Friday, January 15, 2010

Minimalist Baby Stuff

I know this is terrible, but I feel a little smug about the fact that we are doing everything for the baby as minimalist as possible.

People say, "Have you painted the room yet?" and I practically gag with laughter. HA! A room? A whole room? For the baby? We have a 2 bedroom apartment and we are planning on the baby co-sleeping with us, so we have part of a room set aside for playing and rocking and reading, and that's about it. Plus, we rent. I don't get why people ask this question around here because nearly everyone I know rents.

Second, all these expecting women go on and on about buying baby cribs and baby bedding and take pictures of the whole room all set up with a changing table and the baby's name stenciled on the wall. And I'm like, "Really? REALLY?" I get that people think they need a lot of things because we are sort of told we need a lot of things and I guess if you had the room for it, you might think getting a lot of things was a good idea, but it seems a bit silly.

You don't need to have a crib right away and in their own room. I mean, you have to physically GET UP every few hours to get to the baby at night. Do you really want to walk to the other side of the house or even the room for that? Especially if you are breastfeeding... ugh... So lots of people do a bassinet first. If they do that, why get the crib? Why set it up months before you'll need it? We are waiting on that purchase until baby outgrows the co-sleeper at 5 months or so...

Then bedding. All you really need is a sheet, right? You don't need a bumper, because those are actually supposed to be harmful because there is a potential for the baby to suffocate or get stuck in them. And you really don't need the little skirt at the bottom. You definitely don't need blankets, because of the risk of suffocation again. So all you need is a sheet and something warm for them to sleep in (like a sleep sack). That's it!

Then the changing table. I thought maybe I needed this. Now, I'm completely convinced that not only do I not need it, but I don't have the space! I'm getting a changing pad and that's the best I can do. From what I hear you also never use the changing table either. You change the baby wherever you are. And that makes sense to me. So we aren't buying those either.

Then there's the issue of decor. Frankly, with no crib, no changing table, no bedding, and no real room of her own, I'm not really sure why I would need to decorate even part of the room for the baby. It's not like she's going to even notice it at her age, right? I figured I'd wait on that part until the room really becomes hers and she can even have a say in what she likes. That really won't happen for at least 6 months, and probably a few years, in which case we'll probably have moved by then anyway!

Strangely, the one thing we do have a lot of is toys and baby amusement objects. These are the items I consider ESPECIALLY useless. I scoff at people who buy these right now (maybe I won't be so quick to judge if I have a collicky baby who needs help being amused and I'll try anything). But somehow we ended up with a baby gym, a baby bouncer, and a baby swing--all borrowed or hand-me-downs from friends and family. I was resistant to the idea of even taking them at first, but now I'm more on board, since they were free and we have a storage closet. Aaron convinced me that it can't hurt to have them just in case, so okay, we'll keep them just in case.

Another baby thing I find totally useless or annoying: high chairs. Just get a chair that clips onto the table! Every high chair I've ever seen has taken up tons of space and been hideously ugly.

I'm proud of us for avoiding getting sucked into the baby-thing buying trap. Screw Babies-R-Us and their long list of "baby essentials." I'm using cloth diapers, homemade wipes, handmade sheets, hand-me-downs, and the absolute minimum in baby furniture (co-sleeper). I'm saving my money for things I'll really need like a breast pump and a jogging stroller (for after she outgrows the borrowed car seat and compatible stroller). I wouldn't even buy a stroller and would just use baby carriers, except I think there really will be times when it is handy.

So, say what you will about my smugness, but I'm here to say that even though it's fun, you don't NEED that much baby stuff. I'll let you know if I change my mind later. It will be interesting to see if I'm way off or doing just fine. But for now, in my experience, it's better to start off with a little and get what you know you will need than to get a lot and have it go to waste (and take up precious space).


  1. You have every right to be smug about it (but so rarely is smugness appreciated) - and I think you're being super responsible. Babies have become quite the business - much like weddings - and people buy into the hype: must paint room, must have brand new furniture, must have a lamp that matches the quilt on the wall that matches the skirt on the bed that matches the curtains on the window that matches the rug on the floor (and you are SO right about a high chair: a complete waste of space for nothing more than a petry dish of lurking germs). I call shenanigans! It's soooo smart to not get wrapped up in it; having a baby IS exciting, the other stuff is ancillary. When I was pregnant, I was on Craigslist for just about everything we needed; the car seat we bought new, but just about everything else was from a garage sale or Craigslist. Oh, and we painted the room khaki and navy blue when we moved in (it was previously our guest bedroom), and our baby girl has yet to complain about it.
    It's nice to see someone else who is being practical in baby having; everyone treated me like I was spoiling their fun. I'm glad I did it my way, and I'll do it the same way next time (God willing). Good luck in your responsible parenting -- you're off to a great start.

  2. Hi MsKirko! I found your blog when searching for advice on having a minimalist pregnancy/baby world. I'm not yet pregnant but hubby and I are trying to conceive and we are very interested in going about this in a minimalist way.

    Now that your baby is here, are you finding it easy to stick with your original mission, or did you find that you were "missing" a lot of things you ended up wanting/needing, etc.? Thanks in advance for any thoughts or advice you may have.

  3. I'm going to post a follow-up to this, because it turns out I was right!

  4. I just love your attitude, and plan on doing the same. I agree with the minimalist approach in just about everything. Let's see how it works out for us.