While Eric and I don't share any of the aforementioned concerns, we were initially a bit panicked about the idea of having a baby on board. Specifically, we were worried that our boat would be taken over by baby gear. These days, babies seem to come with a lot of stuff, and since space is limited on a boat, we knew it would be a challenge keeping "necessities" to a minimum. Just like when you get married, when you bring a child into the world, people instantly want to give you all sorts of stuff, which can be overwhelming. On top of that, there is so much baby gear available in stores, it can be a challenge distinguishing between products you actually need and products that are merely clever ideas masquerading as necessities.
In order to keep from filling our boat with baby gear, we first made a list of the things we thought we'd need. Then, I called a friend of mine, who had recently had a baby, and asked her to go through her registry with me. She told me which items from her registry she actually used, which items she found to be unnecessary, and which items weren't useful at all. Then, I called one of my sisters, and went over the list with her, which resulted in a few more additions and eliminations. Finally, Eric and I reviewed the list, and for anything that we were unsure of, we'd ask ourselves, "Did our parents need this to take care of us?" If the answer was "no," it was eliminated. Once Eric and I felt like our list was complete, we went shopping. Although it was tempting, we didn't wander the aisles looking at every baby product under the sun--we only allowed ourselves to find the items on our list. This process saved us from being overwhelmed at the store and kept us from making impulse buys.
While each of us has the ability to control what we buy, it is much harder to prevent other people from buying things for you. People are so excited about the arrival of a baby that--even strangers--go out of their way to buy you gifts and give you boxes and boxes of stuff. Although these offers are incredibly generous and extremely kind, given our space constraints, they are nearly impossible for us to accept. When someone offers to give us their used items, we thank them and let them know that we have very limited space and are waiting to see what items (outside of those on our list) we need before we buy/acquire anything else. We also let people know that several of our family members have baby gear for us, and since they are our relatives, they get first dibs when it comes to offloading their stuff. To further ensure our friends and acquaintances felt absolutely no obligation to get us anything, we didn't register, nor did we have a baby shower. Of the gifts that we've received from our close friends and family (who are all well aware of our living situation), everything has been very thoughtful (i.e. tiny & practical), on our list, or comes in the form of a gift card.
So what made our shopping list?
- Life jacket
- Baby blanket (1)
- Receiving blankets (4)
- Swaddling blankets (3)
- Pacifiers (2)
- Burp rags (12)
- Bottles & nipples (4 & 6) - we hand-wash everything after we use it, so we figured we'd start with just a few
- Brush for washing bottles (1)
- Breast pump
- Nursing cover (1)
- Baby bouncer (hand-me-down my parents supplied)
- Diaper disposal container
- Changing table items (wipes, diaper cream, ointment, etc.)
- Changing pad
- Changing pad covers (4)
- Portable changing pad (for diaper bag)
- Baby bathtub
- Bathing/bathroom products (soap, shampoo, SPF, infant nail clippers, etc.)
- Washcloths (4)
- Clothes (not a ton - babies grow quickly, so we didn't want to load up on any particular size)
- Baby mittens (3 pairs)
- Booties (2 sets of 6)
- Hats (3)
- Baby book
- Car seat (1 to start with)
- Baby K'tan Baby Carrier (1)
Things you might have expected to see that are not on our list:
- Diaper bag (we are using a backpack we already own)
- Stroller (we are going to see how long we can go without one)
- Crib (we'll buy one once she grows out of her bassinet)
- Baby monitors (we live in a small space--no need for amplification)
- Rocking chair (we live in a boat--all of our chairs are rocking chairs)
- Boopy (I'll use a pillow or perhaps just suffer in silence)
- Bottle drying rack (we already own one)
- Highchair (we'll get one when she starts eating solids)
Can we get by with just these items? Maybe. We'll let you know!