To say that having a child is expensive is an understatement. Statistics released by the US Department of Agriculture in 2015 estimated that the cost of raising a child until their 18th birthday is over $233,000, on average. It’s believed this sum has only increased in recent years given inflation and the higher cost of living across the world.
You may think that kids get more expensive with age, considering they eat more, require more supplies for school, and have more opportunities for extracurricular activities. But don’t assume that their first year of life is going to be cheap. There are a variety of big expenses that come with welcoming a child, including recurring and one-time costs.
Some studies have found families spend an average of $20,000 to $50,000 on child-related expenses during their baby’s first year. Of course, these numbers vary depending on where you live and how you choose to spend your money, like if you buy secondhand or generic brands. But what can’t be denied is that having a newborn is expensive.
Below, we look at the biggest expenses you can expect to have in your baby’s first year of life, including ways to save on these costs and why these numbers can vary.
You can expect your baby will need diapers for the first few years of their life. Whether you go the disposable or reusable route, it’s going to cost you a pretty penny.
According to Global News, babies use an average of 2,700 disposable diapers in their first year. With diapers costing between 20 to 25 cents each, this can cost families $550 per year. Though they’re more eco-friendly, reusable diapers come in at a similar price point. At $20 per reusable diaper, families may spend upward of $500 per year on them.
You can expect to use thousands of disposable baby wipes in your baby’s first year – literally. Proud Happy Mama reports that most newborns need 37 wipes per day, or 1,110 wipes in the first month. Within a year, families use an average of 8,000 baby wipes.
Baby wipes tend to cost anywhere between 5 to 6 cents each. So, if you’re using 8,000 wipes annually, you may spend $480 on baby wipes per year.
Babies are constantly growing, which means they won’t fit their clothes for too long.
As per Investopedia, many families find they spend between $25 to $50 on baby clothes per month, even if they’re prioritizing hand-me-downs or thrift shop clothing. This means you could be spending $600 per year on baby clothes.
Though it’s usually a one-time purchase, a stroller is often one of the most expensive things you’ll need to buy for a baby. Traditional strollers tend to cost anywhere between $100 to $300, but it’s easy to spend upwards of $1,000 on specialty or high-end strollers.
Breastfeeding is obviously a cheaper choice than formula feeding, but it’s not always an option. Whether you choose to supplement with formula or exclusively feed it to your baby, it can cost you a pretty penny.
Global News explains that the average 900ml container of powder formula costs $25. This usually lasts for a week, but you may find you go through less of it as your baby transitions to eating solid. However, if you use a ready-to-feed formula, the price is higher for the added convenience. You may spend $50 or more on a case to last a week.
Information from Investopedia predicts that most families that formula feed their baby spend between $1,000 to $3,700 per year.
Once your baby begins eating solid, you need to factor in the cost of their food into your budget. Young and Thrifty explains that the average family spends $50 per month on solid foods, which can add up to $600 per year. But you’ll only spend half of this in your baby’s first year since they can begin solids until 6 months of age.
You’re more likely to save money on baby food if you blend your own purees, especially if you use foods that the rest of your family is already eating. You’ll pay more for pre-packaged and ready-made items as well as organic options.
If at least one parent can take a leave from work during the baby’s first year, you may not need to pay for childcare. Likewise, you may have no childcare expenses if a friend or family member is looking after your baby for free. But for many families, they begin paying for daycare before their child’s first birthday. This is especially true in the United States, where many jobs only entitle women to 6 weeks of maternity leave post-birth.
The cost of childcare varies depending on where you live, whether you need a full or part-time childcare, and what sort of venue you go with, like if it’s a privately or publicly funded daycare. You can also expect to pay more if you hire a nanny, but may spend less if you hire a student babysitter.
Young and Thrifty explains that parents living in the city tend to spend anywhere between $800 to $1,400 per month on daycare. Remember, daycare costs are often higher for younger children since they have more needs.
Labor & Delivery Fees
If you live in a country like Canada where healthcare is free, you may pay nothing for your labor and delivery. But in places like the United States, you may receive a bill for tens of thousands of dollars post-birth. These costs will be lower depending on your insurance plan, if you have one.
Investopedia says that the average American family pays $4,500 for labor and delivery. In general, the cost is higher if you face complications, especially if the mother or baby requires hospitalization or specialized treatment. One study found a c-section costs almost $10,000 more than a vaginal birth, though this varies by state. Emergency c-sections are more expensive than planned ones.
When uninsured, the average vaginal delivery costs $13,024, though this increases to $22,646 for an uninsured c-section. But the cost of giving birth can fluctuate by as much as $33,000 depending on the state in the US The research found that the cheapest state for vaginal birth is Oklahoma.
Before you give birth, your healthcare provider and/or insurance company should be able to give you an estimate of how large your bill may be after labor and delivery.
This is a lot of information to digest, but don’t be overwhelmed. It’s better to know what to expect so you can budget and save versus being shocked later on. With a bit of planning and preparation, you can take hold of your finances and be in a better position to welcome your newborn.
Sources: Global News, Proud Happy Mama, Investopedia, Investopedia, Cost Helper Children, Young and Thrifty, Value Penguin, New York Life,
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