Baby Expenses IX

by 4P and Mr. C

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The post is part of the Baby Expenses Series. See the entire series here.

This is a list of items that either we used or things that I know people typically get with a new baby – I’ve indicated whether I think it’s mandatory and the timing of when you need it. I’ll put an approximate price for new items which is generally on the lower end – you can spend much more if you want . I’ve split it up into a number of posts which is in keeping with my tradition of not having excessively long posts.

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Clothes: It’s hard to list a definitive list of the exact clothes you will need since the season the baby is born will be a big factor in this category. Our child was born in the summer so we needed a lot of onesies and sleepers. These are the basic clothes that your child will wear. Our little guy didn’t wear any pants for a long time but a winter baby probably will need these more. Shirts or sweaters will long sleeves would be appropriate for the winter. Add in some socks and you’ve got your indoor wear. The number of outfits is debatable since it depends how much washing you want to do. Newborns can go through several outfits a day so this is one area where it doesn’t hurt to have more. For outside, a jacket and blankets, mitts and a toque are necessary. If you are travelling somewhere in the car then you don’t really have to put the kid in a snowsuit since you can just bundle up the car seat with extra blankets. One more thing about clothes – the sizes don’t mean very much. You really have to look at the length of the clothes and the baby and figure out if it will fit.

Hats: in the winter you will need a couple of toques, in the summer you’ll want a couple of sun hats or baseball caps plus suntan lotion.

Nail clippers: These are very important since the baby will probably need a clipping as soon as they are born. Usually a weekly clipping is sufficient.

Blankets: Some baby sized blankets are necessary. These can be purchased or you can just cut up some larger blankets if you want.

Baby wash cloths & towels: You can use normal ones but having smaller sized items is a bit more convenient

Sleep Sack: This is like a sleeping bag for the kid. Very useful for the winter months.

Toys: I’m not a big fan of toys for newborns for two reasons – one – they don’t need them and two – this is one of the main “default” gifts that you will get. I can guarantee that you will get at least one toy that will clearly say on the box “ages 3+” for your newborn from some well meaning relative. Once they get a couple of months old it doesn’t hurt to have a few toys but don’t go overboard.

This concludes my list of specific baby items that you might want – if there are any that I missed that you found useful (or not) then feel free to comment.

Some other costs:

Food: This will depend a lot on whether the baby is breast feeding or using formula. When breast feeding, the mother will require about 500 calories more per day so that will increase your food bill a little bit. I don’t personally know the costs of formula but according to Canadian Financial Stuff it costs around $25 per week. Don’t assume that you will be successful at breast feeding, this is one of those things that we had assumed would be quite easy since it’s a natural process but unfortunately nobody told us how difficult it would be. We had all kinds of problems with breast feeding for about a month, I wanted to give up and go to formula but my wife hung in there and made it happen. My advice to new parents with respect to breast feeding is not to assume it will be easy and to make use of the free breast feeding clinics that are available.

Usually around six months the child starts on baby food and then normal food. Hard to quantify this but I would say that from six months to one year he probably adds $15 per week to the grocery bill on average.

Diapers – $60/month – We use Teddy’s brand from Loblaws which is $25 for 168 diapers + $10 per wipes. This goes down over time but at one year, they still go through quite a few diapers.

Tomorrow we’ll keep going with “other costs”.

Next Baby Expense post.

Previous Baby Expense post.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Canadian Capitalist

Newborn baby’s nails are so soft that you probably don’t need a nail clipper for a few months. You can simply peel off the excess nails with yours. The first time I clipped our boy’s nails, I accidentally nicked his fingers. Not a good thing to do a baby who is only a few days old!

2 Brip Blap

You can have some very, very unexpected expenses with feeding. My wife went to La Leche League and was totally committed to breastfeeding. Shortly after my son was born we discovered that he seemed to have severe reactions to breast milk, probably due to my wife’s diet. After spending three weeks on a highly restricted diet to “flush” her system, and my son continuing to suffer with losing weight, etc., the doctor put us on a hyperallergenic formula that has cost us, on average, almost $10 per day.

It’s been 100% worth it and I would pay it a million times over since my son is now 95th percentile for height and weight and doing very well, but obviously spending $3000+ per year on formula was not something we anticipated considering we planned on breastfeeding. We didn’t even have any bottles when we found out we’d have to switch, so that was a mad scramble.

Anyway, just to show (yet again) that baby expenses can really flare up completely out of nowhere!

3 FourPillars

CC – I didn’t know that. I also accidentally cut my son’s finger a bit and made him cry one time – I felt pretty bad!

BB – $3000/yr! Wow!

4 Lewis Empire

I think that the costs that really hit you with a first child are the ones no one tells you about! Renting an automatic pump – weird and pricey, the extra hundred spit-up cloths, all the NHL bibs and booties…it all adds up.

I appreciated all the item lists I could find at the time. One recommendation: go for cloth diapers. It’s WAY cheaper and much less disgusting than I thought.

5 FourPillars

Lewis – you are right – the NHL (and NFL) stuff adds up :)

What is an automatic pump used for?

Mike

6 Sophie

hello! I know this was posted ages ago, but I found a link to this series of posts elsewhere and thought I’d comment on how good they are :)

Our daughter was born last June, so my comments obviously revolve around what we’ve done with her. A *lot* of our baby gear comes from Freecycle; as you say, buying new is a waste of time.. but if you don’t have to pay at all that’s even better. Another good source of second hand items is a nearly new sale, which is like a collaborative yard sale for babies/toddlers/kids. I presume they also exist in Canada.

A more time consuming way to save money is to use real nappies, i.e. washables, and also flannels rather than wipes. It seems daunting to start with, but in the end it’s just another case of putting the washing machine on. We have a set of 24 nappies and 8 wraps, which lasts 3 days. The only part that isn’t reusable are the flushable liners, which catch baby’s poo. Yes, it does increase water and electricity use, however I estimate that we’ve spent less than 25% of friends’ disposable costs so far, with more savings to come. It is also, of course, better for the environment (even when you account for water/elec usage).

NB. Some people spend the same on real nappies as they would on disposables, because they go for the beautifully embroidered variety. We use the really boring prefold type, which aren’t so different to terries. Either way they’ll be used on our second child, doubling our savings in one fell swoop!

7 Four Pillars

Sophie – thanks for the kind words and great suggestions.

Mike

8 meg w.

sophie, thanks! i was going to ask about the cost of reusables vs. disposable. i think i’m definitely going to try the reusable route (once we have a little one, eventually!) – i remember finding some of our old reusable diapers, and my mom told me she even made a lot of the inserts, flannels & wraps herself from old clothes they didn’t wear anymore. how cost-efficient!

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