We all know that having a baby is expensive. Before the baby comes we spend hours making lists, comparing products, planning our baby shopping, ensuring our new baby gets the best of everything. What we don’t always realise, is that the spending doesn’t stop once the baby arrives. Thrown in to the unchartered territory of new parenthood, our instinct is often to throw money at the problems because, surely, in the 200,000 years for which people have been having babies, someone must have found a way to make it easier!
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The number one problem that plagues new parents is of course, sleep. In those dark hours awake with your baby, what better way to pass the time than browsing online for a way to get your little darling to close its eyes for more than 30 minutes at a time. Marketing geniuses around the world have cottoned on to this and you can buy a huge variety of different “solutions”. You can buy beds, light shows, bubble baths, toys, blankets, books, dummies and hundreds of other things all aimed at helping your baby get 40 winks.
Each time you click “add to basket” you are convinced that this time you’ve found the Holy Grail. You wait with bated breath for the product to arrive. On the first night you use it, it’s a success! You congratulate yourself for putting an end to end your sleepless nights. Then the next night comes. For some reason, the baby who loved this new product last night, is now having none of it. Back to the internet you go. This cycle then continues until your baby eventually starts to sleep through, as a result of the passing of time and in no way aided by the endless purchases you have made.
Getting them Fed
Feeding is another problem area with new babies. Who’d have thought something so natural and essential to life could be a problem? Alas, some babies just don’t seem to find it that easy. Luckily, manufacturers have come up with a whole host of solutions. If you’re breastfeeding you’ll likely be searching out next day delivery nipple shields, creams and feeding cushions. If you’re bottle feeding you’ll be ordering the latest anti colic teats not to mention a perfect prep machine to minimise the amount of time between the wailing starting up and the bottle being ready.
The dreaded Teething
As they start to get a bit older, new shopping opportunities will present themselves. Around 6 months (earlier if you’re really unlucky) you’ll hit the teething phase. Your once cheerful baby will spend its day whining and crying, even your ever popular impression of a duck wont pacify them. You’ll become a regular visitor to Boots to stock up on teething powders and numbing gels, not to mention the ubiquitous Sophie the Giraffe, todays essential teething accessory.
Once your baby is spending more of the day awake (although don’t get excited, they are probably still spending most of the night awake too) you’ll want to entertain them. The toy industry has very much picked up on the fact that parents worry about their babies hitting milestones. For that reason you’ll be able to stock your trolley with toys to help them sit up, help them crawl (along with these* if you’re really overprotective), to strengthen their legs ready for standing and help them take their first steps. Not to mention the must have item for all parents, the Circle of Neglect* (no judgement here, I so wish these had been around when my kid’s were babies!)
And all of this before you’ve even clothed your baby! Before the baby comes, you may well have been sensible. You read the advice that sleepsuits are really the easiest thing for the first few months and so you stocked up on those. Then the baby arrives. A well meaning relative turns up with a tiny outfit for them. It looks so cute. The next time you’re in Tesco’s buying (yet more) nappies, you have a quick wander down the baby aisle. There are so many gorgeous, tiny clothes. Before you know it you have more outfits that your baby will ever have time to wear including a pumpkin costume for Halloween and a Harry Potter outfit for World Book Day.
By the time your baby is one, you’ll be horrified to discover it has grown out of all of these products, most of which are still like new. Instead of spending your time shopping online, you will now spend it selling your “miracle solutions” and cute outfits on to the next unsuspecting new parent.