Babies don’t need much (or so my mama friend who has a toddler says). As we embrace our firstborn child (hopefully there are more!) in a small one bedroom apartment, we have no choice but to embrace baby minimalism. Actually there was a choice, to move and find a larger two bedroom place, but we are happy where we are right now and will be moving within two years anyways.
There are many benefits to embracing a lifestyle of minimalism with a baby, one of which is to keep baby costs down, since we know that the cost of babies can really add up very easily.
say no to baby showers
One way we’ve tried to keep ‘stuff’ from a accumulating in our small space is my gently saying no to baby showers. Instead of a baby shower at my workplace, we had a ‘going away’ get together, no decorations, no gifts, and instead, guests could bring a small item of food for myself to freeze so I can easily heat it up in times of need (aka post partum). It was great except for the fact that everyone was enjoying a glass of wine and I couldn’t haha. It was a nice experience and I’m not one for baby games (you know, guessing the chocolate bar brand in the diaper?).
I know some people really like to give gifts or baby clothes (trust me, I was one of them) and that’s fine but you can get the person organizing your ‘baby shower’ to ask for food or something else in lieu of gifts. When I organized a work baby shower for my colleague we collected money for a gift card to Baby’s R Us so they can choose what they want or what they need.
ask for a meal train instead
There’s a website that’s similar to Doodle in a way and helps you organize a meal train for your friend. It’s called Meal Train and all you have to do is put in meal preferences and name and how to drop off the meals and days of the week, you can check out the link on how it works, and best of all, the basic option is FREE to do. Then send it out to people and they sign up for the day of the week. It’s great for new babies, people recovering from surgery, or other reasons people will need help cooking.
For inspiration, here are 10 Meals you should make for your friends with new babies from Pinch of Yum. My colleagues gave me chilli, chicken pot pie, tuna casserole and to be honest, it’s better than any baby gift- the gift of time and saving energy.
Their home cooked meals and effort they put into the meal is to me, more heart warming than buying a pacifier or $35 diaper cream.
remind yourself that you don’t need to buy new
Craigslist, LetGo, Varage Sale are your friends. Even better, your friends are your friends. We basically didn’t buy any clothes at all for our new baby, we have some lovely hand-me-downs that are practically brand new since a lot of babies just wear something once and then can’t fit them anymore.
With buying something second-hand, when you have to search for something you really need for your baby it will increase your mindfulness about what you’re planning to purchase and decrease the risk of buying something for the sake of it.
avoid the baby stores if you can
Probably the easiest way to embrace baby minimalism is to avoid the baby stores if you can. I’m not much of a shopper anyway but seeing the fancy boutique baby stores such as West Coast Kids makes you really want to buy everything in there. It is always overwhelming when I see the array of options available for a diaper cream.
“Oh isn’t this cute!!” is quickly going to manifest itself into purchasing something when you might not really need it.
Believe me, I’ve been in that store a few times and it’s really hard to walk out without purchasing something.
Of course, it can be hard to say no to free baby stuff in the pursuit of a minimalist lifestyle with baby, but you can always give stuff away to friends with babies too if you don’t need the things you get for free.
Readers, did you have any ‘must haves’ that got you through your first year with a newborn? Was there anything that you felt wasn’t necessary and that you could have done without?
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