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Naturally Frugal Parenting
By: Lori Warren of Mummy's Garden
How can parents living in a self-gratifying, disposable society make choices that are both natural and frugal? I learned from my grandparents some very important life skills. They taught me to buy what you need, make what you can yourself, give away your surplus, enjoy where you are and nothing is more important than family. Naturally frugal parenting starts at birth. The doctors made it seem such a difficult process, which needs hospitalization and medical intervention to even be possible. You pay out $3000 extra to have a drug assisted birth. Or you can trust your natural instinct, learn that you are strong enough to do it and your body knows what to do. It is painful true but it is joyful, you will feel in control and more connected to your child. It builds the bond and builds the mother to be strong to start the journey of parenting.
The choice to breastfeed is not so hard; it is the most natural thing a mother can do for her child. You can save thousands by not buying formula, bottles, and accessories, but also you save visits to the doctor, because your little one is less likely to have ear infections, spitting up, allergic reactions, and colic, and more likely to avoid simple colds and viruses. Breastfed babies are healthier and happier. Breastfeeding is also good for mother. Hormones released during nursing help relax you, you can lose the pregnancy pounds easier, and helps you tune in to the needs of your child. The CDC says, "Both babies and mothers gain many benefits from breastfeeding. Breast milk is easy to digest and contains antibodies that can protect infants from bacterial and viral infections. Research indicates that women who breastfeed may have lower rates of certain breast and ovarian cancers. Most important is to get support, if not from friends and family then join a group or online forum that can provide help and answer your questions.
The choice of diapering is more difficult. There are so many choices today that it can be overwhelming for a new parent looking into cloth diapers. I always suggest starting simple, follow your instinct, try everything you can afford and find what works for you. Don't get overwhelmed with what is popular; you just need a good system. There are lots of forums online that are there to help you. Ask the questions and learn from experienced parents. There is obvious savings in the cost of cloth diapers but you save with fewer rashes and infections, fewer allergies and maybe even the added benefit of potty learning early, you can help the environment and maybe even have fun doing it.
Baby gear is expensive. When you start out you only need two things a car seat and a crib. You can buy used from garage sales, consignment shops and really save. Buy a good convertible car seat that will last for years is better than a baby bucket that they can outgrow in 6-9 months. A good inexpensive baby sling might be better for you and your child then the expensive stroller. Diaper changes can be done in the crib, on a bed or even the floor. You may find your little one doesn't like the swing, exerciser or jumper try them out at the shop if you can before you bring them home.
Clothing is a major cost for your child. They outgrow things so fast and they don't care if it is a name brand. Save by buying from consignment shops and discount stores. Sewing your own is also easier than you think. If you can learn to make a few simple items you can save alot of money. There are easy to follow patterns for children's clothing, toys, bags and bedding. Gifts can be handmade; they are much more personal and can become treasured heirlooms.
Toys should be simple and encourage creative play. With babies stick with the basics, blocks, balls, stuffed animals, teethers and rattles. As your kids grow they can enjoy a large cardboard box for hours. Use items around the house that would otherwise be tossed out to make your own recycled playhouse furniture, dress up clothes, musical instruments, and let your kids use their imagination.
Growing your own food can save allot of money, help you eat healthier, and teach your children the value of nature. Even if you can only grow tomatoes on your patio in a box, you can make your own tomato and spaghetti sauce and salsa! Can or freeze your tomatoes for use in sauces, stews, soup and everyday cooking. If you have room to grow a whole garden, you can save your harvest for good healthy food to last all year and cut your grocery bill in half. By using organic techniques you can teach your children a lot about nature, and the insects are a lot of fun!
You can make family time naturally frugal, too. There are lots of fun things to do that cost nothing or very little. Visit your library, zoo, public park, go for a walk, picnic, explore a museum, make a craft, or play a game. Instead of eating out at a restaurant, you can make something together and have a picnic in your own backyard or public park. Instead of going to the movies, you can rent or tape a movie and then create your theater at home, dim the lights, make seating with pillows on the floor and add some homemade popcorn. You and your kids will enjoy each other and build a natural bond that lasts a lifetime.
About the author:
Lori lives her frugal life in Kansas where she owns and operates Mummy's Garden a homemade business designing and creating mama pads, eco-bags, and cloth diapering accessories including soakers, shorties, and longies.