I think one of the biggest misconceptions about having a baby is that suddenly you’re going to need all this stuff. When I was close to giving birth to Bear, people would share their roundup of “the essentials”… then send me six-page lists with everything that you absolutely needed to keep a baby happy, healthy, and developing. It was overwhelming, not to mention expensive!
At the most basic level, all you need when you have a baby is something for he/her to eat, somewhere for he/her to poop, and a place to sleep. That really just means having your boobs handy, in addition to some cloth or eco diapers and wipes, and making your bed into a baby friendly nest. As for the rest, here’s my version of the ‘essentials’:
- Organic, natural fiber blanket for swaddling: it’s nice to have at least three or four because they’ll inevitably get covered in pee, milk, and spit-up.
- Diapers: disposable diapers can be filled with funky chemicals and wreak havok in landfills. We opted for cloth diapers – some cloth diapers have snaps, some have Velcro, and some have cloth inserts. Try a few styles until you find what works for you! We liked the kind that snap and grow with the baby. There are also various hybrid diapers that you can flush or compost, and disposable diapers that are cleaner then mainstream options, chlorine and fragrance free. And even better to reduce the need for diapers, learn about being the potty whisperer with elimination communication on p. 226 in my book The Kind Mama!
- A few items of clothing: babies grow so fast so 12 outfits should do the trick. The rule of thumb is to dress your baby with the same number of layers as you’re wearing plus one.
- Soft surface for putting baby down: this could be an organic throw rug or blanket, or even something as simple as your bedspread.
- Car seat: this is a total necessity if you plan on driving anywhere with the baby! Lots of car seats contain funky components like polyvinyl chloride, which are pretty nasty for you. So do your research! We used Orbit Baby and have heard good things about Graco and Britax.
- Changing table: having one of these is a nice extra luxury bonus! I got mine used from a friend, it really helped out my back!
This can seem overwhelming but try to keep it simple and don’t go crazy with too much stuff! Think economically and eco-friendly, so many things you can get secondhand through websites like Ebay and thredUP, your local Goodwill, or through friends with hand-me-downs. Don’t be shy about asking your friends! It’s such a great recycling system. Shout out to Suz Smiley, Marina Black, and Anne Heche for all the hand-me-downs, thanks so much!
Although I am a big advocate of shopping secondhand and keeping stuff to a minimum, I’ve come across so many companies doing great things – healthy, eco, and useful – so I wanted to share with you all! If you’re seeking something new or looking to give a thoughtful gift (baby showers! birthdays!), I hope this list will be helpful to you. Be sure to write in the comments what items you/your little one loves and find useful.
BeeZee’s EcoKid: organic cotton (GOTS – Global Organic Textile Standard certified) & Fair Trade warm baby suits
Yala: certified organic bamboo onsie, Bear had this one in green!
CastleWare: certified organic cotton onsie with footies! Bear also had this one green one, so cute!
Tops & Bottoms
Nico Nico: uses hemp & organic cotton fabrics, made in Downtown LA! Plus they’re cute and hip!
Monica & Andy: GOTS certified organic cotton cute and stylish apparel! Bear recently got these outfits from them, adorable right?
Tane: Tane has a bunch of cute basic looks – all certified organic cotton. Check them out!
Entertaining Elephants: organic cotton leggings and more! Made in Los Angeles 🙂
Two Crows for Joy: more certified organic cotton essentials. Bear use to wear the ‘Twill’ shorts almost every day!
Burts Bees: GOTS certified organic cotton! These pajamas also work as thermals to wear under clothes in cold weather, they’re awesome.
Skylar Luna: organic cotton pajamas! Lots of Bear’s pajamas came from here.. So great!
Apple Park: GOTS certified organic cotton pajamas! Bear use to wear these PJ’s a ton! They’re super fun.
Hanna Anderson: organic cotton undies! They have all sorts of styles for both girls and boys so check em’ out! We love Hanna Anderson for their undies, socks, and jeans.
Zkano: organic crew socks made in the U.S. We use these socks a lot! They come in all kinds of styles and shapes and are great!
Hanna Anderson: Hanna Anderson socks are OEKO-TEX certified (which means they’re tested down to the very last strand of thread for over 100 harmful substances, using strict European certification standards). They come in all kinds of funky designs to simple staples.
BabyLegs: organic cotton leg warmers, cozy and comes in handy from time to time.
Odds & Ends
Bear rocking his bat backpack!
Apple Park: backpacks, towels, and books. All these items are so cute, fun, and best of all eco. They make great gifts! Bear still uses this backpack three years later! Same with the towels. They last so long, it’s awesome.
Natursutten: rubber nipples/pacifers! Natursutten is the best! They are BPA, PVC, phthalates free – made from 100% pure natural rubber sap from the tree Hevea brasiliensis. I would use their rubber nipple attachments for bottles.
Lifefactory Baby Bottles: glass bottle with protective silicone sleeve.
Mary Meyer EarthMates: recycled stuffed animals 🙂
Thermal-Aid Natural Cotton Heating & Cooling Bear: this is a natural ice pack filled with cotton, just place it in the freezer and it’s there whenever in need. It comes in all sorts of animal characters. I love it!
NuggleBuddy Armoatherapy Cold & Hot Packs: these are great to pop in the freezer and use whenever needed! They are filled with organic grains and botanicals. We use this a lot! They are great to have around.
HankyBook: organic cotton handkerchief book
Ergobaby Organic Baby Carrier: this baby carrier is a life saver! Get your hands on an Ergo carrier asap!
Little Star Cotton + Hemp Baby Sling: this sling is the best ever! I saved mine and plan to use it the next time around.
Earth Mama Organics Bottom Balm: = a godsend! Plus they’re nipple cream is also really great.
Paper Culture Stationary: if you’re sending out a baby announcement or birthday party invites, check out Paper Culture! For each card you order, they plant a tree. Their paper is made of 100% post consumer recycled paper, meaning no virgin tree fiber is used. And they also use wind power to generate their production, how cool is that??
There you have it! Remember you ask your friends, they probably have this stuff so you won’t have to buy it 🙂 Now it’s your turn.. What items have you found essential and if buying new, what companies do you love?
Top Photo Credit: Amy Neunsinger