Baby on a shoestring: Having a baby needn’t cost the earth

it had been sixteen years since our last child was born so naturally with a new baby on the way we were faced with having to get all the things we needed for life with a new baby. But, just what does a baby need? As a community midwife I’ve seen all sorts of gadgets appear in women’s homes; vibrating, swinging, battery operated, mains powered, singing, music playing, lights-up thingumybobs that are the latest in must-have baby equipment. The consumerism surrounding babies does not fit well with my personal ethical beliefs yet even the more alternative and environmentally conscious books it came across seemed to have a long list of essential items for a new baby. Here then is my own list. These are the items I got in preparation for our daughters arrival.

  • Newborn and 0-3 month clothes: these were collected from Freecycle and local Facebook groups which give away free items. Our daughter is now four months old and we have bought one item of clothing, an organic cotton romper suit. Total spent on clothes up to four months old £20.
  • Cloth nappies and nappy covers: nappies from Freecycle and donated by a kind friend. Covers mostly from Freecycle. A few wool covers provided by a friend used for her little one and one knitted for us as a gift. Total cost for nappies £0.
  • Four in one travel system: from a charity shop. We bought this as we needed the car seat mostly. Our daughter has been in the pram on three occasions in the first two weeks before I felt up to carrying her. It is now in the attic. We Probably should  have just bought a car seat instead. Cost £40. 
  • Moby wrap: we use this daily. It was bought from a secondhand shop. Cost £30.
  • Bedding: blanket hand knitted by a friend, blankets from Freecycle, Moses basket sheets bought new. Cost £6.
  • Moses basket: used on the first day for about an hour. Not used since. From Freecycle. Cost £0.
  • Moses basket mattress bought new. Cost £7.99.
  • Sheepskin bought new. We bought this because of studies suggesting that babies who slept on a sheepskin were less likely to develop asthma, see here. In reality she has never slept on it but it has been used plenty for floor time and tummy time. Cost £50.

The total cost of baby items bought for the arrival of our baby was £153.99, far less than the cost of an average pram. More importantly to us, nearly everything is being reused therefore reducing environmental impact.

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