Babies are so cute, so snuggly, and such a joy. They come as they are, untainted, full of love, and perfect. They don't require much in the early days.
They get hungry, want to be snuggled, and kept cozy. They eat off the breast or from the bottle and love to be held and rocked. With such simple and basic needs, it's rather impressive the amount of baby gear parents can get caught up in collecting.
Do parents really need all the baby stuff? Is it really as convenient, helpful, and child enhancing as claimed?
At Littlemore, we value connection and simplicity and enhancing the overall quality of our lives.
What is Simplicity Living?
Living a simple life is all about living in alignment with who you are and your family values. So when determining whether you need all that baby stuff, it's important to first check-in with yourself.
It's also helpful to remember that stuff complicates life. There is more to manage, more to clean, more to remember, more money spent, and more to re-home, recycle or dispose of.
Every time we add another thing to our lives, we sacrifice time and energy, which is fine; if it's in line with our values. Even when a particular baby product offers simplicity, it often adds more to do in the long run.
Simplified living suggests that we bring into our lives only the items that we truly adore, require for daily functioning, and add to our sense of peace and happiness. When thinking about getting ready for a baby, think about which products will actually support the nurturing and care of your child and truly simplify the first year.
Adopt a practice of buying things as you need them, rather than in advance and potentially ending up with something you don't actually need or use. With everything available with speedy shipping these days, this strategy is enough to keep you stocked and ready.
Do you really need a bunch of baby toys for the first year?
Not really. Babies don't play with toys until their toddler years. As babies, depending on their developmental stage, they explore objects and don't distinguish between toys and tools. A few simple things like books, rattles, sensory balls, fabrics of different textures, and Montessori-based wooden toys will provide a developing baby with just enough stimulation and repetition to practice grasping, spatial awareness, and rhythm.
Books help babies to focus and offer exposure. They also provide the foundation for language development. We like the Lovevery toy subscription because it provides beautiful developmentally appropriate toys for babies and young children.
How much clothing do you really need?
It's true what they say about clothes. During the first year, babies move through each clothing size quickly. Plan for eight weeks in a particular size as a general rule of thumb. More clothes than that may leave you with too many options.
It's always fun to have at least one super cute outfit that does not make practical sense to dress them up in. Still, the reality is babies don't have many reasons to be dressed up. You might find yourself barely touching the nicer, cuter, or outing clothing.
Also, avoid snaps, except for the ones under the diaper, and buttons. They take too much time. There are plenty of companies that do adorable zip-up onesies and PJs, such as Bonds, an Australian company we love.
Snaps, buttons, clasps, and cute adornments to outfits just add to stress when re-dressing babies after endless diaper changes and they aren't very comfy to sleep in.
Basically, your baby will live in a plain onesie for the first two months of their life.
What about gear like strollers, swings, bouncers, chairs, play gyms, car seat toys, binkies, bows, and shoes?
Babies don't need shoes. Their feet develop more appropriately when not confined to shoes. They do need socks or booties.
Around 3-4 months, babies like to reach for items, so a play gym is perfect at that time. Earth tone colors are a great choice to facilitate a calming experience. Bright colors can overstimulate many children.
One sweet hanging object for their car seat and stroller will entertain them from time to time but isn't necessary. Remember that looking around at their environment is fun for a baby.
A swing is an excellent tool for parents. Many babies love to swing, and many fall asleep to the gentle movement and soothing sounds.
Around 5-6 months, many enjoy bouncing, so a bouncer can take the place of the swing. While bouncing does not lull them to sleep, it will keep a baby entertained for a decent amount of time, strengthen their leg muscles, and tire them out.
A highchair comes in handy for feeding around 4-6 months when they start consuming solids.
One stroller is enough unless you have multiple children, then a second double stroller will come in handy.
Not all babies have hair when they are born, and many don't like stuff pulling their hair if they do, so while the bows look ridiculously adorable, they aren't necessary for the baby. A few are fun for dress-up and photo moments.
So in short do you need all that baby stuff?
The clear answer is no. You don't need all the stuff. If it does work for its intended purpose, it's for such a short time that it is rarely used in the grand picture of the baby's first year. Many items are helpful, but many are an added burden and overcomplicate the short year your nugget has as a baby.
So if you're unsure you should get it, ask yourself these four simple questions?
How will it help me be a better parent to my baby?
Will it be used enough to make it worth the cost?
Will I have to spend time cleaning it, storing it, or managing it? If so, do I want to give that time up?
Do I think I need it because I've been influenced, or is it in alignment with who we are and what we value?
Our advice is to keep it simple during the first year because before you know it, your baby will be a toddler, and then that pile of baby stuff will have to go somewhere.