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Raising a baby requires a lot of crap. And if you go mainstream it requires an absurd amount of crap. Every child is different; every lifestyle, climate and laundry schedule are different too. But it is helpful as a new parent to see what other moms did.
Whether you’re a new mom or not, if you want to raise your child with a minimalist and zero waste attitude, this checklist is for you. Below you will find all the things we actually needed for our little Pudge’s first year, as we pursued a zero waste and minimalist lifestyle.
Keep in mind lifestyle differences as you read – I have full access to a washer and dryer, I breastfeed, Pudge comes to work with me so my pumping needs are limited, and I live in a spastic climate with extreme cold and hot weather.
Items in green were absolute necessities – everything else just made life easier.
- Cloth Wipes. We have enough to fill 2 quart size mason jars because I’m paranoid about running out. This lasts 2- 4 days and is approximately 36 wipes per jar.
- DIY cloth wipe solution.
- 30 reuseable cloth diaper liners/inserts.
- 25 cloth diaper covers. Our Pudge had bad diarrhea from antibiotics so we would go through up to 20 a day.
- Small jar with DIY diaper rash cream.
- Cornstarch in a Shaker. Works just as good as baby powder and it’s a lot cheaper.
- 2 small wet bags.
- 2 large zippered wet bags.
- Somewhere to wash things. If you don’t have washer/dryer hookups you can use the bucket method or buy a portable washer like this one and line-dry (Line-drying is better for cloth diapers anyways).
- Portable wipes container for when you don’t want to haul a mason jar around.
I breastfeed. If you’re planning on formula feeding or doing a combination of the two this list will need alterations. If you have the choice, always breastfeed exclusively. Its better for you, your baby and the planet. And your wallet! But no matter how you do it, feeding your baby is the part that matters.
- 2 glass bottles
- Electric breast pump
- 2 pumping tank tops
- Bottle brush with nipple wand
- Dishwasher bottle basket
- Castille soap for washing bottles
- 304 steel pot for sterilizing pumping supplies, bottles and pacifiers.
- Re-useable milk storage.
- Insulated cooler and ice packs for transporting milk.
- Nursing pillow and washable cover.
- Lasinoh cream for your nipples. I only really needed this the first month but some Mom’s will need it the whole time you nurse.
- Reuseable WATERPROOF nursing pads (if they’re not lined with waterproof material on the back you’ll leak right through them).
- Clothes you can nurse in public in – stretchy T-shirts, loose sweaters and low tank tops work great and are cheap. Or get the amaaaazing nursing sweater I have.
- Nursing cover (if you’re uncomfortable in public).
- Prenatal vitamins for mom.
Moving on to solids between 4- 6 months, you will also need:
- Whole foods – bananas, squash, etc.
- Lunchbox for on the go.
- Potato masher. I use it on things like beans and baked potatoes.
- Teething bags (stuff it with frozen berries. Seriously, no orajel needed).
- 4 Bibs
- 3 Velcro swaddles (these saved my life – seriously. I wasn’t going to buy any but one was given to me and I loved them so much I bought two backups)
- Two heavy blankets
- Two medium blankets
- Two light blankets
- 6 receiving blankets (these double as burp rags)
Clothes (year one)
In the spirit of zero waste, buy as much of these used as possible. For when you can’t, I’ve provided links to organic cotton clothing that can be passed down until it’s ready to be composted.
- 10 newborn onesies – 5 long sleeve, 5 short sleeve.
- 2 newborn hats.
- 10 newborn pairs of pants.
- 2 newborn light zip up footie pajamas.
- 2 newborn heavy zip up footie pajamas.
- 20-40 pairs of 0-3 month socks (Dont waste money on newborn ones).
- 2 pairs of 0-3 month booties (only if it’s really cold).
- 0-3 month snowsuit (only if it’s really cold).
- 10 0-3 month onesies – 5 long sleeve, 5 short sleeve.
- 2 0-3 month hats.
- 10 0-3 month pairs of pants.
- 2 0-3 month light zip up footie pajamas.
- 2 0-3 month heavy zip up footie pajamas.
- 20-40 pairs of 3-6 month socks.
- 2 pairs of 3-6 month booties (only if it’s really cold).
- 3-6 month snowsuit (only if it’s really cold).
- 8 3-6 month onesies – 4 long sleeve, 4 short sleeve.
- 2 3-6 month hats.
- 8 3-6 month pairs of pants.
- 2 3-6 month light zip up footie pajamas.
- 2 3-6 month heavy zip up footie pajamas.
- 20-40 pairs of 6- 18 month socks.
- 2 pairs of 6-18 month booties (only if it’s really cold).
- 1 6- 9 month snowsuit (only if it’s really cold).
- 8 6- 9 month onesies – 4 long sleeve, 4 short sleeve.
- 2 6- 9 month hats.
- 8 6- 9 month pairs of pants.
- 2 6- 9 month light zip up footie pajamas.
- 2 6- 9 month heavy zip up footie pajamas
- 20-40 pairs of 18- 24 month socks.
- 2 pairs of 18- 24 month booties (only if it’s really cold).
- 1 9- 12 month snowsuit (only if it’s really cold).
- 8 9- 12 month onesies – 4 long sleeve, 4 short sleeve.
- 2 9- 12 month hats.
- 8 9- 12 month pairs of pants.
- 2 9- 12 month light zip up footie pajamas.
- 2 9- 12 month heavy zip up footie pajamas
- Dirty clothes basket
- Baby safe stain remover
- Baby/cloth diaper safe laundry soap
- Chlorine-free bleach
- Net bag for washing socks in (so your machine doesn’t eat them)
- Convertible car seat
- Stroller and rain shield
- Car mirror. So you can see baby on long trips. Baby’s have suffocated in car seats before so I view this as a necessity.
- Car window covers
- Diaper bag (if you’re not using your purse)
- Convertible crib. In the United States you are legally required to provide your baby an age appropriate bed with a frame. Even if you cosleep.
- Highchair or other seating while eating device.
- Somewhere to keep clothes off the floor; Baskets, bookshelves and dressers all work.
- Boba wrap or baby carrier
Your baby needs very little in this category, contrary to popular culture. My baby’s favorite toys are empty cereal boxes (plastic removed), rubber spatulas, coat hangers and an old Xbox controller that had the cord cut off. And in all honesty your baby will enjoy watching you and being involved in your tasks more than toys. I let him play with hangers and washcloths while I fold laundry. He plays with a wooden spoon and cheerios while I do dishes. And so on.
- A blanket to lay down on the floor.
- A separate blanket for outdoor play.
- Hand-held rattle
- Two stuffed toys (ours sing)
- Foot rattles
- Books to read (As many as you feel is appropriate)
- Library card.
- Supplies for sensory play like finger paints, cookie cutters, etc.
- Pacifiers and clips. These have been shown to reduce the risk of SID’s, so use them until about a year and then ween off of them.
- Nail clippers
- Missing persons kit
- Waterproof/fireproof safe for important documents.
- Special swim diaper for the local pool.
Baby Health and Safety
- Forehead thermometer.
- Lavender vaporub for colds.
- Nasal aspirator (there are different sizes – get all of them).
- Syringe for medications/vitamins.
- Infant tylenol.
- Peppermint tea (for belly aches).
- Grape juice for constipation.
- Baby-proofing supplies – fridge latches, cabinet latches, oven and range guards, gates for stair cases, toilet seat locks, etc.
- Fire alarm in every room. Gas alarm if you need it.
- Fire extinguisher.
- Baby monitor
I seriously recommend getting hold of your local Child Welfare and asking for a home inspection checklist. There are required items on there a lot parents (good normal parents) don’t know about. Such as having a certain distance between kitchen appliances and the sink.
What did your baby need?
This is part two of a series on raising a zero waste family.