living in a camper with a baby


When we had Buddy nearly six years ago, I thought I was doing pretty well about minimalizing baby gear. I didn’t buy a wipe warmer, a bumbo, or tons of toys, but looking back now I can see there were quite a few things, even used things, we could have done without.

And I’m not just saying it, because now we are living it! Our newest baby, Chickie, is a perfectly healthy, mostly content little girl, and we own just a fraction of the baby gear we owned when Buddy was born.

This is not a “we are better than you because we live without x, y, or z” post. Actually, I wish we had read something like this back then and saved ourselves money and hassle, but I can still see where we are not really minimalists and our baby gear still includes extras. Yet now that I have learned a bit about this subject, I want to share with you what we have carefully selected to help us care for our baby while living in a small space. If you have a baby or are planning a pregnancy and are considering a move to a small space, perhaps this will jumpstart your own ideas.

I would also recommend checking out Carolyn @ The Mobile Home Maker and Jamie @ Camp Columbo because they have both been raising babies in small spaces and offer encouragement for families living (or wanting to live) similar lifestyles.

Chickie has a bunk in the kids room, but she only uses it part of the time because she also sleeps with me. For play space she hangs out in her carseat, on a blanket on the floor, or sits in the exersaucer I recently borrowed from my sister-in-law.

I carry her in my homemade wrap, and also own a Hooter Hyder, three bottles, a manual breastpump, a diaper bag with changing pad, disposable diapers and wipes, and a rubbermaid tub of mostly borrowed clothes. Oh, and we have tons of blankets.

What do we not own? These are things we have had in the past, but either do not use now or can’t because of the space: a cosleeper, crib, johnny jump up, baby bathtub, bathseat, baby bath towels, stroller, pacifiers, electric pump, changing table, dresser, food mill, bouncy seat, playmat, a yoga ball (great for bouncing on with a fussy baby!), high chair, and playpen (we have one but rarely use it). I’ve probably forgotten some things, but these stick out.

We may use our playpen more, we will have to build a baby seat to fit our table, and I expect to switch from the wrap to our backpack eventually, but you can see that many of the things we once considered standard to baby life, and now, at just shy of 4 months, Chickie and her mama are living happily without them.

Have you lived in a small space with a baby, or minimalized baby equipment? Please share your experience and tips!

5 responses

  1. Juanita says:

    This is a great post. It seems with each one of my kids I also minimized on baby gear. I realized the baby’s were just as content playing on the floor. I think especially for 1st time parents they want so much of what is out in the market and then when you have your 2nd child and so on you realize that you don’t need all those things.

    • Mama says:

      I agree. I think it is a natural result of having more than one child to look for ways to minimize. There just gets to be too much stuff kicking around the house :0)

  2. Bethany says:

    I agree with Juanita, it’s common to minimize the gear the more kids you have, at least that’s been my experience. On our third and we’re not even using our crib. Having said that, I’m still curious what it will look like next year when we do move and have to live for 5 months in a trailer. Our baby will be 1 1/2 so most of the “gear” is obsolete at that point anyway… it’s mostly the DIAPERS the kill me. I don’t mind washing them here, but if we have to go off-grid it’s going to be a pain to either bucket-wash or schlep them to my mom’s to use her washer twice a week :)

    • Mama says:

      Oops! I didn’t see your comment until now! Diapers would be a pain when living off grid. We cheated and switched to disposable. I considered washing laundry by hand… until I found out I was pregnant with Chickie! But if you manage to do so, please let me know, we’ll have you do a guest post on the subject!

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