First Baby! Things To Buy, Things Not To Buy? (Ask The Readers)

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After a long period of trying and a month before our planned IVF procedure, we recently found out Mrs. MMB was pregnant! We were being carefully optimistic so we kept things rather quiet until now. We just had another ultrasound at 20 weeks that indicated we were going to have a little girl. We are beyond excited.

Of course, this discovery has also opened the floodgates to baby shopping and Mrs. MMB is itching to start nesting. As this is our first child, we started reading a lot of books but are still rather lost.

For the parents out there… In financial terms, how was having a baby different than you expected? Did it cost more money than you thought? Less money (ha)? What items were really important to buy properly? What things did you buy that weren’t very useful? General advice, specific recommendations, whatever. I know you readers are quite smart, so I’ll take whatever advice you have to give. πŸ™‚

I know that there are many other blogger with newborns, so I should look for some applicable posts as well. I noticed that we are about a month behind J. Money of BudgetsAreSexy. I already have a good amount of material simply about the costs of infertility itself. The level of assistance possible today is incredible, but it takes time, energy, and a lot of money.

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  1. Congratulations!

    Sign up for Amazon Mom. Free two-day shipping for three months and up to twelve months depending on how much you spend. It is great for that thing you need to get, but don’t have time to go get. Order it and two days later it is at your house with no shipping costs. I think you can do it and then when yours runs out, have your wife sign up. Grandparents can do it also.

    Also, Babies R Us will usually match Amazon’s prices, especially if you call in. Babies R Us will sometimes give you free shipping and lower the price so that it matches Amazon even when tax is applied. I negotiated hard for big ticket items like the cribs (we have twins) and the double stroller and rocking chair.

    Also, some Babies R Us locations take competitor’s coupons, even Bed, Bath and Beyond for some reason, which usually has 20% off coupons. Babies R Us usually only has 10% or 15% off.

    Diaper Genie was a waste. We just use old grocery bags in a little trash can for wet diapers and throw the poopy diapers directly in our outside garbage can. We also barely used our Bumbos.

    A baby swing is a must. Sometimes it is the only thing that works.

    Best wishes!

  2. Don’t waste too much money on pregnancy related stuff and books. It only lasts 9 months. I wish I spent more time on techniques to help the kids sleep through the night (baby wise or happiest baby/toddler on the block). Don’t spend any money on newborn stuff and go for the smaller packs of newborn diapers. Bring an air mattress to the hospital. HAND ME DOWNS!!! Get a convertible crib. Ultimate snap-on crib sheets. Forget the diaper genie, just use plastic grocery bags. You only need the big size on the bottle. Consider a miracle blanket. At least two bases for car seats. Pampers swaddlers all the way (you don’t want to deal with a blow outs). Pumps are expensive, consider renting, borrowing, or buying a used one. You don’t need Dreft. Just use the fragrance and allergen free generic detergent.

  3. Huge congratulations!

    Our first is due in June, so we are in the same boat.

    Baby 411 is a great book that I’ve been engrossed in. We also have the standard Mayo Clinic and What to Expect books, but I enjoy reading 411 much more. The entire book is laid out in question and answer format and it seems every question we’ve had has been in there.

    I also want to thank Steve for his in-depth knowledge of Babies-R-Us discounts and secrets. I had no idea and really didn’t think to ask for a discount even though I should have.

  4. Congratulations!

    I echo the vote for Amazon Mom. Getting diapers/wipes/etc to come to your house automatically is great. One challenge I had when doing our wish list or setting up my subscriptions was figuring out how much of different sizes or how long certain items would last. Most baby stuff is done by weight, so if you use this table I downloaded somewhere, it can help you figure out roughly how long you will need certain diaper sizes, how long that baby swing will last, how long you can use an infant car seat and when to upgrade to the next one, etc.

    I would recommend an infant car seat (we used the Chicco Key Fit 30 and were very happy with it). And instead of a fancy stroller at first, use a Snap and Go that you just drop the carseat into. It was far handier than the big convertible strollers.

    As Steve said, Diaper Genie only works for wet diapers, not dirty ones.

    The best baby book we got was a present. It is called Baby 411 ( When your baby does something new or weird, there is always a chapter that lets you find out if it is normal or if you need to call the doctor. Fifteen months into parenthood, we still use it.

  5. I have no advice but just want to say congratulations to you and Mrs. MMB!

  6. Congratulations! We just got pregnant with our second child. With our first, we got a nice bedroom set new, because we figure we’ll have it forever. We got a new carseat for safety reasons, but the rest of the stuff we got either at yard sales or gifts or hand me downs. I will say that we got a bumbo as a gift, but rarely used it. Oh, one other thing we bought new was a swing. Our baby slept in that until she was 4 months old, so it was worth it for us. If I were to do it over again though, I’d get a used swing.

    Good luck with your first baby! It’s definitely a life changer. But you’ll love that baby more than anything in the world.

  7. Congratulations! Your life is about to change immeasurably! We have a 2.5 year old daughter and a second one due in early July. It’s been an amazing/frustrating/capacity for emotion-expanding/exhausting/wonderful experience.

    Basically all of my (our) priorities have changed. Whereas before I could have been considered conservative with money (cheap), now when it comes to my daughter I am basically much more willing to spend on anything she needs or (more likely) wants. Probably the most noticeable recurring item added to our budget is monthly 529 contributions. We’ve been saving around $400 a month for each of them since before conception. I’ve calculated that that should cover about half of their college expenses for each when the time comes.

    +1 on the Miracle Blanket.

    Good luck.

  8. Congratulations! Having a baby changes everything in a good way:D

    Financially speaking, babies can cost wildly different amounts, depending on whom you’re speaking to.

    We had our baby girl last year and to prepare for her we started a baby fund to take care baby related expenses and smooth our monthly cash flow until we got a better handle on things.

    I actually started a baby expenses series on my site to record our expenses as well as others’ baby costs.
    Generally speaking the biggest change was health insurance – our premiums went up about $200 for the family option. The first few months expenses were up a bit due to buying baby gear as the need came up.

    For the most part though, it hasn’t been a huge financial impact. Part of that is due to breastfeeding (plus baby food) and working from home.

  9. Captain Cheapo says

    Oh how my junk we brought that we didn’t end up needing. My best advice for you is to stay away from babies r us and the like. Those stores are absolutely loaded with stuff you don’t need. Here’s a good example Jonathon. A baby monitor you need, absolutely. But do you really need one with a tv screen? When our first child turned one, we must have given away 1,000s of dollars worth of baby stuff which we never even opened. And I’m fairly sure our recipients ended up paying it forward. He’s six and we still have baby shampoo to use up. The advice on the swing is excellent. Fisher Price used to make a portable one (one piece/folds flat) and it was a life saver. Forget the baby bjorns and go straight to a Kelty backpack (if you don’t mind looking like a Euro geek). It will save your back and will leave you hands free to walk the dog, go shopping, ride the subway, etc. You can also sell it when you are done for 2/3rds of what you paid for it. We did that with the Bugaboo stroller. Paid $700, used it for two years and sold it on Craigslist for $550. We would have paid more for a cheapie which we could not have resold. Get a crib that converts. A bassinet is best borrowed since it will be used for such a short term. Find a used baby mattress. Don’t be too scared of the germ stuff. In the first two weeks, you will sanitize everything. In the next two you will run it under warm water. By week 5, you will rub it on your pants leg. By week 7, it could fall in a public toilet and you’ll still use it. The pump advice is great and don’t worry about the whole nipple confusion thing. It’s simply not true. Buy books, never magazines. The latter is filled with fear. Babies and kids are resilient. They are not made of China. More kids in the world have are raised on mud floors in homes that don’t have running water. Think about this, a lot. Love your girl as much as you can, but don’t coddle her into a life of dependance. You are going to have a great time. And here’s one more piece of info. Kids aren’t nearly as expensive as people say they are. Unless of course, you spoil them so much that they turn into rotten brats. Good luck and have lots of fun, and make sure you report to us the progress.

  10. Observations:
    -Time disappears, so automate as much as you can (autopay, shopping, chores, etc.)

    -Utilities will jump up; you’ll have more garbage (if disposable diapers) or have an added service (if using cloth). In either case water/sewer will jump since it’ll seem like all you do is laundry.

    -Sleep becomes the most precious commodity; get as much as you can (’cause it won’t be enough)

    -Peps: Parent support group matched up based on age (i.e. 0-4 months), sharing tips, strategies, and frustrations that other non-parents or grandparents can’t offer or understand. (i.e. local schools, good local stores that are kid friendly, best source of used kid stuff, etc.) Very helpful if you don’t have a local network of parents with kids the same age. Ours turned into a babysitting co-op.

    -Check 529 enrollment periods. Most have fixed enrollment periods, but allow new babies/parents to register at any time up to a certain age.

  11. Money saving things we do:

    1. Use clothe diapers, and wash them yourself.
    2. Breastfeed! Better for the baby, better for mom, super convenient, and free
    3. Baby-led weaning. No need to buy baby-food — he just eats what we eat. Very easy!

    Those three things alone will save you $100’s, save the environment, and make your life less stressful.

  12. Congrats! I have three of my own. Expect all of your budget planning to go out the window. Time to revise. Daycare is costly and IMHO a big part of our budget currently.

    Start ramping up your 529 account.

  13. As John McClane said in Die Hard: “Welcome to the party, pal!” πŸ™‚

    Congratulations! And thanks for running such an informative site.

    My advice – do yourself a favor and don’t use any of the tuition calculators!

  14. Congratulations!!!

    I’d recommend listening to Pregtastic podcasts. They go through all sorts of diff topics like diapering, natural childbirth, epidurals, strollers, baby carriers, breastfeeding, saving money, and dealing of course pregnancy.

    -Dunstan’s baby language DVD seems like it could be amazing to understanding a newborn and keeping crying down.

    Congratulations again! So excited about your pregnancy.

  15. It’s a lousy investment… I’ve yet to see a return on the money.

    Just kidding, it’s great to have kids, but you priorities definitely change. And the unexpected expenses that are the worst, like when my daughter broke her front tooth and we had to put her under for a root canal. The anesthesia was about $700 and the whole procedure about $1500. The first dentist claimed we didn’t need to put her under and was going to have my wife hold my daughter for the procedure. That traumatized everyone for life.

    My advice is don’t spend too much on baby furniture in anticipation, $2000 on a cherry wood crib, $2000 on a baby feeding rocking chair, etc. The baby phase is pretty short and unless you are planning on many more that stuff just won’t be used enough.

    I have to disagree with Steve though, a diaper genie is a must (just the plain one though), some of the diapers were pretty toxic so being able to throw them away immediately is great.

  16. Congratulations Jonathon! Our daughter was, without question, the most amazing thing that has ever happened in our lives. As she has grown (8 years old now), she continues to surprise us with her kindness, intelligence and happiness. If I could only give you one piece of parenting advice, it would be to have rules and ALWAYS follow through with what you say. (Don’t think up empty threats to try to shape her behavior. Just have fair rules and simple consequences for not following the rules that are always enforced consistently.) If you do this early and show that you lovingly have to follow through with punishment for not following the rules (“I’m sorry you made a bad choice, I’m afraid you are going to have to be in timeout” etc), you’ll find that ultimately you won’t need to discipline her at all. We have literally not had to discipline our daughter since she was about 2 and a half. She chooses to make the right decision because she wants to and doesn’t want to let us down. It makes for a very happy house. Consistency is key.

    Anyway, from a financial perspective, I haven’t found it to be much different. Sure, there are incremental expenses to cover but if you are living well below your means anyway, you’ll hardly notice. (except daycare). My wife stayed home for the first three years so we really didn’t notice the extra expenses like diapers etc but once we put our daughter in daycare, that was quite an expense! Other than that, once she started school, the expenses really aren’t even noticeable. Just use a bit of your blog income and you’ll never know the difference. πŸ™‚

    Again, congratulations! It’s an amazing journey that I’m sure your wife and you will enjoy immensely!!

  17. Congratulations! That is soooo exciting! One thing I learned when researching what to get or not get is that it depends! Some people find some things life savers while others could care less about those items. We rarely use our swing, but have used our Bumbo and love our Diaper Genie – my husband would say it is one of the top baby items needed :). Every baby is different and every families lifestyle is different. It is also easy to make do without many things.

    We bought almost everything from Craigslist or at consignment sales. We also got a lot of hand me downs! The only clothes I have every bought new were white onesies. Other items I bought new – car seat, Nosefrida Snot Sucker (gross but great), and the wonderful Miracle Blanket. I also really like the Ergo baby carrier.

    The biggest financial change is paying for daycare. That is a huge chunk of money monthly that was previously going to my 401k.

    Breastfeeding, cloth diapers (at least in the first few months before daycare), and making my own baby food have all saved money.

    Good luck! Our daughter is 10 months old and it just keeps getting better. πŸ™‚

  18. Congratulations Jonathan! Sorry, I have no advice to give as you’re about a year ahead of me in everything πŸ™‚ Looking forward to learning from your experiences as you forge the way ahead!

  19. Congrats on the kid! We have baby #4 on the way…so I guess I might be able to offer some advice. I’m amazed at how cheap kids are. They cost very little! In fact, their tax breaks pay for themselves, until they start devouring whole cows in their teenage years.

    We do diapers on Amazon to save a killing. We do wipes at Costco (usually with coupon). Formula at Costco if you do that kind of thing.

    My favorite baby product is the baby bjorn soft bib. I prefer booster seats (Fisher-Price Healthy Care Deluxe Booster Seat) to full high chairs. I don’t know why we ever messed with full high chairs.

    By far the easiest way to blow money on babies is clothing. Free hand-me-downs from family/friends is a sure way to go. Craigslist ain’t bad if you’re into that sort of thing. Thrift shops are great (for toys too).

    Oh yeah, don’t buy a minivan/SUV because you had your first kid!! I know too many parents who have 1 or two kids who buy a minivan. It makes no sense! We happily fit 3 kids into the back seat of our tiny sedan until the news of baby #4 hastened our minivan purchase…and even then I would have preferred a 6 passenger Mazda5 had my wife not wanted the option to have more kids.

    And learn how to say “no” to kids. It’s not healthy for them to be coddled with every want they ever desire. Enjoy!!!!!!!

  20. And every first-time father needs to read the book “my boys can swim”

  21. Congratulations! I’ve got a 6 & 4 year old and it’s a blast.

    Get the “Baby bargains” book. Has good suggestions on where spending money is worth it and where it is a waste.
    Buy baby clothes big, she’ll grow into them very fast.
    Echo on the hand me downs, most clothes only get worn for a short time in the first year because of the fast growth.
    Get a carrier infant car seat that has a car base + a bare bones stroller frame that it can snap into. Huge convenience for when she falls asleep and you can move her around without waking her up.
    Stick w/ lightweight items for things you are going to haul around (strollers, diaper bags, etc). Heavy things may look great, but after hauling them in and out of the car trunk a hundred times and lugging them around, it gets old quickly.

    Finance points: Biggest expense for us has been daycare (we both work). Especially when we had the second kid, it was almost another mortgage payment for the day care costs! (live in the SF Bay area).
    Definitely find a low cost 529 plan and contribute.
    Amazon Mom + Subscribe & Save is great for diapers & wipes.

  22. @Han: Amazon Mom unfortunately not as good of a deal as it was previously. πŸ™

  23. Congratulations.

    I agree with the first poster that our Bumbo didn’t really get used much. Biggest thing I’ve learned is that kids outgrow toys and clothes super quick (like maybe in a matter of days), especially within the first year. Dropping any kind of money on really nice, must-have toys or clothes is pretty much a complete waste I think. Just go generic or hand-me-downs for those. And don’t buy your kid any toys yourself unless you really, really want to – you’ll be amazed how many your family and friends get them and how little room you have for all the stuff!

    As for books, here is a must read for you (not your wife) if only to lighten the mood:

  24. Congratulations!! Our baby has cost us less than what we expected though living in Canada we don’t have to worry about health care costs which seem to be a biggie for our American neighbours. I’ve posted about some of the things I’ve done to save money in my Baby on A Budget series: We were very lucky to get all my sister’s hand me downs and nearly everything else we needed we registered for or let people know we needed so that they could buy the things we needed as gifts. It worked out very well. I put $20 a month from our cashflow into our baby’s budget and the rest is covered by the government money we get ($140 a month). With that we’ve covered all baby expenses and have saved up about $1100 for an education fund over the past 10 months. I could have done even better but I have spent some money on second hand toys and clothing that I really didn’t need but just wanted to buy.

  25. Yay!!!!!! Congratulations!!!!!!

    I would say one big thing to realize is that the saying “babies don’t need many things” really is true, despite the long lists of items you’ll need for the baby that you’ll see. Especially in a warm climate, you can bring the baby home and if your wife is nursing, you can pretty much get by with diapers, rags, and a safe sleeping space. Most of what we used at first was just “pieces of cloth” – cloth diapers, spit rags, blankets. Living in the first world, and with Amazon, you really can wait and buy things as you need them, which cuts down on the stuff you buy and never use.

    Other things we found useful at first:
    *My Brest Friend nursing pillow was a lifesaver the first 4 weeks. After that a bobby was fine, but the buckle on MBF was critical at the beginning.
    *Nursing stool (yea, it’s weird, but proper posture is critical)
    *Graco Snugride carseat and stroller frame (don’t get an off brand stroller frame, they suck)
    *Arm’s reach mini cosleeper or other bassinet
    *Aden and Anais muslin wraps

    I love, love, love cloth diapers (and wipes!) and didn’t find that they were much extra work at all, I swear. And now that we’re having baby #2 I’m astounded to think of how much money we won’t be spending. I’d really recommend looking into them.

    Also hit yard sales this spring to stock up on clothing (all the way through 12 or 18 months, you’ll get lots of newborn stuff as gifts, but it peters out around 6 months) and you can get lots of other kid stuff dirt cheap used (craigslist too!)

  26. my advice:

    sleep when they sleep, especially for MMB.

    figure out if you want to brest feed, formula feed, or both, and then stick to your guns, sometimes hospital nurses can have their own agenda for your baby.

    good price for baby wipes:
    1$ for package of 60 to 70

    great price for diapers (size 1s)
    < 10c per diaper
    good price for diapers
    < 15c per diaper
    (diapers and wipes motivated me to start couponing)

    don't buy too many size 1s. they might not stay in them too long

    borrow as much stuff as you can from anyone you know who has a baby, no reason to buy a baby swing for < 1 year, if you can borrow it and give it back.

    cook food and freeze it now, you wont want to cook for the first month after the baby comes.

    that's what i can remember from our first – just like you, we are expecting in july, good luck.

  27. Because I haven’t heard it said yet, we loved our Ergo baby/toddler carrier. It can be used (with an insert) forward-facing for an infant, though we always used it as a backpack when our children were older (1+). Perhaps not a purchase to be made now, but be on the lookout for one at garage sales/craigslist. That and the Miracle Blanket were probably our “best” purchases. We also liked the Bum Genius cloth diapers, but in my opinion that’s not really a financial decision (I think the cost was a wash).

  28. oh, and one more thing

    we loved pampers swaddlers – they only go up to size 3

    after that, we found most diapers to be basicly the same

  29. Many congratulations! For us it’s been much work and much joy.
    I very much recommend the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby, and if you can find the DVD for Happiest Baby on the Block.
    I don’t know how unique we are, but we have purchased maybe only 4 or 5 clothing items new and we have 2 kids now. We received boxes of clothes from friends whose kids quickly grew out of them, then there’s the baby showers and grandparents.
    We learned pretty quick to go with Huggies instead of a cheaper brand.

  30. C. Maoxian says

    Congratulations to you and the Mrs., Jonathan! You can take all your careful planning and budgeting and chuck them out the window, and push back all your “goals” by at least a decade (or two). πŸ˜‰

    We found the What to Expect When You’re Expecting book to be useful. Can’t think of much else offhand. We did one of those color 3D ultrasound videos, which probably cost a couple grand (can’t remember) … it was neat but probably not money well spent. I wanted to buy a 19.99 stroller but the wife got a 199.99 Peg Perego? which was a good thing since it’s been beaten to death and is still going strong seven years later (for baby #2).

  31. Congrats!

    The best long-term, kid-related financial decision….make friends with people who have a 1 year old and are done having kids. They will happily give away so much stuff. We are still using two high-chairs, a baby gate, a red plastic car, an exersaucer, and tons of clothes that were given to us by friends who were done having kids. It saved us a ton of money!!

    Yard sales and craigslist are also good. The only thing I’d buy new is a car seat.

  32. Thought of a few more favorites:
    *Get the “Happiest Baby on the Block” DVD (not the book!)
    *Sleep Sheep or other white noise generator – they work like magic
    *Cloth diapers are great in general, but that’s a huge topic. But cloth wipes are amazing! Infinitely better than disposable ones. Get a bunch and a wipe warmer. Fold the wipes, put them in the warmer, and pour soapy water over them and you’re good to go.
    *Moby Wrap baby carrier. Then throw out the instruction booklet and watch the youtube videos for instructions. (I would advise against a Baby Bjorn as they’re bad for baby’s hips and parents’ backs.)
    *Cooshee changing tables is the best ever. Just hose it off in the tub instead of changing cloth covers:

  33. Amazon for ALMOST ALL gears/toys, get free Prime with .edu addresses.
    Sam’s Club/Costco/Amazon for diapers and formulas.
    Target for cheap and good store branded wipes.
    Babies R Us for clearance clothing and exclusive items, and only shop there with sales and promotions.
    Carter’s for all other clothing.
    Whole Foods for organic veggies (it’s just me)…

    Expect initial cost of $1-2K for the first year – crib, car seat, stroller, play yard, high chair, baby monitor, swing/bouncer/exersaucer, bottles, breast pump, bibs, bottle warmer, bath tub, etc…

    You need a spreadsheet and a lot of product reviews and price comparisons, Dad!

  34. In my 2-worker home, childcare is far and away the biggest expense, so much so that it renders basically everything else a rounding error. Seriously, about $5 out of every $6 spent on my 7-month-old has been childcare.

    529’s — if your state gives a tax deduction, this is a no brainer. Just ran my taxes and was pleasantly surprised with the $1700 my contribution had decreased my state taxes.

    Huggies — NO! They hold pee like hole-y cheesecloth! We got a lot of Huggies as baby shower gifts (presumably because they’re cheap) and ended up donating the bulk of them to charity. Pampers swaddlers worked very well.

    We got a lot of stuff used or cheap, which helps offset the childcare costs somewhat. In my neighborhood, there’s a Yahoo Groups parents’ listserve where people constantly post FF and FS items. $25 decked my kid in Calvin Klein and Kenneth Cole for 3 months. I can’t imagine why anyone would buy Calvin Klein baby clothes new, but when purchased by the $25 garbage bag …

    Strollers — This really depends on your situation. In the burbs, your stroller needs to fit your car. In NY, your stroller IS your car. I live in Brooklyn (and haven’t owned a car since 2000), so we went for a Bugaboo. It has great shocks, even when loaded down with grocery bags. And the large air-filled tires work well for when there are no curb cuts, the slate sidewalks are cracked, etc.

  35. Congrats Jonathan and Mrs. Jonathan! Such wonderful news. I studied the costs of all the gear, stuff, etc. but to be honest the one expense I was completely unprepared for… was that I didn’t want to go back to work. Giving up a high paying job was “expensive” but worth every penny…

    Enjoy the rest of the pregnancy! Congrats!

  36. Congrats!
    My advice:
    I know everyone wants that perfect, right out of a magazine nursery, but it’s so expensive. The baby will not care if everything matches. Try to resist and you’ll save a lot.

    I loved my bassinet. It’s a must, but try and get it secondhand. They only use it 3 months tops.

    Get a DVR if you don’t already have one. You and your wife will probably miss your favorite shows and will need something to watch during middle-of-the-night feedings.

    Also, there are a ton of great blogs out there that have up to the minute baby savings. is my favorite.

    Oh, and get your wife a gift after delivery. The baby always gets the gifts. I loved it when my husband gave me flowers and a hallmark statue that had a new mom and dad holding a baby. It was so sweet.

    Good luck and I hope you’re not too busy to keep up with this blog. I love your tips!

  37. Definitely get everything used (except diapers, I suppose πŸ˜‰

    We have 2 kids now, and our budget didn’t change significantly from our 0 kid days. Diapers was the only noticeable expense. But we’re cheap, and 99% of the stuff for our kids is used, so very cheap or free.

    Craigslist, second hand stores, and hand-me-downs from friends (or family if they are in town).

  38. I recommend this book to new parents:

    Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child
    by Marc Weissbluth

    It’s a study-based vs. opinion-based book on kids and sleep.

  39. Most overrated baby item: Pack and Play. Ours was never packed, nor played in.

    Most underrated baby item: Stroller frame. It’s cheap, lightweight, and a carseat snaps right into it. Allows you to put off buying a real stroller until you have more time. We got way more use out of the frame than the “real” stroller- once my son was walking he had no interest in being pushed.

    Don’t buy stuff earlier than you need it. Not only do warranties expire, but many items get recalled, and some things actually have an expiration date (car seats)! The car seat expiration can become an issue if there’s a baby #2.

    Best of luck and thanks for writing a great blog!

  40. Congrats to you and your wife. Enjoy!

    -you will be buying lots of stuff in bulk. Have membership to Costco or BJ’s.
    diapers,formulas, detergent and clothes
    -furniture, skip the changing table. Waste of space and money
    -start your savings now for kid (529, setting up savings bond account for child, you will probably get money and bonds for gifts)
    -if someone offers help, take it.

  41. Congratulations! I knew something was up over the last year or so and I am very happy for Mr. Money Blog. We took a bunch of trying too and nothing was more frustrating in my life. Now we have an 8 month old tearing the crap out of my living room as I type this.

    Someone gave us the book Baby Bargains which is helpful in that it tells you that you don’t need to buy much. People were disappointed we only had 20 things on our registry, but that is all we wanted. I also setup a bunch of Craigslist searches and got a ton of stuff cheap/free like bouncers, swings, etc. Diapers and formula are our biggest expenses, probably $100/month. Sleep was the biggest challenge, and reading the Ferber book and applying his methods was the most important way we had 3 happy people in the house.

    Again, congratulations!

  42. My suggestion… Either you or your wife take some time off work; you clearly have a nice financial cushion and it’s a shame to send your kid(s) to daycare for the first 1-2 years of life unless you absolutely need to. You and your wife will miss out on your daughter’s milestones and development, and she will not benefit from you attention and nurturing. Just my two cents…

  43. Many congrats. Mostly under the “other advice” category (and based on no particular authority):

    1. Take time off (yes you, not just Mrs. MMB) to bond with your child. I took a 2.5 month paternity leave with my first in the depths of the Great Recession (career suicide some said) and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. People may look at you funny, but you’ll forget all about it the first time your baby girl smiles at you.

    2. Don’t let Mrs. MMB get too stressed out about breast feeding. It’s amazing the amount of pressure new moms get from nurses, friends, family, themselves, etc. If it works for you, great. If it doesn’t there are lots of options (pumping and then bottle feeding, etc.) that still get your child breast milk, and formula is obviously always an option (and incredibly, isn’t toxic).

    3. You need a bigger car than you think you do–especially if you plan to have more than one child. A mid-sized SUV sounds big until you pack it for your first trip to see the grandparents. Trust me on this one.

    4. Do get a diaper genie or equivalent. We lived without one for our first child and regretted it. After a while, the smell was awful and it felt unsanitary somehow. We love the Munchkin Arm & Hammer Diaper Pail System.

    5. Take time for yourself even after the baby is born, and make sure Mrs. MMB does too. Find a good babysitter and USE THEM. Not every day, obviously, and not necessarily when she’s a week old, but before too long consider taking a few hours each week for yourself. It’s surprisingly important.

    6. When things are hard (and they will be) don’t be afraid to ask for help and remember that it does get easier.

    Have fun! You’re in for a great ride.

  44. Congrats dude!!! We were starting to look into all that infertility stuff too (I had started taking tests myself just to start ruling things out), and then BAM! It hit us when we least expected it πŸ™‚ Or at least when I wasn’t expecting it. Considering I was in the middle of a 4-hour shopping trip for someone at Babys R Us (with another dude, not even my wife, haha…)… but I guess it prompted her to check and voila. So maybe the trick is hanging out with other babies??

    Anyways, I’ll name mine Jonathan if you name yours J. Money πŸ˜‰

  45. One of the biggest money- saving strategies for the 1st yr of life is breast-feeding!
    ( and we’re not even talking about numerous health benefits of breast feeding)
    I heard the number; about $1200 saved on formula.

  46. “Diaper Genie was a waste. We just use old grocery bags in a little trash can for wet diapers and throw the poopy diapers directly in our outside garbage can.”

    Ditto-I bought a 12 inch metal garden bucket w/lid from Home depot for 9.99 lined with grocery store bags. Still use it and basically free.

    Crib was bought from ikea-100 bucks and it converts to the toddler bed. We got a used lazy boy recliner/rocker to put in the nursery. Better than dropping 600 at the stores for top of the line.

    Cloths-okay so don’t buy any. You’ll be given a bunch and they grow so fast. We literally got 2-3 wears before they were too small. Hit the mom-to-mom sales for everything (in Louisville they have a spring/fall week long ones in an old Circuit City where you can buy and also drop off to make extra money). You get better prices and until they hit 18 months there are tons of nice stuff since the kids can’t really wear the cloths out. They grow too fast and are not running around yet.

    Feeding seats – we found a 10 dollar graco feeding seat at a yard sale that has been great. One friend got the high end swedish seat that puts them right up to the dining room table- It’s not as useful. We can put our kid in ours and have him finger paint, play with playdo and wheel him over to the window so he can watch the construction crew across the street while he eats lunch.

    We had to get a electric swing-it really helped him take naps, also an exercise ball makes it easier to bounce them to sleep. Kept that in the nursery for the late night feedings.

    We used Amazon Mom and did subscribe and save for Nature Baby diapers, whipes, etc. We bought the Target generic Up brand of baby formula-worked great.

    DO NOT READ “What to expect when expecting” it’s overly alarmist and just scared the crap out of us vs giving us any useful info. You need to read The Expectant Father.

    “Most overrated baby item: Pack and Play. Ours was never packed, nor played in.”
    I agree but it depends if you take your kid to lots of other houses or not. We didn’t.

    Start a 529. Also look into accident insurance from someone like AIG. Especially when they start cruising. It will help cover any expenses for physical injuries (not major medical illness). Like when you kid takes a tumbe down some stairs as he is learning to walk. Really helps for emergency room visit costs.

  47. Congrats! We went down the infertility road too! We have two girls now. The costs are a shock. After working so hard to have kids I wanted to take the full 12 weeks of FMLA time. This meant 6 weeks at $500 a week disability and 6 weeks at no pay coupled with tons of new expenses.

    The best book we read was Babywise for making sure everyone learned to sleep through the night.

    The two best decisions we made were making all our own organic baby food following Super Baby Foods and using cloth diapers. We did not buy and clean cloth diapers, we had a service and bought diaper covers on the internet. It was no harder than using disposable diapers since we had diaper service, and both our kids were potty trained at 18 months. This saved us lots of money on diapers compared to kids who stay in disposables for three years! Kids in cloth diapers train much faster because they actually feel when they are wet.

    Congrats again!

  48. I also have no advice, but as a long time ready I wanted to say congratulations to you and Mrs. MMB!

  49. A couple other financial tips I forgot in my first post:

    1) If you don’t have term life insurance for both of you, now is the time to get it!
    Skip the kid life insurance, no reason to get it.

    2) Update your wills and consider setting up a living trust if you don’t have one already

  50. Amy Ramos says

    Congratulations!! No words of wisdom as my husband and I are still trying for #1 and plan to do IVF next year (need to save up!)
    I joke with my husband that since it is costing us to make a baby, our child will have to get a job to pay us back
    I would start a 529 and a savings account NOW so that when she goes to college, it will not be that much of a hit on your wallet.

  51. Congratulations!

    I have three myself, 6, 3 and 1 years old. I’ll echo much of what has been said already and add a few things. Truth be told, they cost less than I expected, especially when we just had one. Daycare is very expensive, however our incomes grew to fit the situation. The biggest expense comes in terms of time. We truly cannot remember what exactly we did with all that time when we were childless. Certain things suffer as a result, but if you’re honest about it and good at prioritizing you can see to it that the important things are maintained. Make sure to make time for your spouse and try fit the child into your world rather than modify yours radically. It is better for you and the kid. Children are a great joy and a serious challenge. However I usually see that good people will always find themselves up to it.

  52. I like the pack-n-play. If you visit grandparents try to get one for each of them and don’t bother carrying it back and forth in the car.

    I also loved the diaper genie and I don’t understand why people are down on it. I guess it might be expensive but the diaper period doesn’t last long anyway.

    biggest wastes i can remember.

    warmer for the wipes – silly and not necessary

    tub/chair for bathing a newborn in the sink- used it very few times and probably could have managed without it.

    Baby Bjorn was one of the most-used items.

    have fun!

  53. hawks5999 says

    Congratulations! We are expecting number 4 and I agree with a lot of what’s been said above. I would disagree on the Pack and Play though. We’ve used our pack and play with each of our children. Primarily it’s been more of a parenting tool than a play tool. That is as you train your children there will be different stages of freedom and solo play that are beneficial to them developing contentment without requiring constant attention. For us, we used the pack and play to have our child play by themselves without being able to get into something and get hurt. This isn’t until they start crawling though, so it’s not an immediate necessity. However, the pack and play is a good replacement for the utterly useless bassinet. For the first week(s) you will probably have your baby in or very near your room to facilitate feeding. People will recommend a bassinet for this, but a pack and play with an adjustable height floor (just about all of them) meet this need and provide value after that first week(s).
    I also recommend a car seat that goes from infant to 20+ pounds that can be both rear or forward facing and fits on a stroller. Car seats start to get expensive if you are getting an infant rear, a toddler front, etc. 20-25 pounds should get you through 12-18 months depending on your baby’s size.
    We recommend babywise for infant sleep/feed/play scheduling but beyond that recommend finding older couples who have kids that you notice behave well and get information from them on how they did it. And I will chime in on the drastic change you will experience in your life, your priorities and your POV. You won’t maybe notice it for a year or two… do what you can to record and remember these last months of life before children. Because once they come, everything prior to them will seem like another world.
    Congratulations again.

  54. Congrats! Babies/kids are great! Things didn’t change too much for us. I found that the cost evened out..yes we bought more stuff (for the baby), but we ate out less and purchased less stuff for us. I echo a lot of the comments above…you can get by with much less than what’s available at Babies R Us. Just focus on stuff that keeps your baby safe and warm. Everything else should be aimed at making your life easier. Good luck!

  55. Congrats! We have a 3 month old…it’s a challenge, but it’s getting fun!

    Most useful for first 3 months: exercise ball for bouncing and moby wrap to keep baby close and give you 2 hands to use. I spent a lot of time on the internet, and baby didn’t cry… Oh, and breast milk is free.

    It’s tempting to buy a lot of things, but probably not wise. You’ll get an idea of what you really need once baby is here. We got out stroller last week – only after he was born could I focus on what features made sense to us. Also, craigslist and hand-me-downs all the way!

    Useless to us: baby tub (I took him in the bath with me, more relaxing for all), wipe warmer, co-sleeper (became a night stand of sorts…)

    We paid more than most for the birth, but got the type of birth and provider we wanted. In the end it just matters that it’s worth it to you!

    Good luck!

  56. Buy whatever you want. People will drown you in what you’re supposed to do, whether it be spend a lot or a little. Frankly, I’m a little tired of people saying how much I’m “supposed” to be spending. As long as you’re reaching your goals then everything is peachy, right?

    Oh, congrats!

  57. Congratulations Johnathan!

    +1 for Baby Bargains – it does a really good job of laying out what’s important and what you can skip or cheap-out on.

    +1 for Amazon Moms – so awesome. We are heavy Amazon users now. In general, learn what deals look like and then STOCK UP LIKE CRAZY. If I ever see the storage bags my wife uses for breastmilk go on sale … I back up the truck.

    This is the time to consider/reconsider life insurance, property insurance and health insurance. We were lucky enough to have a $20 baby (co-pay only!). If we had our little girl this year, we would have maxed out our Out of Pocket maximum in on fell swoop.

    There are some personal considerations which can have an affect on finances. On the surface, it would seem that breastfeeding is far cheaper than formula feeding. However, in practice I’m not totally sure. We breastfeed our baby, so we don’t have a good sense of what formula costs – I hear it is expensive and that formula fed babies just consume more (because it is not as nutritionally dense.) However, after you buy a breast pump, all the accessories, an extra freezer for storage, bottles, lactation consultations etc … it could be a wash. I haven’t run the number, so I just don’t know.

    Best of luck!

  58. Congratulations!

    I have a 20 year-old daughter. I raised her in China. Your questions made me think of that several years ago, we thought about to have a new baby in US, so I asked “How much does a baby spend?” to one of my coworkers who had 3 years old son. He answered: “How much you make!”.

  59. Congratulations to you and your wife aka Mrs. MMB!!!!!!!!!!!!!! =)

  60. congratulations!

    i agree about childcare being the largest expense and also having friends/family with older kids makes a huge difference. i’ve barely bought any clothes and toys, carseats, etc and estimate saving thousands from that over the past 4 years. i recommend reading the babycheapskate blog and ask an organic mom (the daily green) – just knowing how much toxic stuff is out there really cuts down on buying stuff period! πŸ™‚

  61. Congratulations!

    I cannot recommend enough a video baby monitor. You can easily check on the kiddo without disturbing them. It was a huge relief to the Mrs to be able to check on our daughter after she started sleeping in her own room.

    With the video monitor we could see if she was awake and ready to get up or simply snuggling back in for more. I think this avoided the “I have to cry to get my parent’s attention” tendency, because if we saw she was awake we’d go in and get her before she resorted to crying to call us in.

  62. Congratulations! I’m glad you were able to get it done without IVF.

    I have 4 foster children, two we got as newborns from the hosptial with less than 3 hours notice for each.

    I would suggest not buying too much ahead of time. People stop by with gifts and a lot of the baby stuff just leads to clutter. If you end up needign it, you can buy it later. Don’t buy to many clothes. It is better (and less stinky) to just wash every couple days. Things I really liked having:

    A rock and lay sleeper (baby falls asleep sooooooo easily in this) we didn’t get a crib for either of the newborns until they were 6 months.

    Carriers for wearing baby (I like the baby k’tan for newborns, maya wrap for hip babies, and ergo for babies on teh back once they get to 7 or 8 months old). With 4 babies and toddlers, I’m usually wearing more than one at once in various ways.

    Lots and lots of recieving blankets big enough for swaddling the baby.

    A couple diaper bags so you always have one packed and ready to walk otu the door with it.

    Video baby monitor. I took us until the one baby was 7 months adn we had the other newborn to buy this and I wish we had gotten it earlier. It made me much less afraid of SIDS if I coudl see the baby moving and breathing and stopped me from going in and checking the babies, waking them up.

    The baby won’t care about toys or be old enough for exersaucers, jumperoos etc until about 4 months old so that is plenty of time to find those things after the little one comes if it seems like the kid will like it. Some babies don’t like some play things and it is better to try otu the baby at a friend’s house with the stuff than get a bunch of stuff you wont’ use.

    We never used a changing table. I had bags with wipes and diapers in various locations throughout the house and did changes on beds or on the floor. However my sister-in-law reminded me that I had no problem with the floor since I didn’t just give birth and she found herself having a hard time bending over.

  63. Congratulations Jonathan! This is very exciting. I’ve been following your blog for so long so this almost feels like a family member is expecting πŸ™‚

    My recommendations are below. Some have already been voiced by others:

    1. Shop at Costco for basics (wipes, diapers, formula). Enfamil and Huggies work for our son.

    2. By used items (craigslist, mothers clubs, etc…) when you can. Kids grow so fast and you can get used items for fractions of new items and most are barely used, especially toys. I purchased a Rain Forest Jumper and a car walker for $10 each and they were my investments. Granted the prices I paid were VERY low (typical used jumper is about $30-$40).

    3. Don’t waste money on things like wipes warmer, bottle warmer, bath water temperature reader, etc…. If you get these from showers, return them. Babies take room temperature or even cold milk just fine. Diaper Genie is another debatable item. We got one and used for a few months, but ending up just put the poopy diapers in a plastic bag (grocery) and toss it in regular trash. With the Genie, you constantly have to buy the lining and those cost a lot of money.

    4. Must have items: aden + anais Muslin Wraps

    They have different patterns to choose from. They are GREAT for swaddling, stroller cover, etc….

    An electric swing, bouncer, pack-n-play are also very useful. Chose a pack-n-play with a bassinet so you don’t need to purchase a bassinet separately.

    That’s it for now. I’ll add more if I can think of anything else useful.

  64. Congratulations!

    +1 for the Baby Bargains book and the stroller frame.

    Regarding furniture, I do not reccomend dark-colored (i.e. cherry) wood furniture. My toddler is a muncher and his crib shows it.

    There are several things you can do to cut costs if you are willing to invest extra time. We use cloth diapers (Happy Heinys) and they have been great, but washing and stuffing takes time. We also made much of our baby food, which, again, took time.

    Parenthood has been wonderful. I can’t imagine my life any other way. Best of luck!

  65. My one piece of advice is to not make some of the larger purchases until you think you might need it. I bought so many things like an expensive monitor, that we never ever used, but felt like we needed to have all the items on the “list of things you need”. I also found we didn’t need a rocker, so I’m glad we didn’t make that big ticket purchase.

    Agree with the other comments about not needing the diaper genie. Don’t see the point of buying the bags just to use them to throw them away. Reusing plastic bags has been just fine.

  66. Woohoo!

    Amazon mom – YES. You will NOT want to shop at all. So anything that is delivered, that’s a big plus. Even if it is a bit of a premium– your free time becomes very precious. Not wanting to shop means that for a year or so, you will spend a lot less. Less going out, less department store shopping, etc. etc. Even with the diapers and stuff our bills went down.

    If your wife is able to exclusively BF (I wasn’t) you will save huge on formula/bottles/etc. We had to switch to canned formula (argh) because our baby was colicky on the powdered stuff. If you do use powdered stuff I recommend Dr Brown’s formula mixer. Seems extravagant (at $20), but it really does mix the stuff up better so it goes into solution well, with no bubbles (bubbles=gas=crying baby). If you need to buy bottles, I like Medela and Avent. There is this amazing bottle called the special needs feeder which you should be aware of. I had nursing problems and it was super… the baby still has to “suck” to use it (unlike a normal nipple where they just bite down) so they won’t “adapt” to a bottle if you need it temporarily and still want to BF, or if you have a preemie. Don’t buy it unless you need it, or unless you like to be prepared.

    FROZEN FOOD. If you aren’t a stew/crock-pot guru, it’s time to learn. NOW. Test recipes, freeze them down. You need a lot of easy-to-eat food in the first few months. TIME IS PRECIOUS. SLEEP IS PRECIOUS. They go together. Also, some sandwiches freeze, but only for a week or so. I ate a lot of sandwiches while BF’ing.

    The swing didn’t work for our kiddoo, and it takes a lot of room. So I might get a used one instead. For us what worked well when we needed to take a shower was one of the inexpensive baby seats with the jiggly motion from Fisher Price. Plop it down in front of the shower so they can see you… *sigh* Also we got a mobile from Tiny Love which worked wonders for when you need to put the kid down to get dressed or something. That thing was amazing. We did not put it on the bed (because it was a more of an “awake” toy) and attached it to the back of a chair instead. Playpen did not work for us but we bought the Baby Bjorn travel cot and that thing is amazing. Folds like a dream (or an umbrella) and very lightweight. We brought it to friends houses for kiddo naps and when traveling. Expensive but worth it. We bought a travel seat from Totseat… can put it in a purse, it’s so small. You won’t need it until they are a bit older and can support their heads. Highly recommended. We got a McLaren… very small and lightweight stroller, love it. The monster strollers are nice for jogging etc. but the McLaren is what you want to throw into a car, seriously. I woulnd’t use it until they are a bit older though, like 4 months at the earliest (probably 6 months.) Go with a snap-n-go type thing for a carseat instead. The wraps are great, go for the stretchy kind made of jersey, they really cocoon the kid against your chest and they sleep like a baby (well the thing is, that’s the ONLY time they sleep “like a baby.” Seriously putting them to bed is SO HARD!!)

    For sleep I recommend Weissbluth “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.”

    My favorite baby books: Touchpoints, T Berry Braezelton for first 2 years development info (you won’t need that right away but it’s a fun, easy read).

    Load up a kindle or iPod touch with the kindle reading app. Something you can hold in one hand while BFing, and turn the pages. This is a nice luxury. I tried NPR initially but seriously you are up so long, you find out that a lot of the programming is repeated and you get tired of it quickly.

    Feeding real foods: “Feeding the Whole Family” (Lair). Super easy, fast, very nutritious recipes with mods for how to make it work for an infant. How to make all kinds of mashed stuff e.g., but still feed yourself. You won’t need this right away.

    For baby names I liked “the perfect baby name” book… it has stuff grouped phonetically. But actually I used a baby name website generator πŸ™‚

    What to expect when you’re expecting just freaked me out. Seriously. I don’t need to know everything that could go wrong. “Heading Home with your Newborn”… now that was SUPER. It answered key questions like what normal/abnormal poops look like (they ALL look abnormal to me! Yeesh!) And it’s short… blessedly short. I’d read it cover to cover, many times, beforehand. Happiest baby on the block… MEH. Look at the website Kellymom about breastfeeding. That’s a super resource.

    I liked going to the movies at a theatre (Ultrastar chain) that did weekly “baby and me” matinees. They even had a changing table in back, and I swear the movies put the kids to sleep. I also liked going to a breastfeeding group at a local lactation store. Bunch of moms in a circle, gabbing, and you could weigh your baby before and after to see how much milk they were drinking. Check out if you can find something like that in your area, maybe your hospital would have references?

    Also check out for info on what to wear during pregnancy, and while BFing. They have seriously great advice. Also on, you know, breastfeeding bras and stuff… but you want to wait to buy that until after you know, er, what size you are. It changes. OK enough said.

  67. Congrats!

    I recommend the diaper genie. We found it was worth it. Changing diapers on newborns is easy, but when she starts to grow and get squirmy, you’ll have your hands full in the middle of a diaper change. It’s convenient to just hit the diaper genie pedal with your foot and toss in the refuse.

    +1 on Amazon Mom. The Mrs. ordered all her needs from Amazon in the first year. Comes right to the door.

    Careful with buying the newborn diapers in bulk. She’ll grow out of them quickly. However, buying wipes in bulk is a good idea.

    You’ll obviously be in a supporting role if you decide to breastfeed. Make sure the Mrs. is taken care of because it will be a rough few months in the beginning. Also, her hormones will likely be out of whack for the first few weeks, so if she snaps at you, just brush it off. It’ll blow over soon enough. Good luck!

  68. Another thing:

    I used disposable diapers until the babies became toddlers when we moved into cloth pullups to begin potty training. I found Target to be the best disposable diaper off brand and less than half the cost of brand name.

    My sister did cloth and let it be known that she woudl appreciate cloth diapers for her baby shower. If you are doing cloth diapers, I think it is most efficient to get them as shower gifts. People want to show their excitement for yoru baby and often buy things that aren’t really usefull if they don’t know what you could use. However, nice cloth diapers are really useful if cloth diapering and really expensive to buy yourself. Plus they are cute so people like to get them as gifts and see them being used.

  69. Congrats! We had our first little one 8 months ago, and it is a huge change in every way; especially financially!

    Basically, we now have an extra mortgage payment every month just in terms of childcare and special dietary needs. Our daughter had reflux and a milk allergy, so we have to buy a special hypoallergenic formula since we can’t breastfeed. That was an expense we didn’t see coming, so my biggest piece of advice would be to save as much as you can before the baby arrives.

    Also, hospital bills come from left and right for about 2-3 months, so don’t think that just because you paid the main bill that you’re done. Several tests are done on your baby after they are born, and it seems that all of the labs billed separately. We had a hard time anticipating just how much we need to be able to pay the bills on time.

  70. Oh! somethign else.

    Stock up on foods to serve guests. You will be too sleepy to want to waste time shopping for the first month or so however people will be wanting to stop by and see the little one and help out. You might want coffee or tea to serve them adn something to put out for them to eat.

  71. David Imboden says

    I haven’t seen anyone mention it, but if you want to save money, go Cloth Diapers. They aren’t as bad as they used to be and I don’t even think twice about it anymore. You just have a sealable pail and wash every other day. If you breastfeed, you don’t even have to worry about the poo because it’s liquid. As they get older, you just have to get a spray for the toilet.

    There is a $300-400 up front cost to get everything you need, but after that, thats it. No more spending $100/mo on disposable diapers (x24+ months), no need to concern yourself over the Diaper Genie. Toddlers also potty train faster because they don’t like being wet. And you can use them on the next baby.

    Also, watch the Business of Being Born and take a Bradley class. You don’t have to be all “granola” or “hippy” to have the birth naturally. You don’t even have to have the birth naturally, but understanding what the doctor’s and nurses are pushing to “speed up” your labor is good to have in your back pocket.

  72. Check if you have a Once Upon a Child store in your area… they sell gently used baby stuff. We bought most of the furniture and toys from there. They sell clothes too but we always bought new clothes

  73. Congratulations!! You are about to experience the most wonderful moment of your lives.

    This is the only book dads need during pregnancy:
    The Expectant Father: Facts, Tips and Advice for Dads-to-Be, Second Edition

    Pregnancy is way easier compared to first 2 months of taking care of baby (and new mom). This one helps:
    (DVD) The Happiest Baby on the Block: The New Way to Calm Crying and Help Your Baby Sleep Longer

    Web resources:
    – Subscrption to Helpful tips on weekly basis.

    Best resource on value shopping. It also gives an idea on what’s out there, which ones you can ignore and which ones you need to buy.

    All the best!

  74. The hospital bill can be expensive even if things go well. We have two kids under four, and each delivery cost about $2K, without any complications.

    The biggest factor was the one-two punch of losing one income, and gaining several recurring expenses. Your situation might be different, but we didn’t spend much time at home prior to our first kid. After he was born, our heating and power bills went up (telling Junior to wear a sweater doesn’t work). We spent less on eating out, but more on diapers, groceries (esp. if the mother breastfeeds – they need more calories to make milk), and healthcare. There are frequent checkups for infants, even healthy ones; your copay starts to add up after several visits. Our health insurance premiums doubled with our first kid, but didn’t change with the second.

    We also started 529 plans for each kid with modest monthly contributions.

    Enjoy the experience! So many of the cliches about parenting are built on kernels of truth.

  75. @Thersa

    — i don’t agree, if they come to see you, they shouldn’t expect to be served. they should be serving you.

    whenever i visit a new mom and dad, i try to bring food for them to eat later. I just visited a new mom on wed, and we brought them a cooked supermarket rotiserie chicken, i think of mac & cheese, and some mixed vegitables.

  76. I am so happy for you! Infertility is very hard. Even though my husband and I were young when we began trying (27 and 29) it took two years and IVF for us to have our son. I am now 19 weeks pregnant naturally after my husband’s MF somehow resolved this summer. Please wish Mrs. MMB my best.

    Things we actually needed for the baby:

    *Pampers diapers, bought in bulk on Amazon. Unscented Huggies wipes, also bought in bulk.
    *A pump and 4-8 bottles, we used Dr. Brown’s. Later we used Babies R Us formula which can be had on sale for as low as $8 / large can and is formulated to match Enfamil or Simulac (we used Enfamil version.)
    *A baby swing. Buy on Amazon or babies r us.
    *Swaddling blankets.
    *Cloth diapers to use as spitup rags.
    *A crib. Buy online for best discounts.
    *An ergo baby carrier — most comfortable and ergonomic baby carrier. Also rugged. Buy on ebay for best discounts.
    *Highest quality carseat, bought new but heavily discounted on eBay.
    *For first 4-6 months, a carseat snap-in stroller (they are really cheap.)
    *Starting at 3-4 months a jumper.
    *A “baby gym” blanket with arching toys.
    *A lot of used clothes and a few new outfits.
    *A copy of the Happiest Baby on the Block to get you through the peak crying time which rises steadily from 1 week old, peaks at 6-8 weeks, and then goes down towards 3-4 months. SIDS risk is also between 1-4 months, FYI.
    *A monitor when the baby moves to her own room.

    That is literally all we needed for the first 6 months of the kid’s life. We never bought a changing table, no warmer stuff (tip: get your baby to drink cold formula/breastmilk!!) When you start them on solids you need a high chair. By 6 months you will be seasoned parents and have a much better idea of what you actually need as your kid moves on to becoming mobile, playing with toys, etc.

    Good luck!

  77. Congratulations.

  78. My wife takes care of almost all of the baby stuff as far as procuring items is concerned. We have a 4 year old and a 3 month old. This time around we are breast feeding and supplementing with a bottle when we need to, for the first time breastfeeding wasn’t working out. We have spent nothing so far on formula for these 3 months, and we give the baby one bottle of formula each day, sometimes we don’t give one at all. We received a good deal of formula (I think about 5 or 6 cans) through samples that you sign up for. So definitely look into that. Now we have a stock of frozen breast milk, and still some more formula which we might not even use. If there is one money tip I have, it is to invest in all the breastfeeding items, breast pump, special bottles and pacifiers that simulate the nipple, etc. Those cans of formula are incredibly expensive!

  79. I added up all our major birth to one-year baby costs. As Jon says, childcare is the most expensive thing (around $1200/month for us). In addition to that:

    * I spent around $500 on Costco formula and another $500 on hospital grade breast pump rental. Looking back, I tried, and failed, to breastfeed for too long (5 months) when in my case it was it was obvious by the 2nd month it wasn’t going to work. That being said, breastfeeding is obviously much, much, cheaper if you can do it.

    * $450 of cloth diapers and $300 on disposable. My son wore cloth diapers at home and disposable at daycare. I bought expensive cloth diapers (Fuzi Bunz which are great) but even with that and using them only part-time made back the money in 18 months. It’s a little more effort but not that bad. I stuffed diapers while I watched TV at night.

    * $345 BOB stroller – after our son outgrew his infant car seat, and thus his frame stroller, this is the only stroller I used. You can maneuver it with just one hand which is great.

    * $300 convertable car seat — I bought an expensive one because he outgrew the infant one by 9 months and I thought I needed something that would last a long time. However, his growth has now slowed.

    * $280 nice mid-line crib. Remarkably, it hasn’t been recalled yet and now works as a toddler bed.

    * $140 Becco baby carrier. I’ve seen others mention the Ergo and that one looks like it’d be fine also. I also had two Bjorns and they were dreadful on my back. Plus, the Becco let my son be carried significantly longer.

    * $100 good mid-line mattress

    * Most clothing was 2nd hand, particular until 9 months or so. Then I started buying from 2nd hand stores.

    * I agree with YM that you don’t need to read pregnancy books. Read SLEEP books. Read many, many sleep books so you have an idea what to do before you’re sleep deprived and the baby is wailing. Every child and parent is different which is why there are so many methods. You have to find the one that works for you.

    * We didn’t use a diaper genie and were fine. What we did do was get two medium-sized covered trash cans from Target and used cheap plastic garbage bags as liners. One was for cloth and one was for disposable diapers and wipes.

    * I read that wipes warmers are a waste and for the most part I agree. However, my son didn’t agree. He really objected to cold wipes. So, this might depend on your child. I wouldn’t recommend getting one ahead of time unless you want to put it on a baby registry.

    * Our son did not like the baby swing. Unfortunately, this is another thing you don’t know for sure until you have your child. If possible, find a second hand store or a friend where you can get one cheap.

    * My mom bought us a La-Z-Boy rocker which we had in the nursery. That was really wonderful for me as I spent an insane amount of time dozing in it. Now it’s great for bedtime stories.

    * We did get a play pen and mainly used it as a portable crib for visiting the grandparents.

    * Of course, we contribute to a 529 plan, though probably not enough

    Good luck πŸ™‚

  80. One other thing about formula. Go for the Costco brand or Sam’s Club brand. It’s a much better value and looking at the nutrition label, is virtually the same thing you would get with Enfamil or Similac. they just don’t have specialty formulations. Also, when given a choice between Similac/Enfamil or Kirkland brand, my kids preferred Kirkland.

  81. Ear plugs

    – sounds rude but late at night when she is crying loudly – it is so much easier to be at ground zero reassuring her and being compassionate when your head is not being rattled and your eardrums bursting by high frequency wailing at 2am

    Diaper Genie 2 or similar was great to keep the odor in the can.

    Fund the Coverdell set up before the 529 as the Coverdell is limited to 2K per year and can be used for non-tuition related expenses. Also some very good investment firms such as Gabelli have Coverdell for direct investment with low minimums and no annual fees.

    Best of luck – it will change everything and you get to change to – Dad!

  82. Congratulations!! You have enriched my life – a stranger.
    I hope your child gives you and your wife a lifetime of happiness.

    Resist the urge to bottle-feed for as long as possible unless it is the only option.
    BF is good for the long-term health of child and mother.

    Make time to talk to friends and relatives whom you value now. Relationships matter more than products in the growth of the baby.

  83. Babies don’t care how they look, kids often prefer to wear things that make grown ups cringe (are you sure you want to wear your swim suit over your tights to the kid’s museum?) So just get hand me downs, craigslist or goodwill. They will all get stained/worn out/or grown out if in a few months anyway.

    Sleep now. Sleep now. Sleep now.

    Avoid gadgets if you can. Do really need a wipes warmer? Do you really need a bottle warmer? These and many other items I was informed are absolute necessities. Do you really need an electric breast pump? My wife decided she preferred the hand pump YMMV.

    Cloth Diapers–buy them on craigslist. Wash them in cold (my mom taught me that, she had 8 kids all in cloth, she should know, protein stains and all) sun dry them to whiten and disinfect them. If you have another child and you use them again they will easily pay for themselves. If you buy them new, send them to a service and wash in hot they will cost you more than disposables.

    Talk to the Grandparents about 529 accounts, there are some tax benefits for them and it does not show up at all on the child’s future FAFSA. Also consider I Bonds as an emergency fund now, so you can use them to help pay for college later (if you decide to help pay for college) as rate change. In exact I know.

  84. We waited 14 years before our daughter showed up. We nearly went abroad to adopt. Our daughter just turned 4 years old and is doing ballet and kung fu.

    Our biggest purchase regret is anything by Baby Einstein. Also, we got a Bugaboo Bee. It was way too expensive, but we absolutely loved it. This will have to be up to you and the Mrs. gives $10 off your first order over $49 — outstanding customer service, when we did not like something, they took it back without hassle. and fall under the same QI brand and are just as cool.

    Onestep ahead has a $10 refer a friend promotion — refer a friend to their site and your friend will save 15% on their first purchase of $85 or more. You’ll get a $10 credit when your friends (your wife, your folks) complete their first purchase. Simply submit your e-mail and theirs.

    Unless there is a really good deal online, buying clothes at a bricks and mortar place appears to yield better deals. We primarily use Carters, Children’s Place and Target.

    Congratulations and don’t forget to take care of yourselves.

  85. Your biggest expenses will be C-section, avoid it at all cost. Formula, breast feed and pump as long as wife can handle it…but don’t ever pressure. Diapers, so buy in bulk. Clothes, buy enough for a week. Laundry, get an efficient washer and dryer. Day care, don’t go cheap but need not go tops either. That’s the top list just for you. Have extra money? Invest in 529s ASAP.

  86. Congrats a lot.

    I can’t tell you how much of an intense feeling having a child is and yeah, I am just a father! Those moments, when she is about to come, will make you forget everything in this world and then all the attention goes to her. Children are amazing. What a fun to be with!

    I have a 2.5 yrs old daughter and the only thing I look forward to in my entire day is to go and pick her up from the daycare in the evening. And there, she runs at you with those sparkling eyes and gorgeous smile. What a conservative spender I am; but if she asks for a thing I get her two. She asks for a chocolate and I ask her which one πŸ™‚

    I will leave all the monetarily advises keep coming at ya from all the participants but I do wish you the best. All I say is love her, educate her, make her aspire higher, and make her a world citizen; I hope you get what I mean.

  87. I have 1.5 yo old twins and the thing I learned is that quality counts. If you are planning on having more kids I would spend the money upfront for a nice stroller with a sunshade (bumbleride), crib, changing table, highchair (stokke), carseat (Britax), baby carrier (Ergo) and rocker. We got the crib mattress from Costco. Get a swing that actually plugs in or else you are changing batteries like crazy. Rent a hospital grade pump until she goes back to work and then get the Medela. Breastfeed as much as possible, even if this means only when at home it will save money. We also use cotton Bumgenius cloth diapers, which are super simple to use and wash. I would also look for a large kids consignment sale. Almost all of their clothes have been purchased at consignment sales for about $3 a piece, and they are name brand Gymboree or Children’s place in new condition. Most consignment sales have a new moms night where you can get in early to shop. One thing you have to have is the nosefrida snotsucker πŸ˜‰ If breastfeeding isn’t working get help ASAP from a lactation consultant- some will come to your house, it made a huge difference for me and was worth the $150.

  88. Congratulations! My recommendation is keep it simple. A lot of people have been born into this world without all the stuff that you find on the shelves today. Don’t rush to buy stuff. There are some basics that you will need before the baby comes, but there is a lot of tempation to buy stuff that either you won’t ever use, won’t need for months, or you can find second hand. That said, there are things you will find useful, but wait until you experience the need first.

    Find some friends in similar stage of life to talk to about things – skip most of the books. You can trade/exchange toys, clothes, etc with these people. Your kids will become friends, you can exchange evenings of babysitting so you all get an evening out once in awhile (and do take an evening without the kid every couple of months!) Your kids can go to the library for story time, the museum for toddler arts days, or whatever things you find in your community together. Other moms/dads are great sources of ideas for things to do locally that are inexpensive.

    Between second hand toys from neightbors and friends and gifts from grandparents, etc we didn’t buy any toys for the first couple of years and we had way more than we had room for. They don’t get that beat-up especially at younger ages and then you can feel good about giving them to new friends that are having a first child as well as clean out your house in a few years!

    Every child/parent is different, just enjoy the experience and roll with it.

  89. Congrats!!

    My recommendations would be to start with a simple to spell and simple to pronounce name.

    Look at this list for some other ideas as she grows:

    Our 2 year old daughter was a result of IVF, so everything else seemed cheap after that. When I met my wife, she was an investigator with the child care licensing division of the state we lived in. She is now a stay at home mom. Having her salary would be nice, but mostly eaten up with daycare costs. She also knew enough first hand from her job that she wouldn’t leave our daughter with non-relatives until she was old enough to talk and describe what had happened to her.

    Quasi-financial related:
    Get extra copies of her birth certificate, put some in your home safe, some in a bank safe deposit, leave one with your lawyer.

    I added another annual subscription from the US Mint to get her her own Silver Proof Set of coins every year in addition to what I get for myself. It’s got some value being silver, she won’t appreciate it for a long long time (if she does) and it’s not as expensive as the gold or platinum coins. Silver Eagles are another option, but I thought the full coin set was more interesting since so many of them are changing. The silver proof set will be release 4 June this year.

    I still haven’t figured out what to do to make sure her SSN hasn’t been stolen or given fraudulently as a “made up number” by someone. It seems I cannot request her credit report (she shouldn’t have one), but there’s no process seemingly for a guardian or parent to do that. It looks as if only the person who is assigned the number can request such things, and she’s not allowed as minor even if I told her how.

  90. Must haves:

  91. Must haves:
    1. a good baby carrier – something that works from newborn to preschooler. I actually have a sling and a mei tai, but if you’re only getting on, I’d vote for the mei tai becuase you can carry the child in front when they’re little, and on you’re back when they get big. I can still carry my 5 year old for a bit if he gets tired walking somewhere.
    2. a rocking chair
    3. not necessary, but very nice to have – a nursing pillow such as the Boppy
    4. books – kids enjoy looking at the pictures from very little on
    5. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding – a La Leche League book that is one of the best for breastfeeding reference. La Lache League leaders are also happy to answer questions over email or phone if needed.
    6. Self confidence – you’ll get lots of contradicting advice. It may even all be good advice, but if it is not right for your family and your child, then don’t follow it. Trust your gut.

    Don’t bother:
    1. a crib – some of the best advice we were given was to avoid the crib. We used a regular mattress on the floor (no frame or box spring) on a baby proofed bedroom. That way you can lay down beside the baby to get them to sleep, and don’t have to try to lay them down in a crib every so gently. There is no worry about them climbing out of the crib. There is also no difficult transition to a toddler bed. Plus, climbing off the edge of the bed helps them learn how to do stairs sooner. We did have a pack and play for when we were away from home and didn’t have access to a baby-proof room.
    2. lots of toys, a few basic ones is plenty. A spoon is just as good to chew on as a fancy baby toy, and they soon move on to other things. Once they get older, a cardboard box is often more interesting than the toy that comes in it. Toys such as wooden blocks are much more versatile, are interesting for much longer, and allow a lot more use of creativity than something with lots of buttons and flashing light that can only be used one way. Simplicity Parenting is a great book talking about the real benefits that come from not overdoing the toys.
    3. baby bath tub – just use the kitchen sink or get in the regular tub with the baby. They outgrow them very quickly anyway.
    4. diaper wipe warmers, baby swings, bumbo chairs, baby einstein anything (don’t get me started), DVD players for your car, etc. There is just so much stuff that you really really don’t need. Honestly, if a baby has clothes, diapers, food, and a loving person to snuggle and play with, that’s about all that is necessary. The best way to save money on children is to just not buy more than you need.

    Congratulations! May your journey through parenthood be joyful!


  92. JP Mitchell says

    Way to go!

    I would recommend separating wants from needs. Needs include diapers (start looking for sales and stocking up now), wipes, a diaper genie, car seat(s), formula, solid baby food, and lots and lots of onesies of various sizes. Do not go crazy on clothes since she will grow like a weed. I would recommend a baby saucer or something similar as it is nice to set the kid down in a place where she can entertain herself for awhile. Toys will come as gifts so there is no need to purchase many. I still have many unopened toys that my now three year old girl never got around to playing with.

  93. We have 3 kids and have been surprised about how generous others are when new babies are involved. I would recommend not buying much until it is close to the due date. In some cases we bought new items only to be offered hand-me-downs later that were in good condition. That being said it is hard not to splurge a little. The baby sleep sacks are great and we like the Amazon mom program.

  94. Eric Jacobson says

    Very nice. Congratulations!

    My kids turned out to be much cheaper than anticipated and the tax credits offset most of the cost (they are 3 & 4 yrs old). The expensive part are the people expenses, e.g. daycare and schooling. The material stuff is very cheap compared to the thousands spent on the above.

  95. Congrats! We have 1 year old girl and it’s fantastic!

    Don’t. Buy. Anything. If you know anyone who has had a baby in the past year, they’ll be dying to pass on their stuff (or at least find storage for it temporarily). Not to mention – you don’t know what your kid is going to like. Some swings go forward and back, some go to side to side, you won’t know till you get there which one (if either!) your kid prefers. We ended up with a snugli, a mobi wrap, and a sling – all which do pretty much the same thing and she was only ok with the snugli and not for a very long period of time. Not to mention the grandparents and friends will shower her with all kinds of cute pink stuff – way more than you anticipate. Through generosity of others, we had diapers covered for about 6 months, her wardrobe covered for a year, the car seats and crib purchased for us, and lots of hand-me-down playyards and bouncers and bassinets. And we didn’t even register or have a baby shower.

    The splurges that were worth it for us? A really nice camera (big splurge). We’ve taken thousands of amazing photos of her. And new fresh pajamas for your wife for her stay in the hospital so she feels like herself again.

    Best of luck to you and your growing family.

  96. Many congratulations!

  97. I noticed the first comment mentioned Amazon Mom. Well, the program has changed in 2012 but it was good while it lasted.

    #1 item if your wife is planning to nurse – Comfortable glider. Spend your money on something that reclines and is comfortable for her body. Oldest child is 6 now (3 kids total) and I can’t count the thousands of hours that my bum has been in that chair. Dutalier is a great brand, but there may be others new to the field.

  98. Hi Jonathan, Congrats on the soon to be new addition! I’ve been reading your blog for a long time (since at least 2006), so congrats! Great that you guys got pregnant right before trying IVF.

    -In terms of costs – biggest is childcare if you both intend to go back to work. If you do need childcare, look into an au pair. It’s the cheapest form of childcare you can get for 45 hours per week, but you do have to have a young international person (18-26) living with you. We haven’t had one, but we’re considering it if I return to work after the 2nd child if born.

    -Amazon Mom is good, but not as good as it used to be. I’d wait to sign up until right before the baby is born in order to maximize your free trial.

    – There are several websites that post good diaper/wipes/formula deals each week. Two that come to mind are and In terms of diapers, some diapers just fit some babies better depending on how your baby is shaped. I’d buy a couple of different packs of the different brands to try them out before buying a lot of any one brand.

    -If your wife wants to breastfeed and has trouble at first, invest in seeing a lactation consultant. Tracy Massillon, is in SF and she’s great. She’ll come to your house. I think you guys live on the Peninsula, so not sure if she’ll travel down there, but worth a shot if you need one. Some flex spending accounts will reimburse the cost of a lactation consultant (ours didn’t), but going to Tracy allowed me to start exclusively breastfeeding for 6 months and continue nursing until my child was 16 months old – definitely a good investment.

    Down south they have a mom’s group called Las Madras. My sister likes them a lot.

    I wasn’t sure if it was worth it to pay to join a mom’s group and I found it to be very worthwhile for my mental sanity. I lived in SF at the time and joined GGMG.

    It’s good to make friends with someone who has a child just a little bit older than yours. That way you can hopefully bring your child to their house and try their stuff out (or that’s why it’s good to join a moms group). Some babies love the bouncy chair or swing (some only go front and back, others go side to side), but some just hate them. You can never tell until you have a child of your own.

    Once you decide on what type of stroller you want, check craigslist. Personally I really liked having the stroller frame at first, but some people skip that and just get a stroller when you can put your car seat on it. In SF, I found the Baby Jogger City Mini to be the most popular stroller. In the East Bay City I live in now, I find the Bob Revolution to be most popular. All depends on what you want to do and how much strolling you plan to do.

    Do not get a Baby Bjorn original. It’s good up until the baby is 15 pounds and then it kills your back/shoulders.

    Personally I love the original Ergo baby carrier. Others such as the Becco, Ergo Sport, etc. gave me back pain. I’d recommend trying it on (after the baby is born) and then buying the one that’s most comfortable for the primary baby carrier and baby (assuming baby likes to be held – most babies do, but some do not). I also liked the Moby wrap a lot.

    Lucky for me, I have an older sister who handed down a lot of baby stuff to me. BTW, I am in the East Bay and do have a baby due in April and I have a lot of baby stuff. So you guys can come over and try out my stuff, but we do not think we’re done having kids yet, so planning on keeping most of our stuff. If interested, send me an email (but I’m sure you guys have a lot of friends with kids too)

  99. One more thing – if you use paperbackswap, it’s a great resource for the baby/kid books. I have added several books from birth prep to nursing to toddler and gotten several for the cost of swapping another book (in my min, about $3). Several of the books I got are like new. Some books you just need to borrow from the library, but some are good to have on hand (e.g nursing and sleep books for immediate consultation).

  100. Congrats. Please make sure to have a good camera and camcorder from now on. Also, prepare to have at least a pair of t-shirts to show “I love my daughter” and “I love my dad (or mom)”. Start savings for education ( You may think it’s to early to think about education fund for the baby, but time flies before you realize it. Buy insurance for the baby too. Discuss with your spouse about plan to raise the baby, e.g., who makes the final decision after the talk….

    Differences in opinion need compromise at all time in fact and in appearance, but when in front of the baby, parents should be on the same page, have the same decision. Well, enjoy having the baby; when you look back, you still have that happiness on your face.

  101. Congratulations!

  102. Congratulations!

    The posts above me covered pretty much all of it already but please, please DO NOT skimp on a rocking chair. I bought a cheapo one from Walmart and when my baby was about 3-4 months old, I was ready to hurl the thing out the window! It was creaking soooo bad no wonder the baby couldn’t sleep. My DH WD40 the heck out of it but to no avail.

  103. I just had a baby six weeks ago.

    Waste of money: the crib. She only sleeps in our bed. If I could go back, I’d just buy or borrow an inexpensive bassinet and wait on buying a crib. I never thought we’d want to co-sleep, so even if you’re not interested in co-sleeping, you might change your mind. Cribs can be pricey, but everyone wants to buy one BEFORE the baby gets there.

    Best buy: the swing. Worth 10 times the cost.

    Unexpected cost: the opportunity cost from me (mom) not working for 9 months. We planned for 12 weeks of maternity leave, but it’s easy to make plans before the baby arrives. Once she got here, our feelings, and especially my feelings, changed. In addition, we’d planned on daycare, but will likely instead hire a nanny when I go back to work. This did not seem cost-effective before she was born. Now, spending more on her seems like the most sensible thing in the world.

  104. Giant stroller = useless. We originally went with a Graco car seat/bases and Graco snugrider. Small, simple and effective.

    Eventually we grabbed a baby jogger city mini. That thing’s gone with us all over the country. It’s light, closes instantly and fits everywhere.

    Big car = no need. Pack and bring what you really need, not everything. I see some parents pack for trips or even a quick run to the zoo and it looks like they’re moving. A toy, some clothes, some food. A small bag can handle it all.

    iPad (or tablet). What a great concept! Kids take to them instantly and they’re awesome for learning apps, writing apps, books (Dr. Seuss, etc). And yes apps for movies. My 3 year old son sends messages to his aunt and cousin on their ipads/iphones. He types out his name and a few other words. It’s really quite awesome. The grandparents love facetime too. Overall the iPad was the best thing we got for our kid. Go to breakfast, bring it along and when he’s getting edgy – break out the iPad for some math games or to read a book. All else fails, here’s Wall-E bud.

    Bubbles – kids love ’em. Bubble wands rule. Mix those with foam swords and you’ve got hours of fun at any park.

    Shovels/rakes – again super cheap and kids love to mess with mud/dirt.

    If he hits his head in the front or back really hard, 99% sure there’s no damage. It’s the blows to the sides and top that can be an issue. You’ll still make a trip or two to emergency.

    Movie server – rip your dvd collection and setup a HTPC. Makes life easier. no more worrying about DVDs, quick access to movies.

    Punch in that 529 pronto. College will run 250k+ by the time your kid is ready.

    Introduce all foods. Don’t play the “but it’s spicy” game. Wife’s a pescotarian but my son has eaten just about every kind of food (fish, veggie, meat) known to man. To him, sushi, tofu, thai, indian, vietnamese, french are all just options for food. There isn’t a food he refuses to eat. and make meal time interactive… the dude loves to help us cook and in turn he’s seeing the fruit of his own labor.

    The best toy in the world: YOU. In the end it’s all about spending a few quality hours a day with the dude. That’s where it all happens. Just chase, or hide and seek or just exploring with you. It’s really pretty darn neat to show someone something magical or new all the time. My guy is 3 and helping him read books is super exciting. It’s hard to say no to a 4th book at bedtime when you can literally see it all clicking!

  105. Thank you all for your kind words and helpful comments. I will read every one and take it to heart. I am definitely feeling blessed and grateful, and I know it will be a great adventure!

  106. Second vote for bum genius cloth diapers. Saved us a ton.

  107. wow! looks like you got lots of advice! i have to add my 2 cents anyways πŸ™‚
    1. borrow, borrow, borrow! most moms are happy to lend out their stuff, because it means they have less stuff at their house. you will get this once you see the circus of stuff you will have in your house!

    2. buy used. according to “Baby Bargains” (one of the best baby books), you only should buy a new crib and carseat.

    3. stockpile diapers when they go on super sale. don’t be brand loyal–not sure how people get hooked on one type, but don’t. our favorite ones are walgreens, but again, when it’s on sale, we bought it. diapers leak, so none are going to be perfect. how do you know if it’s a sale? start pricing them to get a better idea. or cloth diaper.

    4. diaper genies, etc? nope, just a trash can that you will empty daily. we have 2 kids and our house does not smell like pee or poop.

    5. The happiest baby on the block–you can rent the dvd. it is the best 45 minutes you will spend learning about babies.

    6. don’t register for clothes, bibs, toys….people buy those anyways and they are impossible to find in the store off a registry.

    7. sound machines. don’t waste your $$ on cutesy putsey kid ones. just get an adult sound machine. i know people worry about getting their kids hooked on these, but they are awesome.

    8. strollers–we have 6 or so–most hand me downs. snap and gostroller for the first 5 months. it’s light and cheap. wait on any other ones, because you will know what you need once you know yourself and child better–that never made sense when i read it before having a baby either!! but it is true. don’t rush. get one to start. and don’t get one of those stroller systems–terrible resale value and you don’t need it.

    I have lots more to say, but on that note–everyone will give you advice. it’s cute at first, but can be difficult for a new mom. try to tune people out at some point. you will make yourself crazy wondering if you need to do something different.


  108. Congrats!! We just had our first – a girl – about 3 weeks ago! There are many sleepless nights ahead for you two! Due to the little one, I haven’t been able to read post above but I can give you some pointers. First, it seems like every employer has never dealt with maternity leave/pregnancy before. My wife works for a Fortune 25 company as a pharmacist and you’d think their plan would be well defined. But no, it isn’t every person she talked to told her something different and they were not able to get her the full Short Term Disability disclosure information. Then a week before she gives birth we find out that STD is for six weeks, but they include the one week waiting period (use her vacation) in that time so it’s really only 5 weeks paid. It was the same at my employer – much smaller – with some of the pregnant women on figuring out what is going on. Also, you should take off 2 weeks to help out. We didn’t have any family available to help out and it was godsend for me to help her adjust.
    Breast feeding is another. But it takes dedication on Mom’s part. Breast fed babies wake up more (every 2-3 hours) because they don’t get as much food each feeding. Make sure she’s ready for that. Take a class at the hospital. It’s worth it, but we had to go to a specialist to learn a newborn shouldn’t breatfeed more than 10 minutes on each boob!
    Don’t skimp on diapers. I believe brand names are the way to go. Get the Pampers Swaddlers – newborn for first couple of weeks. They have the umbilical cord cut out. After that, look for sales online. I haven’t seen any tremendous deals on Amazon mom for diapers though. I took me a few weeks to get invited after sign up.
    Have a baby shower (or 3). We had 3 (well, I didn’t go to any – so she had 3) – family, friends, coworkers. Everyone loves to buy crap and it’s free! You’ll get so much stuff! We luckily get hand me down stuff – crib, car seat, stroller, changing table, some clothes, from her brother because they are done having kids. But register for more stuff than you need and big items that are useful in future (like a front facing car seat). We did Target and Buy Buy Baby. The thing is that they send you coupons for items not bought on your registry shortly before you due date – 10 or 20 percent off! Also Buy Buy Baby has a 20% one item coupon if you join their mailing list.
    Goodwill has some maternity clothes. We’re not really goodwill shoppers, but my wife bought two pairs of maternity jeans at goodwill and wore them a lot. They worked great and better than paying full price for something that is useful for a couple of months.
    Get the book The Happiest Baby on the Block
    It discusses how to calm your little one from crying. Also invest in some swaddle blankets – they work wonders.
    The last thing I have is don’t get a basinette. We didn’t but have been using this:
    It’s great and transports between rooms easily. You can leave it by the bedside for the first few months – when frequent feedings are the norm.

  109. Grandpa Jim says

    First of all congradulations. Love your e mails. Have no advice for a new parent as I am a grandpa. Get grandpa and grandmas involved. If you do it wisely, your out of pocket money will be minimal.

  110. Congrads! If this is your first, baby411 should be your first book you. It explains everything very well. I have young twins. Make sure all the toys, sheets, etc are machine washable, no matter how cute it is. If it isn’t, don’t buy it. Sign up for somewhere cheap for your registry like Target so everyone can participate (and Target 5% card). Exchange stuff you don’t want or use for gift cards to use later for other items. If found Costco to have the cheapest diapers and formula, unless you are organic and make it yourself. Feel free to email for more.

  111. Congrats. Definitely the “less stuff” route is the way to go. Try not to buy into the marketing ploy of all the things you need. Even the “essentials” like the swing, baby is in for a few months and afterwards it is just clutter. If you can go craiglist on stuff like that, it is best. You will get a crazy amount of clothes as gifts and again, they jump sizes in a matter of months. Nursing is a big savings.

  112. great news, please start a new section for all the info, similar to First-Time Home Buying Ideas and Tips

  113. Great news! This will be a game changer, in the best possible way.

    Our 3rd is due the same time as your baby girl. Since we have a boy and girl already, this one will be set for baby clothes, toys, crib, and all accessories. Do think a little ahead if you’re planning for siblings, as that will average out the cost of some of the more expensive items. For example, we have to travel a lot, and couldn’t do without our Baby Bjorn travel crib. It’s amazing, hands down over any Graco Pack and Play, even though it’s pricey.

    Pick your priorities- the must have items should be an investment- get everything else second hand.

  114. I have been reading your blog for many years now and have valued your advice and suggestions to the fullest. Some of your ideas (capital one credit card for foreign purchases, amex starwood cards, vanguard investing, etc) have been priceless.
    This is the first time I have felt that I could actually post something of value to help you directly. First off, congratulations. My kids are big now (14 and 13), but I think there is one thing that I could suggest that would be actually very useful:

    Marc Weissbluth’s “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child”

    Some of the other posters may have mentioned it already, but I can’t emphasize enough how useful this book is for new or existing parents. You may not elect to take on all his suggestions, however, it is still useful as sleep is one of the biggest issues in that first year of fun headed your way. I usually buy this friends who are expecting since I think it literally saved our own home lives when we had our two kiddos.

    Now – one day I’m hoping you start posting about the financial advantages of alternative fuel transportation (electric cars, bicycles, etc) since I think that is one aspect of your financial wisdom that gets left behind! Good luck!

  115. Looking back (my children are 9 and 13 now), there are things that I am happy I did, and others I wish I’d done differently:

    I’m happy that I:
    – Used the Bradley Method diet because both children were born at healthy weights with perfect APGAR scores;
    – Attended the Bradley Method classes because they were so comprehensive that I was able to go into labor understanding exactly what was going on at every moment and that resulted in no fear – only excitement about what was to come; It also meant that I was not afraid of the pain because I understood that the muscle contractions causing the pain were good things and would result in the birth of the baby and a cessation of pain;
    – Had natural births with no interventions or medication (even though I was in my late 30s) because both experiences were amazing, even spiritual, especially the second when I had a home birth, and drugs / unnecessary interventions would have clouded my experiences;
    – Worked hard to breastfeed my children (I had a lot of trouble and had to work with a lactation consultant in the beginning) because not only did I know they were getting the most easily-assimilated food available, but the bonds that I developed with my children while nursing are very precious to me; Also, it was all free and my pregnancy weight flew off as a result:
    – Co-slept with them because we all got a lot more sleep that way; Originally I was insistent I would never do it, but when I got a co-sleeper as a gift, I decided to try it and it was wonderful; There are few things more precious to me than the memories of waking up and quietly watching my babies sleeping;
    – Never EVER let my babies cry it out in some misguided attempt to get them to have good sleeping habits because I would not have been able to live with myself hearing my babies crying for me and not responding to them; each one had his own sleep pattern based upon his needs and I’m glad I sacrificed my sleep when needed so that I could meet their needs; in the end, both ended up sleeping easily through the night very quickly anyway; and
    – Kept them away from media and read, read, read to them from the very start because I believe that is why both are voracious readers today who couldn’t care less about the latest television show or video game craze.

    If I had it to do over again, I:
    – Would not have read the what to expect books and read others like The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, The Baby Book, The Birth Book, and The Attachment Parenting Book by William Sears, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by the renowned midwife Ina May Gaskin, The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer, and How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor by Dr. Robert Mendelsohn;
    – Would not have allowed the doctor I had during the first pregnancy to treat me like a patient as if something was wrong with me and I needed help because, though I was older, I was healthy and there was no reason to expect problems with what is a perfectly natural process;
    – Would have had home births with both of my children because the atmosphere at the hospital is so artificial and intrusive, and I had such a magical experience birthing my second child at home; Though I understand now why I was not ready, I wish I would have learned more about it because I would have realized that most of the research shows that home births have better outcomes over hospital births;
    – Would have carefully researched the pros and cons of vaccines rather than blindly taking the word of someone who earns an income by administering them (the doctors and pharmaceuticals) because I am the only one who will advocate solely for my child without any ax to grind and it is important to make well-informed decisions;
    – Would have taken advantage of all the times that folks offered to help instead of feeling like I had to do it on my own because it got to be overwhelming; It would have been better to have asked folks to do the dishes, laundry, walk the dog, make a meal, or babysit while I took a shower when they offered help so that I could have rested more and not pushed myself so hard unnecessarily.
    – Would have not put my child in swings, chairs, Johnny Jump Ups, Baby Bjorns or backpacks unless absolutely necessary and then only for the shortest time possible because I realized with my second that they need to be held as much as possible; There are so many reasons why that you can look up, but my first child has sensory issues and I think they may have been lessened or not have occurred at all if I had held him more; Also, I learned from the chiropractor much later that children should not bear weight in their pelvis or feet until they are capable of sitting or standing because the bones / tendons / ligaments are not ready to support the weight until then – they recommend using a sling instead;
    – Would have been more understanding with my first child when he woke up at night instead of just trying to get him back to sleep right away because, as I learned with my second child, night waking is about the child reaching out to reaffirm his connection with his parent, especially during developmental growth periods, and gentle hugs and singing worked so much better than frenzied walking and frantic pleas to go back to sleep;
    – I would have bought way less stuff and not bought it until I actually wanted it because there were so many things we bought thinking we would need and then never using – what a waste!
    – Would have been better about keeping a journal of all of the special little things that happen because otherwise it is too easy to forget them later as you realize how fast the time flies when they are little.

    Of course, this is way more than you requested, but your site has helped me in many ways, many times, that I wanted to share my experiences with you in the hope that they might be helpful.

  116. Congrats!

  117. Congratulations! Sounds like you and Mr. MMB were right about where my wife and I were… Just before we had to bring out the really big guns to try to get pregnant, it happened. πŸ™‚

    Best wishes!

  118. Elizabeth says


    As the mother of a 4.5 month old here’s what I’d know about $ and kids.

    We were hit with a lot of medical bills as insurance only covered 80% of labor/delivery – so we hit our out of pocket max for the year for both mom and baby.

    To buy: I second bouncy ball (only $10 – much cheaper than a rocking chair) and our baby hates the rocker – only likes when we bounce on the exercise ball. And Moby Wrap (though we switched to the Ergo just last month which is easier to put on and off around the house)

    The only thing we never really used was the basinett, he started sleeping in our bed at 2 weeks (which was never the plan but saved our sanity as he started sleeping for much longer stretches and would nurse to sleep right away).

    There are random things you don’t think of like baby detergent (we went with 7th generation baby dye free as everything else irritated his skin) and way more paper towels than we ever went through before! Another random purchase was a new HEPA vacuum as our previous one was pretty shotty and no HEPA. (We’ve got dogs with a lot of hair.)

    Good luck!

  119. Obviously, congrats.

    Must echo Captain Cheapo – stay away from BabiesRUs and places like that. They are masters at attacking your emotions and guilt as well as that of the family around you. Very high priced stuff, most of which you will never need and often only use if you feel bad about having bought it only to not use it. Probably good stocks to own, though.

    Seriously hit the yard sales – LOTS of unopened/never used and very slightly used, high-end clothing to be found there. Same goes for places like Goodwill (depending on your community) and consignment shops. But we’ve bought the majority of our now six-year-old daughter’s clothing at yard sales at a fraction of new cost.

    Borrow stuff – as written by someone else, kids with babies are looking to off-load as their kids move through stuff (clothes, toys, bikes, trikes, etc.). Actually, this might be the source of better clothing than yard sales because people want to save the better stuff for friends.

    Buy the car seat new – for safety reasons – unless you are getting it from someone you know. For our infant, we had one which had a base that never left the car and the seat itself could be snapped into a foldable, tubular stroller that was wonderful – no need to get her out of her seat and into a stroller and no huge, cumbersome stroller to mess with (though you will need that beast later). We found our daughter spent a lot of time in her car seat, because she fell asleep in it a lot – so we would arrive, unsnap it from the base and carry her around.

    Look into local activities and memberships for whoever is staying at home with her initially. Getting out with baby is vital to keeping your sanity and the earlier you can get her accustomed to being mobile, the easier things become. We got a family membership to the local zoo, for example, where we could take her just to get out and stroll. Many hospitals offer new parenting classes, which *can* be fun, plus you get a support group.

    One place to not scrimp is on mom. Pregnancy is stressful on her in many ways and that continues post-natal. Think of ways to make her life easier.

    Not sure if either of you are looking to stay home. We were able to stay home for the first six months (first 3.5 months with mom, then I was able to take a 2.5 month leave). That in itself is a big financial hit (and we were lucky to be able to do it). If you are considering and able to do it longer, that’s an even bigger financial consideration for you. Or childcare. No easy decision, but you need to consider options now – and if childcare is the choice, start researching it now.

  120. Matthew Waterman says

    Mrs. Mymoneyblog?? LMAO Your wife will have a fit over that..

    Congrats Jonathan. I’m sure they’ll be a great kid.

  121. Instead of getting a changing table we bought a dresser with a changing mat. My daughter outgrew the changing table but now, as a teenager, still uses the dresser.

  122. I have seen some recommendations for home birth or natural birth. Leave that up to your wife – she’s the one who has to endure it. Just keep in mind that first children take a while to pop out. My wife was in labor overnight for our first from about 5:30 PM Fri to 3:30 PM Sat. She toughed it out for a few hours before the epidural – but then got one. She wouldn’t have gotten any sleep otherwise and probably wouldn’t have had the energy to push when she needed to. Modern medicine is great and there pain meds for a reason! Now with the next child we may consider other things because they usually pop out a lot sooner. But in the end, it’s my wife’s decision. 22 hours of labor is a lot to endure!

  123. Congrats!

    My two are at least 18 years beyond new born so I don’t recall too much although I could write a book about saving tens/hundreds of thousands on expensive travel sports like ice hockey, baseball & volleyball – just bank it for college instead.

    But you have at least 6 years to that point. Do put a ball / bat / glove. etc in their hands as soon as possible, maybe at about 1 year.

    And do have a second one (if you want two kids) within the next 2 years or so to keep expenses and your sanity intact as they move through childhood…

  124. Best purchase: baby monitor with movement alert. A lot more piece of mind than just sound, and much more useful than a video monitor.

    Useless item: baby wipe warmer.

    Best advice: get the baby on a feeding and sleep schedule as early as possible. You should be able to get her through the night within a few months.

    We have two children and get all our diapers through Amazon. Price them in your area, it comes out cheaper for us.

  125. Congrats! It is going to be nothing like you expected and better than you ever imagined!

    I am surprised by how much good advice your readers have given. My experience has also been that the first couple of years were less expensive than I thought they would be. You will get a lot of baby gifts at first, so there really isn’t too much to buy at the beginning. You will most definitely walk into buybuyBaby or Babies ‘R Us and buy a lot of stuff at some point though… but like everyone’s said, most of it will be things you think you need, but you don’t actually need!

    I am a big fan of Amazon subscribe and save… they have the best prices on Diapers, wipes, etc (We used Pampers Swaddlers Sensitive and then switched over to Pampers Baby Dry after size 3). The subscribe and save discount recently went down, but the prices are still very good and it’s super convenient.

    If you do go with a video baby monitor, I have found that the Motorola MBP36 is the best. It has a temperature monitor (among a million other little features), comes with a nice big 3.5″ color screen and is expandable (great for when you have number 2). It also is one of the few monitors that doesn’t interfere with my wireless phones/network/etc. and works in every corner of my house!

  126. For clothes this is what we learned:

    Onesies are NOT for tiny babies. We got about 15 of the 0-3 month size and I never use them. When he was really small he hated having them pulled over his head and they aren’t very convenient for diapering if you put pants over them. So given the chance, I’d have left the tags on all but maybe 3 of them and exchanged for larger sizes or sleepers. My little one lived in sleepers because they are just easier. Get dark colors or patterns – poop stains come out easily enough but if they don’t, it hides better on darker fabrics. Don’t get a million white onesies – it’s a total waste.

  127. Congrats!

    I highly recommend the book Baby Bargains. It was compiled by feedback from real people and gives recommendations for different income levels. It is helpful and becoming educated as to what is out there so that you can judge what you feel you need.

    In our experience, higher quality can trump lower prices. Durable baby items can save money in the long run.

    Useless items: bottle sterilizer, diaper pail, wipes warmer among others.

    Great items: convertible crib, sound activated baby monitor, baby bjorn bib, halo sleepsacks

  128. Congrats, depending on child care in your area (if you plan on it) will really determine how expensive it is….My wife and I are similiar in age and occupations to you…. I live on the east coast in one of the richest counties…for 2 kids I pay over 30k per yr for average care facility. The other thing that caught me by suprise was the cost of formula….But if there are some good tricks you can do to get big time coupons on enfamil. Obviously you can put off buying the stuff if your wife breast feeds as long as possible.

    Brand name car seats….Just pay and buy a Britax…..
    Strollers: Dont go overboard….
    Boudreaux’s Butt paste… stuff on earth
    Get a sound machine
    Diaper genies are a waste of money…You will use it less and less
    buy a breast pump and store milk
    bottles— buy the plastic drop ins….and get your wife to breast feed as long as she can….

  129. Looks like you are getting lots of advice on what to buy. So my only advice is to trust your parental intuition. You can read all the books you want, and many will contradict each other. Unless it is a safety issue, trust you gut, and if it doesn’t work, then reasses. Every kids different, their needs and schedules are different, no book has the right answer on how to raise them,how to make them good sleepers, how to make them good people, but you know how to do all these things, so just enjoy the ride and trust yourself. My wife and I just had our third ( we have a 3 year old, 20 month old and 3 month old and are loving (most) every moment. Heart felt congrats!

  130. Ben Edwards says

    Congrats! I don’t know what it’ll be like for you but for me the biggest shock wasn’t the cost of the kid but how much less free time you have.

    We have 3 kids now and after each one, our available free time shrunk, so get everything done now before the little girl arrives…

    In terms of cost – just try and buy toys, clothes, books used. Buying them new is a huge waste of money. If you walk into babies r us with an open wallet, they’ll happily empty it for you and give you another list of stuff that you “really need”.

    You do want a nice quality stroller and car seat b/c you’ll use the crap out of it. Just register for a nice one for a baby shower. We also bought a new, sturdy crib that was more expensive since we knew we were going to have 2-3 kids and would get good use out of it.

    Congrats again, exciting!

  131. Congrats, Mr. MMB!
    The cost to raise my baby is less than a pet, I only bought the following stuff before delivery:
    1. Diaper, continue to buy cheapest brand, nothing wrong with the butt
    2. one bottle: never used, breast milk for one year, then use cup
    3. one box baby wipe: tried, but didn’t use it, just go to sink and wash the butt, so clean, no chemical
    used cloth from friend, no baby food, breast milk and eat what we eat. they are all healthy and one in college now. I paid all tuition and living expenses for him. I also started Roth IRA for him. I am happy with saving.

  132. Find a local children’s clothing/toys/etc consignment store and you’ll save a bundle over buying new baby clothes. Kids grow out of their current size so quickly, and clothes get stained anyway.

  133. Consignment sales are a great way to buy or sell baby gear.

  134. Sleep for parents and baby is most important in every respect. A safe crib is important and at least one more sleep solution to get thru the early stages. Extra household help is a definite bonus or help with food prep. As a full-time working mom, I want to spend all my free time focusing on my kids. We rarely get weekend babysitting (only work week childcare) but this is a huge cost as we live in a very expensive city. Second hand anything is attainable and recommended.

  135. Don’t sign up early development classes before 5, instead spending more quality time with your baby.

  136. Congrats!!!

    I read some “baby on a budget” type book when I was pregnant and it was a complete waste of time. If you are already frugal minded, the same stuff applies. Don’t buy a lot of “single function” type things. Buy used. Most of the stuff that we bought used, we sold for the same price when we were done.

    The expensive part of children is time missed of work, not wanting to work as much, not caring about the money as much, health insurance, and stuff like that. I am always aggravated in blogs when people whine on and on how they can’t afford to do all the things they used to, and wish they could stay home, or whatever, but then jump down your throat when you say “kids are expensive.” My spouse hasn’t worked in 10 years (staying home with kids – far more important to us) and our health insurance is 10 times what it was when I was first pregnant. These are the ways in that kids are expensive. πŸ˜‰ a night out or a vacation costs several times what it used to be, too. Seriously though, we were in a very different place from you financially when we had kids (Were pretty young), and all everyone talked about was the finances and how much it sucked, around us. Either people were so used to high incomes and had trouble adjusting to one income or daycare expenses, or the opposite of just being young and not having much saved to deal with all the surprised. I never identified, because we had a year’s salary in the bank and I had a very flexible job (we never spent any of my spouse’s income – never lived up to it). IT was harder than I imagined, but we were better prepared than most. You are a 100 steps ahead – you will truly get to enjoy time with your children. Congrats again!

  137. Congrats!
    Spoil them with educational items and books.

    If Mrs MMB is going to stay at home join the local MOMS Club. Great group for support, playgroup, hand me downs, and networking.

  138. Here are 2 things I wish I had with my 1st:

    1. Inclined sleeper: Perfect for travel, but essential when the kid gets a cold. This keeps the drainage from going back into the throat/chest (

    2. Snuza: Every parent gets out of bed several times a night and checks to make sure the baby is still breathing. This little device connects to the top of the diaper, and makes a little click each time the baby’s belly goes up and down. If the device does not click for 20 seconds, it starts to vibrate and an alarm goes off (we only had several false alarms in 7 months, and this was due to the device becoming dislodged and moved to the wrong position). This gives us piece of mind against SIDS. If Mrs MMB is as anxious as my wife, this will be money well spent. (

  139. Phew — lots of responses to this one, huh?

    You’ve linked to him before, and he gives great advice. Mr. Money Mustache’s wife wrote this particular post on what babies actually need (they found it was much less expensive than most people think — as evidenced by many posters here, people tend to buy WAY more stuff than they need).

  140. Jonathan,

    I am sure its going to take a day to go over all the comments already out there. Anyway, I have to do my part as reader and follower of your blogs.


    Babies are essential evils and they will kill you with love and expenses. We have 2 sons and still diapering the 2nd one. I am sure you have 529 on your to do list of things to do. We spoiled our first baby by giving too much attention. Don’t do that mistake but I am sure you will do it anyway. Costco would be best friend to buy bulk stuff like Baby food, diapers and so forth.

    Have fun and enjoy every moment of it… You never know it will come back..


  141. Congratulations! Children are a blessing. I have several friends who have been doing IVF for a while with no success. So I know you all must be excited. As soon as our girls were born we opened a 529 for each of them. You get a lot of money in cards for different holidays, it’s a good way to save it for them and keep from spending it yourself πŸ™‚

  142. Congrats!! I sent you an excel spreadsheet of reviewed baby/mom items via your direct email. It was updated fairly recently based on our experiences over the past two years with two girls. Check out babybargains books. You can go to the store and just write down their recommendations without having to buy the book. Sign up for the Amazon mom thing, get on the national recall list , buy used, and exercise balls are great for bouncing fussy babies to sleep (they often worked when nothing else would).

  143. Congrats!
    i benefit greatly from your blog. Thank you!
    And i find my chance to give back to you a little by providing some of my 2 cents on baby products πŸ™‚
    I would echo amazon recurring shipment of diapers/wipes, we loved pampers.
    A good monitoring system is a must, we didn’t get those video ones, just the audio, the one we got also has this movement sensor which was greatly recommended to me when i was in your shoes 3 yrs ago, but i never used that movement sensor.
    Mobiles are expensive these days, but a must. Look into Craigslist, you’ll find some good bargains.
    For Mrs. MMB, don’t buy too much clothing, i know it’s hard to resist when seeing those cute little dresses, but they grow so fast. especially in the first year. I love babygap but only go when there’s clearance sale, when they have 75% sale, i stock up, sometimes multi-year range of clothing, hey size 4 will eventully fit when my son grow out of size 3, right?
    I also shop often at Carters outlet stores, you can always find 20% $40 coupon by googling. Do NOT buy circo brand out of target. i love to shop at target, but didn’t like the quality and it isn’t necessary cheaper.
    Food, we tried those jars of Gerber solid foods once and never bought it again. It’s very easy to do apple sauce and other veggies on your own. Just steam peas, broccoli, spinach, carrots and then smash with a large spoon or use a blendor. I stored these in baby cubes that were BPA free.

    we never quantify the expense, it’s a lot! However, I also agree that you will definitely have much less free time to do what you want to do. sleep deprivation is to be expected, just keep in mind that it will get better.
    It’s a lot of responsibility but you also get a lot of joy with your kid and that’s your reward.
    Welcome to the parenting world!

  144. Congratulations!!

    We’ve had over a handful of children in the last 12 years, so I know a little bit about this.

    I’ll give you two things:

    1) Put a repeating entry into your calendar every 6 months that says: “Go to to buy materials that relate to my current parenting challenges”. No kidding, it’s the parenting manual God should have written for all of us. Don’t limit yourself to just the main book. Go for the CDs too.
    2) Stuff is a burden. Enjoy your child. You are obviously not going to screw up your finances. Time will disappear quickly.

  145. My two more cents:

    * Try to avoid C-Section if you can, but I would recommend epidural. Child birth is very painful and really why would your wife wants to endure it if she doesn’t have to. Just like you wouldn’t want to have tooth extraction without Novocain right? I know, I know, this is debatable, and it’s very personal, but that would be my advice. I personally know three women each had two kids, one with Epidural the other without and they ALL recommended Epidural.

    * I second the advice of getting (borrowing) the book “Happiest Kid on The Block”. Great advices:

    * I know this is a controversial topic but sleep train (at about 4-5 months) if you can stomach a few nights of crying. It was the best thing we did for the first 1.2 years. After a few nights of training, our baby slept through the night, every night and putting him to bed simply involved putting him down, turn on the crib mobile music and soft light and leave. Travelling and sickness do disturb the rhythm, but retraining takes only one or two nights. Life will be so much easier and less stressful for both you and your child. When the baby sleeps through the night, she’ll wake up a happy and playful baby. I don’t think it affects our child emotionally in any way. He’s a happy and playful child. In fact I think with sleep training, he ends up crying MUCH LESS than if he were not.

    * Don’t worry too much about little things about health and safety, like the baby eating a Cherio off the floor, little bumps and bruises. That’s a part of growing up. Focus more on the major safety issues that may have serious consequences (baby-proof stairs, electronics, cabinets, sharp edged furniture).

    * You don’t have to feed your kids organic. If you can afford it and thinks it’s important, then do it, but I personally don’t think there’s any difference between feeding kids organic cereals vs. say Cherios. Just make sensible choices such as stay away from sugar as much as possible. This is because there ARE proofs that high sugar diets do lead to obesity and health problems. Delay introducing them to sweets as long as possible. Our son is two and all he drinks are water and milk. His sweets come mostly from fruits. I cringe when I see our friends letting their 2 year-old kids drink Coke and consume handfuls of chocolate.

    * Homemade baby food is easy to make, cost less and it is so much better. I’m not talking only about nutrition, but taste. I would eat the baby food I made for our son, but jar food, no way! Make a batch and freeze for gradual consumption. My recipe: rice, chicken, sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, spinach. Slow cooked until soft and puree using a hand blender. Btw, I would recommend this blender. It’s cheap and works great:

    * As far as baby products such as bottles, etc… I think Playtex makes the best products. We use Dr. Brown for the first couple months then switch to Playtex VentAir. Our friends who tried different products and at the end chose VentAir as well. Playtex sippy cups and straw bottles are great as well. They are leak-proof and break-proof, as supposed to another brand that we purchase which leaked constantly even when it’s closed. We had to to buy that one because it has Elmo design on it. Sigh…..

    Overall, I think you and your wife should take care of yourself and your health and do things that you think are sensible. Get help when you can. Parenthood martyrdom is overrated. If you’re tired and stressed out, it would affect your marriage and your child. Unless your child is a special needs child, children adapt and I think they are stronger if you don’t over-indulge them. See this article:

    Again, congrats and enjoy the experience.

  146. Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. MMB!

  147. Congratulations to you and Mrs. MMG. Can’t give any advice since we’re still trying for our first for a couple of years now! But Good luck!!

  148. Chris Hewitt says


    1. Figure out child care now. If you don’t have a plan, daycares will be surprisingly hard to get. We ended up with a nanny share, which turned out to be a great option for our daughter, as its cheaper and is more personal care with a “buddy”. If you can find another family, I recommend the nanny share.

    2. I don’t know what your family is like, but we didn’t have to buy much of anything for baby because our families had showers for us. I guess this is an age-old financial planning system (for the sometimes unplanned!)

    3. Babies need far less stuff than you think. Request folks to not buy clothes smaller than 12 months… that way you might actually get to use some of them. The best “things” are the things that preserve your sanity with baby (sleep sound machine, bouncer and other self-sufficient entertainment toys so that you might actually get to read the paper or something now and again)

    4. Ignore advice. Everyone handles babies their own way. There is no right or wrong, so long as you’re giving the kid love and support. So, go out and find your own way. You’re soon not going to care at all how much it costs to put a smile on that kid’s face…

  149. Congratulations!

  150. Congrats! Enjoy the experience. Babies/Kids need love and attention more than anything materialistic you can give them. Your time is what they want. Simplify your life now so that you can have more free time later.

  151. Congratulations! What a response with a lot of good ideas. It’s been too long ago for me to give any up-to-date advice on newborns since mine are 25, 21 and 14, but I will say that whatever you spend will be worth it!

    PS, if you plan on helping with college, start now! It will blow you away how much it will cost- especially 18 years from now. Good luck.

  152. Oh, one more piece of advice. DO NOT miss you kids important events (school programs, sports, etc). The will remember daddy being in the audience. Even though my wife and I both worked full time while our kids were growing up, we tried to both be there for all events. I remember a couple of times I would have a boss whine about me needing to be at an important meeting, etc. I always told them my family was most important and non-negotiable. Sometimes they didn’t like it, and I imagine it might have caused me to miss a promotion or two, but you only get one chance at being a good parent!

    Having said that, if there’s a chance you’re going to get fired…well…you’ve got to look at the big picture and support your family. I realize that some people aren’t in a position to say no to a boss. Since your plan is probably to be you own boss, you won’t have a problem.

  153. In 1968 we paid $850 from our own pocket to have our baby. We weren’t covered by insurance with my husband’s new job so that was hard. Can you imagine? Diaper service was $20 a week. Child care very cheap and lot of choices.

    I continued grad school and had one on one help for my child at two weeks. I’ve chosen to work or had to work ever since and she’s understood all of those work demands — turned out just fine. Daycare baby who never skipped a beat.

    We got her on cereal (solids) as soon as was practical. I bottle fed and this decision was made for me by the physician at the hospital. I’ve always resented that decision being made without discussion. Sure it is different these days and should be.

    Bought an almost antique baby pen and a new swing–these were two wonderful items. She crawled anywhere she wanted to go and we took her everywhere. When she was young we let her fly alone when young friends wanted her to visit. She’s never been afraid to fly anywhere and travels all of the time. Fearless.

    Go to jazz concerts, ballet concerts, opera and anything entertaining because I believe taste in music and the arts begins early. If they are too young for the length of a performance, leave early but this exposure is so important. All types of lessons for music and the arts. Never miss a performance.

    Try and tell your child how beautiful she is starting at a very young age. Eventually she will believe it because you say it is so and this will work in everyone’s favor.

    Read Montessori books and learn to never do for a child what they can do for themselves. We starting young with stacking plates and pouring from vessels using grains instead of water. Let them pack for camp and pick out their own clothes at an early age. Never overshadow a child’s taste because it is important and a gift to themselves for life. Hold back comments when they become teens and wear makeup that looks strange and clothes that are strange. Let all of these things take place and they will adjust to a more normal pace on their own.

    You will be blamed for not teaching a certain prayer, not forcing enough lessons, not doing this or that enough as a parent. If you are a single parent you will be blamed for not being a coupled parent. Eventually your child will walk in a theater with you and want to sit separately with friends instead of parents.
    Eventually they will announce they won’t be home for Christmas and other holidays. All of this will be painful but happens to all of us. Some how we make it through by loving them so thoroughly.

    I am so happy for you and your wife. It’s great to be three.

  154. –If your wife is on board with exclusively breastfeeding, it saves a lot of $$, even after buying a pump. We bought formula ONCE, out of fear that I wouldn’t have enough in storage for a business trip, but we didn’t use it.
    You will get free formula samples at the hospital, along with a lovely bag to carry them and all the formula coupons, but dude, that stuff isn’t cheap. And the best stuff you can get is free.
    –Also, the idea of cloth diapers is vile to most people, but even if you buy expensive ones, you still only spend $4-500 for the diaper life of your kid (typically $3-350), versus an average of $2500 for disposables, assuming 2.5-3 years of diapers/pull ups.
    –Skip pull ups. Useless.
    –Don’t get a swing, or an automatic rocker or a vibrating seat until you see what works for your kid. Mine didn’t sleep in her swing once, but loved the vibrating seat with fishies and ocean sounds. On that note, I have a like-new swing for sale. πŸ˜‰

    –Last, get your wife involved in some kind of post-partum fitness program, like Stroller Strides. They are helpful for her self esteem with the whole baby weight thing, she will meet other moms, and classes like that are helpful for mild post partum depression. I loved it.

  155. I just wanna congratulate Mrs. MMB
    thanks for sharing this post

  156. Congratulations. Babies aren’t as expensive as you think honestly. People buy most of that baby gear for you at a shower if you have friends/family. And the other costs just even out because you probably won’t go out as much as you used to.

  157. Another 2 cents:

    * I second the My Brest Friend pillow recommendation. It’s tremendously helpful if Mrs MMB is going to breast feed. I think it’s better than Boppy pillow. But if she’s not, don’t worry too much about it (ignore the pressure). Plenty of kids grow up just fine, healthy and happy bottle-fed.

    * Cradle swing to help putting the baby to sleep month up to 4-5 month. After weeks of struggling with a fussy infant, it was such a relief when we finally found this solution. You can buy it used fairly cheaply. We got a used one from our friends.

    * Bathtub, we used an inclined one like this ( the first year and graduated to one from IKEA. The IKEA bath tub is great. It’s cheap ($7.95), well-made and just the right size for toddlers.

    * I think I mentioned Fisher Price Rain Forest Jumperoo. It’s a great toy. My son and his friends still like to jump in it even though they are a little too big for it. I recommend getting this or similar models. FB gets it right when it comes to jumper. Other brands don’t compare.

    * A Leap Frog train ( It’s one of our son’s favorite toys. OMG! We got it as a gift and I didn’t realize it’s so expensive. In any case, it’s one of the best toys we have so I think it’s worth it. Buy it used!

    Sorry for flooding you with items. Some of these are things I wish someone had told me when we had our baby. It would have saved us a lot of time and effort.

  158. From someone that has read your blog for years CONGRATS! I have had a lot of people who have had to go the whole ordeal and The Wife and I even lost one a year or two back and then had to try for MONTHS. I can tell you the bad times seem to fade into the background pretty quickly.

    As far as costs:

  159. Congrats! Hit up your friends for used stuff (except crib, car seat and stuff according to Baby 411 and common sense).
    We’re going to try “minimalist” but don’t know yet, there are a tonne of things you can get, but if you think about how kids survive in most countries, you only need the basics.

    DVDs from the Library: (The most entertaining and informative of the ones I’ve seen)
    Laugh and Learn About Childbirth Starring Sheri Bayles
    Laugh and Learn About Breastfeeding Starring Sheri Bayles
    Laugh and Learn About Newborn Baby Care Starring Sheri Bayles

    Some Good Books: Baby Wise (Author: Ezzo), and if you are a Christian: Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp

  160. Congratulation! I remember when we have been there (twice)…exactly in the same boat. My advice regarding the In financial terms, just cover the basics, don’t waste too much time, just enjoy the little one/s!

    BTW, I have been following your blog for years, keep going, well done!


  161. ROCKING CHAIR, believe me you will love it at 2am when the baby won’t fall asleep. Also, recommend you take a parenting prep class, learning to “swaddle” your newborn properly is key…it worked pretty well for us. MamaRoo is also useful, but somewhat pricey at $200.

    We now have a 7-month old and she’s great, sleeping 10-12 hours and generally just a happy baby. We know we’re lucky, and I’m not sure exactly why she’s so good, but we’re hoping it doesn’t change.

    Second on the Amazon Mom’s vote, use Subscribe and Save, you can cancel right after you place the order if necessary with no penalties. I think you will find overall that you worry a lot less about costs when it comes to your first kid, nothing seems too expensive when buying for your child (except maybe that 1K stroller…sheesh.)

    One tip, make sure you have your Insurance all in line before going to the hospital, they will find ways to overcharge you. Good luck and have fun, you’ll love it!

  162. a91030mom says

    Lots of relies, so I’ll keep mine simple!

    Equipment: Baby wipes warmer. Baby won’t scream through diaper changes, inexpensive and well worth it.

    Classes: I take “Mommy-n-me” type classes through our local community college. They are fantastic, they’re called Parent Education and are non-credit (i.e., free) classes. Most of the parents there are educated, former professionals now living on one income, so no stigma of having to go to a “free” class. Further, the teachers all have early childhood education, so the talks are fantastic. I wonder if the “gymboree”-type (fee-based) classes have as educated a facilitator, I doubt it.

    A nice PS: I also get a student i.d., which gives me discouts are certain places!

  163. Diane Elias says

    Sorry if this has been mentioned already. You were up to 164 comments and that ad keeps getting in the way on my iPad.

    **** A Good Waterproof Mattress Pad for your own bed****

    Let’s face it, babies end up laying next to you or taking a nap in their parents bed at some point. And they grow into toddlers. The mattress pad on our own bed saved us lots of stress. Accidents happen! As well as the stomach flu and everything else. I never see it on anyone’s baby list but it will be a great gift for yourselves.

    As a former infertility patient and current parent of three adopted girls, I am so very excited for you both. It will be amazing!!!

  164. Congrats to you! You look to be six weeks ahead of me.

  165. The best advice we ever got was putting our baby on a feeding schedule and eventually on a nap schedule as well. Very early on we were able to tell when they were hugry vrs. tired etc. My 4 babies seemed content and slept through the night sooner than others. Our children new that we were in control and they can feel secure vrs. the demand feeding. We have thoroughly enjoyed our four and would consider adopting someday. Children are truly a blessing!

  166. Awesome news. Congratulations!

  167. Anita Graf says

    The only thing I haven’t seen mentioned here is Infant Potty Training, also known as elimination consciousness or other things. I’ve used it with my three children, the youngest of whom is now almost 3 mos. What it does is helps you tune in to your child’s needs very early and very deeply. It is amazing how they communicate right from the start their elimination needs. This makes for happier, calmer baby, less frustrated parents, and far fewer dirty/wet diapers. Oh, and earlier age of diaper-free-ness. I LOVE it. You can read about this on the web or get a book, or just start really paying attention after your baby comes. Try taking her to the potty (Baby Bjorn makes a very nice small, one-piece potty) right when she wakes up. That alone will get you started. You’ll be blown away with how it works, and your baby will love that she’s understood so early.

    I’ve also been very happy with breastfeeding and cloth diapers. It’s frugal, it’s environmental friendly (we wash diapers at home), and it’s easy. (Oh, I did decide by Baby #2 to use disposables at night.)

    Hand-me-down car seats make great baby chairs for inside the house. So, they can even be of the recalled or otherwise obsolete variety (often free off the curb), since they don’t have to meet any car safety standards. Great place to park infant around the house. I have my baby in one right now, at my feet as I type this, and since it isn’t in it’s base, I can rock her with her foot, keeping her very calm and content.

    YAY BABIES!!! I’m so in love with mine. Talk to your baby now while she’s in the womb. I was able to get a very clear read on the personalities of my three before they came out. Enjoy!

  168. Update?

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