Simplify Your Life: Ready for Baby

Our Simple Life Story

For quite some time now, I’ve thought about starting a series on here regarding the joy that can be found when one simplifies their life. Three years ago, Travis and I fell on severe financial hardships and were forced to reconsider our concept of happiness and satisfaction. During this humbling process where we went from a three bedroom house to a one bedroom apartment, I believe we found true happiness.

Since that time, although God has blessed us and helped us through the financial hardships, we have never forgotten the incredible values we discovered during that time. We learned that less is more, people matter more than things, God always provides, and your circumstances are always what you make of them.

I’d like to challenge all of you to find creative ways to simplify your life. I can’t express the pride I feel when I land on a fantastic deal, or make something homemade that others might spend hundreds of dollars on. I almost feel like I’ve stepped off of the consumer-driven treadmill that screams at parents everywhere to “Keep BUYING!” I simply refuse to listen.

Idea-Inspiring Books

Let me first make some great book suggestions for any parents of young children {or any expecting parents out there} :

If there is one thing I gleaned from these books, it’s that babies do not need much. Let me say that again: Your child will survive the first years of his or her life without a ton of material things.

Parents have fallen into the habit of beginning their overly competitive lifestyle while their child is still in the womb. I’m here to tell you that you can slow down, limit your consumerism, teach your children a valuable lesson in true enjoyment and the value of taking care of what you have, and you can reduce your family’s waste.

So, What Does Baby Actually Need?

My list of baby essentials for our house is very simple. Anything else bought that is not on this list is considered in our home a splurge or enjoyment purchase. It’s not essential. Yes, a baby can survive without a jacuzzi tub. I promise.

  1. Clothes. Simply put, you need a few onesies, a few t-shirts {we love the kimono kind that button down the side}, and maybe a few pants. Babies need socks and hats to keep their body heat regulated, but if you use a sling or wrap, then even the socks are not as necessary. Another clothing item that quickly became essential in our house was a sleep sack. These kept Little warm and cozy at night, contained his legs which gave him a sense of still being in the womb, and were so nice for those midnight diaper changes. Shopping at consignment stores is the way to go. I even ordered some clothes off of ebay for our babies.
  2. Swaddling blankets. This is self-explanatory. Flannel swaddling blankets are super inexpensive and can be bought in four packs at Target for a low price. Swaddling babies can help reduce or control colic, provide them with the womb-sensation they desperately need in those first three months of life, and keep them warm if the weather or house is cold.
  3. A sling or wrap. Parents spend hundreds of dollars on the newest LED screen digital video monitors. Why? To watch their babies sleep in the room down the hall. Baby-wearing parents don’t waste their money on such items because baby naps close to mommy or daddy and is never further away than a heartbeat. At night, baby can be monitored closely thanks to co-sleeping in a side sleeper, Moses basket, bassinet, or right on mommy’s chest.
  4. Diapers. Some parents eliminate the need for diapers altogether by utilizing something called “Elimination Conversation,” which essentially is just potty training the baby from the earliest months onward. We did not use this method, but you can google it if you’re interested. Of course the most eco-friendly method of diapering is cloth, but simply put, a baby needs a place to go.
  5. A place to sleep. Be it in a co-sleeper, a bassinet, or even the car seat/ carrier used for baby, he’s going to need somewhere to sleep. The smartest ways to bed your baby is a convertible crib that grows with baby into a toddler bed or a pack and play. Little still sleeps in his crib, but it’s been converted into a toddler daybed. Instead of buying a new bed for him and moving baby girl into his crib, we’ve decided to go super simple: Lay her to sleep in the pack and play! Ours came complete {bought used} with a hanging bassinet attachment for those super early weeks of life and a changing table attachment for extra ease. Some families will use the pack and play exclusively as the baby’s bassinet, bed, changing table and safe play area! I think it’s a fantastic idea. So wallet-friendly too.
  6. Food and bottles. Of course breast feeding costs virtually nothing. We rent a hospital grade pump for our babies, so this costs a small monthly fee that’s actually covered by our insurance. There’s no denying that formula is expensive. However, if you choose not to breast feed or simply can’t, that’s totally fine. Coupons are available for formula brands to save you money, and you can always email your favorite brand and request discounts or samples. As for bottles, always purchase reusable bottles. We were given sets with the disposable liners when Little was first born, and while these were quite convenient, we quickly realized how wasteful they were. My favorite bottle brand is Avent. Little had severe acid reflux and colic, and these helped minimize the bubbles that cause gas. They’re pricier than disposable liner bottles, but they lasted us a long time and I feel they were well worth the investment. We’ll be reusing them for baby #2.
  7.  Car seat. This is one thing I’d advise you to buy new unless you get it from a well trusted friend who you know took good care of it. We were blessed in that we got our stroller, pack and play, car seat and carrier all from a friend. All were in near perfect condition and will be used again for baby girl. If you own a vehicle and use private transportation to get around, a car seat is not compromisable.
  8. A place to store baby clothes. Some parents living in tight quarters will simply add baby’s clothes stash to their own in their dresser or closet. Others eliminate bulky furniture by making the absolute most of baby’s closet. With Little, we reused my old dresser from my childhood room and made the most of his closet. With our new dresser {which you can see here}, we have combined the changing table and the dresser into one piece. When LB was first born, we just used our bed for a changing table. Because of this, I wouldn’t list it as an absolute essential need.
  9. A place to eat. This could be your lap, of course, but as he gets older you’ll need some plan for where he’ll eat. In the earliest months of solids, we just set him up in his car seat, safely secured on the level base, and fed him there. When he was ready for a highchair, we borrowed my aunt and uncle’s classic wooden highchair that survived through both of my cousins! It’s beautiful, and we have it safely tucked away in the attic ready for our next baby. When buying used isn’t an option, borrowing often is. Call family and friends and borrow whatever items you can to save money.

So That’s It?!

Truly that’s it. But what about toys? A bath? My beloved Diaper Genie?? Extras. Toys can be homemade, which are the sweetest ones anyway. The Diaper Genie is a new invention. Convenient, yes. Essential, no. And a bath? Little was so tiny when he was born that we bathed him in the bathroom sink! Many families never purchase a baby bath at all.

When we brought Little home, we prided ourselves in our simplicity. It was such a sweet time in our lives. He didn’t rely on chunky chairs to help him sit up, he had mommy’s lap aiding him during play. He wasn’t left alone for hours to stare at a giant baby jungle gym. He had some sweet basic {sturdy} wooden and cloth toys {some homemade by mommy or Aunt Kerri} and two parents who delighted in entertaining him.

When you simplify your baby essentials, you get to tap into that mommy creativity that our ancestors thrived on. As my dearest friend Sarah says, “I always ask myself what my great-grandmother did, and then I try it.” She’s so right! If women before us lived for centuries without a $40 Bumbo, and somehow children still learned how to sit up on their own, then I decided our family didn’t need one either.

So before you make a pricey purchase for something for your baby, I challenge you to ask yourself if your great-grandmother used or even needed such an item. If the answer is no, then pass on that one. When we save our money on the silly non-essentials, we can save up for things that truly matter, like family vacations or special activities together.

Happy Simple Sunday!

Kat

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4 Comments

Filed under Budget-Friendly Parenting, Creative Ideas and Crafts, Parenting, Preparing for Baby, Simplify Your Life

4 responses to “Simplify Your Life: Ready for Baby

  1. if you know me in real life you know I like to kid/joke around so just wanted to get that disclaimer out before you think I’m being serious and judgy….:D

    so in the clothing arena….onesie and pants….hmmmm does that mean the baby doesn’t dress up for church? 😀 😀 😀

    I don’t tend to worry about clothes since that’s what relatives tend to give in general throughout the first 2 years of life as evidenced by my closet….rarely have had to go out on a shopping spree.

    Our family/friends from our background/culture will save in other arenas like you have stated….clothes however are the one and end all in our little world….no child will have less than 2 closets full of clothing….NOT bought by the mom or dad…..and they have to match lol.

    had to comment on such a cute post…..I think for the most part people get too many things especially the first time around.

    • oh and lavender….(baby cologne) it would be sacrilegious to not have a bottle of lavender for after the bath and before going out for the baby 🙂

  2. Pingback: Simplify Your Life: The Charm of Homemade Toys | Love Makes A Family

  3. Sarah C.

    LOVE this post! 🙂

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