Those of us living in NYC are used to living in tight spaces. While many who live in a house may have a family room, a living room, a dining room, and maybe a child’s playroom, a lot of us New Yorkers have a living room/dining room/kitchen combo (add bedroom if it’s a studio apartment). My wife and I live in a one bedroom apartment which is approximately 600 square feet, and we have a 9 month old baby. It’s still doable with a little one. His stuff does take up room, but it’s not as bad as you may think. Although it’s fine for now, we do plan on expanding our family and are hoping to move into a bigger space. Babies have a lot of stuff, but not all of it is necessary. Here are a few tips for those who are living in a small space with a baby.
The single biggest item that most babies have is a crib. Cribs can take up a lot of room, so I would go for a smaller one. But honestly, a crib is not really even necessary if you are tight on space. For a good amount of time, my son slept on a Pack ‘n Play. According to Dr. Eileen Tyrala, Medical Director of Cribs for Kids, using the Pack ‘n Play as the primary sleeping surface for a baby is just fine, as long as the baby is under 35 pounds. I’ve read many people on different mommy blogs and baby care forums (yes that’s where I spend my time when I’m not reading personal finance blogs!), who have mentioned that the padding on the Pack ‘n Play bassinet is too hard. Dr. Tyrala says that the padding is fine and little babies really don’t care, it’s probably the parents who worry about it. But if you really want something that may be more comfortable, you can always get a Pack ‘n Play Mattress. Some playards come with more functions such as a napper and changing table. The Pack ‘n Play with the extra features are approximately $100 whereas the basic one goes for around $68. My son is sleeping in a crib now, which was given to us by my wife’s friend who no longer needs it. However, he still sleeps on the Pack ‘n Play at grandma’s house who watches him while we’re at work.
Another piece of furniture that many parents buy is the changing table which can be costly. We thought about buying one, but there just wasn’t any room. When my son was still small, we would change him on the changing table that was attached to the Pack ‘N Play, and now that he has outgrown it, we just change him on the bed or on the floor with a changing pad.
Look for items with words like Travel, Portable or Foldable
When we looked at high chairs, I thought it was pretty ridiculous that a chair would cost over $100. My friend told me that she had an expensive high chair, but ended up using a $20 one from IKEA which she liked even better. We didn’t get a traditional high chair mainly because it seemed to take up a lot of room. Instead we got a booster seat which attaches to a chair, and it only costs $20. You can also get a high chair which hooks onto the table.
A separate nursery for the baby? Nope, there’s no separate nursery when you live in a one-bedroom apartment. I know many
moms parents love to decorate the nursery to welcome the arrival of their little one, but honestly the decorative pillows and canopies are really not necessary. But just because you don’t have a nursery doesn’t mean you can’t make the space you have look cute. My wife bought wall decals for $2.99 and Baby LRC seems to like it.
Baby LRC has a good amount of toys he got as gifts. I’m glad we didn’t buy too many because he really doesn’t play with a lot of it. Babies have short attention spans. Baby LRC is more excited playing with a balloon we got for free at a child’s birthday party. He also likes playing with boxes and crumpling up paper.
Ultimately, your baby really only needs YOU. They want your love and attention, and the other stuff is just a bonus.
Other related articles that I found interesting:
Holly who blogs at Club Thrifty, wrote Things that Babies Just Don’t Need on Get Rich Slowly, and mentioned that some parents bought pacifier wipes! I’ve never seen them and would not buy them.
Also, check out the comprehensive list by Matt from Mom and Dad Money who wrote 21 Things Newborn Kids Ever Really Needed
Have you had to live in a small space with a baby? Any other ideas how to handle it?