Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Ten tips to help you avoid breaking the bank when having a baby

Babies and children are THE most wonderful, awesome blessing ever! Unfortunately they do cost a lot!! Especially if you allow yourself to get swept up into the picture perfect storybook idea of having a baby that many shops create for you in their catalogues. Honestly, some of the items would be awesome to have, but possibly more for yourself than your baby! I have only been a mum (to a non-fur baby) for 8 months, so I am by no means an expert, but I wanted to share with you some of the tips I have discovered during these few months of being Bumps mom.

1. You do not need all the baby bottle warmers, wet wipes warmers, special nappy /diaper bins that come with their own set of expensive 'must haves'. They are all absolutely wonderful to have I am sure, but really not necessary when you are trying to do things on a budget. I maintained from day one, I would never warm Bump's bottle for him unless it came straight out of the fridge. My theory was, what happens if I, for whatever reason, were unable to warm his bottle...would all hell break lose? I wasn't willing to find out! So it was room temperature bottles made up just before use, and if I had stashed some in the fridge, a quick dip in a cup of boiling water was all it took to restore the milk to room temperature. I have the same argument for the wet wipes warmers - what on earth do you do when you are not at home? I really didn't see myself carting a wet wipes warmer with every time I went out with Bump! Honestly, my poor boy usually gets wet wipes straight out the bag, not even warmed in my hands (Shock! Horror!) and I promise he is fine! As for the special bins for the disposable nappies, I really do not think that they are necessary. I have a normal dustbin with a lid and lined with a plastic bag in the bathroom especially for nappies. I flush any solids down the toilet and then just wrap the nappy up tight and pop it in the bin. Provided the lid stays on, you wouldn't even know what was in there! As soon as the bin is filled, or gets too smelly, out it goes. Simple. As  for special bath stands and changing tables, I am sure they are very convenient, but they also cost a pop! We just got a baby bath (second hand from Pass it on Baby - check this place out) and a bath seat, which we simply placed in our bath. Bump used his baby bath until he was about 3 months old and then the bath started to get a bit cramped and so I upgraded him to our bath in his bath seat. We bought a tool table to use as a changing table so it would at least have a secondary use after Bump no longer needed it. Honestly though, except for the storage it provided, I sort of wish we had not bothered. Bump became very squirmy at changing time from about three months and I did not feel safe having him so high up in the sky, and so started changing him on the floor.  

Our tool table which was used as a changing table

2. Do not turn your nose up to preloved clothes and toys. If friends or family members offer you preloved items, accept and give them a huge hug. We were very blessed with clothes from my sister, sister-in-law and friends that had previously been worn by their children. Besides a few onesies which I bought, Bump was dressed exclusively in gifts or preloved clothes for the first 3 months of his life. In fact he is still wearing some preloved clothes and gifts! It saved us A LOT! We were also blessed with preloved toys from my sister and a baby gym, feeding pillow and Bumbo seat on loan from friends. 

3. If you can, cloth nappy, even if it is part time. Disposables are not cheap. I cloth diaper part time as I do not have enough cloth ones to do it full time and in addition, when the laundry pile gets a little overwhelming, the thought of having to somehow fit in a load or two of nappies just makes me want to run screaming for the hills and then I give in and use disposables. But it definitely does help! (I am planning on doing a post about cloth nappies if anyone is interested!)

4. When your little one starts eating solids, make your own baby food as much as possible. Commercially made baby food is expensive and I promise making your own is quite easy, plus it ensures you have control of what goes in to their food. While I do use premade stuff occasionally when I am behind on cooking or we are out for the whole day (my mom spoils Bump with Purity), I definitely prefer home-made food for Bump.

5. Don't buy too many clothes or nappies in one size - they grow faster than you think. I remember buying a few onesies for Bump when he was around 3 months old. I bought 3-6 month ones, thinking they would last a couple of months. Well, he must have had a growth spurt because after wearing them for about 3 weeks, they became rather snug! 

6. You really don't need those rockers/bouncers etc. to put your baby to sleep. Nice to have if you have the money, but not really practical if that is the only way your baby will go to sleep because if you are not home, you are screwed. 

7. Breast feed if you possibly can. I know that this is not an option for everyone and there is nothing wrong with that. I was an exclusively formula-fed baby and I would take huge offence to any one telling me that formula-fed babies have 'issues'. As long as your baby gets fed. that is all that matters! I breast feed Bump and have to top him up with formula as I have issues with supply at times. I wish I could exclusively breast feed but being able to breast feed a bit at least does help financially as the formula Bump was prescribed is expensive! Another area to save if you are breast feeding is to use reusable material breast pads, rather than disposable ones.

8. Use wet wipes sparingly. I was very good at only using wet wipes when I was out with Bump or if he had a messy nappy when he was younger. I used to use a facecloth and water with a drop of tea tree oil in it if he had a wet nappy. I have gotten lazy with doing this and am now having to buy more wet wipes than usual...I need to get back to being good!

9. Don't spend a fortune on cute clothes, rather put that money towards the big items like prams, car seats and cots. If you are going to be blessed with a baby shower (I hope you will!!) don't go buy bundles clothes and blankets etc.You will probably get more than enough as gifts and if you're not opposed to your Bub wearing second hand, you will more than likely have many friends or family members giving you clothes their babies have grown out of (point 2). While it is fun to dress your little one up in cute outfits, these do tend to cost a fair bit more. By all means have a few, but for when you are at home, onesies, leggings and babygrowers are cheaper and more practical. In addition, do not feel like you have to buy your babies clothes at high end shops and baby boutiques. I promise the clothes will look bright, shiny and new for about thirty seconds after you have put it on and then they will spit up or vomit on their outfit, or worse have a blowout and stain those clothes! (Horror!) When I have had to buy clothes for Bump, I am not embarrassed to say that I have shopped at PEP, Asmalls, and Jet and Ackermans. They have reasonably priced clothing that does actually last. We have been very blessed with Bump's two grannies who love to knit and buy clothes for him and we were very spoil with clothes at the baby shower and so we really haven't had to buy for him.

10. Your baby doesn't have to have the picture perfect nursery with all the decorations and bells and whistles. While it would have been wonderful to paint out a nursery and decorate it,with colour-co-ordinating accessories, we live in a one bedroomed cottage, so there was no pressure for me to do so as Bump didn't have his own room. I am actually quite grateful that the pressure to do so was removed. I think it would have only really been for me. Bump would have been none the wiser. Honestly all he cares about is that he gets fed, cuddled and that his mom and dad be silly with him and play with him...he couldn't care if that happened in a beautifully decorated nursery or in the room he shares with his mom and dad and two furry brothers (cats). Our room is bursting at the seams with Bump's stuff but also the most important thing...lots of love and that is all that matters!

One last thing I would like to suggest is don't be in a hurry to buy items. I know it is tempting to go crazy and buy everything, but I would just make sure I had the absolute essentials and basics and then wait until after your little one is born. You might find you cope fine without things you thought you needed to buy. And the gifts also keep coming after your baby is born! If your medical aid and hospital are anything like mine, you will also get lots of freebies from them, like baby toiletries, blankets and nappy bags.

Well, good luck with your precious new addition! I would love to hear of any money saving tips you have come across!

Keep smiling,

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