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The modern baby market is pushing you to think that all baby products are must-haves when, in reality, you don’t necessarily need some of them. But that doesn’t mean you don’t need anything. When it comes to preparing for your new little one, think minimalist baby — less is more.

Ideally, you want to keep your baby items at a minimum while still providing for your little one. The experts at Mustela are here to help with this complete checklist of minimalist baby essentials.

Diapering Essentials For The Minimalist Baby

minimalist baby with diaper rash cream

Diapers

Whether you’ve chosen to use disposable or cloth diapers, diapers are a must-have, so stock up on all sizes. The last thing a new parent needs is to discover they’ve run out of diapers at the very moment their baby has a diaper blow-out!

Wipes

Baby wipes are another item that you really don’t want to run out of. Consider buying them in bulk, like the Mustela Diaper Wipes Bundle. This bundle is made up of a four-pack of soft, durable wipes that gently and effectively clean your baby’s diaper area in one easy step.

Our Organic Cotton Wipes with Water are another excellent option. These EWG Verified wipes are 100% recycled from the textile industry and formulated with 100% organic cotton, making them great for your baby and the planet!

Cream

Diaper rashes are inevitable. Always keep gentle diaper rash cream on hand to prevent and help heal this bothersome skin irritation.

Mustela Diaper Rash Cream 123 works in-between diaper changes to protect your baby’s delicate skin against possible rashes. This three-in-one product soothes the diaper area and relieves irritation and redness from the very first use.

Our EWG Verified Diaper Cream with Olive Oil and Aloe is another great option. Our talc-free formula leaves a moisturizing layer on your baby’s skin to soothe and diminish redness at every diaper change.

Changing Pad

 baby laying next to Mustela Products

Whether you’re in the nursery on a changing station or on the floor in the living room, it’s essential to put down a washable changing pad first. They keep your baby comfortable, but they also make clean-up easy when accidents occur during the diaper change.

Some pads are made of thick foam, while others are thin and fold easily. Whichever you prefer, choose the pad that is right for you and your baby.

You’ll notice that although we did mention a changing station, it’s not part of this baby essentials checklist — only the changing pad is.

A changing table is nice for you — the parent — because it means that you don’t have to get down on the floor to change your baby. Changing tables are also nice because they function as a place to store all the necessary supplies.

But all you really need to change your baby’s diaper is a changing pad and, perhaps, a bag to corral the wipes, cream, and clean diapers.

Diaper Pail

The most basic diaper pail of them all is a garbage can. And you can certainly get by with only that, but odor may become an issue after a while, depending on how often you take out the trash.

If you’re going to rely on this simple method of disposal, follow these suggestions to minimize the smell of the dirty diaper:

  • Dump any large messes from the diaper into the toilet
  • Wrap the diaper as tightly as possible to reduce the risk of spillage
  • Place the dirty diaper in a sealable plastic bag
  • Dispose of the dirty diaper in a trash can with a lid

Of course, all dirty diapers will end up in the garbage eventually — unless you use cloth diapers — but you can cut down on the smell by using a special diaper pail.

This is, by far, the best way to dispose of dirty diapers because they are specially designed to eliminate odors and keep your environment clean.

Designs will differ, but most consist of a pail, some sort of disposable bag, and a mechanism to seal the bag and keep it that way.

The best ones only require one hand to operate — lift the lid, deposit the diaper, close the lid, and twist, push, or pull some part of the pail to seal the bag — but other effective options are available as well.

Sleeping Essentials For The Minimalist Baby

 baby sleeping

Crib

We’re going to give you a few sleeping arrangement options for your baby, and based upon your preference, you can make the best decision for your family. The first option is your traditional crib.

Some parents decide to let their baby sleep in a crib within their first few weeks of life, while others opt to wait until their baby is at least a few months old.

If you’re leaning toward waiting longer to put your baby in a crib, hold off on this minimalist baby essential until you’re ready to make the transition.

Mattress

If you’ve chosen to use a crib early on, don’t forget the mattress and mattress pad! The type of mattress you choose is important for supporting safe sleep.

Expert tip: Look for a mattress pad that can easily be washed as needed to protect your crib mattress.

Portable Playard

The second sleeping option is a portable playard (also called a pack ‘n play or portable crib). Many playards come with a built-in bassinet and changing area. If you like to travel, this is definitely a must-have.

Portable playards easily support your baby at different stages. Set up the playard in your bedroom during the newborn stage, and as your baby grows, move it to the nursery or another room.

Bassinet

Our third sleeping arrangement option is a bassinet, which is a bed specifically designed for babies from birth to about four months. They have fixed legs on wheels, which makes them easy to move from one area to another.

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that babies sleep in the same room as their parents for the first few months of life, and bassinets can allow this without taking up as much space as a crib.

Expert tips:

  • Once your baby is sitting up or rolling over on their own, the bassinet is no longer a safe place for your little one to sleep.
  • Check your bassinet’s instruction manual for weight limits.

Swaddle Blankets

When you hear the word “minimalist,” think multi-functional. You want to keep your baby items to a minimum while also getting the most use out of each item. Swaddle blankets fit this definition.

While not a sleeping arrangement option, swaddling can be a huge help in getting your newborn to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

Even if your baby isn’t a fan of swaddling — or you just can’t seem to get the swaddling technique down — swaddle blankets can be used for other things as well. Take a look at their possible uses:

  • Light blanket
  • Nursing cover
  • Cuddling
  • Protective layer while playing on the floor

Clothing Essentials For The Minimalist Baby

Mom and baby playing with clean clothes

Onesies

Even though your newborn will go through a few outfit changes per day, you don’t necessarily need the extravagant wardrobe that most baby registries suggest. But what you will need is a good stack of onesies so you are prepared for frequent clothing changes.

Pants

Babies tend to get cold easily, so their delicate skin will need covering. You won’t need as many pants as onesies. But don’t let that fool you!

Diaper changes can sometimes get messy, so plan on having a few pairs of pants on hand.

Socks And Hats

The majority of your newborn’s warmth escapes through their head and feet. Protect these areas with socks and a hat to keep your baby warm and comfortable.

If your baby’s feet look blue or blotchy, it’s a good indicator that they are cold. Choose soft, thick cotton socks and hats for ideal protection.

Sleepers

Sleepers are ideal for keeping your little one comfy and cozy at bedtime. Choose sleepers that allow you to easily access your newborn’s diaper when they wake up in the middle of the night for a diaper change.

You’ll thank yourself later.

Expert Tip: If your little one suffers from eczema, try Mustela’s Stelatopia Skin Soothing Pajamas. Made of 100% cotton, these pajamas deliver soothing moisture to irritated skin all night long.

Feeding Essentials For The Minimalist Baby

Mom who has completed her baby essentials checklist

Nursing Pillow

Many moms have found a nursing pillow to be essential when feeding their baby. The pillow allows your hands to be free and serves as a support for both you and your baby.

Bonus: Not only is the nursing pillow used for feedings, but it can also be used for tummy time as well.

Breast Pump

A breast pump will become your best friend, especially if you find yourself on the go quite a bit. You’ll need a breast pump to prepare for those times when you’re away from your little one and need to store up milk.

Burp Cloths

Babies are messy and burp cloths are absorbent. Milk sometimes finds its way onto your baby’s chin and chest, and burp cloths allow for easy cleanup. They’re also helpful in preventing spit-up messes on your clothes when burping your baby.

Bottle-Feeding Essentials

  • Formula
  • Bottles
  • Nipples

Bathing And Skin Care Essentials For the Minimalist Baby

minimalist baby at bath time

Lotion

Your little one’s skin loses moisture more quickly than adult skin. Take care of your baby’s delicate skin with a gentle moisturizer, like Mustela’s Soothing Moisturizing Body Lotion.

This lotion is a daily body lotion that protects and relieves your baby's sensitive skin. Its fragrance-free formula penetrates effortlessly to deliver immediate and long-lasting moisture.

Our EWG Verified Organic Hydrating Cream with Olive Oil and Aloe is also amazing for your baby’s skin. This lightweight, restorative cream for the face and body leaves both baby and adult skin soft, supple, and hydrated.

Bathing Kit

Soft, hydrated skin starts at bath time. The products you use to bathe your baby matter. Mustela’s Newborn Arrival Gift Set contains five essential, natural skin care products, which are specifically designed for your newborn's delicate skin.

The set is packaged in a deluxe keepsake box and includes these necessities for bath time, hydration, diaper change, and quick clean-ups:

Hooded Towels

For those sweet moments after bath time, grab a hooded towel to snuggle up with your little one and dry off their delicate skin. We recommend hooded towels to keep baby warm and fully covered.

Washcloths

Use a washcloth to thoroughly and gently cleanse your baby’s delicate skin. A handful of washcloths is sufficient for bath time.

Travel Essentials For The Minimalist Baby

baby essentials checklist for car rides

Car Seat

Car seats specifically designed for newborns and young babies are called infant car seats. They snap into a base and come with a handle so you can easily carry your baby.

Expert tip: Do your research on infant car seats and make sure your baby’s car seat is safe and meets the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) standards.

Baby Wrap Or Baby Carrier

If you plan to carry your baby while you’re at home working, grocery shopping, doing housework, or anything in-between, a baby wrap or baby carrier is your answer!

Your baby will still be close to you, but both of your hands will be free to take care of whatever task is on your to-do list.

Diaper Bag

Of course, you’re going to need somewhere to keep all of your minimalist baby essentials. Conveniently store your items in a diaper bag for easy accessibility while you’re on the go.

Don’t forget to take care of your baby’s skin even when you’re out and about! Mustela’s Bebe On The Go Travel Set is small and convenient — the perfect size for your diaper bag! — and includes everything you need to easily keep your little one’s skin clean and hydrated.

First Aid Supplies

Accidents can happen no matter where you are! Soothe your little one’s scrapes and boo-boos with Mustela’s Cicastela Moisture Recovery Cream. This travel must-have delivers cooling hydration to your baby’s skin to relieve discomfort.

And our Arnica Gel with Calendula is designed to soothe boo-boos on babies and kids nine months old and up without leaving their skin greasy or sticky. It provides a moisturizing and refreshing effect to help soothe boo-boos.

Stroller

Baby wraps (mentioned earlier on this baby essentials checklist) are the perfect way to keep your little one close and free up your hands at the same time.

As your baby grows, though, they’re either going to get too heavy to carry for more than a few minutes, or they’re going to want more freedom to move around. That’s when a stroller becomes essential.

Strollers allow your baby to eat, sleep, and play while on the go and make it easier for you to get from place to place.

The most basic strollers are just a simple frame with handles and wheels and a fabric seat for your baby to sit in.

The most advanced strollers allow your little one — or little ones — to sit, lie down, and even stand up while still leaving you with plenty of room to store the diaper bag and other on-the-go essentials.

Sunscreen

Sunscreen is essential these days for protecting your little one’s delicate skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays. In fact, it’s recommended by the Skin Cancer

Foundation.

Before dressing your baby to leave the house, apply a layer of Mustela SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen Lotion all over their body. Focus on the hands, feet, face, and any other skin that will be exposed.

All Mustela sun protection products are mineral formulas, certified with the NEA (National Eczema Association), and can be used by the whole family.

For added protection and comfort, cover their arms, torso, and legs with a onesie and their head with a wide-brimmed hat. (You can always add a blanket on top of them as the weather allows for even more sun safety.)

This combination of sunscreen and clothing is the best way to keep your little one happy in the sun and prevent sunburn.

If you’re headed for a day at the beach, where your baby may wear little more than a diaper, be sure to reapply sunscreen after swimming or at least every two hours if they’re just playing in the sand.

Note: Keep in mind that sunscreen is not generally recommended for babies under six months of age. Ask a doctor before applying sunscreen to your infant if they’re five months old or younger.

Home Essentials For The Minimalist Baby

Toys

Mom hugging a baby who has completed baby essentials checklist hugging a baby 

Play is an important part of your baby’s development. It stimulates brain development and teaches fine motor movement and hand-eye coordination.

For newborn to 12-months, consider simple, colorful toys, such as:

  • Crib mobiles (remove once your baby can sit up)
  • Floor play mats
  • Small stuffed fabric balls
  • Soft, washable, colorful stuffed animals
  • Rattles
  • Unbreakable mirrors

For one-to-two-year-olds, provide them with more advanced toys, such as:

  • Stacking rings
  • Shape sorters
  • Nesting cups or boxes
  • Large play vehicles
  • Toys with push or pull options that make noise

For two-to-three-year-olds, give them toys with purpose, such as:

Props for pretend (toy telephones, plastic kitchen utensils, tea party sets, etc.)

  • Simple puzzles
  • Construction toys
  • Stuffed animals
  • Ride-on toys

For four-to-five-year-olds, stimulate their creativity with:

  • Art and craft supplies
  • More advanced puzzles
  • Dress-up clothes
  • Board games that don’t require much reading

For six-to-seven-year-olds, toys that stimulate their interests are a great option, such as:

  • Remote-control cars
  • Strategy board games
  • Magnets
  • Magnifying glasses
  • Telescopes

And, for eight years and up, give them a sense of mastery and competence by giving them access to advanced toys, such as:

  • Computer and video games
  • Science kits
  • Sporting equipment
  • Models
  • Advanced board games (e.g., Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit Junior, Payday)

At younger ages, you might notice that your little one is more interested in the box than the toy itself — that’s OK! It just shows their level of creativity and imagination.

If you want to keep your baby essentials checklist as simple as possible with a few colorful, interactive toys for the appropriate age, your little one will find something to play with to stimulate their imagination.

Even pots and pans, plastic storage containers, and sofa cushions make great toys for kids of all ages.

First Aid Kit

 First Aid Kit is part of baby essentials checklist

Accidents happen, and your baby could scratch themselves and draw blood at any time. Your toddler is going to fall down and skin their knee. You may even have a small accident and cut your finger on a particularly difficult zipper or snap.

For these accidents — and the hundreds of other accidents you can’t predict — include a small first aid kit on your baby essentials checklist. You can purchase one ready-made or make your own at home.

Whichever option you choose, be sure it includes:

  • Band-Aids
  • Gauze
  • Alcohol pads
  • Cotton swabs
  • Small scissors (also useful for making emergency nursing pads)
  • Safety pins
  • Disposable sterile gloves
  • Tweezers
  • Cloth tape
  • Antiseptic cream
  • Cream or spray to relieve stings and insect bites
  • Antihistamine cream
  • Elastic bandage (a.k.a. Ace wrap)

You may also find it useful to include a basic emergency first aid guide with all your supplies. This guide doesn’t have to be thick or heavy. A piece of paper or two with instructions for treating common scrapes and ailments is enough for most situations.

And your first aid kit doesn’t need to contain so much that it takes up half of your diaper bag.

The most-used items — Band-Aids, gauze, alcohol pads, cotton swabs, small scissors, safety pins, tweezers, and even a small tube of antiseptic cream — will fit into a container not much bigger than an Altoids tin or a sealable sandwich bag.

That makes it convenient to stash small first aid kits all over the house for easy access!

Thermometer

It takes some time for your baby’s body temperature to regulate after birth. Even though that’s the case, it’s important to keep an eye out for an elevated temperature in newborns, so some pediatricians will have you check their temperature a few times per day.

Nasal Aspirator

A nasal aspirator is an easy way for you to get any mucus out of your baby’s nose. Since their nostrils are so tiny, they can quickly become clogged.

Baby Medicine

You never know when your baby will run a fever, start teething, get congested, or have an upset tummy. Stay prepared by keeping pain relief medicine, gas relief drops, and saline drops on hand.

Also, if you’re breastfeeding, give your baby vitamin D drops daily to make sure they don’t develop a deficiency in this much-needed nutrient.

Baby Swing Or Bouncer

Nothing compares to holding your sweet baby close to you and cuddling with them, but every now and then your hands need a break.

When you’re at home, a baby swing or bouncer can keep your baby safe and occupied!

Tailoring Your Minimalist Baby Needs To Your Lifestyle

 Baby laying on bed on back

Pause for a minute and take an inventory of your home, your lifestyle, and your schedule. While this checklist serves as a guideline, it’s important to choose what suits you and your family.

Obviously, there are other baby items that are helpful but don’t necessarily qualify as essential for your baby. There’s no reason to invest in these items until you have a better idea of your baby’s needs and preferences as they grow.

Stick with the minimalist baby essentials — including Mustela’s gentle, natural skin care items — and you’ll be ready to meet your little one in no time!