Author Topic: Planning for First Baby - Seeking Recommended Resources  (Read 2021 times)

lilsaver

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 49
Planning for First Baby - Seeking Recommended Resources
« on: January 29, 2021, 10:38:41 AM »
Hi,

I'm planning for my first child, and wanted advice from the communities. I've been reading new books on pregnancy, nutrition, what to expect on Kindle. But, are there books you would highly recommend, or liked when you were planning? Also, I've been wanting to put together a cost sheet of baby expenses (to gain a better understanding of how much a baby costs, etc) - if you have any resources in this area, please share. Much appreciated!

 

Beach_Stache

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 216
    • This Frugal Father
Re: Planning for First Baby - Seeking Recommended Resources
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2021, 05:53:39 AM »
We read the books and stuff, and they helped some, but real work experience trumps everything.  First boy was a tough sleeper and inexperienced parents made that more difficult, second was super easy, third was in the middle.  Kids are like evil AI robots that learn and adjust, so the second you think you've got them figured out they'll test you a different way and turn things upside down.  So I would suggest having a clear expectation on what kind of a parent you see yourself as and try to model that.  We have so many parents who spend SOOO much money on their kids and cars and stuff and get them whatever they want.  We said we want our kids to be good people, disciplined, know how to work hard, we don't want to spoil them, make them thankful for what they have and how tough it is for so many others, etc.  I think I would try to model what kind of a parent you want to be and what kind of a child you want to raise and then work backwards from there.  We have some friends who want to be the "fun parents"...  I've seen that story play out when I was young and I certainly don't want to be those parents.

For costs, depends if you are going to be nursing or supplementing, buying or making food.  Diapers cost a lot and will be a big expense, but food is fairly minimal early on.  Think if you want to start saving for college in a 529 plan or something and then what daycare costs will be, as that is the biggest expense we've ever had and those years were tough.  Are you going to have 1 kid or multiple, as cars become an issue.  DW upgraded from a Corolla to a CRV to a Mini-Van (I tried to get her to go from Corolla right to Mini-Van but was shot down).  I kept my 2003 Corolla and found a way to get 3 kids in car seats across the back (it was hard, but doable).  I love the mini-van though as you'll have so much crap for kids.

I would also try to get as much second hand stuff as you need.  Kids treat clothes terrible, so we have great neighbors who have older boys and grandchildren, so we get boxes of clothes every few months which is a HUGE saver, including bikes and shoes and boy scout stuff, that is incredible!  Find those friends and neighbors and don't be shy about taking 2nd hand stuff or going to to the thrift store for stuff, as clothes can cost very little or cost a ton...

When we started having kids it's tough financially, I don't think anybody is ever ready financially for kids, but we tightened up as much as possible or car/vacation/clothes/food/entertainment, etc. and basically found that we needed to be MMMers to afford kids, so when expenses got less, salary went up, we found ourselves in a much better position financially.

Good luck!

ender

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6849
Re: Planning for First Baby - Seeking Recommended Resources
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2021, 06:50:01 AM »
Honestly if you're willing to get used, most baby expenses really aren't that much.

You don't "need" much (but will you ever get people telling you that you "need X/Y/Z").

People lament diapers as a cost but honestly while it's a lot (let's round way up and say $1k/year) it's... not that much in the grand scheme of things. The gov tax credit is way more than the cost of diapers.

The biggest financial cost is going to be lost wages and/or daycare.

Blue Skies

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 132
Re: Planning for First Baby - Seeking Recommended Resources
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2021, 07:13:32 AM »
So much of parenting is individual, both on the part of the parent and the kid.  Are you the kind of person who will lug the kid around in a baby car seat, or would you prefer a stroller, or a baby carrier/sling?  Are you going to buy something functional, or top of the line?  Are you the kind of person who wants the kid to sleep in bed with you, in a bassinet next to your bed, or in their own room?  Are you ok with a small wardrobe for the kid, or are you going to get sucked in to buying all the super cute baby clothes you see?  And sometimes even though you want something, the kid clearly does better with something different (we spent a lot of time and money trying different bottles for daycare before we found one the kid would use). 

Read all the books you want, but focus on books that make sense to you, with authors whose choices mimic what you would chose.  Otherwise, you end up buying lots of things you will never use.

We used cloth diapers, which is not a super common choice, but it worked very well for us and saved a ton of $ buying diapers.  You have to be willing to wash them though, or it won't work.

Daycare was a huge expense, but short lived.  Travel sports teams can cost just as much later on though.  Or individual music lessons, or dance competitions. 

kanga1622

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 374
Re: Planning for First Baby - Seeking Recommended Resources
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2021, 12:46:38 PM »
I agree that cloth diapers and breastfeeding saved us a ton of money. Buying clothes, swing, stroller, and baby wrap used was also a huge money saver. Car seats should be purchased new because you honestly canít trust most people to be honest if the seat was washed improperly or in a fender bender.

We did increase our grocery budget even with tiny babies. Breastfeeding moms just need more calories. Making baby food at home or doing baby led weaning is easy. You can do batches on the weekend and freeze.

We chose to spend more on quality mattress and organic cotton sheets for the crib. We have allergy/sensitivity issues so it was just easier not to deal with possible reactions. Free and Clear detergents are just as good as the baby marketed detergent.

Daycare and health insurance were the biggest two ongoing budget items. It is a bit of a shock but your budget will likely come down in other areas since you wonít be going out or be participating in hobbies for a bit.

Our kids are elementary aged now so we budget for after school care, college funding, increased groceries, and $100 a month toward their random costs or saving for future clothing needs. Kids will seemingly jump up a size almost overnight so having a few outfits in the next size up is awesome if you have the storage space.

Honestly, I didnít find a lot of books helpful. Message boards or forums for like minded parents were the best help.

BZB

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 389
  • Location: Houston, Texas
Re: Planning for First Baby - Seeking Recommended Resources
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2021, 05:46:32 PM »
The 3 most valuable books for me were 1) Baby 411, 2) Toddler 411, both written by Ari Brown and Denise Fields,  these saved me many copays and helped me figure out when something was worth going to the pediatrician or ER for, and 3)  The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease, which helped me develop a reading-rich environment at home.
For the toddler/Pre-K years - I highly recommend the Bob books sets for learning to read.
None of the books about sleep training, behavior, or potty training helped me at all. I just had to wait for growth spurts, brain development, and biology to catch up. At the rate they grow and their brains develop as babies/toddlers, you pretty much have a different kid every couple of weeks or so, and one set of challenges is replaced by another.

Malossi792

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 31
Re: Planning for First Baby - Seeking Recommended Resources
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2021, 01:16:25 AM »
My suggestion would be to join multiple fb groups with different kinds of parents / kids. Just read a lot of posts. A LOT. That is what we did not do at all but should have.
Our kid is now a bit above 1 year old and just sooo lovely.
But that first year is TOUGH. Tough on the relationship, tough on both parents as individuals, tough even on your relationships with your own parents... Expect no outside help at all, because your idea of help might be worlds apart from your parents' ideas.
But there's a light at the end of the tunnel, the more 'interactive' babies get, the more lovely they are.

+1 on second hand clothes. Buy the bulk of the clothes that way, and you can still get a couple brand new 'that's so cute' outfits as you see fit.

I recommend starting out with disposable diapers. Yes, they cost money, but have I mentioned that the first couple of months will be tough enough as is?

Also, post partum depression is real, and crushing. If you feel down, incompetent, annoyed with the baby and their needs, etc in the first couple months, then seek professional help, the sooner the better! With true ppd, talking to mom, friends, neighbors, etc. is just not enough.
Sorry didn't mean to scare you, just keep this in mind.

Have a great experience!

TheFrenchCat

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 339
Re: Planning for First Baby - Seeking Recommended Resources
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2021, 11:15:25 AM »
I second buying used as much as you can!  That saved us a ton.  Also, cloth diapers aren't as gross as I thought they'd be.  We spent under $100 total for our diapers.  I just kept a sealable bucket next to the toilet for them.

Good luck and congratulations! 

lilsaver

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 49
Re: Planning for First Baby - Seeking Recommended Resources
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2021, 10:05:36 AM »
OP here - thank you so much for all of your suggestions. I have taken them to heart and will explore all of them. It definitely feels overwhelming, and the fatigue from the first trimester has taken it's toll. I had not really thought about second hand clothing, but I'll look into it. Not a ton of those in our social circle with small children (we are late bloomers, most of our friends either don't have kids/not married or have kids that are around 10 years old). The closest is my sister with a 6 year old. Thank you!

chaskavitch

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 961
  • Age: 36
  • Location: Fort Collins, CO
Re: Planning for First Baby - Seeking Recommended Resources
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2021, 08:02:34 AM »
There are a lot of stores that sell second hand or consignment clothes, you don't have to rely on friends.

Depending on where you are, Once upon a Child is a kids consignment store, and Just Between Friends is a big garage sale with rotating dates around the country.  They also sell baby gear and toys.
 I've found a lot of "lots" of kids clothes in various sizes on FB marketplace as well.

EricEng

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 605
  • Location: CO
Re: Planning for First Baby - Seeking Recommended Resources
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2021, 01:10:11 PM »
OP here - thank you so much for all of your suggestions. I have taken them to heart and will explore all of them. It definitely feels overwhelming, and the fatigue from the first trimester has taken it's toll. I had not really thought about second hand clothing, but I'll look into it. Not a ton of those in our social circle with small children (we are late bloomers, most of our friends either don't have kids/not married or have kids that are around 10 years old). The closest is my sister with a 6 year old. Thank you!
Consignment sales are a huge cost savings on clothes and toys and baby utility items.  You will pay about 1/10 the cost for clothing and shoes that still have most of their life left.  Kids grow so fast and people get so much that a lot of the clothes don't get used much.  Expect to pay $1-4 per shirt/pants at consignment sales vs $8-20 at more retailers.  Shoes are huge saver as well, most being found used for $3-6/pair vs $30-50/pair new.

If you live near CO you can use this, but I bet other states have something similar.
https://www.consignmentsalefinder.org/CO.php
We usually go to two a year and stock up on the next years worth of kids stuff.  You won't find everything right when you need it, so plan ahead and visit a couple.

As for books, most of them have been fairly worthless from what I saw.  Every kid and parent is very different.

lutorm

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 473
  • Location: A large island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean
Re: Planning for First Baby - Seeking Recommended Resources
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2021, 10:23:41 PM »
We got "The Baby Owner's Manual: Operating Instructions, Trouble-Shooting Tips, and Advice on First-Year Maintenance" when we were expecting our kid. It's fun and contains all the stuff that you don't know if you've not been taking care of babies before. It was worth the ten bucks.

For sleeping advice, we liked "Precious little sleep". It worked for us, some other books did not.

Snowman99

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 67
Re: Planning for First Baby - Seeking Recommended Resources
« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2021, 12:50:46 AM »
We exchange clothes with other families and shop second hand. Our kids wear some really nice stuff (Patagonia, etc) bought second hand for very cheap.  Best car seats are Diono because you can fit three across in almost any car. Bobs are the best strollers. Every kid is different and a lot of the baby stuff will not be used. Example: only one of our three used a pacifier. None slept in the crib. If itís you first you will probably get lots of gifts, half of which will be used. Donít overthink it, and best plan is to buy what you need when time comes.

Dee_

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 218
  • Location: Podunk, Midwest
Re: Planning for First Baby - Seeking Recommended Resources
« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2021, 08:54:32 PM »
Re: cost

My best advice is, wait to buy 99% of stuff. The 24-hour Walmart will still be there after the baby's here, and you'll avoid buying piles of stuff that you probably won't use/baby will outgrow in a hot minute.

Baby needs a safe place to sleep, diapers, and food (get a breast pump, and buy a few cases of pre-mixed formula just in case, you can always donate it later).

Before our baby arrived, I bought a pack of disposable NB diapers. We had a used Pack'n'Play, cloth diapers, car seat, NB clothes, and a breast pump from insurance. That was it.

After baby arrived, mostly used:
$50 - a bunch of used clothes variously sized up through 18 months
$60 - Ergo 360
$40 - jogging stroller
~$400 thus far: baby formula
~$150 thus far: disposable diapers (we use cloth during the day, disposable at night)
~$200  - baby bottles, sleep sack, crib sheets, bottle rack, bath seat, lotions, bibs etc.

Received as gifts or free hand-me-downs: tons of toys, blankets, pacis, boppy pillow, baby spoons

Contrary to popular belief, babies are actually quite cheap. That being said, the first 3 months are so are a foggy daze. Don't be afraid to throw money at a problem for the sake of your emotional sanity- save bandwidth for your precious bundle.

I'll also tack this on, because my experience was hellish and I want to shout it from the mountaintops: breastfeeding. is. hard. Do not count on being able to EBF baby. Do not be afraid to supplement with formula.

Your nipples will bleed and blister. Your child will be screaming and you'll be terrified that they're starving. The pressure of shower water and a bra will be overwhelmingly painful. Get some gel pads for the inside of your bra and don't. feel. guilty. There's a very good reason <30% of babies are still exclusively breastfed at 6 months.

tweezers

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 211
Re: Planning for First Baby - Seeking Recommended Resources
« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2021, 10:45:48 AM »
Without wanting to discount the experiences of others, breastfeeding might not be a debilitating challenge.  When my daughter was born a nurse told me that breastfeeding would be a nightmare, and if I was going back to work I'd never succeed in exclusively breastfeeding.  Although I was sore initially, I did not experience bleeding/cracked nipples, successfully pumped at work and exclusively breastfed until 6 months, and nursed my children until they were toddlers.  Your experience might be different, and the first rule is to feed your baby by whatever means, but that nurse made me feel terribly anxious unnecessarily.  In the throes of it, having a natural childbirth and breastfeeding exclusively seem like a badge of honor and not doing so was a failure.  However, these things matter not nearly as much as we think they do, and pretty much not at all once your baby is older. 

We bought almost everything used...crib, clothes, toys (particularly larger play items like slides, climbers, tricycles).  Craigslist, and a local Facebook mothers group was a huge resource.  We had a tiny house when my first was born, which probably saved us from going down the child rabbit hole of needing "stuff".  Cloth diapering saved us a lot of money because we used them for both our kids; especially if you use pre-folds (flat diapers that are used with a cover; no pins, but a genius fastener called a snappi).  For most items (including the diapers) I was able to sell them on Craigslist/local parenting group for close to what I paid for them.

Our first child was completely unlike any baby described in the majority of books.  The Happiest Baby on the Block was a godsend (although honestly, could have been a pamphlet; important message missed in most other books: your baby may act like they hate being swaddled, but swaddling isn't what calms them.  It just keeps them from flailing about so they can focus on other calming measures). Also, Raising Your Spirited Child. 

Wishing you a lot of luck.  You're going to be great at this.