First off, Congratulations you beautiful soul! Motherhood is such a magical time filled with chaos, giggles, stress, cuddles, bodily fluids, love beyond your wildest dreams, absolute freakouts over the simplest things, and lots of “firsts”!
If you have reached this post, my guess is you need a little help in the “Materialism” department. You have read the books (or not), you have been drilled with advice ranging from parenting styles circa 1905-1995, and you are about to freak with all the options:) Don’t worry! I got you, Mama!
My first advice is this: Stay away from any social media pages that make you want to go over your budget with all the cute little decorations, throw pillows, high-tech chairs, and so on. Babies are SIMPLE! All they really need is YOU! You are their pillow, you are their bottle (and if not we have options!), you are their blanket, you are their World. It only lasts a little while, so take full advantage:)
This is my personal list of everything you need to make life with a new baby (or two, or three!) a little bit easier. These are the exact items that I used with twin boys – nothing more!
When I first found out I was pregnant, it was an absolute SHOCK. I was not prepared to be a mom (or so I thought), and I remember thinking, ” I have NOTHING for a baby!” I was a travel junkie and spent most of my savings on tickets to see the World. I had a carry on suitcase filled with my “essentials” (bikinis, yoga mat, kindle, sarongs, and Medjool dates) and a stomach full of butterflies.
I had one very distinct memory of babysitting an 8-month-old when I was in highschool. His name was Michael and his family was very rich and bought him every single toy known to man. I am not a big fan of plastics, so I would simply snuggle him close and take him to the garden. We would play with the grass blades, crawl after bugs, and relax. He was the happiest when he was outside. I remember his mother coming home and she was in awe, “Wow, I had no idea how much Michael enjoyed the garden!” It was at this moment that I realized how simple children really were and how we over-complicate too often.
My life had taken a minimalist turn all by itself during my travels, so I decided to keep that ball rolling for my children’s life as well. Having a home has accumulated a lot more things than my original “essentials” (thank goodness haha!) but the bottom line is clear: We choose simple and our children thrive in a simple home.
So let’s dive in!
A baby carrier that suits your fashion needs, storage needs, and safety needs
We have twins, so we chose the Twingo Carrier (which I highly recommend for twin parents!), but if you are starting off with just one baby then I recommend the Ergobaby Bundle of Joy! The beautiful thing about this carrier is that it has 3 positions: front-inward, hip, and back. It comes with an infant insert so you can use this product from day 1 to 3+ years old! The ergonomics of this carrier is perfect for transitioning your babe from the womb to the outside world!
So why a carrier? What’s the big deal? Well, first off, your child will be much happier snuggling close to you as much as possible for the first year and more. There is a beautiful bond that happens with skin to skin contact, and simply being “carried” on your body will calm your child and bring them so much comfort. As a mother, the carrier saved my sanity. I was able to meal prep, workout, and run errands while carrying BOTH babies on my body and I hardly felt a thing! These carriers are so comfortable and well worth the money. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!
Classic Swaddle Baby Blankets
There are some new “high-end” swaddle blankets that have hit the market, but I always prefer the original. I used my swaddle blankets for swaddling (of course), nursing, as a scarf, as a shade, as a light blanket when the weather shifted, and even as a towel for cleanups (it happens!)
I was lucky enough to receive all of my swaddle blankets from family members so I did not spend one penny on these. I urge you to ask around to your family/extended family/friends to see if anyone has any spare swaddle blankets from their early days! I somehow ended up with about 50 of these bad boys!
The boys slept every night swaddled until they were able to roll over on their own. From there we switched to Sleep Sack (Love to dream swaddle) that I absolutely fell in love with. The boys slept so well with this and they used it up until 12 months old!
A car seat that will last years and years (and years!)
There’s no denying it – a reverse car seat is much safer than a front facing car seat for children up until the age of 4. It was so hard for us to find a reverse car seat where we live, but we finally did and love it! The Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat is a dream. This will last us until the boys reach 100 pounds and it has a 10-year life from the year of manufacture. It’s comfortable, easy to wash, beautiful, and my boys are so very happy in it.
Easy to travel high-chair
We have the standard wooden high-chairs that were passed down from Martin’s grandma (so beautiful and classic), but our ultimate go-to high chair is the Inglesina Clip-on High chair. These are amazing!! They clip onto (almost) any table and we use them every single time we are out and about. The boys always have their own seat and they really enjoy that. I found that the high-chairs in restaurants were either broken, unsafe, or just unavailable! I love to take the boys out in our little city so these really came in handy.
Another great option to combine the two (traditional meets modern) would be the booster seat with tray option. I used these in California and I fell in love. I love how the tray detaches so easily and cleanup is a breeze. The booster seat is not great for travel, but it is great for moving around the house. It attaches to any chair and I find that the food stays on the tray much more with this. The brand we liked was the Graco Swivi 3-in-1
Cloth Diapers or Trusted Eco-friendly (and baby safe) diapers
This was a hard one. I knew I wanted to stop the endless cycle of disposable diapers (double amount with twins) but I was already EXHAUSTED….did I really need to go the cloth diaper route? I held off for a few months, but in the end I decided to try it out. I ended up deciding on one of the best cloth diaper brands out there, BumGenius, and I couldn’t be happier.
The entire “cloth diaper” debacle is quite silly. With the right tools, it really is a breeze. All you need is a great cloth diaper (do NOT skimp on the diaper itself), heavy duty inserts (I like these), the “liners” as I like to call them (they collect the yucky stuff so you don’t have to worry!), and an attachment hose. With these items, you will not miss disposable one bit.
The biggest issue I hear about cloth diapers is the cleaning process. If you just use the diapers, then yes, it will be super disgusting. If you use the “liners” during changing time, then you will be “disposing” of the disgusting things (just like with a disposable diaper) and be left with the cloth diaper that you quickly rinse out and wash.
Why cloth diaper? It will save you around $2000 dollars per child. I was sold!
A simple bassinet, snuggle me organics (co-sleeper), or nothing!
Whether you want to co-sleep or let your babe sleep next to you in a bassinet, there are quite a few simple and beautiful options. Martin’s grandmother built our sons beautiful Moses beds that they used on and off during nap time until they were 3 months old. For the most part, they slept with me in my bed and I made a makeshift snuggler to keep both boys safe. I wish I knew about the snuggle me organics because I would have ordered that in a heartbeat!!
In the end, you really do not NEED anything for your child to sleep. Like I said before, they just need you! However, if you are like me and could not sleep at all hours of the day with your children (hello work!), then I recommend a bassinet/Moses bed or a co-sleeper aid to keep them safe.
Nursing pads, nursing tanks, and nursing cream
I used them all and they worked like a charm! The pads keep you dry, the tanks keep you in place (and easily out of place haha), and the cream helps chapped nipples. Nursing was very hard for me in the beginning and I needed all the help I could get.
My favorite nursing top: Naked Nursing Tank
Nursing Pads: Bamboo
Nursing Cream: Good Ol’ Coconut Oil
This is not a necessity, but it was my lifeline after a c-section with the twins. I could hardly walk and the pain in my incision was intense. I wrapped myself up 3 days after birth, and I felt a million times better. The binder kept the heavy weight of my stomach off of my incision and I was able to walk around the hospital like it was nothing! I kept the binder on for 10 hours a day during the first two months after the boys were born, and I would buy it again in a heart beat if I had another baby. Recovery was a breeze (not to mention I could fit into non-maternity clothes quite quickly!)
My binder of choice: Bellefit
A stroller that has options (Yes it is for the baby, but it is the stroller that will let you rejoin the real world!)
I have to admit…we went cheap with our first stroller. I will admit again…we went cheap with our second stroller too haha! By the time we finally gave in on the third stroller, we realized that we actually LOST money (as well as our sanity) by not investing from the beginning.
Whatever you choose, I highly recommend checking a few things off the list before purchasing: Tire size and make (we don’t want cheap plastic!), storage basket, cup holders, weight, seat recline, suspension, easy compact fold, easy to clean, and all around durability (aluminum is great).
White Noise Machine
While this will work for singletons as well, it was a life saver for twin parents. I was able to take care of one crying/hungry baby while not disturbing the other with a white noise machine. I was also able to tune out all the sounds of the outside world so the boys could sleep longer and without disruption. They still use it to this day (16 months old)!
What is a white noise machine? It’s meant to mimic the sound of our womb and most children love it. It is quite loud and sounds like a big fan is sleeping next to you, but I prefer a big fan over a crying baby any day!
A few items that I used a couple of times before giving to charity
You know how it goes, everyone finds out you are having twins and the gifts start pouring in from all over! Oh, wait…maybe that’s just for us! haha
We ended up with A LOT of things that we didn’t need. Here is our list!
- Baby swing: we used this about 5 times before the boys were just over it
- Bounce chair: My mother had great luck with this but it wasn’t for us.
- Breast pump: Oh I tried! It turns out the breast pump did more harm than good for my milk production!
- Toys…just all the toys. The only “toys” we kept were a few plush stuffed animals, all the books, and anything with sentimental value.
- Baby bathtub: We used this a couple of times but I much prefer the sink or a family bath:)
- Pacifiers: Not for us but I have met many babes who love them!
- Bibs: I just found these to be extra laundry for me to do haha. No thanks!
- Baby monitor: I was never more than 50 feet away from our boys’ thanks to our small home!
- Absolutely anything electronic or that makes noise via buttons: NO THANK YOU!