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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Everything Your Newborn Baby Needs For Less Than $600.

First, let's clarify: This title is slightly misleading, because I'm not including clothes, diapers + wipes, or formula. The first because chances are, everyone you've ever known will buy you baby clothes because it's a cheap and adorable baby gift. The second two because those are monthly expenses, and the things I'm including here are necessities that you would buy before the baby gets here. 

Secondly, this is not a dream list. No gorgeous crib or handmade sheets off of etsy or toys. Are those things wonderful? Absolutely. And I hope you have a wonderful baby shower and people buy you all the extravagant things. We were so blessed and were able to get a lot of "extra" things like that, but before that happened, I made a list of everything we might need and how much those things would cost. 

Within twelve months of finding out I was pregnant, Chris had to apply for residency interviews (expensive), travel to all the interviews (SO expensive), I had to actually have the baby (hospital bills), we had to buy a baby-friendly car, pack up our apartment, and buy a house. Also, getting pregnant was a surprise, so there was no baby fund anywhere. So when I say we tried to do things on a budget, you can trust that I truly researched and shopped around and budgeted like it was my job. 

So now, having gone from finding out I was having a baby and knowing nothing about what I needed, to having a perfectly happy and healthy one-year-old, here are the things I would say are necessary and can fill the gaps of other, more expensive things. 

Pack 'n Play: $79
Works as a crib, as a play area, as a changing space, and you can pack it up and bring it anywhere with you. Jack still sleeps in this whenever we travel anywhere.

Rock 'n Play: $54
Budget post or not, I still consider this an absolute necessity. It's the only thing that helped my baby sleep more than 90 minutes at a time. MAGIC.

Swing: $70

Swaddle cloths: $35
These work for everything. Swaddles, blankets, spit-up clothes, breastfeeding covers, etc, etc. There are cheaper options, but these are the ones I have and they have survived 13 months of use and washes.

Sleeper Swaddles: $14
These have velcro so the little bubs can't break out at night. I tried the more expensive one everyone raves about online and found no magic difference.

Breast pump: $140 (Storage bags: $8) 
Yes. So glamorous, and so necessary (if you're going to breastfeed).

Bottles: $6
I bought 5 different kinds of fancy bottles before finding these. NINE BOTTLES FOR $6. They're Jack's favorite. Moral of the story: Sometimes you should start with the cheap stuff. 

Shampoo/soap/lotion: $8
Buy a gift set of these, it comes with all three. You don't need a lot because babies are tiny so these bottles last forever.

Diaper Rash Paste: $ 7
This stuff is gold, works like a charm, and also lasts forever.

Car seat/Stroller Combo: $169
Being able to click the car seat right into the stroller is a lifesaver and makes things so much more convenient.

Pacifiers: $3

Of course you'll end up getting more things than this. I hope you get every tiny, adorable little thing your baby-loving heart wishes for. But I know that when I was pregnant and price-checking, it would have made me feel so much better to know I could afford the basics. $600 is not cheap, but when you google what you need for your new baby and every list recommends a $250 baby swing, $600 is a steal. 

It's totally possible to go without here. A diaper genie is awesome, but if you can't afford one, you can put diapers in old grocery bags before tossing them in the trash. A crib is ideal, but a pack 'n play can totally work. A playmat is fun, but you can use a blanket for now. And on, and on, and on. See? You don't have to be rich to have a baby, trust me.

I'll blog soon about all the fun, "extra" stuff we bought and loved, but for now, just know that you can afford this. It doesn't have to be trendy, it doesn't have to be pinterest-perfect.  You've got this. 

If you have a baby, what would you say is absolutely necessary?
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