Baby Expenses

Baby Expenses VII

The post is part of the Baby Expenses Series. See the entire series here.

This post is a list of items that either we used or things that I know people typically get with a new baby – I’ve indicated whether I think it’s mandatory and the timing of when you need it. I’ll put an approximate price for new items which is generally on the lower end – you can spend much more if you want . I’ve split it up into a number of posts which is in keeping with my tradition of not having excessively long posts.

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Diaper Genie:

This little device basically does sort of a shrink wrap on the dirty diapers so that you don’t have to smell anything until garbage day. In

Toronto we have a green box recycling program which takes diapers but not wipes so what we did was put the #1 diapers into the green box and the #2 diapers (and wipes) went into the diaper genie and eventually into the garbage.When: When the baby is born.Cost: $30-$40. Bag refills are $10 and last about two weeks.Rocking chair:My wife did a lot the feeding on this and sometimes we rocked him to sleep on it. Definitely not essential but it came in handy.


Cost: $250.

When: As soon as the baby is born.


We borrowed one of these from friends. Junior really enjoyed it for a couple of months but once they get mobile then they lose interest. One of the big benefits of an exersaucer is that once they start crawling, Mom can stick junior into it while she goes to the bathroom.

When: Not before about three months.

Cost: $100

Play mat:

This is a cloth mat with shapes on it and it has some suspended toys above it. I really thought it was a complete waste of money. When babies are born their vision isn’t that great and over the first three or four months it gradually gets better. What this means is that they can be entertained and learn just from looking around their environment which is constantly changing (in their eyes). Another thing I read is that they love looking at different patterns. Stripes are a particular favourite of newborns. Rather than buy an expensive play mat I think providing the baby with different patterns to look at would be more beneficial.

When: Six weeks to when they start to crawl.

Cost: $70.

Baby monitor – mandatory:

You put the “listener” end of this device in with the baby and keep the speaker near you when the baby is sleeping. You will know right away if he wakes up.

When: When baby is born.

Cost: $30.

Nursing pillow:

This pillow is a firm U shaped pillow that is placed on the mother’s lap and helps hold the baby up for breast feeding. Here is a link to a rather nice looking pillow. This is more of a personal choice since theoretically any pillows will do, but we found it worked quite well and would recommend one.

When: As soon as the baby is born.

Cost: $40.

Baby Swing:

I have friends who swear by their baby swings and said that it helped calm the baby on many occasions. Our little guy however, didn’t seem to like it that much and we found it awkward getting him in and out of the one that we borrowed.

When: Probably not before three months.

Cost: $100.

Baby Bath:

We borrowed one of these from friends and liked it quite a bit. It’s definitely not essential since you can use any large basin in the beginning or even the sink. Once the kid gets a bit bigger and can hold his head up – probably around two months then you can just wash them in the regular tub.

When: As soon as that baby is born.

Cost: $30.

Pack and Play portable crib:

I would rate this as almost essential. You don’t really need one for your own house although they are very useful, but if you are going to travel anywhere with a child that is mobile and normally sleeps in a crib then it is essential since you won’t be able to bring the crib with you.

When: Once kid starts to get mobile.

Cost: $60 for a small one at Zellers.

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11 replies on “Baby Expenses VII”

It’s amazing how we found some things indispensable but other parents do not. We bought the baby monitor and nursing pillow, but hardly ever used them. As soon as our kids woke up they cried and we could hear them from a mile away (Amazing how that small body can be loud!). For some reason, the babies never liked the nursing pillow.

We found the swing to be a life saver. The boys were content to be on the swing for hours.

It would be interesting to hear what people think of cloth diapers if any of your readers have used them.

Holy crap! Babies are expensive!!!! A few of my friends are having their first babies…what would you recommend for baby shower gifts (inexpensive, but useful).

CC – very true. My wife is actually the one who likes the monitor. I don’t think it’s necessary.

Telly – we never considered them. On Million Dollar Journey there is a big discussion about them.

SD – they can be but they don’t have to be…

Inexpensive clothes are good – onesies, jumpers, sleepers – that sort of thing it doesn’t hurt to have a few more. Diapers are very useful – get size 2 (everyone else will be the newborns size). A large box would be $25 – $30 but you can buy smaller quantities too.


If you have a house with multiple stories (we have a 3-floor townhouse) a video monitor is a HUGE help. I am sitting right now with the baby monitor and it’s saved me twice already from having to go upstairs to check on my son who’s a little restless tonight. The video monitor I got has been priceless! You can get it at Amazon: Summer Infant Day & Night Handheld Color Video Monitor.

We got a Diaper Champ which uses regular trash bags and it was fine until my son’s, er, frequency dropped down to a few diapers a day. Now we just use the little plastic grocery bags to wrap them up. We put them in the regular garbage, unless it’s, er, a more “soiled” diaper in which case it goes out to the big can in the garage until the next morning.

SD, you are right – babies are expensive. We economize where we can but every time you think you have everything you need something else comes up! Every time!

I have a two month old and have recently started using cloth diapers. We made the decision ahead of the birth because I just couldn’t justify throwing out between 25 and 50 cents every change. Since the brand we chose was available from Sears starting at size 10-22 lbs, we ended up using disposables until out baby got to be around 13 lbs, when the Kushies seemed to fit him properly.
While the initial investment may be daunting, I am now a big fan of cloth diapers. The amount of trash coming out of the nursery has dropped dramatically, and so far I am not too grossed out by the process.

I’ve used cloth on two children. The cheapest is to make your own, but failing that, I use infant prefolds until around six months and the Thirsties fitteds (have elastic at leg and waist, and velcro closure) until toilet training. Total cost (in US dollars):
24 infant indian prefolds = $36
6 small covers = $60
12 Thirsties fitted nappies= $170
4 medium covers = $40
1 sprayer (attaches to toilet so poo doesn’t go in washer= $40

Total cost: $300 over 2-3 years, $2 a week.
That’s for the first child, the second child is free. Of course, a lot of people use prefolds on older babies, but I find fitteds so convenient with the elastic and velcro.

Jane – thanks for the breakdown. I know from my experience that disposable diapers cost about $1300 for the first year and a bit less after that – maybe $1000 for the second year?

Obviously cloth is much, much cheaper.

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