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Figures show that parents are having to fork out several thousands of pounds for their baby in its first year and for many families they just don’t have the means to do this.

The Money Advice Service estimates the financial cost to new parents in their baby’s first year is somewhere between £1,600 to £7,200. And, that doesn’t include childcare costs.

Parenting magazines and forums are full of discussions about new baby ‘essentials’. Whether it’s bibs with chewable bits of plastic on the end, expertly-designed swaddle wraps, or bins that parcel up dirty nappies the list seems never ending.

In reality, many of items marketed to new parents are things babies can do perfectly well without. However, there really are some things that are essential and the cost of these can be a shock.

Research commissioned by the insurance company LV found that ‘The average annual cost of raising a child now takes up more than a third of the average UK household’s net income and six in ten parents admit they’re struggling to manage their outgoings.’

One in four children in Bristol are living in poverty and the pressure on mums of new babies is bigger than ever.

If you have children think about some of the things you used every day when they were little, a pushchair or pram, a baby monitor, wet wipes and nappies. Now, think about how you would have managed if you didn’t have just one of these things.

For families with budgets already stretched to breaking point even finding the money for the actual essentials can be impossible. Baby Bank Network exists to help tackle this growing problem. A typical Baby Bank Network bundle can include clothes, nappies (cloth and disposable), bottles and toiletries, as well as bigger items like cots, monitors and pushchairs.

To the families that receive them they are invaluable. One health partner we work with recently said: “The family were absolutely thrilled with the items they were given – both the quality and quantity. They were visibly relieved and pleased as it has taken a large weight off their shoulders knowing they don’t have to struggle to find the money to buy these essential items.”

You can help us to help local families and make sure they have the essentials they need for their babies in the first year of their life.

Maybe you’ve got a perfectly serviceable pushchair or a stair-gate languishing in your loft or garage or could buy an extra pack of nappies on your next trip to the supermarket. Your donations, no matter how small, make a real difference. To find out what items we currently need, see here: https://www.babybanknetwork.com/get-involved/your-donations-matter-2/donations-guidelines/

And by making a financial donation to Baby Bank Network, you’re helping ensure our service continues to help families across Bristol and beyond. You can donate here: https://www.babybanknetwork.com/get-involved/your-donations-matter-2/