Being a new mom can be daunting. We are inundated with advertising that tells us what we must have to be a successful parent. The marketing is effective because many new mamas fall into the trap of thinking if they don’t have the best, most expensive products and services, their child will grow up to be sad. Or that they will look like a bad mother.
But ladies, I am here to assure you that is false. Do not make the same mistake that I did—and countless women did before me—learn from our blunders and be smarter than the advertising companies. Don’t spend all of your hard-earned cash on over-priced crap that is going to remain unused and stay in your garage. Don’t pay for BS classes that make dough on unsuspecting new mothers.
Be smart. Take my warnings that will shed light on 15 minefields that are waiting on the other side of pregnancy. Raising children is crazy expensive as it is—there is no need to spend money on baby goods that are not necessary.
Researchers estimate that it will cost approximately $233,000 to raise a baby until they are 18-years-old. Let me help to make that number smaller…
15 Over Baby-Proofing
There are many mistakes that new moms can make and over baby-proofing your home is one of them. I’m not suggesting that you store your knives on the coffee table or leave Ajax in their crib. I just want all the mama’s out there to tone it down a bit.
For example, I had a friend that spent a bunch of money hiring a baby-proofing “expert” to come to her house. He sold her on all this fancy, useless garbage that basically made it impossible to exist in their home. The man used fear to talk them into so many products that were, honest to God, just DUMB.
Don't get sucked into the same trap. Use your gut instinct. Are you really, deep down, concerned that your newborn is going to climb onto your counter and use the microwave?
14 Using Wipe Warmers
There's a real divide between mothers regarding wipe warmers. I’m gonna be honest—I think that they are a waste of your time and money. Sure, giving little Billy Bob a wipe with something that has been warmed sounds lovely. But let’s be realistic about what your life, as a new mother, is going to consist of: 99% of your day is going to be devoted to either nursing your baby or changing him.
I don’t know about you but I would rather just keep things simple. Having one more expensive baby gadget that is going to require my attention is not worth it. And your baby is NOT going to care enough to notice the minor change in temperature that this device produces.
Blow on the wipe with your hot mommy breath instead.
13 Signing Up For Baby Classes
Let’s get real about baby classes. If you are looking for a way to meet other mothers, great! This will be a good place for you to do. But, if you're taking them because you’re worried that your four-month-old is going to fall behind without them—STOP.
Baby classes are for the mamas. If you have the money to spend on a yoga class for your baby than by all means enjoy! It will get you out of the house and surrounded by other ladies going through all of the same stuff.
But, if you are hard on cash, please do not beat yourself up about not attending such classes. You can teach your baby yoga from YouTube. And he can learn the guitar when he gets older—like in preschool.
12 Purchasing Items Marketed Specifically For "Baby"
If you see any ordinary item that has the word “baby” before it, then you can bet your bottom dollar that it is going to cost 4x more than normal.
My sweet friend had a baby and went completely overboard with her baby items. We went out to eat. She opened her diaper bag and in it were FOUR different kinds of wipes. Each came in their own container, and each was labeled for a specific purpose; for wiping noses, cleaning pacifiers, wiping hands, for wiping toys.
But guess what? I flipped over all four packages and laid their ingredients lists right next to each other. They were all exactly the same. The only difference between regular wipes is that each package only contained a few wipes and each cost $5.
11 Buying New Clothes
It is so much fun to buy your baby new clothes! I get it! But it is important to remember two things:
-These clothes are going to be worn for a very short number of months—probably more like weeks in the very beginning. While it is great to buy a couple of outfits that are fresh and new, you might as well buy the majority of clothes used.
-The clothes will be destroyed. Babies have big ol’ poops that have so much force. They shoot up their backs and into their hair. Their #2’s are mustard yellow in color and almost impossible to remove without staining. There is no point in buying a $45 outfit that is going to be thrown in the trash three days later.
10 Thinking Brand Name Car Seats Are Safer
Safety should be a number one priority for any mother. However, it is important to pay attention to things like the specs on a car seat, not the brand name. If you go to any store and look at newborn seats, you will see a wide range of prices. Most of the time, the more expensive versions have prettier fabric. If you have the extra cash then you should definitely indulge!
But if you are watching your wallet, please don’t think that a car seat, bought from a reputable store with a lower price tag, is any less safe. Most of the time, it is purely aesthetic.
(I am all for used stuff but I am little wary to recommend a used car seat if it isn’t from someone you know. They must be accident-free, and the expiry date must be respected.)
9 Investing In "Educational" DVDs
Mothers—listen to me closely when I tell you that your baby should not be watching TV. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that your child should not be watching shows until they are at LEAST two-years-old.
NO BABY IS GOING TO GET SMARTER WATCHING A VIDEO.
Babies cognitively cannot absorb the information from a television. If you want the cheaper and frankly better version of something like Baby Einstein, play your baby some classical music. Sing to them. Talk to them. Play with them. Do all the things in real life that these videos promise that they will do.
Do yourself a favor and don’t spend money on a video that your baby shouldn’t even be watching. Don’t get sucked into the hype that your baby is going to fall behind—it is BS.
8 Overdoing The Baby Food
New mothers often make the mistake of getting really sucked into baby food—and for good reason. You don’t want to be putting crap into your little one’s stomach. But relax. That pre-packaged baby food is convenient but it is also very, very expensive. There are certain foods that should only be consumed if they are organic. For example, fruits and veggies that make up many of these processed baby foods are not.
On the other end of the spectrum, new mothers will be consumed by spending hours making their perfect blend of baby food. This is great—except it requires a ton of your time, of which you have very little.
Try giving your baby things like soft avocado, organic blueberry, and raspberries—foods that require little prep. You will thank me later. Promise.
7 It's Time To Up Your Diaper Game
If you go to a park and call a meeting among the mothers there then you will find three distinct groups: mothers that swear by Huggies, mothers that swear by Pampers, and mothers that use cloth diapers. Each group will assure you that one is the better option and that all other alternatives are dirt.
Use your brain. Shop around. Experiment. Find the best deals in your area for diapers that are convenient that YOU think work best. Check out online retailers and do a cost- comparison of the price per diaper vs your local stores. Always consider durability, do they leak and are they comfortable (you'll know if they're comfortable depending on the padding size.)
Don’t be the woman that gets conned into thinking that there is only one right way to go in a diaper. Me, I use Huggies. Not because I think they’re superior but because they have them at Costco.
6 The Baby Will Grow Out Of Those New Kicks
I am shoe person, so I get the need to buy your baby 20 pairs of high-end sneakers. But here’s the sad truth—they are going to wear a pair of shoes about three times. Don’t make the mistake of spending all your money on kicks, as cute as they may be.
First of all, babies don’t really need shoes. They are not walking. Shoes are ornamental at this point-- they are purely for looks. And while I appreciate a pair of high top Converse on a seven-month-old, don’t break the bank stocking your kid’s closet with them.
Second, they grow sooooo fast. You are going to have to buy them new shoes every couple of months. Don’t waste your whole budget on one small fragment of time.
5 Fancy Schmancy Strollers
A fancy stroller becomes sort of like an accessory, so I get why many moms make the mistake of spending a ton of cash on them. It is that same old advertising gimmick that gets us every time; you want your baby to be as safe as possible, right? Then by my $900 stroller.
Let me let you in on a little mommy secret: your stroller is going to get trashed. It is going to be destroyed. It will be thrown into the back of your car, tossed into the garage, thrown up on, pooped on, rained on, etc.
Buy a used stroller! Or if you want a new one stay low on the budget scale. Remember that you are going to be spending upwards of 200k on this kid.
4 Diaper Bags Will Be Ruined In Approximately... 6 Minutes
Diapers bags are the only cute accessory that a mother has that she constantly has with her. Earrings get yanked off, necklaces get broken, and bracelets scrape baby’s tender skin. Your fashionable purses of yesterday won’t hold all the baby stuff you are going to have to bring with you—everywhere you go, each time you leave the house.
New mothers turn to the diaper bag to display that they still have some fashion sense—I get it! You want to be a person again who has some nuance of style. But name brand diaper bags can cost upwards of $300. They look pretty, but like everything that has to do with a baby, they are going to be ruined in approximately 6 minutes.
Either buy a used diaper bag or buy one from somewhere like Target. $30 will get you far!
3 Baby Swings
The area of baby swings is very black and white: babies either love them or they hate them. So if you spend $400 on a brand new swing, know that there’s a 50% chance that your baby ain’t gonna sit in it.
Moreover, swings are GINORMOUS. They take up a ton of room and they are built to take a mother down. Their base sticks out so much further than the swing that it is easy to catch your toe and take a tumble.
(I knew a woman who was holding her friend’s baby and went to walk across the room. Her foot got caught on the base of the baby swing and she tripped and fell. The baby ended up in a cast. It was horrible.)
2 Buying New Toys
We all want the best for our babies. That is why it is so easy to fall into the marketing trap which tells us that our kids need the most expensive, fanicest new toys—and lots of them!
First off, buy your toys used. Don’t be grossed out—you can wash them! Most used baby stores carry an array of big toys that are a fraction of the new price and they have been barely used. Which brings me to my next point: kids have very short attention spans. They will play for an hour with a new toy and then the next thing you know, they’re eating a booger.
Trust me when I tell you that your baby is going to end up playing with things like a wooden spoon or a cardboard box.
1 Parenting Propaganda
Let me be clear when I say that expanding your mind to better yourself as a parent, and a human being is AMAZING. AWESOME. PLEASE DO IT. In fact, I might go so far as to say that parents should take a parenting class at least once when they raising young children.
Don’t be consumed by the really expensive propaganda out there that sucks you into buying DVD’s, books, and pamphlets. Go to the library and read a book. Talk to your family. Talk to your friends. Ask your pediatrician if they have any recommendations.
Remember that old age advice that you have to pay for? It is very, very accurate in the mommy world. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that money equals the best information. Trust experience.