Having a baby can be expensive. It can limit the amount of money available for the family’s other needs and cause stress. Unfortunately, childbirth and child rearing have been heavily commercialized leading to additional or unnecessary items and expenses (Taylor 2020). This can also increase waste.
Breastfeeding is much more cost effective than infant formula. If using infant formula, consider that different products can have very different pricing and there may be ways to decrease the cost. Please speak with your health-care provider if you have any further questions.
2) Reduce: only buy what you will need
Talking to other mothers or using on-line resources may help mothers decide on which items are needed and which are not. Consider only making purchases when they are clearly needed instead of stock-piling them.
When buying items, avoid single use products such as disposable breast pads. Reusable items will help to reduce the long-term cost.
Disposable diapers are expensive and a baby may use as many as eight in one day. Consider using reusable cloth diapers. Flat sheet diapers need to be folded but are generally cheaper to buy than pre-folded ones. They are also cheaper in the long run because they dry more quickly and can accommodate a growing child. Cloth diapers can also be more environmentally friendly and expose the baby to fewer chemicals.
Baby bum wipes can be replaced with soft facecloths. Mothers may wish to buy ones that are a different colour from those used by the rest of the household! Compared to baby wipes, cotton facecloths are cheaper, feel nicer for the baby when rinsed with a small amount of warm water, have environmental benefits, and may be safer for the baby.
3) Reuse: consider gently-used items
Family members may be able to pass along maternity clothing, breastfeeding bras, baby clothing, and other items. These can also be found at consignment stores and second-hand stores.
Ensure that any used items such as cribs and car seats are safe before using them. Items may not meet current standards or be broken.
4) Recycle: help someone else
If you are no longer using certain items, consider selling them or passing them along to another mother.
Laundry can significantly add to the cost of a baby’s care and can be bad for the environment. These can be minimized by:
- Using larger loads.
- Keeping washing temperatures below 60°C (140°C).
- Using energy efficient appliances.
- Tumble drying as little as possible and line dry instead.