I vividly remember holding each of my girls for the first time. It’s hard to put that moment into words. But all of a sudden it hit me. The realization that this little person is now mine. My child to provide for, love, and raise. This baby who is so helpless and small is 100% dependent on me. Although not growing in my womb anymore, this baby is still very much attached. They have needs that I am now responsible for meeting.
What are those needs?
There are of course very technical and well-researched answers out there. My answer is simple. Babies need to be loved. Under that umbrella of love comes the provision, care, nourishment, and safety that of course is necessary for the smallest of humans to survive.
Sounds easy, right? If only parenting were ever defined as “easy!” Although it may sound simple to care for a newborn, it’s easy to get bogged down thinking of all of the stuff that will help you in providing that care.
Ah, the baby stuff. Babies do seem to need a lot of stuff. Looking at sample registeries and baby must have lists online can sometimes leave you wondering two things:
1) Can ANYONE really afford to have children??
2) Do I need to put an addition on to my house for all of this STUFF?!
I am here to tell you that it is possible to have babies without breaking the bank or undergoing some serious construction on your home. Your baby’s number one need is you! Yes, other things are needed, but some of the stuff in those stores can stay on the shelf and you don’t need to stress about it.
Here are 5 things I learned my babies survived without.
1) Changing Table
I have nothing against changing tables. In fact, with our oldest we had one given to us and we used it for awhile. Eventually though we realized we needed more practical storage than what it offered so we passed it along to someone else. For the next few months we had a changing pad set up on the top of a long dresser in her room. It worked great.
Before our second was born we moved out of a small apartment and into a house. With our second baby we never even used the changing pad on the dresser. Honestly it was just easier to keep diapers and accessories in a basket in our main living space. Having a bigger space AND an older child to think meant it was easier to ditch the changing table idea and go with convenience. Diaper changes on the floor or worked just as well!
When buying larger items think about your space and if you will want to use it or is it easier to just go without?
2) Wipe Warmer
There are so many gadgets and accessories out there that are not necessarily bad, but also not necessary. The wipe warmer, in my opinion is one of those. It sounds super nice! And if I was a baby I am guessing I wouldn’t mind a warm wipe during those late night or early morning changes.
It really is just another thing to worry about though. And I can only imagine it makes those diaper changes away from home (and the inviting warm wipes) all that more traumatic and upsetting. My girls have survived using just normal un-warmed wipes, and they have turned out just fine.
Before buying seemingly convenient gadgets just think twice about it’s necessity or any added trouble (or dependency) it may cause.
3) Trendy Nursery
I have seen some really adorable nurseries. Some in magazines, on Pinterest, or even my friend’s Facebook pages. You can do some really adorable themes and decorations in your baby nursery! When our first was born we lived in a small two-bedroom apartment we were renting. Our budget was limited but we still tried to make the nursery look cute and put together. We couldn’t paint the walls, so my husband painted a book shelf and nightstand with our colors of grey and yellow to personalize it. We hung a few cute pictures on the wall and also a few decorative stickers of cute giraffes. Minimal time and money was put into that room, but it was cute and functional.
Now when our second was born we were in a rental house. For the first several months the baby slept in our room, but eventually we moved her into a room with her sister. Their room is nothing fancy. The decorations are pretty minimal in there. But my daughters don’t really care if their room is Pinterest worthy. It has what they need and it works for us.
Ask yourself what things are most important for you to have in the nursery. Don’t stress about the non-essentials.
4) Brand New Everything
Stuff adds up. Clothes, toys, books, bottles, blankets, bedding, crib, bouncer, swing, and on and on it goes. It can get spendy, FAST! We had 3 baby showers with our first baby and we got some amazing gifts to help us prepare for baby. Even after all of those gifts, we still had things to buy. So, we got a lot of used stuff, and you know what? It didn’t even matter to the baby. She could care less if their clothes are brand new or if they were from a garage sale. Babies will spit up or poop on that outfit no matter where you bought it.
When possible look around for deals on used items such as clothes, toys, and even some bigger items like swings and bouncers. And don’t feel bad if friends offer you their used baby items, gladly accept!
Ask yourself if you can buy this item used? Where can I check for good deals?
5) Strict Schedules
Ok, I know this isn’t an item you buy at the store, but I still thought it was worth mentioning. Everyone’s style of parenting is different, which is just fine! Every family is different. For us though keeping our newborns to strict schedules was never a priority.
As babies, both of my girls ate and slept when they needed to. I nursed on demand and wore them in carriers a lot which allowed for flexible nap times. And it worked for us. I wasn’t tied down to keeping things exactly the same day in and day out. I didn’t have to stress about being an hour off or behind. If you need to keep a rigid schedule for your own sanity, then go for it! But if trying to keep a strict schedule makes you panic then don’t stress over it. In our flexible mindset, my girls survived.
Ask your spouse or partner what type of parenting style you see yourself fitting into. But be flexible to change to the needs of your kids.
These are just a few of the things I know my baby girls have survived without. I hope it encouraged you to hear you don’t need it all. In my opinion, less is more!