You had best get thee to a baby store! There are bassinets to buy, and monitors and diaper bins and coordinating sheet sets, too. In fact, the USDA estimates that the average American family spends more than $12,000 on child expenses in the first year of their child’s life. It’s easy to see how the expenses begin to add up when you need the newest, most high-tech version of everything.
But is there another way? The movement toward minimizing unnecessary “stuff” and focusing on securing baby’s future health – along with fewer but more functional and often higher quality belongings – has taken hold. It may resonate with you if you find yourself wondering again and again, “Do we really need that?”
Here, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite baby registry items for the minimalist. If you’re expecting a baby and wondering how to navigate the baby registry without going overboard, check out our collection of baby registry alternatives that won’t gather dust.
Baby gifts for indulging
Add a gift certificate for a massage to your registry and enjoy some alone time before the chaos begins. Check with your doctor or midwife in advance to get the all-clear, and be sure to book a massage specific to expecting moms. Trust us, just the chance to lie on your stomach again on a specially prepared bed of pillows will feel heavenly.
If your host is up for coordinating a babymoon-themed shower, you could be in for a real treat. A friend who volunteers to babysit your older children, others who pool their frequent flyer miles towards your flights, and a few more who donate funds towards a hotel or activities could quickly add up to a weekend escape you’re sure to remember long after your tan fades. You could add individual elements of the babymoon to your traditional registry, or leave the organization to your host if she’s willing to be your fairy godmother.
Bubbly, for now, and then
Want a special gift to enjoy now and again later? Request two bottles of nice champagne, preferably with the year on them. Enjoy one with your family on your baby’s birth day and save the other to enjoy with your child when she turns 21.
Baby gifts that will ease your burden
Your own feeding schedule is about to take a back seat to your hungry little peanut’s. If you’d like to avoid a diet of granola bars and lukewarm coffee, consider requesting the gift of healthy delivered, kit, or home-cooked meals. Then practice reheating and consuming them with one hand tied behind your back. Request that your host sets up a meal train if she’s willing, or consider asking for gift cards to local catering services or a meal kit subscription service.
If there’s anything less important than your meals, it will probably be the cleanliness of your kitchen sink. A cleaning service can help take some of the load off, whether it’s scheduled once for a deep clean or arranged on a regular basis. Add a cleaning service fund, gift certificate, or Groupon to your registry and stay a step ahead of the mess. Just try to resist the urge to frantically clean up before the cleaners arrive.
As you probably know, your life will soon be full of diapers. Whether you go for cloth or disposable, your little one is apt to go through six to 12 per day to start. Yup, that’s a diaper champ total of up to 84 diapers per week. While you might not get help changing them, you can certainly get help keeping them in stock. Request an Amazon Mom diaper subscription to automatically arrive each month (remember to change sizes as needed!), or add a cloth diaper cleaning service to your registry.
Baby gifts for the Future
You can open a college savings account for your child even before he or she is born. While a 529 account does require a named beneficiary with an existing social security number, you can name yourself as a temporary beneficiary and change the beneficiary to your child at any time. Websites such as UGift make it easy to receive gift contributions to a 529 or other college savings account. Simply include your account’s unique gift code on your registry, and friends and family will be able to contribute directly.
Cord blood and placental tissue banking
The day your child is born may be the happiest day of your life. For parents who choose to bank their child’s cord blood, it could also defend them against the worst days as well. Americord is the leader in umbilical cord blood, cord tissue, and placental stem cell banking and yields the lowest costs with the highest quality guarantee. The stem cells found in cord blood can be cryogenically preserved and used later to help treat certain cancers, immune deficiencies, and blood diseases. Adding a cord blood banking fund to your registry is a smart investment in your family’s future.
The USDA reports that, on average, 30 percent of child expenses incurred during the average child’s first year stem from childcare costs. In fact, if you thought planning for college was important, consider this: According to the Economic Policy Institute, in 33 states and the District of Columbia, infant care costs exceed the average cost of in-state college tuition at public four-year institutions. Consider your family’s budget and childcare options and add a daycare fund to your registry if it makes sense for your finances.
Parent Co. partnered with Americord because we believe in the value of thinking outside the (gift) box.
Baby gifts to get sentimental
Online or text message baby journal
You may have high hopes for tracking every milestone and writing down every cute thing your toddler says, but when the bottles stack up in the sink and the sippy cups overflow, you may find that all your best intentions fall by the wayside. A subscription to a baby journal app or even a text message baby journal service can help you to save all the precious moments without the stress. Gift cards for either can usually be purchased on the host’s website and are easy to add to an online gift registry.
Photo book gift certificate or subscription
With the advent of digital photography, it’s easy to fall into the habit of taking lots of photos that quickly disappear onto an old hard drive. Sadly, many photos of your wee one will likely never make it off the screen. By requesting a gift card for a photo book or a photo printing subscription service, you can guarantee that more pictures of all that baby cuteness make it off your phone and into your living room.
Newborn photo shoot
The window for newborn photo shoots is surprisingly fleeting. Most photographers will tell you that if you want those adorable shots of your tiny sweetness sleeping sweetly with his chin resting on his perfectly folded hands, you’ll need to catch him on film before he’s two weeks old. Otherwise, he’s not likely to sleep that soundly again until he’s a teenager, and sorry, but the pictures won’t be nearly as cute by then. Plan ahead by registering for a newborn photo shoot. Get in touch with the photographer a few weeks to a month before your due date to make sure he or she can fit your cutie into the schedule.
Baby gifts to keep it practical
Files to go
No matter how or when your baby arrives, she’s going to come with a lot of paperwork. There might be discharge notes, immunization records, or tiny footprints to save. There will certainly be a birth certificate and a social security card arriving soon. If you have some crafty friends, register for a homemade file system, complete with labeled hanging folders. You could request folders for keepsakes, immunization records, insurance paperwork, pediatrician visits, receipts, and warranties. Or you could just refer your friends and family to one of the hundreds of Pinterest posts that outline this super functional gift idea.
Baby book club
When Oprah, gushing over the arrival of George and Amal Clooney’s twins, was asked about her favorite baby gift, the response was no surprise. Baby’s first book club is a great way to quickly gather a collection of favorites to start your child’s library. While it’s true that books might take up space and eventually go unused, great stories will be read again and again, well into childhood. Some can even be passed on to another generation someday. Ask your host to invite guests to bring their favorite child classic with a personal inscription written inside. You could even request books in lieu of cards. Who wants to spend five dollars on a piece of folded cardboard that ends up in the trash anyway?
Hospital care kit
Once baby arrives, your self-care will play second fiddle to the whole mothering thing, but that doesn’t mean you have to suffer. Register for a hospital care kit filled with stuff just for you. Include nipple cream, healthy snacks, a super soft robe that’s easy for skin to skin or nursing, some dry shampoo, a good water bottle, some nice travel sized toiletries, and whatever else you think might help while you’re recovering. There’s a tendency to focus on the baby only when you create your registry, but you’ll be in need of care, too.
How to Register
If you’ve kept up with Emily Post and Miss Manners, you probably know that it’s considered a bit gauche by some to ask for a pile of cash, especially for an occasion such as a baby shower. Luckily, there are other options now.
If you want to request a service, homemade gift, or contributions towards a large item, registries like Babylist allow you to list not only traditional items from any website, but also gifts you can’t buy in stores, like help with the laundry or a home-cooked meal.
You can also use a fundraising site like Plumfund to receive contributions towards a specific high-ticket item, like cord blood banking. Distribute a link to friends and family so that they can contribute directly to your fund, and consider including a short explanation in your shower invitation so that invitees will know why this is an important gift to you and your family’s future.
Baby clutter can add up quickly, but there’s no need for the minimalist parents-to-be to feel overwhelmed or caught in the consumer rush. While there are tons of products out there to make parenting a little easier, many parents will agree that the most important requirements for their little ones aren’t things that can be bought in a store. Consider your family’s future and create a baby registry that truly reflects your values and needs.
Parent Co. partnered with Americord because we believe in the value of thinking outside the (gift) box.