February 27, 2007

Cloth Diapers

Well, in a whirlwind we decided to change to cloth diapers. We had been thinking about how wonderful it would be to not always be throwing away oddles of diapers in plastic bags, littering the landfills of Montana (we switched our kitchen trash to paper bags). I was leery of prefolds and pins though. Well, during my research for my budget post, I talked to a friend that uses cloth diapers. She pointed me to a couple of websites, and I saw the light. Cloth diapers are nothing like I thought!

We bought some pocket diapers from Montana's Diaper Store. We actually went to the physical store, which ended up being a great trip. After looking at cloth diapers online all weekend I still wasn't sure what to get! So we went to the store and they helped us pick the right diapers for us. We're using the Pocket Change cloth diapers. They are working great so far!

Wrong again

I thought it was spring, but it's not. It is still definitely winter. It snowed about 6 inches on Friday, and it is forecast to snow every day this week. I guess I just have to wait longer for the nice warm weather.

February 24, 2007

The baby budget

One of my friends is considering getting pregnant. She wanted to know about how much we spend per month on Z's stuff, like diapers, etc. I went a little overboard and tried to estimate everything for her. Here is the email I wrote:

Remember, if you get pregnant I'm sure people are going to help you out a little. I'm sure the grandparents will buy some clothes and especially other little things too, and of course you'll have a shower and get gifts there. And we have some stuff you can have like our newborn tub. So, you won't have to buy absolutely everything yourselves.

The initial costs are the biggest. Getting set up with a nice crib will be between $300 and $500. A good carseat will cost you at least $150 (and don't buy a used one of these! You want something new). Other baby furniture such as a dresser or changing table may be unnecessary but if you want it you may pay a lot, maybe over $500. We bought ourselves a dresser and gave Z my old one, at a cost of about $200. You probably also want to get a baby carrier or two, and those range from about $30 to over $100. The baby backpack comes later, and I saved up for that one and I bought the cadillac for $240. You will also need some layette items like swaddling blankets, onesies, clothes, burp cloths, etc. I don't think we bought any of these for ourselves. But if you do, I would expect to pay in excess of $100 depending on what you get.

Of course there are also the doctor's costs. These vary depending on your insurance, but I can tell you we paid $750 for my doctor, and the overall total (including the $750) was about $3000.

Now the monthly expenses... These change as your baby gets older. I have been breastfeeding and it is cheaper than formula feeding. Yes you do eat more food, but adult food can be less expensive than lots of formula. Now that I breastfeed and give Z formula, we're paying about $20 a month for formula. But this can be way more expensive if you are exclusively formula feeding. Think maybe $120 a month... And once your baby starts solids, you can expect to pay about $30 a month for babyfood jars (between 6 and 8 months).

For diapering, we use disposable diapers. I have seen websites that say to estimate your diaper use at 70 per week. I don't know if we ever used that many! Realistically now we use about 40 diapers per week. We're not changing freaks, and we use diaper cream and Z has never had a rash. We pay about $50 a month for diapers. This gets a bit more expensive as the baby gets older too, but slowly. Wipes are cheap, they cost us less than $20 a month, and other diapering supplies like cream cost us maybe $4 a month.

Now for my speech on how to save money. :)
I have bought many things on ebay. Z's bouncy chair, kick-gym, and lots of clothes. Buying baby clothes on ebay is awesome. I always look for lots with several pieces. The last lot I bought was 6-12 month stuff, and I got name-brand clothes like Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren and Children's Place. I got ~20 pieces for ~$20. WAY cheaper than buying anything at any store. Especially the nice name-brand stuff which costs ~$15 for a onesie. So don't be afraid to look for stuff on ebay! Everything I've gotten was in great condition. People selling baby clothes do seem to be truthful about the condition, and seem to not sell really crummy stuff. A couple of things I got had some spots, but you expect those in used baby clothes. Sometimes you just can't keep them clean. We also bought our baby monitor at the thrift store here, so it cost us $2.50. It is old and kind of crummy, but it works! And we could have paid upwards of $40 for a new one. I know you guys go to the thrift stores so look there for baby stuff. Some things I personally wouldn't buy used, mostly for safety's sake. Like you want a new carseat. Unless you get one from a friend and you're sure it's never been in an accident. We're probably going to get our front-facing seat from my friend S. But I wouldn't just buy one. I also saved up for the backpack, because I want something that can take a lot of wear and tear from me. I know it'll be well used so I didn't want one that was already well used.

In my initial email I forgot to mention nursing bras ($15 to $40 a piece - I have 6), maternity clothes (I think I spent about $150 but you can spend way more), the boppy (an essential for us! - ~$20), the Bumbo chair (super cool - $30), and crib bedding (we got ours handed down, but I think it can be up to $200).

If there are any ammendments or additions to my list, please leave a comment!

February 22, 2007

In the wink of an eye

My baby is growing up before my eyes. It is so amazing, and a little sad. I remember when she was the teeny baby we brought home from the hospital. She couldn't do a thing then, except cry, poop, nurse and sleep. She stared around once in a while when she was awake long enough.

Now she is starting to pull herself up from a sitting position. She really wants to walk. She loves it when we help her take small steps. She can't quite crawl yet, but she is almost there too. One of the nurses that sees her often thinks she might walk without even crawling. I didn't think so until today when I really payed attention to her walking attempts. Now I think she may just be right. Amazing.

Z is also starting to want to relax more in her crib, instead of in my arms. She has a stuffed frog that I started giving her as a sort of "transitional" object. I brought him with to my parent's house to have something in her "crib" that reminded her of home. While we were there she seemed to get attached to him (we call him Ringo), and so when we got home I decided to keep putting him in the crib with her. She likes to grab him and cuddle with him during the night and during naps. In fact, having him has made her naps significantly longer. Where she was sleeping about 40 to 50 minutes before she is now sleeping 1.5 to 2 hours! So now I can put her in her crib with Ringo when she is still fairly awake, and in minutes she is sound asleep with him in one arm or within close reach. It is sooooo sweet. It is also a little sad, because now there is something else comforting besides me or my breast. But, ah, she is growing. She definitely won't be my little baby forever.

New picture

Some snow from our window.

February 21, 2007

Real good friends

Over President's Day weekend we had one of our college friends stay with us for a couple of days. He works in California now and we hadn't seen him since the summer of 2004. We all had such a great time! Before he came I was planning a trip to Yellowstone one day, but then we decided that was too much hassle and we'd all just rather hang out. So that's what we did. He and my husband rented Metroid Prime Echoes and we all played that and Super Smash Brothers Melee. We went out to eat and we went and played a bit in the snow (since there's no snow where he lives in CA).

Most importantly, though, we laughed. We spent a few hours giggling. I don't even know what all we were laughing at, but whatever it was, it was funny. All three of us realized that we hadn't laughed like that in a long time. Years maybe. It felt good. And it made my husband and I think about how great it is to have friends like that. We haven't made any here at grad school.