I always hesitate to claim that anything is minimalist, as I believe minimalism is so personal, but we live in a world where you are bombarded with baby products that you "need" and I believe that lack of space for baby gear is one of the main reasons people leave their small spaces. So instead of claiming this is a "minimalist" list of baby items, let's call it "edited". We don't need an overwhelming number of things for a new baby but there a few things that I have learned to rely on. Here is my edited list of baby gear and products that we used and loved. Anything I am listing here is an item that helped me stay in our small space with a baby and again with a baby and a toddler. There are so many choices out there and I haven't tried them all but this is what worked for us. Also, in putting together this post I re-read this post and find it to still be so true and relevant to those early newborn months with a toddler and our small space (here's the link in case you care to read). If you are expecting in a small space or just want to be more conscious about the baby items you allow into your space, I hope this list is helpful! And as always I highly recommend buying second hand whenever possible and sharing with friends.
Firstly and most important are my sleep essentials, with one good sleeper and one light sleeper these are the items that helped both of them fall asleep without me:
1. Bassinet - A bassinet was a great option for us with a second baby in a small space as it allowed us to delay having a crib as long as possible. A bassinet let baby sleep near us for the first 4 months but was easy to move out of the way during the day. I also think a bassinet is a great option for a first baby in a small space to delay major decisions about cribs, or sleeping arrangements until everyone gets to know each other a bit better. Our beloved bassinet is the Monte Design Rockwell in white.
2. Mini Crib - I am a big fan of mini cribs for small spaces. Both kids have now slept in a mini crib; Theo until over 2 years old and Mae is currently in one at 16 months. Less bed and more space is always our priority and mini cribs help us get there. Our mini crib is discontinued but this Babyletto Origami is the replacement. I love that it fits regular pack n play sized sheets and mattresses and comes in a variety of colours (wish I got the white!) (more about mini cribs in this previous post)
3. A Few Good Swaddles - I think you need 3-4 muslin swaddles for a variety of uses including blanket, swaddle, sun shade, burp cloth, rolled up head rest, emergency nursing cover etc. And I would recommend only having 3-4 that you love the colour and pattern of so you don't have to think before grabbing one. A few of my favourites are Pehr Designs, Little Unicorn, Modern Burlap, Aden and Anais
4. Ergo Cocoon - I know these don't work for everyone but both my babies loved being zipped up in their ergo cocoon and I loved that the swaddle didn't come loose while the slept, inevitably waking them up. I had 2 so one could go in the wash and used them for both babies until about 8 months old.
5. Wubanub - while not the most beautiful of pacifiers both my babies loved them and I used them as comfort and sleep aids. Theo used one until 6 months when he gave it up on his own and Mae stopped at 15 months when we lost it. She spent a week upset until she eventually forgot. I know soothers are controversial for some people but for me they were a big help especially in those early sleepless months.
6. Stokke Tripp Trapp - for small spaces or any space the beautifully designed Stokke Tripp Trapp high chair is a classic for good reason. I bought mine second hand and have used it for both kids. Mae was in it with the baby set (plastic only, no cushions I had to clean) as soon as she could sit up. It compliments my dining table and chairs. I wish I had actually gotten two Tripp Trapps when Mae moved to the highchair instead of putting Theo in a regular dining chair but I couldn't get Trevor on board. While an investment piece they have great re-sale value. I couldn't imagine life without ours.
7. Travel Crib - I add this to my essentials list as we are travellers and travel with our babies. I wish I had bought a Baby Bjorn Travel Crib the first time around instead of waiting. I would love to hear if there is a comparable travel crib anyone prefers. I bought ours second hand, and consider it vital for travel and camping. I have also heard many stories of this being used successfully as a full-time crib in smaller spaces!
8. Stroller - I did a ton of research on strollers before landing on the Bugaboo Bee with a wheeled board and have found it to be the best choice for us city living folks. While it has a few design flaws, like I wish it would fold up smaller and it doesn't take curbs well. The pros outweigh the cons for me. I love that I could use it from day one without a bassinet and has grown with our kids. I love that both kids fit on it comfortably but it barely takes up more space than an umbrella stroller. For our age split and small space it is the perfect stroller. The only other stroller I heavily considered was the Babyzen Yoyo for it's smaller footprint and tighter fold. In the end I decided against it due to the need for the additional bassinet in the early months. But I still think it is a great city option and would consider it if I had to do decide again.
9. Nuna Leaf - I kept our Nuna Leaf after Theo outgrew it (lending it out until Mae was born to avoid storing it!) and loved it for a second time. Most importantly and unplanned the high weight limit was the best part of the this chair. Nothing can be off limits in our space especially for a 3 year old having trouble adjusting to his new sister. I know if we had a flimsier or fragile baby chair it would not have survived (and I would not have survived regulating that all day). I do think a baby chair is critical to put your baby down sometimes. I also think the Baby Bjorn Bouncer is a great lightweight option for small spaces.
10. Ring Sling - I used a ring sling for the first time with Mae and wish I had considered it with Theo. I loved so much about wearing her in the sling... she could see out more, fell asleep easily in it and seemed so happy to be worn. And the sling is light and small so it was easy to bring everywhere, just in case. I am a true convert and would recommend it highly. I had the Connexion Baby Ring Sling in white birch and I believe the code 600sqft still gives you 10% at this lovely Canadian Mama run shop. Friends have also loved My Wild Bird.
11. Ergo Baby Carrier - I consider an Ergo Baby carrier a necessity especially as your baby grows into a toddler. Baby wearing is so helpful, whether it's a quick run to a store where you want to keep baby contained without the bulk of a stroller, for travel or getting out in nature. I have only used the original ergo so I can't speak to the 360 but the original carrier has been critical and I still use it weekly with a larger 16 month old. And I have tried many other brands before settling on the Ergo.
12. Changing Mat - I simplified our in home and diaper bag changing set up to just a portable Gathre leather micro mat for each and a container of wipes. I hide the mat, wipes and diapers in a canvas bin in the living room for easy access and change baby on the couch or the floor. A second mat is folded up small in the diaper bag. The system works wonderfully for us and would highly recommend this simple space saving option. I never felt I was missing out on a change table and was happy to not store a larger change pad. The gathre mats look great over a year later and are easy to clean.
13. Diaper Cream - While not technically gear I have edited many of the care products for babies out of our home and cling to a few crucial choices that serve multiple purposes and wanted to share. The overachiever by k'pure naturals is an all natural diaper cream that can be used for many topical skin treatments. I've used it on dry skin, chapped lips, scrapes and the little jar lasts so long.
14. Nose Frida - I wouldn't have considered this an essential the first time around but second babies are constantly sick and being able to relieve some discomfort and help them breathe got this on the list (even as nauseating as the process is).
15. Baby Soap - I know soap seems odd to add but this Dr.Bronner's baby soap we use to wash bottles, our hands and anything touched by baby especially in those early months. You can water it down so the bottle lasts even longer. It's a real workhorse and all natural so you don't have to worry about it being safe for baby; you have enough to worry about.
16. Bottles - We went from having two cupboard shelves full of bottles with various sizes and nipples to having two ComoTomo bottles for the last year. I can't say enough about this bottle or how much Mae loves it and I loved the easy of cleaning and storing it. I always recommend it when friends are having trouble with their baby taking a bottle and preferring breast. The soft pliable design of the nipple and the body make it so unique, I never thought I would care this much about a bottle!
This post is completely my own opinions and is not sponsored in any way. I've added links for reference for most items. To add a few honourable mentions, I still swear by the Puj Tub Travel Tub for small apartment sinks and newborn bathing. And while I left it off the list, we used the Maxi Cosi Mico as our carseat for both kids and were really happy with it. I was also highly dependent on the My Brest Friend Pillow when nursing at home.
I also received a lot of questions about keeping newborn clothing and outerwear to a minimum for new babies so I'm going to do a separate post about that shortly. If you have other products you couldn't live without feel free to leave a note below!