How to save on baby


The news that a baby is on the way instantly conjures up exciting thoughts of setting up the nursery and buying adorable baby clothes. Then reality sets in and we face overwhelm overload as we’re bombarded with information and forced to make countless decisions on what we need, all while waddling around with a heavy load bearing down on our nether regions and a desperate need to wee. The panic only increases as we’re faced with all these additional expenses while probably dealing with the loss of one income.

Ok, deep breaths. Yes, some things are essential, but many are not. And if you’re smart about it, the cost can be hugely minimised. Here’s what you can’t do without, and how to minimise their cost.

1. Nappies

Let’s not sugar coat it. S#$% happens. And when you have a newborn, it happens a LOT. However many nappies you think you’ll need, you’ll need more. That’s why finding a good quality, inexpensive brand can make a huge difference. Many mums, myself included, swear by ALDI’s range of Mamia nappies, which are almost half the price of leading brands and are of excellent quality.

And all those nappies you’re provided in hospital? They’re all for you, so make sure you take home any spares.

2. Wipes

Once you start buying baby wipes, you’ll wonder how you ever coped without them. They’re just so useful for… everything! And you can never have enough. Once again, prices can vary dramatically, so shop around and buy in bulk whenever you come across a good price.

3. Somewhere to sleep

Babies spend a lot of time asleep. Granted, it’s not all in a convenient block that coincides with your current sleep time, but hey. Whether to buy a bassinet or moses basket first or to go straight to a cot is a personal choice, and has a lot to do with whether you want your baby in the same room as you or not, in which case a cot may not fit. Just be aware that babies can grow out of moses baskets or bassinets quickly, so if you can beg, borrow or steal one from a friend or relative, do. Cot prices can vary dramatically, but you can still buy new, sturdy and safe ones for a great price at stores like Ikea or as part of ALDI’s Special Buys, or pick up a great second-hand one online on eBay or Gumtree. Remember, it’s far more important to focus on a comfortable mattress than a pretty cot.

4. A car seat

If you own a car, there’s no way around this one – you’re required by law to have one and you won’t be able to leave the hospital without it. By law, babies are required to be in a rear-facing car seat until at least six months of age, a forward facing car seat until at least four years of age and a booster seat until at least 8-10 years of age. Money can be saved by buying a convertible seat that changes from rear-facing to forward-facing, or from forward-facing to booster. You also need to make sure your infant car seat has been expertly fitted. While buying second-hand or borrowing a car seat will save you money, you need to ensure it is less than 10 years old, has not been in a car accident and has no cracks or splits.

5. A stroller/pram

It’s hard to imagine any baby purchase causing more angst than the dreaded – but oh so essential – stroller. There are just so many decisions – three wheels or four, sturdy or light, with car seat travel system or not, baby facing in or out? Again, it’s all about assessing your needs: are you planning on jogging with your baby or are you a city slicker looking for manoeuvrability with one hand (you’ll have a coffee in the other, trust us). Do your research, work out what’s most important and compare online before hitting the shops.

6. Burp cloths

Do not spend lots of money on pretty burp cloths. What you’ll need is an inexpensive pack of towelling nappies. If your baby is fond of a chuck (oh, I hear you), you can never have too many – they can go on the floor beneath them during tummy time, over your shoulder when holding them to protect your clothes. Parents of boys can even use them to stem the inevitable wee fountain that occurs during nappy changes. Ahh, good times.

7. A baby carrier

Whether or not you’re choosing attachment parenting, there will inevitably come a time when your baby wants to be held and you want to get stuff done. The overwhelming key here is comfort. Look for ample support around the hips, waist and back, not just the shoulders. Choose something that both mum and dad can happily wear and easily use. Ask friends if you can roadtest theirs before outlaying the funds, because what might be comfortable in the store may feel different after an hour of wear.

8. Onesies and coveralls

Sure, you’ll be tempted by the adorable teeny tiny outfits, but you’ll soon realise that practicality prevails and your everyday clothing will come down to two choices… a onesie (summer) or a coverall (winter). You just need something easy to do up/pull off/access (bless you, poppers), and you need enough of them that if you go through four in a day (oh, it happens, you’d better believe it happens), you’ll still be covered. Go for quantity over quality, as they’ll grow out of them rapidly… baby and toddler markets can be a great option, or discount supermarkets like ALDI.

9.Cot sheets and mattress liners

Again, you can never have enough cot sheets – you’ll need at least two, and preferably three – and always use a waterproof mattress protector if you have any sense of self preservation. A great idea is to make the bed with a mattress protector, a sheet, then another mattress protector and sheet on top. That way, if your baby has an incident in the wee hours of the morning (their favourite time for such matters), you can simply pull off the top two layers without having to worry about remaking the bed on top of everything else. Save money by buying sheets separately, rather than sets – you will rarely need a top sheet for babies, and cot sets often include items you can’t use, such as bumpers and quilt covers.

10. Swaddling blankets

Babies love to be swaddled, so some simple swaddling blankets are a must. Buy fabric depending on the season – a sheer muslin is ideal for summer, while thicker fabrics such as flannel are more suited to chilly months.

11. Feeding supplies

If you bottle feed, you’ll obviously need bottles and formula. Unless your baby has feeding difficulties, there’s no need to spend more on the pricey brands, as the generics contain the same ingredients. While sterilising is essential, simply using boiling water can do the job if you’re looking to save costs. If you breastfeed, you may want or need a breast pump to help you express, but it might be worthwhile looking at hiring one of these if you think you’ll only need it for a short time.

12. A bouncer or swing

While it’s not strictly essential, there is bound to be a time when you simply need to put the baby down somewhere safe for a period of time (such as when you realised you haven’t had a shower in several days). Again, the options are endless, but it can be worthwhile to wait and roadtest a friend’s first – some babies hate swinging, others can’t stand vibrations or jiggling, while others will be instantly soothed by both. If you can try before you buy, do it…

And what you don’t need…

Save your pennies, these items just aren’t worth it.

  • Changing table – while they look nice, you can just as easily use the top of a dresser, kitchen counter or bed. Just buy a plastic change mat with raised sides to keep bub comfy and safe.
  • Wipe warmers – oh, how you’ll look back and laugh at yourself! Wipe warmers can dry out wipes and trust us, your bub’s bot will cope.
  • Nappy disposal system – believe us, you won’t want those nappies lingering in your house for any length of time. Just empty the bin regularly, okay?
  • Cot bumpers, baby pillows, quilts, doonas, etc – these are all SIDS risks and shouldn’t be in your baby’s cot, so save your pennies.
  • Nursing cape – if you’re wanting to cover up, a lightweight wrap or blanket will do the job just as well.
  • Bottle warmer – good old tap water is the best and easiest way to warm up bub’s milk.