Today I’ll be evaluating how I’m doing with baby stuff. Am I making frugal and/or green decisions, or could I use some improvement? Let’s see.
As I mentioned in my secondary infertility post a while back, I donated a lot of our baby stuff when I thought we weren’t going to be having any more babies (after three years of trying for baby number four). But I hadn’t yet gone through the clothes or furniture, so at least we didn’t have to replace most of the pricey things.
The vast majority of furniture pieces and big gear we have for Elizabeth were her siblings’ when they were little. The changing table was given to us in used condition when I was pregnant with Maggie in 2000. It has seen a lot if use! Elizabeth’s crib was purchased new for Joshua in 2004 (the crib we used for Maggie was a secondhand purchase and was kind of junkie so we got rid of it when she was done with it). The mattress in her crib was purchased for Samuel in 2011. The chest of drawers, swing, and johnny-jump-up were new purchases from 2000. The walker was bought new for Samuel in 2012. And the highchair was purchased secondhand that same year. The stroller was a secondhand purchase from 2015 after I realized that we still sort of needed a stroller for Samuel when walking around large places (and I had donated the one we’d used for years, oops).
The only new (big) things we’ve gotten specifically for Elizabeth have been her carseat and a bouncer. She is still in her carseat but has , unfortunately, already grown out of the bouncer; it got a lot of use up until about four months or so, though.
I use both cloth and disposable diapers. I’ve talked a lot about this in previous posts, so I won’t go into it thoroughly here. Currently, I am using cloth on her from morning until bedtime, Monday through Friday when we are home, and then disposables at night, on the weekends, and while away from the house. The disposables I buy are Huggies Snug & Dry or Little Snugglers (depending on sales and/or coupons) I used to get Luvs because they are cheaper but I started buying Huggies for two reasons: 1) Huggies are more comfy and 2) they are sized larger so you get more diapers per pack (Elizabeth wears a 3 in Huggies but a 4 in Luvs) Our grocery store (Publix) puts diapers on sale often and they also issue store coupons which can be stacked with manufacturer coupons, which are always available online. At the beginning of December, I got 140 Huggies diapers (a combination of the two kinds mentioned above) from Publix and paid $33, which isn’t bad. Also not great, but not bad, lol. I still have about half of those diapers and we’re at the end of the month. :)
What I’d like to transition to is using cloth while away from the house if we’re going somewhere not too far away (meaning I can change her soon, if need be) and also using cloth most Saturdays. I still want Sundays off because it means less laundry to deal with, but I will probably feel differently at some point and cloth diaper full time.
I also use cloth and disposable wipes, depending on which diaper she’s in. This is probably stupid – I should just use cloth – but I’ve gotten into a habit.
Related post: Evaluating the Bathroom
I am a big fan of Aveeno products. We use their unscented lotion and their eczema creams, but I’ve yet to try their baby shampoo. Currently, I’m using Equate’s (WalMart) tear-free baby shampoo. I’ve simply chosen this one because it’s cheapest. :/
We only use Dr. Smith’s (stupidly expensive) diaper rash ointment because the ingredients, and the way it works, are perfect for us. The price for one tube is about $10 but with sales and coupons at Publix, I am usually able to get it for under $5. She only needs it a few times a week, so a tube lasts a long time.
We’re still breastfeeding so the only cost for milk has been the manual breast pump (about $40) and two Avent glass bottles with nipple (about $20) for when I express – which is usually once/twice a week. Oh, and nursing pads. I buy Johnson & Johnson contoured pads because I have TRIED washable ones (I bought some on Etsy and I also made some) and then hurt my poor nipples by “catching” so I tossed them!
So far, with starting solids, she has mostly eaten regular food though we are not doing baby led weaning. I mash and puree cooked sweet potatoes, pears, bananas, etc. for her and store extra in glass containers in the fridge. I’ve yet to try the ice cube tray method, but I should!
Related post: Evaluating the Kitchen
Elizabeth isn’t wearing the correct size for the season to fit into her older sister’s baby clothes (because she is much bigger than Maggie was at this age), so we’ve had to buy clothes. But we almost exclusively buy secondhand. The only exception are things like onesies, socks, and side-snap shirts. We are fortunate to live near a great many thrift/charity shops where the availability of used baby clothes is large. :) I love being able to pay 50¢ for an outfit, jacket, or pair of pants! When she outgrows something, I either donate it back (if I found I didn’t love it) or I store it in our baby clothes container. Or, I cut it up and make something with it – but this is rare at the moment.
She has a small basket of toys. And three older siblings who have toys from years past! For Christmas, she received one little toy and a few teethers. We washed them before wrapping them so she was able to stick them right into her mouth as soon as she opened them. ^_^ I’m not bringing much into the house for her to play with (ever) since we already have toys and stuffed animals.
She loves Baby Einstein movies; our local library has some of them but we have bought ones that she particularly cares for, too, but only from thrift stores!
We already have a kids’ bookshelf so there is no need to buy her books. And once she’s out of the put-everything-in-her-mouth stage, she will become a library user like the rest of us! ^_^
So, it would seem that I need to transition to using more cloth diapers, maybe ditch the disposable wipes completely (??) and find a more natural soap/shampoo for her.
How do you save money and/or the environment when it comes to baby care?