I often hear people say babies are very expensive. I have observed that babies can produce a lot of waste and accumulate a lot of stuff. Since we're all about less waste and less stuff, how will the baby fit in? How much will a baby cost if we apply our life governing principles to the process of adding the baby in? We are at the very beginning of the process but we're starting to develop a plan.
What (Our) Baby Needs:
Diapers. For us it's going to be cloth. There is hardly anything left in our house that is disposable plastic or paper so diapers will be no different. I'm making the diapers from old flannel sheets, old t-shirts, wool sweaters, old towels, and as a last resort if I run out of material before I'm finished, purchased fabric or thrift store flannel sheets. I plan to have a mix of prefolds and fitteds with wool diaper covers. We'll see what I and baby like best. I'm basing the number of diapers and covers on Babywork's suggestions for a diaper layette.
Wipes. Also cloth. Also old flannel sheets.
Diaper Pail. They've got to go somewhere before they get washed!
Diaper Bag. I might just use my backpack.
Wet Bag. Because dirty diapers can't just go directly in the backpack.
Clothes. I'm planning to make most of their clothes until the clothes get too complicated for me to make (I try but I'm not great at making my own clothes... too many curves to fit around. I am getting better though)
Bibs. I can totally make bibs but my aunts have said they're going on a bib-making spree.
Baby Monitor. Someone already gave us one :-) I'm not sure how much we'll use it though since baby won't be in another room most of the time.
Puddle Pad. In case baby leaks through those awesome diapers I'm making.
Blanket. I'd like to invest in a nice wool one like this.
Limited Toys. I really don't think babies and small kids need as many toys as they seem to have. I'm planning on some nice wooden or cloth teething toys and a rattle when they're babies, blocks, a few stuffed animals, crayons, books, puzzles and games as they get older... and perhaps not much else. What else do they really need? That old saw about the kiddo loving the box more than the toy is, from my observations so far, definitely true. When I was a kid, we played mostly with big boxes, sticks, pine cones, some blankets, art supplies, blocks and legos. With that assortment we had everything from a defensible fort complete with booby-traps and projectile weapons to an obstacle course for toy cars. We also played board games, put together puzzles, and read or were read to constantly.
Baby Wraps. I think we'll spend a lot of time with baby on our person.
Highchair. Already in the family.
Changing Pads. I'm going to make this one. (Made it! I'll post about it soon)
Burp Cloths. Easy to make.
What (Our) Baby Wants:
Hook On Chair. A friend uses one of these for her daughter and I think it's brilliant.
Stainless Steel Food Mill. For making baby food. Not necessary but might be nice.
Mobile. We have some ideas for a mobile we want to make.
Books. Our collection of kiddo books must be approaching 50 at this point. We love kid books. Some of our favorites include: Kitten's First Full Moon, Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale, Where's My Cow?, and Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!.
What (This) Mama Needs:
Maternity clothes. In fact I can't find maternity clothes that fit so I'm modifying my own old clothes.
Breastfeeding Compatible Shirts and Bras.
Books About Kiddo. I've been reading the Sears series of baby books. I can recommend The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby from Birth to Age Two, The Pregnancy Book: Month-by-Month, and The Attachment Parenting Book : A Commonsense Guide. My midwife recommended Ina May's Guide to Childbirth and I loved it!
What (Our) Baby Doesn't Need:
Crib. We're going to sleep with kiddo. We do have at least one in the family if we decide we need it.
Update: A kind fellow blogger and a good friend have recently explained to me some very good reasons (illness, producing more milk than baby can drink) why a stay at home mom would need a breast pump. I definitely did not think this one through but I'm so glad there are other young mothers out there to point these things out :-) Thanks guys!
Baby food. Breast milk is going to be a big part of their diet for a long time but when they finally decide they want some solid food it's the easiest thing to make in the world. Steam, squish, feed.
Daycare. I won't be working outside the home.
Plastic Tableware. We don't do plastic.
Plastic Toys That Take Batteries. I might find something amazing that will cause me to make an exception, but most toys that I think rock do not involved batteries. If we get them, they're getting donated.
Baby Einstein and other things that are advertised to make baby smart. I don't buy it.
This list is for the moment theoretical. It remains to be seen what we and baby actually like and use. However, I think it's a pretty good plan. I'm sure there are some things I haven't thought of and some odds and ends I'll need along the way, but this should give me an idea of how much baby will cost and the bulk of what baby will need.
Some Online Sources of Inspiration:
Michele from Frugal Granola has a nice series of posts called "Baby Essentials (or not)" in which she discusses stuff she found useful (but perhaps not necessary) and how she made it, found it, or re-purposed another item. Worth checking out. It helped me think through some of the things we'll need (oh yeah, we'll have to put the baby's diapers and clothes somewhere!) and gave me ideas on how to make them happen (we have an Ikea sideboard which currently holds board games and will serve as our changing area with only minor modifications).
I got an estimate of what baby will need in the way of diapers and covers from Babyworks, an Oregon company specializing in all things diaper.
Patterns and supplies for diaper and accessories making I've found at Very Baby, Fern and Faerie, and Sew Mama Sew although there are many more out there I have yet to try.
What did you find indispensable for your baby? What did you think you needed but never used?