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  • Writer's pictureThat Dread Girl

Minimalist Newborn Baby Essentials

Updated: Nov 28, 2021

I throw a lot of words around to label my conscious living values. Words like zero-waste, minimalist, eco-friendly, sustainable, all-natural, plastic-free, non-toxic, low-cost, anti-consumerism, vegan, etc. But at the end of the day they are just words, and the only thing that really matters is that your life choices make sense to you and feel good to you.

There’s no minimalist police out there, watching and waiting to fine you for too much clutter in your home. There’s no zero-waste judge going to punish you for throwing something away that could have been reused or recycled. There’s only you and your conscience that you have to live with everyday. That’s why making purposeful decisions based on your own ideals is a sure-fire way to bring you happiness. Even if it means going against the grain of societal expectations.

Why the longwinded disclaimer? Because I‘m about to share my personal way of living, of preparing for a newborn, and it may seem unorthodox but it makes me happy. To be clear, there are no rules, not even guidelines. This is just one possible way to live. I offer my experience to you so you can see what is possible. But be sure to make your own decisions based on you.

Alright, rant done. Now for the essentials!

For eliminating:

Cloth diapers/covers


Cloth wipes (washcloths)

Wet bags

Eliminating is the need I probably spent the most money preparing for up front, because cloth diapers can be expensive if they’re brand new. I requested cloth diapers at my baby shower, but maybe the idea is still too novel for people in my circle because not a single person brought them. I bought enough I think, but if I need more I’m definitely going to get them second hand. In the long run at least it won’t be as expensive as using disposable diapers and wipes.

Also, I plan on using elimination communication from birth with my baby. If you are unfamiliar

with EC, it’s a natural and non-coercive method of “potty training” an infant. It’s actually not training at all, but a simple and effective way of responding to a child’s innate need to eliminate. With this method diapers are used as a back up, and so should cut down on the number of diapers and prefolds I’ll need as well as the amount of laundry I’ll be doing. I did buy a top hat potty because I’m new to EC and I want to be prepared, but I don’t consider it essential, because you can just as easily potty an infant over the sink, a toilet, or even a bowl.

In my household we already use washcloth-type cloth instead of toilet paper, so I didn’t have

to purchase any new cloth wipes. I decided to get a Hiccapop baby wipe dispenser to store my cloth wipes downstairs, but I don’t think it’s essential because a basket or drawer would work just as well. I plan on using wipes with only water, and coconut oil or cornstarch as needed for skin issues (things I already own). I also own wet bags already, but I bought three more (one for downstairs diaper changes, one for upstairs, and a small one for travel).

Things I won’t be buying:

Changing table (I’ll change the baby anywhere)

Changing table topper

Changing pad

Diaper pail/genie

Disposable diapers

Disposable wipes

For feeding:

Muslin cloths (bib/burp/travel cover)

I plan on breastfeeding exclusively and as long as possible, at least a year. I am lucky in that as a first time mom I had no issues breastfeeding. No mastitis, no cracked nipples, no engorgement (until I stopped), no trouble with latching or weaning. I never used nursing bras before, so I’m not going out of my way to buy expensive bras now unless I feel it’s necessary in the future. Yes, I was blessed with my first baby. With any luck I will have the same experience this time around.

I do have one nipple that fits atop a mason jar, just in case I need a bottle at some point. But I won’t be using pacifiers, I never did before. If an issue comes up I will address it as I go and purchase more items as necessary. I’m not buying back-up bottles or formula or a pump. I think there is such a thing as being too prepared. I don’t see the need to stock up for the apocalypse either, but that’s just me.

When baby is old enough for solids I will be making my own baby food with our food processor. And regular ole utensils and plates have always worked fine for me. Since my need for new things is relatively low, I have been considering buying a Tripp Trapp chair second hand if I can find one. The chair is far too expensive brand new, but I love the design and fact that it grows with your child.

So muslin cloths are the only thing I need, besides my boobs, to feed my newborn. I use them as burp cloths, bibs, and as a cover while nursing when I’m out and about.

Things I won’t be buying:



Bottle brush

Pump and accessories


High chair

Baby utensils/plates

Baby food


For sleeping:


My partner and I will be co-sleeping with our baby and when we’re ready for more space our baby will sleep on a twin mattress (that I already own) placed on the floor next to our bed - Montessori-style. We sleep on the floor as well so this isn’t at all awkward for us. I co-slept with my first child and never needed any specially marketed baby pillows or co-sleepers. And since we’ll be in the same room for quite some time I don’t feel I will need a baby monitor. When my baby becomes mobile I will purchase a baby gate to block the door as our room is on the top floor of the house. Blankets of course are necessary, but Luckily I didn’t have to buy any because so many people gifted us with them at my baby shower. Apparently they’re a lot easier to find than cloth diapers.

Things I won’t be buying:


Crib mattress

Crib sheets




For clothing:

T-shirts/long sleeves


I have a good amount of clothing items saved from my first child, and I see no need to rush out and buy a bunch of new clothes that will only fit for a short period of time. We‘ll be doing a lot of skin to skin in the beginning anyway, so as long as I’ve got blankets we’ll be fine. And as baby grows I have several different sized T-shirts which I plan to pair with leggings and cloth diapers (it’ll be easier access for elimination communication). After raising my first child and seeing how fast he grew out of clothes, it just feels like a huge waste of money to overstock on this item. I am interested in maybe buying a pair of “grow-with-me” pants, or even make my own, but I have yet to do so.

On another note, we are waiting until the birth to find out the gender. This worked in our favor by making it difficult for people to buy us gender-specific clothing or any “cutesy” clothing at all.

Things I won’t be buying:

Cutesy clothing for every age

Gender-specific clothing

Specialty clothing (sleepers, mittens, onesies, swaddles, etc)

For traveling:

Car seat (for newborn to 8yrs)

Ring sling

In my experience the newborn car seat is unnecessary. Just one more bulky item to market to new parents. And your baby will need a larger car seat in the blink of an eye. So the only logical decision for me was to get a car seat that will last all 8 years that we need one.

If you’ve read my Ring Sling Belly Wrap post then you already know my feelings about baby wearing. It is imperative! I expect to wear my baby for at least 6 - 8 months after birth. Meaning I won’t need a stroller, and the ring sling is another item I don‘t mind spending a bit of money on. Eventually I might get a cheap umbrella stroller, but it’s not something I need to worry about now. Nor is a diaper bag. I will use a purse or backpack I already own.

Things I won’t be buying:

Diaper bag

Infant car seat


For healthcare:


The last item I consider essential is a thermometer. Any kind. An oral/rectal thermometer is going to be the most accurate, but not the most comfortable. A temporal (forehead) or tympanic (ear) thermometer is going to be a gentler choice for a newborn, but I don’t always trust them. I have both, and have had them for some time, but that’s because I’m a nurse. I do recommend purchasing one if you don’t already own one. It can give you such peace of mind as a new mom. Babies can be tricky, and sometimes just knowing their temperature can mean a world of difference in how much you worry about them.

Other Items I won’t be buying:

Bathtub (I’ll use the sink, lay a towel down in my actual tub and only fill it an inch or so, or bathe/shower with my baby)

Bath products (unless a skin condition presents itself I plan on only using water and maybe my mild homemade soap) Swing



Pack n play

Rocking chair

A million toys

As far as toys go, I don’t believe babies need toys. Their environment and your loving face is all they need to be entertained. Eye contact And facial expressions are most important! And though you may feel indifferent to your surroundings, everything is new to a baby so everything is fascinating.

I do have books and blocks. They aren’t exactly essential but they are beneficial to baby’s development and play. Beyond that, I’m more of a “make-up-a-story-on-the-spot” or a “let’s-sing-another-song” or a “make-your-own-spaceship-out-of-a-cardboard-box” kinda mom. But that’s just me.

And that’s it. I’m sure, even with my minuscule list there will be something I end up not using, and something I will wish I had purchased. But only time and my new baby will tell.

See my YouTube video here.

#minimalist #newborn #baby #essentials #zerowaste #clothdiapering #eliminationcommunication #oschaslings #ringsling #tripptrapp #breastfeeding

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