Why Having a Baby Doesn’t Have to Drain Your Wallet

Fifteen years ago, I was pregnant with my first child. I did the first-time mom thing and registered for — and received every baby gadget Buy Buy Baby stocked. My Madelyn was born on August 23rd, 2001. Nineteen days later we were forced out of our downtown NYC apartment and ended up living with my parents in Queens for six months. In my haste to get away from the Twin Towers, I brought nothing but her carseat and the clothes on our backs. Turns out, I needed not much more. She slept in a drawer for the first few nights.
Three years ago, with two more kids under my belt, I found out I was expecting twins. Despite the fact I had given away or thrown away anything made by Pampers, Graco and Peg Perego, I did little to no shopping to prepare. This time, I took hand-me-downs from anyone who had them to give — beautiful cribs, pack-and-plays, expensive snuggly things I never did figure out how to use.
Four pregnancies, five kids and a couple of wrenches thrown in to my plans taught me a few things.

– Infants need nothing except their mother and drawer full of diapers.
– Despite what the marketplace tells us, you can still go to the store after you have a baby — or, at the very least, you can send someone or shop online. Wait to buy all the expensive gadgets until you see if it is something your baby needs.
– Every single thing babies and toddlers use is short-lived. Don’t spend $200 on the latest and the greatest. Chances are it won’t make them sleep, eat or behave any better.
– Borrow or take what you can. I loved passing on my baby things to an expectant family. There is someone who would love nothing more than passing theirs onto you. A little Clorox clean-up and that swing, exersaucer, bouncy seat, stroller and Bjorn are as good as new.
– Purchase what is important to you, but don’t believe the hype. I wanted all my babies to have new bedding and new car seats, so they did. But, one is not much better than the next. You can find great quality at lower prices.
There! I just saved you thousands of dollars you can put into a college fund. Better yet, you can use this money to pay for the things you will really need after you have a baby — wine, ¬†babysitters, and Red Bull.

Don’t Miss More Stories About Parenthood:
Tips For Getting in Shape After the Baby.
When is the Best Time to Have a Baby?
Do Parenting Styles Matter?

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Author: Karen Latimer

Dr. Latimer is a Family Physician and Wellness Coach. She helps clients with parenting issues, the challenges of college and young adulthood and issues related to health and habits. Email her at drkarenlatimer@gmail.com to learn more. She is the author of the Audible Original, Take Back the House -- Raising Happy Parents.


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