Are you expecting a new little one soon and are overwhelmed when you walk into the baby section of the store? Do you feel like all of your plans for simple living are going to go right out the window with all of this new tiny clutter? It really doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some simple tips to maintain Simple Living with a Baby.
Simple Living with Baby
Babies are so tiny and so cute. But what is it about them that can cause such clutter and chaos in our homes (besides the fact that they are fairly demanding roommates and are up all hours of the night)?
Today’s culture tells us we need this, and we need that, oh and you aren’t a good parent if you don’t have ___ & ___. You name it, someone wants you to buy into it.
I remember with our first, I was very much overly prepared. I had the swing and the bouncy chair and the jumper and the walker and clothes upon clothes. When we moved when he was about a year and a half old, I sold just about everything I had for him. Why? Because most of it was barely even used.
By baby number two, I had a pretty good idea of what we needed. Plus we were in a very small house so I just didn’t have the space to splurge on extra things. The only piece of in-home baby “equipment” we even owned for him was a swing.
Now with baby number three, I think we have things down to where they should have been in the first place. Of course, I have had to get more things since this is our first girl, but other than that, we kept the swing from baby number two and the only other thing I’ve purchased was a bassinet (which was something I wished I had for the other two but never had space).
Somehow we get caught up in this idea of things that we think we “need” and we fail to remind ourselves that babies are very simple little people. They just want to be clean, get sleep, be fed, and be loved. Today I’m not sharing a list of “what to buy for a baby”, you can find that all over the internet with a simple search, but I hope that you will gain some inspiration of how to keep your life simple, even with the addition of a baby.
Take advice from others with a grain of salt.
A friend is telling you that you need this or that gadget to help with baby because it was a miracle for her child? How wonderful for her. 🙂 Thank her for the advice but wait to purchase things until you know that it’s something you will really need for your little one. EVERYONE has an opinion on the best everything for baby, and most of the opinions will differ from each other. Stick with what your gut instinct says that you will need and tuck the other ideas away for later.
Remember what a baby really needs.
Baby needs to have a place to sleep, ways to keep clean, ways to be fed and to be loved. I won’t cover the sleeping place since that tends to be a hot button topic but keep in mind that baby will need a blanket or two. You can easily make your own Receiving Blankets in just a few minutes. These are great for when baby needs something to lay on. We also have had one special blanket for each of our littles. Burp cloths are another linen you will need, those can be made in the same style with the same fabric as the receiving blankets but in smaller sizes.
What you need for feeding baby will be up to how you are able to feed your baby. I’ve never found that I need more than 3 bottles, in fact, any more than that can cause some serious kitchen clutter.
It goes without saying that clothing should be kept to a minimum if possible. Babies grow so quickly which is why there are so many sizes! I try to purchase all of my baby and kid’s clothing at rummage sales in the summer. If you stick with basics, they will be able to wear them in any season. Onesies, sleepers, and simple tops and bottoms that can be mixed and matched are what I look for. If I don’t find everything I need during the summer, I wait for the Black Friday sales online from stores like Carters, Kohls, and Children’s Place to finish up getting what we need for the entire year.
—Check out this post on How to Minimalize Children’s Clothing to get an idea for the pieces that you’ll need.
All you need for a baby to feel loved is simply you! The only other thing I would add to this list of must-haves is a carrier. Any seasoned mama will tell you that a carrier helps her baby feel loved because the baby gets to be close to your heart, while mama still gets to keep her sanity and both of her hands-free to do what she needs. I didn’t understand this concept until our second baby. I have a Boba Carrier which is really gentle on the shoulders.
Let others love your baby too.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by the costs of the baby things that you need, be sure that you are allowing others to love on your family and love your baby and I’m sure everything will come together even better than you could do on your own. When someone asks what you need for baby, don’t be shy in telling them you need something practical, even something like formula or pacifiers. Most will enjoy being able to get you something that you can really get use out of instead of something that might go to the wayside.
One easy way to do this is to create an Amazon Baby registry. You can load your registry up with the practical things you need like diapers in varying sizes, formula or pacifiers and point friends and family who want to help to your registry. Once you are ready to close out your registry, you get an extra 10% off any remaining items that you still need. (15% if you are an Amazon Prime Member) This is a great way to save a little extra money on those things you know you’ll need.
Take time to prepare your heart and home.
If you are able, take the time to prepare for baby before they come. I don’t mean baby proofing or buying things, that can always be done later. Begin preparing your own heart and think of things that will help to tame your sanity after baby arrives. Freezer meals or pantry mixes are a great project to work on before baby comes.
Begin to consider how baby will affect your current routine. No matter if this is your first baby or sixth baby, they will change things in your household! If you have other children, begin making changes to their routine if necessary. I prefer our days to have a gentle flow and rhythm to them. My children have difficulties with transitions so anything we can do to stick to a general routine is helpful.
We had 2 weeks to prepare for our newest arrival (Longest prep time we’ve ever had! The first was 30 minutes, the second was 3 days.) and so I had plenty of time to start making new plans. I began getting myself up earlier every day, not just on the days that I had to work because I knew that would be my time to get things done when none of the kids would interfere. I prepared pantry mixes so that I would still be able to make my boys their big breakfasts every day, which is just something I love to do for them. All of these little things made our transition much smoother in the end and kept our days nice and simple.
Life with baby can be simple if you have clear goals in mind and remember not to over-stress about the little things and accumulate baby clutter.
Looking for more baby items you can make at home? Here are a few simple projects to get you started:
I would love to hear from the other seasoned mamas out there…if a friend was asking you how you’ve still maintained the simple life with a new baby, what would you tell them?
This post on Simple Living with a Baby was originally published on Little House Living in October 2017. It has been updated as of October 2019.