Monday, December 14, 2009

Baby on a Budget

Being just eight days away from having our baby, I've been thinking a lot about the things I still need to get out, washed up, bought, and put together- it's a lot of work getting things ready for a new baby! It's just too bad that the time for getting things ready comes when Mama is big, uncomfortable, and has trouble breathing if using the stairs too much!

I remember when we were expecting our first baby and looking over the lists of things we were going to need. It was so overwhelming! The price tag on those items was pretty overwhelming, too. Thank goodness for baby showers and hand-me-downs. I think that's the only way that most people can survive the hit of that first child.

Budget Savers:
1. Baby shower- It's great to have a friend or family member throw a shower for you. You'll get all sorts of things as gifts, and a great place to find out what other moms' favorite products are.

2. Hand-me-downs- Know someone with a baby a few months to a year older than yours? Maybe they have some things they're getting rid of! Be sure to return the favor to another new mom when you're ready to clean out your storage area.

3. Consignment sales- It's like one huge garage sale! I love these, but they usually only come around once or twice a year. Be ready for the lines! Take 2 and Neat Repeatz are the two I've visited here in Lincoln.

4. Consignment stores- A great place to visit year round. Watch for their end of the season sales for even better deals. Thrift stores can be a good place to find things, too, but they go quickly.

5. Borrowing- Especially for those bigger items that people don't need to use all year round or even with every child. This is baby #5 for us, and the first time I've thought it would be good to have a double stroller. But we don't want to buy one at this point. Our solution? Borrow!

6. Go neutral- from clothes to bedding to strollers this makes things more useful if you have more than one child.

7. Limit the number of "outfits"- they just grow so fast! Onesies and sleepers are really all you need for at least the first six months. An outfit or two is nice, but certainly not the 7-10 they have on some of those lists!

8. Cloth diapering- It's quite the thing to do for the environment, too. There is a bit of an initial expense, but the money saved over a year's worth of diapers is incredible. I should try to figure out how much we've saved over the course of five kids! Even with using disposables over night and when we leave the house for more than an hour, we've saved a bunch.

I've also learned that you don't need everything that's on all of those lists. Your baby will survive just fine without wearing an "outfit" every day. But there are a few things that I've come to love and make a point to tell every expectant mama about. What's your number one go-to baby item? What do you wish you could give to every new mother you come across?

Definetly Needed List:
1. Car seat cover- Needed if you live in a cool climate in the winter. Styles range from the kind that slip over your baby like a blanket, to the kind the buckle into your chair.

2. Nursing cover- I can't believe how much I love mine! These are especially great when you're at the park on a windy day. Or have a wiggly baby, or one that needs a little extra help.
3. Boppy- These things are so versatile! From tummy time to a sitting helper, baby grows strong. After having a c-section, it really gives me the extra support I need to hold that baby up, too.
4. Mittens- Cover their hands that first week or two so they don't scratch themselves all up. Socks work for this, too.

5. Changing pads- These are great on the changing table or in the diaper bag!
Useful in Certain Circumstances:
1. Double stroller- In general we make our kids walk when they're able to. It's important to teach them how to hold my hand or the side of the stroller. This time around the youngest will be 18 months when the baby comes and it will be icy January, and she was a slow walker- those are all good reasons to carry two!
2. Swings and bouncy chairs- Most babies can learn to fall asleep without the extra help a swing or chair provides. Or the car seat can be utilized, with a little rocking help from parents. I do have to say that babies with tummy issues benefit a lot from the vibration and rocking. And when older siblings like to roll and wrestle near the baby, getting them off the floor is a great help!
Fisher Price Soothe 'n Play Bouncer

3. Sling-
Lots of people live with their baby wrapped to them and love it. It hurts my back. However, we had a fussy baby that screamed unless you were holding her (until we figured out it was a dairy issue). Having the sling allowed me to make dinner or do any other task in relative quiet.
Nice to Have But Can Live Without It:
1. Booties and shoes- unless your babies are not like mine! I could never keep those booties on their little feet. And until they're walking, what's the point of shoes? Maybe to keep the socks on when they're wearing one of those outfits!

2. Bassinet- our first baby slept in a laundry basket next to the bed. Our second had some breathing issues and slept more upright in his car seat. With our third or fourth I ended up finding a great deal on a bassinet that doubled as a Moses basket. It's something we could still be doing without, though. It takes up a lot of storage space!

3. Baby bath tubs- These are nice because they use a lot less water, but the regular tub with only an inch in it works just fine. Or the kitchen sink- that's where I was bathed as an infant! We have a neat foam thing to place in the tub that helps elevate baby's head.

4. Baby toys- Because quite honestly by the time they're playing with toys the things that you get at a baby shower are just not that interesting! Go for stacking cups or blocks over the rattles and things. And think about how many bath toys you have- how long do you want them in that tub anyways?

Okay, moms, your turn! What's your favorite baby item? What's something that sat in your home and never got used?

1 comment:

  1. What a great and timely post! I'm starting to make my list of things we could use/need for our next little one due May 30th! Mom just got us a used double stroller. Hmmm... My list would be:

    Bassinet - DS slept in his carseat beside the bed for 6 months, but our room is so drafty that I would love to have baby safely off the floor.

    Medela Soft Shells for Sore Nipples - absolutely vital for those first few weeks of nursing!

    Baby gates! We only have 2. One is installed in out living room so Baby can play safely in his half of the room without escaping. The other is mobile.

    I honestly never used my boppy. I tried it in the hospital and it just didn't get him up high enough without me needing extra pillows. Now it is wrapped around the base of a table to protect against corners.

    I only used nursing covers for a few months. DS got too wiggly and it was easier to use a stategically placed blanket.