Monthly Archives: August 2013

Your baby budget will get blown

Babies produce unforeseen expenses. Some are crucial, some are unavoidable, and some turn out to be a waste of money. Two significant purchases we made occurred in the early weeks of V’s arrival.

My wife had made the commitment to breastfeed our daughter but both of them were finding it hard. And we gave in and bought formula. We hadn’t planned on that one. It bought us some peace of mind and some time. So we then invested in breastfeeding books and, once, a single page downloadable guide that proved to contain one useful bit of advice. But the published advice didn’t quite help us with our particular problems.

Those breastfeeding issues remained and we finally decided to hire a breastfeeding adviser. This was a Really Big Expense for us. My wife found her online and she visited our flat. She turned out to be the final piece of the puzzle that allowed my wife to make breastfeeding work for her and our daughter. She gave a lot of great advice and while that purchase was born out of desperation, it turned out to be money well spent.

Our next unforeseen expense came at the same time and was an even bigger investment. When V.’s skin started to react badly to disposable nappies, my wife quickly pushed for cloth nappies. As usual, she’d been thorough with her research and had found the best type at the best price. I was reluctant because we were looking at nearly £18 for each nappy. Plus additional items like storage bags and special washing detergent. Not to mention the costs of washing and drying the things at home. It’s claimed by the makers of reusable nappies that one of their advantages is economy: they’re cheaper than disposables. I don’t have the inclination to calculate how much each wash costs, but I can say that the initial outlay did hurt and made a dent to our budget. But over the year, the nappies have worked well, and been used time and time again.

However some of the unforeseen expenses haven’t worked for us. These include swaddling blankets, three types of nappy rash cream, a baby bath support, disposable nappies and the first brand of formula we tried. Either our daughter didn’t get on with them or her parents didn’t.

I can’t think how these expenses could have been avoided. We had to try them out to see if they worked and I suggest that you should view these kind of purchases as a learning experience. And keep the receipt.


Over the last two weeks, V. has had diarrhoea. She’s in good spirits, hasn’t been vomiting and we’re keeping her well hydrated. The doctor says it could be rotovirus. Or it could be ‘one of those things’. So we’re waiting it out. However the increased output of poo, combined with the UK’s hottest heatwave in six years, has lead to nappy rash.

In an attempt to give the nappy rash an opportunity to improve, we’ve tried to keep V.’s days and nights nappy-free as much as we can. Letting the air get to it, plus using a good lotion or balm for the areas of broken skin, speeds recovery. As you can imagine, though, that’s a messy policy. Messy in the cot, on the floor and on our clothes.

The washing machine has been on continuously, we’re both on our hands and knees literally scrubbing the shit out of the carpets. And our clothes…

When we were trying to cover the floor with old towels, V. would always find a gap to leave her doings on the carpet. So my advice, if you are forced to follow our lead, is to go in early with a heavy-duty floor covering. We finally pulled out the huge groundsheet that had come with our blow-up birthing pool. Now, clean-up is a couple of kitchen towels and a squirt of anti-bacterial spray.

We had also read of a suggested diet for V. that would help ‘bind’ her up. The B.R.A.T. diet is made up of bananas, rice, apple or applesauce and toast. I made these foods up for V. twice a day for a week (including carrots, which I had read somewhere was also good). She was as tired of eating that stuff as I was of preparing it and I saw no improvement in her bowel movements whatsoever. Eventually I found some articles that suggest a regular diet should be maintained when it is mild diarrhoea. So I’ve reintroduced the fibrous vegetables and other goodies she’s been enjoying since we started weaning.

It was after a week of all this disruption, that my wife then suggested we combine this nappy free time with some early toilet training. I stared at her for some moments. F. ignored that and pointed out we’re already dealing with the unfortunate accidents associated with toilet training. Plus, she was becoming quite good at identifying little signs from the baby of an impending deluge.

Obviously diarrhoea has nothing to do with bowel control, but I agreed we should give potty training a go. I’m not sure if we’re making the best of a bad job or giving ourselves a mountain to climb. Which is why, into our second week of diarrhoea, V. is being rushed to the toilet several times a day to sit on her very own adapted toilet seat. If, finally, a tiny amount of wee or poo is forthcoming, she gets fine applause before we ‘wave bye bye’ to the doings. At least I don’t have to scrub it out of the carpet.