The Simple Way to Raise a Baby


Recently, while visiting a local thrift stores, I questioned why there always seems to be old-fashioned rocking chairs for sale …

Perhaps many people are not taking the time to rock their babies anymore.  I know first hand as I used to be one of them. Somehow, I thought it was just normal to use a baby swing and all the other trendy objects marketed for baby care. There are plastic swings that work with electricity, full mobiles and singing birds, that do the work of a mother’s soothing voice, her loving arms and soft gentle sway. Baby seats hold babies while mother’s work … siblings are not required to help out as the baby is entertained greatly in brightly colored plastic chairs with rattles and trinkets galore … baby bath tubs are sold and baby this and that …



I recently passed a garage sale it it was packed full of modern baby items and gadgets. Hundreds of dollars spent on baby items that were only needed for two years or so …


I’m here to say … parents … folks, all we really need for our babies are the basics! Babies need a parent that is willing to slow down, time, care, a mother’s arms, nutritious milk and your love.

Every time we had a baby in our house, I would be so thrilled and excited, naturally … but would be frustrated with the stumbling over all the plastic baby-items around the home.

A baby swing, a comfy seat, Bumbo, baby bath tub, a super-saucer, etc.

One day, I finally got rid of everything. I did not even keep the pretty pink swing that was actually so cute and matching of my decor (besides the plastic). Yes, I got rid of everything. I think my husband thought that meant no more babies in the house! Nope! Instead, it just meant I was de-cluttering, getting back to the basics of baby-hood. No more plastic, no more bouncy seats, no more unecessary baby clutter. When I had Lyla, my second born, I realized carrying my tiny 5 lb baby around in her big plastic car seat was ridiculous. The car seat weighted three times as much as she did and I did not even get to hold her while I was out! So I ditched the car seat (except for when we were driving, of course) and decided to wrap her little sweet body up snuggly and carrying her like so. I would hold my toddler’s hand and carry my little baby girl with the other arm. I had people staring at me when I would go into the doctor’s office … they seemed to question where my bulky car seat was. It did not seem normal to carry her in just her swaddled state.

I was so glad to rid myself of that plastic seat, however! Then came the time of baby wraps and slings and it was not so unusual to carry you baby without the aid of car seats. The above wrap was given to me free and it has been used for five of my babies. It is very handy.

I would see families come into church on Sunday with their giant plastic strollers, carrying giant baby bags filled to the brim with plastic toys and rattles for their little ones. As they arrived and came into church, their stroller was so big they could not even fit it in the church aisle without causing a stir. When the baby would fuss, they would push the stroller back and forth. Now, I know strollers have their place and they are definitely useful, but at this point, a mother’s arms would have been much more efficient and soothing- not to mention less disturbing in public.

If you are nursing (which is a great way to nourish your baby! So natural and God-given for so many reasons!), then you need even less items when you leave the house. A simple change of clothes for the baby, a blanket and a few diapers and that is all you truly need. As the baby begins to crawl and chew, a simple baby toy would be helpful, as well.

Babies do not need the entire house brought with them! Nor do they need every toy and gadget on the baby aisle shelf!

They do not need everything the stores are selling. If you are a new mother, try not to buy into that trap. I know it’s tempting. All those sweet baby items are pretty cute, lined up pink and blue and shiny. But once they enter your home and litter your floor and are only used for a few weeks at a time (as the baby grows so quickly), you may realize how wasteful it is. You will save yourself a lot of money if you just get back to the basics.

And also … let’s consider how unhealthy it could be to immerse your baby in plastics before he or she is even a year old. I’m sure there are studies done on the possible harm of so many items in your baby’s mouth, around your baby and where your baby sleeps.

As we continued to have more babies, I continued to purge the extra baby items.

I use the sink to bathe my babies – I do not need a baby bathtub with a special attachment to hose the baby down.
I use my arms to swing and hold the baby to sleep instead of a baby swing.

I use our many rocking chairs to calm the baby.

Sisters are beautiful helpers and love to help entertain the baby. A simple blanket on the floor with a few toys is a good thing for a baby. Spending time outside on the grass with the family is a great way for the baby to get fresh air and sunshine.  I am not saying this is the only wait to raise a baby, but I am suggesting it is less complicated.

I have also tried to simplify the clothing. Again, I noticed with all our babies that we had too much clothing. Drawers were overflowing. I know babies need to change more than adults, but there came a time when I realized it was too much. Just this week, I purged more baby clothes and cleaned the nursery closet. My goal is to not have any labels or modern slogans on the clothing. To keep the clothing simple and quaint, old fashioned, if you wish and without a lot of fuss. Old fashioned baby girl clothing is easier to find, but boy baby clothes are more challenging. Still, I have found some items and am using a simple wardrobe to rotate our baby boy’s clothing.

Cloth diapers are also a great way to save money and provide healthy care for your baby. We do use disposable for night times (as they do help with sleeping and keeping the baby dry) and for when we go out for long periods of time. Otherwise, I am quite content to have a bucket full of baby diapers that need daily washing. It has saved us a lot of money over the years. I rarely have to ask my husband to pick up disposable diapers. When he does, I am always shocked at how expensive they are! Not to mention, they are terrible for clogging up landfills. I am quite happy that we have not had to use very many disposables much over our 14 years of parenting babies.



Babies are just lovely and sweet! Try thinking outside the box, skip the tempting advertising on what you need to have in your home for your baby and go back to the simple life of raising your little one with the basics. You may find it is less complicated and more natural.
Oh, and  check your local thrift store for a used rocking chair. You won’t regret it.

June 14, 2018 - 8:48 am

Monica Oh thank you! That would be great!

June 14, 2018 - 5:27 am

Gigi Monica, how lovely to be expecting another baby! I hope you are finding time to take care of yourself.
Regarding leaky cloth, well, they can all leak eventually! They need to be changed promptly as soon as they are wet and soiled. They are not like disposables, in that way. I will look at some of my tags and let you know the ones that work the best.

June 14, 2018 - 5:26 am

Gigi Milessa, I agree – I have been told many times I am spoiling my babies by holding them so much and I have friends who prefer to train the child to sit quietly in their chair. I suppose there is a reason for both sides of the story – one does need to put their baby down eventually and not have screaming from the infant, but it is such a short season of baby-holding … we need to keep that in mind.

June 13, 2018 - 11:10 am

Milessa I do wish I would have come to the acceptance I was not like everyone else 26 years ago. I love your words about babies and children. I send them to my daughter to read. One day when she does have babies I want her to know it’s ok being different. Babies grow so fast the holding (spoiling what people say) goes by very fast and you will miss it when it’s gone and it is gone in an heartbeat. Out of my three children, my daughter I held the most (breasting feeding and finally having a baby girl that I have wanted since I was 6 years old). I can see the difference in the grown children. She is very loving and close to me. More parents need to get on the band wagon and hold those babies. Wishing you and your family the best this week. Keep up the wonderful words you write. I think the photons are of the second little boy, but it is so hard to tell the 2 look so much I like. Have a wonderful rest of the week.

June 13, 2018 - 9:54 am

Monica Yes, yes!! I love this! Recently, we cleaned out our clothes shed to convert into a tool shed for my husband and I got rid of our swing (I hadn’t pulled it out for the past two babies anyway and it’s amazing how much space that thing was taking up in our shed!) a bumbo, a couple of pack n plays, lots of clothes, the baby bathtub, and most of this I hadn’t even used in the past couple of babies. Even shoes they don’t really need until walking age! We used cloth diapers with several of our babies, starting with my oldest who is now 15. I finally got rid of them bc they had been through so many years of use. I would love to hear your favorite no-leak brand. We are expecting our seventh baby so this was a timely post to reiterate my belief to keep in simple for babies!

June 13, 2018 - 5:20 am

Gigi Meg, it’s good you learned that quickly!

June 13, 2018 - 5:20 am

Gigi Yes, a baby carrier is so handy!

June 12, 2018 - 10:48 pm

Laura So true! This is excellent and wise advice. It took us a few babies to realize the same. Babies need loving and snuggling, not things.

June 12, 2018 - 10:28 pm

Meg When I had my first baby, I stressed out looking at all the lists online of “must haves” even the minimalist list included so much. I ended up many things I never needed or wanted. When I had my second I knew all I really needed were diapers, a few outfits & blankets, and that really was it! So much simpler, and less stress.

June 12, 2018 - 10:24 pm

Regina I so agree with you Gigi. When my girls were babies I fell for all the silliness of carrying carseats and large strollers. I did have those babywearing snugglies and I really liked them. I used a baby sling for my youngest who is now 17. Can you believe I still have it? It’s beat up and worn out of course. I carried her in that sling until she was almost two! This style of sling could be worn several ways as baby grew which is why, I wore her for so long. When she outgrew her sling she used it for her baby dolls.

June 12, 2018 - 9:07 pm

Kimberly Yes, couldn’t agree more!