Planning for baby #2? or #3? Now that you’re rocking the mom life (or if you’re like me, more like doing the best you can as you figure stuff out on a daily basis and drink a lot of coffee), you can be strategic about the “stuff” you bring in for the next one. You can even narrow it down to the only 10 things you need for baby!
The Giant Pile for Baby #1
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I clearly remember the sheer delight of strolling through Target with a baby registry scanner and feeling like I was on top of the world. Nothing beats shopping for whatever you want and not spending your own money.
When I was pregnant with my first daughter, I was JUST a little scanner happy. Plus, with Baby #1, you seriously have NO idea which of the 17,000 baby items you will actually use and which ones are unnecessary.
So I did what any unsuspecting first-time mom would do and registered for….all of them.
But after my baby was born, I discovered a strange phenomenon…I was using just a FEW things all the time and MOST of it only sometimes or not at all. Plus, finding places for all of it was stressing me out!
What do you need to buy for a Second Baby?
By the time I got pregnant with baby #2, I realized that I didn’t want to spend the money or use the space to keep a crazy amount of baby items in the house. And you probably don’t either.
Good news! You can successfully raise a happy, healthy child with only a few basic items. And chances are, you and your baby won’t miss the rest one bit.
It was pretty easy for me to identify my 10 things, but I know every mom has a slightly different list based on her unique parenting style and her baby’s needs. So I polled a group of moms and also got THEIR lists of top items to compare. I was pleasantly surprised to see that, with a few small variations, the majority of moms identified the same basic list as I had!
Should I create a Registry for Second Baby?
The short answer is yes! Why not? Even with a streamlined list, creating a free baby registry online is a great way to keep track of the EXACT few items you want, whether or not you share it with anyone. Plus, people will still want to buy you a gift. So instead of making them guess and ending up with items you don’t want or need, having a versatile baby registry like this free one on Amazon to refer them to is a great way to go. You can add pretty much anything you want to it, even things from OTHER websites! Plus, it’s easy for people to have things shipped directly to you if you’re not having a baby shower or “sprinkle.”
Also, I created a free 1-page printable to help you figure out exactly the items you need. Be sure to download your free Minimalist Baby Registry Checklist here!
The Only 10 Things You Need for Baby #2 (or 3 or 4)
1. A safe place for them to sleep
This may look different for each family, but a crib, a bassinet, or some designated safe place for your baby to sleep is a must. Whether you kept your crib from baby #1 or borrow one from a friend, you don’t necessarily have to spend money on this one! I used a crib like this one. Although, because we like to safely co-sleep, I took the front panel off and pushed it right up against our bed and secured it. This way my baby was still in arm’s reach for easy breastfeeding and my peace of mind, but I wasn’t in danger of rolling over on her. (Check with your healthcare provider for safe options based on your situation.)
2. A carseat
If you plan to leave your house at any point (remember, you WILL actually leave your house again, and probably a lot sooner than you did after baby #1 was born), you’ll need a carseat. You can get a lot of bang for your buck with a convertible carseat that goes from a 4 pound baby all the way up to a 4 year old and beyond. A carseat/stroller combination is also still a great option for baby #2.
3. Breastpump or Formula & Bottles
You’ll need a way to feed your baby. That’s another given (genius mom, right here). But it definitely doesn’t need to be complicated.
- Breastfeeding? A breast pump is still on my must-have list. If you’re going back to work outside of the home, an electric pump is so helpful. Many insurance plans actually cover it as a necessary expense! So before you go out and drop big bucks, give your insurance company a quick call and see what your options are.
- CONFESSION: I got a $250 breast pump for FREE through insurance and never even used it. What did I use instead? This simple hand pump. Even if you’re NOT working outside the home, a hand pump will be a lifesaver for date nights, emergencies, and even preventing mastitis. It’s super affordable, easy to clean and tiny enough to stick in a carry-on or your purse!
- Formula Feeding? There are a lot of great options out there! Choose your formula and invest in a good set of bottles. I love these glass bottles!
These things are incredible! They’re soft, cozy, lightweight and SO versatile! This was an easy pick for my top 10 list. Here are just a few things I used these fantastic blankets for:
- Actually swaddling babies
- Burp cloth
- Nursing cover
- Makeshift shopping cart cover
- Floor blanket for playing/activity
I love the Aden & Anais brand and used them with both babies. Plus, there are TONS of adorable prints to choose from and they’re 100% cotton or bamboo!
5. Baby Carrier
In all honesty, if I could only choose ONE item for baby #2 (besides a full-time housekeeper of course), it would be this. I didn’t use my baby carrier much with baby #1 because let’s be honest, I wasn’t chasing another kid around AND I had no idea how amazing carriers were yet.
But by the time baby #2 came around, I was awakened to the glorious world of baby carrying. Carriers give moms the gift of freedom. You can literally carry your baby around in any situation and be hands-free. From chasing your toddler to making dinner to going to events or for a walk or to the zoo or working at your standing desk, baby is happy and snuggly with Mama and you can actually get things done and go places.
If you have been skeptical about baby carriers, now is the time to give them a try. Find the right carrier for you and try it out a few times until you and baby get comfortable with it. Then enjoy the incredible freedom that comes!
My 2-year-old will STILL take a nap in the carrier when we are out and about and I need a place for her. It’s amazing.
Which Carrier is Right for Me?
- A moby or boba or ring sling is great for the first 3 months or so. (Before you get intimidated by putting one on, just search YouTube for videos on your chosen carrier for easy, step-by-step instructions.
- For 3 months and up (or from infancy with a special insert), a soft structure carrier is the perfect way to go. It will provide more support for you and baby, yet still, be very versatile. My #1 pick is the ergo 360. You can use it on your front or back and can face baby out or in. It breathes well, has great shoulder & back support for you and (as the name suggests) will keep your baby in an ergonomically correct position so as not to cause hip dysplasia or other problems as they grow. If you want a prettier carrier with a sweet pattern of your choice, I also love the Tula! It’s very comfortable and keeps baby’s hips in a good position as well.
6. A Sound Machine
I had no idea this would become my best friend. When you have a baby, you invest your blood, sweat and tears into caring for them. It’s a true honor and also ridiculously exhausting. You find yourself neglecting your own basic needs and self-care for a season all for the sake of this tiny person who has captured your heart.
Then, there’s this magical moment when your baby falls asleep and you have a brief window where you can breathe again. But then the dog barks or the doorbell rings or, heaven forbid, you try to slink out of the room like a ninja to steal a minute of me-time and accidentally knock something over and your baby wakes up. NOOOOOOOOO!!!!
A sound machine is here for you. It has your back. It will cover your creaky floor and the squeaky door and your desperate desire for your baby to sleep more. Totally worth it.
7. A Swing
This one may not be on every mom’s list for baby #2, but it’s definitely a top pick for me. In addition to having a place for baby to sleep, I have found it SO valuable to have a safe place to put my baby down when I need to hop in the shower, go to the bathroom, or just take a minute to compose myself when the stress of motherhood feels overwhelming.
What I love about the swing is that it gently rocks your little one to sleep or keeps them calm while awake. We all know that sometimes moms and dads just need a minute. Here’s the swing I used for both of my babies and it worked great!
8. Clothes, Diapers, & Wipes
I mean, this is obviously a necessity, but don’t go overboard. Those first few months, a bunch of versatile onesies are the main thing you need. Instead of buying every cute outfit you see (that will probably end up with the tags left on or covered in baby poo anyway), think about times when you will actually be going to an event or getting photos taken that would warrant a fancy baby outfit and buy for those times specifically. The rest of the time, onesies and some mix and match pieces are an affordable and comfy way to go.
My kids have super sensitive skin, so for me, these wipes have been a great gentle, fragrance-free option that’s not crazy in price. As for diapers, these ones are my faves! They are gentle on baby’s skin and one of the more affordable options out there. And these overnight diapers are my best friend.
9. Baby Books
No, I don’t mean a book about how to take care of your baby (you’re good on that one). I mean books to READ to your baby.
This may seem like a strange pick when you can only choose 10 items, but hear me out! Reading to your baby has so many benefits!
- Hearing you read is calming to your baby
- Assists in language development
- Significantly boosts your child’s vocabulary, which is correlated with academic success (according to a study in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics)
- Helps you bond with your child and strengthens your attachment
It’s also a great excuse to snuggle up with your little one and spend a little quality time in small pockets throughout the day. So pull out your baby books from your firstborn or hit up a local resale shop or FB marketplace for some super cheap finds and get reading! Check out these 10 Hilarious Picture Books to Make Your Family Laugh!
10. A Helpful Community
I did not have this on my original list of 10. But as I polled a group of moms with LOTS of experience, this was something that came up over and over. And I completely agree.
One of the most important things we need with baby #2 is support. We know, as experienced moms, that parenting is hard work. And sometimes it’s just overwhelming. We expect ourselves to be able to do all the things, neglect our own self-care, and still be okay.
But the truth is, we need community. Not everyone has supportive family to help when a baby is born, and that’s okay. But having some extra help, whether from friends, a spouse, or even paid help is so valuable. So check out these 3 ways to get support with or without friends and family
- Meal Train so you don’t have to cook If you’ve never heard of a meal train, it’s a way for other people to sign up to bring you meals or send you gift cards for takeout after baby is born. And it’s AMAZING. Have a friend set one up for you for free using a website like www.takethemameal.com and post it on your social media.
- Family or Friends to help around the house so you can focus on baby
- OR a Post-Partum Doula Most people think of a doula as someone who assists you during the actual birth. But postpartum doulas are an incredible way to get support AFTER baby is born too! They will do everything from helping you recover to holding your baby to cooking meals and cleaning up and all sorts of things that will make you cry in a stupor of hormonal thankfulness. If you don’t have supportive family nearby to help, consider this great and affordable option.
- Connection with your Husband This is something I totally took for granted with baby #1. We were so caught up in the swirl of being new parents that my husband and I forgot how to be “us” for the first year. Everything centered around caring for our little girl and it was hard on our marriage. For baby #2, we were intentional to invest in our relationship through the whole process and it has made all the difference. It can be as simple as saying “Thank You,” making eye contact and smiling, sharing a 6-second kiss, watching a show together, whatever. Just remember that you’re in this together and take some small actions to demonstrate that on a daily basis. For some great ideas, here are 5 Ways to Connect With Your Spouse in 5 Minutes or Less!
- OR Find a Mom Friend to connect with. I have mad respect for my single mom friends who, for whatever reason, find themselves raising their babies without a supportive dad in the picture. Be intentional to connect with some other Moms before and after baby is born and let them walk the journey with you. You are a rock star!
Great! Now that you know the only 10 things you really NEED…
Here are a few things you can live without:
- baby bathtub (use a sink)
- baby monitor (just listen….if your house is huge, a monitor may be helpful)
- activity mat (make your own with a simple blanket and some colorful toys within arms reach)
- bouncer (I didn’t use this with either of my kids)
- pacifiers (Your call! Some moms are ALL IN on these. My babies didn’t take them.)
- boppy pillow (use a regular pillow or go without)
- baby bath towels/washcloths (use regular ones)
- bibs (unless your baby is a heavy drooler, just change their clothes if they are too wet)
- baby brush & nail clippers (use regular ones)
- jumparoo (optional; If you have to have one, grab one used and then give it away when baby outgrows it)
- high chair (optional; some moms love it, some don’t need it)
- bottle warmer (pan & water…old school)
And a few things you DEFINITELY don’t need…
- diaper pail (use a trash can)
- wipe warmer
- fancy diaper bag (just find a bag you like and use it)
- bottle drying rack
- baby food makers (baby-led weaning is my friend)
What are YOUR must-haves for baby? I’d love to know!
Like this post? You may also enjoy reading…
- 7 Surprisingly Effective Productivity Tips for Busy Moms
- 7 Compelling Reasons Moms Should Dream
- 5 Ways to Connect With Your Kids in 5 Minutes or Less
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