I wanted to talk about preparing for a baby without buying anything. A few people have asked me about this and I will share what we are doing. I knew that I was pregnant when I committed to this challenge – we are in a good posistion as I kept a lot of the baby things from our first two. If this was our first baby I might not feel so prepared.
When I was pregnant with Priya my nana was explaining to me what constituted a ‘layette’ for a newborn when she was having children. With Priya round in my belly I stared at my nana and said “But that’s not enough! How would the baby have clean clothes… you have to change them a few times a day!”. My nana gave me a wry smile and told me it was enough, in her day. I have still thought on that to this day, especially when I think that back then they were still hand washing! If my washing machine, dryer and I can’t make do with fewer clothing than I don’t know who can.
Clothes-wise we are set for a little baby to join our family, I have a large collection of newborn clothes packed and waiting from Priya & Theo. When we found out we were expecting a little boy I took the most girly clothes (dresses etc) and packed them for my friend who is expecting a girl the month before us. She packed the clothes from her son and gave them to us.
My friend and I also run a Clothes Swap a few times a year where babies clothes are in great supply. At a recent one and knowing we were expecting a little man I collected more than enough for our baby boy.
Clothes swapping is an excellent resource for parents because kids outgrow clothes quite often before they outwear them (babies in particular are guilty of this). Finding out if there is a local clothes swap near you is a great way to cut back on your own expenses buying for your children (for you too! We swap womens and the odd mens clothes too, not to mention games, toys, books). If there isn’t a clothes swap near you, do what we did and start one. You only need a few friends and their friends to get quite a good swap circle going on. It’s a lovely way to gather with friends and recycle clothing. I love being able to see clothes that my kids have outgrown or were not my taste taken and worn by friends.
(clothes swap loot pictured below)
After I am done with them we will pass them on to another family.
The most pressing of the things I thought I would have to buy for this baby was cloth nappies. It has been our main expense with each of our children – investing in a good set of nappies to last till toddlerhood (and I won’t lie, it has been something I’ve LOVED buying!). Last year in May we took all of our remaining cloth nappies and gifted them to an orphanage we visited in the Philippines so we were without nappies. Without this project I would have bought ourselves a new set and been on my merry way but this time a set of nappies that were not being used found me. After I posted my first post about not buying anything a friend asked me if I had nappies. I said no, I didn’t yet – and within the week I had borrowed a full set of bum genius nappies that a friend of mine is not using. Not long after two other friends also asked how I was for nappies and gave me some of theirs that they were not using. I am lucky to have a good network of friends who are parents and I think between us we all have lots of stuff we’re not presently using. A little more being open and sharing is a lovely change. Between children I have so many baby things that aren’t getting use and it would give me much more joy seeing them be useful than collecting dust. We gave away our Ergobaby carrier to a friend in the Philippines too but thankfully I was able to be given another while working for Ergobaby earlier this year. Parenting without a good carrier is not something I want to try.
The other main expense we would have invested in for a new child in our family is a carseat. Thankfully however my sister just gifted me her expensive & very safe booster seat that Priya can move into giving her chair to Theo and Theo’s seat turning back around to accommodate our baby. Generally speaking I would not normally use a second hand car seat (as recommended by experts) but since I know the seats previous use and that it has not been through any accidents (and is still well within it’s expiry date) we will be happy to upgrade Priya to this seat.
Of course, if we hadn’t been undertaking this project I am sure I could find a lot of things we ‘need’. Having a new baby is exciting and buying them things is exciting too. I had thought this commitment may take some of the joy out of having a new baby but I’ve found the opposite being true – I was so thankful and excited by each second hand little item I found at the clothes swap it has made me really appreciate what we have been given. Wanting something nice to give our baby that was new and ‘theirs’ I spent my time in Tennessee learning to knit and knitted a little hat for him that is worth 20 new little hats I could have bought. Our baby is getting something made with his mamas love and I got a new badass skill – knitting!
Now that we are on our third baby I’ve realised – they really do not need much. Enough clothes and nappies to go between washes, a good carrier and a boob. We could go buy a new pram, a bouncer, a highchair, a mobile, change mats, a nappy bag… we could have a list as long as our arm but when there is no choice to buy anything – you realise you can make do without.