Budgeting for baby stuff…do we really need that?

babyblingThe excitement and nerves are building up, perfectly correlated with my partner’s crescendo of ooohs & ahhhhs (my partner wants it noted this is not in the good way). Last night we said goodbye to the mucus plug, so with the cork removed and a little airing, the time is ripe for our beautiful Rory to be poured into this world. Although, like all good spirits or wine, it can come with a hefty price tag, especially when it seems everything with the term ‘baby’ or ‘maternity’ seems to add 30%.

As I’ve said, my partner and I are unexpectedly expecting, so therefore had no budget or fancy excel spread sheets arranged pre pregnancy. To be honest, the shock, emotional change, and geographical logistics, took up most of our efforts for the first part. However, with both of us having an accounting background, a budget was inevitable. Personally, I believe a budget is a must for any new family, as it gives you some monetary direction of incomings and outgoings, whilst making you think about what you need. I use the term need liberally here, as many of the items we acquired are only recent additions to what has nurtured the human race thus far. Although the image of our primate ancestors using a double breast pump bra is one that you wouldn’t forget in a hurry.

monkeybreastpumpI believe the budget basics to prepare for a newborn, is most of all about being sensible with your purchases. I found it amazing the difference in prices between two nearly identical products, but the one with ‘baby’ or ‘maternity’ was more expensive.

It is an emotionally driven market and I’m sure those kind hearted marketing types are well aware of this. Research is king. Recommendation is his queen.

Ask yourself such questions as – 

1. Does it really need to be brand new? A lot of baby items are only used for a short period of time, and are therefore more than likely in a good condition when second hand. EBay is your friend.

2. Does it really need to be a brand name? As with most other items, brand names can carry with it a certain social pedigree that you pay for. However, they can also be a trusted name due to  their products being tried and tested. I’m sure a common ground can be found between the two.

3. Is it really necessary for the child’s well being? Like I stated before, need is a vague word when it comes to your child. What one person says is a must another will say is a luxury. As you will find out, this question is very subjective, but something to think about in your budget.

and the most important of all,

4. Is it safe? Safety always has a cost involved, but one worth paying for. For any product that you are going to purchase, especially from EBay, check out it’s safety record. If it’s second hand, could there be problems. We got a second hand car seat from a trusted friend, so knew it wasn’t in an accident but still we got it checked out, and installed by an expert. Kidsafe are a great non-profit organisation devoted to helping with a huge array of safety issues. I also found out through this organisation, that a plastic cover for a mattress is no good, as the child needs to be able to breathe through it. I would never have thought of that, so these little bits of advice are invaluable.

Basically, I believe all you need are the following items in bold (as a guy you’ll find that your partner has final say on this matter). Most of these items can be bought second hand, just give them a thorough clean before use. Clothing, a safe place to sleep ( a new mattress ), a solid change table, cleaning items, bottles, a sturdy and easy to use stroller, a safe and secure car seat, swaddle wraps for sleeping, a separate nappy bin, a truck load of nappies, and the cheapest but most important item of all…your love and devotion.

These lists are everywhere and you will get plenty of advice from others about what is handy. Feel free to list them here for others to read and share. I will have a better idea of what is handy and what isn’t once the boy arrives ( my partner’s moaning in the background is becoming more frequent so it could be soon ). Before you say anything, I’m only 2 metres away and the beauty of writing is that you can easily walk away from it, as I have a couple of times, bet you didn’t even notice. Even a trip to the hospital has happened since starting this blog. My partners cervix is at 2cm dilation so great news….it looks like we’ll be parents by morning !

newbabySo I will leave you with one more story, which I found quite funny and sums up the process of getting the nest ready. One night while my partner was on Ebay looking for a breast pump (got it for half the price of a new one, savings of $250, bam), and a stroller (got one for $275 worth nearly a $1000 new, bam bam), and a baby monitor (ended up getting one free from a friend, bam bam bam)….anyway sorry back to the story….I thought I’d challenge her to a duel. I would use Facebook (or Facebay as I termed it) and she would use EBay to find us one of the items. We settled on the baby monitor, as we were of the idea that most people would have used one. I was confident that Facebay would come up trumps, so I made the post and put out the call for an angelcare baby monitor.

After about a half hour as my partner and I swapped between our two screens, computer and TV, I decided to check my feed on the monitor. Triumphantly I said to her ‘Ha ha ! 20 comments, are you ready to raise your white flag’. My partner smiled and said ‘We’ll see.’ I started reading through to see who was able to lend us a monitor. To my surprise, not one comment was about being able to lend us the monitor. The feed read as a Monitor Vs No Monitor blog, challenging debates for each side of the line, and some people just giving support. The only person that came close to offering a monitor, sadly couldn’t, my friend’s father had been using it for the past nine years, as a successful monitor for his dogs! It still worked great, he said. Good to know it lasts I guess.

Anyway, my partner won the duel, EBay works far better than Facebay in this respect. Thankfully, we did end up getting a monitor, along with many other items from friends, but not on that particular night. You will find many people have opinions on all baby matters, and it’s all good advice, everyone means well, but being a new parent, it’s just that, advice. Take it or leave it, if you’re sensible you’ll be fine.

Tip of the Ice-blog #4

Contractions is where labour is at. We used to get worried after one or two Braxton hicks, keys in hand, bag on shoulder, nearly out the door, but it would subside. I can tell you now, you’ll know when labour is upon you, the contractions intensity and frequency are full on. I downloaded a cool app called Full Term. This app allows the user to easily follow and time the regularity of your partner’s contractions, and provides a reference relating to the stage of labour she is at.