Cotbed vs Cot
I found that when I was looking for a cotbed before my first child was born there where masses to choose from. How do you go about picking one? I think you need to decide whether you do actually need a cotbed, i.e. a cot that converts into a bed for when the child gets older, or whether you just get a cot and then buy a junior bed.
We got a Mamas and Papas cotbed and it has served very well. My eldest made use of it until my latest offspring came along and now he sleeps in it. We ended up buying a junior bed for the eldest so it's worked out to have been quite economical.
Now that CJ (the youngest) is 2 we have converted the cot to a bed so both boys are now in beds. This should last us for a few years and due to the size of their room we are toying with the idea of bunkbeds in 12 months time so they can have some room in their bedroom to play.
Ultimately we benefited by having a cotbed, there is 3 years age difference between my boys and things worked out well. It's my opinion that a cotbed is a good investment as you can use it from birth to about 5 or 6 depending upon the size of your child and if another bundle of joy comes along and the age difference works out well you only have to buy a new junior bed. I'm not so sure it would have saved money if the age gap of my boys had been closer together. So it litterally depends upon your plans for the future.
I think the more important issue with cotbeds is buying the appropriate mattress, after all the baby is in contact with the mattress most of the night not the bed itself. Obviously it is important to get a nice sturdy cotbed that does the job and fits in with the child's room decor but I feel it is more important to spend a little extra and get a decent mattress that gives the baby the most restfull night and is also safe. I would be inclined to say never use a second hand mattress unless you know the history (e.g. it was used for your first child and you are going to use it for your second) and it is still in good condition.
The Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths states that it doesn't matter what kind of mattress you use, as long as it's firm not soft, fits the cot without any gaps, doesn't sag at all or show any signs of wear and tear. For more information look at their website http://fsid.org.uk/
If you are worried about allergies, Allergy UK has a list of approved mattress covers and bedding on its website, www.allergyfoundation.com
Until you have had a child I don't think you really appreciate the affect it will have on your life. It's hard to actually put a figure on how much a child will cost because the amount is partly down to how much your finances will allow. You tend to make compromises. It is, however, easy to get carried away and buy all the expensive essential items when the basic ones would do just fine. You can end up buying loads of clothes which baby never wears and there's only so many cuddly toys the baby can cuddle at once. Remember some of your friends and/or relations will end up giving you gifts of baby clothes/cuddly toys.
It might actually be worth trying to co-ordinate the efforts of your relatives so that you don't end up with thirty vests but only one sleep suit.
There are some basic essential costs involved with having a new baby. Items such as nappies, a cot or moses basket, a pram, a high chair, a car seat and baby clothes, but even here you can reduce the amount you pay out by shopping online and looking around for bargains.
Here is a link to the Financial Services Authority which helps to provide an estimate of the amount a child or children will cost you - FSA Child Cost Calculator
See below for an idea of how much the average costs for the items you might need are likely to be:
|Cost of Baby Items*|
|Disposable nappies (2,555)||£500||
There is a way you can save up to 50% of this
cost by using reusable nappies see my reviews here
|Bottle feeding equipment||£20|
|*(Source: Mothercare.com 2010)|
My wife and I took some time picking out the items we thought would fit into our budget but also would look nice in the nursery etc. She picked it because it would look nice in the nursery and I decided whether it was within our budget. I can honestly say that we saved a fortune by shopping online and also picked up some products that you simply couldn't find in our local shops. Don't get me wrong, we did find some items in supermarkets and some well known baby stores but mostly the items where cheaper online.
Take a look at my resources pages, you may find some bargains on these products and even if your not the one that will make the final decision let your partner know what website you found it on so they can check it out as well.
Don't get me wrong I'm not boasting here. I've never really been one for giving my wife flowers but if there is ever a time you should do so, it's just after she has given birth to your child. Looking back I think I was very inconsiderate but can't for the life of me work out why I didn't get her some flowers.
I think that there was so much going on, what with relatives visiting her in hospital (she was kept in for a week on the first birth due to suspected pre-eclampsia) and my brain was all over the place it just didn't occur to me - doh! I was there at her side every opportunity I had but could quite easily have sorted out some flowers. I think my attention was occupied more by controlling the access that relatives had and ensuring that they didn't tire her out than actually thinking about my personal responsibilities.
This is one of the things that, if I do manage to get my time machine working, I will go back and sort out, that and getting next weeks winning lottery numbers.
I have provided a list below of online florist links which you may want to use in order to ensure you don't make the same mistakes as me.
If you know of a good online florist please put it in a comment for this article and I will add it to the list.
Pretty amazing really.
When I was younger, and some would say less wise than I am now, I had the opinion that children were a pain in the a**. What affect would having a child have on my life. I was terrified of the very thought. My friends that already had children and some of my relatives insisted that "it's different if they're your own". I didn't believe them.
How could it possibly be different?
They will still have various obnoxious substances coming out of them from different ends.
They will still make a racket and disturb my peace and quiet.
They will still destroy my house and possessions.
So how could it possibly be different?
Well, this is the bit were I eat humble pie. It is different. Don't get me wrong I still think kids are a pain in the a** and they do all of the above things but it is different. My life has completely changed - I love my boys more than life itself and the irritating little things are easily dealt with and far surpassed by the joy that my sons bring into my life. Now I am not being soft, I love them lots but it's more than that. It's like getting a second child hood. You get to play with toys again. You get to play tricks on your kids and show them how to play tricks on other people. You get to roughhouse with them. You get to pass on your knowledge and teach them things which makes you feel clever without the need to be particularly bright (you only need to know more than they do).
Maybe this feeling will wear off as they get older and head on through the teenager years where they end up like Harry Enfield's vision of a 13 year old, "I hate you dad". Maybe they will never go through that stage. Who knows what the future will bring for me and my kids, only time will tell, but I think on the whole I'm gonna pretty much enjoy it.
Let me know your thoughts on being a dad whether it's for the first time or not. How has it affected your life?