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Discussion Starter #1
<p>Me being the obsessive type, I like to do research way ahead of time; my most recent research topic has been the initial costs of having a child (we aren't planning to ttc until 2015). </p>
<p> </p>
<p>I've done some searching online but the "essentials" lists seem so bloated to me that I figured MDC might be a better place to ask the question: <strong>what do you consider essential for the first few weeks with a babe and how do you budget for those expenses</strong>? </p>
<p> </p>
<p><strong>Also, if you had 4-5 years to work on financially preparing for a child, how would you do it</strong>?  Sock away a little each month?  Pick up essential items when you found a fab sale (even if they'd sit for years)?  Something else?</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Adding to the confusion is that I plan to use cloth diapers, breastfeed, at least part time EC, baby wear, and use more traditional toys vs. your typical plastic things - most of the mainstream lists assume BFing, but none of the other options, which could significantly impact what is included on the list. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>Annd of course what is normal for people to give brand new parents?  I've heard some people say they didn't need to buy clothes for the baby at all the first year because they received all they needed via friends/family, but is that realistic?</p>
 

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Essentials for us during the first few weeks were<br><br>
Sleep sacks<br>
Lots of plain onsies<br>
Cotton pants w feet<br>
Cotton hats<br>
Booties<br>
Hand Mits<br><br>
Swaddling blankets<br>
A few burp clothes<br><br>
Diapers, wipes, cream for bum<br>
Sore nipple salve for momma<br>
Baby massage oil<br><br>
Sling<br>
Somewhere to put babe, we used a bouncy chair<br>
Breast pump if you think you will use it<br><br>
I think that's really it for first few weeks<br><br>
My ds is five months and wen have started busting out his maple teethers<br><br>
Oh and he really loved, still loves his play mat<br><br>
We got so many supplies from well meaning friends and family, so if you have a good support network I would plan on getting at least some things. A registry can help w that
 

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Wait, you mean you don't want a $400 jogging stroller or $300 dust collector, oops I mean changing table?! Gosh you must be some sort of miser trying to deprive your child of all the joys of life. Jeez... <img alt="smile.gif" class="bbcode_smiley" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/smile.gif"> Anywho, this is my essentials list.<br><br>
Boobs <img alt="wink1.gif" class="bbcode_smiley" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/wink1.gif"><br>
Bed (yours or a crib of some sort)<br>
Clothes (in my experience you don't need many. We were given SO much for Jude and he ended up not being a spitter so I wasn't changing him as often as I was expecting to; I have all his clothes saved and he hasn't even worn half of it!)<br>
Boppy<br>
Car seat and a couple toys to stay entertained on drives<br>
A bouncy seat is great for when you're home alone and need a shower. I'd ut it in the bathroom and pop Jude in while I showered so I could look out and see him. The house we were in for his first 8 months was laid out really weird so my other option was to leave him alone on the floor downstairs... no thanks!<br>
A few blankies<br>
Sling!
 

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<p>I would live on one salary and bank the second.<br>
 </p>
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>stardogs</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1283629/baby-essentials-related-budgeting#post_16094541"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><p> </p>
<p><strong>Also, if you had 4-5 years to work on financially preparing for a child, how would you do it</strong>?  Sock away a little each month?  Pick up essential items when you found a fab sale (even if they'd sit for years)?  Something else?</p>
<p> </p>
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<br><br>
 

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<p>I would put away money as opposed to buying things and letting them sit. My boys are 3 years apart and the improvement on a lot of the  equipment (most of them convince wise) is crazy! Also, products gain in popularity. When we had DS1, we had to buy our sling online. By the time DS2 came along, slings were sold at many mainstream stores, more selection at cheaper prices. And then there's the possibility of things not going as planned. My friend had a preemie which meant buying a special car seat, clothes etc.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>And yes, you won't need to buy much clothes in the beginning...I don't think we bought any clothes except a few onsies to start out with.</p>
 

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Discussion Starter #6
<p>Awesome responses so far!</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Any idea of how many cloth diapers one needs to start?  Even with EC I'm guessing there's a lot of changing the first few weeks/months until you get into the swing of things.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I'm not sure we'll do cosleeping, but will at least side car a crib or something similar for the first few months, so I guess that needs to be on the list as well.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>We're currently living on one salary as I start my business.  My income from the new business will mostly go into savings, though I will be taking a few hundred out each month for expenses related to my dog sports.  In addition to a baby, we are also saving for a fence for the back yard ($4500) and a new vehicle (my current one is 10 years old and won't be large enough for a carseat and two dog crates <span><img alt="wink1.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/wink1.gif"> - a new-to-us used vehicle that meets our needs is going to be about $25,000), so we won't be able to save quite as much that way as we might otherwise.  We do have a nice cushion in savings already and won't be spending that at all, just letting it grow.  I sometimes hate being a responsible adult lol.</span></p>
 

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When it comes to planning for a baby... I would really not worry about the details 4-5 years in advance. Instead, get with your partner and decide what to do about childcare, education, house, woh/wah/sah, and what do do if you change your mind about any of those things. I agree with pp about trying to live on either one income, or much less than you make, and cleaning up any in debt or other liabilities. It is such a warm and fuzzy to going into parent hood with a fat bank account. Finally ,a year or two out, I'd take a good look at health insurance and make choices with baby in mind.<br><br>
As for the first few weeks, you really can get by with surprisingly little. I stayed with my mom for the first week or two post partum, and everything i needed fit in two laundry baskets. A few pairs of clothes for me, dh and ds, cloth flats, breastfriend, etc. And of course, a loving husband who was willing to run to the store if needed. I often find that 'stocking up' doesn't always pay off. I'd rather have the majority of my 'baby budget' liquid when the baby came-- you never know if your kiddo will be smaller than expected, or you will need pumps, or bottles, or sposies or not. Baby stores, tv, and (even naturally minded) companies will drive you batty telling you to spend, spend, spend, when in reality, no one can tell you what <b>your baby</b> will need. This second time around, the only things I have bought are admittedly frivolous-- a few hair bows and teeny dresses.
 

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<p>Banking your second income is a brilliant idea!</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I wouldn't get a single thing.  Not one thing.  Every child is different, every family is different, and you simply won't know what you and your child will want/need until you get there.</p>
<p>Craigslist is a great place to find things.  Slings, tripp trappe highchairs, wooden toys, carriers, diapers, glider chairs, bouncy chairs.  Seriously, you don't need to buy anything new.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>As for diapers, that can be a big financial pit unless you know which ones you want to use.  That's why used ones are so great!</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Years in advance, I would make sure that you've got life insurance, a good washer and dryer, a good camera, and that your car is well cared for, any house repairs are done (drafty windows? lead paint? broken stairs?) and that you've got a comfy bed if you're going to co-sleep or not.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>For the first little while we used:</p>
<ul><li>bouncy chair</li>
<li>nursing rocker</li>
<li>4-7 outfits</li>
<li>2 swaddling blankets</li>
<li>2 hats</li>
<li>moby-style wrap</li>
<li>ergo (we didn't buy the infant insert, just used a blanket)</li>
<li>prefolds and covers</li>
<li>washcloths</li>
<li>La Leche League</li>
<li>baby nail clippers</li>
<li>"Happiest Baby On The Block" book</li>
</ul>
 

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<p>I also wouldn't really buy things this far in advance.  I like the idea of paying down debt and getting a nice fat nest egg.  Honestly, if I had 4 or 5 years to plan and save, instead of saving for baby items, I would save for more time off work when the baby arrives.  We were able to save enough for DH to take 3 weeks off when DD was born an it was amazing to have that time to babymoon TOGETHER.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>That said, what was necessary for us for the first 6 months was:</p>
<p>Baby clothes, baby blankets</p>
<p>Diapers, diaper pad thing to change DD on while out and about</p>
<p>Baby potty if you do EC</p>
<p>Sling</p>
<p>Carseat</p>
<p>Place to put the baby while you shower (bouncy seat)</p>
<p>For me, as it turned out, a hospital grade pump for the first month (rented) and then a regular electric pump</p>
<p>Nursing bras and tanks</p>
<p>Something for baby to gnaw on when teething</p>
<p>We really liked having a few waterproof pads to put under DD during naked time</p>
<p> </p>
<p>The only thing I might consider buying (and then storing, ugh) in advance are big ticket items that you find dirt cheap on CL.  Maybe a jogging stroller.  I might start buying big ticket toys a few years in advance too if you can find them cheap...like a wooden play kitchen or something.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I can see though, that if you already want kids but know you need to wait a few years, it would just be <em>fun</em> to get a few things in advance, even if it's not really that practical.  And with all that time to plan, I think I'd spend the time to make baby stuff.  I'd learn to make my own cloth diapers and then make a few, maybe learn to make wooden toys (how hard could blocks and a play kitchen be?) and then make a few, maybe make a few baby outfits.</p>
 

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<p><br>
 </p>
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>stardogs</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1283629/baby-essentials-related-budgeting#post_16094541"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a>Annd of course what is normal for people to give brand new parents?  I've heard some people say they didn't need to buy clothes for the baby at all the first year because they received all they needed via friends/family, but is that realistic?</div>
</div>
<br><br><p>I reread your question and saw this.  In my experience, at a baby shower, you'll get a bunch of cute clothes, and then a bunch of stuff that won't work for you at all.  We got a stroller cover (didn't buy a stroller), a horrible baby carrier, a travel high chair, etc.  We returned it all to BRU and bought diapers (we used disposables).  It might help to have a registry, but my shower was a surprise so we didn't have one.  If you have other parents of little kids in your life, you might get awesome hand me downs of clothes, toys, and diapers, and slings to borrow.</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>GoGoGirl</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1283629/baby-essentials-related-budgeting#post_16095096"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p><br>
 </p>
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>stardogs</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1283629/baby-essentials-related-budgeting#post_16094541"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a>Annd of course what is normal for people to give brand new parents?  I've heard some people say they didn't need to buy clothes for the baby at all the first year because they received all they needed via friends/family, but is that realistic?</div>
</div>
<br><br><p>I reread your question and saw this.  In my experience, at a baby shower, you'll get a bunch of cute clothes, and then a bunch of stuff that won't work for you at all.  We got a stroller cover (didn't buy a stroller), a horrible baby carrier, a travel high chair, etc.  We returned it all to BRU and bought diapers (we used disposables).  It might help to have a registry, but my shower was a surprise so we didn't have one.  If you have other parents of little kids in your life, you might get awesome hand me downs of clothes, toys, and diapers, and slings to borrow.</p>
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<p><br>
Oh yes I forgot to mention this. I really wouldn't buy anything but bank that income as I said, in part because as you make friends and get pregnant, things will come to you. It's really worth waiting.</p>
 

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<p>I would learn to live on one income, start saving my PTO/sick time.  Believe it or not, KIDS GET SICK and even if one parent WAH someone really needs to be with the little one 24/7 when they are ill.  I would also learn to craft/sew if you know how.  Knit,crochet,sew etc.  Take this time to fully plan your finances, life insurance, health insurance, long term care insurance. rx coverage.  You may think you have great plans for the baby but you have no idea what your baby's needs will be.</p>
 

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<p>I had a non-surprise shower, with a registry, and received tons of gear.  So that part really depends on your circumstances.  I truely didn't need to buy clothes for the first year and have been blessed with tons of hand me downs.  I don't know why people are so down on changing tables.  Three kids later I love having one.  We store diapers and clothes beneath it in baskets and now that I am on child #3 I love having somewhere to change baby away from little helpers.  If you plan to use the floor you still need a "station" for supplies.  We cosleep for the first year but my daughter was in her crib until she was 4...she loved how cozy it was.  So you really have to think down the road on that.  Some people have one or two more babies cosleeping with them by the time they have a 4 year old!</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I also LOVE my BOB jogging stroller.  There is an ENORMOUS quality difference between a $100 stroller and a $400 stroller, and you can get a $400 stroller for $200 on craigslist and the stroller will last you 5 years instead of 1.  It's so worth it.  You can find these sort of things on craigslist.  Personally I'd wait until pregnant to start acquiring items, you will go crazy storing them/keeping them clean and in 4-5 years things will really change.  Even cloth diapers may change.  There are a lot more choices out there now than 5 years ago.</p>
 

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<p>For financial preparation--I would set up an account and put as much money as possible into it.  With the goal of having the freedom to purchase what we needed, as well as having a baby-related "emergency fund" should something happen that needed a big chunk of money.  You don't have to spend thousands on a newborn, but it would be mighty handy to have thousands socked away from 5 years of savings.  I might start looking at deals maybe a year or so ahead of ttc, but not before that. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>Things we found we needed:<br>
baby clothes and blankets (didn't have to buy a stitch of that until my oldest was past toddlerhood.  People give a lot of that, either as presents or handmedowns)</p>
<p>diapers (biggest expense for us)</p>
<p>stroller and/or baby carrier.</p>
<p>car seats since cars are our normal mode of transportation</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Everything else is pretty much dependant on your lifestyle.  Even breastfeeding can be almost zero cost, or massively expensive.  I went for zero cost, others end up spending a lot more either by choice or necessity.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>We found highchairs and swings to be more hassle than they were worth, and my kids hated them anyway.  That's one of the reasons I wouldn't buy too much ahead, or buy everything brand new and top brands.  Everybody's different, babies included.  No point spending moolah on a fancy-schmancy swing only to find out the baby screams his head off whenever you put him in it.  You can buy a cheaper one or get a handmedown, and if he/she really likes it, then you can consider buying one that you like for longer-term use.</p>
 

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<p>essentials for the 1st year</p>
<p> </p>
<p>1. a moby ( or wrap) and a Maya sling (the only one i found worth the money)</p>
<p> </p>
<p>2. my breast friend nursing pillow for the first 4 or so months</p>
<p> </p>
<p>3. clothes (you can totally get second hand stuff)</p>
<p> </p>
<p>4. cloth dipes (also can get second hand i like grobaby b/c they gro with them i heard flip is great too)</p>
<p> </p>
<p>5. one of those baby chairs that attach to a kitchen chair ($30 and way better than a high chair) or you could just sit the baby in your lap since solids start at 9 m/o and you're just feeding him what you eat</p>
<p> </p>
<p>6. some toys (natural, homemade, cloth....its cheapest to make you're own)</p>
<p> </p>
<p>7. convertible car seat that grows with them until they are 4 or so..</p>
<p> </p>
<p>thats it!</p>
<p> </p>
<p>great babywearing site that shows you how to use and make a wrap <a href="http://www.wearyourbaby.com" target="_blank">www.wearyourbaby.com</a></p>
<p> </p>
<p>i would say you need about $1000 or $1500 including all the clothes for the year....maybe seriously less than that.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>1. $90 for both</p>
<p>2. $30 new</p>
<p>3.</p>
<p>4. $300 for enough and some new</p>
<p>5. $30</p>
<p>6. $100</p>
<p>7. $100</p>
<p> </p>
<p>$650 without the clothes so certainly it could be $1000 or less.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>if you could save i would save $50 a month and over a few years you would have a few years worth of money!</p>
<p> </p>
<p>dont forget a baby shower! free stuff! and STALK FREECYLCE</p>
 

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<p>I'm with the camp that says to sock away money, live off one income, pay off debt, and prepare by NOT SPENDING.  <span><img alt="winky.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="width:15px;height:15px;"></span></p>
<p> </p>
<p>I'd also work on getting your business up and running, so that the first years kinks are well worked out before you have a newborn.  No fun to be on your blackberry while you are trying to nurse a teeny baby, you know?<br><br>
Learn to cook, if you don't know how.  Kids like to eat.  Take out is expensive and impractical oftentimes with little kids.  Eating out, depending on your baby's/toddler's personality can be fun or not so much.  LOL.  So, cooking a variety of things that you like to eat comes in handy. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>Like a pp said, I'd concentrate on collecting things that are nice to have regardless--a good washer and dryer, a comfy bed, a decent kitchen table and sturdy chairs.  Things like that instead of high chairs and strollers.  People will gift those cute onesies and swings.  They rarely gift you a dining room table. </p>
 

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<p>I'd save up and buy things after you're actually pregnant with the exception of wooden toys. If you see high qualify wooden toys I'd buy them now. My husband and I have a container full of wooden toys that are ours. We let the boys play with them, but they belong to us and are for all of the children to use who are in our home. The good wooden toys can be expensive and when ever I see them for a good price I buy them. I would like to start making more of my own but we don't have room for the equipment that I'd need to make them.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>As for diapers needed, we had a dozen prefolds, 4 covers and 13 all-in-ones that we used until the youngest was about 5 months old I ended up doing a load of diapers daily. When he was to big for those and we bought a dozen prefolds, 4 covers and 24 pocket diapers with 48 liners. All together we have spent $300 on diapers, wet bags and liners. We have bought most of the diapers used. This time around I plan to add in another dozen prefolds and 4 more covers to our newborn to 4 to 5 months set of diapers so that I don't have to do laundry daily.</p>
<p> </p>
<p> </p>
<p>Amy</p>
 

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<p>For the first 3 months or so, if I reduced to what I really "need" (after 3 kids we have way too much unnecessary stuff!):</p>
<p>a bunch of sleepers (nice to have NB & 0-3 month sizes if you have small babies but 0-3 month only will work)</p>
<p>diapers (2 dozen preemie PFs + doublers, 2 dozen infant fitteds for once the preemies are outgrown, 3-4 covers NB & S covers)</p>
<p>burp cloths</p>
<p>Arm's Reach co-sleeper</p>
<p>mei tai baby carrier</p>
<p>car seat</p>
<p>couple of knit blankets for swaddling</p>
<p>bouncy seat (only my 3rd liked the swing though I've had both for all 3)</p>
<p>breast pump</p>
<p>Lansinoh nipple cream</p>
<p> </p>
<p>That's all I can think of ATM.  I've been trying to figure out how much it would cost us to have a fourth baby if we wanted to since we're getting rid of all the stored clothes, baby stuff, etc once the baby (our third) outgrows them.  I figure it'll be around $3000 for a homebirth midwife (no insurance though DH worked off the whole fee for the last baby), $100 for clothes for the first year (I garage sale for my kids' clothes, and typically pay .50 per item or less), $35 for a travel swing, bouncy seat, and co-sleeper (garage sales again), $200 for cloth diapers, and $100 for baby carriers or fabric to make them.  Oh and maybe $200 for maternity clothes, or a lot less if I can find stuff that fits me on consignment at the local maternity store.  And I'd be able to resell the diapers, baby furniture, baby carriers, and maternity clothes and recoup most of what I had into them (by buying used initially).</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I'm another who likes having a changing table.  It also makes a nice resting place to keep my 6 week old safe from my extremely active 2 year old.  Though if we have a fourth I"ll probably make do with a contoured changing pad on a kitchen counter for the first months and use the floor after that.  And I LOVE my jogger stroller.  I paid around $100 for it and though I don't jog, I love to go for walks and it is so nice to have a jogger stroller to use.  It doesn't really fit in the trunk of our car so I really only use it for walks, but it gets a lot of use and that is one thing I would not want to be without.  If you only have one kid and a good baby carrier (and don't jog!) you could certainly do without it, but with two or more young kids it's pretty hard to go for any sort of walk without a stroller.</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>stardogs</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1283629/baby-essentials-related-budgeting#post_16094541"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a>
<p> </p>
<p><strong>Also, if you had 4-5 years to work on financially preparing for a child, how would you do it</strong>?  Sock away a little each month?  Pick up essential items when you found a fab sale (even if they'd sit for years)?  Something else?</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Adding to the confusion is that I plan to use cloth diapers, breastfeed, at least part time EC, baby wear, and use more traditional toys vs. your typical plastic things - most of the mainstream lists assume BFing, but none of the other options, which could significantly impact what is included on the list.</p>
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<p><br>
I would start living on one income now, or transitioning to it.  Use the 2nd income to pay off debts, get a 'family friendly' car paid off, down payment or decrease the mortgage, and have a 6 month cushion of cash.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Also, I would suggest that you start giving people only those things at baby showers that you yourself would like to receive.  If I am going to a shower I look at the baby registry, if it has things I would use on it I will get them (like bf'inf supplies).  If it has nothing at all, and no I do not consider bottles bf'ing supplies, so 'I' will not buy bottles or anything off the list.  In that case I generally give 'The Baby Book' by Dr. Sears and depending on how much money I have to spend either a sling that I think the mom might like or an Ergo in a color the mom would like.  I try to give the ergo just because I feel like it is more 'mainstream' but they are easily twice what I can get a very nice sling for.</p>
 

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Babycenter has a calculator that includes breastfeeding and cloth diapers. I thought the numbers were okay. Overall, babies are really pretty cheap especially if you a shower like most people. The real issue us that your choices about working/ childcare / staying home aren't necessarily clear. You can change your mind. Frankly, I could but everything I wanted fir a baby in a single amazon cart. Maybe $500 if buying new? But work, I coolant escape having to work no matter what we do.
 
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