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Thrifty baby ideas

(54 Posts)
outthere Tue 06-Sep-11 22:14:45

Hi all,

Now I'm on my third I'm starting to feel like I know what I need to spend a bit of money on and what can be saved... for example someone recently posted that you don't have to fork out for an expensive changing bag - a large handbag with a changing mat will do just as well.

Thought it might be a good idea to exchange some tips...

I've just realised my maternity mattress protectors will double up (unused ones obviously!) as perfect little changing mats once baby arrives. One to keep downstairs, in the car etc...

I've also decided to buy a load of maternity pads for after the birth but I haven't bought quite as many this time... I think that Sainsbury's value pads will do just fine for the days when the flow's not so heavy but I'll be thankful for that bit of extra padding...

Any other ideas?

2ddornot2dd Tue 06-Sep-11 22:38:23

Washable nappies. Making your own food when it comes to weaning, breast feeding, keeping an eye out for second hand clothes (if needed, as you are on DC3 you probably have all the clothes you need)

LDNmummy Wed 07-Sep-11 01:40:28

Freecycle is a godsend for me and I love charity shops.

I found a lovely one that stocks only baby and child items called Fara:

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Wed 07-Sep-11 02:10:40

I don't really need anything this second time around, except maternity pads. I have reusable breast pads and reusable nappies, and a bunch of basic pre-fold cotton nappies - so, not the fancy shaped ones, just big thick bits of terrycloth - that I use as changing mats. And of course I have a changing bag, stroller, cot, etc. We didn't find out the sex the first time so we have lots of gender-neutral infant clothes. I have splurged on some fabric for new curtains to make the nursery look personalised, and that's pretty much it.

FloydieDoydie Wed 07-Sep-11 07:19:11

This is a great idea for a thread, and I look forward to seeing what experienced mums say you can do without - as outhere said, you don't need half the crap they try and sell you!

I've just found out I'm pg with my first - any more ideas for stuff that's really not needed, or cheaper options for stuff that is?

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Wed 07-Sep-11 07:54:46

when pg instead of maternity tops buy stretchy empire line ones that you can wear after and are good for bf (with a vest or cardi for extra cover if needed).

Washable nappies and Breast pads. Gender neutral clothes. All reusable as others have said.

Open cups mean you don't need anything special and don't have to take special cups with you etc.
No to changing bag.
Make reusable wipes from the millions of muslins people will pass down to you...great for round the house.

Make a stretchy wrap sling and get a tie from tinterweb (i got three out of £5 of fabric. I decorated the others and gave them as gifts with print outs of tie methods)

We were given a basket of baby toiletries and cotton wool etc. Most of which is gathering dust.

Buy an ink pad and blank cards to make hand/foot print thank you cards. Cheap and loved by others. Large Supermarkets sell craft stuff now.

Make a three sided cot from an ikea one. Check the height of your bed and choose which of their matterases makes the cot match.

SueFlay Wed 07-Sep-11 08:01:42

I'm considering sewing myself some breast pads out of a beyond-repair cotton top. I knew the lentils would get me in the end..

Moonface, do you have a link to the wrap tie instructions please? I'd like to try the stretchy fabric option this time. smile

outthere Wed 07-Sep-11 08:48:39

Oooh, I REALLY love the inkpad and plain cards idea - fantastic!

I can second keeping any muslins you use. My boys are nearly 4 and I still have all their muslins and they get used as snot cloths, floor wipes, towels for mopping up spills... anything really!

I'll definitely second the maternity clothes thing. I went to New Look yesterday and bought a load of new clothes - none of which are maternity even though I'm 28 weeks. I bought some jeggings in a bigger size which are more comfortable than any of my maternity jeans. Also some lovely floaty/baggy tops around at the moment. All of which will do very nicely for after the birth and beyond!

BedHog Wed 07-Sep-11 08:50:13

A tip I got on here was to buy a picnic rucksack instead of a changing bag. I found one on ebay for less than a tenner, including postage, and it has loads of elasticated compartments and insulated pockets, perfect for carrying all the baby stuff and much more practical than one of those enormous shoulder bags. Plus it came with a load of free plates, cutlery, beakers, napkins etc!

If your second or subsequent baby is different gender to your first, buy a couple of packs of machine dylon and some iron-on motifs from ebay. Spend an afternoon being creative with the inappropriate clothes and you have a whole new baby wardrobe for a fraction of the price of buying even secondhand clothes.

GeneralDisarray Wed 07-Sep-11 13:50:54

We found every time we were told we needed something with the word baby- or maternity- infront of it you have to stare really hard at it for a bit and see if it ressembles something else from real life where they can't mark it up 90%!! examples: baby bath = small trug , top and tail wash bowl = pet food bowl with two sections, moses basket/cot sheets = normal flat bed sheet cut down and re-seamed. And loooads more, we are not tight, just young and skint and not wanting to waste money!

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Wed 07-Sep-11 14:12:13

sueflay i'm on my phone so can't link i'm afraid. But iirc i used instructions from on making the wrap (buy 5m thin stretchy fabric, cut in to 3 along it's length. Done) and another on tying it. Also check out the natural mama's site lots of info on tying a SPOC (simple piece of cloth). I think there's a section on lentil looms too wink

ThroughTheRoundWindow Thu 08-Sep-11 20:01:16

Hooded towels = very cute but not necessary, plus your baby will be too big to wrap up in nicely by 6 months. Just use a hand towel, or even a normal bath towel for a really snuggly bundle of baby!

Also: consider second hand travel system. It may not be stylish but what is a buggy really but a shopping trolley with padding? Don't feel like less of a Mum because your buggy isn't a sleek 3-wheeler - you are a better Mum because you don't have £500 of extra credit card debt!

Things I managed just fine without buying - pram, pushchair or accessories like cosytoes, blankets, raincovers, baby bath, maternity clothes, changing bag, brand new baby clothes, disposable nappies, disposable wipes, changing mat, outdoor coat or snowsuit (despite winter baby), baby toiletries, baby towels, baby spoons, baby food bowls, blenders or cubes or any other weaning kit.

Things I'm planning on saving on this time - birth to four car seat instead of bucket seat, washable maternity pads, trying to BF more successfully, realising that most clothes are gender neutral regardless of their colour.

ThroughTheRoundWindow Thu 08-Sep-11 20:15:43

Get a sling or baby carrier and a rucksack so that you can get around small shops easily and therefore can access all the lovely charity shop bargains!

IssyStark Thu 08-Sep-11 20:36:44

NCT sales for second-hand or even unworn clothes at a fraction of the price.

Personally we found our second-hand baby bath invaluable (we are on water metering so saving water is important esp as we also used cloth nappies). We got the bath, including top and tail bowl, hooded towel and bath thermometre for about £4 on ebay (restricting to 10 mile radius and contacting seller to ask for local pick up to save on postage). I wouldn't have gone out and bought all of this, but for 4 quid I couldn't complain.

eBay can be great for getting nursery furniture/prams secondhand at really low prices. While slings are great (we got ours secondhand oneBay), for some mums like me, prams are preferable when shopping: I'm under 5' so when I have a baby slung in front it is like being 9 months pregnant again and I can't reach the shelves! When he was older and we were walking to work and nursery, I did the same to get his pushchair and won a separate auction for the matching cosy toes. Again at about 20% of the cost new.

Also remember you will get gifts of baby toiletries, hooded towels etc as well as clothes. If you do find you need something you can always get it when you need it rather than 'just in case'.

Sling them on the back IssyStark!

Beesok Fri 09-Sep-11 00:39:15

Am not an experienced mum and have probably fallen into the trap of buying too much for baby nr 1 (see my thread on outfits hehehehe) but I def. agree that you can save a lot by not buying for ex. "nursing" tops - you can get cheap but nice and soft cotton tops in H&M for £3 that have adjustable straps and can be pulled dow for BF same with maternity - and it's good to scout the sales - fantastic jeans for £19 that I am still wearing from 17 wks
Gumtree is great esp if you can find items for pick up in your area - saw a nearly new changing table for £30 (retail price £250!).

Also in London I saw a few shops that resell baby clothes - basically like a vintage/ designer resale but for baby clothes smile great for buying but also SELLING in the future esp. if you get expensive gifts that baby never wears and can't exchange them.

Scouting the web can save you a lot and often it comes with free delivery.

Toys and mobiles - honestly half that plastic stuff is useless smile you can easily make a black and white mobile that your tiny baby will love and later on you can use natural materials and stuff around the house to entertain baby - i.e. homemade play dough, treasure baskets etc This is from my experience of working in nurseries where budgets were tight but we had to create inspiring environments for children smile

I think a lot of equipment can be used for two babies (if parents plan them close enough and have storage space) and then can be resold.

RockChick1984 Fri 09-Sep-11 05:27:05

Travel system was a massive waste of money, I got a silver cross 3d and it's a pain - big baby who outgrew the carry cot by 2.5 months, so now it basically amounts to a really heavy stroller! I wouldn't mind so much but I could have got it second hand for around £80, I paid £300 sad

I didn't buy 1 of those changing tables with a bath underneath but having used a friends once I can honestly say it was awful, so difficult taking ds out of the bath then trying to hold him while he was all wet and slippery to close the lid so I could lie him down.

Nursing chair to keep in his room, never used during the day (too far away from tv grin ) and by the time he was in his own room I had mastered the art of the 5 min feed so a dining room chair was actually better in the night as less chance of dozing off.

When you see a good offer on something you use a lot like nappies and wipes, stock up but remember that you only get a certain amount of time out of each size nappy, so don't go overboard on the newborn ones, ds started in size 2's but luckily we had only bought 1 box of size 1's so gave them to a pregnant friend.

Maternity clothes, I lived in leggings and floaty summer dresses as I was constantly roasting all pregnancy even though ds born in march.

Best advice I can give is as far as possible buy second hand (I don't know about around the rest of the country but in the Nw there is now multiple groups on Facebook that have things for sale 2nd hand for babies). Even if buying a cheap second hand version of something just to see if your baby likes it before investing a lot towards a big purchase, I did this with a bouncer chair, bought a cheap 1 then found he liked the vibrating ones when at a friend's house so upgraded when I could afford it. Also remember there's actually very few things that you need before the birth, most things can be bought after to spread the cost out.

idlevice Fri 09-Sep-11 06:23:21

How far are you willing to go? Cloth pads as maternity pads? Actually they might be better than non-maternitydisposable pads as you are supposed to not have a plastic lining in maternity pads for better air circulation, reducing infection risk, etc esp if you have stitches. Not much of a stretch if you will be using reusable nappies & of course you can use them normally (unless you have a mooncup!)

SuiGeneris Fri 09-Sep-11 06:41:48

Consider buying less known makes from abroad: we bought a complete travel system from Peg Perego (Italy ) for 50pc of the price of the same thing from Mamas and Papas. Because carrycots there are seen as standard rather than luxury, it was much cheaper than in the UK and big enough that my long DS was in it until 6.5 months. Also, the package included cosytoes (which turns the lie-flat buggy into a big warm sleeping area), rain cover and changing bag...

Beesok Fri 09-Sep-11 07:04:58

Sorry to hijack thread a bit but why are a lot of people against travel systems? This is genuine curiosity and am not trying to provoke honest smile The reason I ask is because if you are going to get a pram/buggy you will at some point need all parts of it - car seat if you travel by car, carry cot for when baby is tiny so they can lie flat esp. in winter as it's much cosier and then stroller bit for when they are older? Isn't it better to buy them all in one?

We bought ours not in the UK and it was much cheaper - even adding the shipping costs, and also when you buy a travel system here they give all sort of extras free or for nominal price like £5 for a matching changing bag or foot muff etc...
I can see the point of someone having to lift it in and out of cars I guess but you can get quite compact ones that fold easily (we don't drive so that was not an issue for us).

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Fri 09-Sep-11 07:15:59

the fact that you got yours so cheap demostrates the massive mark up on them (imo because they appeal to a lot of dads desire for gadgetry and kit so they are willing to fork out...massive generalisation i know grin

The only bit of the set up that needs to be new is the car seat (even then we were given one by family, they had used it but of course can be trusted that it wasn't involved in an accident!)

Tiny babies love slings (make one for a couple of quid) when they get bigger cheap or second hand stroller for £30. Most people really don't need more than that. They might like it, but not need it iyswim.

I have yet to see a travel system that folds up to be compact. But i haven't really looked...just been nosey in car parks. They seem a massive pita to me!

Beesok Fri 09-Sep-11 07:43:04

Yes MoonFace but what if you can't or don't want to use slings? For various reasons am not convinced by them and def. can't see myself with only a sling to carry a baby for 6 months so I need something smile

RockChick1984 Fri 09-Sep-11 10:53:38

If we have another baby, I'll be buying either a stroller that lies flat therefore suitable from birth, or a second hand pram as cheaply as possible, at 3 months old we purchased a baby jogger city mini and this has been perfect with the cosy toes on. The idea of a travel system is fantastic but I just don't feel they are worth paying the extra for as IMO they are only useful for such a short length of time. As an aside, I wish I had spent MORE on the car seat and got something with an isofix base, as the silver cross Ventura is a pain, having to unstrap baby and unfasten the car seat from the car every time I take him in or out.

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Fri 09-Sep-11 11:35:37

then (assuming not for medical reasons) that is a personal choice and you are free to spend your money as you choose. smile

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