This is a clean list of our very favorite things for creating an environment for happy, creative parents and baby. We have personally tested each of these items against their competitors with our own child and can vouch for quality and its application to a high quality, minimalist lifestyle.
Sleeping: The Bassinest: Yes its heavy and I broke my little toe when I accidentally kicked it in the middle of the night, but its a flat sleeping surface on a swivel! I could STAY IN BED and care for our daughter in the middle of the night! Was perfect for my emergency c-section recovery.
Eating: The Juicer: Not for baby – this sucker is for you. Out of all of the constipation cures, the one that works consistently for me and many of my pregnant friends is some freshly juiced beets mixed with a little lemon, ginger and green apple for taste. We’ve tried many juicers and this was the best (output, waste, cleanup) for the price! Plus – fresh carrot juice is a known galactagogue – i.e. it supports the flow of breast milk! It helped me get to 30oz per day as an exclusive pumper!
Creativity for Mom & Dad: The Cricut Explore Air 2: Want to make cute baby onesies for yourself or friends? How about custom t-shirts, picture frames, jewelry, stickers, sign-boards like the ones featured in this blog? The best way to get kids interested in creative activities is to be a creative role-model. Of course you don’t NEED this – but I have found this is the number one tool that allows me to create EXACTLY what I want for my daughter and gift giving purposes. We typically only invest extra money in tools – and this one, with its internet connectivity and endless design options tops my list for 2016/2017!
Monitoring: The Monitor: There seem to be dozens of great monitors out there. This one works well for us and seems to be of highest quality for the cost. Our friends tried several others and this seems to be the one that has the biggest bang for the buck without going overboard.
Entertainment: The Mirror: Placing this baby in front of our baby provided TONS of entertainment. This mirror is light-weight, padded for when baby knocks it over and has lots of things to interact with – she seems really into it!
Safe Sleeping: The Sleep Sack: For the first month or we used swaddle blankets. Then she started to break out of them and we knew we needed something different. We found these puppies and felt a lot better about her comfort and safety at night. I love the velcro around the tummy option for those who need their arms out in the open. We rotate between 2 of them and it works perfectly for us!
Clothing: Primary.com: If you want quality, function, and nice plain colors without the flame retardant chemicals at a great price – this is the best one we found! Great customer service and excellent return policy as well. Our happy amount of clothing for the early months was 5-6 footed sleepers and 1-2 outfits for hanging out plus a jacket and whatever weather appropriate outdoor gear is needed. Thats it! No need for tons of clothing!
Soap: Dr Bronners: High quality, unscented, no weird chemicals. We use it for everything: baby shampoo, baby body wash, baby bottles. A little goes a LONG way. Note: We use this in conjunction with this awesome bottle steamer for our bottles. Without the steamer, we noticed a film buildup after a few washes.
Car Stuff: The Car Seat: The car seat is one of the first baby items we bought, months before our due date. There are tons of car seats to choose from, this one had great reviews, came recommended from friends, was at the right price point, and a weight range of 4 lbs to 35 lbs (that we didn’t know we’d be needing at the time). The nurses at the hospital told us all too often couples pre-purchase car seats that end up being too large for their un-expected premature baby and have to go buy a different car seat; luckily our 4 1/2 lb premature girl fit just fine. Plus we highly recommend a second base if you have a second car. Also – the mirror that attaches to the back seat is a must if you are like me and like to sneak a peek. We ended up getting one for each car.
Out and About: The Stroller: In the beginning we didn’t think we needed one of these, and it is definitely a “nice to have” rather than a necessity, but I wouldn’t be back in shape if it weren’t for this stroller. Its a heavy Cadillac of a stroller, but I can pack it in the trunk and take it out to the trails for a nice long walk or use it in the grocery store when needed. It’s turning, suspension and maneuverability is amazing. It has a car seat adapter for the britax and your kiddo can grow into it so its not one of those “use it for a month” type of things. We also love our Ergo carrier for non-stroller strides, but this is really baby dependent – I would highly recommend trying some out at a Baby Wearing International meeting if there is one by you, or at least visit their site to learn about all of the carriers.
Feeding: The Bottles – these, along with the preemie sized nipples were a lifesaver when we couldn’t breastfeed. The nipples say “preemie” but they are really just slow flow – great if you are trying to breast feed as well. I rented a hospital grade pump, but also have the hand pump for when we are out and about – which works just as well as the electric pump, just one boob at a time.
Brain Rules for Baby: Amazing book. We both agree that we will refer back to this one again and again when it comes to raising a creative kid. Great advice for those just becoming pregnant.
Expecting Better: Great book for those data minded pregnant ladies who want to know the statistics/real story behind what you should and shouldn’t do while pregnant so you can make your own decisions about activities, food, drinks and many other things.
How to Talk To Kids So They Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk: Want advice on how to respond to kids in a way that helps them express themselves? This is a great read.
The Sh!t No One Tells You: This is a great, funny read about the little known mishaps from pregnancy through the first year.
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth: While I wasn’t interested in having a midwife or a completely natural birth, this book was empowering and helped me choose exactly what kind of a labor I was comfortable with…which is hilarious because none of it happened, but I had a great plan!