The Cost of Raising a Virtual Child in Second Life

If you are wondering which prim baby is the most cost effective in Second Life, the following article may be of interest. There are so many other variables to take into consideration when adopting a baby in SL, and I find that it is a very personal decision. My focus in writing these articles is solely on the financial aspects of raising various babies in Second Life. I initially did these calculations for my own personal use, as I care for many different babies in Second Life and needed to determine how I could afford having so many children. Please keep in mind that the prices listed reflect the current Linden to US Dollar currency conversion as of October 25, 2013.

In my previous article entitled, The Cost of Caring for Virtual Babies in Second Life, I compared the cost of raising Funsies babies, Zooby babies and LYUBOFF babies. In this article, I will be covering four additional babies: Espejito, K-Mae, Latin Baby and Baby Tatu.

babyespejitoThe Espejito baby costs 5,000L/$20.25. After the intial cost of the baby itself, the only other thing you will need to buy is a high chair so that you can feed them when they are a week old. You will not have to purchase any diapers, bottles or furniture aside from the high chair. All of their other needs can be satisfied simply by your interactions with them.

The Espejito babies breastfeed until they are 7 days old, so you will not need to buy bottles. I did see bottles for sale at the store, but I think that is only for mothers who would prefer to bottle feed. Once they reach 7 days old, they can be fed in a high chair. The high chair costs 450L/$1.83 and comes with meals that have infinite use, so after that initial purchase, you will never have to buy anything else to fulfill your baby’s hunger.

Because these babies come with two months worth of diapers and learn to use the potty on their own when they are 7 days old, you will never need to purchase any additional diapers. They do sell diapers in the store, however, for 50L/.21 cents for a pack of 50 diapers. Since the baby can be changed and go to sleep anywhere, you don’t need to buy a crib or changing table, though if you want to add realism to your roleplay, the animations that come with the crib and changing table are really wonderful! When you bathe your baby, you can click on the soap and the tub fills with sudsy bubbles and has very authentic sound effects, and the baby makes the cutest comments during the bath! And it is very easy to have the baby go from the tub to the changing table, just by clicking. Another great thing I love about the espejito nursery furniture is that it is scripted so that the baby actually uses the furniture on their own when they feel like it – you don’t have to click it or edit them into place (though if you want them to use it, you can just click the furniture).

In addition to hunger, sleep and toileting, the Espejito baby has three other needs that require you to attend to. They need you to give them love by hugging or kissing them. Sometimes they get a tummy ache, so you will need to either feed them or have them touch their toes (“footsie”) to make their tummy feel better. They can also get bored, and you can ease their boredom by either lifting them up in the air while in your arms, or having them play with toys while they are on the ground. While you don’t need to buy any toys (since you can fulfill the boredom stat by lifting them up into the air and playing airplane), if you don’t want to have to pick them up every time they get bored and would rather just have them play with toys while they are on the ground, you can purchase a variety of toys for them at the store.

The Espejito babies grow and develop on their own without any additional cost, and they learn new things when they reach 7 days, 15 days and 21 days. This rate of development is faster than most of the other babies I have had in Second Life, so if you are looking for a baby that grows and develop more slowly over time, this may not be the best baby for you. They learn to walk at 21 days, and after the first month, they don’t continue growing or developing at all and remain the size of an infant forever.

kmaeK-Mae babies cost 3,500L ($14.12). They grow and develop without any additional cost. The diapers are only 1L for 100, and they only need to be fed and changed on average once per day, which means that those 100 diapers will last you about three months. The babies can also be potty trained once they reach 75 weeks, so you will not have to buy diapers once they are toddlers. You can leave these babies alone for an entire day and their happiness stat will still be at 100% when you come back. While this may appeal to some prospective parents, it may not be so ideal for others who are looking for a more realistic experience where your baby needs to be fed and changed on a more frequent basis (by realistic, I mean similar to real babies where you can’t just leave them somewhere for the whole day and not take care of them without them being unhappy, hungry, wet, tired, getting sick, etc.).

K-Mae babies will fall asleep on their own without a crib, so you don’t have to buy a crib for them. You can also change their diaper on the floor, so you don’t even need a changing table. You can purchase toys at the K-Mae store to increase the baby’s happiness, but I have found that these babies are very easy to take care of and remain in a happy, contented state most of the time without any extra effort at all. If you are a parent who enjoys regularly feeding, bathing, and changing your baby, the K-Mae baby may not be the right choice for you, as they require the least amount of care of any of the prim babies I have had (though this could also apply to Zooby babies, who don’t actually require you to feed/change them unless you choose to). But for busy parents, this could be a dream come true!

After the initial purchase, these babies require practically no additional costs – until they reach 26 weeks. At a meager 1L (which is just .1 cent!) every three months, I would consider the K-Mae babies to be one of the least expensive prim babies to care for in Second Life, at least while they are still newborns. Once they transition from bottle feeding to toddler food, you will need to purchase toddler meals for them. At 26 weeks, the babies can use a High Chair (599L/$2.42), and the food for the high chair costs 199L/.81 cents for a 24 pack of meals. So from age 26 weeks to 78 weeks, it will cost about 248L/$1 per month to feed your child. When they reach 78 weeks, your K-Mae baby can use a Toddler Table (499L/$2.02), and the meals for the Toddler Table cost 199L/.81 cents for 12 meals. If they eat one meal per day, that would be about 497L/$2 per month.

latinbabyNext up is the Latin Baby. The Latin newborn costs 5,000L ($20.25). You can breast and bottle feed the Latin babies for free, so you don’t need to purchase bottles or food to feed them. I personally prefer to bottle feed because I really enjoy watching my Latin babies drink from their bottle, as you can see the milk/juice level go down as they drink:) There is also a highchair you can buy that comes with 7 different meals, which you can use instead of breastfeeding or bottle feeding. The highchair costs 500L ($2.02), and has infinite use.

It has been my experience that the Latin babies need to be changed once every three hours or so. Diapers cost 1L each, so if you have your baby rezzed 15 hours per day, it would cost about 5L per day to change your baby (150L/.61 cents per month). If you only log on in the evenings, it would probably only cost you 30L (.13 cents) a month. You can either rezz out the diapers or wear a diaper bag and change their diaper while holding them or on the floor, so you don’t need to buy a changing table. They also sleep wherever they are, so you don’t need to buy a crib for them either. The diaper bag costs 100L (.41 cents), and comes with 100 diapers so it’s the same as just buying the diapers alone. You can also buy “rechargeable” diapers which you use to refill your diaper bag.

The Latin babies never get sick, but they will cry when hungry or needing a diaper change. So although you don’t HAVE to feed or change them, they will cry nonstop until you do (their cry is pretty intense, just like a real infant. It would be extremely difficult to ignore their constant crying, so I would recommend feeding and changing your baby as needed).

tatuLastly, I will be discussing Baby Tatu. A Baby Tatu prim baby costs 3,000L ($12.15). There is also a LITE version available for 900L, but the LITE version never grows beyond the newborn stage so it will never learn to crawl or walk. The Tatu babies are a lot of work, as their stats go down much quicker than any other baby I have cared for in Second Life. They require constant supervision. You cannot ignore Tatu babies for very long without harm to their health and happiness. They are great for those looking for a realistic experience, or for those who love the challenge of a more needy baby, though even on the slowest setting, it still seems to me like they require about double the amount of care that a real infant needs. That being said, the Tatu feeding bottle costs 10L, and has infinite use so you will never have to purchase more bottles after the initial 10L.

Baby Tatu diapers cost 1L each, but need to be changed frequently. For example, I changed my baby at 10:30 this morning, and ten minutes later, she was just about ready for another diaper change! I would say that depending on your particular child (each child can be different), you would need to change your baby about once every 20 minutes. I can’t say for certain, as each baby has unique needs, but my Tatu baby has to be changed every 20 minutes, which works out to be a whopping 3 diapers per hour. If I care for my Tatu baby for 15 hours a day, that would be 45 diapers per day (45L per day, which comes out to about .19 cents a day or 1350L /$5.47 per month).

The good news is that you can purchase a bathtub or the combo bath/changing table for 450L ($1.83), and you will not need to change their diaper at all if you choose to use the bath/changing table instead. However, you will still need to be changing or bathing them every 20 minutes or so, to keep them clean and happy. You don’t need a crib, as they will sleep anywhere, and while the bathtub/changing table are optional, it is nice to have as it saves you money on diapers.

Baby Tatu babies do get sick. You can leave them in your inventory or set them to “hibernate” in their crib for about five days, but if you don’t take care of their needs after five days, they will get sick and then you will have to buy medicine for them, which costs a minimum of 30L per shot.

In conclusion, of the three babies that I have discussed in this article, K-Mae babies seem to be the least expensive to care for, costing a mere 1L every three months, without the need for any nursery furniture or additional accessories (though if you want to improve your family roleplay experience in Second Life, these items are a nice addition). But that doesn’t mean that this is the best baby for everyone! As I mentioned earlier, there are many different factors to take into consideration when choosing which prim baby is the right match for your family. The financial aspect is just one of many things to think about when adopting a new baby. What makes one person fall in love with a particular type of baby in Second Life may not be as appealing to someone else. It all depends on exactly what you are looking for as a parent, and what brings you the most fulfillment in your roleplay. For example, even though some babies don’t require much care, I personally would not be satisfied with a child that just sits around all day and doesn’t require me to tend to their needs. But then again, I would become very stressed out if my child needed my care TOO frequently, so I guess each parent has to find a baby that has the right balance they need. Since I personally love it when my baby has “real” needs that are dependent upon me as a parent to fulfill them, I had to find a baby that required care pretty often and whose health and happiness decreased from lack of care to make the experience more real for me. But that might drive other prospective parents bonkers! Some folks may be looking for a low-key baby that requires little time and effort, so they would not be drawn to the same type of prim baby as I would normally be. For me, it is not always the financial consideration that take precedence, but finding a baby that will bring me the most enjoyment on a daily basis in my family roleplay experience in SL.


One thought on “The Cost of Raising a Virtual Child in Second Life

  1. On the K-Mae Babies you must feed them three times a day or their health and happy stats will decrease. There is an error in the pricing of the high chair It is 299L$ as is the toddler table. 12 Meals for the toddler table are 149L$ .

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