Well friends, this is the last post in the Minimalist Baby Series (you can find the other parts here: part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4). I am sad to leave it behind! It has been a lot of fun thinking through what I feel is necessary, and what I would do differently. We were very minimal, we felt like we needed some extra things (some I regret purchasing), and some we just ended up with.
Some of what I suggest you skip is stuff that we have. But I hope that the essentials are helpful to those who are expecting or who want to par down what they have. I know I already have during this process, as I try to live in a more minimalist way.
Thank you so much for all your practical comments about what you use and what you don't! It has been really great to see perspectives from so many of you! Thanks for stopping by!
Baby Soap/Shampoo: I think having something tear-free is nice, but I would just steer clear of stuff with parabens and fragrance.
Towel: I would just use a regular towel, or a full-sized hooded towel. Then you can use it for years, and typically they are nicer towels than the ones designed for babies. Just go for something nice and soft.
Wash cloth: We have some tiny ones that a friend gave us, but a regular wash cloth would work just fine. I like that a washcloth can be nice and soft for cleaning behind the ears, under the arms and getting lint from between those tiny toes.
Fingernail clippers or a nail file: Necessary for most parents, because those baby nails grow so fast! I have heard of the occasional parent who bites their child's fingernails, but I can't see myself doing that, so I have a pair of baby fingernail clippers. I think they are the same size as regular clippers, but they have a larger handle for more control. If you are worried about cutting your babies fingers, use a file instead.
Brush: We use one really similar to this, that the hospital gave us. It has worked just fine for us, especially because his hair took its sweet time growing in, and he didn't have much until he was about 10 months old. It is great for cradle cap and comb-overs.
Baby Bathtub: These may be great the first few months after your baby is born, but they are usually huge, and take up a ton of space. Once we decided to stay in a one-bedroom apartment, we couldn't justify having one. It was going to take up like half of the bathroom. Not worth it. If you have a genius trick or an amazing folding one (this one had good reviews), please feel free to share it in the comments. We just decided that was one thing we could live without.
Instead, we laid a thick, fuzzy towel down on the bottom of the tub, put like half and inch or less of water in the tub, basically enough to get the towel wet, laid him on the towel, and did a sponge bath with a wet washcloth. It worked very well, and Fox loved it from the first. We are always extremely cautious in making sure his face never got close to the water and stayed right next to him the whole time.
If you don't have a tub, you can try using a sink, or do sponge baths until your baby is old enough to sit up in a sink. For those of you who have a shower but no tub, I would NOT recommend using the shower. We tried this in France and it was super scary. We never dropped him, but slippery babies are really hard to hold onto, especially if they don't like water yet and are squirmy and soapy. When we were in France, we ended up holding up his back while he sat in the sink, and that worked a little better.
Special baby towels: They make these tiny, adorable and completely non-absorbing baby towels. They seriously don't absorb water, which is tough when you are trying to dry your baby off. Anyway, a darling friend gave us a hooded towel that she made from two regular towels (tutorial here), and I love it. It will last us for years. If she hadn't given it to us, we probably would have just used a regular towel once Fox outgrew the baby towels.
Baby Robe: SO cute and totally unnecessary.
Diaper Pail: This one is questionable, depending on your circumstances. We use our kitchen trash for diapers (on a related note, I absolutely love our trashcan. It was kind of expensive, but it has been amazing. It locks, contains smell very well, has a foot pedal so you don't have to touch the lid. Basically it is my dream trash can... if you can have one of those?). It has a has a lid and contains the smell pretty well. Plus, putting diapers in there forces us to take it out a few times a week so it doesn't sit there and stink up our apartment.
I have used a few diaper pails in the past, and they always smell. If they don't smell when they are closed, they stink when they are opened, even if it is only for a second, and the smell lingers in a foul way. Plus they take up a lot of space. If you think you need one, go for it, but I say you can use a lidded trashcan with similar/better results.
Baby Bath Toys: This is not to say that you shouldn't have toys in the bathtub for your baby to play with, I just don't think you need to get special toys to put in there. We use some teething rings, a large lego piece, a frog that squirts water and the small plastic bucket the hospital gave us (this one is a particular favorite for Fox). You could also use plastic yogurt containers and lids, funnels, or other plastic kitchen items.
*This is not a sponsored post, nor are any of the links in it affiliate links. The links are only to be helpful. Particularly the one about the kitchen trash. You really should just buy one now. They are the best.
** If you have a minute today, I would be thrilled if you voted for me in the Mrs. Meyer's Maker contest. All you have to do is click the heart next to my name (Landen M). You can vote everyday until February 15th. Link is here!