|Google image search + MS Paint = this|
We haven't bought a single new thing for our son. He's our second child but we also didn't buy many new things for our daughter, and you don't have to either. Here's how:
|My daughter's fluffy bum|
Or you can do what we did: When people asked what we were still needing for our babies we told them, "one-size bumGenius pocket diapers". Our cloth diapering stash is made up entirely of brand new bumGenius diapers and we have spent $0 diapering our two children*. Don't be shy about telling people when they ask. If they ask then they want to contribute to your growing family.
If you need to pump milk, that will add some cost, but it doesn't have to be expensive. I bought a pump and three bottles on craigslist for $25 total. Granted, this is an unusually sweet deal, but there are often pumps listed on craigslist for less than what they retail for. If you're registering for a baby shower and are planning to pump, register for a pump and bottles!
There are three basic venues for pre-worn clothes: hand-me-downs, consignment/thrift finds, and clothing swaps.
Everyone is familiar with hand-me-downs, right? I think the term "hand-me-down" has some unfairly negative images associated with it. Sure, there are the patched-overalls-from-your-older-brother kind, but there are also the box-full-of-awesomeness-from-your-friend kind. The majority of my children's clothes come from boxes sent from friends and family who have children just a bit older than my kids. The styles might be a year old, but do our toddlers really need to be at the peak of fashion?
|A Just Between Friends sale|
Clothing swaps take the best parts of hand-me-downs and consignment sales: they're free and there's a selection. You take your children's old clothes and exchange them for other children's old clothes. They're typically one-for-one swaps, meaning you get one article of clothing for every article you bring.
Something else I like about clothing swaps is letting my toddler pick out whatever clothes she wants and not having to pay for it. Sure, this can be done at a consignment sale too, but at a swap I don't have to decide if three Elmo shirts are worth spending $3.50 each.
As for new-from-the-store clothes? Well, my kids do have doting grandmothers ;)
|My son's first day home|
When I was pregnant with our daughter we bought three things in preparation for parenthood: a ring sling, a washer and dryer for cloth diapers, and a king size bed. The bed was $20 on craigslist and was in excellent condition.
If done safely, sharing you bed with your baby is safe (that's such a *duh* statement, but I think it needs to be said). It's what's natural for our species and it cost nothing.
There's no need to spend money on a crib that may get recalled, or sheets for the crib, or a crib bumper which is recommended against but you'd get anyway cause it's so dang cute, or a crib mobile, or crib toys. If you have a bed then you're ready to go!
Infant carseats might be more convenient in some situations (loading up twins in winter?) but they lower the oxygen levels of babies, are dangerous if put on top of a shopping cart, are cumbersome to carry, can promote detachment and flat head syndrome and are typically just another unnecessary thing to buy**. Once your baby outgrows it you'll need a convertible carseat anyway so why not just start out with one?
Carseats might be the only thing you need to buy new from the store, but that doesn't mean they have to be expensive. If you watch for discounts and promotions and you can save a lot on them. We purchased four decent carseats for $39 each while they were on sale and now we're set on carseats until our kids outgrow them, we wreck, or they expire. And since we bought them new from the store we were able to register that we have them so if they are ever recalled we will be notified. You don't get that with a used seat.
Babywearing replaces the infant carseat and the stroller and benefits more than just your wallet. Babywearing is great for, well, just about every situation. Walking the dogs, sweeping the floor, shopping, taking your older child to the park, writing a blog post... Whenever your baby's need to be held and your need to use your hands happen at the same time, babywearing is there!
Carriers can be bought new, used, for shipping only, and exchanged for other things. There are websites that let you try out different carriers so you can find the one that's right for you (they work like a library with a refundable deposit). Personally, I have two store-bought carriers and three used carriers and would gladly buy used again if I needed another carrier.
Don't look at me like that. I'm not some dirty hippie who listens to whale songs on CD while doing yoga in my zen garden (although I would like to have a zen garden... and do yoga...). I research things and do what is effective, with the least amount of risks, while hopefully being affordable. And Baltic Amber? Well, it works. The Internet can not lie, so ask the Internet and it'll back me up here. I'm kidding, of course, but do ask around and you'll find a lot of positive reviews of this healing natural resin.
Having an Amber teething necklace eliminates the need for a teething relief gel that might get recalled and will need to be replaced when emptied. Since it's worn on your baby you don't have to worry about locating it when you need it. That's a pretty minor reason, but think about having this conversation while holding a baby screaming in pain:
"Where is the baby pain stuff?! It's not in the cabinet!"
"I think it's in the diaper bag."
"Where's the diaper bag?"
"Oh, it's in the van. I forgot to bring it in."
Or even worse,
"Where's the baby pain stuff? I can't find it in here!"
"Oh... I forgot to pack it in the diaper bag. It's at home".
That would suck.
It's a one-time cost, with no side-effects, no re-application. It's not a teether which introduces more germs into your baby's mouth and needs to be washed (as if babies need any help mouthing on everything in reach). You can even get them on sale fairly regularly if you keep an eye out for discount codes.
special nail clippers for babies. You could nibble off your baby's nails or you could use regular, adult-sized clippers. There is no need to buy special tiny ones. Here's a tip: trim your baby or toddler's nails while she's sleeping. It's so much easier that way!
I'm aware that this post probably seems to have an attachment parenting agenda but I promise that's just a coincidence. The truth is, attachment parenting is just cheaper than mainstream parenting. Who profits from breastfeeding? Who spends tons of money advertising for cosleeping ("Hey, don't buy a crib - cosleep!")? Probably no one (I mean, yeah, pump companies do, but that's not the point here).
* Technically we have bought a few packages of disposable diapers, like when I was on bedrest while pregnant with our second child, but that was too wordy of an explanation to put up there and we didn't need to use disposables, I just wanted to.
** Please don't take the carseat bit the wrong way. I know that an infant carseat can be used responsibly and that having one does not mean you're going to put it on top of your shopping cart. This post is about how to save money as a parent and I'm listing what has worked for me. If you're into infant seats that's fine with me, not that you need my approval.