Biggest Baby Expenses and How to Save on Them

When I delivered my daughter, I was surprised to find that the cute bundle of joy spent more in a month than my husband and I combined. She even increased other utility bills like water and electricity. Though the spending is inevitable, there are steps you can take to ensure that you keep the costs at a minimum. In this post, we look at the biggest baby expenses and how to save on them.



Clothing


They are tiny, they are many and they are costly. Babies dress in layers. This translates to about a half dozen pieces at a go. Considering how messy they are and the fact that you need to change them at least 3 times in a day, those are a whole lot of clothes! If you decide to buy new and designer pieces, expect to spend a fortune. Here’s what you can do to save on baby clothing…


  • Hand me down: Ask your friends and relatives to give you clothes that their kids have outgrown. You’ll be surprised at how new these items are since they are only used for a few weeks or months 
  • Shop responsibly: Babies outgrow their newborn clothes really fast. If you get carried away and buy many 0-3 months outfits, your little one will never get to wear all of them. Some newborns are even big enough to skip the 0-3 category altogether.  
  • Consider the season: If your due date is in December, there’s no point buying heavy jackets and warmers. I gave birth to my baby in January and I did not even need the sweaters for the first 3 months. 
  • Go second hand: I think most Kenyan moms know that if you’re looking for quality at a discount, the best place to go looking for it is in the second hand markets. Here, you can get everything you need at a fraction of the price. Just make sure to disinfect and iron the cloths well before dressing your baby.
  • Look out for clearance sales: For delicates like bedding, bathing items and vests, you need to buy new ones. Just hunt for clearance sales when the prices are a bit lower. It helps to buy them in advance when you still have time and aren’t as desperate. If you’re in Nairobi, visit all of these baby shops in and compare the prices. Biashara Street is lined with baby shops and you’ll find everything you need there. 
  • Do not buy shoes: As cute as leather shoes are on the tiny feet, they are also expensive and serve no purpose at all. Your baby will learn how to walk faster if they train while barefoot.  To keep the tiny feet warm while going out of the house, use soft booties which are way much cheaper.

Formula


Formula is one of the biggest expense when it comes to babies. The best way to do away with this expense is to breastfeed. Breast milk is healthy, warm and free. To nurse effectively, consider the following;

  • Using washable breast pads: There’s nothing cute about leaking boobs. To keep the milk in control and save your dignity as a woman, you need to use breast pads constantly. Using washable breast pads instead of disposable ones can save you some coins.
  • Invest in a good breast pump: If you’ll be working or away from your baby for a few hours, it is necessary to express milk for them to take while you’re gone. Investing in a good breast pump not only makes the expressing experience as pleasant as can be, it also boosts milk production ensuring that your baby has enough milk.
  • Start expressing early and store your milk in cups: Some moms complain that the milk they express in the morning is not enough to last their baby the whole day. Early planning helps in such situations. If you are planning to go back to work after your maternity leave, start pumping milk in advance and freeze it in Avent milk storage containers

Food


A baby does not need any food for the first 6 months. Breast milk is enough. Once they start weaning, don’t even bother buying ready made food. You can make your own baby food in the house using nutritious foods such as fruits, pumpkins, greens and the like. 

Toys


Just like clothes, new parents get their babies many different toys only to realize that they only like one particular one from a dozen. It is necessary to consider kid’s attention span when getting them toys, they get bored really fast. You get a new toy today; they play with it a little and want nothing to do with it the following day. So what do you do?

  • Buy one at a time: Give them time to get bored before getting the next toy 
  • Rotate with a friend: If you have a friend with a baby the same age as yours, consider exchanging toys every now and then. That way, the kids will have renewed interest when they see the toys again. You can also put some of the toys away and offer them to your child after a few weeks. 
  • Use safe household items like boxes and plastics: Babies are not that high maintenance when it comes to their toys. No need for a complicated robot; all they need is something to stimulate their brains. Think color and texture. Plastic cups, boxes and other safe household items will do as toys. Just ensure that they are safe with no sharp edges or small pieces that can harm your baby. 
  • Add blocks and stuffed animals as they grow older: As they grow older, you can add building blocks and stuffed animals to help develop fine and gross motor skills.

Diapers and wipes


Infants use about 6 diapers a day. Going for as much as 30 Kenyan shillings when bought in singles, simple math will tell you that that is a lot of money! To save on diapering, take the steps below:
  • Buy in bulk: When bought in bulk, diapers cost a little less. You can also take advantage of diaper offers on Jumia Kenya where they stock dozens of diaper brands with next day delivery.
  • Go for Quality: It is more affordable to spend on quality than quantity. Some diapers have a higher absorbency and cost a little more. Though they may seem a little more expensive, they’ll save you money in the long run as you will not have to change your baby as often and you will not have to deal with the diaper rashes. 
  • Use reusable washable diapers: The ultimate way to save in diapering is to use washable/reusable diapers. They are breathable, come in cute colors and designs and they are way much cheaper.
  • Use warm water and a small towel instead of wet wipes: Instead of using wet wipes to wipe your baby’s bum, you can save by using plain old water. Simply soak a small soft towel in warm water and wipe away!
  •  See a post I did on why you need to start using the softcare diapers. You just might save yourself a few coins. 

Gear and furniture


Cots, strollers, highchairs, and car seats fall in this category. To save on them, consider doing the following:

  • Go for quality: Invest in a product that will serve you for years to come. You can use it on your other kids or resell when you’re done. You can buy a convertible cot, for instance, to ensure that it later converts to a toddler bed.
  • Buy second hand: Just like with cloths, you do not have to buy everything from the shop. Buy second hand from second hand stalls, friends or OLX. You just need to ensure that the items are in good condition before purchasing.

Childcare


One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced as a parent is childcare. It is very difficult to find good help for your child. In Kenya, it is not so expensive to hire a nanny but I have realized that when I have one, I tend to spend a lot more around the house. They waste food, water and other household items and at times you will not have the best experience with them.

I had a displeasure of hosting a nanny from hell once and recently wrote about another nanny caught on camera abusing a toddler in Ngong.

That said, you cannot escape childcare, you will need help caring for your baby whether you like it or not. This is especially the case when you are a working parent. If you have an option though, consider the points below:

  • Have a relative take care of the kid: I have had my brother take care of my girl for months now and I’ve never been happier. They are now both in school and they meet in the house in the evening. He looks after her, baths her and supervises her homework before I get home. 
  • Plan your time with your partner: If possible, you and your partner should schedule your time in such a way that there is always someone home with the baby.
  • See Also: Daycare vs. Live-in nanny 

Healthcare expenses


Babies are delicate as their immune systems are still developing. Because of this, they are always the first to catch infections. Visits to the pediatrician are not cheap. To reduce this expense, it is important to ensure that your baby is as healthy as can be at all times. This can be achieved by a number of ways.

  • Breastfeed exclusively for the first 6 months: Exclusively breastfed babies rarely get sick. Their immunity is good and doing away with formula removes the risks of getting a food related infection from contaminated water or feeding bottles. 
  • Get Vaccinated: All babies should be vaccinated to protect them from illnesses such as measles, polio and the like. Rotavirus vaccine is another vaccine that is very important as it prevents deaths from diarrhoea and vomiting in children.
  • Dress the baby appropriately to avoid colds: Ensure that your baby is always warm during the cold season to avoid pneumonia and other respiratory illnesses.
  • Sanitize hands and toys: Make sure that your visitors sanitize their hands before you hand them the baby. All the toys and other items that your child comes into contact with should also be disinfected regularly. 
  • Attend all postnatal appointments: To ensure that the baby’s progress is monitored and any issue dealt with before it gets out of hand, keep all postnatal appointments and follow the advice given by your baby’s doctor.
  • Finally, when buying medication, always ask for a discount: In most cases you’ll get a 10% off. 
As we conclude, I would like to mention that it is important to take advantage of huge promotions by online retailers where you are sure to get baby products for throw away prices. Jumia Black Friday for instance is a week-long promotion extravaganza where everything is heavily discounted! If you are lucky, you can even be able to grab Black Friday Flash sale in which case you walkaway with baby products for close to nothing. Remember always that every single coin counts.

Do you have any other tips that can help a mom learn how to keep the baby expenses low? We'd love to add to this list. Contribute by leaving a comment below.

If you found this article helpful, share it with your friends on social media. Thank you.

Until we see each other again, 


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