New Mom Essentials: The Minimalist Guide for New Mothers!

Danielle Alvarado

January 2, 2021

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New Mom Essentials: The Sustainable Edit
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Estimated reading time: 13 minutes

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”! I’m sure you have read a lot of New Mom Essential lists so I do hope this one is a real breath of fresh air.

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 a tad bit lost.

New Mom Essentials: The Sustainable Edit
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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!), and you are their World.

This is my personal list of New Mom Essentials that 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!

New Mom Essentials For Baby

Clothing Options

When I had my twin sons some 4 years ago, I was swimming in clothes. My grandmother was a bit of a garage sales addict and she filled about 5 suitcases full of clothes for my littles. All second hand, most with tags still on them, and they were even matching. The amount of children’s clothing that has never been worn and is being practically given away is absurd. Be sure to start hitting those garage sales and second hand shops at the start of your pregnancy so you can have your closet ready by the time the little comes!

Our second child is expected in July of 2021 and I will be opting for a much different (yet the same) approach. My grandmother has now passed and my love for minimalism has grown more than I could have ever imagined.

This time around, I will be opting for a few options:

Preloved Capsule Wardrobe

I will be opting in for the rent-a-romper kid subscription. This preloved children’s capsule wardrobe clothing subscription caught my eye well before we knew we were expecting our third and it was one of the first things I double checked into recently. (P.s. they gave us a discount code a while back for our community – use code WONDERMAMAS)

Why I love it:

-The clothes are sent BACK to the rent-a-romper company and they send me a new capsule for the next stage of life for my little. I don’t have a closet stuffed with clothes anymore!

-I do not have to worry about my child ruining/staining/destroying these clothes. Rent-a-romper takes it all back and has brilliant ways to use the old/soiled clothing. Just send back and await the next set of clothing!

-It keeps things simple. They just send over what you need for an amazing price (incredibly low price).

-I get to spend my money on special items for my little if I so wish and save on the basics.

Second Hand Specialty Items

For my specialty items like linen rompers and knitted cardigans, I will do my best to search far and wide second hand. I will be using the preloved websites such as onceuponachild, thredup, Baby outfitter, and more.

Support Small

And lastly, for anything that I cannot find through my capsule wardrobe and second hand digging, I will choose to support small and sustainable shops. I have a few favourites such as Hello Jackalo, Beya Made, and Little Green Radicals to name a few. It’s quite easy to fall in love with these small brands but their price tags are not always the easiest for us parents to afford. I choose them wisely and opt for the items that will be used the most.

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 Egobaby 360 All Carry Positions! 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! Our twin carrier did not come with these options and I felt very limited in my baby carrying options.

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.

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 do recommend sticking with organic and natural fibres when choosing blankets/clothing for children if it is available to you.

We were 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 20 of these lovely blankets and I used each and every one.

 A car seat that will last years and years (and years!)

Car seats are nothing to skimp on and the top car seat on the market is the Graco 4Ever DLX 4 in 1 Car Seat. This seat met all of our requirements: It goes back and forth between rear facing and front facing, goes from infant to toddler and lasts up to 10 years of use as your child grows, 6 position recliner, 10 position adjustment to keep your child safe, super quick and easy attachment, and machine washable.

I have had a few friends in some scary car accidents and they all had this car seat. Their children didn’t have a scratch on them.

A High Chair that works from first bite to energetic kid years

We have the standard wooden high-chairs that were passed down from Martin’s grandma (so beautiful and classic), but a great substitution is the Abbie Beyond Wooden High Chair. This chair and company are amazing. This chair will not only work in the first food days, but will last throughout the years. Our children are now 4 years old and they use their chairs every single day – for helping in the kitchen and colouring at the kitchen table (plus eating – of course!). I have even found myself using these chairs when we have too many guests at the house haha.

On a completely different scale, I also fell in love with the clip on high chairs. Our neighbours use this for their baby and just adore it – not to mention you can take it anywhere with you and voila – you have a highchair! We ended up ordering 2 when the boys were about 6 months and never regretted it. 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. I was also able to sell them online after they grew out of them within a few days!

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? We held off for a few months, but in the end, I decided to try it out. I ended up deciding on two of the best cloth diaper brands out there, BumGenius and AlvaBaby.

My cloth diaper journey wasn’t too hard: 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 are breastfeeding, you can toss those dirty diapers (poop and all) directly into the washing machine until your child starts eating solid food. GAME CHANGER! If you are opting for formula, then you will need to rinse first but there are super helpful tools out there like this spray bucket that moms swear by. I sprayed directly into my toilet with our spray hose attachment but I may snag one of these buckets for the next babe!

Why cloth diaper? It will save you around $2000 dollars per child. This was crucial for our budget.

Trusted Disposable Eco-Friendly Diapers

Want to do better but cloth just isn’t for you? Then opt for a few of these eco-friendly and non-toxic disposable diapers:

  1. The Honest Company Diapers with TrueAbsorb Technology
  2. Andy Pandy Biodegradable Bamboo Disposable Diapers
  3. Amazon Brand – Mama Bear Best Fit Diapers
  4. Earth’s Best TenderCare Chlorine-Free Disposable Baby Diapers
  5. Eco Boom Baby Bamboo Biodegradable Diapers

Snuggling Aid

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!! It is designed to snuggle your babe from head to toe for a true feeling of mama love all over them. Moms and Pops rave about how comforting the snuggle me is for their child.

New Mom Essentials For YOU

Nursing pads and nursing cream

I used them all and they worked like a charm! The pads keep you dry, and the cream helps chapped nipples. Nursing was very hard for me in the beginning and I needed all the help I could get.

Nursing Pads: Organic Bamboo Set

Nursing Cream: Earth Mama Organic Nipple Butter

Flowy dresses and flowy shirts

There is no need to stock up on all of those specialty post-baby outfits that seem to pop up non-stop once we even say the word “pregnant” out loud. I will admit, I did purchase a few with my first pregnancy but you know what? I ended up wearing my old flowy dresses and super flowy tops instead. Its just more comfortable and I found them to be a lot cuter as well.

You can find tons of adorable items preloved, at small/sustainable shops, or even ask around to friends. My sister handed me down some gorgeous dresses and oversized tops and I couldn’t have loved them more. I also passed these down to friends when I was done (and my breasts had shrunk back down haha).

Belly Binder 

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. I kept the binder on for 10 hours a day during the first two months after the boys were born.  Recovery was a breeze (not to mention I could fit into non-maternity clothes quite quickly!). I do not think I will be using a binder after my next birth though (hoping not to have a c-section again!).

My binder of choice: Bellefit

A stroller that has options for YOUR sanity!

I have to admit…we went cheap with our first stroller. I will admit again…we went cheap with our second stroller too haha! We realized that we actually LOST money by not investing from the beginning.

If I could do it all over again, I would have chosen a high quality stroller right from the beginning. A stroller that would truly grow with my children and help me in all those times of need.

Here’s a great list of the top strollers for 2020.

For us, we didn’t invest in a stroller until my children were over 18 months old. I had just about had enough at that point and lost it. I was so sick of my stroller getting stuck in holes, bashing me in the stomach whenever we came to any sort of an obstacle, and maneuvring it was just impossible. I ended up using some of my well earned blogging money to purchase a croozer and we still use it daily. It was exactly what we needed as an active/biking/running family. It works up until 5-6 years of age.

Croozers are not readily available in the USA but this is a great substitution: The Burley Honey Bee.

A few items that I used a couple of times before giving to charity: AKA New Mom Essentials You do not necessarily need

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 honestly just kept my kids only in their diapers at feeding time and used a kitchen towel.
  • Baby monitor: Never once used but we live in a small apartment.
  • Absolutely anything electronic or that makes noise via buttons: NO THANK YOU!

What about you Mamas? What’s your must-have New Mom Essentials? Please share!

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  1. Cassandra says:

    I can relate to this article. We went minimal with our first, and no regrets. Looking over lists of things we were told we ‘needed’ seemed so expensive and wasteful. The only thing on your ‘not needed’ list that we loved is a baby bouncer. We didn’t but any swings or exisaucers, just the the baby bouncer. Our baby Bjorn bouncer was used all the time. I also opted for no baby monitor, which everyone thinks is weird when I tell them. Thanks for posting, this was a great read. I’m going to check out more articles!

    • I love hearing other stories of minimalism with kids – thank you! I was such a bouncer baby when I was little – or so I was told haha. Whenever someone asks me if they should get a bouncer, I always tell them to try out a friends first to see if they have a “bouncer baby” and then invest if the answer is yes! Trying before buying (if available, of course) is such a wonderful way to keep things minimal with kids. I truly believe the “it takes a village” approach GREATLY helped us live a more minimalistic life – we just didn’t need all the stuff!

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