Budget planning for a baby
As soon as your baby arrives you’ll be inundated with advice from friends, family, and even strangers in the supermarket. Most comments are well meant, but often the advice is unsolicited and can seem like criticism. Sometimes a friend will give you a top tip that feels like it might just save your sanity, other times comments are just not relevant to how you want to parent, and occasionally it comes from someone who has absolutely no experience with children whatsoever.
Before your baby is born
We know you’ll be exhausted in those first few post-partem weeks, so before the sleepless nights kick in it’s a good idea to make extra meals and freeze them so you can heat and eat them on the go. Some good freezable meals include bolognaise, chilli, lasagne, meat loaf, soups and casseroles. Even muffins and cakes freeze well, and you’re going to need plenty of treats to keep you going.
Babies grow quickly, so don’t buy too many newborn or 0-6m clothes (0000-00 size). There are plenty of bundled pre-loved clothing deals on Trademe, or borrow some items from friends or family.
Do your homework before buying equipment - many items you can get by without, particularly those that are only needed for a short time like:
- Bouncy seat
- Baby bath
- Change table (a mat on the floor works just as well)
There are plenty of other items that are nice to have, but you can definitely live without, these include:
- Baby shoes
- Baby towels
- Dishwasher case for bottle parts
- Disposable nappy system
- Fancy cot bedding
It’s best just to focus on the essentials like a cot, nappies, wash cloths, first aid kit, car seat, stroller.
After your baby is born
Taking time out for yourself can seem impossible, but it’s critical if you’re going to have the energy you need to parent happily and safely. Ask a friend to pop over while your baby is sleeping so you can jump in the bath, take a stroll and grab a coffee, or maybe even nip to a local masseur. If possible, share responsibilities with your partner, like taking turns to change nappies at night or day – this will give you time to rest and recharge.
A helping hand
You’ll have your hands full (literally and figuratively) when your baby arrives, so accept offers of help from friends and family whenever you can. Let them know exactly how they can help - whether it’s putting on a wash, bringing over some dinner, or picking up older children from school. There’s a great app set up by two Kiwi mums called Support Crew that lets you post requests for help on certain days, and your network ‘accepts’ the things they can do. It’s a lot easier asking for help when it’s not face-to-face, and you could even ask a friend to set it up for you, so you have more time to get on with being a parent.
Time for bed
You’ll often hear people tell you to sleep when your baby sleeps but with the washing piling up, calls to return, and having not showered in two days, it can seem like nap time is the only time you have to get things done. But housework can wait. You can shower another day. Turn off your phone. There’s a reason sleep deprivation is used as a torture technique – it’s really bad for you and it can seriously affect your brain and ability to function. Get some rest, you’ll thank yourself for it later.