I grow weary of hearing about how hard raising children is. Often parents to be or other family members will complain about the cost of everything and how hard it is to keep up with all the things things babies and kids need. I say poo poo! Instead of getting out a calculator and adding up the expected cost of a child, how about getting back to basics and being a bit more frugal? Let’s look at some ways that raising children is unnecessarily expensive.
Diapers – We all know how much diapers cost. There are coupons and price wars, fancy commercials and even-dare I say it-popularity contests, about the brand of diaper that your child goes to the bathroom in. Let’s sit with that for a minute. We are talking about a waste receptacle. All this throw away and expense is not necessary. How about cloth? Now, before I lose you, I am not talking about dunking a $25.00 organic, hemp, hand dyed diaper into the toilet. I am talking about using a rectangle of cloth(with perhaps, another tucked inside of that) wrapped around your child’s bum, with a water resistant cover over it. If you can sew a straight line, these can be made by the dozens. In one day, you could have all the diapers that your child will need for his or her babyhood. Go to a thrift store and pick up towels and flannel sheets. Pay no more than say, $5.00. Buy a couple of spools of thread while you are there. Bam! Diapers! Covers need not be fancy. You don’t even have to use pins. A small, rubber contraption called a Snappi, will grab the edges of the diaper and hold it in place. Plastic pants are readily available at the thrift store,so are wool sweaters that you can felt to make your own covers. I bet there is yarn at the thrift store, too. If you know how to knit/crochet, you can make fabulously easy covers out of wool. Make just two covers at a time and you are set.
Washing diapers. I know, right? Stop it!! Put all your dirty diapers into a pail with a lid. Have enough diapers for one or two days and it is one load every other day. NOT hard at all. You do not scrape, handle, touch any gross poo, until your child is actually eating solids (more on that later), and even then, use a wipe for heaven sakes. Wash with the soap you already use, use half the amount you normally would, and add some white vinegar to the rinse cycle if you want to get crazy. Don’t use any softener on diapers. It makes them less absorbent.
You are done buying diapers.
Nursing – Breast is best, and cheapest. If we are being brutally honest, I started breastfeeding because it was free. I was dirt poor and had breasts. Seemed logical. Nursing is easy. I do not care what anyone wants me to say. It is easy. Lift shirt, give baby somewhat of a clear view and voila. Have trouble figuring it out on your own? Ask for help. That is free too. Not politically correct? Too bad. Overthinking the process will mess you up. Tell anyone who objects to nursing to turn away. Be bold, be strong and nurse your child for goodness sakes. For free. Nuff said.
Starting solids – If you have to puree it and water it into some weird gruel, it is too soon to be feeding it to baby. Baby cereal should be outlawed. I cant count how many times I have heard baby is sooo hungry, so I added cereal to her diet. Now she is constipated and screaming, so I added stool softener.
Girls, listen. If baby seems to not be getting enough milk, nurse again. If you feel you are nursing all the time, check your watch. Babies derive other things from you than milk. Like comfort. May be he/she just needs to be close to you for longer than the few minutes it takes to fill his or her tummy. Growth spurt, changes in schedule, mom feeling stressed, different sights, sounds can all be reasons for them to need to be at the breast more often than we think. They are babies.
It is better for baby and cheaper to not buy baby foods. When your baby is staring at your every bite, let him have a taste. A taste means smaller than a pencil eraser. Just a speck to roll around on the tongue. Next time, do the same thing and watch for cues that he wants another taste. We are talking about a baby that is close to a year old here. 6 months is too young! 4 months is outrageous! A 10 month old, who scoops up lint on the floor, while cruising around, is probably going to do ok. Just say no to canned/boxed baby food.
Carry your child – There is nothing more expensive that all the baby crap that experts seem to think you need. Say no to 100 ways to keep baby separated from you. Buy a sling. Carry baby around a LOT, so it feels normal to have her next to you, and weird for her to be in a bouncy seat. That is what your baby wants, too. No more crying and fussing to be held
Article by Amy Jeanroy
Amy is a WAHM of 5 awesome kids, from 16, down to 1 yrs. She writes late at night, fueled by good coffee. During the day, its farming, milking goats and homeschooling the kiddos. Not necessarily in that order. Blame it on her lack of sleep, but Amy can come across as a bit snarky. Really, she is a nice girl, just too busy raising her own family to be politically correct.
Amy has written 4 awesome articles for Natural Family Today.
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