the temptation to buy anything until after your baby shower. Then, think about your lifestyle. Are you into attachment parenting? Will you co-sleep? If this is the case, you will not need a crib. I bought a co-sleeper and never used it for the baby. It basically holds all of her diapering supplies next to our bed and she sleeps with us. Or, you may use a co-sleeper and then move to having your son on a small mattress next to your bed. If you decide to use a crib, see if friends or family have one you can borrow or purchase from them. Craigslist is also a great source! I also didn't use a changing table. I laid a mattress pad on my bed and simply change the baby on there. It is soft and comfortable and I simply change the pad when I wash her diapers so it is always clean for her.

Breastfeeding. I was committed to breastfeeding and was so worried about nipple confusion, that I never even tried to give my daughter a bottle until she was 7 weeks old. By then, she refused to take a bottle or pacifier. I ended up breastfeeding her without using a bottle once, so my breastpump, bottle sterilizers, bottles and all the accessories were nearly a total waste. If you are staying home with your baby and don't plan on being away from him and are determined to strictly breastfeed, I would skip all the bottles and stuff and see what you are given. It will probably be plenty! I would recommend planning on a pump though. Even if you just rent one for a month. When your milk comes in, you can become engorged and it will be very difficult for your baby to latch on. Pumping helps release the pressure and make latching easier.

The first few months, you really do not need any toys. Babies love light and dark contrasts. Windows and people passing in front of them can be fascinating. Same thing with waving brightly colored fabrics or sparkling jewelry. Save your money for when your child is older when it comes to buying toys. Plus people will give you things all the time for the baby.

Clothing. What a waste with a newborn! They mainly need onesies and pajamas. Just a couple outfits for going outside. But, the reality is they sleep all the time and you will most likely have him in a onesie and then swaddled up in a blanket.

Diapering. My life is all about cloth diapering, so that is where my advice will come from. Cloth is the best way to go in my opinion. It is great for the environment and our landfills. It is a healthier option for your baby and it will save you a lot of money! You can email me if you want to know more or read about diapering on my website I give great deals to local moms and free classes on cloth diapering and baby wearing.

Speaking of babywearing, this is a lifesaver! Look into different baby carriers and see what interests you the most. The only thing I will stress the most is to pick one that conforms to your body like an asian style carrier, pouch, sling, or wrap. I personally love the wrap due to the comfort for parent and baby and the flexibility in the positions you can wear your baby. But everyone has their own preference. Just avoid the mainstream carriers that have a structure to them like the Baby Bjorn. They put pressure on your baby's spine and separate their hips joints too far. Wearing your baby will allow you to do household chores and get things done when you are alone. You will be able to hold, love and support your child while at the same time make a meal, brush your hair, vacuum the house, etc. etc.

Baby bath tub. I personally used one once. I hated how difficult it was to handle the baby and bathe her at the same time, plus needing to clear counterspace and clean up afterwards. I found it far simpler to simply take her into the tub with me. I would lay a soft blanket on the floor and I would bundle her in a towel after the bath and lay her on the blanket on the floor so I could get out and and dry off and it worked great! She is 16 months old and we still take baths together. It is part of our quality time together each evening.

And don't forget the carseat! An absolute must! Everything else will become obvious as you need it. Toys and gadgets are all marketed to us, but most are not necessary for a newborn.

So here is a quick and simple list:
1. Bedding
swaddling blanket - no other kinds needed
mattress pads (2 so you can use one while the other is being washed - I prefer the all flannel ones over the ones with a vinyl backing) (2 more if you share your bed with your baby so you can sleep on it and not have to change sheets in case of leaking breastmilk, spit up, diaper leaks, etc.)
Some form of bed if you are not co-sleeping
2. Bathing
They do not even need soap the first month or so. Their skin is super sensitive and there are so many chemicals in baby shampoos, so this is one area I prefer organic and only once in a while. Plain water and a soft cloth will clean most everything up really well. You can use your own towels, no need for baby towels.
3. Car seat
4. Baby Carrier
5. Diapers - organic bottom balm that is olive oil based, diapers and covers.
6. Breastfeeding
1-2 bottles to start (you never know how many you will need or what type until you see how your child will react to bottles. Many parents are seeking out glass bottles due to the issues of plastic these days too!)
Nipple Cream - organic is preferred since your baby will be nursing and coming into contact with this!
Breastpads - I prefer natural organic cloth for this too
Good nursing bra - get fitted after your milk comes in. There is a great shop in Portland called Just Like a Woman that carries every size. It's a little spendy, but the comfort and support is well worth it!

Good luck!

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answers from Portland on

There are really only four things a newborn *needs*...

1. A warm, clean place to sleep
2. Good food (boobs/formula)
3. Clean diapers
4. Parents who love her/him

Everything else is just gravy ;-)

Seriously, you'll get all this stuff and realize that you only need about 1/3 of it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I would highly suggest trying to purchase resale clothing and accessories for your son. I own a resale children's clothing store, so it sounds like this is a self-promoting suggestion, but truly, as a mom, resale is a good choice on many levels: clothing has already been washed multiple times, removing any lingering chemicals in the fabric (see the off-gassing comment, below). Resale is FAR more economical than purchasing new items, and resale is the single best environmental choice you can make when it comes to clothing purchases: even organic clothing has a high eco-footprint from the growing and manufacturing processes. (Though organic is definitely a better choice over traditional cotton or synthetic clothing).

I second what a lot of moms are saying - many of the 'must haves' aren't really necessary. Talk to friends with kids and get their opinions, though they'll differ widely. And don't worry too much - you'll quickly discover your own parenting style and what you need/works for you.

One friend of mine had friends lined up as 'errand doers' after her baby was born, which I thought was a great idea. If you discover you need something you don't have, you can ask a friend to help you to get it.

Best wishes!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

When I have more I'll probably just buy this: with the rocker attachement!
it does it all..

I didn't have a lot but the one thing that saved me was this rocker that vibrates. I still use it for my kids in my care, they fall asleep in it, find comfort in it, and the young ones eat in it! it is a life saver!! you can see the pics that people have sent in on this and everyone uses it from a new born to a three year old..

and you'll need some sort of front pack. we prefer the Ergo. you can find it at Mother Natures too. it's amamzing!!

that's my two cents!

Buy wooden toys, stay away from the plastic, and you really don't need many toys. they don't play with them, you do!

There is a place that sells Organic things in Portland. it is called Mother Natures

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answers from Portland on

I bought an organic cotton/wool crib mattress from an Amish company on the internet for $199. This is a good deal, a lot cheaper than any other organic crib mattress. If you are interested you can google Amish organic crib mattress. Also we bought a lambskin for our daughter to sleep on in her crib. This is useful if you travel overnight you can bring it along and your baby can sleep on it and it is familiar in a new place. It is great for camping.

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answers from Portland on

Posh Boutique sells organic clothing, mattresses and sustainable items.

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