SURVIVING BABY’S first year without going broke is a challenge to all new parents. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, an average of $6,200 is spent on baby supplies in a child’s first year.
New mothers want the best for their children and are extremely susceptible to marketing and advertising messages to help them be good moms.
The spending increases as the baby grows up. The cost to raise a child from infant to age 17 has risen 680 percent in the last 40 years from $25,000 in 1960 to more than $170,000 today.
Here are some tips for surviving baby’s first year without going overboard financially according to Sam Goller, author of “Yes You Can …. Afford to Raise a Family.”
Start saving for college now, let family and friends know a fund is set up for monetary gifts in lieu of baby presents.
Be aware of the “gotta have it” habit. Avoid being seduced by baby gadgets and expensive outfits they’ll outgrow quickly.
Prepare homemade baby food with a blender or food processor. Make large batches and freeze them in ice-cube trays for easy thawing when needed.
“Wear” your baby, instead of purchasing a stroller, with a baby sling. Babies who feel their mother’s warmth and heartbeat also feel more secure.
Decide now if both parents will continue working full time after baby is born. If it is financially possible for a parent to stay at home, begin saving one paycheck during pregnancy to get used to a reduction in income.
Use cloth diapers, an affordable and healthy alternative to disposables.
Eliminate credit card debt before baby arrives. It will be much harder to pay down the debt after your new arrival.
Finally, give up small luxuries and eliminate extra expenses, such as your morning latte and muffin.
Prepare kids for emergencies
Practicing with a play phone and role-playing 911 calls with your young child will help her remember what to do in the case of a real emergency. Here are some 911 basics to discuss with your child presented by 9-1-1 for Kids:
Talk about the right times to call 911. Emphasize that she should call only when someone is hurt or in danger.
Refer to the number as “9-1-1-” instead of “9-11” (there’s no 11 on the phone). Make sure your child can reach at least one phone in the house.
Be sure she knows your address and phone number and that she needs to answer: What’s wrong? Who needs help? Where are you?
Encourage her to speak slowly and clearly and to say yes and no out loud, instead of nodding or shaking her head.
Cold season again
It’s that time of year again where it seems children are just getting over one cold and yet are catching the next. According to Dr. Barton Schmitt of the Children’s Hospital in Denver, the average preschooler comes down with infections 10 to 15 times a year. The good news? Each infection strengthens the body’s defenses so as kids get older, they get sick less often. Here is a list of the top 10 childhood illnesses and their occurrences:
• Colds (5-10 per year)
• Coughs (4-5 per year)
• Croup (1-2 per year)
• Sore throats (4-5 per year)
• Eye infections (1-2 per year)
• Earaches (1-2 per year)
• Diarrhea (3-4 per year)
• Vomiting (1-2 per year)
• Wheezing (0-2 per year)
• Fever (5-10 per year with above infections; 1-2 per year w/o other symptoms)
Time for shuteye
How much sleep is enough? The National Sleep Foundation has determined the following: Babies (3-11 months) need 14-15 hours; Toddlers (12-35 months) need 12-14 hours; 3- to 5-year olds need 11-13 hours; and 5- to 6-year olds need 10-11 hours of sleep.
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