If now is the time in your life when you have just braved the miracle of birth and are facing your newborn for the first time, you either already have or are just about to experience the financial dilemmas that go hand in hand with raising a child. With the costs of baby’s first year skyrocketing into the £2000-£5000 range, having a baby is no financial joke. Between the push chair and car seats, the bottles and bibs, and the noise making toys and baby wipes, your little one’s basic needs end up being an entirely new and somewhat unpredictable aspect of your budget.
One of the first steps in minimizing your expenses during baby’s first year is going to be accepting help where it is given from friends and family. Offers of heirloom baby clothes, recycled toys from families with older children, and passed down prams and newborn slings can be an ultimate savior by keeping you from having to purchase all of these items new for every child. Charity shops and car boot sales are fantastic resources for baby clothes, toys, and accessories at a fraction of the cost of what they were new. Don’t be afraid to accept hand me downs, as just by the very nature of babyhood they are bound to be only very gently worn, and good for at least another year of use.
Stick With the Basics
Although your peer parents may do their best to convince you that a pram rocker or the fancily scented wipes are part of the collection of essentials for your baby’s first year, you will do well to take their advice with a grain of salt and only buy for your newborn what they absolutely need. No harm will be done in this regard – as long as your wee one’s basic needs are well taken care of, including good quality food and milk, a safe place to sleep, mental stimulation and emotional attention, they will hardly remember in ten or twenty years whether they had the off brand name nappies or the more expensive ones.
Thankfully, the list of essentials for your baby’s first year are simple, easy to obtain, and the same for all little ones, no matter how unique your child is. They will need about a week’s worth of clothing changes at minimum, a few cardigans and a coat, socks, nappies, a hat, a push chair or pram, a car seat and an abundance of wipes. The National Childbirth Trust has a whopper of a Nearly New sale that is offered regularly each year in the UK with masses of new and gently used clothing, toys, baby accessories and gear galore at bargain prices. These heavily discounted rummage sales are great resources for new parents who need to amass their collection for their first year of baby’s life without going over the budget.
Breastfeeding vs. Bottle
While a discussion of the nutritional and emotional bonding aspects of breastfeeding is a topic that could be gone over at length, the financial benefits of breastfeeding rather than bottle feeding leaves nothing to be argued about. By breastfeeding during your baby’s first year, you can save about £1000 in formula costs, as well as contributing to the health and well being of your baby in a tremendous manner. Supporting the formula industry will have you spending more money on your baby’s diet than you could imagine, while the cost of breastfeeding is fairly limited to the price of a breast pump and pad, a nursing bra, and some cloths for easy clean up. As long as you are able to and the circumstances are healthy for both you and your baby, breast feeding makes the most sense, financial and otherwise.