By Morgan Burke.
Morgan Burke is the CMO of Green Piñata Toys. Before joining Green Piñata, she helped build parenting communities grounded in valuable resources with a healthy dose of humor for Care.com and Fatherly. Morgan is a city mom, marathon runner, wannabe yogi and an absolute tornado in kitchen. She shares her minimalist aspirations and journey through motherhood on the Piñata Blog.
I am not a true minimalist, but since becoming a mom, I’m a happily aspiring minimalist and have found so much joy from this approach. At the root of minimalism is the idea that you surround yourself with things, people and habits that bring you joy while eliminating those that don’t. Making smart purchases for baby is one of the most important things you can do to achieve this.
When you’re prepping for baby, it’s really tough to think minimally with ever-growing baby registry lists, an endless supply of products and most importantly, not knowing what your child is going to like. Therefore, it’s important to prioritize quality, consider the extended use of various items, and start out with a set of essentials.
Here’s my guide to Baby Essentials from an aspiring minimalist:
1. Two-In-One Stroller: If you know you’re planning on having more than one child (and by all means, this is a personal decision and one that you may not know the answer to prior to your first), one of the best ways to extend the lifespan of your stroller is to go all in on a durable, high-quality stroller that converts to a double. I didn’t do this and now, as I prepare for baby number two, I’m kicking myself because no matter how confident the toddler is in her walking abilities, you can guarantee she will want a seat at some inconvenient moments.
2. Toy Subscription from Green Piñata: Something you’ll quickly learn as a new parent is that there’s no one-size-fits-all with little ones. When it comes to toys, this couldn’t be more true. Wooden, toxin-free toys that promote open-ended play (read: no batteries!) are best for child development and since your child’s skills and interests change quickly, you’ll need to try a variety of options. This can get super pricey, super fast so a toy subscription like Green Piñata is the perfect solution. You get four toys a month just right for your child’s age, your child plays as long as they like, and you return the rest for your next set! The best part is that you have the option to purchase the toys your little one can’t part with. It’s an amazing investment that will save you money and won’t leave you with hundreds of dollars worth of untouched playthings.
3. DockATot Deluxe+ Dock: When you aren’t cuddling your baby, he or she is spending a lot of time playing, doing tummy time, eating, getting changed and well, sleeping. Before you know it, your baby registry might be filled with two playmats, three kinds of swings, two changing pads, a boppy pillow, and more -- the main issue being that your child may not like any of them! Before you opt for any of these, consider the Dock-a-Tot instead as your primary essential. With various ways to use it and add-ons to include like the toy arch set, this one purchase is really the only thing you need for a long while. What I love about it, too, is that it’s free of toxins, grows with your baby for 8+ months, and is super portable for travel. From supervised naps and playtime to diaper changes and travel, this one item can give you the flexibility you need without burdening your home with the clutter of unwanted gear.
4. Versatile Baby Carrier: I’m a huge believer in baby wearing and found that it makes getting things done with a baby not only possible, but enjoyable. What I will say, though, is that it took some trial and error. Wraps are great but I found that I often had to use one of my free hands to hold the baby when I was doing anything more vigorous than putting up my hair. More structured carriers can be great, too, but tend to be less comfy and many lack different carrying options that face your curious babe outward or even on your back when they’re older. The one we love is ergonomically designed for proper carrying of a growing baby (holds up to 33 lbs) in four different positions that include inward and outward facing, offers a newborn insert so you can use it from day one, made of safe and soft material that won’t irritate you or your baby’s skin, perfect for everything from nursing to hiking, and machine washable. Need I say more?
5. Convertible Car Seat: Whether it’s convertible or simply an infant car seat that has adaptors for a variety of strollers, this is something to think about when making the investment. For the car-only car seats, various brands make a version of the seat that will work from infancy to preschool-age, rear-facing and front-facing and at times, they may even adjust to become a booster seat for older kids. For the infant car seats that you can attach to a stroller or carry with you, be sure to find out if your stroller makes adaptors for it before you purchase as many car seats and/or strollers aren’t compatible with other brands.
So, there you have it. If I were to do it all over again with a newborn, these are the items I’d be sure to have. I’d love to hear from you what essentials you discover!
Get in touch with Morgan at firstname.lastname@example.org. She'd love to hear from you!