Recently, I had my third child, a son. My daughters are 11 and 13 years old so there are no items I have stored from them for this one. My step daughter is 6 and live overseas so we are starting from scratch. On top of that, I am a business owner so slightly different situation to my first two.
Having had two other babies and now doing another, I have quite a few tips. Babies do not need to be expensive. My tweens are considerably more expensive than they ever were as babies.
Here is exactly what I do, what I am buying and how I save money. Disclosure, some of these links may be affiliate links.
Get Your Freebies and Discounts
The Bounty Bag is the obvious one most people know about. On top of that, numerous companies which sell baby products offer samples and freebies. If you plan to use disposables, specific creams or anything, this can be a great way to test them out.
There are so many discounts too. Check out how to get a discount on everything. No need to pay full price especially when you have months to prepare.
You might also want to consider using the discounts from meal delivery services for after birth. EveryPlate is the cheapest in Australia and offers 40% off your first box then 20% off your next two.
MarleySpoon has $100 off which is split across your first 4 boxes – $40, then $30, then $20 and lastly $10 off. Dinnerly where you can get $60 off ($20 split across each of your first 3 boxes), $90 off HelloFresh with $40 off your first box, $30 off your second and $10 off each of your third and fourth.
Rather than using disposables, try reusables such as modern cloth nappies, cloth wipes etc. I used a mix with both my kids (I made my own modern cloth nappies and even made money selling others). The initial outlay isn’t too bad if you use them consistently instead of disposables.
When it comes to lotions, creams and the massive list of things you will be told you need, don’t buy into it. For the most part, you don’t need 100 different products or a fully decked out nursery.
What Baby Products do I use?
A basic soap e.g. goats milk soap or a natural one which is soft on baby skin and coconut oil is all we use. I strongly dislike the plethora of baby products out there. It’s simply not needed. Take care of their skin now, do not introduce them to heaps of products and they will be better for it. As will your budget.
I have a selection of modern cloth nappies, as well as a menstrual cup and period underwear for myself. After birth, you are likely to want to use disposables though as it is completely different.
The first few days the baby poo is thick, black, sticky meconium so harder to clean. As for yourself, it’s not the same as a period.
After day 4 to 5 for baby, it is easier. For your body, it is usually about a week to 10 days after birth things ease up for me and other mums have said similar.
What Baby Furniture do we have?
Our set up is simple. We have a cot with a mattress, mattress cover and two sheet sets,. A pram, car seat, baby monitor as our home is two-storey and a port-a-cot because it was free.
No change table, no baby bath, bath seat or any other number of things which are considered must haves. They are not must haves.
Fed Is Best
You often hear “Breast is Best!” however, breastfeeding isn’t easy for everyone. I strongly believe in breastfeeding if you can and there is so much support with lactation consultants, courses, Facebook groups, mothers groups etc.
However, there are some instances where it isn’t possible or despite your best efforts, it doesn’t work. For medical reasons, I was unable to feed my daughters. Despite that, I read, learnt and did everything possible to increase my chances of being able to feed my son. Unfortunately, the same issues meant it isn’t possible.
Also, when it comes to solid foods, make your own.
Baby Clothes, Toys and Other Items
You will be given so much that you probably won’t need to buy much at all. Especially if you have a baby shower. Since we had our son during a time when people couldn’t travel and in a state away from where we grew up, away from family etc. I didn’t have a baby shower but I didn’t have one with my daughters either.
When it comes to clothes, they grow so quickly. Get a few items, some bibs, burping clothes and don’t go overboard with 000 cute clothes. They will be in 00 before you know it.
Other items we use include wraps, face washers, bottles, 2 soft towels for baby, first aid items including a snot sucker and thermometer, a lavalava (long wrap) to use as a baby carrier and that’s pretty much it.
There are huge lists of things you need but realistically, you don’t need most of it.
I got a couple of dresses from eBay, plus already had 2 stretchy dresses but for most of the pregnancy I fit my regular clothing because they are A style dresses from Review.
Good maternity bras are important and. you can get them on sale. Your boobs will grow so get a size or two up. I bought mine too big but by 6 months they were almost too small. By the time I gave birth, I needed the next size up again.
Your body will change so much. Get clothes and shoes you are comfortable in but realise, you don’t need to spend a fortune. Feeling attractive and comfortable in your clothing will help though so get items you like. I used eBay and Marketplace to get mine.
I used pillows we already have instead of buying a body pillow or maternity pillow. I didn’t like body pillows before so didn’t feel the need.
Labour and Hospital
I’ve gone through the public system with each of my children. It varies a lot from city to city. My eldest was born in Sydney, middle in Canberra and my son on the Sunshine Coast. The pregnancy treatment was best in Sydney for me. Horrendous on the Sunshine Coast. But labour itself was best on the Sunshine Coast.
This time, I did a lot of prep work mentally, the breathing techniques, mindfulness etc. It was by far the easiest birth despite being a longer labour without intervention or an epidural or anything.
For labour and the hospital, you can pack what you have. You don’t need to buy anything special for it and if you go public, the cost is your tax dollars are paying for it.
Aside from the costs of setting up, pregnancy, medical etc. There are other factors when it comes to having a baby and how that impacts your budget.
If you take time off work, check your maternity leave options through your work and through the government. As I am self-employed, once we have the paperwork sorted, I can access paid parental leave through Centrelink.
Have the other parent of your child, if they are still involved, check what they are entitled to as well.
Maternity leave means you will still get superannuation paid usually. However, for those who aren’t eligible for it or who don’t have options, your partner (if you have one) can contribute to your superannuation so you don’t miss out while taking time off.
Childcare expenses need to be split across both wages and not only yours. Too often, women take time off with the birth and to raise the children. Then, they miss out on superannuation and career growth. When they decide to go back to work, their income is put against the cost of childcare instead of the overall cost going against BOTH wages.
As a result, women often end up staying home longer or feeling it’s not worth it to go back to work. Do what works for your family and what is best for you personally when it comes to returning to work but do not only put the expenses against your income.
I was a single mother most of my kids lives. Being there when they are babies is important to me, as it is throughout their lives. By finding flexible work options, I have been able to develop a strong relationship with my kids so now when they are teenagers and becoming more independent, we are still close.
The baby stage goes by fast. Before you know it they will be adults but there is a lot you need to do and think about between now and then. Here are a few articles I recommend:
43 ways single mums can make money – gives 43 flexible options for making money.
How to become a millionaire even as a single mum – the advice applies to anyone. It’s about investing, compound interest and playing the long game.