There is an assumption that it’s cheaper after the first kid – the investment is in the first, and you just reuse everything right?
Well…. Not exactly. The second kid is a little cheaper. How much cheaper is questionable.
I had great plans to reuse everything for the second kid (and third and on – while pregnant with the first I hadn’t ruled out having more). Reality was a little different……
I purposefully registered everything gender neutral for my son. As soon as people found out we were having a boy everything was blue.
Which was actually good thing. I really liked everything and the nursery (grey elephants) was still pretty neutral. So I saved all those boy clothes and figured it would still be useful. And there were enough whites, yellows and greens that it wouldn’t be too bad.
The problem I hadn’t thought through was that we moved. And the seasons (or lack there of in Texas) in the two places were completely different. The climate was completely different.
I would have run into this I suppose even if they had been the same gender – a summer baby can’t easily wear a winter baby’s clothes.
See babies grow fast that first year. Around two they slow down a bit and clothes become easier – but two is also about when they start being really hard on clothes. So to get all those paint/dirt whatever stains out, they go through the laundry a lot. So you’ll still need to buy some clothes so kid two has a few okay outfits at least.
Another thing is furniture. Babies need a place to sleep. Which meant we needed to evict kid number one from the crib. Maybe.
The crib was now a toddler bed, and he could likely use it until five. Since our house has small bedrooms I didn’t want to give up the floor space needed for a twin bed. I wanted to wait for a loft bed. The problem is – it’s not safe for toddlers.
And with twin beds you need more sheets, mattresses, comforters etc.
So we bought a toddler bed. Except we still needed another mattress and more sheets.
Oh and touch up paint to cover all the teeth marks kid number one left all over the crib.
So cheaper, yes – but not significantly so is the point. The big purchases are out of the way, but you will be putting down money for the older kid and still paying for maintenance on the younger one (Clothes, soap, diapers, babyfood, etc.)
And some stuff simply can’t be reused. My son destroyed his baby play gym. He would roll it around him like a taco and roll around the floor, laughing hysterically. While that was entertaining, it also meant the cheap quality gym didn’t last. Oh well.
The take away from this is just be prepared- cheaper does not mean anywhere close to “free.” There is a pervasive idea that kids get cheaper the more you have – while that is true – it also needs to be talked about that you may be able to reuse less than you would think at first. And somethings can’t be reused at all.
I’ve been told – I don’t have a third child – that three is when the expenses really start to go up. You need a new car because most don’t fit three carseats across the backseat. If kid one didn’t destroy something, kid two probably will – simply by nature of wear and tear on things, not because they are reckless. Car seats expire, plastics start to crack, strings start to unravel.
None of which is unworkable, but for all the parents out there considering more kids, they do cost. Not as much, but there is a cost. But let’s put myths like “cheaper by the dozen” to rest.