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Now that I’m about halfway through pregnancy with my second child, I’ve been thinking a lot about what stuff I really need for a new baby. Google this sometime–you’ll be amazed by the lists. Even the minimalist lists often strike me as having a lot more on them than you really need. At least than I really need. So here’s my ultimate minimalist list of baby items.

Absolutely Necessary Baby Items:
1. Slings and carriers. Yes, this is plural. I only had one that I liked when my daughter was little, and that was a nightmare. I couldn’t wash that dang Maya wrap ring sling. Not ever. I think I washed it about three times during her first six months, and each time I walked around carrying a screaming baby for the hour it took for it to wash (on the fastest cycle possible) and hang in the sun till it was dry enough to use again (I didn’t have a drier).

My collection of carriers for this next baby includes a Maya wrap ring sling, a Moby wrap, a kanga, a homemade mei tai, a woven wrap, a Beco butterfly, an Ergo, and a pouch sling. I’d like to get a better pouch sling (the one I have is cheap), a better mei tai, and another stretchy wrap. Actually, I’d like another ring sling too, but you can’t have everything.

2. Car seat. I’d love to not have this on my list, but unfortunately I don’t live in a completely walkable area. So I do drive. However, I will definitely never get an infant bucket seat again. This baby will start in the convertible seat. If the baby is too small for the convertible seat when it’s born, I just won’t drive anywhere until it reaches the weight limit. Another advantage of a home birth!

3. Clothes for a winter baby. Clothes are optional in summer! But this will be my second winter baby, so I’ve reluctantly got this on my absolutely necessary list. No onesies, though (they cover up cute cloth diapers and make peeing a baby difficult!).

That’s it for absolutely necessary.

Nice to Have Baby Items: 
1. Cloth diapers. Ah, I love cloth diapers. I do know people who practice EC full-time and don’t use diapers at all. Personally I wouldn’t choose to be one of them, but I do consider diapers a “nice to have” item, not an “absolutely necessary” item. If I really needed to cut back, diapers are something I would consider doing without. However, given the option, cloth diapers are the item I buy the most! Cloth diapers are even cuter than most baby clothes…and you feel so virtuous when you’re buying them, because you’re helping the environment and saving money by not spending it on disposables. It’s hard to be a minimalist when there are so many awesome new diapers on the market since my daughter was little, too. Have you seen the new Lil’ Joeys Rumparooz newborn all-in-one diapers? I am going to have to buy some of these for my new baby. I just can’t resist.

2. Metal trash can with a lid for a diaper pail. And two large washable wet bags. I didn’t have this when my daughter was a newborn; I used a laundry basket. As it turns out, newborn breastfed pee doesn’t smell!–I didn’t have any smell problems till she was close to a year old and really eating solid foods. But this is high on my list of nice to have items. Luckily, I already have this now.

3. Dresser. I need somewhere to put those winter clothes. And, more important, somewhere to organize all the cloth diapers.

4. Diaper sprayer for the toilet. I don’t have one of these. I don’t need it with a newborn, and if EC goes as well this time as it did last time, I may not ever need it at all. But I’d like to have it for those (hopefully rare) poop diapers.

That’s it for things I want for this baby. There are a few other things I might decide I want, like a changing table–we had one when my daughter was little, but we got rid of it when we moved and I’m not planning on getting another. There are other things I already have for life in general that I would consider necessary if I didn’t, like good laundry detergent for cloth diapers and baby clothes (I use soap nuts). But really, you don’t need much.

What’s on your list of essential baby items?