By Julie Stockman
Why do new babies have their own rooms? Because you need somewhere to go with all that stuff. The morning after your baby shower, you might be shocked by the sheer mass of stuff that suddenly takes over your house.
You don’t have to forgo a baby shower to remain ecologically responsible. As a mom of three, I have found that there are some bigger ticket baby items that take up little space and are much needed. Some pay for themselves over time. Some have amazing longevity. Here are the five baby items you won’t later regret.
A cloth diaper stash
Even if you don’t plan to use cloth diapers, you’ll never regret having a stash on hand. I promise there will come a day when it’s 11:00 p.m. and you’re putting the last diaper on the baby. The last thing anyone wants to do is run out to the store, and guess what? You don’t have to. You can use cloth until you get to the store.
If you are planning to use cloth diapers full-time, this is the perfect baby shower registry addition. Guests can pick out one or two diapers or diaper covers with cute designs for very little money, but added together you could end up with a sizable stash, each personally chosen by someone you love.
A baby carrier
Strollers are nice sometimes, particularly for longer excursions, but for everyday use, you just can’t beat a good baby carrier. Ergos are extremely popular and can be purchased with an infant insert to maximize their use. I waited until my third child to buy an Ergo, but now I wish I’d done so from the start. I’ve never known a more comfortable carrier.
When mine were still tiny infants, I loved having a wide sling. It was perfect for quick trips in and out of a store or for running outside to grab the mail. An added benefit was that a nice, wide sling could double as a nursing cover. When I was still learning how to nurse, I appreciated having a little privacy when taking my time to latch properly.
A well-designed, well-chosen bassinet is one of those items that can serve many purposes. I would suggest one that rocks automatically in lieu of a swing. If you opt for a lighter weight model, you can move it around the house rather easily, so it can reside by the bed at night and in the kitchen by day.
If you spend a lot of time in the garden, you could choose a bassinet with a detachable cradle, such as the Moses basket style with a frame. This way, you won’t have to wake a sleeping baby to head outside for a bit.
Before I had children, I was adamant that they would sleep in their own beds. Ah…my children. They had such an ability to make me blush at all the (loud) opinions I had before they came along. The truth was, none of my children ever spent a single night in their own beds when they were babies.
But it’s hard not to buy a crib, especially if it’s your first child. If you do buy a crib, consider the convertible kind. Ours converted from a crib to a full-sized headboard and footboard. Others convert to a toddler bed. This way, even if the crib ends up holding toys instead of the baby, it’s still a useful purchase.
I found our high chair to be useful for many times besides breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I discovered it was the perfect safe place to put my older babies and toddlers when I needed them to be off the floor. I would stock the tray with toys or finger foods or puzzles while I did any number of tasks: clean up after the dog or sweep the floor or even take a shower. I knew the babies were safe and they were usually amused by the tray items for at least 10 minutes.
Because our high chairs were so well used, I preferred a wooden chair rather than a plastic one. There are convertible plastic high chairs, however, that become booster seats later.
If you drive a car, the need for a car seat is obvious. But what kind of seat will you get? The multi-age, multi-position seats certainly have their advantages. These seats can face backward while your baby is young and turn forward when she is ready. Many models have different levels of reclining as well, which allows a finer adjustment for her comfort.
But they also have two major drawbacks. First, they are usually much heavier and bulkier than a regular car seat. This makes them an annoying choice for switching between vehicles. Also, they aren’t made to be carried around like a bucket seat. If you think you will often want to take a sleeping baby out of the car inside the carrier, these types wouldn’t be the right option.
If you plan to keep the seat only in the car as a safe place for the baby to ride in the vehicle, and you don’t plan to move it much from its spot, these seats will definitely save money and resources.
In the end, it’s surprising how little you actually need for your new baby, how few things you end up using. Stuffing a house to the brim with equipment makes it feel crowded to everyone and isn’t an ecologically sustainable lifestyle. By researching and choosing carefully, you can be a good steward of your money, your home, and ultimately, your family.
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Julie Stockman lives in Farmland, Indiana where she homeschools her children with her husband, Jeff. She spends her days baking, gardening, keeping chickens, listening to the nature around them, practicing gratitude and faithfulness, and stealing minutes to write about it all.