Living in a Studio with a Newborn, Advice? (May be a little longwinded) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 06-12-2012, 09:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey, everyone. So I'm 31w4d into what has been a very difficult pregnancy for me - stress-wise, predominantly. I have been unemployed since January with zero luck finding a job (it doesn't help that I can't drive and have never had a driver's license, since so many jobs now seem to require either that or moderate-to-heavy lifting, which I also cannot do). We've been living off DF (dear fiance)'s minimum wage job (which he secured in March after being out of work for almost two months) and the occasional sidework he's able to get doing deliveries for a local furniture store and sign-spinning. Our money is so tight that we still haven't been able to afford to register our car (which, due to it being a police auction vehicle that we were not given the title to, has to be bonded and will be somewhere in the neighborhood of $350). After months of trying with the office, we've FINALLY gotten food stamps, which will help us a lot moving forward, but...Our car insurance is almost $100 a month because we are young and DF doesn't have a spotless driving record. We go through a no name insurance provider with the barest minimum legal required insurance. Gas is around $200 a month, sometimes a bit more (and that's in our sedan that gets 35 mpg). We share a cell phone, which is $35 a month. We also have several medical bills that have recently come due thanks to DF's screenprinting job exacerbating his asthma enough that he had to be hospitalized and was out of work for two weeks. (This has been resolved thanks to us forking out the money out of pocket for a P100 particulate mask and filters). Due to recently ending up homeless (thanks to a nightmarish roommate situation), we are crashing on his mother's couch (temporarily only, as she doesn't have the capability of housing us) and trying to find an apartment that will accept us despite my horrific credit and his complete lack of credit. We've finally found a place, but it's a studio...


So, I say all of that to say this. I have cut down literally as much on bills as I can and we can only afford a studio. Has anyone done this before and has advice? I know babies don't need as much as retailers would have us believe, so we've only got the basics bought in advance. To complicate matters, DF's lab is used to sleeping with us and we will have to work through her jealousy issues as well in this small space. (For those who will suggest we get rid of her, understand that her relationship with him predates our current relationship and she is like a child to him. He has travelled the country with her and nursed her from death's doorstep twice and she is a loving and well-trained dog who can just be a little possessive).


Anyways, sorry for the vent and thanks in advance for any tips/advice! Hopefully, this won't be forever. Section 8 Housing applications in our area are closed due to the waitlist being well over five years, but a friend lives in an area where the waitlist is only 6 months and we are keeping our eyes open for a job DF's qualified for that's in that area.

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#2 of 13 Old 06-12-2012, 10:06 AM
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I would keep expenses down enough to save some..even a little is better than nothing.
Cosleep (move the dog to the floor or to the foot of the bed). Breastfeed, cloth diaper, etc. 1 baby un a studio is totally doable I think!

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#3 of 13 Old 06-12-2012, 11:09 AM
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My parents started in a basement studio, 2 babies. They were fine. I started off in a studio and LOVED my space.


What I think is you are young and in love and have a baby on the way. A small space will be lovely. Keep stuff minimal and organized. Get out side. You need very little equipment for baby. As for the dog, make sure you have a safe place to put baby - perhaps a cradle. I have a smaller dog and he we very protective of baby, so much that he had to lay very close / almost on top of baby, in order to protect her. He had crawled into the moses basket we had, which triggered us to get it elevated off the floor.

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#4 of 13 Old 06-12-2012, 09:35 PM
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The first 5 years of my ElderSon's life, we lived on a 36 foot sailboat. That is MUCH smaller than any studio. Really, it is a non-issue. My next 2 babies were born in a one-room (studio) cabin. Frankly, I would not know how to live with a newborn anywhere but with me. I can't understand the use of cribs, play'n'pacs, or separate bedrooms. I would recommend a simple sling to start (free patterns available online) and a mess of cloth diapers. A good car seat is a reasonable investment. A few dollars will buy an entire baby wardrobe at a yard sale. You really don't need any more equipment, although the smallest, simplest, wire frame bouncy chair is a handy item, and fits on the kitchen counter or next to the tub when you want. The simplest folding "umbrella" stroller costs about $20, and easily folds down tiny, for storage in a tiny home.


Although an entire industry exists to convince you otherwise, babies thrive with virtually no equipment, little or no cash, and really don't take up much space.

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#5 of 13 Old 06-13-2012, 11:35 AM
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Absolutely possible! I see nothing wrong with this! We live in a 2500 sqft home. 4 bedrooms and two kids sleep with us! One in a twin bed beside us and the other in a cosleeper/our bed. So its totally possible and we don't feel cramped for space.

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#6 of 13 Old 06-13-2012, 12:39 PM
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Infant in a studio apartment is totally possible and totally fine.  You might consider a Pack n' Play, if only so that you have an option for a place to put the baby when you're not asleep, or in case retraining the dog takes a little time.  I'm also going to argue in favor of the PnP for unstable living situations in general - we've done some traveling with babies, even some camping, and the PnP meant we could put the baby down in a totally familiar sleeping environment absolutely every night.

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#7 of 13 Old 06-14-2012, 04:20 PM
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I would start weaning the dog from your bed now so that it's not a shock when the baby's born. Find her a new sleeping space and make her feel comfortable there. MDC has a Pets forum where you can get good advice about helping the dog out of the bed.


And I definitely think you can have a baby in a studio apartment. Babies are small :)

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#8 of 13 Old 06-26-2012, 07:17 AM
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I think it's doable.  Babies don't take up much space and they don't truly require much stuff.  I had my first while living in a super tiny one bedroom apartment, not much bigger than a studio.  Can you get a Safelink phone?  They now offer 250/minutes a month and that's all I have for a phone. You might be able to eliminate your phone bill.  Also a co-sleeper or packnplay could be good for if you can't keep the dog off the bed.  There are many church charities that supply baby equipment for low income families.  I know one around here gives out that kind of stuff.  Or someone on freecycle may have one.

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#9 of 13 Old 06-27-2012, 07:34 AM
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We lived in a one bedroom apartment with a dog and two children (who were 17 mos apart). IT CAN BE DONE, though it isn't easy, I won't lie. Cosleeping was essential those days - we had a king bed which became a family bed situation. You can make it work. Shop consignment, coupon, make frugal will find that when the chips are down, you will find a way. If you want, feel free to PM me. GOOD LUCK!

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#10 of 13 Old 06-27-2012, 08:59 AM
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When we still lived in New York, we had friends with a baby and a dog and a studio (we had a studio...with no baby and dog).  My advice is check out the Ikea catalog for storage ideas, and then check around Pinterest.  There are TONS of clever space saving ideas.  Also, think UP.  If you can hang our put up more shelves, do it.


Put your bed on risers so you have more space under.

Make sure every piece of furniture also doubles as storage.

Hang shoe holders on the backs of doors for ALL KINDS OF THINGS.  In a typical studio, that's inside and outside of bathroom door, inside front door, and sometimes even inside and outside of a closet.  You would be AMAZED how helpful that is. 


Also, start working with your dog NOW if you haven't already.  You and your partner switch to using whatever products you're going to use on the baby. Let the dog get used to being ignored sometimes.  Sometimes make her get off the bed, move, or sleep on the floor just because.  You don't want the dog to associate those changes with the baby.  We also have a dog who was seven and an "only child" till our daughter came along. We did some work on the front end before she arrived and he ADORES her.  I am so glad we didn't wait till after we brought the baby home because I was way too busy dealing with a new baby to ALSO figure out how to manage a dog.  They are still best besties and he is way more hers than mine these days.

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#11 of 13 Old 07-18-2012, 07:13 PM
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You can do it! When my DS was born 3 1/2 yrs ago my husband and I were in a small studio with two cats and on a single income. Needless to say it was tight, physically, financially, literally, figuratively, etc. The best advice would be to follow Alton Brown's advice and don't buy any unitaskers! Use a futon instead of a regular bed so that it can double as seating during the day and it's close to the ground for safe bed-sharing. I whole-heartedly second the shoe organizers (we had them everywhere!!!). Those big rubbermaid storage bins make nice coffee tables/stools and Ikea's As-Is section (where they sell returned items and cosmetically-damaged stuff) is your best friend.


Also, Costco/BJs/Sams Club initial membership can be steep but you'll save so much money on diapers, wipes, and even regular milk for your cereal (and cereal). Maybe you can split the cost of membership with a friend. A huge  box of 150+ diapers is $38. I know, I know, thats a lot. But its cheaper than buying the traditional packs every few days.


Good luck!

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#12 of 13 Old 07-21-2012, 10:15 PM
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A baby in a studio is DEFINITELY doable! We had a (filled to the brim) 2 bedroom apartment when my daughter was born and she ended up in our room, anyway. Co-sleep, or get a moses basket or one of those pack-n-plays for the baby. Sure, it isn't a fancy nursery....but who cares? The baby isn't going to throw a fit at 13 when it realizes that it didn't have a fancy nursery!


Without going into details, I can definitely sympathize with you. My pregnancy with my first was full of stresses and moves and all sorts of bad things I don't want to rehash. And I just remember hating that I was bringing my child into the world with my life being like this.


You can turn all this around. It will be hard...but it can be done. Don't worry about what anyone says. Live simply, live frugally and figure out a way to move past where you are.

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#13 of 13 Old 07-25-2012, 08:00 AM
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Oh, Lord, was the Pack and Play the best thing for us when we were in the studio. It's a changing table! A bassinet! A crib! A moveable play yard! Storage space (when using the bassinet insert)!! It was the best. They also age really well and you could probably find a secondhand one in really good condition.

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