i came across a great post by a fellow simplist-kindred-Mama~ Yolande at her blog Bauhauswife!
i’ve been quite a simplist myself in my almost 10 years of mothering – i was inspired to share because recently i’ve received my own custom made diaper bag!
my first diaper bag EVER with my 4th bebe 🙂
there are SO many things out there that aren’t things you NEED when you have a baby!!!
it really simply is MARKETING. that is all.
everything a mother truly needs – nature equipped her with…..
In truth, babies need nothing, for happiness and safety, except nourishment from their mother’s breasts, to be carried through the day, and to sleep next to their mothers at night. There is nothing wrong with acquiring the latest stuff, but I do think that it is helpful to recognize that really, no equipment is necessary, and that in many cases, the paraphernalia can be distracting and even inhibiting to a holistic approach to, and enjoyment of, the parenting journey. All of this is so personal, and I really want to emphasize that I don’t disparage parents for their use of any of the following gadgets and gizmos. I’ll just outline here what has worked for me, after a batch of kids (I’m pregnant with my 6th).
In a nutshell, I strongly believe from my own experience, that we, like other mammals, come fully equipped as is, to care for our children. Sure, we have come a long way from our troglodyte ancestors. Clothing is a good idea, especially if you live in a cold climate. A roof over our heads is also a huge bonus! But other than that, a mother who is well-nourished herself, can, miraculously, feed her baby exclusively from her body for at least 6 months! No widgets required.
i think she’s bang on 😉
i too think a baby shower can be a great way for other’s to contribute materially for the new baby to come:
maybe a carseat
i’ve never once had a baby shower….
a Blessingway – is more my kinda thing! and i had my first Blessingway ceremony with my 4th. so much of that pregnancy though was rooted in ceremony, as i prepared myself spiritually for this birth. i relied completely on myself this time around -all the tools required were drawn on from within.
the great thing about having a few children is the hand me downs!
so much less needs to be bought then.
i invested in some really great cloth diapers with my third baby and i’m happy i made the investment.
Starting with the NON~ESSENTIALS you can live without – meaning – they aren’t essential but more of a personal choice!
You can keep it real simple or spend alot of money 🙂
You don’t need:
fancy baby clothes or shoes – do you realize how fast they GROW! ha.
baby vibrating mobile chairs
video monitors or even a baby monitor
invest tons of money in designing a nursery (when babies want to sleep with YOU anyways)
as well as…a newborn and young infant are happier in your ARMS!
even the floor with a sheepskin or comfy blanket will do when you need to rest your arms and do things!
Crib or bassinette: Definatley NOT essential ~ a normal bed works!
now…the only reason i even own a crib is because my mama gave me the one i used! the only child of mine that has actually used a crib was my second baby. he started sleeping through the night the earliest (about 6 months) so i moved him into his own bed and then eventually he had his own room. That worked for him, but he’s the only one so far to use it lol.
i may have however used that crib as a baby jail before…hee hee
it was novel…then i put it away!
I cosleep with my babies. Why wouldn’t i…i can’t be bothered to get out of bed to nurse when i can just roll over?! Co-sleeping is not only vital to good breastmilk supply but also wired into our infants survival instincts. They are deeply attached to us – they need us – even at night! I couldn’t imagine feeling even more tired and exhausted getting up out of bed a bunch of times a night. eeek.
Sleeping together has only ever seemed natural to me and the easiest path really.
We currently have 3 beds in our room!
a real BED ROOM. one for our toddler, one for me and baby, and one for daddy.
here’s our BEDROOM! Sometimes we play musical beds……ha ha.
Bottles/breastpump: when you breastfeed, there really isn’t a need for bottles unless you pump of course, which really is not essential either. i realize certain circumstances won’t allow you to be at home with your babies BUT hopefully you’ll be able to & not have to choose between work over raising kids.
i love the fact that no matter where i go i can feed my baby. its always warm and nutritionally perfect! the more i’ve learned about breast-milk the more fascinated and in awe i am with the intelligence of our bodies.
i have used a glass bottle for water, but usually my kids just take to drinking from a cup with ease. Monkey SEE monkey do. So, no need for Sippy Cups either! i don’t run around the house with a cup of water and neither do my kids.
Pacifiers: another not essential item, but i have used them. only at naptime and NEVER to quiet down my baby. when my first baby was born, i thought i’d never use one. then my baby girl would get really fussy, i’d nurse her and she’d choke on milk, when all she wanted was comfort nurse (forceful let down!).
the re-accuring thought of getting a pacifier continued until i finally gave in. it made a huge difference for her when all she wanted was suckle, not swallow tons of milk! so maybe it can be helpful in certain situations. let your intuition guide YOU. my last 2 babies hardly used it. they were satisfied with all the suckling they would get from nursing. i definatley don’t see a reason to NEED one.
when we understand how breastfeeding can provide both comfort and food to our babies AS well ensuring we as mother’s take a rest, your relationship to nursing just changes. i let go of feeling guilty for allowing my babies to nurse to sleep and once i relaxed about it, it became a great tool. i can happily say everyone sleeps through the night (except my 4 month old right now). He taught me to take more breaks to sit and nurse him & it helped me heal much faster after birth.
Playpen: Nope, never used one. ha. i have to quote Yolande because i thought it was funny and bang on.
I don’t like the idea of caging animals, and I won’t do similar with my kids. Most children will tolerate about 5 minutes in a playpen before they start to scream, and we know that children learn, grown and develop while interacting in a complex way with people and their environment. Playpens are useful for restricting the movement of children. I don’t ever want to do that. And I think we do our children a disservice to, in the name of safety, restrict their movements and their ability to explore. Children learn boundaries when they are confronted with challenging situations. I have never had a playpen, and never will.
High Chair: are handy, but not crucial. there’s always a lap. i’ve used hand me downs and find that once they reach about 18 months or so, my kids opt for the chair like the rest of us. Ofcourse there’s some really lovely high chairs out there, made of wood and all the rage ergo dynamic. So, if you feel like spending the mula on a fancy highchair, that’s really a personal choice, not a necessity.
Change Table: well, i never had one with the first 2! i used my bathroom floor with a towel to lay them on. With my third babe i decided i would like one and was gifted one. it was actually nice to be upright while changing, especially right after birth! as well have somewhere to organize all my cloth diapers and laundry baskets. Again, not a necessity, but it can be nice.
Stroller: i love to carry my babies! but i am NOT opposed to strollers. i have a jogging stroller (no i don’t jog lol) but i like the regular tires on them because we like to walk in the back woods & trails. i like the stroller when the little ones get heavy and if we are out and about its somewhere to stash water bottles and snacks. Once the kids reached walking age, they would walk as much as possible on their own. they are great little hikers!
Baby Gate: i’ve never used one. ok. once. but it was mainly to keep my dog from running up and down the hallway. 😛 i haven’t even done much to baby proof anything. if my kids ever did anything they shouldn’t be doing, i would let them know why. haven’t a kid zapped by the plug-ins & i don’t use toxic chemicals to clean so i don’t need to safety proof my cupboards. except that time when my eldest son was 2, we TRIED to babyproof the cupboard because he would get up early and climb the counter to find things to snack on. too many mornings with honey all over the counter. ha ha. but he figured out the baby proof thing pretty quickly.
Baby Toys: No baby Einstein here!
But the plastic stuff, and especially the toys “designed” for baby, or baby-intelligence? It’s marketing. The most effective way to “develop” our children’s intelligence, is to be with them, to look at them, to talk to them, to engage with them, to play with them.
Babies don’t need much. they are amused by faces and song. When they are toddlers they love kitchen things and cardboard boxes. ofcourse we too have WAY more toys than we need, but i hardly bought any of it!
we have our share of wooden toys & we also have our share of super heroe’s, barbies, lego, playmobile, stuffies & pretend food. many christmas’s and birthdays all add up! although i’ve tried to avoid the over~consumeristic attitudes held by many, it can be tough with family who are just used to give, in such a way.
i am happy though, to have been able to pass on some toys to my kids from my childhood and my brother’s childhood. My eldest boy still sleeps on a loft bed that was my little brothers, that is a good 20 years old! i love re-using things. Plastic anything i’ve tried to avoid, but when you live a frugal lifestyle you just can’t afford to buy all the eco stuff. we try to generally avoid as much plastic in packaging as we can! In many cases, plastics that are marketed as BPA-free contain chemicals that are much more harmful that BPA itself.
Some of my kid’s favorite things are my hand me downs or Grandma’s stuffies and dolls.
Grandma’s dolls and sock monkey’s
Commercial Diaper-Anything: i’ve never used commercial diapers or commercial diapering products. i just don’t like the companies (like huggies and pampers) and all the chemicals in the product itself and just in making the product. when i wasn’t using cloth diapers i used the 7thgeneration disposable diapers, although, as sad as it is, they are triple the price! i use a cloth with warm water and maybe some lavender or tea tree oil when cleaning baby bums. if i’m out i bring diaper wipes as a back up in case i’m not near water! but i’m picky about the kind of wipes. i’ve also made my own before. So cloth diapers all the way and i encourage using the potty as soon as possible 🙂 my diaper cream is something that can be made in your own kitchen. just a nice herbal bum balm and sometimes i just use coconut oil with some essential oils added to them. the only time my babies ever had diaper rash would usually be around teething time. other than that, its not an issue here. i change my babies whenever they are wet and never leave them in a poopy diaper. there has been the odd time i didn’t realize it soon enough, it happens, but usually, baby gets changed right away.
Baby creams/shampoos: i hope for more people to stay clear of Johnson’s baby lotions, shampoos etc. Most of those brands are proving to be full of harsh and nasty chemicals! keep it simple. plain warm water goes a long way. one of the best pieces of advice i’ve read is if you’re going to put it on your skin, it should be pretty close to edible! when it comes to most personal care products on the shelves, how many of them would you try to eat? eeek.
Diaper bags: i’ve never actually owned a ‘real’ diaper bag in the 10 years i’ve parented. i just made due with whatever bag i had laying around. However, just recently, i had an urge to get a real diaper bag, one that would easily fit my cloth diapers, water bottles, snacks, clothes, etc. so my mama-in-law made me one with material i had picked out! because i’ve never seen a diaper i’ve actually liked! it turned out so beautiful and i’ll be able to use it as a travel bag once it is retired from lugging around baby items.
i love custom design!~
What do you need for a baby?
well, some things that are helpful, in my opinion, anyways —->
Love & patience! lots of it 🙂
a good sleeping arrangement – multiple beds if you just can’t afford a non-toxic king sized bed (which i would love, but i have to make do!)
cloth diapers – a good brand is Kawaii, they’ve held up pretty good and aren’t as expensive as many on the market
sheepskins – maybe not a necessity, but worth the money if you’re gonna spend it on something. i just invested in my first and wish i had one for all the kids and myself! so comforting to sit or lay on
my fresh freh newborn Rowan on his sheepskin
a baby carrier – i love my ergo and wrap slings: like the K’tan because its easy or another wrap style carrier like a cuddly wrap or moby
i’d love to learn more wrapping styles – with a woven cotton fabric. i love all the info at http://www.wrapyourbaby.com/
swaddling blankey’s or sacks – all my kids needed to be swaddled. some don’t. that is something you need to discern with your own babies.
mine loved the snug wombie feel of being wrapped and it kept them from slapping and scratching their faces! i really love a sleep sack though because i don’t need to re-swaddle constantly at night! they are all quite the movers early on.
a car seat – kinda a must if you’re gonna drive anywhere
not sure what else you REALLY need. besides clothing? things tend to find you. keep it simple.
i love thrift stores and the bonus is all the disgusting flame retardents have been thoroughly washed out by the time i buy them!
here’s a link to Yolande’s blog post: i really enjoyed her thoughts & she other helpful ideas as well as links!