If you’re looking for a minimalist baby registry, we’ve got you covered! Whether you’re on a budget baby registry, working with a small nursery, or just don’t want all of the “things”, we’re talking about what you REALLY need for baby, without any of the extras.
When we got pregnant with my first son, we were on quite the budget.
I was 22, freshly married, newly graduated, and working for a non profit. Literally, the day after I found out I was pregnant, we were moving out of our apartment and into my MIL’s house to figure out “what was next” and save money.
We never had a baby shower and while we have a small but supportive family, no one was loaded and able to help out much.
Add on that we were looking at major limits space wise, we needed the bare essentials for a new baby.
What do you REALLY need for baby?
While looking at those giant baby registry lists can daunting, you don’t need all of that stuff. With all 3 of my kids we’ve have a nursery in our bedroom with the bare min.
Truth is, you really only NEED 3 things, aside from diapers, wipes, and clothes. These are:
- A safe place for baby to sleep.
- A safe way to transport baby.
- A way to feed the baby.
The Ultimate Minimalist Baby Registry
That’s IT. Seriously. Today I’m sharing our favorite minimalist baby needs and how to manage those expectations.
So if you’re looking for a bare minimum registry, keep reading!
Need #1: Sleep space
First things first: where will baby sleep?
I can’t recommend using a pack and play as a crib more. I go over it more in my post about having a nursery in your bedroom, but basically, they’re great for multiple uses, less expensive, and space saving.
Grab one that has a changing station attached. If you’re looking to use one with a bassinet feature (we always do) look for one that is NOT inclined and has mesh siding for safe sleep. This is the one we used for Ella.
Even though she’s now in a normal crib, we used it recently when we stayed at a beach house that had no crib!
Baby Trend Resort Elite Nursery Center
See also: Can You Use a Pack and Play as a Crib?
A car seat.
I’m typically anti-single use, but I urge you to buy an infant car seat rather than jumping straight to a convertible. Not only is it so much more convenient to carry in and out, but if you have a small baby a convertible car seat may be too big. I know that when we left the NICU with Ella there was a chance she’d still be too small for our normal infant car seat. (She was less than 5 pounds when we left.)
I’ve always had tiny babies and loved the Keyfit series for my kids. The boys we used the Keyfit30 but with Ella we got the lighter 25 pound limit version. Ella is 15 months and still hasn’t hit that limit.
Some way to feed baby.
I’ve nursed all 3 of my babies, but each time I made sure to get my insurance-provided breast pump. The hospital always gives me bottles when I leave so I never actually buy them.
If you’re planning on formula feeding, grab a variety pack of infant bottles so you can figure out what works best for you and your family. But don’t invest in too many, since chances are your baby will only like 1 or 2 styles.
More minimalist baby needs
Of course, you’ll need a few other things, but those 3 are the non-negotiable items. Here’s the next “tier” of minimalist baby needs.
You’ll leave the hospital with diapers so honestly there’s no need to stock up at all ahead of time. If you really want to, just grab one box.
But remember, your baby may be too small for newborn or might be in newborn for 2 months. So don’t go crazy! You can always make a Target run after. There’s also a chance your baby will have a reaction to one brand or another. All three of my kids got terrible rashes from one brand, but not others.
See also: The Cutest Pretty Printed Diapers for Little Behinds.
Again, you’ll leave the hospital with at least a pack of these. With my second two, I did actually stock up but only because we only use Water Wipes due to sensitive skin.
While tempting to go crazy, resist! Chances are people will buy you clothes. It’s irresistible. I suggest simply grabbing 2-3 sleepers and a handful of onesies in size newborn.
You can grab 0-3 sizes later as needed, but there are things you’ll find you prefer. For example, it won’t take you long to realize that sleepers with ZIPPERS are lightyears better than snaps! Investing pre-baby means you’ll have a bunch of clothes you’ll never use, making it a no for a minimalist baby registry.
Swaddles can be a total game-changer . My oldest required them for almost 6 months, due to pretty severe colic. My youngest only used them for a few months. Either way, you’ll want to grab a few to try and secure yourself some sleep in those early months. If you’re looking to keep it simple, grab a set of muslin ones. They’re multipurpose and great as car seat covers and nursing cover.
If you have the budget, grab a 3 pack of the swaddle sacks. The learning curve is much lower, and they’re harder to break free of if you have a little houdini.
Non Essentials for a Minimalist Baby Registry
Finally, let’s talk “extras”. Even these are all pretty minimalist and nothing crazy, but if you have the budget these are some items that will make life easier. But at the same time, if you’re short on funds or space, you can easily skip these or buy them later.
I struggle not naming this a necessity because mine has always been vital to me! Wrap carriers are generally low cost while structured carriers are easier and hold more weight.
Read my review on the ErgoBaby Embrace Carrier. It was great with my third who is tiny and wouldn’t get past the “newborn” sizing for sometime, but if you want something that will last you longer into toddlerhood, the Ergo360 is a great investment.
Or a swing, though bouncers have a smaller footprint and cost less, We actually had both as a gift with my first and gave the swing away. The bouncer is all we used with all 3!
Not a total minimalist registry essential, but definitely convenient. I personally prefer the My Brest Friend pillow over a Boppy. But if you don’t have space, budget, or are looking to cut down on single-use object, a normal pillow works just fine.
See also: Boppy Vs My Best Friend Pillow
Again – not a necessity at all. We always have one because we have a lab that loves to gnaw on dirty diapers. He can’t break into the Diaper Genie! This lands it on my minimalist baby registry. But diapers can obviously go into your normal trash easily.
Read More: Do you need a Diaper Genie?
Also: Diaper Genie Alternatives
Baby basics – boogie sucker, diaper cream, thermometer.
Wait to buy these!!! I cannot emphasize this enough. The hospital will give you so much and you’ll get samples of so many things. If once baby is home you need them, then order. But I didn’t but any of this stuff after my first because by then I knew I’d be getting it.
Final Thoughts On Minimalist Baby Registry Essentials
Here’s the thing – nothing that you decide you “need” during the newborn stage can’t be bought. Between 1 day Prime and Target drive up, anything “extra” is just a few clicks away. Keep your baby registry simple and minimal, helping to avoid an overwhelming amount of baby “stuff” and the bill that goes with it.
Danielle @ Little Mama Big Life says
Great list! We used the rock n play sleeper religiously with both boys. It’s a little big for a smaller space (we have tiny house too), but they both did so well in it and I was able to easily carry it from room to room!
I’ve heard those things are basically magic. I definitely think the portable aspect is so important!
Sarah @ Seriously Lovely says
Thank you so much for this list! We’re expecting our first and while we’re not too pressed for space, our nursery is a relatively small room and I just plain don’t want to end up with tons of stuff we won’t really need or use. Love all the recommendations!
Oh, you’re so welcome! We’ve definitely tried to keep things to a minimum with our son! You might like my other post, how to survive a small house with a baby as well!!
tiff @ love, sweat, & beers says
Great post! I have a pack and play that baby will use in the beginning instead of a bassinet. (Why buy both?) It doesn’t technically have a bassinet built in, but it does have a “newborn napper” attachment. I’m wondering if I want to use that or just put him in the pack and play next to the bed. Hmmm… decisions decisions.
Thank you for this awesome post! I will definitely be using lots of your ideas and products!
I think you were smart to keep your baby stuff down to the bare minimum. There are so many things that people think you “need” with a baby. We cloth diaper Matilda, so those were pretty essential, but otherwise, our list was pretty similar. Well, with the exception of the clothes. People gave us so many clothes for her (we hardly bought any!), and I kept most of them. Her closet was (and is!) fuller than mine!
Natalie @ The Ravenous Mommy says
That is an awesome list! YES to all of it 🙂 The only thing I wish Wyatt liked more was the carrier. We didn’t use it much because he always cried when I tried to put him in it. Hopefully this time around I’ll get more use out of it.
Katie @ Live Half Full says
Thank you for putting this together! Since we may be moving with a tiny baby, I want to prepare the essentials- so this is SO HELPFUL!
We had to have a minimum for baby supplies because of our too-small house too. I love the adorable bouncer!