I have many fond memories of making myself a “nest” at the foot of the couch with my dad and watching reruns of MacGyver. He made all sorts of awesome stuff out of things that he had around the house. I blame my parenting style partially on this show.
You see, I am a MacGyver Parent. If I can’t find it, make it or jury-rig it, it probably isn’t necessary. Forgot Little Girl’s mittens? Have her wear socks on her hands. Ran out of shampoo? Use baking soda. You can even go without diapers if you’re into that sort of thing (I’m not).
Babies and small children can actually be quite affordable if you’re willing to give “MacGyver Parenting” a try. When I went to a baby store to register when I was pregnant, I was SO overwhelmed at all the stuff. I had no idea what I would need! We were fortunate enough to have extremely generous friends and family when we had our kids, so we have plenty of baby gear. However, much of it is convenient and nice – not necessary. If you’re willing and able to breastfeed, I posit that this is what you need for a baby:
Safe carseat (infant or convertible), if you ever plan on having your infant in a car
Safe place to sleep
A 5-pack of comfortable onesies, for layering
A 5-pack of comfortable body suits, for sleep and play
Optional, to make your life easier:
Carrier, like the Moby Wrap (my personal favorite, and I’ve tried several). Be forewarned that these things take practice to use, but they are so much easier (and cheaper) than strollers in the long run. And they keep baby close, AND they help you lose the baby weight faster.
Diapers and washcloths or wipes
Admittedly, it is fun to decorate for a baby, to have a ton of cute little outfits that he outgrows in a day, etc. However, if you’re willing to look around and use things you already have, your baby doesn’t have to cost a fortune. What is so much better about baby towels that you can’t just use the ones you already use yourself? Who says you can’t bathe a newborn in a large mixing bowl? Put a towel on your lap and voila! You’re a high chair. Don’t let marketers make you feel that you don’t have enough money to have a child because you can’t afford all that crazy baby gear. Someday your kids will respect you for making do with what you had.