When I was pregnant with my daughter, I started researching what I needed to get for her. The lists seemed endless. However, as it turns out, she really doesn’t need much more than us. So I want to share with you what I think are the essentials you need to have when your baby arrives.

about this baby list

Parenting is something very personal. Everybody does this as they think is best for their family. Regarding this baby list, it’s important to know that we:

  • bedshare
  • breastfeed
  • try to reduce our impact on the planet as much as possible

bedsharing

I wrote a post about why and how we bedshare. You might think: how dangerous and irresponsible. I felt the same before our daughter was born, but after researching this topic, I changed my mind. So never say never. 😅

breastfeeding

Again, I know this is not possible or preferred by everyone, but I wanted to breastfeed. I breastfed my son for a year, and I have the best memories of it. It was very challenging in the beginning with my daughter, but now I’m so happy I persevered. Breastfeeding has been the most effective way for me to bond with her. It’s super convenient, and I know it’s best for her mental and physical health.

reducing the impact

Bringing a child into this world can be controversial, knowing the vast challenges we’re facing on this planet due to humans: climate crisis, animals extinction, ocean dead zones, rainforests destruction, and soil depletion, amongst other things.

We decided that we did want a baby. Some people might consider this to be selfish. For us, it was following the natural path of life and hopefully raising a human that is conscious of her impact and acts on it.

All that said, we do want to be mindful of what we buy for our children. The best way to reduce your new baby’s impact is to avoid as much as possible that new products need to be produced for your child.

buy as your child grows

I recommend only buying the essentials before your baby is born.

Every child is different, and you will only really know what you need as your baby grows. As she grows, you will discover not only her character but also your parenting style.

To give you an example, here’s a small list of items we barely used because our approach turned out to be different than expected:

  • The baby bed: After 5 weeks, we started bedsharing, even though I never imagined this beforehand.
  • The playpen (box/park): After a few weeks, we decided to place a play mat on the floor. The playpen felt too much like a prison for us, and it was hard to interact with her.
  • The sleepyhead baby nest: I had seen people using them on Instagram. I admit it: I got influenced 🙈. So I got one second-hand, and we only ended up using it in the first weeks. Our daughter doesn’t sleep alone, so this turned out to be quite useless for us.

That is why I only list the item you need in the first few weeks, not the things you will need later. So you will not find products related to eating solid foods or a toothbrush.

borrow

At 36, most of my friends have had babies, and many had girls. Our friends were kind enough to let us borrow clothes, bottles, a bath bucket, etc.

buy second hand

Babies are only babies for a little while, so most items that you buy for your child will not get heavily used. As a result, there is a great second-hand market for baby stuff that is often in excellent condition.

I was, for example, able to buy a beautiful changing table for just €25 iso €154 new. You save tons of money and the planet.

the baby list

I listed the items based on what babies need:

  • sleep
  • eat
  • 💦 💩
  • be washed
  • go out (I guess this is more a need of the parents 😜)
  • get dressed
  • play

to sleep

1. Petit Bateau pyjama 2. Petit Bateau sleeping bag 3. Ergobaby Aura

Our little girl sleeps in our bed at night. During the day, she either sleeps in the wrap on us or does contact naps after breastfeeding. As a result, we don’t need a baby bed, baby nest, or anything else to put her down to sleep.

We do need:

  • Pyjamas
  • Sleeping bags

to eat

1.Hunkemoller bra Annie 2. Reusable bamboo pads from Petit Lulu

nursing bra’s

Get one or two upfront, so you have them when your baby is born, and get more later. You will only know your size after your milk comes in.

A few tips:

  • Make sure the bra is comfortable. This may sound obvious, but seriously, when you start breastfeeding your nipples might be sensitive. You want a super soft stretchy fabric, and I preferred the ones that are not preformed.
  • Get a bra that doesn’t press into your breasts at all. When you breastfeed, your breasts will fill with milk. You will probably also sleep wearing your bra. When you use a bra with wires or that presses in your breasts, you can get hard knots because the milk channels get pinched shut.
  • Babies don’t have a lot of patience. On top of that, newborn babies are fragile. You will want a system that allows you to pop your breast out and in with one hand.
  • One last tip that is not essential but worth considering. There are many ugly nursing bras out there. After giving birth, you will most probably be tired. Your body will be recuperating, and your primary focus will go to your newborn. Buy a nursing bra that you find cute, not just comfortable and practical. It will make you feel so much better about yourself.

In all honesty, I haven’t found one yet that ticks all the boxes.

nursing pads

I bought these reusable bamboo pads from Petit Lulu. I was afraid this wouldn’t be enough. But as we also have reusable wipes, we do the laundry often enough, so I always have clean ones.

breastfeeding friendly clothes

You need clothes that make it easy to pop your boobies out 😅. You don’t need specific breastfeeding clothes. Tops can be lowered, t-shirts lifted, and blouses unbuttoned.

breastpump, bottles, bottle warmers, etc.

As you never know how things will go, it’s good to have a contingency plan. What will you do and need if the breastfeeding is not going well?

With both my children, I had to use a breast pump in the beginning. Here in Belgium, you can rent a pump at the pharmacy. Not every pharmacy has it, so it can be a good idea to inform yourself upfront.

I borrowed some bottles and a bottle warmer from a friend, so we had these just if we needed them. I don’t think I would have bought them if we wouldn’t have been able to borrow them. You can also buy some bottles at the pharmacy if you need them urgently. Nowadays, many online shops have next day delivery, so worst case, you can order them online.

nipple cream

In the beginning, your nipples might be sensitive, and it’s a good idea to think about what cream you want to use, especially if you’re vegan. The default nipple cream contains lanolin. Lanolin is wool grease from sheep aka not vegan. Unfortunately I found out too late, so I have no experience with alternatives.

to be changed 💦 💩

1. TotsBots PeeNut Wrap and Bamboozle 2. Cheeky Wipes kit 3. Naïf diaper cream 4. Ikea Vädra diaper cushion 5. TotsBots Mesh Bags 6. TotsBots Bucket

diapers

We didn’t start using reusable diapers right away. I was afraid that the combination of a newborn, my inexperience with these diapers, and the amount of laundry would be too much, so we bought a package of single-use diapers.

There are also services in our area that provide clean reusable diapers every week, but we found them too expensive. When our girl was two months, we did switch to reusable diapers. I wrote about how we use reusable diapers in this post, as this quite an elaborate topic.

If you can, I would look for a cloth diaper consultant in your area to help you. Looking back, this wouldn’t have been too much of a hassle. Once I knew which diapers I wanted and figured out the washing routine, it became a 🍰.

wipes

What we did buy are reusable wipes. We chose the kit from Cheeky Wipes. This kit contains:

  • 25 wipes
  • A container for the clean wipes
  • A container for the dirty wipes with a washing net bag
  • A travel bag for clean wipes and one for dirty wipes
  • Essential Oil to add to the clean wipes (we don’t use this as we try to limit the chemicals we expose her to)
  • Essential Oil to add to the dirty wipes

We later bought a second washing bag, that we can already place in the container for the dirty wipes when the other one is the laundry.

Watch this video if you’re curious how it works:

When we’re out, we use the single-use wipes from WaterWipes. Once they are finished, we will start using the cheeky wipes for this as well.

diaper cream

We chose the Naïf diaper cream. It’s vegan with natural ingredients, and the plastic tube is a bioplastic based on cane sugar.

diaper cushion

You need a place to change your baby’s diaper. You don’t strictly need a diaper cushion. You can, of course, change your baby on any surface. It is quite comfortable for your baby, and the shape of the cushion keeps your baby safe. We bought the one from Ikea.

changing table

A changing table is not essential. It is practical to have a dedicated spot where you can change your baby, at a comfortable height, and with everything you need within reach.

diaper bucket

If you use reusable diapers, I recommend having a bucket that closes well and two washing bags. One to place inside a bucket, and one to use when the other one is in the laundry.

to be washed

1. Popolini Shantala bath bucket 2. Bio Today Coconut Oil 3. Beaba Thermobip Digital thermometer 4. Suavinex baby scissors

bath bucket

A bath bucket is extra cosy for your baby, as it reminds them of their time in the womb. On top of that, they use less water, and it doesn’t take up a lot of space in your bathroom. You could potentially just skip this and use your sink, but that somehow doesn’t seem practical to me. 🤷‍

bath oil

We want to use the least amount of chemicals on her skin. After doing some research, I read that coconut oil can be used in the bathwater, so that is what we’re using, and her skin couldn’t be softer.

thermometer

You can use the same thermometer that you use to measure your baby’s temperature and measure the water temperature. We received the one that was used in the hospital.

nail scissors

Baby nails are insanely sharp. In theory, you can use a file to get them in shape, but I find baby proof nail scissors more practical. It’s faster, and babies aren’t notorious for their patience. The round tip makes it near impossible to cut them in their finger accidentally.

to go out

1. Ergobaby Aura 2. Maxicosi Pebble 3. Kånken backpack 4. KipKep Napper changing mat 5. Petit Lulu Nappy Bag 6. Naïf sunscreen

baby wrap

I still have the stroller that I bought for my son. Our daughter is 15 weeks while I write this and so far, we haven’t used it. Instead, we loooove our wrap. We use it literally every day. We use it in the house for her naps during the day, and we use it when we go out.

Admittedly, we have barely left the house with her since she was born in the middle of a pandemic 🙄. But before you invest in a big 3-in-1 bazooka stroller, make sure you actually need it.

diaper bag

In my eyes, diaper bags are a total scam. You don’t need it. You need a bag (which you might already have) and some smaller bags to organize the items in your bag. We use the Kånken as it opens very wide so you can easily access everything.

diaper mat

I bought a little diaper mat that fits into my Kånken backpack for when I need to change her when we’re out.

wetbag

When you use reusable diapers, it’s practical to have a wetbag in which you can place the dirty diapers. That way, the rest of your diaper bag stays clean and dry.

car seat

If you have a car, there’s no avoiding buying a car seat. I still had the maxi-cosi I used for my son. I would be careful buying this second-hand since you can’t be sure it wasn’t in an accident.

sunscreen

We want to be careful with the products we use on our daughter’s skin. That’s why I chose the mineral sunscreen from Naïf.

to get dressed

1. Petit Bateau pyjama 2. Petit Bateau bodysuits 3. Petit Bateau legging 4. Petit Bateau hat 5. Petit Bateau cardigan

In general, I would say, don’t buy too much upfront. Babies grow so fast, and it’s difficult to predict which size they will need in which season.

Your gynaecologist will probably be able to predict the size of your baby at birth. For example, my son never fitted in size 50, but my daughter only wore size 50 in the beginning.

Most days, our daughter was wearing a body combined with a pyjama or with some trousers. In the first week you also need a hat.

My main requirements for clothes are:

  • they need to be comfortable for my baby: e.g. no tags in the neck or large buttons in the back
  • they need to be easy to put on and off of her, e.g. nothing that you need to pull over the head, as a newborn’s neck is quite fragile
  • they need to be easy to change a diaper, e.g. poppers at the bottom, so you don’t need to take everything off to change her.

to play

1. Fresk Play Mat Whale Blue Fog 2. Lilhands Munari mobile

In the first months, your baby’s favourite toy will be your face. We have bought a few toys, but most of her playtime is simply with us.

It’s convenient to create a little play area with a soft mat on which you can place your baby.

We received some of the Montessori visual series mobiles as a gift. They stimulate babies based on their developmental stage. Our daughter was especially fascinated by the black and white Munari mobile. You can also find many DIY’s online to create the mobiles yourself.

I hope this article is helpful to you. DM us on Instagram if you have any questions or remarks!

This article is not sponsored. Any links to products are products that we liked and paid for ourselves.

 

Image to pin this blogpost to pinterest, showing low waste essentials for your newborn