Nothing brings joy to a couple’s life more than finding out they are expecting their first child. But after a few months of basking in the glow, they generally begin to realize that having a baby can cost a lot of money – especially if they cave to the advertising campaigns for baby gear. I can think of three key areas to save on the baby budget. Let me share them with you here.
1. Save on pre-natal care and delivery.
According to Doran Richards, Certified Professional Midwife from Virginia and founder of Blessing God’s Way, an uncomplicated hospital birth averages $8-$10,000. Yet the cost of using a trained midwife for prenatal and homebirth care runs about $3,000. Think you need to give birth in a hospital? “Midwives see birth as a normal life process,” said Richards in a recent interview, “not an illness or disease that needs fixing.”
She went on to explain that the Cesarean section rate for moms using a Certified Professional Midwife is 3.7%. The rate for physician-assisted, hospital births is well over the World Health Organization’s recommended 15%. If a mom is healthy and passes a risk screening, there is no reason for her to fear giving birth outside the hospital setting.
2. Save on the nursery.
A new, expectant father recently shared with me his purchase of a crib. “That will make a great laundry basket,” I shared, “after you realize all you really need is a king-sized bed.” Seriously, what you actually need to raise a baby is minimal. I counsel first-time parents to buy a king-sized bed and a baby sling; then, after the baby is born, see what you just can’t live without.
A stroller is nice if you like to go places that require a lot of walking. I used mine a lot living in the city. But after moving to a rural area with dirt roads, I never used a stroller again. A playpen is great for outdoors or public places. My mom said that she used hers a lot at the bowling alley when she and my dad bowled on leagues several nights a week. At home, I just kept the floor swept and things picked up.
3. Save on food and diapers.
The scientific evidence proving the health benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and baby are so overwhelming, the Policy Statement of the American Academy of Pediatrics on Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk, states that breastfeeding “should not be considered as a lifestyle choice but rather as a basic health issue.” According to the La Leche League International website, “the World Health Organization and UNICEF recommend that babies be breastfed for at least two years.” In light of these recommendations, and the fact that purchasing infant formula can cost at least $100 a month, I would advise the cost-conscious parents feed their babies the way God designed.
A disposable diaper, on average, costs about 20 cents. Considering that a newborn will need at least 6-8 diaper changes in a day, many new parents opt for cloth diapers. Not only are they cheaper, they are more comfortable for baby. With new designs that include elastic legs and snap closures, cloth diapers can even be used for families on the go. Here is a good tutorial on how to wash cloth diapers.
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Follow these three recommendations and you’ll save almost $10,000 the first year. I know there are a lot of other ways to have a baby on a budget. Why not share what you’ve done in the comments.