I’ve been thinking about this for a while, as everyone has regretful first child purchases. When you’re pregnant with your first child, it is a whirlwind of tracking growth of baby, discussing maternity leave, attending antenatal classes and regular trips to any shop that has a baby section.
The online shopping and browsing fits in amongst the work, the overnight sleeps and the planned and unplanned naps.
When you’ve had baby and in those first couple of months, it’s a whirlwind that I don’t feel I need to explain. Sleep, feed, poo, repeat – that basically goes for both baby and Mummy, only we’re also doing cleaning, cooking and maternity socialising too.
Now I’m well and truly through the baby and toddler stage, I can reflect on the umpteen purchases we made and have selected a choice 5 that, if I had the time again, I would have saved the money and spent it on more babysitting.
- The baby massage classes
I signed up for these classes to go along with my other NCT mummy-friends, who are a little more earth-motherish than me. I wish I could say that I ‘got it’, but most sessions were spent changing nappies, trying to stop baby crying, or trying to feed in the corner (a challenge in itself if you’ve read my breast-feeding post).
I listened intently to the truly lovely teacher, and gently smoothed my oiled hands up and down my baby’s flailing legs, arms and tummy and I’m not sure either of us got anything out of it. I tried to embrace it, but it wasn’t me and the highlight of the baby massage day was the group stroll into town for maternity mums lunch afterwards.
- The matching Winnie-the-pooh cot set, complete with bed coverlet
Ok, so we still use the cot-bed sheets. However, the coverlet was a complete waste of money. It does nothing but make the bedroom look incredibly cute….. before baby arrives.
Once baby has arrived the coverlet gets tossed aside, replaced by the cellular blankets and then closely followed by the most brilliant gro-bags, which our daughter was in until she moved to a proper duvet set at around 2.5.
- The pregnancy and young family portraits
We were warned. People said, get the free image but don’t pay through the nose for much more, because as soon as baby arrives, you’ll want professional ones of you as a family and the pregnancy ones become almost obsolete.
Thankfully, we didn’t go crazy with the pregnancy ones, and only bought an extra one or two I think (which still sit on the window sill). However, we went crazy on the family portrait shoot – spending a silly amount of money on some really lovely (and rather large in some cases) pictures.
Our daughter had just turned 1 and we have some stunning pictures which are dotted around the house (on walls large enough to put them). In the photographer’s studio, they have a lot of space, and a nice coffee machine. You drink coffee and browse all the images (over 100) and then downselect to a few (in our case 9) that you love and can’t possibly do without.
Don’t get me wrong, I love them. However, now our daughter is 3 they aren’t really very current anymore. Given how much they cost, we won’t be taking them down anytime soon, but I do sometimes wonder what we could have done with the money we would have saved if we hadn’t got so lost in the ‘post-shoot viewing’ moment.
- New packs of vests and sleepsuits in the same size
I’m sure this must have happened on days when I was a little behind with the washing. I would be shopping and whilst in the baby section decide that I didn’t have enough vests and sleepsuits currently, so I’d buy a few more packs.
They would get put to one side, as the just-washed ones were now dry and it is ‘frugal’ to just keep putting them in the ones that only have one small stain on.
However, these babies grow. And fast.
Before you know it, the new packs you bought just a few weeks ago no longer fit baby. They are too small. You didn’t need them after all. Plus, you will no longer have the receipt or the energy to return them.
- The make-do furniture
Knowing I was going to be on maternity leave and therefore have little cash, we bought a few mismatched pieces of furniture from the local bric-a-brac/antiques shop like a large chest of drawers for all the baby clothes, then subsequently a huge mahogany vintage wardrobe. These are both in our daughter’s room.
The wardrobe houses some of our clothes.
They have served a purpose, but it has meant that the bedroom has never looked like the lovely childrens’ bedrooms that you see in the catalogues or round friends’ houses.
Now she’s older we would like to buy her a proper furniture set but the idea of trying to manoeuvre said pieces out of the bedroom and down the stairs isn’t very appealing.
We should have gone for either even cheaper non-offensive mdf/canvas bedroom furniture that is easily dismantle-able, or splashed out initially on long-term, nice children’s furniture that will last until she is 10.
These 5 purchases alone probably cost us well over £1500. That is a lot of money and a lot of £10 an hour babysitting.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing.