Sunday, October 24, 2010

what does a baby need?

when i found out i was expecting my fourth daughter, i was excited and humbled, thankful and hopeful, but i also was a tad bit anxious. the economy is rough and my husband lost his steady work for unsteady work as he was laid off. being frugal, it was a no brainer that i would take that route with the baby...i mean we have a small home anyway so going overboard would only add to the stress of our situation, not make me feel like i've amassed a bunch of great baby items.

so frugal i decided that i would be, and frugal i was.

into about my 3rd week of making up my mind how i would supply the baby with what she needs, i came across a woman in my freecycle group who shared with me the story of how her daughter was going to give her own baby up for adoption because "she didnt have what a baby needs". now it was no coincidence that i ran into this woman on my list, who's daughter i also knew. the year before the daughter had given me 2 huge trashbags full of baby boy clothes that she had collected from her local church for my nephews pending birth...and also shared with me that she was pregnant but had decided to adopt her baby out to a family (sans any explination and i didn't ask). now the story was complete, and as i went back into my home, happy that the mom convinced her daughter to keep her baby and that God would supply the baby's needs (and that He did), i was also distraught that a mother would give her baby up for adoption SIMPLY because she didn't have "what a baby needs", whatever that is. it prompted me to ask myself...what does a baby need anyway?

i even googled the question. and the most basic answer i got went something like, "most infants need a safe place to sleep, adequate clothing, diapers, and food upon coming home from the hospital as well as a carseat for the ride home in a car." it didn't mention anything about swings, diaper genies, baby walkers, high chairs...those glossy extras that most of us seem to equate with being effective, "good" parents deserving of keeping our own blessings from God. after thinking about it some more, i decided to be the first parent i know of to get everything my baby needs (or as much as possible) without purchasing a single item. i mean, not even purchasing through a consignment shop, thrift store, or my all favorite place to purchase items, ebay. i said to myself, "i am going to see just how hard it is to get what a baby needs on a tiny, basically non-existent income, which means spending as little as possible, and nothing if possible at all."

so started my 5 month long project. using freecycle, craigslist, word of mouth, the people i knew and facebook, i went on my quest to find everything my baby needs without spending money.

i'll admit, sometimes i was tempted to go out and purchase items because i felt that i wouldn't get them before the baby was born, but each time, right before i could actually gather up my pennies to purchase the item, someone was put in my path who gave me the item for free. i wound up with ALOT of free baby items, each one in EXCELLENT/GENTLY USED or NEW condition. not a single thing was given to me looking like it had been regularly used or even used at all:

this bassinet is #1 of 1 and was a piece that i absolutely abhorred, but it was listed on craigslist, and i figured i'd need SOMETHING safe and clean for baby to sleep in, so i took it. it's made of real cherry wood and the mattress is a great quality. it came with rockers (pictured), but one broke and i decided to junk them both because they weren't sturdy or safe, thus effectively turning this into a very large, very roomy moses basket of sorts, without all the wicker lol. it's propped up on a large, sturdy coffee table that we don't use, and our bed is right next to it so i can reach over and pick her up easily. i must admit, it has since grown on me. i don't have a retail value, but i am sure it was over 150.00, as the wood is real cherry and i was told it's a designer piece (something was imprinted on the rockers but they're gone--i didn't pay much attention).

this is a gap pocketbook, which i have turned into a gap baby bag. it's perfect for putting baby things in, is stylish and sturdy, and has pockets that will fit bottles perfectly! it was given to me brand new and unused by a freecycler, the price tag said 40.00.

this is the exact same safety 1st tub i wanted to get for the baby, given to me by a great freecycler (the one who gave me bassinet #2 of 2). i had one long ago with my oldest daughter and it really is a neat, comfortable and safe baby tub. i recommend it. retail value is 20.00 new.

this mobile was given to me from a freecyler (the pillow too) hangs from the ceiling! how adorable. i believe the retail value was 30.00, there was a pricetag on the box that was hard to read...and it's an item that was sold in a different country, everything on the box was written in what looked to be chinese.

these bottles were purchased with a free gift card from target for creating a baby registry with them. retail value is 20.00 for everything you see here. i am breastfeeding and these bottles are great transitions from breast to bottle and back again. and since breastmilk is free, that's one less thing i'll have to purchase for baby (formula). all i do not have to date is a breastpump, but i bet i come across one...right now a pump is not mandatory, as it's not advised to use one until 4-6 weeks after milk has regulated and baby has latched on and is feeding well.

this stroller actually came to me in two parts that "just happened" to match perfectly! a freecycler gave me the frame part, retail 69.00 new. the carseat itself was being washed so that's why the whole thing isn't assembled. it's a safe seat too, retail value between 84.00 and 130.00 new, given to me by my sister-in law.

this carseat was a gift to me, brand new. i only included it because it also fits the stroller frame pictured above! so i got 2 carseats...this seat's purchase price was 83.00, brand new.

this is a baby bjorn city baby carrier, original in black. it was given to me by a freecycler, retail value 80.00 new.

this boppy pillow was given to me by the same freecyler, who really was happy that i am breastfeeding lol. the slipcovers can be replaced for 13.00 each. this item retails new for 35.00.

this bassinet was #2 of 2 that i received from a freecycler. she also gave me a bag of little girl items, brand new. this bassinet retails for 129.00 new. the only thing that's missing is the mobile piece, which doesn't matter. what newborn looks at mobiles? plus, i got the mobile above anyway from great freecycler (who also gave me baby's bunting and about 7 sleepers for free):

these items weren't all that i received. i had a small get together in which people brought items for the baby. i don't label it a baby shower because it was just supposed to be a party where the hubby and i met with some friends and enjoyed dinner before the baby came, but after much prompting that we just "turn it into" a baby shower, we told people they could bring a gift IF THEY'D LIKE. from that party, we got diapers, baby wipes, more clothing, and socks, hats and booties. most of the clothing booty i received is pictured in my first picture, but that isn't all that i received. and everything you see in any picture i have on this post was given to me for goods or money was exchanged for me to get the items. not shown that i received for free also are:

a graco baby swing, excellent condition

a seashell pregnancy body pillow (has saved me many a night)

baskets for storing baby items/essentials

more diapers


breastmilk storage totes

binky holders


so with all of the efforts combined from myself and generous people around me, i was blessed abundantly with everything a baby needs (God is AWESOME)...and my total cost out of pocket was 15.00. and the only reason i even spent 15.00 was because i came across a cute little set that i "had to have", but i didn't NEED it. i had everything she needed way before i purchased the items i purchased.

so my conclusion: it is indeed possible to get everything a baby needs to come home and have a very comfortable, healthy and safe first year of life, even if finances and this economy seem to dictate otherwise.


Crystal Marie said...

I loved this! I will share it with my sister, who is living with her husband and their first daughter on a tight budget.

Thanks for writing! (P.S. I responded to your comments on my blog)

a Proverbs wife said...

thanks crystal for visiting my blog and please share with everyone you know! it's a sad state of affairs when people give up their children because they feel they cant clothe, feed and house a baby, not because they don't want to keep their baby...this society is one of the most wasteful in the world, something is always available to use for our families without spending money...the "spend myth" is just another form of societal mind control imo.

i am on my way to your blog now! i love your writings, very informative and thought provoking!