Cost Of A New Born

Hello All!

A few quick questions. I know a few families with babies who use Dreft, and a few who don’t. It is so much more expensive than regular detergent, and I’m wondering if it is worth it. I had sensitive skin as a child, and babies have such sensitive skin as it is. So I’d be nervous about using anything with scent. So I’m wondering if I should go with just an unscented arm and hammer or if I should do the Dreft? What do you moms think?

Also, I’m trying to figure out if we should stock up on a few things before baby gets here, and if you have any suggestions. I’d like to not have to really buy anything baby-related for the first 3 month or so, while I am not working. I haven’t even had my shower yet and we already have plenty of clothes! We have a crib and travel system, and an extra car seat, breast pump… Pretty much most of the basics. I may need to get a few other things if I don’t get them for the shower. I’m waiting to see how many packages of diapers and what sizes I get before getting any. I will be breast feeding, so there should be no cost as far as that goes. Does anyone have any other ideas of things we might need in the first few months? Or other expenses in the first few months that you didnt expect?


I never used Dreft. I did use [name_m]Tide[/name_m] [name_u]Free[/name_u] and Clear or Wegman’s free and clear with my daughter who has sensitive skin and I’m not sure what I used with my son but probably anything that was on sale.
I think not buying anything for three months might be tricky. Babies grow at different rates so if you try to purchase all the diapers you’ll need for three months you could end up with way too many or not enough in a particular size. We did mostly cloth but I got a whole mess of disposable diapers for my shower. However my son already was already too big for the newborn sized diapers the day we came home from the hospital and past the size ones by a month. I think he was in size three already when we went on a vacation when he was three months old. However my niece was still fitting in a size two at like nine months since she’s tiny. At two years old she wears a size three diaper while her younger brother who is a year old wears size fours.
If it’s a money issue and not wanting to buy anything when you’re not working then perhaps stock up on gift cards now so you won’t need to use money to buy the diapers. Also if you’re planning on going back to work you’ll need some bottles and accessories to introduce a bottle before you go back. Some random things we realized that we needed in the first three months were swaddlers with Velcro since my son only slept while swaddled and could break out of a blanket, a little [name_m]Fisher[/name_m] [name_m]Price[/name_m] toy that made wave noises and helped him sleep and extra covers for the changing pad since he kept peeing on them (we found three to work well). Also make sure you have all the basic hygiene stuff like baby bath, nail file, thermometer, baby Tylenol and scent free baby lotion. However if you are concerned mostly about spending money then gift cards would work for random expenses too. If you don’t want to leave the house for three months to shop for baby stuff then you can order almost anything baby related (including diapers) on Amazon.

Thanks so much for the tips! :slight_smile:

The gift card idea was very good, since we may not know what size diapers we will need in advance! I am not working for now and don’t plan on working for at least 3 months after he is here. [name_m]Even[/name_m] after that, I am planning on just nannying for a couple days a week, as I was a nanny prior to finding out I was pregnant. I dont want to leave my little guy with anyone! We are fine financially until then, and will have money in savings for anything extra we may need during that time too. I just want to try and be as best stocked as we can be before hand, so as to not need to spend a bunch of money in th first few months. If that makes sense :slight_smile:

I have an allergy to the scent they put in Laundry Detergent but we all use scent free Arm and Hammer, including the baby. She’s fine too.

I spent like $50-80 total in the last 6 months since she was born. I got so many diapers and wipes I still have wipes from my shower. They grow out of newborn diapers so fast you’re going to want lots of size 1 and 2. Also, tummy medicine. Gripe Water was a lifesaver to me. I could give [name_f]Persephone[/name_f] like, half a dropper and she would fall immediately to sleep. You can get it at [name_m]Wal[/name_m]-[name_u]Mart[/name_u] in the baby section. Diaper rash cream and burp cloths. I didn’t get enough of either and needed them. Pajama’s and light blankets and swaddle blankets. I used tons of swaddle blankets. [name_u]Baby[/name_u] mittens too. They scratch themselves otherwise. And Socks. Tons of socks. She looses them so often because she kicks them off.

Full disclosure: I’m a huge cheapskate…

Our youngest has really, really sensitive skin (had a weird rashy reaction at the hospital after his first bath) but we have never used anything special in terms of laundry detergent and he’s been fine. I wouldn’t bother with it.

[name_m]Don[/name_m]'t buy too many diapers beforehand; it’s hard to know. Stock up on wipes if you feel like you’ve found a good deal somewhere.

One thing I used all the time at first and wished I had a few more of was the [name_u]Aden[/name_u] & [name_f]Anais[/name_f] swaddler thingy I bought for [name_m]Zach[/name_m]. They’re pricey at about $20 each (new) but worth it for the early months. But now that he’s outgrown the 0-3 months one (& it’s also winter) we put him in a fleece sleepsack at night. It fits over his pajamas and zips up; there are holes for his head and arms. You can actually find sleepsacks at Goodwill or other secondhand store sometimes, but I’ve never seen a muslin swaddler ([name_u]Aden[/name_u] & [name_f]Anais[/name_f]) thingy at a secondhand store, unfortunately.

One thing I definitely didn’t need was a special diaper bag (just used a backpack so my husband wouldn’t rebel against the whole idea of a diaper bag). We’re also using a secondhand portable crib (like a Pack-n-Play) instead of a regular crib; it was $20 at a garage sale and is perfectly fine for the first year or so.

I had planned on breastfeeding before I had children but then discovered after having my eldest that don’t I have milk ducts!!! Feeding my baby became crazy expensive when I had planned on it being (nearly) free! With [name_f]Elizabeth[/name_f] I spent well over $2000 on formula, nappies (diapers) and clothes for her before her 1st birthday. With [name_f]Annabelle[/name_f] probably $1200, and now [name_f]Madeleine[/name_f] is 6 week sold on Friday and I have already spent at least $300 just on nappies and formula :-/ Having said that though the cost of living in Australia is much much higher than in the US.

Oh, yes, the breastfeeding. I planned on doing that too and it turned out I don’t produce enough. If you’re in the US, Look ingot WIC. [name_m]Just[/name_m] go to your local Depart of Human Services and ask about it. They give you milk, bread, cheese, etc. Food essentials, and they’ll give you 10 cans of formula a month if you aren’t breastfeeding, like 6 if you are supplementing, and even if you are breastfeeding, they’ll give you the food and baby cereal, baby food, things like that until your baby is 5. And it’s a doctor there for the baby to visit sometimes, a nutritionist and a lactation consultant for free.

It really helps keep the money down.

I never bought Dreft. We use free and clear detergent anyhow (whatever brand is cheapest in the free and clear) and we haven’t had any problems with that. In fact, our son has eczema and when we tried Dreft that someone gave us, it really irritated his skin.

I agree with not stocking too many diapers before the baby gets here. Different brands fit different babies and then some babies are also unexpectedly sensitive to certain brands.

We did cloth diapers, so our biggest expense was probably formula- that cost us $80/month. I am sure that you will do wonderfully with breastfeeding! But if you end up needing to use formula, check out the Target generic brand. They have imitations of all of the popular brands so you can try different ones and they are about half the cost. It is like Designer Imposters for formula.

Another big unexpected expense was food for us. Our son was placed with us unexpectedly, so we didn’t have time to plan ahead on this. For the first month or so, everyone brought us food and it was awesome. But then of course we had to start cooking for ourselves again. We were exhausted and sleep deprived and babies are a lot of work and it is also difficult to cook while holding a baby. Take-out was way too easy. So I would say either budget that in or stock up on freezer meals.

The only other thing I would say is make sure you know all of the details about your health insurance for the baby. Are well child visits covered, or will you have to pay a copay? [name_m]How[/name_m] much is the copay? [name_m]How[/name_m] much are prescriptions? What about emergency room visits? If you don’t qualify for Medicaid (but check, because they just expanded the limits, especially for children) I would make sure to have a budget just for that, because you don’t want to be stressing out about how you’ll pay for medical bills.

Arm and hammer unscented.

I have an allergy to the dye/perfume in most detergents and have reacted to Dreft in the past (that awesome smell has to come from somewhere!) Not only is it ok to stick with a free and clear deterg, it’s better.

Like lineska and taryn, I don’t get why Dreft is the gold standard for baby laundry. It’s basically the same thing as regular [name_m]Tide[/name_m] in terms of ingredients as far as I can tell, aside from a “gentler” scent. I think it’s kind of like the pink [name_m]Johnson[/name_m]'s lotion - everyone buys it because it’s what babies are “supposed” to smell like… even if the ingredients aren’t the best for lots of babies. So, that said, I’ve had good luck with my girl’s mild eczema and Ecos unscented, but even the [name_f]Magnolia[/name_f] & [name_f]Lily[/name_f] scent they’ve got at our Costco doesn’t seem to bother her. We’re generally pretty low-scent around here, but that one doesn’t bother me.

For breastfeeding, I recommend having money set aside for seeing a lactation consultant at home. Seek one out now, find out their fees, find out how much, if any, your insurance covers. Things don’t always go the way you think they will, and having that support system lined up can’t hurt, and could save you! Also, breast shells like this are a very nice thing to have on hand for those first weeks when your body is getting used to things. They allow air flow to your sore nips, which is what they need to heal. I know our BRU carries them, so you could put some gift cards to use there, if you have leftover from showers or things to exchange. Coconut oil is a great substitute for lanolin, and washes out of clothes much more easily than the latter. You can buy it in a giant tub for less than $20 at Costco, and it can also be used in place of baby oil/lotion and diaper rash preventative. It has antibacterial properties, so it can help prevent/kill thrush. Very versatile stuff! Something else that was a lifesaver for me in terms of healing, was just having a couple of tiny custard sized bowls (which you may already have) that I would put a dash of salt and very warm water in. Once dissolved, just dip the nips for a couple of minutes. Very simple and cheap, but crazy effective.

We used [name_m]Tide[/name_m] [name_u]Free[/name_u] and Clear, as well as other unscented brands. We never used Dreft. Also used unscented fabric softener with no problems.

As for the breastfeeding, it really isn’t free. You will need to make sure you get nursing bras, breast pads, bags for pumped milk, bottles for others to feed the baby at some point so they can take a bottle after you go to work, and LANOLIN. As many pointed out, sometimes breastfeeding does not go as planned. I was really stressed with my first daughter and had a problem with milk production. I had to use formula because I couldn’t make enough. You just don’t know. I would make sure you set aside at least some money for supplies and just in case things don’t go how you planned.

I know someone mentioned Target formula. If you do need to supplement with formula for whatever reason, my daughter’s doctor told me these store brands are made by the exact companies that make Similac, Enfomil, etc. they just sell them under a different company name. My daughter was exclusively formula feed from 3 months on after we had troubles, and I bought Target formula. I spent maybe $60/month on formula. Obviously, breast milk is best, and some babies can’t tolerate regular formulas, but it doesn’t have to brake the bank to formula feed if it becomes necessary.

We also used target formula when [name_f]Maeby[/name_f] got older since we had to supplement. We plan to use it from the start with baby #2 if we have to supplement again. However, we got a ton of coupons (I don’t even know where they all came from!) for enfamil formula and we used to get it almost for free!

On formula- if you end up needing it, definitely sign up for all of the free samples you can get!

A lot of companies offer free samples of things for new babies. You can get free diapers and great diaper coupons this way, too. [name_m]Just[/name_m] make sure you are on all possible mailing lists. Some grocery stores have kids clubs where they send you stuff, too. And sign up for [name_f]Dolly[/name_f] [name_m]Parton[/name_m] to send your kid a free book every month if that is available where you live.

You don’t have to spend a lot on baby stuff. The expensive part is childcare and/or the lost income of one of the parents.

Oh, I just wanted to add on breastfeeding- health insurance companies are now required to pay for your pump (in [name_u]America[/name_u].) If you are on WIC, WIC will provide you with a free pump to borrow and you also get extra food as a breastfeeding mom. My sister just had a baby and first used the WIC pump and then got one to keep through her insurance company. She said that they were both the same, high quality pump, made by Medala. The insurance company gave her options, WIC just had the one kind. A good breastpump is expensive, so this is a great way to help with the start up costs of breastfeeding.