Baby’s Nursery: Go Cheap Or Whole Hog?

Hubby and I have reached that point in the pregnancy when it’s time to start putting together the nursery. You’d think that would be easy. Pick out furniture, paint the walls, add some cute blankets and voila! The perfect little place for baby and family.

Except, for some reason it’s been really difficult to decide how to approach the nursery and it all stems from one question – should we go cheap or “whole hog” as they say?

The benefits of going cheap are obvious. Babies are messy. They destroy things when they get to toddler stage. Furniture gets banged up and doesn’t last anyway. As many of you readers mentioned in our previous discussion on cloth diapering – babies often end up getting changed whenever (and wherever) you have time. That really undercuts the argument for something like a changing table and other “fancies” as my husband might call them.

Then you have those giant “nursery bedding” sets. The adorable ones with matchy-matchy animal designs and a crib skirt with bumpers like this…

Little Bedding by NoJo Dreamland Teddy 10pc Nursery in a Bag

Little Bedding by NoJo Dreamland Teddy 10pc Nursery in a Bag

I’ve seen some run as high as $300.00 including wall decorations. Really, does baby care about a few decals on the wall? I’ve also read those solid fabric bumpers can be unsafe – since baby can roll up against them while sleeping.

On the other hand…

I love, love, love all those cute little bedding sets! Maybe it’s the new mommy in me but when I see pictures like this…

or like this…

Tiffany Theissen's Lavender Celebrity Baby Nursery (Designed by Lonni Paul)

Tiffany Theissen’s Lavender Celebrity Baby Nursery (Designed by Lonni Paul)

I DO desperately want to create that “perfect” little space for momma and baby. Comments from some friends have really reinforced this idea as well. A girlfriend who just gave birth to her little one a few months ago said having a glider/rocker was such a comfort when nursing to her AND the baby. So now I’m thinking we should get one…

I also really like the idea of spending a little more on a convertible crib and some furniture pieces that will grow with our little girl and hopefully last. Then I see some of the prices – $650 for just a crib alone and a cringe.

There’s no way we’ll ever be able to spend $5,000 – $10,000 on our nursery… Maybe $750 if we really economize and I put my Google ninja skills to use to find online deals. (Contrary to popular belief, we TV people don’t all make a Katie Couric salary. lol.)

I did find this combo furniture set at Walmart…

Summer Infant - Fairfield Crib Set

…with good reviews for an almost-seems-too-good-to-be-true price. I’m wondering if I should splurge a little more though. How much we should really invest in baby’s nursery given the time we’ll spend there?

So that’s where you all come in. How much did you spend on baby’s nursery? Did you find ways to decorate for less? How much did creating that “perfect” little nest matter to you?

Post below ladies! Can’t wait to hear from you all…


What Do You REALLY Need For A Baby?

One of the most stressful things about preparing for a baby so far has been trying to figure out what we really need for our little bundle… and what we don’t.

Diapers. Wipes. Formula. A place to sleep. Those are obvious. Then you get to places like Babies R’ Us and find out there’s a great big world of baby items out there that retailers insist are “essentials.” When I first saw our registry guide, I admit I was totally overwhelmed!

That feeling of frustration has only grown after talking with co-workers and friends. I’ve been asking the same questions: “Which of your registry items were the most helpful?” “Which were totally a waste of money?”

Everyone has a different response. So what’s a new momma to do?

Here are my thoughts on a couple of items that seem to be most controversial – falling into the REALLY need or NO WAY lists of just about everyone I talked with.

South Shore Savannah Changing Table

Changing Table – We have decided to register for/buy one of these as a home base for our cloth diapering. I have heard from several cloth advocates who say having an organized, designated spot to store and manage your diapers is a must if you expect to keep going with the project. Still, at $100 or more a pop I can see where people see this as a waste.

Wipes Warmer – Found one for about $25 at Babies R’ Us but am on the fence about whether to register for it or not. I’ve read that wipes left inside for too long get a little yucky. I also read that baby will scream bloody murder if you are always wiping her little bum with warm, snuggly wipes then have to switch to cold!

Graco Pack ‘N Play Travel Play Yard

Pack N’ Play – We have not registered for this. My co-worker tells me I am INSANE for not doing so. He says it’s the only way to keep baby contained when you’re rushing around the house trying to manage other errands. He also pointed out how helpful it is when traveling to see family. I feel like they are awfully expensive and our home environment is such that I could keep a pretty good watch over a young one. Maybe not. lol.

Hooded Towels – I admit, I was suckered in by an especially cute whale design with fish too and registered for some of these. Many parents I know say they are totally unhelpful though and that a nice, warm, fluffy towel for a baby works better at keeping them warm. On the plus side a nice, warm, fluffy towel could cost a few bucks and the hooded towels $15.00+.

So parents, what do you think of my observations above? What items did you find were “must haves” for a new baby? What items did you register for you that you wished you had skipped?

Share your thoughts below!

Cloth Diapering: How Much Can You Really Save?

A couple of weeks back, I posted on my Facebook page that my husband and I were planning to try cloth diapering. Responses ranged from ultra-supportive to “Wow, she’s crazy!”

There are a lot of reasons not to cloth diaper. There are also a lot of reasons to do it. They are better for the environment, softer for baby’s bottom and cheaper. It’s that last reason – cheaper – that won me over.

When I first got a registry list of all the things we would “need” for baby – I almost died of shock. Seriously. I’m a naturally skeptical person, so I knew we wouldn’t need ALL the items on that list but after calculating the must haves… I immediately started revising our family budget.

One question I keep getting is, “Is it really worth it?” That depends largely on your tolerance for scraping poop into a toilet. Today though, I thought I’d share with everyone what I found when asked myself that question and did the math.

Before I lay out the numbers, I need to mention that there are many different types of cloth diapers and my husband and I plan to try one of the more expensive – albeit more convenient – called Pockets. Here’s a breakdown of the major types.

So here we go. We’ll start with disposables. First, finding an “average” cost for a disposable diaper in the U.S. can be a bit difficult. Thankfully, smarter people than me have done cost breakdowns that are easily available on the web. Click here or here to see what I mean.

Photo Credit: Flickr / longestaugust

As baby grows, they need bigger diapers and bigger diapers generally cost more, since there aren’t as many per box. Price per diaper (also called unit price) as a result, can range from $.15 to $.45. Let say then, for purposes of simplifying the math, that an average price per diaper over baby’s early years will be $.30.

According to the University of Michigan, the average time it takes to potty train a child is about 2.5 years or 30 months. Using an average of 8 diaper changes a day (adjusting for a larger number of changes when baby is small and fewer when it is older) that brings us to a disposable diapering cost (8 changes x $.30 per change x 913 days) of $2,191!

But wait! There’s more!

  • Wipes @ $.03 per wipe (average based on my cost per unit observations) X 7,304 total changes (8 x 913) = $219.12
  • Diaper pail and/or Diaper Genie = $50 (including liner refills)

Total Disposable Cost: $2,460,12

Here are our expenses in going “cloth” as I calculate them:

  • 24 cloth diapers & 48 inserts (CB pockets, one-size until potty trained) = $479.96
  • 30 CB cloth organic wipes = $48.57
  • 2 wet bags (to store/launder diapers in) = $40.00
  • Additional water/detergent usage (via @Mint estimate) = $252

Total Cloth Cost: $820.53

TOTAL SAVINGS = $1,639.59

A few key points…

*Modern cloth diapers can be reused for a second child provided they are well cared for, dramatically increasing the possibility of savings.

*The brands we chose for cloth diapering in the example above are higher-end and there are much cheaper options available on the market, providing the opportunity for even more savings.

*Disposables for many families are just easier to use. In fact, many who use cloth diapers end up using throwaways for long trips or day care, so those may need to be added to the cost estimates for cloth diapering in some cases.

This is by no means an scientific analysis but to me the potential savings was just to enticing to ignore. Then again, this being our first little tot, we haven’t yet had to face “mountains of doodie” as one of my dearest friends likes to call it.

Parents, what do you think? Does the math above win you over? Or do you think cloth diapering is way too much hassle? Sound off below!


Hello WHNT News 19 friends and fans!

Welcome to my baby blog!

If you haven’t heard the news yet (or noticed my expanding middle) my husband and I are expecting our first baby! Being the techy-type I am, I created this blog as a way to share my experiences with our friends and viewers in the Tennessee Valley. Over the coming months, I hope to document what I’m learning about pregnancy and birth with all of you here and get your advice and feedback about parenting in return!

Check back often. I plan to post as much as possible, in addition to my anchoring weekday mornings from 4:30-7:00 a.m. and providing technology reports for several newscasts here at WHNT News 19. I’ll be a busy momma-to-be!

We’ve also been having some great conversations over at my Facebook page. You can follow me here to join in the fun.

Again, welcome!