Having a new baby is one of the most exciting, yet scary experiences that one can have. It is exciting because there is nothing more delightful than bringing a new baby into the world. Everything is fresh and new. On the contrary, this can also be quite an intimidating time, especially for new parents. In today's economy, just the thought of feeding, clothing and caring for another human being can be quite a scary thing. As a new mom, I too was faced with this challenge. Here are some of things that I did to face this challenge head on.
If able, breastfeeding is one of the best things that you can do for your new baby. The American Society of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding babies for at least one year. However, even if you can't commit to a year, the benefits of breastfeeding your little one can be seen in as little as three to six months. Some of the most notable benefits include developing a close bond with your baby, decreased illness in the baby (due to mom's antibodies), convenience and, of course, saving money. New mom's save several hundred dollars a year in infant formula cost when they choose to breastfeed.
Sign Up for a Registry
Especially for new moms, signing up for a baby registry can be a tremendous help and fun too. The key is to pick stores that you already like and that are nearby to make things convenient. Make sure to put lots of practical items on the registry like diapers, wipes, sleepers, etc. If you are uncertain, talk to other moms and get their opinion. After talking to a few moms, you may find that some of the items on your registry are not even needed. The great thing about gift registries is that if you end up not needing an item that was given to you, it can usually be returned quite easily. Even if you do not have a baby shower, friends, co-workers and others will typically ask if you have a registry that they can contribute to. One can save lots of money just by signing up for a registry alone and it's free! But don't forget that it is not enough to just sign up for a registry. You have to tell others about it.
Use "Hand Me Downs"
Kids grow so fast and before you know it, the first year of your baby's life will quickly pass you by. So it is probably not a good investment to stock up your baby's closet with lots of new shoes and clothes. First of all, unless your child is walking, he or she does not need shoes. It is more of a fashion statement than a necessity. In addition, your little bundle of joy will become a big bundle so quickly that you will soon discover that many of the new cute outfits that you purchase will sometimes only be worn once. Actually, some of the items will never be worn at all, so save some money and don't be ashamed of accepting gently-used clothing. Friends and family are a great source of "hand me downs." Even if you don't have any friends with little ones living nearby, buying some of your baby clothes at second-hand stores is a great way to save.
Make Your Own Baby Food
Around six months of age, your baby will start eating other things besides milk. Your baby's palate will be exposed to a tasty variety of fruit and vegetable purees. Instead of grabbing those bottles of jarred food on your grocer's shelf, try making your own baby food. The process is much simpler than you may think. A blender or food processor, pot with lid, ice tray and an assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables are all you need. For example, if you decided to feed your baby some carrots, you would just have to steam them and then puree them until smooth with a little water or breast milk/formula if needed. To store your vegetable of choice, just put the puree in clean ice tray and freeze. Once frozen, put the food cubes in labeled freezer bags and store until ready to use. Each compartment will yield about one tablespoon of food. Most purees that I have made only take about 15 minutes to make. Pick one day of the week to make your baby's treats. If you work during the week, weekends may be more convenient. You will save even more money by making your baby food at home. As an added bonus, you are making sure that your baby is eating the freshest and healthiest food possible.
Even if you try only one of these methods, I am sure that you will save lots of money with your new baby.
Lisa Leslie-Williams is a wife and the devoted mother of one active toddler.
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