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Frugal Baby

by Carrie Lauth

How can I be frugal and have everything baby needs?

Good question! I think the key is to identify what babies truly need. The advertisers would have you believe that baby needs fancy expensive "stuff" that will keep you in debt until baby's in college. Not true. Babies need very little in order to be happy. And those things are, in order of importance:

A Momma to love
Nutritious food
To be kept warm
Something to cover their bottoms
Pretty simple eh?

Free Food for Baby
"The newborn baby has only three demands. They are warmth in the arms of its mother, food from her breasts, and security in the knowledge of her presence. Breastfeeding satisfies all three." - Dr. Grantly Dick-Read, author of Childbirth Without Fear.

The interesting thing about the first 3 is that they can all be met at the same time with breastfeeding! You can't get much more frugal than free can you?

Not only does breastfeeding save you money that you would have spent on formula, bottles and such, but you will save money on Doctor bills. Formula feeding carries risks: Increased ear infections, respiratory illness, increased incidence of certain cancers, long term implications for obesity, diabetes, and I could go on.

Baby Clothes

My best tip for obtaining baby clothes frugally is to make it known that you welcome hand-me-downs. Most Moms hate throwing away perfectly good baby stuff. When babies are young, they almost never wear things out before they are outgrown. If someone gives you things, accept it gratefully and thank them. Even if the stuff isn't as good as you would like and you end up donating it to charity, you still send a message that you aren't too proud for used things. And truly, it has nothing to do with charity. Obtaining used things is better for the environment. And you can put the money you save to better use. Why not start a savings account for your little one and add to it when you use creative frugality to save money? Your child will thank you later!

EBay, thrift stores and consignment shops are also good places to find baby clothes frugally.

Experts agree that babies don't really need shoes when they're learning to walk because it's best for their toes to grip the floor. If it's cold and baby's tootsies are frozen, use soft leather baby shoes. They're flexible and the healthiest, safest choice.

Saving Money On Diapers

The most frugal way of dealing with this issue is to forgo diapers altogether the way women around the world do. It's called "elimination communication" and basically involves watching for baby's elimination cues (and they do exist, even in newborns) and holding her over the potty so she can take care of business. However, if you're not so inclined, the next best thing is cloth diapers.

Ask people to give you cloth diapers at your baby shower instead of those cute but impractical outfits. A lot of the cloth diaper companies that sell online have baby registries. Buy the high quality cloth diapers if you plan on using them for more than one child. They will likely last you for years. I recommend Fuzzi Bunz.

More Frugal Baby Ideas

Frugality is mostly about what you don't buy than what you do, so I suggest thinking about what you can do without. Do you really need a crib or bassinet? Why not let baby sleep with you? It works for 90% of the population. Do you need a baby swing? Why not wear baby on your body in a sling? It promotes bonding, keeps baby happy, you burn extra calories and get things done too! Everybody wins. :)

Does baby really need those educational toys and gadgets? You know, Einstein didn't have flash cards. All the stimulation your baby needs is you! Talk to baby, read to baby, sing to baby, let baby watch your daily activities from his spot in the baby sling, and breastfeed your baby.

The best baby toys are things you have around the house. (Ever noticed how babies and toddlers would rather play with your keys than any expensive toy?) Babies would rather bang on pots and pans with wooden spoons than just about anything else. Save empty plastic food containers that would have been thrown away, and toss them into an empty cabinet down low in your kitchen. This will provide hours of frugal fun for baby!

One exception:

Baby car seats are best obtained new...don't risk taking a chance on a used car seat that "looks" fine but that may have been involved in a fender bender.

Baby's needs are truly few, and the best things you can give your baby are free.

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