Over the weekend I went to visit a friend. Her cousin and his wife were also visiting and I met them having a heated argument. His wife was pregnant and was demanding for N650,000 to enable her buy the needed baby items. The man was lamenting that the amount was more than 2ce his monthly salary and he could not afford such amount. His wife is an upcoming make up artist and she doesn’t earn so much from her business.
The man was obviously getting frustrated as both ladies (his wife and my friend (his cousin)) were putting him under a lot of pressure, telling him babies were so expensive and he had no choice but to provide that amount. I didn’t want to join the debate because I felt this was family matter but then he begged me to be sincere in my response to him on how much I spent when I had my first baby.
We had our first baby in 2012, my income was not stable then as my organization were having issues and salaries were being owed. We had also just gotten our 2nd car so cash flow was a bit tight. Let me also add at this point, that women please let’s not put our partners under unnecessary pressure, let us learn to run our homes based on what we can afford.
It is possible to have a baby on a budget. Having a baby should not put us in debt. Babies grow so fast and before you know it, you realize they did not even touch all those gadgets you bought for them. If you and your spouse can afford such luxuries please go for them, but if cash is tight please cut your expenses.
I spent less than N145,000 when I had my first baby. Find below a breakdown of my baby costs and compare to Mrs X initial baby budget. I helped them to re-work their baby budget, Mr. X was very happy to have a budget of less than N180,000 but Mrs X was so sad that I busted her dreams of a having a very fanciful baby nursery.
Dear Mrs X, kindly forgive me. I am sure for your 2nd baby, your income would have increased and you can afford to spend on all the luxury that you want.
So what do you think about my list? Did you spend more or less?
|My Amount||Mrs X Amount||Comment|
|Hot water flask||5,500||8,000|
|Bottle & Teat brush||2,000||The Avent set of bottles I bought came with a free brush.|
|Bottle insulated bag||1,500||–|
|Cereal/milk dispenser||2,000||I never used a cereal milk dispenser as I did not see the need for one. If going out, I scooped milk directly into their bottles and when they want to feed I simply mix straight with water.|
|Sterilizing set/Milton||750||12,000||I got a medium size transparent/white bowl and used the milton cold water sterilizing tablets. Power supply is unstable in Nigeria so this method works well and none of my babies ever got diarrhea.|
|Breast milk storage||–||5,000||I used the feeding bottles to store my expressed milk, buying milk storage bags are nice to have but it’s not a necessity.|
|Breast pump||9,000||55,000||I used Avent Manual Pump and it served me well for both my first & second. Buying a Medela Electric pump is nice to have, but don’t sweat if you cannot afford one. Also think of power supply.|
|Baby feeding bottles||6,000||15,000||I used Avent bottles for both my girls, this fits into my manual pump. None of my girls ever had colic issues. Buying Dr. Brown is nice to have, but other bottles also work well.|
|Baby warmer||–||8,000||I did not see any need for this due to the erratic power supply we have in Nigeria. I warmed babies milk by simply placing the bottles in hot water for about 2 mins.|
|Baby cot||–||45,000||I wanted a baby cot, but we were not ready to cough out N35,000 for one since cash was tight. My MIL suggested I get these mobile baby bassinet/bed which I simply placed on the bed. Yes I co-slept with both my girls and this made night feeding less cumbersome.|
|Baby Cloth Hanger||5,500||12,000|
|Baby bed net||2,500||–||This was what I used instead of a baby cot. Once my girls are 15-18 months, I transfer them to their own bed.|
|Drawer||6,000||40,000||I bought one of these regular Nigeria made plastic drawers, it served my first daughter well. For my second, I got a foreign drawer @ 35k and that was because we could afford to. If you cannot afford one, please do not sweat, the Nigerian one serves well.|
|Baby Diapers Huggies(box)||9,500||12,000|
|Baby wipes (box)||2,500||2,500|
|Change Bag||5,500||15,000||Yes I wanted a Chicco bag but could not afford one then, but my Bravo bag served me well. It was spacious and did not look cheap.|
|Changing mat||4,500||I did not see the need for one. I changed baby on the bed.|
|Maternity towel packs||500||1,000|
|Nursing bras||1,800||5,000||I got 2 nursing bras but honestly I did not like them. My normal bras worked well for me.|
|Disposable pants (set)||1,000||–|
|Nightwear for mum||–||8,000||I used my normal night wears. For some that had round neck, I cut open the neck into v-shape to enable easier night feeding.|
|Baby flannel (set)||1,000||5,000|
|Booties/soft shoes||–||20,000||Buying baby shoes are nice to have, but not a necessity. I got some as gifts and I rarely used them. Socks works well for babies. Mothers be patient, time will come for you to dress your prince & princess in designer shoes.|
|Random Baby Cloths/socks||50,000||150,000||Hmm baby cloths, babies don’t need so much cloths, they are mostly indoors for the first 3 mths of their life, they are always even wrapped up in shawls. From 9 months you can start splurging on baby cloths but even at that, do not over do it because they out grow them so fast.|
|Brush & Comb set||250||1,500|
|Dele Cotton wool||800|
|Baby Bathset||1,500||12,000||I used the normal Nigerian bath set, I was amazed at the number of items that came in the set. They are so durable as I used same bath set for my second girl. Honestly, please save your money and patronize Naija made. But if you can afford it without sweating, go for the mother care set.|
|Baby toiletries (Aveeno)||–||7,000||I was advised to use black soap and shear butter for my kids. This has worked well for them till now.|
|Car seat||9,000||35,000||I wanted a Chicco /Graco car seat. Sadly cash was tight. I got a car seat with the brand name, ‘Happy’. I liked it a lot as it was light and it served both my daughters well.|
|Baby on Board Sign||–||2,000|
|Baby stroller||–||50,000||Honestly if cash is tight, you don’t need one. This is Nigeria, unless you live in a very nice tarred road estate. Where do you want to be pushing baby stroller to? With all them crazy drivers and bike men?|
|Baby Bouncer||6,500||My daughter so liked her bouncer, it served both my girls well.|
|Baby swing||45,000||We could not afford one for our first daughter, and I did not see the need for one when I had my second.|
|Baby high seat||35,000||This again is a luxury and not a necessity. If you can afford it, then go for it. I never used one and both my girls started feeding themselves from age 16/17 months and sit with us on the dining table. For my younger one though,I prop her up with a throw pillow.|
|Baby gym mat||4,000||15,000||For my first, I got the normal ABC play mat that you can roll out on the flour, it was colorful and served the purpose for their tommy time.|
|GRAND TOTAL||142,750||647,000||Yes I spent less than 150K for my baby needs, so assuming plus inflation rate of 20%, an average family can have a baby with less than 175k in 2016.|