Blame it on the buggy: do first-time parents need to spend so much?
Expectant parents who want to spend less needn’t compromise on safety or quality – with a little research and planning they can get everything they need for under €1,500
Pile ’em high
The other area of high spending is nappies. They can cost more than €500 a year if you pay full price. Alternatively you could buy cloth nappies – it has become much easier than it used to be. If you stick to disposables, make a point of piling your trolley high whenever they are on special offer and you will cut your bill in half.
While everyone knows that car seats, cots and buggies are essential kit, other less obvious things can also improve parents’ lives. O’Neill suggests a changing unit – “your back will be in bits if you rely on floors, beds and couches to change your baby” – and a Tommee Tippee Nappy Bin.
“It has to be one of the best inventions ever. I don’t know how people do without them. They are about €18 on sale, and they are on sale all the time. It is one thing I always tell parents is to keep an eye out from early in the pregnancy.”
COTS AND OTHER COSTS: A MOTHER-TO-BE’S STORY
Babies are expensive. Or at least, they are if you don’t have a large network of family and friends on hand willing to donate equipment they no longer need. Within days of going public with the pregnancy, we were inundated with offers of cots, Moses baskets, high chairs and bottle sterilising systems.
We’ve been warned by those with experience against buying too many clothes, assured that you end up with more than you ever need, which has eased the financial pressure a little.
When we first found out that we were going to have a baby, the hours spent looking at baby furniture and associated bits and pieces were an eye-opener. Have you any idea how much you can spend on a buggy?
Then there’s the safety aspect. Will my child be safer in a €300 baby seat, or will one that’s half the price be just as good? Do I need to invest in a baby monitor that will alert me if the baby stops moving, or take the risk with the regular model?
We briefly toyed with the notion of a €600 cot that would “grow with the baby” – as long as you kept spending to add the extenders to turn it into a toddler bed, shell out for the new mattress (top of the range, does everything except rock the baby).
We’ve considered cloth nappies – more for environmental reasons than cost, but you can save quite a bit over disposables, even taking the upfront cost of buying them and the extra washing into account.
Of course, all this may change when we’re presented with the reality of a demanding baby. Time will tell. Ciara O’Brien