The Cost of Caring for Virtual Babies in Second Life

In this article, I will cover the cost of caring for Funsies® babies, Zooby babies and LYUBOFF babies. I was especially interested in determining how much it would cost to care for each type of baby, as I love having a house filled with little ones, but need to keep within a monthly budget. I made these calculations for my own personal use, but felt that other parents may find them useful as well. All prices are estimates, and reflect Linden currency conversion rates in US dollars as of October 23, 2013.

gabbynicoFunsies® babies cost 2,500L ($10.09) for a newborn infant. They have four needs that you need to satisfy each day: Cleanliness, Nourishment, Relaxation/Restfulness, and Loving Care. I have found that the rate of their needs is very realistic, similar to a real infant. They will need to be fed and changed about once every four hours, and will also need a place where they can rest (crib/cradle), which will fulfill their Relaxation and Loving Care stats.

You need to purchase either breastfeeding pads or bottles (450L for 100) to fulfill their Nourishment stat. Diapers are only 100L for 100, but you don’t need diapers if you buy a changing table (300L) OR a bathtub (300L), to fulfill their Cleanliness stat. Funsies® also offers a one month newborn kit for 799 ($3.23), which has enough bottles, diapers and wipes for a month (you can use wipes OR diapers, to fulfill the Cleanliness stat). But since you don’t HAVE TO use diapers if you have a changing table or bathtub, you can save money by just buying bottles or breastfeeding pads. You will also need either a crib or a cradle (699L) to fulfill their Relaxation and Loving Care stats. I personally use the cradles, as they keep the stats up longer than the cribs do. There are also toys you can purchase that increase their stats (toys increase a specific percentage of certain stats, depending on the toy). And there is a new diaper bag that increases ALL of their stats at once, which I use quite often and recommend to everyone who takes their babies with them when they go out.

It costs 100L (.41 cents) for 100 diapers. You will need to change your baby about once every four hours or so. Being logged on for fifteen hours each day, I tend to use about 5 diapers per day, which is about 100L every 3 weeks. Someone who is online a lot less will not use that many diapers. But as I said before, you do NOT need to buy diapers if you buy the changing table OR bathtub (300L each), since using those without diapers fulfills their Cleanliness stat.

Funsies® babies need to be either breastfed or bottle fed approximately every four hours. So if someone is only online for 4 hours per day, it would only cost them 4.5L per day (135L per month, which is about 55 cents) to feed their Funsies® baby.  For someone who is logged onto SL nearly all day, every day, the cost of feeding a Funsies® baby would be about 22L per day, or 660L per month (about 4.5L per bottle). One aspect I appreciate about these babies is that you can keep them in your inventory and they will not get sick. If you only want to feed/change your baby once a day, you can just keep your baby out for four hours and during that time, you’d only need to give them one bottle and one diaper change. Your baby will stop growing while they are in your inventory, however, so though you will be saving money by keeping them in your inventory, you will also be slowing the growth of your child.

I also discovered that you can keep your Funsies® baby in a cradle (without either changing or feeding them) for an entire day without them getting sick. Their cleanliness and nourishment stats go down to 0%, but I have never had any of my babies get sick using this method. So if you want your baby to continue growing, but can’t afford bottles or breastfeeding pads when they are still newborns, you could keep them in the cradle most of the time. By doing this, there is a chance they could get sick, as there is a greater likelihood of the babies getting sick when their cleanliness and nourishment stats drop below 60%. There may be additional risks involved, so I can’t really advise anyone to try this themselves. The longest I’ve kept my babies in the cradle without feeding them or changing their diaper is 24 hours.

Funsies® babies do require “IntelllectStars” each month to develop intellectually. These stars cost 200L (.81 cents) each. So on top of the cost of feeding your baby, you do also have to pay 200L per month if you want your baby to develop past the newborn stage. Since I want my children to be able to learn and do more things, I am happy to buy the stars so I can watch them develop. To me, seeing children grow and develop is one of the most fulfilling aspects of being a parent in SL. Something that is unique with the Funsies babies is that they grow indefinitely! They never stop growing. And you can even buy growth stars to make them age more quickly, but if you do that, you’ll still need to buy each of the IntellectStars for the months you skipped over (For instance, if you age your newborn up to be 3 months old, you have to buy the 3 month IntellectStar. If you age your newborn to 6 months, you will need the 3 month, 4 month, 5 month and 6 month stars in addition to the growth stars). There is a major update coming that will change the way the IntellectStars and Growth Stars work, though, so I will update this info as soon as the update is released.

zoobyZooby babies cost 3,800 ($15.33) for a newborn. An older Zooby baby costs 5,000L ($20.17). You can also find them at various adoption agencies for different prices. Zooby babies do not actually require you to change their diaper and feed them (they will not get sick or die from lack of care), so I did not include the cost of bottles, diapers and baby wash in my calculations. If you want your baby to grow and develop and learn new things, the minimum cost is 200L per week (for the baby to learn one new thing per week, and to reach the next stage of development). So to have your Zooby baby continue to grow and learn new things each week, it would cost about 800L per month (approximately $3.23). You could have them learn and grow faster, but it costs more money. If you also want to fulfill the child’s needs (which gives you the ability to collect tokens to purchase toys for your child), it will cost you an additional 900L ($3.63) per month (150L each for baby wash and diapers, and 600L for bottles).

Of course, if you want to roleplay changing diapers (even if you don’t purchase diapers), you will need a changing table that is scripted to work with Zooby babies. Those cost 700L ($2.83). You can also buy a bathtub to roleplay bathing your Zooby baby for about the same price. And if you want to put your Zooby baby to sleep, you need to buy a crib that is specially scripted to work with Zooby babies. Those run about 700L as well.

1400296_534709163285753_2036386677_oNext, I will cover LYUBOFF babies. The newborns cost 699L ($2.82) and come with all the nursery furniture you need (bassinet, changing table, stroller). You can get free bottles from the LYUBOFF clinic, so caring for the LYUBOFF newborns does not cost anything after your initial purchase. You don’t need to buy any diapers for them, as using the changing table automatically puts them in a fresh clean diaper:) The older babies cost 1,999L ($8.07) for an 8-36 month old baby.

The older LYUBOFF babies do not require any extra “stars” to grow and develop. You do, however, have to fulfill six needs daily, if you want them to grow. You need food, treats, baby wash, diapers, and toys to fulfill their needs each day. The good news is that there is a LYUBOFF Care Center that is open every day where you can get your child’s needs met for FREE! So if you visit the center each day, you will not have to pay ANYTHING to care for your baby, or even buy any furniture! The LYUBOFF Playland Care Center is open from 1pm to 4pm Monday to Thursday and from 7am to 9am on Friday through Sunday.

If you don’t visit the LYUBOFF Playland Care Center, it costs 21L per day to care for all of your baby’s needs, which comes out to 630L per month (approximately $2.55). If you get all of their needs met once per day, they will grow as they sleep and reach the next level of development. But if you choose NOT to fulfill all their needs, they will still continue to develop intellectually – they just will not grow in size and will be cranky from not eating. They do get upset if they are hungry, so it seems that unless you don’t mind having a tiny, crying, fussy baby all of the time, you DO need to feed them each day!

If you want the baby to grow faster, the cost of care would increase as you would need at least double the amount of items to fulfill their needs more than once per day. For instance, if you want them to grow at twice the normal rate, you would need to spend 42L per day, or 1260L per month ($5.09 per month). Unless, of course, you take advantage of the free care items at LYUBOFF Playland:) The best thing is, the items you need to buy for your baby are really fun and adorable! I actually look forward to caring for my LYUBOFF baby more than any of my other babies, because I love watching her reaction when I give her the new treats, toys, etc. They even have seasonal items! For Halloween, I got my LYUBOFF baby an animated flying bat and pumpkin to fulfill her “fun” stat, and Halloween cupcakes to satisfy her “love” stat. And because they are so cheap (5L per treat, for example), I never experience post purchase regret:)

To roleplay changing diapers, bathing and putting the LYUBOFF Babies (age 8-24) to sleep (the newborn comes with all the furniture), you need to buy specially scripted furniture which costs 599L($2.42) for the entire set. That is pretty inexpensive in comparison with other nursery furniture I’ve come across, as the full set includes a crib, diaper changing table, bath station and several other items. Alternately, you could buy a sleeping mat for 199L, a changing mat for 139L and a potty for 139L, which costs about the same as buying the whole nursery set. But if you are really short on cash, you can choose to visit the LYUBOFF Playland Care Center each day, so you don’t need to buy any furniture at all.

It is up to you to determine which baby you personally find most fulfilling to care for. Some people may not like the look or behavior of certain prim babies, regardless of how inexpensive they are to care for. And many parents take into account the availability of clothing, accessories, furniture, toys, etc. when deciding what type of baby to adopt. Regardless of which baby you decide to adopt, I hope your little one makes your family roleplay experience in SL a joyous one!

Click here for the next article, where I cover the Espejito baby, K-Mae babies, Latin Baby, and Baby Tatu.

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