I always wondered how a baby could possibly cost as much as people said. Now that I have a baby I can see why they can be a huge expense. 'Can' being the operative word there :)
Here is a few of the things we have chosen to do that keep the cost down and that I think benefit us and him too.
- We let people know that we planned to buy second hand, I told people because I think it's an ethical way to shop and don't believe there should be such a stigma about it so I proudly told friends and family that we planned to buy as little as possible new. That had a surprise benefit of people offering us things, once they knew we were happy to use second hand things (some people are funny about it) they gave us things we needed that they were going to give to charity anyway! It's great, we got given all Ché Phoenix's clothes, his play mat, rocker, blankets, car seat, cot/toddler bed and we were offered a pram too but we babywear - see point below!
- Cloth nappies and washable wipes, we bought our last packets of disposables and will be switching to cloth this week, it works out soooo much cheaper (about 10x) even with the washing machine costs, plus the health benefits to the baby and environmental benefits, makes it a no-brainer for us. We searched online for cloth nappy 'libraries' and found a local group who rents out cloth nappies for you to try, 20 different types so you can use them all and see which type suits you before you invest in a set, we pick ours up this weekend :)
- Baby wearing! All you need is about 4m of non stretch fabric, thats it! In my opinion this basic wrap is far more comfortable than the expensive carriers out there, and super cheap :) There are so many benefits to carrying your child instead of pushing him, carried babies are more content, sleep longer, less likely to be light sleepers, you keep fit! Contact with you regulates their heart rate, temperature and aids the digestive system. Carried babies have a more developed sense of balance, and their communication development benefits hugely from being so close to your face while you talk, sing and engage with others. Oh the list goes on for miles - google it if you're interested, I was fascinated!
- I breast feed. It saves a lot of money! No bottles, formula, sterilisers etc... That's not why I do it at all but its a bonus. Ireland (north and south) have one of the lowest breast feeding rates in the world. It's so sad. This is a topic I am massively passionate about but I'm very aware of how sensitive people are about the choices they make for their children and don't want to offend anyone... Just please do your own research before you decide how your baby will be fed (and weaned) and if you see a woman breast feeding, give her a smile instead of quickly looking away like you've seen something offensive.
- Baby toys... People gave us some as gifts, our friends and family know us pretty well so the toys were mostly wooden or sensory :) And 'no plastic shite' lol thats our parenting mantra! Newborns don't want or need toys, they want to be held, talked and sang to, fed and kept warm, basic needs :) At Ché's age he's starting to hold things, become aware of his hands, follow noises well and generally loves any interaction and stimulation. This doesn't mean it's time for expensive toys. It's all about sensory development and you can use so many things from around your house for playtime and things from the natural environment too. Feathers, christmas tree lights, tinsel, ribbons, pieces of different fabrics, wool, pine cones, wood, glow sticks, big stones, shakers made from water bottles filled with pasta, lentils, glitter and water, anything interesting looking or that makes noise. The more different things your baby experiences the better! Don't forget temperature things too, warm facecloth, ice cubes/frozen toys. Once you start you realise the possibilities for free sensory toys are endless!
- Cosmetics, we were given some lovely smelling baby moisturiser, Ché loves the bath and the water dries out babies skin (ironic isn't it...) well we used the moisturiser and his face reacted slightly to it, causing little bumps and red colour, also still dry. We found out that a tiny bit of olive oil or similar natural oil massaged in is much better, plus no chemicals. If you only use a little bit your baby won't look greasy. I wish I'd done that from the start but you live and learn! Also it's basically free :)
- Our healthcare is free so I can't comment on insurance etc.
- Bulk buying things like baby wipes, the ones I like were on a buy one get two free deal a while back so I bought enough to last ages, works out much cheaper in the long run. I'd recommend doing that with non baby items too!
- We didn't buy a new car, everyone said we'll need a 4 door but we don't really, we have a little 2 door diesel clio and even though it's awkward to get him in and out of his carseat in the back, its not impossible! We manage :)
So thats my little list, I hope it helps anyone wondering about the cost of a baby, I would have loved to hear this perspective when I was pregnant. Ché Phoenix is 4 months old this friday and if I had to guess a number I'd say we have spent around £250 ($380) on him. If we hadn't been given so much by friends I'd say that number would be doubled but still...
We believe if you want your children to be happy and 'turn out well' spend less money on them and more time with them!
If you have any questions or money saving baby tips please leave a comment below :)