The current economic climate is affecting families in a broad range of ways. Whether one partner has lost a job, had their hours reduced or the rising cost of food and energy is sapping the budget, there may not be as much money to go around these days. Sadly, it is a sign of the times and is likely to continue for some time.
If you are pregnant and short on cash, you may be worried that you won’t have what you need when the baby arrives. Fortunately, new babies need very little. We are conditioned by advertising to think we need a pile of gadgets and gizmos for the baby, but in fact, baby’s needs are few. There are a few things you will need, but there are ways to get them without breaking the bank.
You may be lucky and have a large family and lots of friends who will buy you everything you need for your baby shower. Unfortunately, many pregnant women don’t have a large group buying gifts. Even if you do have a large family, they may be experiencing financial strain at this time too and may not be able to afford such generosity.
Start by considering what you really need for the baby. We tend to over estimate how much the baby will need. Some parents buy a crib, bassinette, Moses basket, Amby bed and a pack and play. Really, the baby needs one place to sleep. You may decide to go right for the crib, or start out with a bassinette and buy a crib later, when the baby is bigger and ready to sleep in his own room. Families who do the “family bed” may not need either. However, you may want a place to lay the baby for naps during the day.
All babies will need a car seat. In fact, many hospitals inspect the car when you leave the hospital to ensure you have a safe mode of transportation for the baby. If you don’t have a car seat, your release from the hospital may be delayed. If you can’t afford a car seat, there are organizations that may be able to help. Talk to your doctor or midwife about local resources in your area.
Another good source of information can be your local police department. Call the non emergency number to inquire about low cost or free programs that provide child safety seats. You may be tempted to purchase a seat at a flea market or yard sale. Most experts advise against this because you don’t know the history of the seat. If it has ever been involved in an accident, it should not be used.
The local consignment shop or yard sales can be a great source of low cost baby gear for other items you may want. While strollers, swings, exersaucers and baby play gyms aren’t necessary, some mothers find them helpful for entertaining baby for short periods of time. If you want one or two of these accessories, but don’t have the cash, stop by your local consignment shop. Consignment shops are a great place to get gently used baby clothing at a low price, too.
There is a good source of free baby gear in most communities. Freecycle is an organization that is devoted to keeping trash out of our landfills. When you join your local freecycle group, you can request the baby gear you need, or watch for postings offering used baby gear. Everything on freecycle is free and you can get good stuff. I know because I gave away our baby gear to freecycle members in our local group. You can find your local group on the freecycle website.