Baby on a budget

This post was written by Erin Norton, RN, BSN, MBA, Community Outreach Director, Women’s and Children’s Service Line, Parkview Health.

Babies are expensive. Diapers alone can put a big dent in a family’s budget! Thankfully, you don’t need everything that’s marketed toward new parents.  As you’re making resolutions and planning your budget for the upcoming year, here’s a countdown of the top five things you don’t need for baby.

5.  Babies’ brains grow and develop best when they have regular interaction with people who love them.  Don’t waste money on DVDs or toys with screens and batteries. People are the best entertainment for babies. Reading, singing, making faces and talking to your baby are some of the best things you can do and they don’t cost any money. 

4.  Here’s the thing – your baby is beautiful and will look gorgeous in anything. Don’t spend money on fancy or expensive clothing. More often than not, if you save an outfit for a special occasion, it will be outgrown before baby ever wears it. Babies grow quickly and typically outgrow clothing before it wears out. There will come a day when your child has opinions on what he and she wears.  Save your clothing budget for when your baby is a teenager.   

3.  Don’t spend extra money on car seat accessories or pay extra to get a car seat with pretty fabric. Avoid after-market products like head supports and cushions. These items weren’t crash-tested and may cause more harm than good. It is much more important to get a car seat that functions well than that looks cute. When purchasing a car seat, consider ease of use before the pattern of the fabric. The best car seat is one that fits your baby, fits your car, and that you’ll consistently use correctly. 

2.  It is often surprising to new parents how slippery a baby can be, especially when they are wet and soapy. To make bath time a little easier to manage, many parents will use a bath seat. Unfortunately, these can lead to a false sense of security. Parents may be more likely to turn away if a baby is in a seat.  It can only take a second for a baby to become submerged. Save money by avoiding the bath seat altogether. Instead, make sure everything you need is gathered by the tub and have a trusted adult keep their hands on baby at all times.

1.  The number one thing you don’t need for baby is a bumper pad. These soft, cushioned pillows that surround the outside edge of cribs were once thought to prevent injury. This has since been proven false. Bumper pads do, however, increase a baby’s risk of suffocation. The same thing goes for pillows, stuffed animals and blankets. The only cute thing in your baby’s crib should be your baby. Save money and your baby’s life – do NOT put bumper pads, pillows, or other items in your baby’s crib! 

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