Tips for New Moms and Expecting Moms
It’s like they always say, how can such a tiny baby need so much stuff? Well, they really don’t need as much as we may think. And if you have a small house like I do, you may find that when it comes to baby products, less is more.
Our 3 bedroom house lacks a true basement, attic, or any real room for storage. But prior to having kids, the home felt like a mansion to my husband and me. It was more than enough space because our 2 spare bedrooms at the time were used as office and storage space. Our downstairs floor was fairly open with a living room, kitchen, and a modest-sized dining room. I look back at pictures of the house pre-kids and I barely recognize it. It looks so empty and spacious(and clean).
Fast forward to today. We now have one little boy, one baby girl, and no spare bedrooms. We have converted our small dining area into a playroom, but this hasn’t kept the toys from flowing into the living room…and the kitchen..and pretty much every other room in the house. In fact, despite having an entire playroom dedicated to them and their toys, my kids prefer to play in the living room (pictured above) and the kitchen.
So please, learn from my mistakes. I would like to share with you lessons I learned about baby clutter to help new moms and moms to be.
First, here are my tips for Moms to Be for Avoiding Baby Product Clutter:
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1. Do not Buy or Register for every Baby Product out there
It’s tempting, I know. During my first pregnancy, I spent countless hours editing my online registries. I was constantly researching products, reading reviews, adding items, looking for the best baby products.
I really had no idea what to expect. I didn’t know anything about babies. I felt so unprepared and looking at all the baby products that were out there made me feel like I needed to have all these things.
There are a lot of really cool products out there and some of them definitely make life easier, but many of the products really aren’t necessary. For example, you need to have somewhere safe to buckle your baby while you get stuff done or, you know, go to the bathroom.
Do you need a MamaRoo, a swing, a bouncer, an activity center, a walker, and a play mat? No. Do I currently have all of those things in my living room? Yes.Which is why there is no room whatsoever.
We were very fortunate because our friends who had recently had babies were more than ready to pass these items on to us (they didn’t have room for them either). But even though we have all of these items and more, my baby hardly ever uses most of them, and the ones she used the first few months she has already grown out of.
I would recommend selecting products that will have multiple uses and that your baby will be able to use after the newborn phase. Look for products that will fit in your budget, in your house, and with your lifestyle.
You may notice from the picture of my living room that we had a mamaRroo and a swing. My baby did not fit in the swing for very long. The mamaRoo was the most useful to us because it came with an infant insert that could be used for the newborn stage, but removed as the baby grew.
You may find that you end up with extra items from friends and family. So, don’t go crazy buying too many products that you may barely use or may be able to get from a friend.
My friends and I have passed around bouncers, swings, and high chairs enough times to know that baby products truly are the gifts that keep on giving!
2. Look for the Items that Take up the Least Amount of Space
When comparing the millions of baby products out there, you may want to consider the items that take up the least amount of space or will collapse to store easily. This is not something that I ever thought about when I was registering for baby products but I really wish that someone would have brought to my attention. Again, I didn’t actually think my house was small back then.
Keep in mind that when the item is not being used, needs to be transported, or kept in storage for future children, you will be thankful that it will be collapsible and store easily. Here are some examples of baby items that have worked well in our house.
Baby Bath Tub
This baby bath tub is not the fanciest one on the market, but it worked perfectly for my family. We used it with our first child, and it was easy to fold up and take with us if we traveled and when folded flat it did not take up much room to store it away.
Space saving high chair
Initially we bought an adorable stand alone high chair, but it took up extra space in our kitchen that we really didn’t have. We decided to switch to this space saving high chair that goes on top of one our existing kitchen chairs and we have been very happy with it. It has been in use since our first child and we just switched him out of it and our second baby into it. It has held up great for us. My 3 year old will still fit in it, but we just switched him into the regular chair so that the baby could use the high chair.
3.Look for Baby Products that Serve Multiple Functions and Your Baby Can Grow Into
Another product I have discovered recently is the Baby Bjourn bouncer. I never personally used this product, but it is very popular and gets excellent reviews. It seems like this would also reduce the need for multiple baby products and has a sleek design as well.
This bouncer also folds flat so that it can be transported easily and doesn’t take up so much space when it is time to pack it away into storage. If I could go back, I would definitely register for this bouncer.
4. Be Selective with Baby Toys
I highly recommend that you don’t even register or buy any baby toys until you see what you are gifted by others. You will most likely mysteriously end up with tons of toys anyway, so don’t add to the madness unless you have to.
Yes, babies like to play with blocks, balls, and shaker toys, but babies are way more entertained by YOU than by toys. They love peek-a-boo and singing and dancing with you. They love when you clap and move their little arms and legs.
I find that books are a much better investment than toys and will provide entertainment while also aiding in developing vocabulary and communication skills. Books are much easier to store and contain than toys. Also, they don’t play the same song over and over again or go off unexpectedly when you trip over it and scare you half to death (just me?).
If you really want to buy toys for your baby, I recommend simple (think no batteries required). Don’t be afraid to return excess toys you don’t need or donate them to others who can use them. Start weeding out toys early because the toys continue to multiply after every birthday and holiday.
Board books are great for babies because they like to grab the pages and chew on the edges. Here are some of my favorite board books that my kids love:
My #1 Tip for New Moms who are Feeling Overwhelmed with Baby Clutter:
Don’t let it bother you!
Sorry if this isn’t what you want to hear, but hopefully looking at my mess will help you feel better about yours!
With my first baby, I found myself saying, “I can’t wait until he turns one so that I will be done with pumping/buying formula and washing all these bottles and get some counter space back.” I remember thinking, “Oh, yay, he outgrew this bouncer, now I can pass it on to my friend and have some more space in here!”
And now, with my second, who will most likely be my last baby, I find myself starting to have these same thoughts, but this time it’s different. This time, I get sad because I realize that every time she outgrows something, she has moved out of a stage I will never get back again. This time, when thoughts come creeping in to hurry up and get rid of the baby product clutter, I stop myself from wishing time away.
It is so exciting to watch your babies grow and develop and achieve each milestone and become little people. Each stage is so incredible, and even though it doesn’t always feel like it as you are living through sleepless nights and tired mornings, the time does go way too fast.
It is important to be mindful of how much “baby stuff” you actually need for financial, space, and environmental considerations, and there are tips to help you minimize.
But at the end of the day, babies do need certain things that take up space. So, as you trip over toys and search for counter space, keep in mind that all that baby clutter means that you have a little one to love. That baby brings more joy than any clutter can take away-so don’t let it. Embrace the fact that your home is filled with giggles and cuddles.
When I look at those pictures of my house before I had my kids, it may look clean, but it also looks empty. So, today I am deciding to appreciate the baby clutter in my house. It represents a fleeting moment in time that already feels like it is going too fast. As I look at the clutter, I give my little girl an extra snuggle and hold her tight, wishing her to stay a baby for just a bit longer.