Ages & Stages - Infants

Helpful Tips to Save money with a new baby

Waiting for the arrival of a new baby is an exciting time. New moms enjoy preparing the nursery, buying clothes and stocking up on supplies. There are also new worries like how to make ends meet once maternity leave begins and the family income is reduced. Perhaps parents will decide to live on one income and have to start saving now for the months ahead. A new baby can stress financial family life but this doesn't have to be the case. Careful planning, choices and a willingness to hunt for deals can reduce financial strain and make the arrival of a new baby the joy it is supposed to be.

Shop at Consignment Stores
Consignment stores that specialize in children's items are a godsend for savings. One good thing about babies is they are gentle on the things they use. Cribs, high chairs, portable playpens, baby monitors, car seats and strollers can look almost new even after a previous owner. Clothing is the best deal around because most babies will outgrow their clothes before they wear out. Buy diaper shirts, sleepers, booties, socks, and hats to start with. Be careful not to purchase too many clothes in newborn sizes, as they won't fit within a few weeks. Don't forget to pick up a rattle or two.

Shop at Large Chains
If you don't like consignment items or don't have a store near you, stick to shopping at the larger chains such as Wal-Mart, Zellers, Sears, K-Mart, Costco, or club member stores. Keep your eye on the weekly flyers for sales in your area. Most large chains do have "baby week" sales. If shopping for clothes in department stores, buy at the end of the season. For example, if you are having a winter baby shop for some 18 month sized summer items at the end of the summer. Buy nursery staples such as cotton balls, Vaseline, baby shampoo, and diaper rash cream as you see them on sale at the supermarket or drugstore.

Consider Using Cloth Diapers
Cloth diapers aren't what they used to be. You can now buy ones that don't need folding, are thick and absorbent and fasten with Velcro. Buy diaper liners to add extra absorbency. Here's a helpful hint - unsoiled diaper liners can be washed several times. Disposable users will tell you that you'll spend as much money as they do washing with hot water and buying laundry soap. This simply isn't true. I used a combination of cloth and disposable diapers. I put my son in disposables at night to save on frequent changes during the night.

Things You Don't Need
Some baby items aren't necessary on a tight budget

* Baby swings are only used for the first four months so try and borrow one if your baby likes a swing
* Fancy crib toys are a waste of money. One or two things in a crib are plenty
* Having no changing table is livable. Both my children were so squirmy that I ended up changing them on the floor
* Bassinets look pretty but they aren't used past the three months
* Babies don't need lots of toys. They are more interested in the world around them and every day objects
* Forego using baby wipes. A wet washcloth is much cheaper

Borrow or Exchange Items with a Friend
My best friend and I do a toy exchange every 6 weeks. One of my son's preschool friends gave us his outgrown clothes. My double stroller and high chair are on loan to my best friend. I ask friends with children for items I need. My best friend hasn't had to buy any children's clothing because I pass everything on to her. Most moms love to give things they aren't using to new moms. I recently passed on my crib, car seat, baby books, dresser, and bookcase to my sister-in-law who is expecting her first baby. Ask around for what you need and you may be surprised what people are willing to give away or loan.

Prepare for the Storm Ahead of Time
Make meals and store them in the freezer. Many new parents end up ordering take-out or buying convenience foods because of the disruption and fatigue a baby causes. Investment cooking, taking an item such as chicken and making several different meals is a task that can be done three months ahead of your due date and piled into the freezer. If cooking isn't your bag, ask the person who is organizing your baby shower to make it a Tupperware party. Everyone brings a dish you can freeze such as chili, lasagna, soup, muffins, or macaroni and cheese. Aim to have 20 meals in the freezer before birth. It's the first three weeks with new babies that are the toughest.

Contact Baby Companies
Manufacturers of baby products want your business, as it is an area of high customer turnover as kids grow up. Heinz, Gerber, Evenflo, Cosco, Pampers, Huggies, Johnson and Johnson, and the formula companies all have 1-800 numbers on the side of their products. Call the customer service line and ask for coupons or samples. Some companies such as Huggies, Pampers or Heinz has clubs you can join to receive coupons on a regular basis. The Enfalac Company sent me a free can of their powder hypoallergenic formula Nutramigen, a $19 value, after I found out my daughter had a severe allergy to milk. Most companies will be happy to fill reasonable requests.

The most important money saving tip is to remember that babies don't need fancy equipment or a beautifully decorated nursery. They are happy with very little. What they really need is a pair of loving arms, a warm place to sleep and mother's milk. Keep those things in mind, borrow what you can and buy second hand and you won't break the bank.

Homemade Toys for Babies

Fancy Baby Bottles
Using an empty clear soft drink bottle, fill with any of the following items: chopped up pieces of kitchen sponge, marbles or clean pebbles, glitter, and tiny pieces of cut up tinfoil. Fill the bottle with clean water and either glue or cellotape the lid on tightly.

Rice Rattles
A handful of rice or pebbles inside a small plastic bottle or a container will make a nice gentle rattle. Secure the lid on tightly and remove from baby once they become capable of taking lids off.

Hand and Foot Rattles
A quick way to make a hand or foot rattle for a baby is to stitch a small existing rattle onto a bootie or mitten. Then place onto the baby to produce a rattling sound when they move.

Baby Ball
If you have some leftover scraps of material, particularly in different textures, sew together to make a little ball and stuff with more scraps, and if you like insert a small bell inside before stitching up well.

Baby Books
Very first books for a newborn baby can be made in a concertina formation. Using a sheet of cardboard, cut to a size that is easy to handle. Fold into three or four equal sections and decorate each section with either bright painted colors or use cut out pictures from a magazine and stick onto the cardboard before covering with clear plastic such as cover-seal.

Stocking Scrunchie
To make one of these, insert some shiny crinkly wrapping paper into an old stocking or pantyhose, and tie at each end. You can make short ones or long ones that can be tied to a pram or mobile gym for entertainment.

Lid Chains
First, you'll need to start saving plastic lids from milk bottle tops, and soft drink bottles. Punching a little hole into the top of each with a knife, thread onto a piece of cord, or ribbon to create a chain of lids that rattle.

Baby Mobiles
Decorate a coat hanger with pieces of Christmas tinsel, strips of fabric, small soft toys, rattles, brightly colored cut-out pieces of cardboard in fish shapes, ribbons, strips of crepe paper, or anything you can find to make an interesting mobile. Hang it over baby's cot safely out of reach.

If you purchase a plastic clothes airer in a circle shape with pegs attached (for drying underwear and socks), the things you hang on the mobile can be changed regularly to provide changing stimulation.

Play Gyms
A piece of smooth wood (i.e. a broom handle) can be made into a play gym that can be placed over the top of two chairs securely or hung somewhere for baby to play with. Attach things that are safe to be chewed and touched by short pieces of string so as to avoid baby getting tangled in them. Things like rattles and teething toys, stocking scrunchies, small soft toys, large plastic cotton reels, lids from hair spray cans, plastic spoons work well.

Rattle Cans
Using an empty formula or large coffee can put in a handful of marbles, acorns, pebbles, or small stones, and then secure the lid on tightly. Cover with paper and decorate. A baby learning to crawl can rattle these around the floor.

Ball Poster
To make a simple poster toy for your baby, cut a tennis ball size hole in the lid of a cardboard box or a plastic two-liter ice cream container. Hinge the lid on by securing with masking tape at one side, and then provide some safe objects that aren't too small to be swallowed to post inside the box.

A formula or coffee can be covered with wallpaper decorated to become a drum. Provide a stick (i.e. chopstick or similar) to lightly beat on the drum. For an older child, you can attach a cord to be hung around the neck by drilling a hole in each end.

Sock Balls
To make a quick ball for a baby to practice gripping and throwing, simply roll a clean pair of socks into itself.

Play Mats
Using an old cloth nappy or small blanket as a base to start, sew on bright pieces of fabric in different textures and sizes to create a play mat. If you like attach a ribbon to one corner and tie into a bow, which can be pulled apart and re-tied, and you could attach a teething rattle or two for maximum entertainment.

Covered Boxes
A cereal box can be covered with plain paper to begin with, then add pictures of people's faces, flowers, and animals. Cover with plastic or cover-seal. Baby will enjoy turning the box over and over in their hands to see the pictures.

Stacking Toys
Save any empty lids you come across like shaving foam and hair spray lids, and then give to the baby from sitting up age to practice stacking, nesting inside each other, and clapping together to make sounds. If after making all of the above, your baby is still bored, put a little honey on their fingertips and give them a fluffy feather to play with. It's almost home made and very effective too.

Infant Links


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Zero to Three


Baby Center
Baby Resource
Baby University
Johnson & Johnson



How Do Infants Learn Language?

Baby Names.....well I like the unusual names but not that unusual. I like to choose a name that not every third child in a classroom has. I like it to be something that doesn't sound funny with the child's last name. We've probably all heard the stories about kids like Shanda whose last name is Lear. Put it together and you'll see what I mean. I also don't like names like Angel or August. Let those stand for what they were meant for. A pet peeve of mine goes something like this. If you want to call your little girl Tina, don't name her Christina. Name her what you call her. Also do not like the names that are taken and the spelling changed so that the poor child will be forever correctly the spelling of her name by others. Of course every one has their own opinions on naming a child. This is just mine.


Baby Center - Baby Name Finder
Baby Names
Biblical Names For Baby
Indian Baby Names

Newsletters & Magazines

American Baby - free magazine subscription
Growing Child - a child development newsletter


Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

Wow! Look at all the links down below in the Infant Shopping category!! I could have easily multiplied these by 10 and still not have listed nearly all of them. As you can see, it's overwhelming. Whether you are just looking for something basic or searching for the perfect gift how on earth do you know which site to browse at?? Some of these companies should be familiar to you such as Graco and First Steps Ahead. Although I do frequently purchase baby items for my daycare, I have never purchased any online so I can't recommend a site to you. I did try to add some unique sites as I know that I personally love to choose something 'different.' I get tired of the same old/same old that everyone else has. In conclusion, I would just say pick one or two and if you find an item you like check the company out through the Better Business Bureau. That is always a good idea. If you do purchase through one of my links I'd love it if you'd email me and tell me about your experience. I can add it here which will help future shoppers. Thank you!


Baby Center
Baby Gift
Baby Heirlooms
Buy Buy Baby
Lil Baby Cakes
One Step Ahead
Pottery Barn Kids
Sassy Baby Products

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

American SIDS Institute
Association of SIDS and Infant Mortality Programs
CJ Foundation for SIDS
Facts About SIDS
SIDS Families
SIDS Network


Infant Swimming Research

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