So, the blessed day has arrived, that second pink line has finally appeared, and you are pregnant! Maybe it’s your first baby, maybe it’s your 6th. Either way, knowing you are about to bring a baby into the world can be very exciting and overwhelming all rolled into one. At first, 9 months seems pretty far away, but as that due date draws near, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the changes about to take place when your new little addition arrives. How do you prepare for a new baby on a small budget? Money is, unfortunately, also part of having a baby, a BIG ANNOYING part. Finances have been tight most of our marriage, so I’ve just learned by experience how to prepare for a new baby on a small budget. Hopefully what I have learned will help ease your stress a little so you can put more of your focus on just getting through those not so comfortable months of pregnancy and welcoming the newest member of your family!
Needs vs. Wants. Make a list of things you feel like you want for this baby. Include everything from binkies and breast pumps to diapers and blankets! Then, go through that list and put a check mark by that things that you know are absolute needs. This will help you see what the bare minimum is that you can get by with. If it’s your first, you may be surprised how many things that you think you need, that you can actually get by without. Every person is different, but I will just name a few of the things I realized I didn’t actually need.
- Changing table. If you’re really tight, don’t worry about this one. You really don’t need it. You can just change your baby on your bed on top of a towel. If you would still rather have a designated place in your baby’s room for diaper changes you can do what I did for 2 of mine. I bought one of these changing pads and placed it on top of a dresser. Worked great! That leads to the next thing…
- Changing pad covers. I have never bought specially made covers for my pads because I always felt like they were overpriced. Instead I have done 3 different things over the years to cover mine. When times were really tough, I used towels, when I wanted something that would stay on better, I bought cheap king sized pillow cases. They fit perfectly! With my last baby (#4) I waited till flannel went on sale for $1 a yard, then bought some cute prints that matched my baby’s room and made my own pillow cases to slip over. Easy!
- Fancy Bottles. There is an endless sea of bottles Glass, plastic, curved, straight, print or solid colored, fancy valves for colic, you name it! Seriously, just make sure it’s BPA free and it doesn’t leak. Every baby gets colicky regardless of what bottles are being used. Don’t feel like you have to break the bank on this one. I’ve used these and these and BOTH worked great! You don’t need a ton of bottles. Just wash them out after using and they’re ready to go for the next feeding.
- Crib bumper. Cute, but not necessary.I had one with my first and it kept me up at night because I always worried my baby would get their face smooched into it and suffocate. Save yourself the lost sleep and moola
Here is a list of things that I felt were definite needs to prepare for a new baby: (your needs may be different. )
1. Breast pads. You may be one of those blessed women who don’t leak all the time but I was not! After I had my first child, I seriously spent more money on disposable breast pads than diapers. I am NOT kidding! After that, I got smart and bought washable breast pads like these to save us a bundle of money. If you are expecting your first, maybe buy some disposable ones or just a couple of pairs of the washables until you know for sure how your body will be. May the odds be ever in your favor!!
2. Breast Pump. I started out with a cheap hand pump like this and it worked great till I got a massive breast infection and found myself having to pump a lot. Then my husband, after seeing the turmoil I was going through hand pumping all day) went on ebay and bought me an electric one like this. We payed half the price and just bought new tubing, shields, and accessories to make sure it was hygienic since it was pre-used. If you know someone who is not currently using their pump you could even borrow one. (even better!)
3. Burp Cloths. You just CANNOT have enough of these. I found that cloth diapers like these work the best for being cheap, durable, and absorbent. If you want to make them cute there are PLENTY of tutorials on pinterest on how to do that!
4. Swaddling Blanket. Unfortunately I didn’t learn how valuable it was to swaddle my baby until my 3rd. Oh, the joy when I learned how to swaddle and my babies finally slept longer than an hour. I was ONE, HAPPY MOMMA! There are lots of different swaddling blankets out there. after a lot of trial and error, we finally invested in one of these. (2 is great, but we only ended up needing 1) All the others were just too small or easy for our baby to get out of. I have used our miracle blanket through 2 kids now and it still shows no signs of wear and tear. Sometimes quality is better than quantity! You can’t put a price on sleep with a newborn!! For more ideas on what you you might or might not not need, check out this post by my sister on Mother’s Niche.com.
5. Bassinet. Ok, let me start by saying that I USED to not think this was a necessary item. When we had our first baby, someone gave us a BEAUTIFUL bassinet and I was so excited to use it! I was very disappointed when my baby would NOT sleep in it. (This was before I learned about swaddling my babies) So I gave the bassinet away and decided that it worked better to keep my babies close in bead with me. They always slept better that way. The problem with doing this is that my newborn would get 50% of the bed (in the middle) while my husband and I would be on each opposite side hanging onto a measly 25% each because we were so paranoid about falling asleep close to the baby and smothering them in our sleep! Fast forward to about 2 years ago, my sister in law introduced me to a cheaper, yet absolutely wonderful bassinet. She swore it was the best ever and that her baby was almost sleeping through the night in it. It’s called a Rock N’ Play Sleeper. I caved and bought one and I have NEVER regretted it. I only wish I had it for ALL of my babies! The combination of swaddling and using this rocker was like magic! Most moms know that babies sleep really well in their carseats because they feel more secure. This has an incline like a carseat (great for acid reflux!), it folds in about 5 seconds for traveling, fits just about anywhere (loved having it next to my bed) and just ROCKS! (pun intended 🙂 ) Bottom line: Bassinet’s are NOT absolutely essential, but if you can afford one like this, GET IT! It will pay you back in many more hours of peaceful sleep (for YOU and the BABY!)
6. Owlet. This one wasn’t a “must-have” in my book until it saved the life of my friend’s baby. Now I try to get the word out about this product every where I can. If good sleep is a must for you, then you need an Owlet! It alerts you if your baby stops breathing in the night, which is especially reassuring when you first get home from the hospital, or any time your baby is sick!
Baby Clothes. If this is your first baby, chances are, you will get a lot of baby clothes at your baby shower (make sure someone throws one for you!!) but you will still need to fill in the gaps with what you don’t get, not to mention all the years to come as your baby grows. Let me give you some valuable advice on this: BUY USED! Kids go through clothes SO fast and there is an endless sea of mothers out there who have boxes of baby clothes sitting in their basements. Better yet, before you buy, ask around to see if someone just wants to get rid of their clothes. Better you than good will, right? 90% of my kids clothes have come from hand downs. I usually have MORE than what they need! If you really want to buy brand new everything, go ahead. I’d rather spend that money on diapers!!
Diapers. Let’s face it, diapers can be a huge expense until your child is potty trained and chances are, by then, baby #2 will be on the way so forget getting a break from that budget buster! I have done both cloth diapers and disposable and have to say that you can do either on a small budget. There are so many new cute cloth diapers out there and smart tools to make them less of a hassle and less….gross. I cloth diapered my second child and really never felt like it was a huge hassle and it saved us a bundle of money. When I had 3 kids and then 4 I just didn’t feel like I had the energy or sanity so I went back to disposables. That being said, I started stocking up when I was pregnant so I could take advantage of sales when they came. When you see a great deal on diapers, stock up! It’s so nice when you are walking around in a sleepy haze after your baby is born, to NOT have to run to the store for diapers! Generic diapers usually go on sale at a good price or name brand can be bought with coupons (if you have them) I love Amazon mom for this because I can get name brand diapers for almost as cheap as generics. Free 2 day shipping is also included with amazon mom and I take advantage of that to do all of my other shopping! Right now you can sign up for a 30 day free trial and also get a $10 credit towards your first purchase. Click here to find out more. Nursing vs. Formula. No question here, breast milk is best and also FREE! I will always say that breastfeeding is the way to go, especially on a small budget. Having said that, I’m not gonna lie to you, the first 4-6 weeks of breastfeeding can be ROUGH and painful and…frustrating! It was rough for all 4 of my newborns. If you can get past those rough weeks though, it is so worth it! I loved being able to nurse my babies in bed or on the go without the hassle of making bottles or buying formula. With my 4th baby, though, I got a double breast infection that almost brought my breast milk to a complete halt! I honestly thought we would have to do 100% formula. It took about 2 months and lots of supplementing but eventually I got my milk back completely. IF you decide NOT to breastfeed, PLEASE don’t feel bad about it. I spent so much time stressing and crying when I was having to feed my baby formula, but he was just fine! Do your best, but don’t beat your mommy self up if you have to do something different that what you had planned.
Hospital Bills. If you don’t have insurance, there are still ways to cut your bill dramatically. A friend of mine was stressing because she knew they would have to pay their entire bill and they had hardly the money to do so! She was smart and went directly to the hospital and talked to someone on the labor and delivery staff. They gave her a list of everything that they normally charged for. She was surprised at all the things she could say no to and not have to pay for. Also, they told her that if she had no complications and wanted to, she could go home a day earlier and pay half as much!
Take advantage of online discounts and cash back opportunities. Always take advantage of cash back for any online purchases you make. I love EBATES for this because it’s as simple as signing up for an account and then just going through their site to your favorite shopping sites. Then, whatever you buy, they give you cash back. Plus, they give you a cash bonus when you first sign up. Done! You’d be surprised at how fast it builds up! Also, after you sign up, make sure you install the Ebates bookmark button to your search bar so that you get reminders every time you are on a site that is eligible for cash back. Before I did this, I would always forgot and miss out on my cash back. I also love Zulily for great discounts on mom and baby/kid products.
Organize your efforts. It can be overwhelming to think of everything that needs to be done to prepare for a new baby. Instead of letting you’re ever growing list stress you out, organize your efforts and do what is most important first. Also, don’t forget to take care of yourself and enjoy those things that you won’t be able to enjoy right after having a baby. I love the following post by my sister Trish and it will help you to realize what you can do RIGHT NOW during these pregnancy months in a simplified way.
Ask for Help! Don’t be afraid to ask family and friends for help! This last pregnancy, we needed a new crib. I mentioned it to a few friends and got a phone call one day from one of them saying that she was done having kids and “Would I like to have their crib?.” A few weeks later, another friend called to inform me that someone in her family was moving and “Would I like their changing table?” That was such a blessing! Spread the word and use Facebook! There are so many resources out there to share. Then, when you find yourself , in the future, not needing your baby clothes or stuff anymore, pay it forward and give to someone in need!
Remember, you are being watched over. I have always been surprised and humbled at how I have been taken care of during all my pregnancies. I believe all my babies come from a Heavenly Father who is always watching over them and me. If babies come from heaven, don’t you think our Father in Heaven will help you take care of them? Have faith, ask and pray for help and then put the rest in the Lord’s hands. You will surprised at the blessings that can come! Do your part, and then let Him do the rest. Never let money discourage you from bringing a baby into this world. Follow your heart! I wish you the best of joy in your pregnancy and in your new life with your new baby!
Here’s a funny and uplifting music video that I know you will just love. If this is your first pregnancy, this will give you a glimpse of what you have to look forward to, if it’s not your first, it’ll give you a good laugh because you already know and can relate! Once again,this was done by my sister, Trish. If you haven’t read any of her posts on this blog, do it a.s.a.p! She is my hero and one of the greatest moms I know! Enjoy!!
Taylor Swift Shake It Off Parody Mommy Style