Guest Post by Amy from The Finer Things in Life
Certainly one of the Finer Things in Life is becoming a parent. While one of life’s greatest blessings, the thought of all the stuff that’s about to consume your home and your budget can be overwhelming. Don’t let the cost of having a baby (or two, or five…) overshadow the joy. Bringing home a baby doesn’t have to break the bank.
Babies are born with a strong appreciation of the Finer Things. They are very basic creatures with very basic needs. Feed them, clothe them, keep them warm, safe, and clean; love them. And that’s about it! In fact, anything you purchase beyond meeting baby’s needs could add unneeded stress to an already intense time in your life.
Feed Them. I know it’s a personal choice and I don’t judge those who don’t breastfeed for whatever reason, but the research is tremendously convincing: mama’s milk is best for baby. No ifs, and, or buts about it. As a bonus, it’s free! If you have a choice, why spend $1,000 (at least, and not including feeding supplies) on formula in the first year of baby’s life when the good stuff is readily available, always the right temperature, easily portable, and free?
Breastfeeding a baby deserves its own post, but may I quickly encourage those of you who are preparing for motherhood for the first time to please surround yourself with breastfeeding resources and information and friends? Having support for those first few (very tough for me!) days and weeks will increase the chances of your success and your enjoyment of the experience.
Clothe Them. Sweet little baby clothes are hard to resist, huh? I know the temptation. Fortunately, hand-me-down and garage sale clothes are just as cute as the over-priced garments luring you in the store. Baby needs clothing, yes. Brand new clothing at a premium price? No.
Keep them warm, safe, and clean. When registering for baby showers and browsing garage sales before our first was born, I tried to keep something in mind: If my mom didn’t need it, neither do I.When bringing home baby, your day will be full to the brim meeting baby’s basic needs. Why clutter your home and your time and your mind managing all that unnecessary baby stuff?
I know that many of you will scream that a baby monitor is an absolute necessity. I thought so, too, so we registered for one and received it at our baby shower. Four and a half years later we finally took it out of the box when our third baby was six months old. She is now 19 months old and I think we’ve used the monitor twice.Convenient? Yes (if I could ever remember to use it). Necessary? Not really. I’m not trying to discourage you from purchasing a baby monitor; just giving one example of how the “necessary” isn’t always so.
Love them. Hold them, read to them, sing to them. Word to the wise: you are not impressing your baby with the frou-frou. There are endless bright, loud, entertaining toys available for baby. A few of them (I like having a bouncy seat and gym mat) are very convenient and give mom a nice reprieve. Don’t overdo it, though, because what does baby really want? You. Keep it basic. If you must have the frou-frou, shop at garage sales or online at craigslist because parents of equally unimpressed babies are getting rid of barely used items for cheap!
The marketing of baby stuff continues to be lucrative as parents are convinced that having the newest, brightest items will make their baby happier and smarter and safer. Not so. Stick to the basics. Your baby will thrive, and so will you. Blessings to those of you preparing to bring new life into this world!
A stay-at-home mom, Amy gave up an eight year teaching career at one of the largest schools in her state to move with her husband of nearly 10 years and their three children, ages 5, 3, and 1 to Tiny Town two years ago. Amy takes joy in caring for her family, finding a good deal, volunteering at her local library, and blogging at The Finer Things in Life.
Note from Crystal: Photos are of my second daughter, Kaitlynn, when she was a wee little one. Isn’t she precious?!