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This little on is a total surprise, and as such, we're really playing catch-up on the basics. I'm currently reading about how much kids cost, and I'm getting a huge variety of numbers (some say $3000, some say $15000; some include medical costs, some don't; some assume you'll buy everything new...etc).<br><br>
The only things we feel strongly about getting new are a car seat and a breast pump. We welcome loans, hand me downs, etc for everything else. But we still have no idea what to expect in terms of cost.<br><br>
I know that every baby is different, and that trial and error is inevitable. But can you tell me about the sorts of things that you found most useful and least useful for your first child? Anything you found to be totally worth the money you spent, or a total waste of it?<br><br>
Thanks for any advice!
 

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Seriously? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> Boobs, sling, dipes. Oh.. and I guess a car seat and perhaps something to put babe down in for a sec, like a bouncy or a swing. So many people spend a fortune on totally unnecessary items...
 

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We don't use a pump because I *can't* get any milk out pumping plus I'm a SAHM anyway. YMMV.<br><br>
I would definitely buy a wrap for a newborn (like a Moby) and a carrier for an older baby - I love Babyhawks and Toddlerhawks for later on.<br><br>
Swings are not necessary unless you want one; you can set baby down on a sheepskin or blanket on the floor just as well.<br><br>
Diapers yeah although I'm unlike 99% of MDC and don't do well with cloth diapers; we use sposies.<br><br>
I would buy a bassinet or pack n play if there's going to be anyone commenting on "but where does baby sleep?!?" - baby can co-sleep just fine though.<br><br>
I have never bought new clothes, except one outfit per kid that was brand new. The rest were thrift store or gifted to us or hand-me-downs.<br><br>
Umm... so really for us it's going to be the carseat that's going to be the pricey item, plus the sposies.
 

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Those numbers don't mean anything! Every family calculates cost differently, and has different values. I really don't think you can attach a number to a baby. A baby sling is invaluable and a pump is good to have on hand but not totally necessary unless you're planning on going back to work. If that's the case you'll need bottles too, but don't buy a lot now as different babies have different preferences. We bought an expensive stroller that DD only screamed in, an expensive pack-n-play that served as a laundry collector and mil bought an expensive swing that DD tolerated only one brief moment. We bought a nice crib for not too much from craig's list, put a changing pad on top of a nice, used dresser and called it good. A nice, comfy chair for nursing is good too. I had way too many tiny little clothes and could have always used more cloth wipes and swaddling blankets. I also wish I'd bought a bouncer earlier because it turned out that was the one contraption DD actually liked but I didn't realize it until she was almost too big for it. I'm sure this one will be totally different though!<br><br>
I guess my overall advice would be to not get attached to any one thing because your child might end up hating it. I remember deciding that my baby had to have a certain pack-n-play because it was the "best" and that everyone I knew just loved the little baby papasan thingy so I had to have it too but in the end the little person I created didn't care what I liked, or that every other baby on earth liked the little seat. All that time I spent reading and re-reading reviews, finding the best price, stalking craig's list, etc. ended up not to matter at all. Live and learn.
 

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Excuse this novel from my <i>terrible</i> memory...<br><br>
I think my first cost me...nothing? I used hand me down clothes and may have spent $10 total on yard sale clothes. I was a poor single teen mom, and did it. I lived off of $30 a week for food and everything else. I breastfed and wanted to cloth diaper, but couldn't, so that was a big expense. I got a car seat as a baby shower gift and odds and ends.<br><br>
I spent maybe $200 including crib and car seat for #2. #3 cost me more because we had a little money since dh had a decent job. So I spent maybe $400 total before she was born. Crib, changing table (never used either), hand me down and gifted clothes, sale car seat, $5 sling made of 5 yards of $1 fabric to wrap, baby swing (we later sold and got at least 1/2 back on), and bouncy seat.<br><br>
I spent about $150 on cloth diapers to start off after that and spent maybe $200 on yarn when she was little to make soakers-more than was necessary, but I like knitting them. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> I mostly sold anything old to buy new stuff and so it was inexpensive. If I wanted something, I sold something I had, so I don't count that in the cost.<br><br>
Spent about $200 more with #4 if you count my Dutailier glider rocker we bought super on sale at Burlington Coat Factory and some bumgeniuses I later sold and recouped most of the cost on.<br><br>
I've already spent $150 this time and plan on it being about $500. The only things worth buying, IMO are cloth diapers, boppy, simple cotton baby shirts, gowns, and one-piece outfits, receiving blankets, inexpensive sling like Moby or used Beco if you're splurging, car seat, and a nursing bra. Bouncy seats/swings are nice if you have the money or have colicky babies. The rest is all just extras.
 

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DDC <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> I second waiting until baby comes to worry about having quite a bit of "stuff". Everyone will tell you that you need this and need that, but in the end, here are the things I really "needed":<br>
-- some baby and mommy toiletries (nipple cream, diaper cream, etc.)<br>
-- diapers and wipes (although funny story, we actaully lived 2 days with no wipes because we didn't have any when DD was born, and we survived, so maybe need is a bit strong and really don't want to live without is more accurate)<br>
-- swaddling blanket(s)<br>
-- cloth diapers/burp cloths (I have a tendancy to nurse one side, spray out the other)<br>
-- nipple pads (see above)<br>
-- car seat (if you plan to go anywhere)<br>
-- baby sling/carrier<br><br>
All the other stuff people swore we needed, yes, including clothing for baby, was not necessary. Nice to have, but not necessary.<br><br>
Things I got that I honestly would never have missed?<br>
-- stroller (didn't use, preferred to carry DD)<br>
-- full on snowsuit for infant (I didn't take her out in the snow)<br>
-- second car seat base (didn't use it)<br>
-- crib toys (we coslept)<br>
-- crib soothers (see above)<br>
-- teething toys (DD preferred frozen washcloth to any plastic toy)<br>
-- baby rattles/toys (DD preferred her feet, my keys, and other non-toy items)<br>
-- food mill (I'd rather make a lot at once and use the food processor)<br><br>
Things I ended up buying after DD was born, because we ended up needing them eventually:<br>
-- breastpump, bottles, and various pumping accessories (I went back to work full time)<br>
-- diaper bag to send back and forth to DC<br>
-- sippy cups, plastic plates, bowls, and feeding spoons<br>
-- clothing to fill in gaps in the hand-me-downs, particullarly socks, shoes, onsies, and hats, all of which do not seem to get passed on very often since they wear out fast.<br>
-- sleeper blanket (they zip on to baby) for winter napping<br>
-- more baby toiletries (ear thermometer, nail clippers, baby shampoo)<br><br>
Quite a bit of the "stuff" people say you "need" is really a matter of preference. You don't need a bouncer, a swing, a pack and play, a crib, or a bassinet, but you might find you really want one after your baby arrives. Or you might have a baby that hates that, and you never use it. Wait, see what you can get handed down, and buy only the items you really need.<br><br>
As for cost, I think DD only cost us about $1500 the first year, if you take out daycare cost, and most of that is medical bills, cloth diapers, disposable wipes, buying a few needed items, and extra food for her starving BF mama. Kids do not have to be expensive.
 

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We always have big "mom's club" type garage sales around here, so I get toys, baby swing, stroller, clothes, etc second-hand. Plus, friends and family are always giving boxes of hand-me-down clothes and stuff. You really shouldn't have to buy "new" much at all, except sippy cups, breast pump, car seat, as you mentioned. I would say wait until you bring baby home and then decide what you really need or what would make life easier.<br><br>
Disposable diapers add up, as did formula, when DS decided at 7 months that he didn't want to nurse anymore. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll">
 

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When I looked at those calculator things I was amazed, because we did not spend even half the amount the estimated on my son. Granted, I exclusively breast fed, stayed at home, and got a ton of gifts/hand me downs, but still. I think those things are a bit over the top.<br><br>
Here's the essentials that we did actually buy new:<br>
~Moby wrap<br>
~Ergo carrier<br>
~Convertible car seat (which I got on sale and with a coupon and was a steal)<br>
~Doorway jumper<br><br>
We got these new as gifts from my baby shower:<br>
~Stroller/car seat travel system<br>
~Pack and Play<br>
~Changing table/dresser combo<br><br>
We were handed down a crib, which we actually side-carred (we co sleep) and is very useful, though I would have never bought one had I not been given it. I got a breast pump for free from WIC, so that was very helpful, though again, I probably wouldn't have needed one. My son's entire 6-18 month wardrobe was hand me down, a friend bought all his 3-6 month clothes new, and I got 0-3 month as gifts at my shower. I still bought a few outfits, but mostly used and I didn't spend much.<br><br>
Everyone is different, and I know we've been lucky in a lot of places, but really, a baby does not have to cost that much if you're frugal and buy second hand, and don't buy unnecessary stuff. For the first year, the only things we really could not have done without were the carriers and the car seat. But all the other stuff was put to good use and I'm glad we have it. So it's hard to say.<br><br>
Also, each baby, and mom, is different. I spent a fortune on breast pads, not knowing I'd leak for 9 months straight (this time I'm prepared and buying cloth pads!) but other moms never need breast pads. Some babes need diaper creams, mine never had a diaper rash. Some babies have to be swaddled and need swaddle blankets/suits. Mine was never swaddled. Those are the types of things you can't prepare for, and just have to play it by ear after baby is born.
 

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The cost is minimal. I think the largest cost would be medical insurance, but we get ours through our state's program for middle income folks, so it's still minimal. We received everything we could need and more from our friends and family before baby was born, including a new car seat. We budget about $80 per month for our kids. We do not use $80 in a typical month, but let it build up for winter boots, furniture, whatever--right now we are saving to get them some balance bikes for next spring. Hey, if you breastfeed your baby and use an economical cloth diaper system then you are barley going to see any money going out. We buy our clothes used, and get any special equipment (like our double stroller) from craigslist or garage sales. I think when kids are young is the best time to take advantage of used stuff. There is SO MUCH of it you start to feel sick about buying anything new.<br><br>
Anyway, congrats!
 

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I second what everyone says about every mama and baby being unique about which items they will end up liking and what they wont use at all.<br><br>
For me the pump was absolutely invaluable, I cannot imagine not having one, and it had nothing to do with going back to work. My first DD had trouble latching on in the beginning-those awful 17 days!- and if I didnt have my trusty Medela our nursing relationship would have been toast (i ended up nursing her until 38 months). Second DD did not have trouble latching on but again I found myself using the pump in the early days, sometimes when she was sleeping for long periods (it was nice to be able to "sneak in" some extra milk to freeze for later), and sometimes I just plain needed to do it to regulate my supply in those early days. When I went to work I used the pump all the time. Each pump I owned ended up being used for over three years!<br><br>
Another item I loved and used all the time was a nursing pillow (such as Boppy). I used it to nurse at the computer, on the couch, anywhere...and I loved having it at night next to the wall to have a little barrier between baby and wall-it felt cozy and safe. Later baby can sit "in" it when they start to sit up. Then I found myself using it just as an extra pillow that was good for propping myself up in bed.<br><br>
Clothes/blankets...I am particular about clothes I have to admit. So I buy them myself. I like plain, simple clothes without crazy colors and patterns...in calm colors like white/cream/charcoal... so I am not a huge fan of hand me downs as I have never had hand me down luck- they were always pepto bismol pink and/or ruffled from head to toes...<br><br>
I did find a bouncy chair very useful, and you can get one from Craigslist for very little, and it was worth it to me. I could set baby down in there while I jumped in to have a quick shower. Also I liked having baby in bouncer while I was in the kitchen doing certain things ( I didnt want to wear baby while doing boiling water/washing dishes/using sharp knives etc).<br><br>
And this time around I will for sure get a bassinet from Craigslist. Although we will be cosleeping at night, I will want a cozy place to set baby down while I am in the living room during the day (if baby lets me, ha!). Last time we had a big upholstered chaise lounge that was ideal for laying baby on during the day, but that thing is gone now...and our couch is leather and occupied by two older girls... So either I will get a bassinet OR a stroller that comes with a bassinet for the early months, so I can use that bassinet instead.<br><br>
Besides the above the only things I will be getting are<br>
diapers<br>
bra pads for leaky boobs (do not fall asleep without!<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">)<br>
diaper rash cream from california baby or burts bees just in case (almost never used this but should have on hand)<br>
mattress protecting pad<br><br>
im sure i forgot some small things...but overall those are my essentials
 

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It really can and does vary SO much. My DH was unemployed the entire 9 months I was pg with our first (he got his severance the day after we got our BFP, and he went back to work one week to the day before DS was born). So, we spent very little ourselves BEFORE he was born (many things you can/will buy later!).<br><br>
We were given a crib (that I chose) with our first. It's still side-carred to our bed (though for a while it sat and only looked pretty, or occupied his "room" that he only used for a few toys). My MIL bought us the carseat/stroller combo I wanted at the time. We were given lots of clothes and gift certificates, with which I bought things like a good manual breast pump (which suited me fine for most things, and when I really needed it, I rented a hospital grade pump). We used disposable diapers and were given a ton to start with. My grandmother gave us a pack-n-play. Friends handed down a swing (which became a lifesaver, even though I wasn't sure I needed one!). We received a bouncy seat, nursing pillow, baby monitor, and such at a baby shower. We really did NOT spend much at all.<br><br>
We've gone through a lot of the original things in the last 8 years, and even some of our newer things I've already sold off. This time, the one BIG thing we need is a new infant seat (and we'll likely end up having to buy new seats every time this baby graduates, as our other ones are going to be expiring). I'll need to get some more cloth diapers, as I have a deal with DH that I sell off half of our newborn stash (since he is never wanting more at that point in time! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">). And I'd love to get a new stretchy wrap (looking at Gypsy Mama Bali Baby Stretch this time). But, I have a bazillion carriers, so I'm sure I can make do. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"> If it's a girl, we'll need more girl clothes, though that's a common thing for gifting. I do prefer organics (though not so much that we refuse conventional clothing), so most of that I'd have to buy myself.<br><br>
Definitely make a registry so people know what you want/need, as they WILL be asking (I hope! Rare is the circumstance where they don't for a first timer!). There's not a lot I need or want from my local big baby store where most people will shop (Babies R Us), but I do really like the selection at Amazon, now, so I have both.<br><br>
While it's absolutely possible to spend a ton on kids, it is NOT necessary. You don't even need things like a highchair now (though I suppose if someone REALLY wants to buy you one, there's not much point in declining, unless there are things you need more), and clothes can always be bought a little at a time. Same with toys. Truly, having a mama, something to keep warm, and clean diapers is pretty much all baby wants!
 

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I think the thing to remember is that babies CAN cost a ton. There are a million gadgets and things that you start thinking you need. DH is great about helping me see that you don't really need this or that. Now if you are going to be a SAHM you actually don't really even need a pump. I have found that they need or maybe its want more stuff as they go older. My son had a lot less stuff as a baby.<br><br>
But if you want to spend money on a baby you can easily spend 15,000 you originally mentioned and if you put your child in daycare forget you are probably going to spend more then that.
 

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There are a lot of variables in what is "needed" ... you can get by on more or less depending on what you want to do.<br><br>
We do like to have a crib, although we co-sleep as well. I like it especially now because we have several other young kids and I like to have a place that the baby can safely sleep away from the other kids during the day. I also like to transition to the child to crib by age 1, so that they will be comfortable sleeping as a toddler in their own bed (we don't do co-sleeping past the baby years). This worked really well for all of ours.<br><br>
The last 3 times I liked having a swing -- and our boys loved it -- DD thought it was ok. I like having a pack-n-play for travel. We never really used the bouncer seat, while other people love theirs. Car seat is a necessity for us.<br><br>
We loved our slings (especially hotsling), baby blankets, breast pump (I used to work part-time -- but I always liked it during the first few days when I had an over abundance of milk and baby had trouble latching -- it helped me bf).<br><br>
Most of this stuff I would consider buying used or accepting hand-me-downs. We still have the breast pump, blankets, slings, car seat and crib from our 3rd child. We do use cloth diapers (prefold w/wraps in the beginning) and kept most of everything from the other children, as well. ETA: The only things I wouldn't buy used is the breast pump and car seat.
 

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This is how we usually spend baby money.<br>
car seat-about $200<br>
slings-about $200 for infant and bigger babe styles<br>
cloth diapers-probably about $2-300.<br>
t-shirts, onesies and socks. A few soft pants.<br><br>
Other nonessential things we received as gifts or hand me downs:<br>
swing, bouncy seat, baby tub, fancy clothes, co sleeper
 

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A good new carseat is definitely important. We invest in one that can do extended rearfacing and has a good height and weight limit for forward facing, too, so we get our money's worth and don't have to go to a booster too soon. The safety forum is great about learning about different ones. This time I think we're getting a truefit b/c they are supposed to fit newborns well and have pretty good RF and FF limits.<br><br>
A good stretchy wrap for a tiny babe and a good soft structured carrier for older/bigger/back carriers are what we like for slings. Oh, and a ring sling for quick up and downs. Buying used on thebabywearer we did all those for about $250, but I bought really nice/cute ones since I lived in them. And making a wrap is easy and cheap, too. (Oh, and the GMBBS is a GREAT wrap, I adore mine! I have two and lived in them for the first half a year of DD's life.)<br><br>
I liked having a crib to use as a sidecar, but a safe bedrail would work, too. That's basically all it was <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
A good nursing pillow (I have a my brest friend) was super useful for the first couple months. But I bet if you had the right shaped pillows sitting around that would work, too.<br><br>
Diapers, we bought some newborn prefolds and prowrap covers, and then 36 bumgenius so it was a splurge but we saved money over sposies in the long run. If you shop on diaperswappers or even look for deals and sales and bulk buys on the diaper sites you can get a good price.<br><br>
Baby clothes are great to buy used! So many I bought still had the tags and little bitty tape and stuff on them. People get so much as gifts and babies outgrown them before they can get stained (or worn!). Rummage sales and garage sales, baby. And some cute appliques or fabric paint is a fun way to make them special, but man people boughtus so many clothes and blankets, I'm returning any blankets we get this time! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
We did get gifted a bouncy and swing, and the swing was so big it wasn't easy to move around the house, but the bouncy was great for while I showered, even though it was too big for one bathroom! Again, that's the kind of thing I'd buy used if I needed to buy one.<br><br>
So much of the STUFF we just laughed at and ignored when we were getting ready for DD. I think my list for starting off would be:<br><br>
Carseat<br>
Lanisoh<br>
stretchy wrap<br>
diapers<br>
onsies and some leggings and cardigans and hats<br>
Oh, and a comfy backpack or diaper bag <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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I actually want some things for DC2 that I didn't have with DS1 - namely, a crib and a changing table. Well, still deciding on the crib. We coslept with DS1 and really don't like the results. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> Plan on having baby in the room just not in our bed.<br><br>
I resisted a stroller at first but ended up using it a lot. I'm sorry, I just can't shop for clothes while babywearing. Where do you put the baby when you're trying stuff on?? Plus, I'm one of the weirdos who found it hurt my back after a while no matter how well I put everything on.<br><br>
I also resisted a swing - it ended up being a LIFESAVER - the only way I could get my son to nap. He used it for about the first year and a half.<br><br>
Cloth diapers ended up NOT working for us. DS had awful diaper rash that only wool covers prevented. I didn't have a lump sum to use for a wool stash, so ended up using sposies (with the result of ZERO diaper rash). The down side is that all his progress with potty learning was wiped out by the sposies. So I'm trying to figure out another cloth solution for a toddler.<br><br>
I guess the moral of my story is that you have to be open to various solutions. You never know what your kid is going to be like. I started trying all the AP/natural things, and a lot of them did not work for us. So you just love and do what you will!
 

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We bought a Pack 'n Play with a bassinet option and got/are getting a lot of use out of it. I co-slept with DD for a loooooooong time, but with DS, he now sleeps like a superstar in his crib. He was part-time in our bed and part-time in the bassinet in our room, and it just turned out that we all slept better when he was in his own space. The Pack 'n Play we now use in our family room for a safe space for DS when I have to take the dog out to go potty and I'm home alone or when he keeps hitting the dog and they need to be separated for a little while! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll"> We also took it on vacation with us. It folds up so small, and is pretty light weight.<br><br>
Also, as far as carriers go, I loved my Babyhawk and Freehand for when DS was a few months old and up. I would pre-tie it before running errands and just pop him in when we got out of the car. It was so awesome to not have to drag that heavy seat or stroller into all the stores with me! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 
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