Oily rag infants

This week we traverse the serious topic of babies and living off the smell of an oily rag.

  • Let’s get to the bottom of the issue regarding nappies. We took a quick trip down an online isle to see how disposable nappy prices compare. On this particular day the house brand product worked out at 36 cents a nappy. Branded nappies were normally 80 cents each, but were on special at 55 cents. We then had a look at a specialist online nappy retailer to see how they compared and found they had the branded product at 50 cents each (but for a bulk purchase). Many oily rag parents use cloth nappies or a combination of cloth and disposable.


  • Instead of buying wipes, use a damp soft cloth when at home – it’s a lot cheaper. Our online shopping excursion showed branded wipes cost anywhere between 5 and 7.7 cents each.


  • A young mum suggests looking out for baby week in supermarkets when all baby goods are reduced. She also recommends visiting:  www.raisingchildren.net.au . Her whole family loves singing along to their baby karaoke (and we must confess to having a good sing alone to Baa Baa Black Sheep ourselves!).


  • Another oily rag mum says she bough t a huge bag of baby clothes from the online auction site. It had hundreds of items and cost less than $20! An even cheaper way is to swap with family and friends.


  • Look out for your local Plunket market. They arrange days for people to set up a table and sell their no-longer-needed baby goods. They also organise PIN (Plunket in the Neighbourhood) groups give parents an opportunity to get together and swap babies (no – just kidding!). They get together to exchange nappy stories and other useful tips, while the littlies socialise.


  • Don’t forget local libraries often have special activities for children – as well as their wonderful book collections. And there are toy libraries. One family says the weekly visit to their local Toy Library is like and adventure. You can locate your local toy library by going to www.toylibrary.co.nz.


  • Instead of buying expensive baby food, buy cheap fruit and vegetables (the second grade or really ripe ones) and puree.  Favourite combinations include kumara and pumpkin (pumpkins are cheap at the moment!), pears and apple, avocado and banana. With baby food usually costing between $1.50 and $2 for 120g you can imagine how much that adds up to, and how much you could save if you made your own.


  • Plingie from Christchurch writes, “Making your own baby food can save hundreds. There are a couple of ways of doing it. Easy but not the cheapest: buy tinned fruit and puree it, then freeze in ice cube trays for use later. Cheapest but a bit more labour intensive: Boil your own veg and puree and freeze as above. You can just simply cook extra when you’re making family meals and puree it and freeze. When it’s frozen in ice cube trays you can simply pop them out in to a zip lock bag and use one or two at a time. Perfect for little baby sized portions.”


K.H. says, “I am a maternal child health nurse and am always looking for ways to make it easier for mums to introduce solid food to their babies. An elderly lady I once spoke to told me that when she was introducing meat into her babies’ diets she would freeze it then simply grate it in with the vegetables and so on when it was time for cooking. It’s ready in a matter of minutes.”


S.S. says, “I make free cafe meals for my two year old. I refuse to pay for the convenience of tinned food for him when we have to go out. Like most small children he won’t eat vegetables but loves pasta, so each weekend I make a big pot of thick minestrone soup for the whole family. I add tomato paste to make it red and small elbow pasta so he thinks he’s eating pasta! Then I freeze single serve portions in re-useable air tight containers. I take them with us still frozen and have yet to come across a cafe who wouldn’t reheat one for us at meal time.”


L.M. writes, “Frozen banana chunks are a great teether for babies, and cost next to nothing. Our daughter is teething but buying rusks can be quite expensive. Instead we buy discounted bananas, cut them into small pieces, skewer them on to plastic icy pole holders (bought from a second hand store), then freeze. The end result is a tasty teether which my three-year-old can help me make and enjoy as a special ice cream treat.”