We are another day closer to having a tiny helpless human being in our house again. Umm, is there a timeout button somewhere that I can push? Shae has been nesting, er collecting some of the infant paraphernalia that we shed when Frugal Boy outgrew it. One of those items is a new, used neglect-o-matic. For all of you normal folks out there, I believe the politically correct term is ‘Excersaucer’.
Frugal Boy was all to happy to help set it up and test out all of the different dingle dangles.
I’m wondering when he will grow tired of it. He has been playing with it the entire time that I wrote this post. Did I mention that it makes a lot of noise? At least the price was right. FREE!
New parents and parents to be are constantly bombarded with “you need this” and “your baby cannot possibly survive without XYZ”. After a year of parenting, this is our list of the 10 most useful/needed baby paraphernalia. It does not include some of the basic necessities like clothing, shelter, and food.
Without further ado, here is our list.
# 10 – A Car Seat
If you are planning on driving anywhere with baby, you have to have a car seat. The law requires it and some hospitals won’t let you leave with your newborn until you have one. Frugal Boy is on his second car seat after outgrowing his newborn seat. This one should last him until he is ready for a booster seat.
# 9 – Crib
Some kids sleep in their cribs, others do not. Frugal Boy is a bit of both and spends part of his nights in his crib and part with us in our bed. Cribs also double as a holding cell for when you need to get something done without worrying about the safety of your judgement impaired offspring.
# 8 – Pocket Snacks
I get cranky when my blood sugar gets low. Shae gets cranky when her blood sugar gets low. Frugal boy… well you get the idea. Having a ziplock bag full of cheerios stashed in a coat pocket or diaper bag has saved our hides quite a few times from murderous scream fests. The moral of the story is to bring snacks every time you leave home.
# 7 – Pacifiers
Before Frugal Boy was born, we told ourselves that we would never use pacifiers. Those were a cop out and it was lazy parenting. Our baby wouldn’t need a pacifier. Hahahaha. Frugal Boy made it to about three months and then we gave up and pacifiers became a staple baby item in our house.
# 6 – Activity Saucer
Do you want to know our secret to making dinner and keeping Frugal Boy away from the hot oven? The neglect-o-matic 3000, also known as an activity saucer. Plop junior in there and you can go about your cooking without having to box out a kamikaze baby from 3rd degree burns.
# 5 – A Stroller
We actually have two strollers. A jogging stroller, shown below, and a travel stroller. Winter time hasn’t been very conducive to using either, but even in the colder weather they still get use. A stroller would be higher up on our list if there wasn’t an even better alternative [hint: keep reading our list]. With that said, both strollers will take a long time to outgrow and will be used well into the future.
# 4 – Breast Pump
As a working, breast feeding, mom a breast pump has been indispensable for Shae. She started with a hand-me down pump from her sister-in-law (you can buy new fittings) and later bought a newer model to help keep up with demand. The pump has easily paid for itself given the high cost of formula.
# 3 – Boba
The Boba carrier has been our go-to gear for walks, hikes, putting Frugal Boy to sleep, and keeping him out of trouble around the house. In many other cultures, baby wearing is the normal thing to do. Not only does your baby love being snuggled up close, it also lets you have both hands free. Another perk is that strangers are far less likely to touch your baby when out in public. For some reason, strollers seem to broadcast a “come touch my baby message” and people seem to have no qualms in walking right up and invading your baby’s personal space. With the Boba, that is never a problem.
We started with the Boba wrap and moved to the carrier after Frugal Boy outgrew the wrap. The carrier supports both front and back carry. Frugal Boy has gotten to the point where front carry is uncomfortable for the back after any extended duration.
# 2 – Cloth Diapers
Having a baby means changing a lot of diapers. I mean, a LOT of diapers. We chose to pay a bit more upfront and use cloth diapers instead of disposable. It is a decision that we do not regret for even a second. Cloth diapers just feel right, especially from an economical sense and an environmental one. What’s that, Frugal Boy just hosed down the changing table and the fresh diaper? Who cares, just throw it in the laundry and get a clean one out. I personally find myself much more proactive in changing diapers when he is in cloth because it doesn’t matter if he is wet or dry. It’s been an hour since your last diaper change and you smell kind of funky, okay, let’s change your diaper. Oh, and the whole, we need to add diapers to the grocery list and try to find some coupons to knock down the price is a conversation we’ve had a total of zero times. Yay for one less thing on the grocery list.
That brings us to our #1 “must have” baby gear/equipment/etc. What could possibly be more important than the first nine items on our list? Drum roll please…
Help. That’s right, a babysitter or a relative or a friend. Basically anyone but your spouse so you can get some time away from baby and recoup a bit. Having a date night with your spouse on a regular basis is super nice and let’s face it, parents can be boring to kids. Having a safe environment that they can explore new things in is great for those sponge like minds.
Come to think of it, I don’t have any photos of Frugal Boy and his babysitter. I should, since he loves going to the sitter’s house. Not only is it a new set of toys to play with, but more importantly, there are other KIDS to play with, watch, and learn from. Kids that can match his energy levels.
The old saying goes, “it takes a village to raise a child”, so don’t feel like your spouse and you have to do it all on your own. Get help, even if it means paying for it.
In this three part series, we will look at the myriad of choices that parents new and seasoned alike can choose from to keep their little one’s bums squeaky clean.
In case the title wasn’t enough to tip you off, this series will include a considerable discussion of poop. If that isn’t your thing, you should probably turn back now.
Okay, now that we have weeded out the faint of heart, let’s talk about poop. Everyone pees and poops, and if they don’t, something is seriously wrong with them and they should probably go talk to a doctor. Babies are little people too, and because they don’t have the motor skills, cognitive ability, stature, and a wide variety of other prerequisites necessary for using commodes like the rest of the civilized world, that means we need to wrap their little bottoms in something.
A long time ago..
in the 1800s parents would use squares of linen and cotton folded and safety pinned to keep solids and liquids from dribbling out. Not much changed in the following decades in diaper technology until the 1940s when the first disposable insert came along. It fitted inside the normal cloth diaper shell and reduced the amount of laundering required.
The Safe-T Di-Dee diaper was a breakthrough in 1950 due to its patented use of snaps instead of safety pins but it was too little too late. Major companies such as Procter and Gamble and Johnson and Johnson began to aggressively target the diaper market in order to expand their product and bottom lines. By the 1960s fully disposable diapers were making major head waves into the marketplace. The 70s and 80s continued this momentum until disposables held a staggering 95% of the diaper market.
Consumers loved disposable diapers for their no mess, no fuss, and time savings. I even read one analysis that claimed the rapid adoption was due in part to the burgeoning Women’s Rights movement. Mom’s that switched to disposable diapers had more free time to pursue their interests, and disposables were so easy to use that even dads could change them.
By the 1990s cloth diapers, once the de facto standard, had been sidelined to the fringe community of freegans and hippies. The occasional parent would craft his/her own stash of custom cloth diapers or use the tried and true cloth squares and safety pins.
20th Century Winner
According to WebMD, the average child potty trains between 22 and 30 months of age. For shits (hehe) and giggles let’s play with some numbers and see how much money it takes 95% of parents to diaper their child.
A short analysis
I am going to use 25 months as the age of potty training. I chose that number based on the aforementioned 22 month lower age boundary plus an additional three months for the potty training to be complete (3 was another number given by WebMD).
Another variable that I am going to cut out of the equation is the cost of wipes. You will see why later in the series.
Disposable diapers range widely in price due to three main factors:
For this analysis, I am going to “shop” at Walmart and use the largest unit count packages in order to get the best value. For brands, I will use Pampers as my name brand and Parent’s Choice as my store brand. The last variable is the toughest, because it varies considerably from baby to baby. To (over)simplify the problem, I will use National Geographic‘s number (3796) of lifetime diapers along with the average unit cost for sizes 1-5.
Pampers cost an average of 29.2¢ per diaper
Multiply that by how many diapers a baby will use until they are potty trained (3796) and you end up with a total diaper cost of $1108
How about the store brand? That comes out to 16.8¢ a diaper and $637 overall.
Wow! That doesn’t sound so bad does it? Seriously, according to that, you can diaper your baby in name brand for only $1108. Something doesn’t smell right though, because that number is about half of what I have seen elsewhere on the internet. Let’s see, if your toddler potty trains at 25 months then that is the equivalent of 750 days. 3796 diapers divided by 750 days is equal to 5 diapers a day. YIKES! I don’t think any responsible parent changes their baby’s diaper once every 5 hours. How about once every 3 hours, then how many diapers would you go through until you made it to potty training?
6,000 diaper changes.
Pampers: Approximately $1752
Store Brand: Approximately $1008
Part 1 Conclusion
Parents who choose disposable diapers can expect to pay at least one thousand dollars in diapers. In my opinion, the store brand diapers are terrible and are about as much good as a paper sack. I’m positive some other parents agree with me, otherwise there wouldn’t be name brand diapers. In my analysis, I was very optimistic about the age of potty training. While I have no doubt that some children potty train at the age of 2 years and 1 month, I am very skeptical that many parents achieve that nirvana. I would guess that the true cost of disposable diapers for the average child is closer to $2000.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series where Shae talks about the resurgence of Cloth Diapers in the 21st Century!
I haven’t had much opportunity to post anything lately because I am now a Dad! Shae and I brought home our son from the hospital almost one week ago on the hour. A lot has changed as we have adjusted our lifestyle and schedules to fit in a wiggly new roommate. I snapped this picture of my budding family the other day. I promise that Shae was smiling right before the shutter closed. I think the picture sums up new parenthood quite well.