Today I am handing the blog over for a guest post. The lovely Luschka van Onselen is taking over with a brilliant post about natural parenting so please take a read and leave her some fabulous comments as you always do.
I love natural parenting. To me it is about the laziest way of doing a thing ‘right’ that I’ve ever found. And it’s also the most cost-effective.
There was an article I read once about a new baby costing first time parents in the UK on average £4,000.00 from conception to the first birthday, and I nearly fell over. That was a lot more money than we either had, or were willing to spend.
Which is why I am grateful that we discovered ‘attachment parenting’ or ‘natural parenting’ when we did. All the believed benefits of health, attachment, security and so on aside, the financial benefits are enormous.
Just take these few examples:
- Co-sleeping is when your baby either sleeps with you in the bed, or in a crib in the room with you. If your baby is in the bed with you from birth, as ours was, you have no need for the Moses basket, (a saving of roughly £40.00) and if the baby is in the room with you for say the first year or two – which is the norm in most of the non-Western world – you have no need for the £1000 + that a nursery costs you. And of course, you then have to change the nursery to a toddler room just a year or two down the line. Please remember though, that co-sleeping must be done safely at all times!
Saving? Upwards of £1,000.00
- Breastfeeding is an ever contentious issue, so I’ll gloss over the health, the ‘some people can’t’ and so on, and look at the cost of breastfeeding versus formula feeding. I did a whole calculation once on how much breastfeeding had cost me over the course of the first year, and came to the total amount of £190.00, including an expensive breast pump, milk storage bags, a small amount of steriliser and breast pads. That’s not bad, in comparison to the average £400.00 per year that formula milk alone costs – bottles, steriliser and so on excluded!
Saving? A minimum of £200, assuming you only milk feed for one year, which few people do
- Baby-wearing is a personal favourite of mine. It is the practice of carrying your baby in a sling on your front, initially, then on your back later. The benefits of baby-wearing, especially in the case of a premature infant are phenomenal. It also goes a long way to curing reflux and colic.
- But again, looking at just the money, a sling will cost you under £100.00. You can use a sling from birth to about two or three, depending on how much you can carry, but most people can certainly manage until about a year or so – assuming you have the correct sling.Our first one nearly broke my back by three months, but then we purchased an Ella Roo for £64.00 and we’ve never looked back.
- A birth to toddler pushchair will cost at least £100.00 and some go up to over £800.00. And I have seen so many parents positively hate the pushchair they thought was going to be great, and end up buying something smaller, lighter, that fits up the stairs or goes in the boot and matches their lifestyle.
- My advice to parents is always to wait until the baby is six months old before buying a pushchair, because by then you know how having a child has really impacted your life, rather than making an expensive purchase based on how you think it’s going to be.
Saving? Anything from £40.00 to around £700.00
- Another side to natural parenting that we discovered quite accidentally was baby-led weaning. This is the practice of primarily milk feeding up to around a year of age, and allowing your baby to ‘experience’ food from around six months. With baby-led weaning you never buy a jar or sachet of puréed food, nor make your own at home, but instead, your little one eats what you do from around six months of age. For the first couple of months, very little food is actually ‘eaten’ but it’s more about experiencing new tastes and textures and nutrition comes mainly from milk.
- Your baby starts with soft foods,such as steamed carrots, and moves on to pasta etc, until by around a year, they’ll eat really anything you do. My daughter’s favourite foods at 13 months were smoked salmon and asparagus.
- Assuming a very low average cost of .60p per jar of baby food, and assuming only two jars a day that still amounts to over £200 in one year. And that’s a very low average, using the cheapest baby food on the market. And then there’s also the hours of your life you’ll spend spoon-feeding a baby who instinctively wants to learn to feed itself.
Saving? A minimum of £200.00 per year
So, there are just four things that fall in the ‘natural parenting’ category that can and do save money. Of course, everything doesn’t work for everyone, but if you’re interested in any of these pocket friendly life style methods, do look them up and learn more before you start.
Just adopting the natural parenting practices mentioned above – and I’ve not even mentioned cloth nappies (which are another huge saving), natural bath oils instead of baby products or plastic-free toys – will save you enough money that you could, for example, delay returning to work for a while, have a great holiday, or simply just make ends meet.
Luschka van Onselen is a staff writer for PlayPennies.com, a UK parenting blog about saving money. On PlayPennies, she digs out the best deals for mums and dads, and writes about topical parenting news stories. She also writes a personal blog, “Diary of a First Child,”, where Luschka tells the story of raising her little girl, with a focus on natural parenting and living.