Last week I wrote a guest post for Pennies 4 Parents, a great resource site for parents regarding money matters.  In this economic climate, budgeting wisely is something to think about even more seriously, since children are meant to cost us a gazillion pounds between the time they are born and the time they leave home (if they do ever decide to leave home!). 

Some women are very fortunate in that their employers pay full pay until they return or full pay for 6 months.  Most of us however, aren’t as lucky and have to rely on statuatory maternity pay or maternity allowance.  When you are getting maternity pay for nine months only (which is a huge improvement from when I had my first, as it was six months then) you must budget it wisely.  Especially if you consider the fact that you might not want to return to work full time once you’ve had your baby, and sometimes you won’t want to return at all!  

So this brings me to some helpful tips for preparing for maternity leave.  I touched on a few of these things in the above mentioned post, but here is some more helpful advice:

1) Don’t spend anywhere near £500 (and especially not more) on a buggy.  In the end, you will curse yourself for having a pushchair that is far too big and a waste of money.  You will wish you bought a Maclaren or something similar as your current one is a pain to get in the boot, and anywhere else for that matter.  If you must be on trend, shop on eBay to satisfy your buggy urges. (As you might be able to tell, I am a bit of an eBay addict.)   

2) You will get lots of gifts and hand-me-downs.  Don’t be too proud to accept things that have been worn or used before, as the baby won’t know the difference!  I promise.  

3)  In the late stages of pregnancy and in the early days of motherhood, it is important to have a good support network.  The first few weeks are exhausting and draining, and if you can get some help, then get it.  Maternity nurses, breastfeeding counsellors, and pampering days are all ways to help mum (and therefore baby) get off to a good start.

4) Do your research.  Don’t get caught up in the baby product industry, which preys on unsuspecting mothers who think they need every gadget for their precious new bundle o’ joy.  There are some invaluable and innovative products that are fantastic.  Read blogs and reviews to find out which ones these are, and don’t spend precious money on things you don’t need.  For example, Kiddicare is a great site to buy baby products from, as they have great deals and lots of parent reviews on there.

5) Read up on budgeting, finance and how to make your money work for you.  For example, on her blog Pennies 4 Parents, Claire from Zest Payroll Solutions (@ZestPayroll) gives some ideas on various ways of helping parents save and budget wisely.   

Please help our pregnant mums by sharing some invaluable maternity or baby products or sites that you couldn’t live without.  My favourite: Sophie the Giraffe teething toy.  

See our baby bundle for practical, yet essential baby products for your new baby.