Step 5 – Million Dollar Baby

According to some reports, raising a child can cost upwards of $1,000,000. The simple way to avoid this crippling cost is to:

a) not wipe their bum with $100 notes

b) read this list of what you really need.

When you become a parent it’s a bit like when you forget to tick that box at the bottom of a form – suddenly everyone wants to sell you something. Here’s the twist though, the products aren’t for you, they’re for your baby. Only… they’re marketed at you!

A whole host of gadgets and gimmicks are thrust under your nose, and in the next few lines some of them will be given the sniff test.

1) Baby Carriers…  Two categories. The ‘carriers’, like those made by BabyBjorn or Ergobaby, are expensive but enable you to wear a child on your front or back in mutual comfort from a few weeks old up to about age 4. The ‘wraps’, like those produced by Hugabub, are particularly good for cradling newborns – despite the smothering fear-stories. Modelled on the way that mothers carry children in developing countries they’re low-tech and pretty cheap. However, as they consist of one long strip of fabric that must be tied around and around the body, wraps are an absolute pain to get on, get off, or re-adjust.

Verdict – Very handy to keep baby close and free up both hands. Opt for a carrier that allows for front and back usage to get the most out of it. Wraps are good for newborns, but after that all you get out of them is Northcote street-cred.

2) Prams… shouldn’t cost over $1,000. The difference between wants and needs is the difference between the vastly overpriced Bugaboo and Stokke ranges, and the perfectly suitable selection from Emmaljunga or even Steelcraft. The price tag may lead some to say ‘bugger off’ to the $1,600 Bugaboo Donkey pram. Brand loyalty aside, as long as your pram is easy to steer and has a generous basket and sun-shade, then you’re good to go.

Verdict – Look at features, not the brand. As much as you may think you need a swanky, 3-wheeled ‘jogger pram’, trust me, you don’t. After 18 months your kid will probably want to walk everywhere!

3) Nappies… are important for obvious reasons! The question is whether you go disposable or re-usable. The choice for a lot of parents is ethical. Some disposable brands, like Naty, do produce disposable nappies that degrade quicker to avoid landfill nappy-mountains. However, the most environmentally friendly nappy is still the re-usable. Re-usable nappies also save money and have moved on from the ‘toweling and safety pin’ model, but the downside is that you have to scrape the poo off and wash them.

Verdict – If you have the time to wash, go re-usable as they save you a fortune – being adjustable to fit newborn to toddler bums. The Babyland brand has good elastic seals to stop leakage and inserts that can be removed, as well as a range of colours. Sadly, though, nothing for the smell…