Author Topic: who has great planning tips for having a low-cost baby?  (Read 9465 times)

RadicalPersonalFinance

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who has great planning tips for having a low-cost baby?
« on: October 19, 2012, 11:34:26 AM »
So, my wife and I are having a baby!  It's very exciting.  It will be our first.

Financially, we're ready for it, but I'm interested in great tips and ideas for how to finance the delivery in the most cost-effective way.

We are at the very beginning of the process, so nothing is set in stone and no decisions have been made.

We are collecting information and options on local hospitals and their expenses vs. a local birthing center vs. having a midwife and doing in-home delivery.  I don't have all the data yet.

I have a high deductible health plan with an HSA.  So, at the very least we'll be able to fund many of the expenses with pre-tax dollars.

So, what tips do you have on the most cost-effective way to have a baby?

Use it up, wear it out...

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Re: who has great planning tips for having a low-cost baby?
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2012, 12:21:09 PM »
So, my wife and I are having a baby!  It's very exciting.  It will be our first.

Financially, we're ready for it, but I'm interested in great tips and ideas for how to finance the delivery in the most cost-effective way.

We are at the very beginning of the process, so nothing is set in stone and no decisions have been made.

We are collecting information and options on local hospitals and their expenses vs. a local birthing center vs. having a midwife and doing in-home delivery.  I don't have all the data yet.

I have a high deductible health plan with an HSA.  So, at the very least we'll be able to fund many of the expenses with pre-tax dollars.

So, what tips do you have on the most cost-effective way to have a baby?

Cloth diapers, and be prepared to launder them yourself.
Breast feeding if possible
Don't buy a bunch of baby clothes - you should probably expect many gifts of clothing, and what you don't get, will totally available used (the world is awash in too many baby clothes)
Children, and particularly small children, don't need as many toys as you might think

DoubleDown

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Re: who has great planning tips for having a low-cost baby?
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2012, 12:47:33 PM »
Congratulations!

See my post 2 secs. ago on another thread: DO NOT skimp on the delivery. Have the delivery at a hospital, please. Not a midwife. Not at home. My daughter would not have survived an at-home delivery. Because we were at a hospital, she made it with no ill effects. Even if she had survived through an ambulance ride or rush to the hospital, it could have been detrimental for life.

If anything goes wrong -- and not to scare you, but it does sometimes -- you want doctors and top-notch medical care there. Minutes and seconds count in cases of oxygen deprivation, etc.

prosaic

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Re: who has great planning tips for having a low-cost baby?
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2012, 01:53:41 PM »
You can get a lower-intervention (and generally lower cost) birth in a birthing center or hospital with a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) if you want fewer interventions but to have OB backup in case of an emergency and a needed c-section.

Norman Johnson

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Re: who has great planning tips for having a low-cost baby?
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2012, 02:23:45 PM »
Congrats! That's awesome!!! :D

I'm not sure where you are, but I'm guessing the USA. If so, please PLEASE make sure you have someone qualified to attend your wife's birth. Midwives in the US can have as little as a high school diploma and still be "accredited". I am frugal in a lot of regards, but I would splurge on health care for a birth if I had to. I'd rather have a rare, life threatning issue in the hospital where I am literally five minutes away from help (down the hall to surgery with bags of blood available) then to have to wait for an ambulance (5 minutes if you are lucky), then drive back to the hospital (say another 5 minutes if you are close or it's 3 AM) and be rushed to the OR (another five minutes from when you get there). 15 minutes is a long time to wait if your wife is bleeding out or if your baby is being deprived of oxygen.

In this case, I wouldn't be so worried about being cost effective as being very sure that wherever you two go (hospital or centre), someone will be able to save your wife and baby's life on the rare chance that things do go sideways.

KulshanGirl

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Re: who has great planning tips for having a low-cost baby?
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2012, 02:44:10 PM »
Chiming in!

I seriously considered a birth center, but ultimately decided on the hospital, mostly because they were very supportive of my wishes for as much to be natural as possible. 

I ended up with an unexpected (non-emergency, but necessary) C-section and BOY was I glad I chose the hospital.  I imagine that if I had been at the birth center and had to figure in an ambulance ride AND having it treated as an emergency once I got to the hospital, it may have cost MORE than it did otherwise.  So having been there, I agree with the other posters - don't make a choice because it's cheaper.

Breastfeed!  Formula is expensive.

Don't get a baby bathtub - we used a warm washcloth on her changing table until her cord fell off, then she bathed in the tub with daddy.

Don't buy clothes, the baby clothes fairies drop off bags of used stuff in the night.  From everyone you ever knew, ever.

Craigslist.  Everything you need is on there. 

Congratulations!!!

caligulala

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Re: who has great planning tips for having a low-cost baby?
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2012, 04:11:34 PM »
I had a home birth with my first and a hospital birth with my second. I tell my friends who are interested in home birth to do one with their second. You're a lot more likely to have complications the first time around. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't use hospital or birth center based midwives. Each state has its own regulations regarding midwifery. In Illinois, midwives are all CNMs and work with a back up OB for home birth and at the hospital you have access to everything one would if working with OBs. The main difference is the kind of care you receive prenatally and the support you'll have if you want to birth naturally.

Financially, call hospitals to find out what the self pay fee is for delivery. There can be large differences in what hospitals charge. We have a friend doing the same research right now and it's been enlightening to hear the wide variety of quotes.

Best of luck to you and your wife! Parenthood is wonderful and it doesn't need to be horribly expensive. We spent more each month on bars & restaurants before baby than we do on our little dudes now, so it's been a net savings for us ;)

RadicalPersonalFinance

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Re: who has great planning tips for having a low-cost baby?
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2012, 07:01:27 PM »
Thanks for all the replies, friends.  I appreciate it.

To be clear, my question is not how to save money at the expense of the safety of my wife or my baby.  I appreciate the insights, but that's not why I'm asking the question.  We have plenty of money and we're not scared to spend it, if necessary.

I'm thinking of how all the little things along the way might add up and how to bargain over them.

For example, it seems like most mothers get a sonogram or two as part of the normal checkup process.  I don't know if that's included as part of a standard "package" or if that kind of thing is billed separately.  If it's billed separately, is there a low-cost way to get it versus at the birth wing of the hospital?

That's the kind of thing I'm trying to figure out.

bogart

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Re: who has great planning tips for having a low-cost baby?
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2012, 09:09:46 PM »

For example, it seems like most mothers get a sonogram or two as part of the normal checkup process.  I don't know if that's included as part of a standard "package" or if that kind of thing is billed separately.  If it's billed separately, is there a low-cost way to get it versus at the birth wing of the hospital?


I'd say a key issue there is working with health-care providers your wife and you trust and feel comfortable with and talking to them about the various procedures and what the value of the information they will provide is to you.  As one example, there are a lot of pre-natal screening and testing alternatives available now -- you can get estimates of the probability of your baby having various abnormalities or health problems based on non-invasive procedures pretty early in the pregnancy (and not later, i.e., they have to be done within a certain time window), and precise information about whether your baby has those conditions (Downs is probably the best known but there are many others, some genetic and some not; spina bifida is another condition that can be screened for) somewhat later via invasive and not-entirely-risk-free (though low risk) procedures at a later time (but still, I think, a particular time window).  You may want either or both or none of these, but the key is to get the information about what you will learn and what kinds of things you might do with the information once you have it, and to decide whether that is useful to you or not.  Just in general that is good practice, but it often doesn't happen -- that is, at least in the US, we often undergo all kinds of medical tests without finding out what the results might be and what we will do with the information they provide -- it's a good thing to get in the habit of asking about.

Congratulations on your growing family!

Norman Johnson

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Re: who has great planning tips for having a low-cost baby?
« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2012, 09:11:13 PM »
You would probably have to talk to your hospital or insurance company. I would think those are pretty specific to either.

As for an ultra sound, I would rather get the birth wing to do it as they will see hundreds and thpusands of fetal anatomy scans and might catch something that a more general tech may not.

Nords

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Re: who has great planning tips for having a low-cost baby?
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2012, 09:21:49 PM »
I'm thinking of how all the little things along the way might add up and how to bargain over them.
For example, it seems like most mothers get a sonogram or two as part of the normal checkup process.  I don't know if that's included as part of a standard "package" or if that kind of thing is billed separately.  If it's billed separately, is there a low-cost way to get it versus at the birth wing of the hospital?
That's the kind of thing I'm trying to figure out.
Buy your baby car seat from your auto insurance company.  Many of them sell discounted seats for $25-$50.  If that doesn't pan out then buy used-- it's fairly straightforward to check them for recalls or damage.

Craigslist and garage sales, especially for clothes.  Even cribs are good if you get the model number and search for recalls.  Don't be scared by the baby-furniture safety police.

Breastfeeding if it works out, but formula is good too.  Breastfeeding is probably better (and definitely cheaper), but not if there's medical issues or other mother misery.

Diapers.com or Netplenish.com. 

Instead of baby shower/delivery gifts, ask for (modest) donations to the 529 account.

"What to Expect When You're Expecting", and (if you need it) "Your Fussy Baby and High-Needs Child".  You'll know if you need the latter by the end of the first month.

"Nurtureshock" by Po Bronson-- the parts about baby sign language and (months later) teaching them how to use their words.  There's credible evidence that most of the terrible twos can be avoided by early language training.

Our daughter was eight years old before a "friend" told her that clothes came from places other than Goodwill and garage sales.

I don't know what the name of this toy is, but it was incredibly popular in 1993.  We called it the "Giggle Ball" because it was the first time anything made our daughter giggle with joy. 

mm1970

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Re: who has great planning tips for having a low-cost baby?
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2012, 10:58:52 PM »
H,mm...can't really help, but I'd call around.

I just had my second baby. The doctors bill was $3850.  The baby seriously came out in one push, he almost didn't make it. The doctor, not the baby.

The hospital bill was a bit more. Maybe $5000 or 6000.  I remember it being only slightly more than 6 years ago, and this time I only stayed one night.

How long you stay, what you eat, all makes a difference.  Whatever you do, go over the bill with a fine toothed comb.




JT

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Re: who has great planning tips for having a low-cost baby?
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2012, 11:15:41 PM »
I'm not familiar with the health system in America but from experience I would strongly suggest a hospital birth for a first delivery.  Only because it's better to be on the safe side.  This is particularly so, if your wife has any pre-existing medical conditions.  Babies can be quick or can take their sweet time in entering the world.  Either way may need medical assistance for Mum and/or baby.  Once your baby is born (a warm congratulations to all :) ) then you'd be surprised by how little a baby actually needs.  Cloth nappies, breastfeeding, a cot, baby blankets, a buggy, a car capsule, and little jumpsuits are about it, hats and mittens if it's cold, (mittens are also good for stopping scratching).  You don't even need a buggy for a baby as there's (I've forgotten what it's called) a cloth thing that wraps the baby up and goes around the back of Mum.  The first six months are the zone of sleep deprivation so sleep seems to be an under-resourced need, if folk can help with the feeding, then Mum can be refreshed with a little extra sleep.  If Mum is breastfeeding she may need slightly more food.  I normally eat quite healthily and am vegetarian, but was strangely attracted to ice cream when breastfeeding . . . and meat.  I reverted to lentil loving once breastfeeding had settled down.  Good luck and enjoy!

N

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Re: who has great planning tips for having a low-cost baby?
« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2012, 01:18:55 AM »
It can be difficult to fight cultural expectations of what you need for the baby. Family/Friends may want to throw you showers and buy unnecessary stuff, or you may feel compelled to make a registry of stuff you might think you may need...but its hard to know in advance.

You need way less stuff than advertising, baby stores, and books suggest.

Ways we saved money while having children:

Co-Sleeping, no need for crib. changed kids on towel/pad on bed. dont need special furniture
Breastfed, and then did Babyled Weaning onto regular people food. Never spent one penny on fake food or "baby" food.
Cloth diapers and Elimination Communication (used way less diapers)
Bought a jogging stroller from thrift store and after 4 years of hard use, bought another on craigslist
Accepted hand me downs of clothes and toys from family and friends
Sewed my own pouch style sling for carrying (also got slings from family members as gifts)
Sewed clothes for my kids from used tshirts and other used fabric

books Id recommend: The Baby Book, by Dr Sears, The Continuum Concept by Jean Liedloff, checking out local La Leche League breastfeeding support groups (pregnant mothers can attend, its free. depending on the meeting, partners/dads welcome also)

Congrats and good luck

N

TomTX

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Re: who has great planning tips for having a low-cost baby?
« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2012, 06:16:19 AM »
Our local hospital will GIVE new parents an infant car seat if you give birth there. Their delivery prices are in-line with the other hospitals in the area.

Do your best to check intervention rates both for your OB and the hospital you intend to use. Inductions are often done WAY too early (like weeks too early) - once you have one intervention, your likelihood of another intervention (C-section, NICU stays, et cetera) go WAY up.

Interventions = higher cost and poorer outcome.

Yes, you do sometimes need an intervention - but they are WAY too high in the USA compared to other first-world countries.

Intervention rates between different OBs and different hospitals vary a LOT. It's a cultural/philosophy thing. Do they consider pregnancy to be a "medical issue" which needs treatment or do they consider it to be a natural process, and they're just along to keep an eye out for problems.

Consider a doula (labor assistant) - the stats I have been reading show significantly lower intervention rates than without one. Enough lower (on average) to more than pay for the doula. This is a person whose focus is entirely on the laboring mother, whereas the OB or midwife have split attention (or in the case of the OB, wander off during most of the labor.) As the local doula group says "We focus on above-the-waist. They focus on below-the-waist"

Freedom2016

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Re: who has great planning tips for having a low-cost baby?
« Reply #15 on: October 20, 2012, 09:41:28 AM »
Thanks for all the replies, friends.  I appreciate it.

To be clear, my question is not how to save money at the expense of the safety of my wife or my baby.  I appreciate the insights, but that's not why I'm asking the question.  We have plenty of money and we're not scared to spend it, if necessary.

I'm thinking of how all the little things along the way might add up and how to bargain over them.

For example, it seems like most mothers get a sonogram or two as part of the normal checkup process.  I don't know if that's included as part of a standard "package" or if that kind of thing is billed separately.  If it's billed separately, is there a low-cost way to get it versus at the birth wing of the hospital?

That's the kind of thing I'm trying to figure out.

You've mentioned your ins policy only to say it's a high deductible plan... but what's covered? We can't answer the sonogram "package" question...your insurance policy will dictate what's covered and what's not. And I imagine at least some prenatal care is covered with no co-pay. Yes?

I had very good prenatal coverage where nearly everything was covered 100%. We had a hospital copay of $1000 but my husband's employer reimburses inpatient copays so we recovered that amount.

We skipped all the prenatal tests for abnormalities, despite my "advanced maternal age" of 37. We had 3 sonograms - 1 @ 8 weeks, anatomy scan @ 20 weeks, and then a 'size check' scan around 30 weeks, after I had a bit of a scare one day (baby wasn't moving) (he was fine). No additional payments required. I had a hospital delivery with a CNM and OB backup. My non-medicated delivery went fine but my "stubborn" placenta had to be manually extracted afterwards. I could have bled out if I had chosen a home birth.
 

A440

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Re: who has great planning tips for having a low-cost baby?
« Reply #16 on: October 20, 2012, 06:55:22 PM »
In my experience, the package is what is paid to the OB or midwife for the pregnancy.  It doesn't  include labwork or ultrasounds or the hospital charges for delivery.

In most (but not all) areas, ultrasounds are generally offered at an early point in the pregnancy for confirming the dating of the pregnancy.  If the mother has normal, regular cycles, you might decline that ultrasound.  The next ultrasound would be be around 11-13 weeks and that is a screening test for Down's syndrome (usually combined with blood tests) and similar chromosomal problems.  Since it is a screening test, it gives you a risk result, and then you can choose to do further definitive testing (like an amniocentesis or CVS).  The next ultrasound is at 18-20 weeks and that is a survey of the anatomy (heart, kidneys, etc.).  After that, ultrasounds can be ordered if there are concerns about growth, follow up for findings on an earlier ultrasound, or checking fetal well-being if the mother has diabetes, hypertension, etc. 

You might want to ask about all the labwork that is ordered, and decide if that is important to you.  Standard prenatal panels would include blood counts (Numbers of types of blood cells), STD screening, rubella immunity status, blood type, antibody screening.  Although it would seem like maybe you could save some money, sometimes being part of a panel makes it cheaper to do a bunch of tests at the same time.  It might take a little legwork to figure that out. 

Presence of a doula has been shown to decrease C-section rate, epidural use, etc, so that can save some money and generally make for more positive birth experience.

Good luck!

Freedom2016

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Re: who has great planning tips for having a low-cost baby?
« Reply #17 on: October 21, 2012, 07:22:21 PM »
I forgot to add that your wife will probably not want to pass up testing for rH factor, gestational diabetes, and strep B.

Taffy

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Re: who has great planning tips for having a low-cost baby?
« Reply #18 on: October 22, 2012, 02:07:20 AM »
It would seem the top tip would be "leave the US". My wife is due in 17 days, and her care through pregnancy has been great. So far the whole process has cost us about $80 in co-pay. Here in Taiwan the mandatory National Health Insurance covers all necessary care, and the standard of care is high; the staff we have encountered have been both superbly trained and generous with their time. Equipment is all of a first-world standard, and we had full blood work plus a 4D scan as part of the antenatal program. My wife had monthly ultrasounds during the early stages, ramping up to fortnightly scans in the third trimester, and now weekly scans for the last month. We will need to pay about $200 for the epidural (if she opts for it), but everything else (including three nights' stay on the maternity ward) is included.

I really don't know how average (non-Mustachian) Americans cope with healthcare expenses; they really are way out of kilter with most other developed countries around the world.

mushroom

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Re: who has great planning tips for having a low-cost baby?
« Reply #19 on: October 22, 2012, 03:31:07 AM »

Do your best to check intervention rates both for your OB and the hospital you intend to use. Inductions are often done WAY too early (like weeks too early) - once you have one intervention, your likelihood of another intervention (C-section, NICU stays, et cetera) go WAY up.

Interventions = higher cost and poorer outcome.

Yes, you do sometimes need an intervention - but they are WAY too high in the USA compared to other first-world countries.

I definitely agree that things like C-section rates are too high in the U.S. and that this can differ quite a bit among hospitals so it's worth looking at - some hospitals have ridiculously high C section rates. However, I think that when you say "once you have one intervention, your likelihood of another invention goes way up" is akin to saying "once you get CPR, your likelihood of then going to a hospital goes way up." If you need an intervention, you're likely to be sick and in need of more than just one intervention. Yes, interventions are higher cost, but it's not the intervention itself that necessarily leads to poorer outcomes. If the intervention is unnecessary, that's a problem, but at a good hospital, most of the interventions are necessary, and the poorer outcomes are because the baby was sick to begin with because of prematurity, congenital diseases, infection, etc. I'm a pediatrician, and NICUs have saved countless lives. I've also done medical work in Tanzania in one of their best hospitals where I saw babies die that would have had no trouble surviving in the U.S. with just a little extra support.

gooki

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Re: who has great planning tips for having a low-cost baby?
« Reply #20 on: October 22, 2012, 11:57:08 PM »
It would seem the top tip would be "leave the US". My wife is due in 17 days, and her care through pregnancy has been great. So far the whole process has cost us about $80 in co-pay.

I really don't know how average (non-Mustachian) Americans cope with healthcare expenses; they really are way out of kilter with most other developed countries around the world.

Congrats on your soon to arrive baby, our second is due in 10 days.

Reading this has made me appreciate our national healthy system even more. No concerns around the cost of the process, or what one is entitled to, makes focusing on what my wife needs most a whole lot easier.

Also don't forget post birth support. My wife found this invaluable with our first child, our midwife visits regularly for 6 weeks after birth.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2012, 11:58:55 PM by gooki »

Taffy

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Re: who has great planning tips for having a low-cost baby?
« Reply #21 on: October 23, 2012, 12:16:00 AM »
Congrats on your soon to arrive baby, our second is due in 10 days.
Congratulations! This is our first; very exciting (and nerve-wracking, now that D-Day is approaching).

Tradies wife

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Re: who has great planning tips for having a low-cost baby?
« Reply #22 on: October 23, 2012, 03:44:45 AM »
Best wishes, from my heart. Don't be scared of pain is my top tip for labor, it's natural, it will peak and drop, just let it happen and believe that your body can do it.

Reading these posts, I am so so happy I am an Australian. Cost for birthing our two little ones $0. Government then contributes $5K for first baby (and just changes for further siblings $3K). Includes epidurals, C-sections, hospital care, scans, blood test, midwife appointment and then after birth midwife visit, and child and maternal health nurse visits up to 4 years old. We don't have to worry about cost while birthing.

Wishing you a great birth experience. Yes, it is possible.

Woolie

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Re: who has great planning tips for having a low-cost baby?
« Reply #23 on: October 24, 2012, 09:05:55 AM »
I'm in the South. I paid one $25 co-pay and then all my visits with my OB, including blood work and 3 ultrasounds, were covered without any additional out of pocket cost until the actual birth. However, I was not on a high deducible plan at the time so that might factor in differently for you.

I agree with what others have said that one of the most important factors is to have a doctor you and your wife are 100% comfortable with. This is key in having a happy and healthy birthing experience. While it really has nothing to do with how much money you are spending, your wife being able to look back and have a positive birth experience is important. Many women end up feeling that choices were taken away from them during their birthing experience and the doctors and nurses did things they did not want done. It's her body and her right to birth her way and she deserves that.

I know that before I left the hospital I received a call about what my portion of the bill would be. If I could pay it all right then and there and not put it on a payment plan, they knocked at least 10% off. It sounds like you will be able to do that without a problem.

Also, when you get the bill, go over every line item. Sometimes you can get charged for things that you did not need/want/use. And you  may be able to call the insurance company and get some things covered. For example, my son ended up in the NICU because they were worried about his breathing. Naturally that means they performed a couple of chest x-rays. However, insurance did not want to pay for the x-rays. They were only $26 each, but it seemed like a needed medical item because of his breathing and I wanted to know why insurance didn't want to pay for that.

Congratulations on your impending fatherhood!

TomTX

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Re: who has great planning tips for having a low-cost baby?
« Reply #24 on: October 24, 2012, 05:38:04 PM »

Do your best to check intervention rates both for your OB and the hospital you intend to use. Inductions are often done WAY too early (like weeks too early) - once you have one intervention, your likelihood of another intervention (C-section, NICU stays, et cetera) go WAY up.

Interventions = higher cost and poorer outcome.

Yes, you do sometimes need an intervention - but they are WAY too high in the USA compared to other first-world countries.

I definitely agree that things like C-section rates are too high in the U.S. and that this can differ quite a bit among hospitals so it's worth looking at - some hospitals have ridiculously high C section rates. However, I think that when you say "once you have one intervention, your likelihood of another invention goes way up" is akin to saying "once you get CPR, your likelihood of then going to a hospital goes way up." If you need an intervention, you're likely to be sick and in need of more than just one intervention. Yes, interventions are higher cost, but it's not the intervention itself that necessarily leads to poorer outcomes. If the intervention is unnecessary, that's a problem, but at a good hospital, most of the interventions are necessary, and the poorer outcomes are because the baby was sick to begin with because of prematurity, congenital diseases, infection, etc. I'm a pediatrician, and NICUs have saved countless lives. I've also done medical work in Tanzania in one of their best hospitals where I saw babies die that would have had no trouble surviving in the U.S. with just a little extra support.

The particular intervention I was thinking of was early (before ~42 weeks) induction without significant indicators of induction being actually required (an induction of convenience.) This leads to a higher likelihood of intervention during labor (c-section, etc.) There's a reason Tuesday is the most common day for birth in the USA, followed by Monday.

Don't get me wrong - I'm glad these interventions (and NICUs) are widely available in the USA.

Jarvis

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Re: who has great planning tips for having a low-cost baby?
« Reply #25 on: October 25, 2012, 09:34:10 AM »
Get connected with a parent's group if there's one in your area.  My wife belong to the mother's group in our small town, and it has been a fantastic resource for receiving and giving away baby stuff.  We've also made some great friends through the group.  We've also used craigslist with great success for toys, clothes, potty seats, etc.  I don't think we've bought any clothing for her new at the store, and we've got more cute clothes than she can wear.

Our investment in cloth diapers has really paid off.  It's extra work, but we're finding it's totally worth it.

Keep it simple!  Shop smart for the big ticket items like the car seat & stroller.  Once you have those covered, there's not much to worry about other than giving your baby lots of love.  Have fun!

mindaugas

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Re: who has great planning tips for having a low-cost baby?
« Reply #26 on: October 25, 2012, 10:30:51 AM »
Congrats! My wife and I had our first 8 months ago and it has been exciting so this post will be ridiculously long. We received and bought all the "necessary" infant and baby items. We're first time parents so we wanted to be prepared, we heard that we didn't need half this stuff but you're scared and you just don't know. So even if you heed none of this advice I won't blame you. I know 9 months ago I would have read all this and still bought everything I did :)

You're baby is going to get sick and get you sick. They have weird mutant baby germs. Be prepared to lose all your PTO, sick days, and vacation time in the span of a couple months.

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If anything goes wrong -- and not to scare you, but it does sometimes -- you want doctors and top-notch medical care there. Minutes and seconds count in cases of oxygen deprivation, etc.

From all my friends and families stories there always seems to be something that goes wrong so go to a hospital/birthing center. Our son came at 38 weeks, labor was only 45 minutes but there was the inevitable "tear" and his cord was really short.  Nothing scary, but I felt much more comfortable surround by nurses and a doctor who did this stuff 2-3 times a day. Even our seemingly perfect delivery and labor came with some hitches.

His favorite toys are a paper towel tube, a packet of fruit snacks (unopened, he likes the sound and texture), and any box or plastic bin. All our other colorful "baby" toys from stores are played with about a quarter as much. If he's fussy, any of the favorite toys make him happy immediately. Also just crawling over daddy and mommy is fun. Oh, and a plastic bowl and plastic spoon, he goes ape*hit over that! :)

So my advice, don't buy any toys. You probably already have every toy your baby is going to want for at least the next year and you'll get some as gifts. Otherwise craigslist but be prepared to clean and sterilize used toys. Even family hand me downs were half a day of cleaning old baby gunk off of. Don't get offended, after a couple months you'll realize babies are disgusting slobbering germ monsters.

His first bassinet was a plastic bin lined with towels. Which is also what they used at the hospital.

I used a large reusable cloth grocery bag to carry him around in, put him to sleep and he loved it. Lots of giggles. Plus it's f'n adorably cute.

We use day care and they don't allow cloth diapers so we buy disposable. Costco is great for this. Quality matters, we buy the name brand stuff.

Even if your wife cannot breast feed, pump. but don't watch, there is just something eery about a machine milking your wife. Eventually she ran dry though so we had to buy formula. At first we bough the really expensive stuff and then we tried the cheaper stuff at half the price and he didn't die or puke or poop all over us.

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Don't get a baby bathtub - we used a warm washcloth on her changing table until her cord fell off, then she bathed in the tub with daddy.
We did the same, and the sink, but we were gifted a bath tub so we started using it along with lots of floaty bath toys that came with it as well.

the only purchase I would recommend is the Signing time videos but those can be bought much later.
http://www.signingtime.com/

TL;DR - Don't buy anything except maybe this http://www.signingtime.com/.

kdms

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Re: who has great planning tips for having a low-cost baby?
« Reply #27 on: October 27, 2012, 05:37:32 AM »

the only purchase I would recommend is the Signing time videos but those can be bought much later.
http://www.signingtime.com/

TL;DR - Don't buy anything except maybe this http://www.signingtime.com/.

You don't even need to buy these.....we downloaded our videos and then burned them to a dvd ;)

mindaugas

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Re: who has great planning tips for having a low-cost baby?
« Reply #28 on: October 27, 2012, 09:06:59 AM »

the only purchase I would recommend is the Signing time videos but those can be bought much later.
http://www.signingtime.com/

TL;DR - Don't buy anything except maybe this http://www.signingtime.com/.

You don't even need to buy these.....we downloaded our videos and then burned them to a dvd ;)

That is an option, but would be stealing.