Money Musings from Mommyhood: Week 7
I’m baaaack! Sorry I’ve been MIA from my blog the past couple months. As many of you know, I’ve embarked on a very new, very exciting role in life: Mom. Evan was born on the first day of summer, June 21, at 6:36 pm. He’s a happy baby who loves bath time and his Sharknado robe.
To all my parent-readers out there, I feel you! I finally feel you! The past seven weeks since bringing Evan home have been filled with so much love (more than I ever thought capable), pure joy and, of course, worry! You’re not a parent if you’re not worrying more than 50% of your day, apparently. I worry about whether he’s getting enough sleep, enough to eat and enough stimulation. As he is fewer than 3 months old and still quite fragile, I also worry about exposing him to too many people too soon. Like, is it okay to take him to the new Nordstrom Rack that opened up the street? (I took a risk and went with him last week. All is fine.)
Becoming a parent has given me a whole new appreciation for the expression, “sharing is caring,” too. So, in the spirit of this blog, I’ve decided to launch a weekly series chronicling my personal financial musings as a new parent. As a disclaimer, these ‘musings’ are just my own personal thoughts, rants, lessons and observations as it relates to money and parenting. As I’m getting a little bit of a late start with this series, here are more than a few money musings from the past seven weeks, beginning with our time in the hospital.
1. Ask and ye shall (probably) receive. The nurses at our hospital were, for the most part, very helpful, kind and informative. But they can’t read your mind. After the first night of sharing a room with another new mom and her newborn baby who was crying endlessly, I let my nurse know that it was really challenging to get sleep. I felt really bad for mom and baby and didn’t expect anything to come out of my complaint, but my nurse responded, “Let me see about getting you a room to yourself.” An hour later she came back and said she was able to move me to different double room that was empty. A real exclusive private room would have cost thousands of dollars out of pocket. But this was still technically covered by insurance. (And you better believe I took all the hospital freebies out of my existing room WITH me to the new room where I got another stash of goodies. New moms: Don’t leave the hospital without at least a week’s supply of diapers, ointment, formula, etc. And if you want more, just ask. Hospitals are stocked to the ceiling with that stuff.)
2. Bring snacks to the hospital. You’re not allowed to eat anything – except ice chips, maybe- from the minute you check in to the hospital until after your baby is delivered. You will be hungry, to say the least, after your baby is born. But the hospital cafeteria may be closed at that time (as it was in my case) or you may not feel like spending $12 on a green salad or $9 for a yogurt parfait from the hospital. Be prepared and bring snacks like granola bars, cut veggies, etc. from home. And pack some plastic utensils, too. Around 11pm my husband ran out and got me yogurt but the hospital cafeteria was closed and I had no access to utensils.
3. Don’t buy too much of one thing in the beginning. From bottles to diapers to formula (if you’re not breast-feeding) you may be tempted to stock up on stuff to avoid running out in the middle of the night to buy something because you ran out, but you may end up wasting a lot of money. For example, we bought tons of newborn diapers, but Evan outgrew them by the third week and we ended up donating about 200 diapers to the local church. And, fortunately, we already had various free samples of different bottles (thanks to attending the Big City Moms baby shower expo). Once we tested them all, we ended up giving most of them away after realizing Evan had a lot of gas and we needed bottles that were designed to reduced air bubbles. That’s when we finally made the big investment in bottles. We now only use Dr. Brown’s bottles, which reduce air bubble oxidation.
4. Sign up for Amazon Prime. If you haven’t already. Just do it. We order from Amazon practically every few days and saving money on shipping thanks to this membership has already saved us over $100 in the process. We broke even on that membership fee a long time ago! I also just signed up for Amazon Mom, which gets you 20% off a subscription to diaper orders.
5. Join or start a neighborhood family list-serve. We live in a very family-friendly neighborhood in Brooklyn, but didn’t really see the value in that until we became parents, ourselves. Through a work colleague who lives in the neighborhood (and has a newborn son), I learned that parents in the three adjoining neighborhoods share a Yahoo email list and post all sorts of gems – from free baby equipment to pediatrician recommendations. It’s been an invaluable resource, as we enter parenthood and seek ways to limit our expenses – and make other parent friends!