Both LaToya and I brought our babies home to 1 bedroom 1 bathroom apartments. Yup.
Just mama, papa, and baby in one room.
Are we surviving? To be honest, we are loving it!
LaToya did move into a 2 bedroom and Juliana has a room now, but I am still in my 1 bedroom with a now 7 month old baby. We did not plan on moving out of our apartment for a while, so we have been strategic in what we buy, what we store, and what we give away.
I have been asked by different moms just how we are doing this. Honestly, it is not as difficult as it may seem. In America we are accustomed to having each family member having their own space(eventually). My husband and I did not grow up this way. I have spent time in different countries where this idea is straight up bananas! Babies do not NEED a lot of space! Kids? Yes, they grow as do their belongings and ideally you would need more space for them. But babies? You can do babies just about anywhere!
I want to share a list of items I think are essential to raising a baby in a small space. There are so so so many lists out there with things you "need", but many of these things can be acquired as baby grows and are not necessary to have in the beginning. Your baby needs so much love, attention, and affection in the beginning-not tons of toys.
Here are the essential items that I am using and would not want to live without:
- changing pad-Having a changing table is NOT essential. If you have the space for one, you may want one, considering most come with additional storage underneath. I have the changing pad on top of the dresser and it has worked beautifully. I have NEVER been inconvenienced by not having a changing table.
- separate dresser-Honestly, babies poop and spit up all day every day and you are going to want some space for your millions of onesies. It is not necessary to have a huge dresser for them. I bought cubby shelving from target(for $24 holla!) and cloth drawers(at the dollar store amen!) and have all of her books, clothes, toys, diapers, and more stored in ONE place!
- basket for laundry+detergent- because littles cannot handle ANY harsh chemicals, you will want to buy separate scent free, chemical free, all the gross things free detergent for their perfect sensitive skin. I use babyganics because it is affordable and free of danger!
- blankets.all the blankets-again, the spit up and poop game is strong with the littles. When they are this fresh and new, you are constantly swaddling them or tucking them in(or using cute blankets for photoshoots). You want to be sure to have light, breathable blankets, and have a good amount(I have about 8). I have 1 thick, warm blanket for cold nights, which are rare in SoCal so this blanket is more decor than anything :)
- bassinet, moses basket, or co-sleeper-Keep it real alert: I did NOT purchase one of these and I do regret it. Your baby sleeps so much. So much. And in those first few weeks, hopefully you do too! Once you become human again, you will want to do more than sleep and stare(not much more but a little more) and having baby near you is important. I would suggest something low and light, so you can easily take baby from room to room without waking them up. We co-sleep with our nugget at night, but during the day she sleeps all over the house-the couch, the bed, wherever she is! It would be great to have one regular place for her, like a moses basket.
- loads of onesies+jammys- I had a ton of hand-me-downs given to me form LaToya and some friends, and they were a lifesaver. I also received some very darling newborn outfits, that were honestly wasted. Here's the thing: most moms do not take their newborns out often, so you do not need a bunch of outfits for them! My daughter didn't start heading out with me regularly until about 3 months old and by then she had outgrown all newborn clothing and most 0-3 month clothing as well. She did however need warm jammys and comfy onesies all the time! If you need hand-me-downs send me an email and I will gladly stalk some friends for you :)
- books on books on books-From birth babies need you to "talk, read, sing" to them. They cannot play, but they can listen and as their eyes develop, there is nothing better than reading to them. At my baby shower I requested books instead of cards and we got some beautiful books that will last her a long time. We do get rid of the baby books as she outgrows them, but we hold on to the lovely stories so she can grow up with them. If you do not want to spend loads, hit up your local thrift store and wipe them down when you get home. You can also use your local library! But with a tiny baby, i suggest asking for books instead of cards at your shower or 1st birthday party.
Here are some things you do not HAVE to have at first, but will probably want later:
- a crib-I know, I know, this sounds crazy. But here's the deal:for the first 3 months of most babies lives, you have to wake up so often to feed. Most doctors and midwives advise that you do not sleep train until around 3 months, and in these 3 months you will want baby close for frequent feedings. Having a bassinet, a co-sleeper, or a basket provide easy access if you don't want baby in bed with you(which I would not advise, though I did it and loved it). I have a beautiful crib that I use to store clean laundry and put my daughter in while I get dressed. Because I still nurse 2-3 times a night, I have no interest in getting up and walking across the room, feeding her, making sure she's asleep, and walking back. Nope. Girl bye.
- a bunch of toys-again, small babies can't really play with anything(or keep their heads up). If you do not have a lot of space to begin with, you don't want to take up space with things they will not use regularly(or at all honestly). I would suggest buying as you go so you do not accumulate more than you need, and you can donate as your baby outgrows different toys. I have 1 wicker basket of toys and refuse to have more than that.
- a JUMPER!!!!- anyone that follows us on IG knows my daughter by her bouncing. We have a jumper that she spends a total of 1-2 hours in daily. I even stick books on it so she can look at pictures if she gets tired and sits in it. You will need things to occupy your baby so you can do extravagant things like brush your teeth, and the jumper provides a fun activity that lets you come back to humanity without feeling like you are neglecting your baby. Can I get an amen to that?!
- a BIMBO chair(or something like it)-as your baby begins to sit up and play with different toys, you will want something to help them be supported. These cushy chairs travel well and are super easy to clean. We use ours when feeding her and it makes clean up a breeze!
- a baby bath-this is NOT essential. I am a huge fan of sink baths. LaToya and I both took our babies in the shower with us as well-they loved the shower! As they grow and wiggle and get slippery you will want to bathe them instead of shower with them, and a baby bath comes in handy. You can always just use your bathtub or sink though! Just be sure to clean it with nontoxic cleaners-no bleach for babies!
I hope this list helps you decide what is essential and practical. I try to remember that they will keep growing and if I REALLY want something special that may seems frivolous, I can probably wait and make space to have it in the future-sometimes very near future! I am a firm believer that babies need love, attention, and affection more than any thing you could buy for them.
Oh and diapers. Ya they need those too.
-Alexys+Queen Baby Maya