A Minimalist Baby Registry: What Do You Really Need?

In today’s world, there are endless amounts of baby products to choose from. A common misconception for new parents is that you need all of these things before your baby is born, but the truth is babies are actually quite simple.

A new baby needs a place to sleep, food, clothing, diaper changes, a safe way to travel, and of course, loving parents (check!). So we’re here to help you bring it back to the basics with the perfect minimalist baby registry.

What Is a Minimalist Baby Registry

baby girl is hiding under the white blanket excited to get her free baby stuff and free baby samples.
Image Credit: Zdenka Darula/Shutterstock.

Let’s first explore the definition of minimalism. What does it really mean? According to Becoming Minimalist, minimalism is intentionally living with only what you really need. It is removing the excess and focusing on what really matters. This is not only good for your mental health, but it’s also good for your financial health.

Now that you’ve determined a minimalist baby registry is for you, the next step is to figure out exactly what you need (and what you don’t). Below we’ve curated a list of baby registry essentials that will help you narrow it down.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • You will inevitably get some gifts, not on your registry, so you can expect to receive additional baby gear, toys, or outfits.
  • Check with your hospital (or other moms who have recently given birth in the hospital)  to see what they provide. They will often send you home with postpartum items, a baby swaddle or blanket, a nasal aspirator, a pacifier, a baby hat, etc.
  • If you need to fill in any gaps, you can always reference this helpful post about “How to get Free Baby Stuff.”


Baby Registry Items



Newborn babies sleep up to 18 hours per day. A lot of this will be contact naps (laying on you), but there will be times you’ll need to lay them down. A few baby sleep essentials will help you create a safe and optimal sleep environment for your baby.

1. Bassinet (Including Bassinet Sheets and Waterproof Mattress Pad)

Bassinets are intended for newborns and young babies who can not yet roll or sit. These are typically used in the parents’ bedroom for the first few months to make it easy for the middle of the night feedings.

2. Crib (Including Crib Sheets and Waterproof Mattress Pad)

Once babies can roll or sit, you may want to transfer them to a crib.

3. Swaddle

Swaddles are magical. They make babies feel safe and help them sleep longer so their moro (or startle) reflex won’t wake them up.

4. Sound Machine

The womb is loud! To help babies adjust to the outside world, you can use a sound machine on a white noise setting.


Baths are a little touch-and-go at first, but they will soon become a beloved part of your baby’s bedtime routine. Here are a few necessities that will help provide an enjoyable bath time experience.

5. Baby Bath

There are many different types of baby baths. These help keep the baby safe and make it easier for you to wash them.

6. Baby Shampoo & Lotion

Look for something that is hypoallergenic and tear-free.

7. Hooded Towels & Washcloths

Pro tip: Wrap newborns in a warm wet towel while you bathe them. Instead of feeling cold and scared, it will make them feel like they are in the womb.

8. Baby Nail Clippers or Nail File

Baby nails are long and they scratch themselves often!

Baby Gear

Children between birth and three years old learn more in that time than any other 3-year span in their entire life. When it comes down to it, you don’t actually need a lot of baby toys or gear. Babies can learn from everything and anything around them. However, there are some baby gear essentials we recommend for your baby’s development (and for fun!).

9. Baby Swing

A baby swing provides a safe place for you to put them down, and the swinging motion helps them relax and have fun.

10. Baby Books

It is recommended that you start reading to your baby from birth! Reading to your baby strengthens the parent-child relationship, providing many early learning benefits. Here are some of the best baby books to choose from.

11. Montessori Toys

These toys make great toys for babies because they are safe and encourage your baby to explore the world and learn. We don’t want to overwhelm them, so even just adding 2-3 to your registry is a great start. Here are some of the best Montessori toys to choose from.


You may be surprised just how much babies poop and pee. It is a good, healthy sign because it means they are well-fed and well-hydrated. Most children will be potty trained between ages 2-3, so let’s say you have a few years of diapering ahead of you. These basic items should help you make it through. Of course, you can always get free diapers to start yourself off!

12. Diapers & Wipes

13. Changing Pad

We recommend one that is easy to clean.

14. Odor-locking Diaper Pail

To save money, try to pick one that uses regular kitchen trash bags so you don’t have to pay more for their specialty bags.

15. Diaper Rash Cream

Protect your baby’s bum from day 1!


There are a ton of cute yet completely impractical baby outfits out there. When babies are young, you will go through several outfits per day. The best clothes for babies are clothes that are comfortable and easy to get off in case of a milk spill, spit-up incident, or diaper blowout.

16. Onesies (Short & Long Sleeves)

17. Pants

18. Sleepers

19. Socks

20. Baby Laundry Detergent

Look for something hypoallergenic. Dreft is the most popular brand.


Babies eat to live and live to eat! So, the bulk of your registry may be focused on everything you need to feed your baby. It’s great to be prepared, but all babies have different eating preferences, so you can just start with the basics and branch out later.


21. Bottles

22. Formula

23. Bottle Brush

24. Sterilizing Bags

Reusable sterilizing bags use steam and the microwave to sterilize bottles. Many parents find this method much easier than boiling water every single time.

25. Burp Clothes & Bibs

26. Bottle Warmer

The good news is you don’t need a fancy bottle warmer. There are options for less than $25 that are insulated thermoses, and they work great.


Everything above plus:

27. Breast Pump & Accessories

Discuss your breast pump needs with your doctor. We recommend a breast pump that is small, portable, and can pump both breasts at once.

28. Breastmilk Storage Bags

29. Nursing Pillow

Save your neck and your back!


When we say “traveling,” we aren’t talking about an exotic vacation. We mean venturing out to Target, the gas station, down the street..anywhere! The key to traveling around with your baby is to be prepared for anything. As a result, your trip will go smoother, and you’ll likely be able to complete it if you don’t have to turn around due to an untimely diaper blow-out or a hungry baby.

30. Diaper Bag

Unfortunately, a regular bag won’t work great here. Go ahead and register for a proper diaper bag as it will clean easier and have things like a portable changing pad, bottle pockets, and wipe compartments. There are many stylish options.

31. Carseat

32. Stroller

It is very convenient to have a car seat that snaps into your stroller and the option to convert to a toddler seat later on, so you don’t need to purchase another stroller.

33. Carrier

Wraps work well for young babies, but carriers can carry more weight and help better support your back.



If there is one place we don’t want to skimp, it’s on baby health and safety. With that being said, there are many unnecessary products out there, and you don’t know yet what your baby will need. You can always add items later on an “as needed” basis.

34. Baby Monitor

35. Humidifier

Since young babies only breathe out of their noses, these are good to have around in case of nasal congestion.

36. Baby Thermometer


That’s a wrap on creating our minimalist baby registry! Speaking from experience, these baby registry must-haves will help you feel prepared for your baby without going over budget and filling your house with unnecessary items. It’s always easier to add small things later once you get to know the specific needs/preferences of your little one.

Congrats on your bundle of joy!

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This guest post was written by Michelle McCarthy of Fresh Flowers + Spilled Milk. She is an entrepreneur, digital marketer, and mom of 2. In 2019, Michelle, her sister, and her mom started a motherhood lifestyle blog and created an online printables store to help you “decorate + celebrate baby” with beautiful designs for nurseries, baby showers, and birthday parties.