To grow up healthy, babies need food, clothing, shelter and loving parents. That being said, it can cost anywhere between $10,000 and $20,000 to raise your little bundle of joy in their first year. As parents, we want to give them so much more than just the bare essentials.

The good news is that caring for your new baby doesn’t have to break the bank. Here’s how to save money and still provide everything you need for you and your baby.

1. Breast milk is cheaper (and better) than the bottle

If you are able to breastfeed, you will save money on formula and your baby will benefit from the nourishment that only comes from a mother’s breast milk.

As long as you are healthy and the baby is able to nurse, then this supply will be all the food they need for the first four to six months of life. After that you can wean your baby onto solids.

2. Not all formulas are created equal

If you’re feeding your baby formula, it pays to do a little research. By law, generic brand formula must meet the same quality and nutritional standards as big brand formula. Read labels, Google it, ask friends and ask your chemist for an honest comparison.

3. Make your own delicious baby food

When your baby is ready for solids, you can gain a lot of satisfaction (and save a lot of money) by preparing healthy food at home instead of buying off the shelf. You can also prepare nutritious meals in advance.

4. Hold off buying breastfeeding clothing

You can spend a fortune on special bras, tops and nursing pads only to discover that breastfeeding isn’t working for you and your baby. Save money by making do with what you already have at home until you are sure. You’ll most likely be nursing at home for the first couple of weeks anyway!

5. Hold off buying baby clothes too!

New parents fall into the trap of filling their nursery cupboards with a huge range of beautiful new baby clothes. Remember this, babies grow… fast! You’ll save money by just buying the basics: singlets, jumpsuits, socks and a handful of cute items as they need them.

It’s tempting to buy a cute winter jacket in summer, but your little bundle may be a big bundle by then, and you’ll be left with a brand new jacket that doesn’t fit.

6. Barefoot is best for baby

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Instead of spending a fortune on baby shoes they may wear once or twice, save your money.  Pop socks on when you’re out and let your baby go barefoot at home.

Studies show that babies learn to walk faster if they’re barefoot. Think of baby shoes only as a necessity for warmth and protection when needed, and not as a fashion accessory.

7. Shop online for bargains

There are a huge number of online stores offering absolutely everything you could imagine for you and your new baby.

You are sure to be given a special offer to sign up for a newsletter. Take the offer, but just be careful of overspending, as these online marketers are very clever at luring you in.

8. Cloth or eco nappies instead of disposables

Washing cloth nappies is still far kinder to our planet than the mounting landfill problem created by disposable nappies.

There is an alternative; bio-degradable nappies. Compare costs and decide what’s best for you. If you go for disposables instead, then buy in bulk to save money.

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9. Borrow instead of buying

For larger, more costly items such as a pram, cot, high chair or change table, you can ask your friends and family or even on social media. You will find parents whose children have outgrown these items and they’re just sitting in the garage.

10. Hand-me-downs are a blessing

There used to be a stigma around receiving hand-me-down clothes and other goods. Now, friends and families happily give items away to the next ‘round’ of parents once they have no further use for them.

It’s a wonderful way to recycle and share clothes that may be barely used. Once your bub outgrows them, you can find the next new Mum to give these treasures to.

11. Look through second-hand shops

You can find an amazing range of baby goods in second hand shops. Often the items have hardly been used or worn. You can save thousands, especially on clothing that your baby may only wear a few times before they grow out of them.

Garage sales and markets also offer up some great bargains for new parents!

12. Think practical when it comes to nursery furniture

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It’s a big expense to deck your whole nursery out with brand new furniture. If buying new, look for sales.

Remember, you just need furniture that will do the job.

13. Double use items will save money

Why buy special cot sheets, when you can fold an adult bed sheet to snuggly fit? A plastic bowl works just as well as a fancy dinosaur-decorated one, and your baby won’t care if she’s bundled up in a soft cotton wrap from your cupboard instead of a special baby one.

14. Be prepared when you leave the house

You can save money on incidental items by having them when you leave the house with your baby. Just like nappies and wipes, keep a spare outfit and a wrap. If your baby is onto solid food, have a good supply of healthy snacks on hand.

Being prepared will save you money and time if you run out.

15. Find free services

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Look on your local community board, check with your doctor or hospital and ask other Mums about the services available to new parents. For example, instead of paying for a lactation consultation, you might find a free service at your local clinic.

As your child grows, you’ll find many free services. Your library will be a great source of entertainment with toys, books and readings. You might find nearby Mums or Parent groups through Facebook or Meetup.

16. Ask for advice, recommendations, information… and samples!

People LOVE giving advice to new parents. Take advantage of this free flow of information. Ask family and friends for help when you need it. Ask parents for their best tips. Ask your doctor or chemist for free samples. If you don’t ask, you don’t get!

The needs of your child change as they grow

Save yourself some time and energy by visiting a Petit Early Learning Journey centre first. Through our gentle, supportive approach, we help your baby develop in key areas from the very beginning. Above all, we provide a safe, warm environment for your baby to build confidence and feel secure and loved.

Book a tour at Petit early Learning Journey today. We’d love to see you!