As if preparing for a baby wasn’t stressful and expensive enough, you’re stuck doing it in the middle of a pandemic (thanks a lot 2020). Luckily, this guide will give you some great tips on the best ways on how to prepare for a baby while keeping things affordable for you and your family during these difficult times.
The cost of pregnancy has quite the range depending on several factors including which state you live in and whether or not you have health insurance.
To keep it simple, we broke things down into two phases:
- Pre-delivery &
- Post-delivery prepping
Understand Your Health Insurance
If you didn’t already know, pregnancy is a high-cost health expense – meaning your chances of saving money with a newborn depends on how early you start planning.
First off, healthcare is EXTREMELY complicated. We highly recommend spending a few minutes speaking with a representative from your health provider about your future parenting plans with a focus on the following:
- Premiums: The amount of money you’ll pay your insurance company for monthly coverage
- Out of pocket cost-sharing: What you personally pay to your practitioner for medical visits and/or procedures with your insurance plan
- Co-pay: How much do you pay for an in-network doctor’s visit
- In-network co-insurance: The percentage you pay towards bigger procedures (like a C-section at an in-network hospital)
- Deductible: The amount you pay before your health plan starts paying some share of the expenses
- Out-of-pocket max: The most you should pay for health care in a year
After months of cravings and check-ups, your baby has finally arrived and awarded you your new job title: Mommy. With this new job title comes uncharted responsibilities. Here is a breakdown of tips and tools to help prepare for a baby for first 12 months of parenthood.
Full disclosure: Sleep deprivation and messy diapers will be commonplace…
Focus on the Essentials
Before we dive into the baby stuff, we want to highlight the importance of mental health for new parents, especially after living through 2020. Everything seems to take just a little longer these days and it could start to feel heavy as you begin to take care of the baby full time.
Take a moment to map out which friends and family you can lean on when frustrations arise to help you stay levelheaded.
Luckily, feeding is pretty straight forward considering you only really have two options: Breastfeeding or Formula.
The decision is of course up to you and what is best for your family, and there is no wrong choice. Mommy truly does know best. There are many great formula options out there, but if you have the option to and choose to breastfeed, the following are some must-have items:
We’re not going to get into the pros and cons from a health perspective, but we will highlight the cheaper option (which of course, is breastfeeding) ☺
- Breast pump
- Bibs, burp cloths (silicon and reusable ones preferably)
- Milk Storage Containers
Used Baby Clothing
Unfortunately, baby clothes are one of the most expensive aspects of having a newborn next to diapers and feeding. Newborns outgrow 8 sizes within the first 2 years – which is REALLY expensive. Imagine having to replace your entire wardrobe every 3 months!
Everyone at some point in their lives has received a nice hand-me-down – we suggest leveraging that to the fullest for the first few years if possible. Why invest all that money just to do it again in another 3 months?
With sustainability on the mind, consignment, thrift stores, and online resale apps are becoming more and more the norm for adult shopping. Instead of investing a large chunk of finances into constantly restocking your baby’s bureau with new sizes, why not try a similar sustainable approach?
Rent your Baby Clothes
A fast-rising trend with new parents is to rent gently used baby clothes on a monthly subscription. Services like Evita Leto offer gently used brand name clothes every month as the newborn continues to grow with savings of up to 70% of retail cost-saving parents time, money, and our environment.
Local Consignment Stores:
New parents are gearing towards buying secondhand baby clothes more and more every year. As we’ve seen with other businesses in the sharing economy like Air BnB and Uber, reusability can significantly drive down costs. Remember, these are clothes that will be outgrown within weeks or months – why to spend $35 on a newborn outfit your baby may only wear once (if that). Reallocate those funds somewhere more useful… like a nice vacation whenever the world gets back to normal.
Friends and Family:
The sweet congratulatory messages are rolling in at this point, so take the opportunity to plug your need for a stroller or some adorable and affordable gently used baby clothes! As they say, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.
Unfortunately, diapering is another major expense in the newborn world. Similar to your feeding options, there are only two ways new parents can go: Disposable or Reusable Cloth Diapers.
According to The Bump: “A typical family can spend between $2,000 and $3,000 per baby for two years on disposable diapers while cloth diapers and accessories run about $800 to $1,000 if you wash them yourself.”
What You’ll Need with Cloth Diapers:
- 3-4 Dozen Cloth diapers
- Washing machine with a “sanitize” or hot option
- Diaper bag
- Baby ointment or other barrier creams to prevent rashes
Other Newborn Essentials:
- Crib & Crib Mattress
- Car seat (Pro tip: Aim for the convertible ones so you can use them for a long time)
- Baby monitor
The First 12 Months
At this point, your baby should be about 50% longer than when they were firstborn. Get ready for more aggressive movements like pushing, kicking, and throwing whatever you put in their little hands.
Also, be prepared for some self-exploring as your baby starts to pull themselves upright. At this point, they might be taking their first steps and will require more supervision than before. Their vocabulary will still be pretty limited, but you should certainly encourage conversation as they will actively try to communicate with you in their first language of baby babble.
Leverage Your Support Network:
We won’t sugar coat it – the first 12 months are going to be intense…
Make sure everything and everyone you need for help are lined up and ready at a moment’s notice. If someone offers you a free crib or any sort of help, make sure you TAKE IT. You’ll quickly start to become savvy with accepting assistance whenever available. For example, when guests come over to see the newborn, use that time to sneak off to the bathroom or give yourself a break ☺
Roll with the Punches
A good boxer doesn’t always dodge EVERY punch – they just try to minimize the overall damage and adapt to the fight. We suggest you take the same approach.
Try not to stress too much if things don’t go according to plan, especially during a pandemic… Many of the skills you develop as a new parent are going to be trial by fire. Embrace the general chaos that comes with being a new parent and remember to go easy on yourself. There is no perfect manual to this part of life – try and accept the situation for what it is and find the joy where you can.
Get Connected and Stay Connected
As we mentioned, getting your support network in order is definitely important – and so is expanding it. Embrace your new identity as a mother and plug yourself into the network of other moms in the area as a resource.
It’s a Subculture
Being a mom transcends beyond religious or ethnic backgrounds. Our tips help you prepare for a baby no matter where you live – however, it definitely helps to get tips from your local mom network for the little details we didn’t cover here, like the best places to get cheap baby clothes, best daycares, or local programs to help families.
Emotional Support (again):
We cannot stress enough the importance of taking care of your emotional wellbeing. It is easy to give yourself up to put the newborn first, but you cannot pour from an empty cup. A support system, small or big, local or virtual, is hugely impactful. Nearby support is amazing, but you can definitely connect with parents all over the world and find support with questions or frustrations and reach out for parenting advice and tips. Having someone to confide in is always helpful.
Remember that giving advice can feel just as good as receiving it. You may not have veteran parent status yet but sharing your experiences with other parents can be validating and cathartic on both ends.
Parent Smarter, not Harder!
There are endless resources on the internet with lists put together by veteran parents about the best hospitals, school districts, daycares, day camps, parent + me classes, the least expensive formulas, baby-safe cleaning supplies…. Take advantage of the existing research and knowledge out there to make your days go a little bit easier.
You may also be able to connect with other parents for a baby item swap (either locally or via the internet and your neighborhood shipping center) — form a connection, swap parent battle stories, get some cute gently used kids clothing hand-me-downs, and save some money all at once!
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