A lot of people think, and even hope, that a baby will be in their future at some time. Some people want children earlier in life while others want to wait. While there is no perfect time to have a baby, anyone considering having a baby should learn about the real cost of having a baby.
Don’t get me wrong, if you ask anyone on the street, they will tell you that babies are expensive. They require a lot of things, and you have to feed them, so they cost you money and a lot of it. The reality is though, that many couples who have decided to start a family don’t know the real cost of having a baby and just how much money they need to have and be prepared to spend.
Many people think about the money after they have the baby, but the fact is that you really should start thinking about it before hand. The cost of having a baby actually starts before the baby is even born, and if your budget is stretched before the baby comes along then it will be stretched even more once it is here.
Just a few things you will need in the baby’s first year and a half of life.
Prenatal Care and Childbirth Costs
What it costs: Potentially several thousand depending on insurance companies and complications. How much you will have to pay out of pocket will depend on what your insurance will cover and if there were any complications during your delivery with you or the baby.
Why you need it: Health care is important to ensure the health of both mom and baby.
My real life expenses (for example): With my daughter I was lucky, I worked at the hospital where I gave birth and since I had insurance through the hospital I didn’t have to pay much. It total I paid around $400 for deductibles and some medicine during my entire pregnancy and delivery.
What it costs: This will depend on how long your company allows you to be off work, what you make every pay, and if both parents take off. It will also depend on how much vacation time you can take to help replace lost income. This could again be several thousand dollars, and you still have to pay your bills while you are off work.
Why you need it: Having a baby is a huge adjustment for both mom and dad, and it takes a toll on moms body. Taking maternity leave gives moms body the chance to recover from the birth, bond with the new baby, and adjust to the new sleep schedule. If dad takes time off as well it will give him a chance to bond with his baby and adjust to the new sleeping schedule.
My real life expenses (for example): I was able to take 12 weeks off, and I was lucky enough to have 3 weeks worth of vacation time saved up, so I only had to save up for 9 weeks of no pay. That equals out to about $4,000.
What it costs: $250 for a car seat and crib, if you buy more gear, it will cost more.
Why you need it: At the very least you will need a car seat for traveling and a crib for the baby to safely sleep in. You may decide to purchase additional items such as a swing, bouncer, or high chair.
My real life expenses (for example): I was lucky enough to have friends and family who showered me with gifts and paid for my car seat, stroller, bouncer, swing, pack and play, and some other larger items. My husband and I bought our daughter’s bedroom set because we had a specific set picked out. We bought it several months before we were even pregnant, and it cost around $1000.
Bottles, Binkies, Toys, and Such
What it costs: Approximately $200+.
Why you need it: You need bottles to feed your baby, even if you are breastfeeding because there will be times when you are away from your child. Toys will help keep your child stimulated and help them learn. These little things are cheap individually, but they add up over time.
My real life expenses (for example): To be completely honest I can’t tell you how much I spent on all this stuff. I would say that I easily spent $500 or more though.
What it costs: $50+ a month for disposables and about $450 total for cloth diapers.
Why you need it: I feel like I don’t need to explain this, but you need to cover your baby’s bottom.
My real life expenses (for example): So for 18 months we used disposable diapers, which equals out to about $900+.
Formula and Food
What it costs: $75+ per month, breastfeeding is free, but most babies will start solids at 6 months so from then on an additional $50 or more per month. If you don’t start solids at 6 months, or earlier, you will have the additional cost once your baby does start solids.
Why you need it: First, you have to feed your baby, duh, and second not everyone can breastfeed.
My real life expenses (for example): I tried to breastfeed, but it didn’t work out for me. My daughter also ended up on soy formula which is a little more expensive than other formulas, so all in all we easily spent $2500 in the first 18 months.
What it costs: $200+ per year.
Why you need it: You have to put clothes on your baby, and because they grow fast in the first couple of years they will outgrow their wardrobe every few months, meaning you have to buy more clothes. Not to mention if you live somewhere that have very distinct seasons, such as where I live in Ohio.
My real life expenses (for example): I have been lucky and my family loves buying clothes for my daughter, but I would say I have easily spent $600+ on clothes in a year and a half. I have the disadvantage of living in Ohio as well where it can be 20 degrees and snowing in the morning and 70 degrees in the evening, meaning that I may need 2 different outfits for my daughter in one day.
What it costs: This depends on if you take your child to daycare or if you prefer an in home nanny. If both parents will have to continue to work you will need to spend anywhere from $400 to $2000.
Why you need it: If one parent will be able to stay home you may not need childcare, but if both parents will need to work you will need someone to take care of your child while you are working.
My real life expenses (for example): We never had to pay for childcare. Just before I went back to work my husband got a new job and we decided that it wasn’t going to be cost effective or even possible to put my daughter in daycare while we worked, that is when we decided I would stay home. Thankfully, total cost for childcare for us has been $0.
Keep in mind that these are just the expenses for the first year and a half. You also have to include increased insurance premiums, doctors visits, missed days of work due to a sick child, college savings, life insurance, and anything else that comes up.
It is estimated that in today’s world it costs about $250,000 to raise a child to 18.
Did you think about the real cost of having a baby before having a baby? How did your expenses compare to the ones here?