We are finally parents! One of our main concerns was always which nursery essentials are best for minimalist parents. As travel parents, (and full time digital nomads) we always want to carry ONLY the essentials. But when you have a baby, “essentials” takes a whole new meaning. Long gone are the days of traveling with just our backpacks or carry on.
As new parents, we worried a lot and probably over bought many things. Now that Alaska is 3 months old, I can tell you with certainty which items I would pass on and which I will buy again.
Here is a simple list of nursery essentials for new minimalist or Travel parents
Muslin Swaddle Blankets
You will use a blanket for everything. During the first days, and while your baby climatizes to the temperatures around her, you will use a blanket all the time. Alaska was born during the summer yet we never leave the house without a blanket. Babies regulate their temperature pretty well but it’s still potentially too cold at night, in the car, inside a new place. Besides, a blanket is useful to swaddle, cover her, cover her feet while in the carseat, cleaning spit when you forget or misplace the burp rag, emergency changing pad….. and a million other things.
A swaddle blanket does not have to be fancy or too specific, but we love these because they’re organic and soft on her skin.
I remember I wanted to use my pregnancy pillow and fold it in half and reuse for breastfeeding. I cannot tell you how happy I am I didn’t. I LOVE my poppy pillow (and this is not an ad). We use our poppy pillow for so many things, we moved cross country and to Mexico and carried it with us. This is truly a nursery essential for minimalists and travel parents because of its many uses.
We use it for breastfeeding, lounging, tummy time…. You can purchase a simple one and different covers if you get bored of its look. The covers are washable (they will get dirty). I cannot imagine breastfeeding without this pillow. It has literally been a game changer. My favorite thing about it, is that Alaska falls asleep on it while breastfeeding and this leaves me with two free hands (and a compromised breast) to do things with, such as writing this post.
Baby wraps are a MUST!!
I got a Solly Baby Wrap because I fell in love with their rose color, and also because I love what the company stands for, but you can purchase any soft carrier.
My recommendation is using them from the beginning so both you and your baby get used to it.
We also recommend getting an organic one, since your baby’s face and body will be up against it all the time.
I love them for multitasking, skin to skin, and just the ease of taking your baby everywhere. Also, since we travel all the time and space is of the essence, this is literally the smallest carrier you can possibly have.
Baby stuff is a lot, and most of it is bulky, so it is nice knowing you have such an essential that packs so small. I usually have one in the car and one in my diaper bag.
Another nursery essential for minimalist or travel parents is a way to carry your baby outdoors that is sturdy. We have and love the BabyBjorn carrier. It’s lightweight, machine washable, simple to use and very practical. Sometimes the sling is a bit too wobbly, or we simply want a more sturdy carrier. It’s also good for walks, hikes, and my husband prefers it.
It is very lightweight which makes it easy to transport, and it’s super comfortable. Possibly my favorite feature, is that you can can strap it on by yourself as it is very simple. Some carriers are more complex, and some have lots of buttons and straps. This one is a no brainer and the only adjustment we ever make to it is the length of the straps from when he wears it to when I do.
It works for babies up to 24lbs and you can wear it in the front or back. We will have this until it’s too small for her.
One of the biggest decisions we had to make as we became parents, was deciding wether we wanted to have the convenience of disposable diapers, or feel good (and deal with the poop) about doing our part and get cloth diapers. we decided we were okay dealing with a bit more work if that means we were doing something good for the planet our daughter was going to grow up in. That being said, newborn’s poop stains A LOT and when you are in pain, exhausted, running late, or traveling, disposables are a god send. As I write this, we have come up with a 90-10 compromise. Ninety percent of the time we use (and love) cloth diapers. The other ten percent we use the most sustainable, eco disposable diapers we can find.
We’ve tried 4 different brands to date, and our favorite is Eco by naty.
They are very eco conscious, comfortable, breathable, and we never had a leak happen.
Cloth diapers is possibly my most passionate subject regarding eco conscious parenting. I have spent countless hours researching wether this is worth doing or not. Now that I’m a parent I have spent countless hours trying and reviewing different brands, and needless to say changing Alaska from diaper to diaper. I LOVE cloth diapers. My favorites are the pocket ones, and you can read about my favorite brands and why we are choosing to cloth diaper HERE.
I think every parent wanting to pack less, travel often, and be eco conscious should consider going this route. For starters, with about 10 diapers and a good washing machine you are set. No need to pack 100 diapers for a week vacation, just make sure wherever you go has a washing machine available. Even though I have purchased over 75 different diapers, we never wash more than 5 in any given load. What you actually need a lot of is inserts.
Don’t feel like you have to spend lots of money on fancy brands either, some of our favorite are these from amazon. They have been the most durable, comfortable, and cost effective so far.
This is an essential if you care about what you use to clean your baby. I say this because in 3 months, I have used just about everything within reach to clean Alaska. As much as I love (and need) burp cloths, we initially bought only 3 of them and boy did we need more!
After a few weeks, once she actually started drooling, we realized we needed tons more.
I suggest buying at least 5-10 of them and spreading them everywhere. Often times you’ll be in the living room and need to clean your baby. Then, it’s hard to go to the bedroom or start looking everywhere for the burp cloth. At first, we lived in a tiny home, so finding these was not hard. As we have travelled more with her, it has become virtually impossible to find the burp cloth before it’s too late. If you don’t care too much to stain your clothes, then you don’t need many of these.
This is a bit of a controversial subject, as many parents might disagree. We bought many things for Alaska on other parent’s recommendations including the SNOO bassinet and countless other items. The right infant lounge pillow, though, was one item I would buy 1000 times again.
Our baby loved being with us from day one, and wanting to practice gentle parenting we allowed her to. The fear of us rolling over her at night, and the desire to sleep better both led us to use the Snuggle me Organic infant lounger from day one. At first, we thought it would get old quickly. But it’s not been three months of life with Alaska and she still sleeps in her lounger snuggle between us every night.
She has slept in countless hotel rooms by now, family member’s houses, and of course our own. She has slept in in swaddled, fully clothed, and in just her diaper. She has slept in it at night, and also in the day.
She uses it for lounging at play time, and sleep at night. It is light enough (though not too small) to actually carry with you on road trips and vacations -if you plan on checking in a luggage. And because it is organic, we feel good about her spending all this time snuggled by it.
Read more about sustainable practices for parents on the go HERE.
What other nursery essentials do minimalists or travel parents need?
There are other things we would recommend, such as a good car seat and a great activity mat. Whereas these things are not essentials, they will make your life easier. I will continue sharing what we find useful along the way, but one thing I have learned is that what you will need the first month, is very different from what you will need 3 months later.
The thing with kids is, they are always changing. Rapidly. And so will your needs.
For this reason I suggest you stay minimal, light, and practical. Especially if staying in motion (aka traveling) is your priority.
Lastly, we buy a lot of our things second hand. This allows to decrease demand (more eco conscious) and to resale without the pressure of spending tons of money on things you will only use a few times.
What do you think?
What do you think are essentials for you and your family? Share below! and don’t forget to follow us on instagram for more tips, pictures, and adventure Inspo! Don’t forget to say hi if you start following us there!!!