Adding It Up: The Cost of Having a Baby
Adding up the financial cost of having a baby is enough to make a lot of people think twice before getting pregnant. Costs start during pregnancy, continue through childbirth, go on through babyhood... and on through the child's life. This article will review the costs to consider as you plan for childbirth and your baby's first year.
The average hospital bill for a vaginal delivery is between $5,000-$10,000. Add at least $2,000 if you need a c-section. These figures do not include the medical costs associated with nine months of prenatal visits, ultrasound costs and other lab costs. If your baby is born premature or with health problems, neonatal costs can range from a few thousand for a short stay to more than $200,000 if your baby is born more than 15 weeks early.
Even those parents with health insurance can expect to pay coinsurance and deductibles related to pregnancy and childbirth.
Time off from work can add to the cost of having a baby. Most doctors will recommend you stay home for at least the first six weeks of your baby's life. In fact, most licensed childcare facilities will not accept babies until they are at least three months of age. While you are on Maternity Leave, you will need to have a plan for replacing your lost income or adjust your lifestyle to compensate for the loss.
Diapers and Formula
A newborn will go through eight to twelve diapers a day for the first few months of life. That equals from 300 to 400 diapers a month. This means you will need to set aside from $75-$125 a month just for disposable diapers. If you intend to feed your baby formula rather than breast milk, you can add another $100 a month to your budget for formula. As you add baby food to your baby's diet, you can expect your formula costs to drop, but prepared baby food costs will quickly add up to as much as, if not more than, the formula cost.
Next to childbirth, daycare is often the biggest component in the cost of having a baby. Depending on whether you hire a licensed childcare provider, put your child in a childcare facility, hire a nanny, or have a family member take care of your child, you can expect to spend anywhere from $100 a week to more than $800 a week for the care of a newborn. The best way to keep your cost low while still ensuring quality care is to plan ahead and research your local childcare options before you have your baby. In many areas, you may find there is a waiting list just to apply for childcare.
Nursery and Necessities
There is a reason baby showers are traditional. Outfitting a newborn with everything from a safe crib and cuddly blankets to diaper wipes and nail clippers is an expensive undertaking. For moms who aren't wealthy, having friends and family supply baby items makes the cost of having a baby more managable. Visit SureBaby.com for a list of baby must haves, along with the average cost of each. You can also visit LoveToKnow Baby and read or write a baby product review.
Well Baby Visits and Immunizations
During the first year, your pediatrician will want you to bring the baby in for well-baby exams at least once every three months. During these visits, your baby will also begin receiving his immunizations. Don't forget to add a little extra padding to your budget for sick baby visits, especially if your children go to daycare, where they are more apt to pick up virus than if they stay home.