The moment I decided I wanted to be a mom filled me with excitement, curiosity, love, and a whole lot of fear and dread (because let’s be real, the fact that we CHOOSE to grow a human inside of us and then push it out and keep it alive is a pretty insane endeavor.)
I also dove head-first into planning mode. I immediately turned to blogs, mom friends, and my beloved Pinterest to start adjusting to what mom-life would look like at my house.
I’m a borderline minimalist married to a borderline hoarder, so I was worried about how many giant plastic toys would start to un-feng my shui. I mean, how much stuff does a baby really need?
Shockingly, my husband shared this concern and we both agreed that we would be selective in what we purchased or registered for and would limit things to the bare necessities. It helped that at the time we lived in a smallish suburban townhome that was perfect for a working couple without kids.
As with any new baby, people’s generosity spill-ith over. When it came to gift-giving holidays, we asked for our friends and family for their presence, not their presents. If they insisted on buying something, we asked for experiences – like passes to Echo Leahy Center, Shelburne Museum, or Shelburne Farms.
I would say our efforts were successful, and it “only” took 10 months for us to feel like we needed to upgrade our space – but it was more to provide extra room for our little one to stretch his legs than it was a response to a need to add more stuff. For the most part, we stuck to our guns and bought very little.
A good friend of mine has been toying with the idea of motherhood for a while and recently concluded that, yes, the insane endeavor is a mountain she wants to climb. Like me, she wanted to know how much “stuff” she really would need to accommodate. Her minimalist style makes my house look like a dumpster bin, so I’ve already started a list of my minimalist mom newborn needs: all the baby-must-haves that I never knew I needed.
1) Nose Frida: This is my number one new baby must have. I remember seeing this on various registries over the years and felt sick just considering using it. But here’s the deal- babies don’t know how to blow their noses, and stuffed up sinuses can wreck havoc on their ability to sleep, eat, nurse, and thrive. Not to mention, clearing out those little noses can really help decrease the length of colds – which happen all too often during daycare. The large tube end goes into the baby’s nose and you suck on the long thin tube to remove the boogers lodged up in those tiny little nostrils. Don’t worry – a small, but effective, blue sponge prevents you from ingesting any of the treasures you retrieve. Needless to say, this snot-sucker has been a lifesaver.
2) Sound machine: When we lived in our smaller home, our baby, Reggie’s room was on the same floor as the kitchen, living room, and a bathroom. And even when he was in our room upstairs, the house was too small to muffle any noise. We needed something to help drown out the sound of my sleep-deprived sobs Grey’s Anatomy reruns. The sound machine worked wonders and actually helped soothe Reggie into slumber. We’re still using the same machine 18 months later.
3) Shusher: In addition to the sound machine in his room, we also purchased a travel style called the Shusher. At first, I thought this would be a gimmick, but we were convinced to try it out after reading about the 5 Ss (Swaddle, Swing, Suck, Side, Shush) in the book “Happiest Baby on the Block.” Reggie was one of those babies who screamed whenever he was put down, put in the car seat, strolled in the stroller, rocked in the swing… you name it. Thirty seconds with the Shusher and he calmed right down.
4) Baby Brezza: I decided early on that I wanted to make all of Reggie’s food myself. I knew it was a lot of work, but I figured I’d do my best. The Baby Brezza made that very easy. I’m sure there are tons of products out there that make for lighter lifting, but this one caught my eye because it steams and purees all in one. Total timesaver! I would make big batches of purees on Sundays and pour them into ice cube trays for easy portioning.
5) Fisher Price Rock N’ Play: I had a plan of transitioning Reggie out of my room after 12 weeks, in time for me to go back to work. By 6 months, I had come to the realization that Reggie would never sleep in his crib and we would need to get master-bedroom style bunkbeds. Not only did he refuse to sleep in his crib, he also vehemently opposed being flat on his back. I’m ashamed to admit that we let him sleep in the Rock N’ lay for 7 whole months! We rarely turned it on to actually rock, but the angle was just right for him.
6) Magic Merlin Sleep Suit: If you haven’t gathered by now, Reggie was a horrible sleeper. When we finally transitioned him out of the Rock and Play, he was too big for swaddling, but still jumpy and cranky when lying down solo. By now, I was back at work – pumping three times a day while shoveling food in my mouth and reading endless emails. Luckily, I wasn’t alone – my fellow milk maids and I shared our mothering wins and losses and shameful insights into our maternal hacks. Cue, the sleep suit. If a sleep sack and a swaddling blanket had a baby this is it. It gives just the right amount of weight to prevent those jumpy arms and legs, but still allows for the baby to move and adjust. My nights were never the same after this.
7) Himalayan salt lamp: I have seen these lamps all over the place and read about their benefits. I can’t attest if ours actually creates positive ions in the air, but it is the perfect nightlight. The color is warm and calming and provides just enough light for late-night diapers and nursing sessions without having to turn on any bright lights. This makes transitioning back to bed much easier. Plus, it’s pretty!