A Minimalist's Guide to Baby Gear

Julie Ryan Evans

baby giftsAh the lure of baby gear. It's cute and helpful and, wow, some of it will even make your baby a genius ... or kill him if you don't use each and every one of those safety devices

Parents today are bombarded with products they NEED to raise happy, healthy children, and of course, who wouldn't want that? So the heartstrings pull on the pocketbook, and all of a sudden, you're surrounded by gads of gear -- some of which you'll use and some of which you won't ... ever. 

The fact is: You need very little to raise a baby. Very little.

In fact, I think there are only five baby items that are really required:

1. Diapers

Whether you choose cloth or disposal, you're going to need something down there, or you're going to have a mess on your hands ... and on everything else.

2. Place for Sleep

If you choose to co-sleep, this may not even be a purchase you have to make, but for others, bassinets and cribs are the best purchases. You've probably heard stories about babies who slept in drawers -- don't try that.

3. Clothing

It needn't be fancy or expensive, but you're going to need some baby clothes. Sleepers and onesies are about all a baby needs for the first few months. So while all the little mini Levis and itty bitty tutus are adorable, they're also impractical and uncomfortable for baby. Save them until the kids are a bit more mobile and someone can actually see them.

4. Car Seat

Assuming you travel anywhere by car ever, you're going to need a car seat. It's an important item, so if you're in the market, check out these 7 Rules for Buying and Installing a Car Seat.

5. Nutrition

If you plan to breastfeed exclusively, you may be able to skip this altogether, though you still may choose to get a pump, bottle, and other accessories. For others, you'll need formula and bottles.

Beyond that, there's only one other thing you really need to raise a baby -- L-O-V-E, and lots of it!

What baby gear have you found that you really need and don't need?

Image via jessicafm/Flickr

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