Pregnancy & Baby / Spreadsheets

Minimalist Baby Registry Checklist & Spreadsheet: Essentials vs Wants 2024

Last Updated: December 28, 2023

Oh baby! After the excitement of first finding out you’re having a baby, you start thinking about all the stuff you’re going to need. And the things you have to do to prepare your life and home for another person. If you’re hoping to get by as a minimalist, spoiler alert: you wont! Any way you do it, adding another human to your household is going to add more stuff. But the good news is, you can create a minimalist baby registry and checklist for things you need. And be more mindful about the non-essential “wants” that you bring into your home.

So here’s my list of what you really need for a baby, what you might need, and what you might want to consider skipping. Plus, the spreadsheet I made when we had our first baby. To track what things we already had, what we still needed, what we registered for, and how much it all cost!

As a first-time parent it can be hard to know where to start. When I was pregnant and making my baby registry list, I kept finding lists online that bloggers had made before they had their baby. Or lists that recommended things like a crib, but skipped over the details, like mattress pads and crib sheets. So this list is all about essential baby stuff – that actually gets used! And of course everyone’s experience, preferences, and babies are different. So I’ve included a couple options for most of the baby items. The most budget-friendly option and also the upgrade or more future-proof item that I considered, found used, or splurged on.

Jump ahead to:

spreadsheet for minimalist baby registry checklist

Download the Minimalist Baby Registry Checklist Spreadsheet

Why a spreadsheet? I think of a baby registry as an outward-facing shared list for friends and family to know what to gift. And the checklist spreadsheet & baby budget is a private list for just you, making sure you have everything you need. The second trimester is a great time to work on your baby checklist and budget. Before you start buying baby stuff. Giving you a more realistic look at how much all this baby stuff is potentially going to cost, where you want to splurge or save, and how gifts and buying used can really help with the first few months of baby expenses. You can download the spreadsheet for a “Pay what you want” price.

The Best Minimalist Registry

There are a lot of options for baby registries! The best is still Amazon’s Universal registry option. You can add a product link from any other website as well. Plus, so many people use Amazon that it’s easy for people to use to send you gifts. Which, btw, is why you’re creating a registry. Plus, you get a sign up kit with some baby freebies and samples. And a 10% “completion” discount (15% off for Prime members) promo code to finish buying the rest of the items on your registry, closer to baby’s due date.

My second recommendation would be to also register at Target. The Target baby registry also gets you a nice sign up freebie kit, and a coupon code for later. So it’s worth it for that. And you don’t have to make both registries public. I used my Amazon registry as the one we shared with friends and family. And I kept the Target one private, with just a few items!

What’s in the Baby Registry Welcome Boxes?

While the welcome box items are always changing slightly, you can expect about $20-35 worth of baby products, samples, and coupons. Great for taking care of those small products on your list! For example: baby diaper rash cream, wipes samples (great for diaper bags!) and diaper samples, baby soap, onesies, socks, bottles, boob pads, milk storage bags etc.

Minimalist Design vs Lifestyle

One of the interesting thing about a minimalist baby registry is that there are kind of two interpretations of what minimalist means. There’s the design aesthetic of minimalism which is more a Danish design, light wood and white colors and modern look and feel. And then there’s a minimalist lifestyle – living with less, a “practical” minimalism. Buying less, reusing and having baby stuff serve more than one purpose. Sharing, buying used, or using something you already have, even if it’s not the latest and greatest.

So this Minimalist Baby registry checklist is kind of a merging of the two ideas. Trying to weed out the things you don’t need, so you’re left with the essentials for the first few months of baby’s life. But with budget in mind and reducing waste. Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist are your best bets for buying second hand and local “Buy Nothing” groups.

Minimalist Newborn Essentials Checklist

Think of this post as a newborn baby shopping list with pictures! There are four main priorities a new baby needs: to be rested, fed, clean, and happy. That’s what a new parent needs too, but you’re going to have to skip the first one for a bit!

All you really need when you come home from the hospital is a bed a boob or a bottle and some diapers – that pretty much sums it up from a minimalist perspective. Of course, as you know, you will need more than just that to keep yourself and your baby comfortable and happy as you start your new life as a little family.

The first few weeks are the newest and biggest adjustment. And while you do want to start out prepared with some supplies you really don’t need as many supplies as some people or stores will have you believe. You are usually a 2-day shipping away from anything on Amazon and with most Targets and big-box stores – a quick drive away from anything you could ever possibly need for your baby. That said, you also want to be comfortable and then there’s a certain security of knowing you have things lined up and ready in anticipation of your new baby.

Any way you go about it, you’re still going to be up at 3am at some point googling: “why does my baby…”, “ok for a 3 month old to…”, “rash 2 month old belly…” etc.

Baby Sleep Essentials

The first thing you need to think about is where the baby’s going to sleep! Here are all our favorite baby sleep essentials for those newborn days and beyond! First up, deciding on a crib vs bassinet.

baby sleep essentials: minimalist baby registry checklist

1. Bassinet (Optional)

A bassinet is optional, but great for the first few months of newborn life. But by about 4 months, many babies are starting to roll over. Then it’s time to make the switch to a crib! So some families skip a bassinet. The most basic version of a bassinet is a pack n play. This serves a dual purpose of having a more portable travel crib or living room playard later.

2. Crib

Most modern cribs are convertible from 2+ mattress positions and with a rail off for a toddler bed later.

ikea crib
IKEA SNIGLAR Crib: $79. Affordable and high quality.
babyletto mod baby crib
Babyletto Hudson 3-1 Crib: $399. A great item to find used!

3. Crib mattress

Cribs don’t come with mattresses. So this is an extra thing you’ll need. You can generally find a mattress in the $80-100 range. And this one really depends on your priorities of budget, organic etc.

4. Crib mattress pad protector: Buy 2

You’ll want at least two mattress pads for if you have to change the sheets in the night!

5. Crib sheets: Buy 2-3

Get at least 2-3 fitted crib sheets. You don’t want to be doing laundry at night if you need to change sheets. Same with bassinet if you go that route, get 2 bassinet sheets.

cloud island crib sheets
Cloud Island Fitted Crib Sheets: $10. The Cloud Island $10 sheets are still our favorite sheets!
crib sheet muslin
Aden + Anais Muslin Crib Sheet: $19. These are great and stretchy so we used it with our travel crib instead of buying exact fit (once he was a bit older, and no risk for getting tangled), and still use it in our travel tent peapod!

6. White noise device or app

You probably have an old iPhone or iPad laying around that you can use with a White Noise app. Another option is the Hatch Rest which is a night light and white noise in one.

white noise baby
Free White noise app with old iPhone or iPad: Free. We just used an iPhone for white noise in the newborn days.
Hatch baby night light
Hatch Rest White Noise and Night Light, controllable via an app: $60. We ended up getting the Hatch Rest around the 3 year old sleep regression time. It’s a great light to help toddlers visualize as an “ok to wake” clock. “When the light is green, you can get up!” So in hindsight we would have loved this for his newborn days too, but an iphone app works too!

7. Swaddling blankets & sleep sacks

Did you know babies startle themselves awake? Enter, swaddles and sleep sack! At the hospital they will show you have to swaddle your baby with a swaddle blanket. Don’t worry, you’ll have to look it up on youtube later anyway. The aden + anais muslin swaddle blankets are amazing and popular for a reason. Then, as they get too big for swaddle blankets and start to wriggle out, the fleece swaddle sleep sacks and wearable blankets are great.

muslin swaddle
aden + anais muslin swaddle blankets 4 pack – $38. These were my most-used item! Use for swaddling, covering the carseat in cold, for naps, burp clothes, cleanup, as an extra wrap around baby carrier, on the floor for play etc. They’re worth the hype!
fleece sleep sack
Halo Adjustable fleece sleep sack: $25. As they get older, the 3-way adjustable velcro swaddle is great too transition them to sleeping with their arms out.
wearable blanket sleep sack
Halo wearable blanket sleep sack: $25. The vest style wearable blanket keeps them warm at night since they don’t use blankets yet. Halo also makes muslin swaddle blankets if you live in a warmer climate.

8. Black out shades or curtains

Just like white noise, having a dark place to sleep is one of the ingredients for happy baby sleep. You can use cellular blinds or blackout curtains, or both!

9. Baby monitor – audio or video

While not essential, baby monitors are reassuring as a first time parent! A security camera works great for this. Or you can go the more old school route of an audio monitor. Or the most old school route of listening.

Sleep Items: Nice to Haves

night light baby
Night light for night-time feeding and diaper changes: $17. The Hatch rest (mentioned above) or owl light from IKEA and put a dark cloth over it to make it less bright for night time feeding and diaper changes.
glider newborn rocker
Glider chair: $150. A rocking chair is not essential, but many parents find them useful.

Sleep Items You Don’t Need

Pillow or blankets until age one, crib bumpers, baby crib mobile, or a wildly expensive sleep devices like the $300 Owlet smart sock or the $1,500 Snoo bassinet that you will use 4 months.

Baby Feeding Essentials

baby feeding essentials for minimalist baby registry

Here are some breastfeeding essentials that you may or may not need. Don’t spend too much time planning or pre-buying this stuff!

Before you have a baby, you might have some ideas of what you want. But the truth is, you don’t know how it’s going to go until your baby arrives. Fed is best! So when it comes to feeding essentials, it can be hard to know what you’ll need. You may just need your boobs and that’s it. You might be trying to pump more to stock up freezer milk for returning to work and childcare. You might be pumping to exclusively bottle feed breastmilk. You might be formula feeding with bottles. Or some combination.

1. Breast pump

Insurance companies are now required to provide breast pumps after birth. So contact your insurance to find out when and where you will pick it up, and also what kind. You might also want a manual hand pump.

free breast pump insurance
Insurance-provided breast pump: Free (Ask your insurance provider)

2. Breastfeeding pillow

A breastfeeding pillow helps take the pressure off your shoulders and back while baby nurses. You could of course use any pillow, but the shape is great for baby to lay on.

boppy breastfeeding pillow
Boppy Breastfeeding Pillow: $30. My favorite. You can also use the Boppy as a play support as they get older for tummy time, sitting up, and lounging.
boppy with cover
Boppy pillow with cover: $40 or Cover only: $10. Easier to clean.

3. Boob pads and nipple cream

After your milk supply comes in, your boobs will be leaking milk! And you’ll need to wear boob pads in your bra. And wear a bra to bed! I recommend starting with disposable ones and then moving to washable. The material is soft which felt better than the crinkle of disposable ones. By a few months in I was able to switch to the washable ones.

disposable nursing pads
Disposable nursing pads: $4-22. Start with these.
washable nursing pads
Washable nursing boob pads: After your supply evens out, try washable ones.
nipple cream
Nipple cream: $7. At some point you will need this!

4. Pacifiers

Some babies like pacifiers (dummies, paci, whatever you want to call it), some don’t. But almost all parents are desperate enough at some point in the first year to give it a try! So it’s worth having one on hand (and you might get one in your baby registry welcome box!).

baby pacifiers newborn 3 months
Philips Avent Soothies 0-3 Months Pack: $4. The Philips Avent soothies are best for the first few months. These are the ones many hospitals use. Try them out at around 1 month, they say, after breastfeeding established.
stuffed animal pacifier
WubbaNub Stuffed Animal pacifier: $18. These are a little spendier, but great for keeping track of. And the little bit of weight, helps keep it on your baby and not dropping on the floor constantly. And there are tons of cute animals to choose from.

Breastfeeding Items: Nice to Haves That You May or May Not Need

Here are the items you may or may not need depending on your situation. So unless someone has gifted you one of these, I would recommend waiting to see if you need it and then go get exactly what you need as the problem or need arises.

Boon bottle drying rack baby
Boon Bottle Drying Rack: These drying racks are great if you’re doing a lot of pumping and parts washing.
baby burp clothes - use prefold cloth diapers
Burp Cloths: Prefold cloth diapers are cheaper and more absorbent than most burp rags. Plus, some babies spit up more than others.
newborn bottles or sets
Newborn Bottles: This is another wait and see item. Your insurance-provided breast pump may come with bottles, and some registry welcome kits also include one.
breastmilk storage bags
Breastmilk storage bags 50 ct: $5. You may not need these if your supply is low or you’re not returning to work right away.
nursing bras
Nursing bras: $17. Depending on preference and how big your boobs are, you may or may not like nursing bras! I preferred soft, seamless racerback low impact bras. Just lifting up the bottom of the shirt was easier. Either way, you’ll want more bras since you wear them at night too.
milk supply boosting - mother's milk tea
Milk supply boosting items, Lactation help: As your milk supply is coming in, in the first couple weeks, and your body is adjusting, it can’t hurt to try lactation items like Mother’s Milk herbal tea, lactation cookies, and some supplements etc.

Baby Feeding Items You Don’t Need Right Away (but are nice to register – for gifting!)

You won’t need this items right away, but if you need more items on your registry for gifting, these are great feeding items you’ll need later as they start solids and eating with the family. Things like highchairs, spoons, sippy cups, bibs etc.

chair high chair
Fisher Price Space Saver High Chair: Infant to Toddler Dining chair – $55. With the reclining feature with buckles, your baby can use it at a few months old.
silicone bibs
Modern Twist Silicone Bibs: $14. There are a lot of companies making silicone (or silicone-ish) bibs now, but Modern Twist is one of the originals and their quality is amazing.

Baby Feeding Items You Don’t Need

Your mileage may vary, but we found you don’t need the following: nursing coverups (some women prefer to be more covered while baby nurses, some don’t), nursing shirts (I just wore regular or maternity clothes!), pumping bra (cut holes in an old tight tank top, this holds it tightly against your body and is nice and comfy and easy to wash), $500 wearable breast pump (until you do need it!) If you’re planning to exclusively breast feed and aren’t returning to work immediately, you’re not going to need this. Yes, it’s super cool, but most can do with the insurance provided pump. $400 Norwegian highchair that turns into a chair your kid can take to college.

Baby Hygiene Essentials – Diapers, Bathing, Health & Safety

Baby Hygiene Essentials - Diapering, Bathing, Health for minimalist baby registry checklist

1. Diapers

Starting with diapering essentials, it can be hard to calculate how many diapers you will need. First, you won’t know how big your baby is until they’re born. Second, you don’t know how fast they’ll grow, after that. So have your bases covered with some diapers but don’t go overboard. Target is a quick trip and Amazon is 2 day shipping away.

How many diapers do you need? Plan for about 10 diapers per day for the first few months of newborn life.* So if your baby is doing a week of newborn diapers, and then switching to size 1. That would be 70 Size N and 210 Size 1 diapers, and 9 packs of wipes for the first month!

little snugglers huggies diapers newborn
Newborn Size Diapers – Huggies Little Snugglers are gentle and soft for infants! Buy a small pack of newborn size, some big babies skip straight to Size 1. And they’re easy to go buy more of the correct size, as needed!
honest diapers bundle box sale
Size 1 Diapers – Most babies are in Size 1 diapers from about 8-12 pounds! And then Size 2 Diapers from about 12-16 pounds. The Honest Co diaper brand offers diaper and wipe bundles, where you get 7 packs (175 Size 1 diapers), and 4 packs of wipes (72 wipes per pack).

Most people recommend to just start out with disposable even if you plan to do cloth diapers later. The first couple weeks of newborn life are pretty messy and continual diapers.

2. Wipes

You’ll go through a lot of wipes in the first three months! Plan that a newborn uses about 10 diapers a day, thats 300 diapers per month. And if you’re using an average of 3 wipes per diaper, that’s 900 wipes per month! Thankfully, babies start to slow down on the diaper train after a few months and then you’ll just be using about a pack per week!

water wipes for newborn sensitive skin
Water Wipes pack: $12 for a 4 pack. Water wipes are very gentle wipes for infants, who have extremely sensitive skin.
costco baby wipes
Costco Wipes: These wipes are a great deal and great for sensitive skin.

3. Changing Pad & Covers

changing pad
Summer Infant Changing Pad: $20 The best basic mat!
changing pad cover
Aden + Anais Changing Pad Cover: $16. Lots of cute options from Target’s Cloud Island as well. These are nice as a nursery decoration, but not super practical for actual using.
waterproof changing pad liners
Bamboo Waterproof Changing Pad Liners: $15. These liner are all we used on the changing pad after the first couple months of wasting time with the covers.

4. Diaper Pail or Trash Can

The main difference between a diaper pail and a regular garbage can, is that the diaper pail has a layer that locks away the odor, or tries to anyway. Or you can buy a modern looking simplehuman 1.5 gallon step trash can with lid and liner bin to use as your diaper pail! You’re going to be emptying your smelly diaper garbage frequently anyway in the first year. So you may as well have a small and usable can!

diaper pail vs trash can - simplehuman 1.5 gallon step can
Simplehuman 1.6 Gallon Step Trash Can: $35 Use it for diapers now, and a regular trashcan in a couple years!
diaper pail
Ubbi Steel Diaper Pail: $70 The most popular current diaper pail. At least it doesn’t require special garbage bags like most.

5. Diaper Caddy Essentials

We used a dresser drawer organizer, filled with diaper changing essentials. Then restock as needed! It perfectly fit diapers, wipes, rash cream, and hand sanitizer and any other little things.

diaper caddy essentials
IKEA SKUBB Drawer organizer 11″x5.5″: $5 for set of 6. Use the rest to organize baby clothes! This small box was perfect for diaper changing essentials!
natural diaper rash cream
Baby Diaper Rash cream: $7-9. Honest Co, Boudreaux Butt Paste, and Desitin are all go-tos.
baby safe hand sanitizer
Baby-safe hand sanitizer: 1-3 pack. This was great to keep handy for upstairs diaper changes. Also great to keep close for visitors.

Diapering Items You Don’t Need

Things you don’t need: a diaper cream application tool (use your fingers, then wash your hands), diaper pail (use a small garbage can w/lid), changing table (use a dresser that will be usable for years to come!) or a changing pad right on the floor, wipe warmer (depends where you live & if you have a winter baby. You can also just warm a wipe with your hands or chest first), diaper caddy cart (use a small organization bin).

6. Baby Bathing Essentials – Tub vs sink

Depending on your home, a baby tub might be optional or an essential baby bath item for you. We had a very deep claw foot tub in our bathroom. So we got a little whale tub and just set it in the bathtub for bath time. It was much easier to reach baby and keep him stable and also nice to not have to clean the tub out every time he needed a bath. And trust me when you’re a tired parent, you’ll be glad you have a baby tub and aren’t cleaning out the tub or sink, yep leave it full of dirty dishes – thats what baby tubs are for. You can still do a sink bath and take adorable pictures a few times, but it just wasn’t an easy option for us!

baby whale tub
Skip Hop Whale Baby Tub: $30. You can set this tub in a kitchen sink (with support!) or the floor of a bathtub or use as a shower baby tub. Works great for infant to a bit older when they can sit solo easier in a regular tub. Fisher Price used to make a similar tub for about $20.
washable bath mat
Non-slip washable bath mat: $13. Depending on your bathtub, this might be an essential or optional item. With a deep clawfoot porcelain tub, we quickly realized it was pretty difficult for bathing a baby in. This mat has been wonderful!

7. Baby Towels and washcloths

hooded baby towel
Carters Hooded baby towel: $13. Carter’s still has the best hooded baby towels. Just buy one! With the hood, these are great for keeping baby happy fresh out of the bath, in colder climates. You can of course, use a regular towel, but they’re pretty adorable and way easier to hold onto a wriggly baby than a large bath towel.
baby washclothes
Cloud Island Target baby washcloths: $5. I liked having a smaller thinner baby washcloth for easier cleaning. These are cheap and you’ll use them for at least 6 years! You can of course use regular ones, if you prefer!

8. Soap & Lotion

honest baby soap
Honest Co Baby Wash and Shampoo: $9. This quickly became our favorite baby and grown up body wash!
baby lotion
Aveeno Baby Lotion for sensitive skin: $9. Honest Co., Aveeno, and California Baby all make some mild baby lotions, which are great for post-bath moisturizing.

Bath Items You may or May Not Need:

tub drain cover for baby
Baby Bath Drain Cover OXO Tot: $9. Your bathtub might be ready to go for baby and toddler baths. We have a clawfoot tub, and the drain plug was sharp area. So this was a great and easy replacement for baby bathtime!
baby faucet spout cover
Skip Hop Faucet Spout Cover: $13. Again, depending on your bathtub setup, you might not need this. With an old and very deep clawfoot tub with sharp metal faucets this was an essential after baby was mobile.

9. Baby Healthy & Safety Essentials

baby nail clippers and file
Baby Nail Clippers & File: $6. Some people find the clippers to be easier, and some like to use the file on baby nails for the first months. Either way, these are simple and great. Skip the lighted variety if you want to trim baby’s nails while they sleep!
baby thermometer
Baby Forehead Thermometer: $18. We had a regular thermometer at home, so if advised by the pediatrician we could check rectal temp. But this forehead one was great to have on hand for quick checks!
baby nasal aspirator bulb
Bulb Syringe nasal aspirator: $3. Take the one from your hospital room (yep, you’re paying for it either way). Some friends like the Nose Frida as well. We barely used the bulb variety, so never tried the Frida.

Baby Health & Safety You May or May Not Need:

You may or may not need these items in the first three months: comb, humidifier (you don’t need it until/if you do. We used one a few times when it was dry and winter and our baby had a cough), baby Tylenol (get a small infant one in case you need it or if you live in a big city, you can just buy if you need it), Nose Frida or Frida anything (some people love this product line. I never had the need of the extra expense, but you do you!), Boogy Wipes (tissues, washcloths, and lotion worked as needed). So many baby items in the health area fall under the category of “if you need it, then go do a Target drive up order and give them a try”.

Things you don’t need: Gripe water and cough syrup. Pediatricians don’t recommend using these. And they’re not proven to help, so typically I think parents just feel like they need to be doing something. It’s hard to feel helpless when your baby is upset.

Baby Transportation Essentials: On-the-Go!

Most families, with a newborn, stick close to home for the first couple of months! But that doesn’t mean you’re not on the go! Here’s everything you need and some optional things that might be useful, depending on your situation. For more on traveling with baby, check out my post on the best baby travel gear.

On the go baby essentials: strollers, car seats, baby wearing and diaper bag essentials

1. Infant Car Seat vs Convertible Car Seat

Your baby will use an infant car seat for about one year (give or take depending on their size). Yes, many all-in-one type convertible car seats come with infant inserts, but there really is a huge convenience factor of being able to take the car seat on the go, with baby still asleep! Don’t wake that baby!

chicco keyfit infant car seat
Chicco Keyfit 30 Infant Car Seat: $180. 9.2 pounds without the base. Convenient to leave base in car and just click car seat in.
diono radian carseat infant
Diono Radian 4 in 1 Carseat: $259. Another option is just one carseat, but this stays in the car! This “convertible” carseat can be for newborns with extra padding in the first year, still rear facing but without infant insert until 2 years old, forward facing, and then ultimately a booster seat.

The best infant car seat is the Chicco Keyfit 30 and the very similar Graco SnugRide 35. Both are priced around $150-180. These are popular for a reason, they’re budget-friendly, safe, and you can get additional carseat bases, if you regularly use more than one car. They are also pretty heavy, almost 10 pounds (without the base), add in a 10 pound baby and that’s 20 pounds to lug around. But most parents will agree it’s worth the convenience vs a convertible car seat. To price it out, buy a $180 infant seat that you use over 12 months, is $15/mo. And if you’re planning to have more than one child, you’ll get more use out of it. Most car seats don’t expire or at least 6 years, so some families also pass on to friends or family while they’re waiting.

You could instead get a Nuna brand carseat for a few pounds lighter, but at $400, it just doesn’t seem worth the 4 fewer pounds! You can also get a carseat caddy “stroller” that makes transporting your carseat a bit easier. Great for if you’ve had a c-section and can’t lift much for awhile.

You can then expect to spend about $200 on a toddler carseat later, that will last them the rest of their carseat and booster seat years, like the Radian RXT All-in-One Convertible Car Seat.

2. Stroller

You likely don’t need a stroller immediately. For the first few months baby can’t go in the stroller unsupported anyway, unless you’re hooking the carseat into an adapter. But it’s still a great item to register for. Especially for the few people who want to buy you a big significant gift. If you’re going for a jogger, they’re usually in the $300-500 range, so keep an eye on price changes and sales!

bob jogging stroller
BOB Revolution Jogging Stroller: $380. Worth the splurge, this stroller is a go anywhere stroller and is built to last. Also check for used ones, but has great resell value, otherwise!
stroller carseat attachment
Jogging Stroller Car Seat Adapter: $70. If you want to use your carseat in the stroller for the first few months, this adapter is needed. We skipped this and just waited a few months to use the stroller! We did babywearing until he was old enough for the stroller!

The best stroller for your family really depends on your lifestyle. So consider your use-cases before assuming you need a BOB jogger or a swankier “city” stroller. We did babywearing until 3 months and then switched to the BOB stroller. We live in a pretty rainy city, so for us the BOB was great for uneven sidewalks and slick leaves. A city stroller like the City Select or UPPA wouldn’t have worked well in our neighborhood. But was great for a friend in sunny weather.

If you have a C-Section and/or will be solo for first few weeks, a popup stroller caddy is great just to get to your car when you’re not supposed to be lifting things!

3. Baby carrier / baby wearing

Babywearing was a sanity-saver for me in the first year of being a new mom! I could get things done hands-free while baby napped. It was an easier way for me to soothe the baby when he was crabby, he could snuggle in close without my arms killing me from pacing a baby around the living room. And it let me get out on neighborhood walks or even in the grocery store, without pushing a giant stroller around. We 100% recommend getting a carrier!

lille baby carrier
Lillebaby Complete Baby Carrier: $100. Best all in one carrier! Used from a few months old all the way to age 2.5 (for hikes)! Note: if you live somewhere warm, you might want a mesh or breathable carrier. Ergo and Tula also have great carriers.
baby bjorn carrier
Baby Bjorn – $80. Best for the first few months of baby wearing when they feel too tiny for a big carrier. And easier for first time parents to figure out than a wrap!

There are a ton of options for babywearing. You can get a baby carrier, sling, wrap and more. We received quite a few hand-me-downs in this category, and felt like we tried them all. We used the Baby K’tan wrap and Baby Bjorn for a few weeks, but they grow so fast, that he quickly outgrew them. By about 3 months all we used was the Lillebaby Complete. Lillebaby are great for infants and babies. Getting a carrier with a newborn insert is great so you’re not using 3 different baby wearing devices.

4. Newborn Diaper Bag Essentials

You don’t actually need a baby brand “diaper bag”. I found them to be enormous. So I used a comfy and lightweight backpack that fit all the essentials with room to spare!

patagonia diaper bag
Diaper Bag Backpack: Any bag you already have and like will work. This Patagonia Tote has been our go-to for a few years now! You can usually find the previous year’s colors on sale in the $50-60 range!
on the go wipes case
OXO Tot On the Go wipes & diaper case: $20. You can fit a few diapers, wipes, and a ziploc bag in this. Great for your diaper bag and travel!
portable changing pad
Portable (and wipeable!) changing pad: $9. Great for on-the-go diaper changes. And to set on public changing pads or even outside on the ground.
wet dry bag
Wet and dry bag: $10. Bumpkins is a great brand for these, but you can find great wet/dry bags in most baby departments at Target etc. I always stocked mine with a large 6qt ziploc bag, and a spare baby outfit!

On-the-Go Items You May or May Not Need

The following are nice to have, depending on your needs. Car seat mirror: I loved the peace of mind as a first-time parent to be able to see my baby in the rear view mirror! Things You Don’t Need: Baby hiking carrier (most families can manage fine with a regular babywearing carrier. Wait til you actually think you’d use one, to get one!), stretchy carseat cover (use a muslin blanket draped over instead!).

Newborn Essential Clothing: The First 3-9 Months

Newborn and infant clothes is another category that can be hard to plan ahead for. You will also likely receive gifts of baby clothes. So for baby clothes try to wait until the last couple months before baby’s arrival to fill in the gaps.

Another tricky thing about planning baby clothes is that for those of us that live somewhere with seasons, it’s hard to know what season they’ll be in what size – beyond a rough guess. So don’t plan too far in advance! So here’s a newborn essential clothing checklist of the basics.

newborn essential clothing for a minimalist baby registry checklist

Note on Newborn sizes: Most babies can fit into newborn clothes for what feels like 3 days. Limit your newborn size purchases, and make sure most of your items are size 3+ month.

1. Sleepers or one-piece jammies

Sleepers or onesie jammies are great for nighttime (and day, depending on your baby). And kiddos wear one-piece PJs for the first 2 years. Tip: buy ZIP-UP sleepers, not snaps!

one piece sleeper pjs
One-piece sleepers: Sleeper sets are a bit more affordable. Depending on your babes preference, you might need a lot of these or just a few.
hanna andersson christmas jammies trees
Hanna Andersson Sleeper: Hanna A has lots of cute holiday jammies.

2. Bodysuits – long sleeve, short sleeve, and side-snap

Bodysuits or onesies (same thing when it comes to babies) are items you’ll likely get gifted! If you can, hold off toward the end of your pregnancy for most of your baby clothes purchases! Bodysuit sets are great ways to save money, and also get colors in a similar color pattern. Live in a hot climate? Sleeveless onesies are the cutest thing ever!

baby long sleeve bodsuits
Longsleeve bodysuits: $15. Long sleeve bodysuit sets (Carters, Carters Just One You @ Target, Cat & Jack etc) A pack in every other size in range 3M, 9M. Other than the basic bodysuit sets, it’s nice to get a couple more unique ones like these henleys.
short sleeve bodysuits baby
Short sleeve bodysuits: $10. Great for warmer weather or layering. Getting sets in every other size range 6m, 12m etc. depending on your seasons of course. Long sleeve onesies most newborns can wear year-round though.
side snap kimono bodysuits
Side-snap Onesies (Wrapover Bodysuits): Size nb or 3 month. These kimono style bodysuits are amazing for the first couple weeks when belly button area is sensitive on newborns (from their stump healing).
mitten cuff onesies baby
Mitten-Cuff Onesies: $8. Great for newborns, with a cuff that flips over to cover their hands.

3. Pants

Yes, even if you have a summer baby, you’ll need baby pants and long sleeve items (even if just at night or taking into an air conditioned space). Remember: baby’s usually need one more layer than us!

baby wiggle pants
Hanna Andersson Wiggle Pants: Some of our favorite baby pants! Wait for the Hanna A sales, to get them at a discount.
baby leggings pant sets
Baby pants sets: Save on pants sets! Great for putting over onesies to complete baby’s outfit. Target, Carters etc.

4. Hoodies or Jackets

We only needed a couple baby hoodies. Baby was mainly wearing these out and not around the house.

baby bear hoodie with ears
Hanna Andersson Baby Bear Hoodie: As usual, wait for the sales. These hoodies are great for layering and the hood is actually a size that a baby can actually use.
baby layering set
Carters Layering Set: Not super warm, but good for some seasons!

5. Hats, Socks, and Booties

Baby accessories are pretty darn cute. What you’ll need depends on the weather where you live.

best baby socks - hanna andersson best ever first socks
Hanna Andersson Best Ever First Socks: $2-8 for 2-pack. Perfect thick socks to keep a winter baby happy! They stay on baby feet and are soft terry material inside. There’s always some colors on sale so plan ahead. You can get sale sets for $2!
baby fleece booties similar to zutanos luvable friends
Luvable Friends Fleece Booties: $10. We used these as “shoes” for going out and baby wearing. They’re similar to the Zutano booties.
patagonia baby fleece hat
Patagonia Fleece baby hat: $15-35. We used the tiny baby hat provided from the hospital for the first month or so. Then we got our baby this fleece-lined baby beanie for winter.
baby drool bib
Baby Drool Bib Bandana/ Handkerchief set: $12 for an 8 pack. Great for when they start teething and drooling on everything.

Baby Clothes You May or May Not Need:

We needed early walkers baby shoes for 9-12 months, since our little one was doing cold weather crawling and cruising. We didn’t need “baby legs” leg warmers for easier diaper changes, baby hangers (cute, but not really used beyond showcasing your adorable nursery).

Day Time Distraction Essentials

When you have a newborn, it often is hard to distinguish day from night. You’re still doing feeding, diaper changes, and soothing your baby. But I guess during the real life daytime you also drink coffee and it’s light outside. There’s your clue. So this category is things to make that part of life easier. Day time play time, happy baby entertainment, hands-free distraction and more.

Baby Play Essentials for minimalist baby registry checklist

1. Hands-Free Baby Devices

You’ve probably heard it, baby’s should spend most of their time not in baby holding devices. And yes, they should be free to move. But baby devices are a tool to use, so don’t make yourself feel guilty for needing a shower. Recent guidance has changed to recommend babies not nap in devices like a swing or bouncer, but instead a flat safe surface like their crib or bassinet. However, most babies have spent some day time sleep in a bouncer, lounger, mamaroo, rocker, swing etc.

These items are popular because it gives you a short break and gives your baby a safe[r] place to lounge and you some rest in that they’re sleeping! In my opinion, a sleep deprived parent is more danger to a child than a baby bouncer. Provided you aren’t using it for super long stretches of time or putting them in and just leaving the room. Here are some great bouncers in different price ranges. The hard part is you don’t know what your baby is going to like or not. If you can borrow from someone who’s child has outgrown it, that is ideal.

fisher price baby bouncer - new version of rock n play
Fisher Price Baby Bouncer: $36. One of the most budget-friendly baby bouncers or rockers. This is like the updated version of the recalled Rock’n’Play. Baby can be buckled in and distracted for a short period of time.
baby bjorn bouncer
BabyBjorn Baby Bouncer: $200. This bouncer is a crowd favorite. It also comes with a steeper price, but can be found used and has a better resale ability than the Fisher Price.
mamaroo bouncer
4Moms Mamaroo Bouncer: $240. These things are the deluxe version of a bouncer swing etc. It does all the things. We tried it at a friends and our baby flipped out! Some babies love it, some don’t.

2. Tummy Time & Play Center Activity Mat

After the first couple months of newborn grub behavior, they start to wake up and be more exciting during the daytime. Which is fun, but also will leave you wondering how to entertain a baby all day! And a tummy time mat, activity center, or baby gym is a great distraction and learning tool for your baby.

Something to consider about baby play mats is that they have terrible design sense. Baby’s like high contrast and wild colors. Yeah they might pretend to be interested in your wooden and white baby gym and play mat, but that’s because they haven’t seen the baby next door’s horrifically ugly play mat. Well, we went the garish route and had the most hilarious time watching our baby entertain himself. It also made tummy time so much easier! At about 4 months babies love to kick, so piano gyms are pretty hilarious.

baby gym ikea
IKEA Baby Gym: $30. This baby gym is nicely priced. Not as useful for tummy time though or any musical distraction.
baby kick and play piano gym baby einstein activity mat
Baby Einstein 4-in-1 Activity Mat: $48. This just might be the best combo of 3 different baby activity stations. It’s a tummy time mat, baby gym, and kick piano.

Aden + Anais Dream Blanket – these blankets are great for as baby starts to roll and crawl – to give them a space to do that, depending on your house. It also makes a great crib blanket after the first 18 months.

3. Teething Toys

At a certain age, every toy and object your baby gets its hands on is a teething toy. So make sure you do have something safe for them to chew on for 10 hours straight.

baby banana teether toy
Banana Teether Toothbrush: $7. The best budget teether. It’s not only hilarious, but also works as a baby toothbrush for the first year and gets them used to it. Our baby was obsessed with this thing.
sophie the giraffe teether
Sophie Giraffe Teether Toy: $22. This might just be the most expensive teether. But babies are so into this thing, it’s like their bff and a teether.

4. Baby Toys & Books

You’ll likely be gifted a ridiculous amount of toys. Some more useful than others. We mostly waited to see what things baby would be interested in next versus buying toys way ahead of time. In the first few months they love: high contrast cards, books, and rattles. If you purchase an activity mat, like the one above, the individual pieces that are removable will likely be some of your baby’s favorite toys. Another option is to go the route of a baby subscription box. Check out my comparison of Lovevery vs Kiwico Panda Crate here.

indestructible baby book rip proof
Indestructibles Baby Books: $6. These tiny books are so great for little ones. They are truly indestructible. Babies love them and feel very important to hold them.
taggie blanket crinkle toy
Taggies Crinkle Blanket: $10. Taggie blankets are such a great invention. Keeps baby curious and entertained for so long. Great for on-the-go as well – like to a restaurant!
jittery monkey type stroller toy
Skip Hop Jittery Stroller Car Seat Toy: $8. Great for hanging on stroller or carseat handle, when baby needs some distraction. They pull it and it then jitters back into place.

Every couple weeks or months, your baby will enter a new stage of development – mentally and physically. It’s really fun to experience, and you’ll have very clear ideas for toys that your baby will love, based on what they’re currently interested in doing. Like a Jumperoo around 6 months, or a push cart walker wagon around 10 months.

Postpartum Essentials & Misc:

The last piece of your baby checklist? A few postpartum essentials for the parents.

nursing water bottle
Water Bottle with a Straw!: When you’re breastfeeding and post-partum, you are constantly thirsty! Take the handled plastic water bottle from your hospital room. It was my favorite for the first couple months.
breastfeeding snacks
ALL THE SNACKS! Start buying your snacks in bulk and stashing them around the house. The best tip I received? Make or buy muffins shortly before your due date and freeze them. Wrap individually. Then it’s easy to grab one and microwave it. And it gives your partner an easy way to help you with food! WOW A++
meal train postpartum
Meal Train: Ask a close friend to organize this for you! You can also ask for it to start a few weeks or a month in, to still give you time for family-only nesting time, and not have all your friends coming over. Because that’s half the deal! People who love you provide you food as the price to see you and your new baby! Ha!
baby tracker app - Glow baby
Glow Baby Tracker App: Glow Free version. I am one of those people that loved having an app for all this baby stuff. It really helped to not have to try to remember things. Instead I just knew – when I fed the baby last, and what side. How long he slept etc. It really helped in my sleep deprived state to not have to feel like I was forgetting things. It also helped us see some trending sleep patterns we wouldn’t have noticed. That said, some friends found app recording stressful, so do what works for you. I also found it useful to share the “emotional labor” burden of baby knowledge with my partner. Even though I was doing all the breastfeeding, he could be up on the diaper changes, and sleep info.
extra long phone charger cable
Extra Long phone charger cable: Your baby will fall asleep on you at the most inopportune times, like when your phone is at 1% and you can’t reach the charger.
comfy lounging pants
Comfy house lounge pants – sized way up! I still wore my maternity stuff for the “4th trimester”, but also bought a new pair of extra big lounge pants, that were comfortable for nursing and hanging out at home with baby.
body oil postpartum and stretch marks
L’Occitane Almond Supple Skin Oil: this was a nice treat a few times a week to feel like a real live human! I used it some during pregnancy as well. And it just makes you feel good. Important to have some special pampering things postpartum, whatever that is to you – lotion, a candle, wine? a nap? ;) etc that helps you feel a little less tired.
baby books wonder weeks
For development explanations, I loved The Wonder Weeks. Note: this book is not a definitive guide to your child by week, as some make it to be! It goes through 10 different stages or “Leaps”. The leaps are from 5 weeks old to 75 weeks old (that’s about 1.5 years old). As a first-time parent, I loved it for the ideas and explanations of “random” behavior. Just don’t confuse it with actual milestones and you’ll be good.
the happy sleeper baby sleep book
While there’s an overload of information coming to new parents, the baby parenting books I would recommend for sleep are. The Happiest Baby on the Block (at least read the Cliffs Notes: it’s all about the 5 S’s: swaddling, side/stomach, shushing, swinging, sucking.) And then The Happy Sleeper is full of great info as they progress through different sleep patterns.

New Parent Support Group, breastfeeding support group, social check-ins etc. Having a baby is super isolating! And wonderful. Both can be true! Even if you have supportive friends. Sometimes it’s just important to have someone going through the same experience as you. So if you don’t know anyone who is also a new parent, there are parent support groups that you can join!

And there you have it, the most comprehensive, yet minimalist baby registry checklist and spreadsheet! Good luck and happy baby planning!

Minimalist baby registry checklist spreadsheet

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