A Crunchy Baby Registry: 34 Things You NEED (or should make) Before Baby Comes

A Crunchy Baby Registry: 34 Things You NEED (or should make) Before Baby Comes from The More With Less Mom. Baby supply list for hippies, poor people, and moms of oopsies.

What do I need before baby gets here? If you’re like me, you’re a worrier. And nothing gives you cause for worry like being pregnant. That nesting hormonal stuff kicks in and the anxiety starts, unless you have enough money to run out and buy everything you might need. But for most people that’s not the case. This baby registry for slightly crunchy moms is here to help.

Perhaps you have had a reversal of fortunes, maybe you have a surprise pregnancy that wasn’t in the budget. You could be a super bargain hunter, or want to minimize your consumerism. You might follow the principles of simple living, or just want to educate yourself and make intentional decisions about your baby. Or you have less anxiety when you are prepared. Regardless you can be ready for a new baby without spending a ton of money.

There are some things you really should have before the baby comes. Shopping is not something you will have a lot of time for after baby arrives. Although with the power of the hyperwebs you can do a lot nowadays. When I started having babies we had to shop uphill both ways, in a snowstorm, with no shoes… Nah, we had internet shopping back then, I just didn’t have any money.

Regardless, if you know Murphy’s Law (anything that can go wrong, will go wrong), you know that if you are prepared for the unexpected everything will be fine. If you have a preemie you will need some special things, but if you have an earlie this list should cover the basics.

This list is the minimum you should have in place. I tried to keep spending down while keeping the comfort of both baby and parents in mind. Once you have this list you can relax, all other needs can be addressed as you have time. If you are blessed with family and friends you should get many of these items at your baby shower. Many things you can make.

Go window shopping at Babies R Us and a used baby stuff store to get a feel for the colors and styles that are out there, and the prices. Take a look at the different features of each item so you have an idea of what you want.

Once you know what you want you can start looking for good stuff cheap. You can look online and compare deals and look for discount codes. Look on Craigslist or eBay for cheap used or new items. Join your local Freecycle group. Check yard and rummage sales. Post wanted ads on the local buy/sell Facebook group. Let the ladies of your church know you are looking for used baby items. There are many sources for the things you need while keeping spending to a minimum.

    This list includes:
  • Random helpful tips from a mother of four, ages newborn to 14
  • Patterns for homemade alternatives. Patterns tend to be easy sewing patterns with lots of pictures, if it’s more than sew a straight line I need pictures. There aren’t any crochet or knit patterns because I have carpal tunnel, that stuff hurts me.
  • Recipes for “green” options. Some recipes are green and all natural, some just have less stuff you can’t pronounce, some are cheaper. Recipes tend to be simple without ingredients too far off the mainstream. I tried to keep ingredients to things you could get at a whole foods store, grocery store, or a big box store.

*I refer to babies as girls, the last three of my four were girls. No offense to boy babies everywhere, or the parents who shop for them. Replace with your favorite pronoun accordingly.

What do I really NEED before baby gets here?

Bathing

Baby lotion (lavender)

Baby in drawer, welcome to my baby supply list for slightly crunchy moms

Try this goo: coconut oil

You may get this at the baby shower. You need this for baby rubs. Why lavender, you say? Have you smelled that stuff? It smells GOOD. You can get a tiny lavender essential oil from eBay for under $3, and since it only takes a few drops it will last a while.

(http://hellogiggles.com/diy-lotion-making-month-soothing-lavender-chamomile-body-lotion or http://wellnessmama.com/3765/luxurious-homemade-lotion-recipe/)

Baby wash

Try this goo: liquid castile soap

You may get this at the baby shower. Yes, again with the lavender. You can just wash a newborn with water, they don’t really need soap. They don’t roll around in the dirt, or smell when they sweat. So this is just to smell her head later and say “Mmmmm.”

(http://www.whywelovegreen.com/2012/08/how-to-make-your-own-safe-natural-baby.html or http://www.rookiemoms.com/make-your-own-organic-baby-wash/)

Bedding

Receiving blankets

Receiving blankets, welcome to my baby supply list for hippie moms

Used for a burping cloth, swaddling, warmth, changing diapers in weird places, shade, nursing cover… You need a bunch of these. When I had kid #1 there were tons of these in thrift stores, but for kid #4 I couldn’t find any at yard sales or thrift stores (one of the drawbacks of a May baby is few yard sales). I just got a nice sheet with clouds on it at the thrift store and cut it up.

(http://wendigratz.blogspot.com/2011/05/free-sewing-pattern-receiving-blanket.html or http://www.pieceandquilt.com/2009/06/self-binding-receiving-blanket-tutorial.html)

Waterproof fitted mattress pad

You can get a giant waterproof flannel pad for your bed, but I found that these slid around under my sheets and bunched up and make me crazy. When you’re leaking from the bottom and the top, and so is the kid, your will be grateful for this. I keep a towel under us for the first month at least, as well as this pad.

Clothing

Baby detergent

Hatted baby

If you are using a perfume and dye free detergent that *should* be gentle enough. Baby’s skin is brand new and will be more sensitive than yours, though. My family reacts to every detergent ever, except homemade powdered, or Arm & Hammer powdered. For some reason we can even use the scented one of Arm & Hammer, but only that brand in powder. I just make my own, it’s much cheaper. Ivory soap is $0.10/oz, bar castile soap is $0.70/oz If you are making your own you will need to decide if you are going for dirt cheap, or as pure as possible. Making powdered costs you about a quarter as much as a bottle of liquid detergent. Also, if you are using store bought detergent and your baby develops a rash somewhere other than her diaper area or face, or is cranky all the time like her clothes are scratchy, try a “free”er detergent, try using less, or try making your own.

(http://wellnessmama.com/462/how-to-make-nautral-homemade-laundry-detergent/ or http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2012/04/super-fast-and-easy-homemade-laundry-detergent.html)

Hat

This is just to keep the baby warm, if you have a summer baby you are probably good with just the thin hat the hospital should give you.

(http://tiedyedivadesigns.blogspot.com/2011/02/free-baby-knot-hat-pattern-and-tutorial.html or http://whipup.net/2011/08/27/guest-post-newborn-baby-hat-tutorial/)

Mittens

Mittens

Those tiny little nails grow like lightning, and are as sharp as razors. You clip the kid’s nails and the next morning she’s going velociraptor on your boobie. Or better yet taking chunks out of her face right before you try to snap an adorable baby pic. The hospital may give you clippers/nail scissors, or you may get a set at the baby shower. But mittens are something you need until the kid konks out and you can get at her without hurting her, they protect her and you from scratching. It is pretty easy to make your own, and then you can make a bunch the same so you don’t have to stress about losing one and not having a pair. Or just give up on that whole matching thing.

(http://obsessivelystitching.blogspot.com/2009/03/newborn-no-scratch-mittens.html)

Sleep sacks/gowns

Sleep sack

Really this is the only clothing item you need. You can get the zippered baby bag and know all the baby’s parts are warm. You can get one that snaps up if your baby hates having clothes pulled over her head. You can get the ones with elastic on the bottom so you can keep socks on or off depending on the temperature. Also my kids seemed to like pushing on the elastic with their feet, I think it’s a little like swaddling, they like having something to push on. You can add a hat or a sweater to keep them warm, so even the thin ones are good in colder weather to help moderate temperature. Your baby should have one more layer than you are wearing, and sometimes you need to be able to switch up their layers a lot. A versatile item like this is easiest. For the first month you will want something super simple. Also you want ones that fold over at the end of the sleeves, so you can pull those over when their nails start to get long.

(http://thismamamakesstuff.com/2008/08/tutorial-t-shirt-to-newborn-gown/ or http://www.littlepinkmonster.com/2010/11/16/diy-sleepsack-hurray-sleep/ or http://projectsbyjess.blogspot.ca/2011/02/tutorial-baby-sleep-sack.html)

Socks

Socks

You just need a bunch of socks, nothing fancy. I got socks at yard sales, but if you are buying socks buy a couple bags that are exactly the same. That way when one gets lost you aren’t out a pair. You will need newborn socks, how long they fit will depend on the size of the baby. I am a huge fan of the socks with little shoelaces on them that look like shoes, if you take the baby out it looks like you actually got the kid ready!

Diapering

Baby powder

Try this goo: arrowroot powder

You don’t HAVE to have baby powder. But powder eliminates moisture, and moisture is what causes diaper rash. If you use a tiny bit it will help prevent rashes. If your baby is rashy, use it. If your baby doesn’t get rashes you can try going without. You will most likely get some of this in a set of bath goos at the baby shower. Save the bottle and you can refill it with homemade later (or use an old spice bottle). However it is much more expensive to make your own baby powder than to buy it at the store – store bought is $0.08/ounce, when even if you buy the big bag of arrowroot from the whole foods store it is $1.20/ounce.

(http://www.sagediaper.com/blog/2010/06/natural-baby-powder-you-can-make-yourself/ or http://www.simplykristen.com/natural-baby-powder/)

Diaper bag

Diaper bag

The diaper bag is very personal and can be any bag. You don’t need to buy a “diaper bag”. Hubby can use a messenger bag and maintain his coolness while toting diapers and wipes. My diaper bag is an actual diaper bag with a vinyl lining, it’s a big duffel type, and it is a gender neutral dark green and blue. There are pockets on each end for a bottle/cup and a water bottle. There are two long side pockets for little things like binkies and diaper rash cream samples.

(Comparison of a bunch: http://tipnut.com/diaper-bags/ or http://frugalandthriving.com.au/2009/45-awesome-free-bag-making-tutorials/;

Patterns: http://www.make-baby-stuff.com/free-diaper-bag-pattern.html or http://amingledyarn.wordpress.com/gallery/tutorial-hip-mama-diaper-bag/ or )

Diaper rash cream

#1 solution: Nakey Butt

Try this goo: Shea Butter

Every night we have tummy time. After bath time everybody little gets naked. I have a towel on my bed to protect from oopsies. Then they get a baby rub (How to baby massage http://www.parents.com/baby/care/newborn/how-to-massage-baby/), ending with baby on her tummy. She does tummy time for as long as she will take it (experts recommend 3-5 minutes, at first she might have made 1 minute, but now she’s happy for much longer). Then she airs out her tush for a while, at least 30 minutes. This usually involves reading stories, some singing, and possibly a wind-down show like Baby Einstein or Baby Songs. This would be a good time to air out the boobies, too. Lazy mom’s nakey butt time can happen when baby falls asleep on the nursing pillow on your lap, open up that diaper and let things dry out.

(http://www.mymerrymessylife.com/2012/07/homemade-diaper-rash-cream-green-non.html or http://www.hippiedippiebebe.com/eco-diapering/make-your-diaper-rash-cream/)

Diaper wallet/clutch

Diaper clutch

This is a smaller pad that folds up and can hold a couple diapers and a travel size/zip bag of wipes. You may want to stick an extra change of clothes in there, depending on how far away the diaper bag will be. This diaper wallet can fit in your mom purse for any quick runs or other situations where the diaper bag is not ideal. If it will not fit in your purse then you will also need a mom purse. Here’s a scenario: you need to run into the store to pay for gas. You don’t have to tote around the diaper bag for this quick stop. But if that kid has a poopie blow out and the lady behind you in line is holding her nose, it will need to be addressed immediately. You could maybe fit a newborn diaper and a zip bag with a couple wipes in your pocket/purse, but then you get into the restroom and you hopefully have to use the diaper changing table that millions of germy babies have used before. Or you are caught in a gas station restroom or mom and pop store that doesn’t have a changing table, and you have a wet, grimy sink counter to change the kid on. Hence the pad. If you make your own it will be washable as well, or the plastic/vinyl kind wipe easily.

(http://www.diaryofaquilter.com/2009/01/diaper-clutch-tutorial.html or http://melissaesplin.com/2008/06/poopy-clutch/)

Diapers

Baby in diaper

If you are convinced you just want to disposable diaper, you may want a couple cloth diapers to be prepared, and maybe try out. Diaper banks (like a food pantry, but with nappies) are spreading as people can’t afford more necessities, but if you had cloth diapers you wouldn’t run out. If you are totally broke you need to find the money to invest in cloth diapers, especially if you don’t pay for your water and have a washer and dryer. The average newborn needs 8 diapers a day (up to 12). A big box of generic diapers from the big box store comes to $0.14/diaper, and the nice “green” ones are twice that. That’s $1.12 a day for cheapo disposable diapers, if you’re lucky and it isn’t more diapers per day. $34 a month, or $297 a year! Some of us don’t have $300 a year to toss in the trash. Exclusively breast fed babies produce #2 that is completely water soluble, so you don’t have to totally get the poo off until you start solids around 6 months. This is the best time to give it a try and see if you like it. There are a million kinds of cloth diapers (and some of them are really perty). There are a ton of blogs that cover cloth diapering and are a wealth of information. Read everything you can, remember that it’s totally not complicated, and don’t put all your eggs in one basket (or dollars on a kind of diaper you might hate). You can get cloth diaper covers for about $4 on eBay, and inserts for $1 each. In theory the kid will only soil the insert so you need a ton of those and just a couple covers. I haven’t found this to be true all the time. So for one day you would need three covers for $12 and eight liners for $8 = $20. If you’re lucky a mom will be selling her used diapers on Craigslist for cheap and you can buy the whole set. I cloth diaper but I have a pack of disposables on hand for when we go out, because it’s just freakin’ easier, and in case the power/water goes out and I can’t wash the cloth ones.

(Comparison of three cloth: http://baroquestar.livejournal.com/176873.html;

Patterns: http://handmadebyrita.blogspot.com/2008/02/want-velcroaplix-closing-aio-pocket.html or http://diapersewing.wordpress.com/2006/12/07/sized-diaper-pattern/)

Wipes

Baby chewing on wipes

You can make your own wipes pretty easily, but you will want disposables on hand for travel or for really special messes. We use wipes all over the house for all kinds of things. You can make cloth wipes, or use paper towels and make your own wipe solution to control the chemicals in your home. Extra Tip: If you live in a really cold climate or can’t afford to keep the house very warm you will want a wipe warmer. There’s nothing like a cold wipe in a cold house to make a baby scream. I got one from eBay.

(Cloth: http://www.myhappycrazylife.com/make-your-own-cloth-wipes/ or http://www.make-baby-stuff.com/cloth-diaper-wipes.html;

DIY paper: http://www.whitehouseblackshutters.com/2010/03/homemade-organic-baby-wipes.html or http://thesensiblemom.com/2012/08/diy-baby-wipes/)

Feeding

Bottles

Baby with bottle

Hopefully you are breastfeeding and you just need a few bottles just in case something happens (Murphy’s Law again). Choose glass or bpa free. I still sterilize (boil) bottles when I get them, but after that I just use hot soapy water. I worked in a factory and I know I want to boil them.

Extra tip: Don’t use used nipples, just buy new ones.

Formula

You need formula even if you are going to breastfeed exclusively. Something could happen (‘ware Murphy’s Law!) and the child could need feeding when you aren’t available. While pumping or expressing is a great plan in theory, this is an important backup. One of those little cans of generic powdered formula is $10-15. However I signed up for the newsletters from the major formula companies and I got some really good coupons from them that took a third off that. Now that I told you to buy formula, you need to breastfeed. Formula is the most expensive baby item, costing even more than disposable diapers. A newborn will eat about 20 ounces of formula a day (it varies a lot based on weight, and her appetite will change daily). It takes one ounce of powder to make two ounces of formula. If powder is $0.58/ounce then formula is $0.29/ounce. That’s $5.80/day, $174/month, or $1,537/year! On top of that breastfed babies poop less, don’t get sick as much, aren’t admitted to the hospital as much, get fewer ear infections (of my four kids we’ve only had one ear infection), don’t get diaper rash as much, have fewer allergies, are less fussy and spit up less, have a lower risk of asthma, and obesity, and goodness knows what else they haven’t even figured out yet. Never mind the benefits to mom. And it’s free (except for the fact that you actually have to feed mom about a million calories a day).

Extra Tip: It is not recommended that you buy used breast pumps.

Nipple cream

#1 solution: Nakey Boobies

Try this goo: coconut oil

Just because breastfeeding is natural does not mean it comes easily. I had trouble with the latch of kid #3, for goodness sake. You don’t need to handicap yourself with boo boos on your boobies. Soreness, cracking and bleeding all hurt and make breastfeeding painful, but nipple creams or coconut oil and fresh air can help prevent them. Start conditioning your nipples during your third trimester: slather on whatever goo you prefer. I know this seems weird before you have the kid, but you’ll thank yourself later. After feeding baby leave your tatas hanging in the breeze (when at home, not in public) for a couple minutes to dry out. If any wandering hubbys get ideas just squirt them, that should discourage the less determined ones. Then apply your goo. It is important to air your boobies out. Don’t keep them smothered all the time. They need air.

(http://www.passionatehomemaking.com/2010/08/homemade-natural-postpartum-care-kit.html or http://leastlikely2breed.net/recipes/nursing-or-breastfeeding-balm-ttnr)

Nursing pads

You may get disposable nursing pads at your baby shower. You can easily make reusable nursing pads. You want both kinds. When your milk comes in and you are squirting everywhere you need disposables, you have to change them so often it’s not practical to just have reusables. I layered both until I stopped soaking my shirts. Once your milk supply is established you can switch to just reusables. You can get both kinds at big box stores, or even eBay.

(http://walkingwithdancers.blogspot.com/2011/05/homemade-contoured-nursing-pads.html or http://leakyboob.blogspot.com/2010/04/got-leaky-boobs-diy-breast-pads.html)

Nursing pillow

Boppy - dog in nursing pillow

This isn’t just for comfort, this is very helpful for keeping baby on your lap without wearing out the muscles in your arms. Dad can use this to comfortably hold the baby while he’s watching tv or on the computer. I have gotten Boppy pillows at yard sales and have never had a problem with a fit on my big mama belly. I have read that some other brands are size sensitive.
*Update: Walmart (and who knows who else) now has a $20 nursing pillow that has a strap for sticking little legs through. This is genius.*

(https://sites.google.com/site/sewityourself/ or http://www.sleepingbaby.net/jan/Baby/pillow.html)

Nursing pillow cover

You want two of these so you can keep one on the pillow while you wash the other one. Keep in mind this will be in a lot of the pictures you take.

(http://www.vanillajoy.com/how-to-boppy-cover.html)

Pacifier

Pacifier

I would not buy used pacifiers. The pacifiers from the dollar store were gagging my almost 7 pound baby, you need a couple newborn size ones. Preferably with their own little cover. The hospital should give you one pacifier. You are not supposed to rely on a binky until around 4 weeks, whenever the baby’s latch is established for breastfeeding. They have found that using a pacifier reduces the risk of SIDS, so it is now ok to use one until age one. After that the risk is greatly reduced and it will just get harder to break the habit. My kids rarely used pacifiers, these should be a last defense for soothing. Note sucking is last on the 5 S’s of soothing list. Don’t just stuff that in there whenever the kid squeaks.

Maternity

Body/maternity pillow (case)

You need this to help support your belly in your sleep. Your back will thank you. You can get a body pillow pillowcase and stuff it with three pillows, or even make your own. Put it between your knees, under your belly, and up under your head.

(http://everythingyourmamamade.com/2010/09/25/day-25-1-pregnancy-body-pillow/ or http://www.instructables.com/id/Quick-easy-and-free-pregnancy-pillow/)

Maternity bra

Peasant woman nursing a baby

You need at least two of these, and at least one should be the sports bra kind so you can sleep in it. Why the heck would I sleep in my bra, you ask? Well if you are blessed with over-active letdown, the baby will cry that she is hungry in the middle of the night. Your boobies will hear her, and start shooting milk indiscriminately, hitting whatever comforter, mattress, or hubby eye happens to get in the way. If you have normal letdown they will just leak all over you and the sheets, and maybe whatever blankies get close. Hence the sports bra with boobie liners (nursing pads). You can get cheap nursing bras at the big box stores, but I’ve found that the cheapest ones only last about a year, especially if you only have a couple to wash and wear again.

Maternity support belt

This holds your belly up for you, so your back isn’t doing all the work. It helps with back pain, as well as relieving pressure on your bladder (woo hoo!). You can have the baby without ever using this… but your back will thank you if you get one. I got mine off of eBay. They are sized so if you are at a yard sale you need to try that puppy on, or if online look up the manufacturer’s sizing for that brand. You don’t want to wait for the baby shower for an item like this, you want this available as soon as back pain starts.

Nursery

Rocker recliner

Rockjing chair

You may want a rocker, which will look cute and be super helpful for soothing the baby and for nighttime feedings. But, I recommend getting a rocker recliner. You will eventually sleep in that chair. It may be the hormones you release when breastfeeding, or it may be sleep deprivation. Nursing kid #3 I would at least doze every single time, she totally knocked me out. If this is kid #1 you get to sleep when the baby sleeps, so if the kid is fed and burped and you’re ready for a nap, go ahead and nap (safely). I have gotten rocker recliners from Freecycle, Craigslist and yard sales. Make sure you try it out before you buy, and give it a super cleaning.

Play

Bouncer

This should have a washable cover. You can get the cheapest, no-frills one you can find. They’re just about all the same, almost all of them have soothing vibration. I have one with fish hanging off of the toy bar above, and the newborn really likes to kick the fishies. This is for you to tote around, or leave in the bathroom so you have somewhere to put the baby while you pee. Maybe even get a shower. Never put the baby up on anything when she is in anything, not the bouncer, not the car seat, not Bumbo. Not the table, not the couch, not the counter, not the bed. Always be gentle and careful with your baby. You are just asking to drop your kid on her head. Baby heads are fra-gi-le (pronounced to rhyme with Chile, like on The Christmas Story).

Cradle swing

Cradle swing

This is very important gear. It should have a washable cover (this should be a given but isn’t, you have to check). Most of them have bells and whistles like music and a mobile, some have lights and/or motion. Some are much shorter and look less cluttered, some are as tall as the old school swings. This should have an ac plug. You can go through three D batteries in 48 hours when the kid is super cranky (crying and fussiness peaks at six weeks). If you invest in rechargeable batteries it will save you money in the long run, but either way it will get expensive. I paid more for the rechargeable batteries than I did for my cradle swing at the thrift store, and I’m still looking for a swing that plugs in. A cradle swing will be good until 25 pounds, around 19 months for the average baby. No baby gear should be a babysitter, but you do need something. Even if you are a fan of babywearing, I suggest this be the one thing you buy to have somewhere to put her. If you have zero dollars then this can also double as your crib, or I’ve known people to use a drawer lined with a blanket in the bedroom. I would love a cosleeper, but never managed to find a used one cheap enough. The wonders of this contraption are obvious when you hit the period of purple and the kid just won’t stop crying.

Extra Tip: Period of Purple Cures: First check the top reasons babies cry: hungry, diaper, tired, needs cuddles, tummy troubles, burping, too hot/cold, teething, over stimulated, bored, sick, something scratching or wrapped around somewhere. Then try the 5 S’s of soothing: swaddling (http://www.parenting.com/gallery/how-to-swaddle-a-baby?pnid=110013), side/stomach position, shhhh/white noise, swinging, sucking. Then stick the kid in the swing and walk away for a minute and see if she puts herself to sleep.

Rechargeable batteries

Find the money for these. Keep track of what your gear needs as you get it (you can just make a note in Outlook, or a sticky note somewhere you won’t lose it). You need to invest in rechargeable batteries. They are expensive to buy, especially the Cs and Ds. But you get 100s of uses out of a rechargeable battery, NiMH batteries have thousands of recharges. It is $5 each to buy a rechargeable D battery, about $1 for a regular D battery. After the 5th charge, the rest of your hundreds/thousands of uses are free! It saves you money in the long run. Big box stores are spotty on having the larger ones in stock, but you can get them online, including on the big box stores’ sites.

Extra Tip: DO NOT mix types of batteries in devices or chargers (NiMH, NiCD, NiZN, alkaline…).

Rechargeable battery charger

You want both a big charger for the Cs and Ds, and a smaller 15 minute charger that will zap the double and triple As for you. You are unlikely to find these used anywhere but eBay.

Soother

Owls

There are a ton of items that are available to distract the child. There are mobiles, soothers, wall mirrors, crib toys… I recommend a soother that has music, lights, and a ceiling projector. You don’t need all that stuff. You can get some butterflies or a wind spinner from the dollar store and hang those above the crib (securely). However if you’re going to buy something get all the bells and whistles. You’re going for the most bang for your buck, if you’re going to spend the money make it count. I hate the mobiles you have to wind, with kid #1 I always always had to wind it repeatedly. Battery powered music works better for me. With kid #3 she absolutely loved the ceiling projector, the music wasn’t too exciting but she would immediately still for the projector. I got soothers for two of my kids at yard sales.

Safety

Baby monitor

Dog with monitor

This does not need to be fancy. You do want one that lights up so you can turn it way down and just glance at the lights in your sleepy stupor, or hear if there is a noise disturbance. These should both have an ac plug. I also use these for when my two year old is alone when the thirteen year old is away, with the news today I am just too nervous otherwise. These are not a good buy at the thrift store, they tend to not work. All they do is plug it in to see if it lights up to test it, which apparently isn’t super helpful. Try yard sales, or if you want a video monitor Craigslist is a good place to look. You can also use your iPhone and a webcam for a video monitor.

Travel

Car seat

Car seat

This should have a washable cover. If you are getting a used car seat they are only good for 6 years (unless otherwise marked). The seat should have a sticker with the manufactured date on it, if it does not don’t get it. Some people say not to buy a used car seat, you don’t know if it may have been in an accident and been compromised. You will want a convertible car seat later (one that goes all the way to a booster seat). For now you need an infant car seat. It is easy to remove these from the car and carry the baby around in the seat. This way you can hook the seat into the cart at stores, and have somewhere to put the baby when you go places. The car seat carrier should not be a place for your baby to spend a lot of time, any more than the swing or bouncer, but when you’re in a public restroom you need somewhere safe and clean to put the baby. There are all kinds of fancy accessories for the car seat, but all you really need is a pool noodle or rolled towel to make sure it’s level, and receiving blankets to position and shade the baby.

Extra tip: Pay attention when you take the car seat cover off, maybe even take photos. Some of those things are impossible to get back on, especially if you bought it used and can’t find the manual online.

Carrier/sling/wrap

Babywearing dad

There are a million different kinds of carriers for the baby. You will have to look around and try them to see what you like. A good used baby stuff store is a great place to try on different styles. For a start you just need a sling or wrap type. You want one that puts the fabric on the meaty part of your shoulder, not where a backpack strap would go, closer to your neck. This is the key to not having a carrier hurt. The very basic fabric sling will fold up and fit in your mom purse so you always have it on hand. It is super easy to make this kind of carrier, and cheap. I do not like the ring ones, but I’m paranoid, I know they should be perfectly safe.

(http://mykarmababy.com/pages/BabySlingPattern.php or http://www.sleepingbaby.net/jan/Baby/tubesling.html or http://thinkliz.com/2009/09/04/reversible-pocket-sling-tutorial-with-padding/)

Things that aren’t on this list, most of which you will want later:

Bedding sets

Bedding sets- crib with bumpers

Both baby comforters and crib bumpers cause a suffocation hazard. If you want one of those to make the room pretty you can hang the quilt on the wall and tie the crib bumper on the outside. You aren’t supposed to use them in the crib. I confess I still use a baby comforter. But I’m old and set in my ways.

Brand name laundry detergent (that stuff D—t)

See notes above. This is not a miracle product with magical abilities. Just make some. Just try it, making a quarter batch of the no-grate stuff is just pour and done.

Changing pad

Changing pad

You will want a changing pad at some point, but to start you can use a towel on the bed or couch. You don’t need a changing table, you just need a changing pad to put on a dresser. If you do get a changing pad it should be contoured so it is harder for the kid to roll off. That being said, you never leave a baby on the changing pad/dresser/any height. If you have to lean away you keep a hand on the baby. Babies are experts at knowing exactly the wrong moment to develop new and astounding abilities, like becoming magic jumping beans. And cats are the ones that always land on their feet, babies land on their heads.

Changing pad cover

If you’re not going the towel route for a changing pad, then you should have two changing pad covers (to have one to put on while you wash the inevitably poopie other one). Just don’t get off white. Get white, so you can bleach it, or darker colors.

(http://prudentbaby.com/2009/12/baby-kid/diy-changing-pad-cover-tutorial-2/)

Crib

Nursery

You do want to invest in a 3-in-1 that converts into a toddler bed. I just included a cradle swing in my list, trying to keep it to a minimum. You will want somewhere in the bedroom where the kid can sleep, and hauling the cradle swing around is a pain. I’m paranoid and have to have the baby close enough that I can reach out and feel that’s she’s still breathing. With baby #3 I just rolled the crib up to my side of the bed. With baby #4 I got a bassinette cheap at a yard sale, but the baby wouldn’t even use it until three months. I ended up buying another swing at a yard sale.

Gates/locks

Babyproofing is very important for safety. However, babies don’t start to toddle until anywhere between 9 and 18 months. This stuff can wait.

Hooded towels

You don’t need these, regular towels work just fine. But what toddler hasn’t used a hooded towel as a cape and become Super Nakey Baby? Luckily this is another popular baby shower item.

Maternity underwear

You don’t need to buy special underwear, just get bikini underwear. If you want to buy maternity underwear you will most likely have to get it online, most of the big box stores have phased it out.

Playpen/Playyard

Playpen

You will want a playard later to have somewhere to put the crawling kid so you can pee/cook/do-something-other-than-watch-the-kid. You don’t need this until they can crawl, around 6-9 months. There are a bazillion playards at yard sales and on Craigslist. The exception to this playard exclusion is that many of them now come with nifty attachments, like a changing pad. If your changing table is on another floor, and you don’t like changing the kid on the couch, this might be a smart spend for you.

Seasonal items/blankets

I didn’t include these because they vary so widely, but it is highly likely that there are seasonal items you will need. What you need will depend on your local climate and the time of year you have the baby. You may just need a light blanket from the dollar store to shade the baby. You may need a baby snowsuit and a car seat cover just to get the kid to the pre-heated car. Baby blankets are something you should get at the baby shower. If you are having a hard time keeping track with your “pregnancy brain”, write sizes and seasons on a sticky note or index card and keep it in your purse (also helpful for yard sailing hubbies). For example, if the baby is due in March you need swim suits in 3 months (like 3 month olds can swim) and 12 months. You will need jackets/coats in 9 months and 12 months.

Stroller

Baby buggy

You will want a stroller, or two, but baby can’t even use a stroller until at least 3 months, and that depends on the stroller. If you want one you can get a flat/pram type, but I just put the newborn in a sling or in the car seat carrier. Later on you will want an umbrella type stroller that is easily portable and good for quick trips. You will also want a larger stroller, preferably with a see-through part in the hood, a large cargo bag underneath, and a cup holder on the handle for parents. Strollers are available from Craigslist or yard sales.

Baby Pinterest Board from The More With Less Mom

We hope you enjoyed our crunchy baby registry. A baby supply list for hippies, poor people, and moms of oopsies.

Photo credits: Baby chewing on bassinette Melissa French (Me!) © creative commons license
Baby in drawer: brennaval
Receiving blanket: Bubble Cakes Baby Blankets
Hatted baby: Huro Kitty
Baby with mittens: Sean Dreilinger
Sleepsack: Dr Sam
Socks: meaganmakes
Diaper bag: Chateau Sophie
Diaper Clutch: Irene Design
Baby in diaper La Petite Vie
Baby chewing on wipes: Satiata
Baby with bottle: Mommy of 4 Ruggies
Dog in Boppy: Lynda Giddens
Pacifier: clappstar
Peasant woman nursing a baby: Failing Angel
Rocking chair: {just jennifer}
Cradle Swing: Penumbra
Owls: AcolyteH
Dog with monitor: BenSpark
Car seat: Inspired RD
Babywearing dad: Chachlate
Crib with bumpers: Henry Scott
Cat on changing table: Donovan & Meggin Eastman
Nursery: Mr Kimberly
Playpen: Clover_1
Baby buggy: Chris Devers

Original post:
~ The More With Less Mom - Words of wisdom to live frugally and well

A Crunchy Baby Registry: 34 Things You NEED (or should make) Before Baby Comes

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