Simplifying with a Baby

Welcome to the July edition of the Simply Living Blog CarnivalWith Kids cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children, Laura at Authentic Parenting, Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, and Joella at Fine and Fair. This month, we write about keeping things simple with our kids. Please check out the links to posts by our other participants at the end of this post.

As most of my readers know, we are expecting our fourth child in September.  I’m sort of having a case of deja vu this go round, as my pregnancy has been quite a bit similar to Sofiya’s pregnancy.  My due dates for the two babies are less than two weeks  (and 7 years) apart.  I am pregnant in a new area, again.  For the first time since that first pregnancy, I am not surrounded by a community of friends.  I started feeling movement at the same time in the pregnancies – 12 weeks.  The two babies are/were both super wiggly.  Heck, we even drove to Missouri on Memorial Day weekend with both babies – once to move there and once to visit the friends and family we have there.
But one thing is vastly different with this baby.  With Sofi’s pregnancy, I was scrambling to make sure I had everything I would “need” for a baby.  And I felt like I was very conservative with my list of needs at that point.  But the amount of “stuff” that I acquired then was exponentially more than the things that we have for this baby.
Sofi “needed” dozens of outfits for both warm and cold weather.  She “needed” a changing pad, a cradle, swaddling blankets, tons of receiving blankets.  She “needed” a crib with an adorable bedding set.  She “needed” two diaper stackers.  She “needed” a Diaper Genie, with several refills.  She “needed” a swing, a high chair, a bumbo, a bouncer chair, and a stroller.  She “needed” a Pack N Play.  She “needed” a dozen and a half bibs, several baby spoons, 4 or 5 sippy cups for daily use, a Magic Bullet blender, several ice cube trays, and dozens of plastic storage containers to hold her frozen baby food.  She “needed” dozens and dozens of plastic toys that I had bought at yard sales for a quarter each – or less.  She “needed” the correct developmental toys at the correct ages.  She “needed” two baby gyms.  She “needed” the baby bathtub.  She “needed” special oils, lotions, creams, balms, shampoos, and body washes.  She “needed” more disposable diapers and wipes – all the time.  She “needed” lots and lots of books.  It was really amazing how much that little baby “needed”.

This baby, on the other hand, needs so little.  He has hand me down clothes from his two older brothers – enough clothes to last until laundry day every week.  We still have the crib, which we put in the side car position, next to our bed.  Mostly, the babies sleep in bed with us, but if I can slip him over into the crib, or lay partially in the crib myself, it gives us a bit more room in the bed.  But, the fancy bedding set is gone.  Instead there are homemade quilts and soft sheets.  The cradle, which my husband slept in as a baby, is often set up in the living room to give me a safe space to place the baby where the kids or dog won’t trip over him if I need to run to the bathroom.  But I no longer see the need to have several sleeping areas staged for one baby.  The diaper stackers and Diaper Genie, with its infinite, expensive refills is gone; replaced by much more efficient cloth diaper pails that hold, between two of them, an entire load of diapers at one time.  The infinite disposable diapers and wipes are gone – replaced by cloth diapers and wipes that are a one time investment.  The changing pad, swaddling blankets, and most of the receiving blankets have moved on.  We still have a high chair, but the bouncy seat, Bumbo, and giant swing were replaced by one portable swing that is about 18″ wide, 18″ tall, and folds to about 4″ deep.  I can use it when I want it and stash it when I don’t.  We still own a stroller that is compact, light weight, and efficient.  Elliott has 2 sippies for daily use, and I should imagine the new baby will have something similar.  We have about 3 baby spoons.  I no longer make baby food ahead and freeze it. I simply make sure that when we get to that point, I make something each meal that the baby can have too.  If all else fails, there is almost always a jar of applesauce in the fridge.  We now have one small basket of baby toys.  If the baby is bored with those, he can check out some of the older kids’ toys.  He doesn’t need special developmental toys.  Instead of two baby gyms that take up several square feet of space each, we now have a small, handmade wooden baby gym that stands on any blanket I lay on the floor.  It takes up significantly less space, and is a beautiful addition to our home.  The baby bathtub disappeared before Sofi’s first summer.  Instead, our babies bathe in sinks, regular tubs, or with a wash cloth.  We use only one shampoo and body wash combo, and if there is a dry spot or diaper rash issue, we use my own homemade ointment.  We have moved on the dozens and dozens of poorly written books that I amassed for Sofi and, instead, have a nice collection of well written books that we all love, but is far less extensive.  I will say that I own more carriers now than I did when Sofi was a baby, but I also have a wider variety of children to carry in them, as well.  Overall, I have simply come to discover that what we need is actually very little.  What someone else needs us to buy can be an overwhelming lot.

So, a recap, just for fun:

2-3 dozen outfits
changing pad
swaddling blankets
several receiving blankets
adorable bedding set
2 diaper stackers
Diaper Genie and refills
high chair
bouncer chair
Pack N Play
18 bibs
7+ baby spoons
4 or 5 sippy cups
Magic Bullet blender
5 ice cube trays
24 plastic storage containers
dozens and dozens of plastic toys
“correct developmental” toys
2 baby gyms
baby bathtub
body washes
1800+ disposable diapers
several packages of disposable wipes
100 books
3 ring slings
1 mei tai baby carrier
1 pouch carrier
New Baby:
10 outfits
5 receiving blankets
crib sheets
2 large capacity diaper pails, no liners
high chair
6 bibs
3 baby spoons
2 sippy cups
8 baby toys
1 handmade baby gym
shampoobody wash combo
2 dozen cloth diapers
2 dozen cloth wipes
30 books
2 wraps
2 ring slings
1 Ergo baby carrier
1 mei tai baby carrier

I’m sure that in this general list, I’ve missed a few things, like baby nail clippers.  But in general, you can see that we have come to realize that there is actually very little that we need for a baby.  And it is a much more comfortable feeling to know that I can survive, and help a baby to grow and thrive – without worrying about how to pay for all of that extra stuff.

Thank you for visiting the Simply Living Blog Carnival cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children, Laura at Authentic Parenting, Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, and Joella at Fine and Fair. Read about how others are incorporating simple living and parenthood. We hope you will join us next month when we discuss celebrations!  



4 thoughts on “Simplifying with a Baby

  1. It’s amazing how much stuff we realize we don’t actually need after having kids, isn’t it? I wish everyone had a good support system to rely on before their first child instead of having to rely on what companies tell you you need. We probably didn’t have half of the stuff you listed, and it was still too much. My husband was looking at a coworkers’ baby registry, an I asked him if it was their first baby. He pointed out several items and made the conclusion that yes, it was. 🙂


  2. That is so funny, Mandy! And yes, I even had a few people who were helpful, so my original list was nowhere near what Babies R Us recommends! But it was still way more stuff than we needed. We were lucky in that a lot of what we had we were gifted or were hand-me-downs, and most of what wasn’t was bought used. But it was still clutter everywhere, even if it wasn’t as expensive as it could have been.


  3. I was lucky that I was given all the stuff I thought I needed for my eldest so I didn’t feel so bad about giving back/away soon after! I think the list of what I actually used for my children and what I started off with would be similar to yours.


  4. Oh, I know it! My sister-in-law was asking us for registry information for our second, and I had to rack my brain trying to come up with something to put on it. I finally settled on a new car seat — ha! That was honestly all we needed, because our old one had expired. And it’s funny, because we got rid of a ton of stuff we’d used with Mikko (or never used), and all those things that filled my registry with him but weren’t purchased for us were not missed in the least.


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