I’m done having them, so don’t go getting ideas. I went looking for a cake recipe and of course loving Smitten Kitchen I clicked on the “Best Birthday Cake” link I saw. I started reading the blog post and inside was tucked a link about $200 toys, which led to a now nearly 3 year old New York Times article.
It talked about how due to the recession parents had wised up about their spending. Things were purchased second hand, clothes included. The baby product industry is HUGE. I mean think about all the baby showers and things that parents feel they need. New babies are expensive when you look at it that way.
Sophia came along and taught me a lesson as a parent and a consumer…
1) Cloth Diapers.
If you can go old school with prefolds you can spend as much for the entire time your child will be in diapers as you would in the fist 6 months using disposables. It’s not as gross as you might think, and frankly it’s awesome not to have an “oh shit” moment (heehee) when you run out of diapers at midnight or wipes when there’s been an explosive episode.
Nola was not breastfed (not for a lack of trying) and it was expensive even using the “Parent’s Choice” brand from Wal-Mart. Aside from nursing pads, nursing bras, lanolin, and a Boppy pillow I did not spend a dime for Sophia to eat pretty much the first year of her life (the items were for my comfort and convenience).
Yes, I know this one is controversial, but it worked for us. It made night time nursing so much easier. I was not lacking sleep because combined with breastfeeding I didn’t have to get out of bed to feed Sophia. David did spent the first month sleeping on the couch out of fear. Sophia’s now 4.5 and she does still come into our bed just about every night. I’m over it, but since I know she’s my last I’m trying to enjoy the snuggles before they’re gone for good and replaced with a moody “tween” trying to be like her big sister. 😛
4) Thrift store clothes.
Lets be realistic here. Babies grow, and usually at an astonishing pace. Sophia was 8.5 pounds at birth. By my 6 week postpartum checkup she had doubled her weight. All the cute newborn stuff I got her .. yeah, it got less than 6 weeks of use. Yeah buying baby clothes is so much fun, but when your kid goes from newborn to 2T in the first year it’s just plain crazy to dole out money for new stuff in every size – newborn, 3mo, 6mo, 9mo, 12mo, 18mo, 24mo, and 2T (no, I have no clue what the difference is between 24mo and 2T). Heck I STILL buy clothes from second hand stores for the girls AND myself.
5) The Car Seat.
Buy a Britax. Don’t bother with the bucket seat. Yes, it’s easier for moving a sleeping baby. Nola stayed in her bucket seat until she was almost a year old. She was a peanut. As you already know Sophia was a beast. That 6 week checkup she was 16 pounds (perspective – Nola was 18 pounds on her 1st birthday). Yes I’m also aware that Britax is expensive, but when your baby outgrows the bucket seat you’ll be getting a regular car seat anyhow. You might as well “splurge” and get the safest one you can right from the start. Britax seats usually have a starting weight of 5 pounds. Even Nola at 6.5 pounds would have fit in that (rear facing, of course) at birth.
6) Baby Carriers.
No, I’m not talking about one of the Bjorn ones. I’m talking about a nice Beco or a Connecta (oh how I loved my bright pink Solarweave Connecta!). Yes, they too are a little expensive, but they are HANDY. I kept the stroller I had with Nola until Sophia was 3, and I preferred the carriers to the bulky stroller. I certainly couldn’t wrap the stroller up and stuff it in the diaper bag. I would put Sophia in the carrier on my front, Nola in a shopping cart and I would go about my grocery shopping. Most of the time Sophia would be sound asleep and with the little “hood” up her head was supported, and she was warm snuggled up to me. When she got older I got the Beco and would pop her onto my back. It was great for our family trip to San Francisco (me being paranoid I was able to keep her on my back when we were walking and crossing lots of streets). The carrier is my answer to the bucket car seat as well as the stroller.
Now that I look at it … Nola started me on the path to being “crunchy” (I started cloth with her when she was about a year old), and Sophia made the further transformation pretty much inevitable.