Times may be tough, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t get the most out of growing your two, three or even four bundles of joy…

Preparing for a newborn, whether you’re expecting one, two or more, is an exciting, but also uncertain time in your life. However, the overwhelming realities of cost may start to trigger your worry, especially in these uncertain economic times.

How to stretch your budget if you’re a family of ‘multiples’

Pampers Parenting Institute Expert, Sister Yolanda Mpilo, shares some tips on how parents of multiples can stretch their budget to lessen your stress about your finances and your growing family:

Make your own food

While you’ll be exclusively breastfeeding for the first six months, you’ll need to start introducing solids after that. Buying baby food off the shelf won’t really give you value for money. When you add more than one baby to the mix, costs can skyrocket and leave you strapped for cash.

“The idea of making your own baby food should not be daunting. It may seem like a massive effort but all it requires is steaming veggies on a stove, adding some water and then sticking it in a blender. That’s it,” says Sister Yolanda.

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Buy plastic baby food containers to store the food in and stick them in the freezer. This will give you a week’s worth of food and a lot more money left in your pocket. “This is often much healthier for your children and introduces them to a bigger variety of flavours in their diet,” says Sister Yolanda.

Buy pre-owned where it makes sense

New clothes are another financial stress for parents. If you walk through the aisle of any major baby store, you realise that the cost of raising children is much higher than you thought. Yet, much like cars, buying new is not always the way to go.

“New parents won’t understand, but you will be surprised at how fast your children grow out of their clothes. Unless you have a special occasion, keep your babies’ clothes generic because they won’t be worn for long,” says Sister Yolanda.

It’s also not necessary to buy double of everything or have identical outfits.

Things such as a changing table, baby gym and baby swing can be shared between the babies.

“Now that you are furnishing a room for more than one infant, there are plenty of pre-owned items that are perfectly fine. Look at pre-owned changing tables, cribs, car seats, prams and high chairs for a start. Most people are selling these items after one use, but be sure to test their integrity before handing over the cash,” says Sister Yolanda.

Budget-conscious moms : 6 places to buy quality second-hand baby items

Shop smart

Some items simply cannot be bought pre-used. Nappies are a prime example of this. Luckily there are products out there that cater for this.

“Retailers sometimes have twin-pack promotions, such as the current Pampers special on Takealot, where parents of twins can buy nappies in sets of two and even receive a discount if you look at cost per nappy,” advises Sister Yolanda. “There are many examples of these kinds of packages so parents of twins should look out for any and all deals that help them buy more and save more.”

Pregnancy programmes

Some services that parents subscribe to, also offer pregnancy benefits. Check with your medical aid providers and retailers if they have pregnancy programmes/benefits that you can take advantage of. Some offer expectant parents hospital bags (filled with supplies for mom and baby’s stay at the hospital), while others have Nappy Rewards programmes. Dischem is a great example of programmes that do not cost an extra cent.

“Having a baby is a life-changing experience, let alone having two. Don’t be shy to ask for help from loved ones, and make some time for yourself whenever you can. Pre-planning, including setting a budget, is key to ensuring that you don’t find yourself financially, physically and emotionally overwhelmed trying to take care of two babies at once”, concludes Sister Yolanda.