Inexpensive Baby Care

Inexpensive baby care! Preparing for and supplying a baby's needs does not have to be expensive. All it takes is some planning, and a clear picture of what's really necessary.

You're expecting a baby! While this brings about many mixed emotions, concerns about finances are generally near the top of the worry list. Baby furniture, clothing, and nursery preparation is a multi-million dollar industry, but it's not hard to get ready for the new arrival on a shoestring. All it takes is some planning, and a clear picture of what's really necessary.

Shopping for that new nursery, toys, and baby clothing can be lots of fun. Go to the baby boutiques, but leave your charge card behind because there are less expensive ways to do it. Use the stores as a source for ideas. Shop while there are months left to prepare - especially during summer months when yard sales are in full swing. Why buy new baby clothing? Baby will outgrow those adorable clothes in months, and will spit up, poop, and scatter various stains. If you don't pay much, it won't matter if that blob of strained carrots won't come out. Baby clothing is a hot commodity at neighborhood yard sales. Shop on Fridays for the best selection; shop on Sundays for the best prices. It's possible to get an entire wardrobe for a newborn baby for under $10 at yard sales. If that's not an option, consignment stores are the next best thing. At consignment stores, clothing, toys and furniture are available for at least half the price of new items.

Almost anything you need for baby care can be purchased at yard sales or consignment stores, from cloth diapers to breast pumps. There are, however, some things that should be purchased new. Car seats are one important item that should be used by an original owner. Don't compromise on safety. If purchased secondhand, there may be no guarantee that a car seat hasn't been involved in a wreck, subject to a recall, or otherwise damaged. Another item that should be purchased new is shoes. Though it can be tempting to buy that cute pair of shoes at the yard sale for 50 cents, each child's foot is different. New shoes are worn in a unique way by their wearer and may damage your child's developing feet if they've already been broken in by another child. Other baby equipment such as cribs, high chairs, or walkers may be fine to use, but it's important to check for information on re-calls by the manufacturers. Cribs must meet a safety standard for the width between the bars.

However, many items that are considered essential for baby care aren't needed at all. For example, families that choose to practice the "family bed" may not need a crib or bassinet. Diaper changing tables are highly unnecessary items. Changes can be done on a bed, or even the floor. A table or desk can be adapted for use as a changing table by adding a pad made for that purpose. The need for a high chair can be eliminated if an adult is willing to hold the baby while he's being fed, or a chair that hooks to the kitchen table can be purchased. Potty chairs aren't really necessary either. With a step stool (which has many other uses) and an inexpensive insert to make the toilet opening smaller, toilet training can be much simpler.

Another way to save money on baby care is breast-feeding. Along with the obvious benefits such as bonding, passing on immunities, and preventing allergies, breast milk is free. A breast fed baby also has no need for such supplies as bottles, nipples, sterilizers, coolers, dishwasher baskets, etc. Moms who work will need to invest in some of this equipment and a good breast pump, but the savings in formula purchases and the possibility of reduced illnesses more than makes up for this expense.

Newborn babies don't need much at all except for food, clothing, diapers, blankets (towels work fine in a pinch), and a place to sleep, which could be almost anywhere safe. Everything else is optional, and most baby items can be purchased in yard sales or consignment shops. Take care when purchasing used items, but in most cases it won't matter and sometimes used items are even better than new. Keep the money you save in preparing nursery items for the years to come, when it will be spent on toys, school, books, sports equipment, and college.

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