When I found out I was pregnant with The Moderate Baby I really resented his impact on my shoe budget. I wasn't an extravagent spender but I had enjoyed a Friday night chicken chow mein and a new boot in winter for many years. Not to mention that fact that there seemed to be baby tax on everything and I felt horribly manipulated into buying things I didn't need or want. As a consequence I made a lot of effort to have a minimalist baby experience but I still made mistakes along the way. Here's my guide on when to save and when to splurge for your baby's first few months.
SKIMP - CLOTHES If I told you to choose an outfit to puke and poop on you wouldn't pull rush to get your favourite dress from the dry cleaners. In addition baby clothes can have as little as a two week cycle; I resorted to cutting the feet from the bottom of baby gros to gain me a few extra days. Look babies are cute no matter what they wear. Go basic and save the designer gear for your first post baby night out.
SKIMP - COT Go second hand, they're only sleeping on it clean freaks! If you really can't deal with that get something cheap as chips, they'll be in a bed before you know it. Whilst we're at it I can't deal with decorating nurseries in an overtly new born designs. Trust me they're newborns for all of five seconds and you will weep with regret when your kid's slapping Bubble Guppies stickers all over your designer wallpaper.
SKIMP - TOYS Roscoe's favourite toy is a dustpan and brush I got for a pound from Asda. Car boot sales and supermarkets are ace for budget play things and buy bargains in the sales that you can pull out in a few months if necessary.
SKIMP - PRODUCTS Here's one where I got sucked in by claims of organic, magical potions that would give me baby baby soft skin. Spoiler, babies already have baby soft skin. That's not to say that in some cases a more expensive product might be best but meet your new addition before committing to a whole range. It turns out my son's skin is happy with any old fragrance free bath wash and a monster tub of cold cream.
SPLURGE - NAPPIES If you're doing disposables you will weep when you realise how much they cost and how many you will go through. There will inevitably come a day when you spot a range that offers one million nappies for £2.50 and you will think you've stumbled across a goldmine. This is not a bargain, it's a false economy. What you save in nappies you will spend on washing powder, ruined clothes and therapy sessions after you deal with the aftermath of cheap nappies. I personally have never found a range better than Pampers and at this stage I'm no longer willing to try.
SPLURGE - SLING I learned the hard way and only got this right three carriers into the game. I thought the expensive ones were a con for overprotective mothers until I attempted to carry my little one in my bargain find and found him hanging somewhere around my knees by the time we got to Sainsburys. Finally on advice of another mother I got a Manduca and although I felt sick with guilt at spending nearly £100 on something I could do with my arms,I never looked back. Roscoe's nearly two and I still use the Manduca to take him to nursery or pop to the shops. I also have it on good authority that you should try a ring sling. Think about borrowing one before committing because some babies don't like to be carried but if it's something your family will use, invest - your back will thank you.
SPLURGE: BREAST PUMP I had a second hand manual breast pump from a friend (sterilised clean freaks!) It was fine for my pumping needs which turned out to be three bags that I stuck in the freezer and forgot about but if you plan to be or circumstances dictate that you become a professional pumper then do invest in something a little special. The main thing a good pump will do is save you time, when you've got a new baby time feels like a mystical unicorn always just out of reach. I also understand that you can rent breast pumps! Which whilst more expensive in the long term could mean that you could get a hospital grade one, think the Rolls Royce of the pump world. If you're exclusively breast feeding this option may still be cheaper than bottle feeding, so make sure you compare costs before making a decision.
So there you go. You will thank me come the January sales. If you're planning for a new arrival and feeling apprehensive about the black hole known as maternity leave, please register your interest in my free webinar 'The Lost Art of Stay at Home Parenting' - How to get organised, find joy and feel fabulous at home by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org