Baby Registries for Minimalists: What You Can’t Do Without When Welcoming a Baby

Hi mamas! A while back, you might remember that I created the ultimate baby registry checklists. It was really comprehensive while cutting through a lot of the clutter. I’m still a big believer in that wipe warmers are utterly useless, but there are many mamas out there looking for an even more pared-down list.

When we lived in China, we had very little space in our home. We had to make do without a lot of stuff most of my other friends had plenty of room for. Whether you’re a minimalist by design or you simply haven’t much space to spare, this baby registry is especially for you.

Everyone is going to tell you that you need this or that, and quite honestly, I’m going to give you the simplest options for stocking your home in preparation for baby’s arrival. No muss, no fuss. How’s that sound?

Let’s get started with my minimalist baby registry. Here are the things you absolutely need!

Car Seat or Travel System

I’m going to give you options here because not everyone lives in the suburbs and drives. I know some of you mamas are city girls. So, if you have your car, you MUST get a car seat. It’s the law.

But what if you live in a place like Manhattan and you basically walk most of the time and then take the car out on weekends? A travel system might be a better option. It takes up less space and goes from stroller to car seat in a flash. This way, you’ve got your car seat for when you need it and a super handy stroller for when you don’t.

Now, to take it even further, if you’re getting a car seat for your car, one to look at for minimalists is the Graco 4Ever DLX. It’s a 4-in-1, which means you will never have to go shopping for another car seat (unless you choose to have a second child, of course) because it will grow with your child.

Father fasten his little baby in the car seat

As for a travel system, Graco makes one that folds up with one hand, something I can tell you is a blessing when you’re a new mom. Trust!

And if money isn’t an object, you may want to consider this option by Doona, which converts from the car seat into a stroller in seconds!

Diaper Bag

Let’s face it…you’ll be out with that sweet baby introducing her to the world, and you need something to tote all the essentials with you everywhere you go. A good diaper bag is a must on your minimalist list.

For my minimalist mamas, I present two options. 😉

The first is a diaper bag insert. You can take your oversized tote that you usually carry and stick one from ToteSavvy inside. It’s made with easy to clean fabric that inserts right into your favorite bag so you can carry your designer styles and still handle the baby. It also comes with a changing mat. Talk about minimalist chic!

But if you are like me, if you have beautiful designer bags, you don’t want your kids anywhere near them. Or perhaps you and hubby will share the duties of the diaper bag. In that case, your next minimalist diaper bag option is this one from Zirung. It’s basically a souped-up backpack that has a smart way of storing it all. Think Tetris! This thing is amazing and even can charge your devices.

Changing Pad

Now, I know I just mentioned changing pads in your diaper bag. Those are wonderful for on the go. But a lot of mamas I’ve talked to worry about not having a changing table in their home. When you don’t have room for one, what can you do?

I always laid my changing pad from my diaper bag out, but it would have been helpful to have something like this one from Bumbo. It’s soft yet firm enough to keep little ones from rolling out of it, which would have given me much more peace of mind when my girls were babies. With this, you can turn any surface into a changing table just like that!


Again, if your home is like the home I had in China, you have very little space. Sometimes, there really is no room to add more than a crib to your nursery. And many of you reading this might not even have room anywhere in your home for one.

That’s where this portable rocker comes in.

Oh man, I would have loved one of these! You can turn any chair anywhere into a rocker. Use it in bed while you’re nursing, on your sofa, even at the park. It’s a space saver and a lifesaver!

Baby Carrier

In China, we did lots of walking. Our city was huge, and strollers were a challenge there. Not many things are accessible with all those stairs. I loved having a baby carrier. Both my daughters fell right asleep whenever we’d go out and about. And it kept my hands free. All good things.

Lillebaby’s carrier can be used from day one without the need for an insert and all the way onward until your kid weighs 45lbs! Though trust me when I say you don’t want to be carrying a 45-pound kid on your belly all day, it can be useful if you go to the park or on adventures to wear them on your back.

Portable High Chair

When our eldest was born, my husband and I looked for high chairs. Our best option was a bit of a booster seat with a tray that snapped into place on a normal chair. Occasionally, my Facebook memories remind me of moments when our now-big girl was sitting and eating in that chair.

It got the job done and saved space, but I would have loved to have something a little nicer. And something that made me feel more secure. We never left her side when she was in her crappy booster high chair seat.

If I could go back and pick something, it would be this portable high chair. It’s an award-winning design that locks into place on any table. It has pockets on the back for bibs, wipes, and whatever else you want. And it’s portable! So if you’re going to go out to eat, you can take it with you easily since it folds right up…how cool is that?!?

Baby Tub

I think one of the hardest things for me when our eldest was a baby was trying to bath her. My husband and I were so terrified we’d accidentally drop her. Babies are really slippery with soap!

So we’d bathe her together, one of us holding her while the other one washed. This worked until we visited a friend in Beijing. She had an unusual home for China in that it was very Western and American in style. She had a full-size bathtub, not a common sight. I had to sit in the tub with my baby and try to wash her. I wondered what my American friends did.

As a gift, she gave us a baby hammock that would attach to the baby tub we had at home. It was such a smart and thoughtful gift. Now we didn’t have to worry about bath time. Now, they seem to make these things in combinations to ease the minds of new moms everywhere. This one by Stokke folds up and includes a removable insert for newborns, so when your baby gets too big, you can still bathe her in the tub.

Baby Clothes

You’ll need to dress your sweet baby from day one. Pro tip: don’t get hung up on frilly dresses or special outfits. They cost a fortune and will likely only wear it one time. Babies love to be comfortable. Just as you like sitting on the sofa wearing yoga pants and drinking wine (or is that just me?), babies want clothing that feels soft and comfortable on their skin.

Organic baby clothes are the best for this because they lack chemicals and are usually ultra-soft. You should aim to get onesies and pajamas in newborn, 3-month, and 6-month sizes initially. If you live in a colder climate, pants in those sizes will be a necessity, as will long sleeves.

No need for shoes but do choose cozy organic socks for your little love, and maybe a soft hat to match too.

Basic Baby Care Products

At the minimum, you’re going to need a baby wash, lotion, a soft washcloth, diaper rash salve, baby wipes, and a thermometer (preferably digital) to keep in your stash of baby care items. Choosing a lovely gift set of organic and non-toxic ingredients can help you stock up fast.

I like this one by Little Twig, which is a pediatrician-approved and comes with the most adorable little snail toy ever.


Don’t forget a place for baby to sleep! When your baby is a newborn, she will do best in your room. It might be a good idea to set up your crib in there if you can. For some mamas, that was probably the only space in your house to set it up anyway, right?


You’ll see lots of things for a bassinet that attaches to the bed, and I think those are awesome. I wrote a post on them too, so take a look. But you only will use it for a short time, and from there, you’re in the land of cribs. So when getting a bassinet, make the most of your space by choosing one that grows with your child and turns into a toddler bed, day bed, and even a full-size bed!


And really, one of the things you cannot attempt to raise a baby without is diapers. You definitely need them though, if your minimalist concerns are for caring for the environment, you may want to do cloth diapers.

Not everyone wants to go through that struggle, though, so the next best thing to try is diapers that are entirely free of chlorine bleaching and have no parabens or fragrances. The toxins that surround us are pretty icky, so start your baby off on the safe track with diapers that aren’t full of chemicals.

Bonus Item: Baby Toys

You have tons of time still to worry about play mats and all those things. In fact, you can read my post about those and find one that fits your life. But all babies should start with a toy in their lives.

Save the stuffies for the shelves for now. They’re not safe for newborns as they can suffocate. Instead, get baby-safe toys that encourage excellent motor skills and are safe to chew on.

One of my favorites, which I received as a gift for my youngest, was the famed Sophie the Giraffe. I know everyone has one, but it’s free of BPAs and phthalates and other gross things. It’s safe for baby and soothing when those teeth come in. Oh Mama, when those teeth come in, get ready! It’s such a tough phase!

One Last Thing…

Whether your lifestyle and décor are minimalist or your budget only allows you the bare minimum to get only essentials for your baby, you’ll quickly see that you don’t need all the extras. This list of basics keeps it simple, so you’ll have what you need and nothing you don’t.

You can always add more things to your home later on, but don’t be obsessed with buying all the clothes right now or getting toys your kid isn’t going to use for 2 years. Using products that can transform as a 2-in-1 (or more!) or that can fold up for compact storage will always be your best bet.

Happy shopping, Mama!

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