Making (Minimalist) Room for Baby

I've finally hit the "nesting" phase of pregnancy, which is good I suppose. I need to start realizing there is a real live baby on the way very soon.

This time, though, nesting doesn't quite look the same as it did over the course of my last two pregnancies. This time I'm prepping for baby with minimalism in mind. I know now how easy it is to become overwhelmed with baby and kid gear without ever realizing it. So instead of stocking up, we're paring down on baby items as we creep closer to my due date. There are so many things parents are told they need in order to be ready for baby, but there are truly so few necessities.

With baby #3, there is no elaborate baby shower planned (a BBQ where we'll be taking bets on the baby's gender, sure, but no traditional frills, fuss, and presents party). There isn't a registry filled with things I may or may not need, but a Target pamphlet tells me I should have. I'm not googling different types of strollers or sleep training methods (ha!) or reading What To Be Terrified Of When You're Expecting. I'm simply ready.

There's an empty corner of our room ready for a port-a-crib, a few tiny outfits folded into a drawer and this wide open space in my heart and arms waiting to be filled. I mean, what more do I really need?

While every parent will have their own idea of what is and isn't necessary, these are 8 items I've found that are worth keeping (and 8 things that aren't).

1. Crib/Port-a-Crib: For the first six months, our babies sleep in our room in a co-sleeper port-a-crib. After the six months is up we'll be deciding whether to room new baby on their own or with a big sibling, and Avery's little crib will be passed on to the baby at that time.

2. Clothes: Babies really don't need that many clothes. We've been getting rid of clothes that still have tags on them that Lucas and Avery never got the chance to wear because they had SO MUCH. In newborn clothes, we have a handful (probably 10 or so) of onesies, 3-4 pairs of pants, 4 sleepers, 4 pairs of socks (which the baby will kick off and the dog will inevitably eat) and a couple hats. And it's probably way more than we'll need.

3. Diapers, Wipes, Changing Pad: You need diapers and wipes and lots of them. We'll be storing ours under the bed along with a changing pad with a single cover. The changing pad isn't something I use when they're older, but it's good to have during the blowout months.

4. Baby Carrier: I actually have two, the Moby and the Bjorn. I love my Moby, and it's definitely my preferred way to carry baby, but the Bjorn is great for when you just need to snap on a baby and go.

5. Bottles/Breast Pump: We have 6 Avent bottles and a Medela breast pump. Totally not a necessity for everyone, but with my schedule of upcoming weddings it will be for me.

6. Swaddle Blankets: We have two swaddles which were amazing for Avery. Lucas hated swaddles. So this one's a toss up, and certainly not a necessity for every baby. We'll see how our new little one likes being a baby burrito.

7. Activity Blanket: You know those blankets that have rods with toys hanging over baby's head? We've got one that folds away and decided to keep it since both our other babes loved it so much. It's great to use when you need to put them down to tend to more pressing matters (like other needy children). We have a few rattles/soft toys here and there too, but baby toys are super overrated. They hardly play with any of it.

8. Burp Cloths: We need to pare down because we have way more than we've ever used, but having a few on hand is a necessity when you have a pukey baby and don't want to buy a whole new wardrobe.

Things we don't need (but thought we did once upon a time)...

1. Changing Table: Changing tables take up SO MUCH SPACE. I always assumed I needed one, until Avery started climbing up ours like a jungle gym. We banished it to the garage, and started changing her on the floor/bed. We just moved her diaper supplies into baskets and tucked a changing pad under our bed. Way easier and no wasted space.

2. Bottle Sterilizer: You know how to boil water in a  pot? Good. You can sterilize your bottles, pacifiers, etc.

3. Feeding Gadgets: The baby bullet is a glorified mini blender. The portioned baby food trays are glorified ice cube trays. The weird feeding gadgets your baby is supposed to gum their fruit, meat, etc. out of? I don't even know, I just know that my babies never ever used them even though we tried EVERY SINGLE ONE. Keep it simple: a couple baby spoons and sippy cups should do the trick.

4. Diaper Bag: I have a big purse in which I carry some spare diapers, wipes and I'll add a change of clothes/pacifier/ziploc freezer bag (blowouts, my friends) for new baby. You don't need to leave the house looking like a goddamn sherpa just because you have a baby.

5. A Separate Room: We made a very deliberate decision to stay in our current home, knowing that our kids would eventually room share. A room of one's own is not a necessity or a right, especially when you're not the one paying the bills.

6. Tons of Toys: Like I said before, babies don't really play with toys. And all the exersaucers and jumpers and big baby gear is just a waste of space unless you use it for hours every day. Having a single glider or activity mat is nice, but having too many big things is just going to turn your house into a daycare.

7. Decked Out Nursery: We did the whole themed Winnie-the-Pooh nursery for Lucas. Mobile, matching crib bedding, matching lamp, stylish area rug, dresser, changing table, big ol' get the idea. He didn't even use the nursery for the first six months, and after that, would rarely use it other than when it was time for bed. Even now, most of our kids' time is spent in the living room and outdoors.

8. Nursing Cover: This is one I was attached to with Lucas because I was so insecure about breastfeeding in public. Now I'll just throw on a big scarf if I want to be discreet. No more fussing around to make other people comfortable. Baby is going to eat when baby needs to eat.