On statutory mat leave pay? Join the (painfully poor) club…

Toys

There will come a point when your innocent little baby becomes a bare-naked consumerist like the rest of us, but until that point he is not able to discern which toys are bits of leftover rubbish and which are £30-a-pop synthetic branded crap. Share with them the joys of cardboard boxes with holes cut in, an old bottle of apple juice with some dried rice in it and a balloon. The balloon may even trumps mummy in their affections.

Cuddles for Lunch

There’s no such thing as a free lunch, but offering cuddles for lunch is an honest exchange. This requires a handful of broody friends willing to stump up cold hard cash to hold the baby while you gorge yourself silly – but you’d be surprised how many people consider it to be a good deal.

Dinner

If you’ve got a slow cooker gathering dust, now is the time to use it. You’ll soon be a radical convert. A virtually foolproof way to make something pretty tasty out of a tin of tomatoes and some lentils, it also makes you look as though you’ve been slaving over a hot stove. Domestic goddess-ness, here you come.

HomeStart centres

The services, which are either all free or subsidised, include Rhyme Time and other baby-focused activities, fitness classes and baby massage, feeding support and educational advice about what to do with this little weirdo you’re suddenly responsible for. If you need a change of scene, but can’t justify the cost of a meal out, these centres are a total life-saver.

Libraries

Rather than paying for one book that you’re then forced to read again and again and aaaaagain, get yourself down the library. It seems obvious, but it’s surprising how few people actually use them. They often host Rhyme Times or Stay and Plays, which help you kill a few hours. Use it or lose it, people.

Apps

The most essential piece of kit. From obsessively searching “baby poo normal colour” or getting the perfect white noise app, to finding free activities on Hoop or, of course, like-minded mums on Mush, there are so many ways to break the boredom without breaking the bank. Just delete your Amazon Prime app before you get started…