My minimalism journey started when I was pregnant and I found myself bringing more and more stuff into my home to prepare for my new baby. I got very overwhelmed with my huge amount of belongings and suddenly I was adding another person into my life who also needed her own things. Babies in general need lots of things and it is very easy to go overboard when you see all the cute things you can buy for them.
From the moment I started embracing minimalism I knew I wanted to continue this principle in the way I raise my kids. When you start thinking about what you let into your home you also begin to think of the quality of your belongings, where they come from and where they will end up when they no longer serve a purpose in your life. Given the state of our landfills and unethical means in which cheap goods are often produced I think that it is very important to model minimalism for Maia.
So in an effort to reduce, reuse and recycle, many of the larger items I got for Maia were gently used. These included things I wasn't sure if I would be using them or not. A camping cot, or pack and play whatever you want to call it, and a buggy. The buggy up until this point has only really come in handy for naps while we are out and about, the rest of the time we prefer to wear her. The pack and play on the other hand I use quite often, I feel like it is the safest place to leave her to play while I make dinner, especially now that she has started crawling. I love gently used items, babies only use their things for such a short amount of time that you can find really great items that are still in excellent condition. Items we got new were a high chair ( that we received as a gift at my baby shower) and a car seat. Both these items I could never live without.
I also feel that crunchy parenting works very well in a minimalist home. We co-sleep so we didn’t even think about getting a crib. I breastfeed so that means we don’t have loads of bottles and such lying around. Baby-led weaning means we aren’t creating a ton of waste from purée bottles and pouches. I also don’t use any products on her skin except for sun screen and pure beginnings mosquito repellent. I only use Weleda's Calendula baby shampoo to wash her hair about once a week.
One area I struggle with is clothes. Oh, baby clothes, why do you have to be so cute? Not only are they ridiculously cute but babies also grow so quickly that they basically need a new wardrobe every three months. Also they tend to get so dirty that you really need multiple clothing changes for them each day. What I feel really helps is buying gender neutral clothes, which you can then save for later if you have another baby. When I do my laundry I also immediately move any lightly stained or worn clothing to my donate box. I also love that baby clothes are something that you can pass between friends when your baby has outgrown them. Lots of Maia’s clothes I received gently used from friends and I in turn have passed on loads of Maia’s clothes that no longer fit her. Another great initiative was created by Vigga Svennson, she wants to encourage Danish parents to rent baby clothes to reduce the amount of clothing that ends up in landfills each year. I think it is such a brilliant idea, I really think it is something we could make use of here in South Africa.
I know I am far from the perfect minimalist mom but I am learning as I go. I really love this minimalism journey that I am on and I hope I can teach Papaya some of the values behind it. I hope you found something useful in this post. I’d love to hear how you practice minimalism as a mom.